How I Lost the Weight

Posted by Healthful Elements Staff

When people learn that I’ve lost weight, they always ask how I did it.

The fact is, I don’t exactly know.

That’s not entirely true, of course. I know all of the steps I took to improve my health, but I couldn’t tell you which ones of them directly caused the scale to move.

From what we’ve all been told, it’s not that complicated. I must have eaten fewer calories than I expended, right? We’ve all heard the adage, “calories in, calories out.” 

Well, the newest research is proving that it just ain’t so. A calorie is a calorie – but only until it hits our mouths and meets with our individual metabolism and the complexities of our individual bodies. At that point, things get messy. A recent Popular Science article gives several examples of how different foods affect our hunger, hormone levels, and metabolism in different ways. Countless studies have shown that calorie restriction is not an effective tool for sustainable weight loss. Even the head of Weight Watchers, one of the world’s largest diet companies, has admitted that “[c]alorie counting has become unhelpful.”

There are so many other factors that greatly impact whether we can successfully lose weight. Insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, inflammation, hormonal imbalance, medication, viral or bacterial infections, genetics, leaky gut, food allergies, poor sleep, menstruation, low self-esteem, and, of course, thyroid disorders and adrenal dysfunction, can all sabotage even the best efforts at weight loss.

No degree of calorie restriction and no amount of exercise are going to get the scale moving if there are other obstacles in your way. To the contrary, eating too few calories and over-exercising can actually make it more difficult to lose weight and cause greater harm to your health.

So, how did I lose the weight (almost 50 pounds), and keep it off for more than a year now? I did not count my calories, buy any weight-loss bestsellers, subscribe to any fad diets, or put any food off-limits. Here’s some of what I did do:

  • I took several long, hard looks at whether I was eating more than I needed to feel satisfied.
  • I made peace with my thighs (though this is an ongoing truce that must be re-negotiated from time to time).
  • I started to breathe a lot more.
  • I quit perceiving exercising as punishment.
  • Three words: eat whole foods. Four more: Limit the processed junk. (And if it’s processed, it’s junk.) I accepted that 100 calories worth of a pretzel snack pack was infinitely different than a 100 calorie apple.
  • I realized that if I had to deprive myself of birthday cake, pizza, or wine to become thin, then I was just going to have to stay fat instead. I don’t do deprivation. Thus I had to accept whatever size my body wanted to be, so long as I achieved balance in my diet. (And yes, I firmly believe that balance requires, among other things, the occasional pizza, so long as it’s really. good. pizza.)
  • I took baby steps, and celebrated even the smallest accomplishments and milestones that signaled that my body was healing and getting closer to where it wanted to be.
  • A bunch of other little changes all added up to my getting healthy, without regard to the number on the scale.

So, do I enjoy my life more now that I lost three dress sizes? You bet.

But it’s not because I lost three dress sizes. It’s because I fixed my thyroid and began to manage my stress. It’s because I learned how to get an appropriate amount of physical activity for my individual body. It’s because I incorporated strategies into my routine to reduce inflammation, boost my immune system, and live more mindfully. It’s because I learned what real food is and how to balance my blood sugars. It’s because I improved my relationship with my body, and learned more about myself and what I need to be healthy and happy.

And, I worked with a health coach on all of the above. We all need support, reminders, encouragement, motivation, wisdom, guidance, information, insight and perspective. If you think you could benefit from our Coaching, we’d love to help you.

Posted by Healthful Elements Staff


But you never said how you fixed your thyroid.  The most this article says is to breath more and find a dietician.  I have a big belly that seems to be getting bigger.  My doctor told  me, "You are fat.  You are just fat."   I am looking for a new  Dr.  My  thin brother cannot understand why I don't try to loose weight.  He keeps telling me to exercise. When I climb stairs,  or try to walk fast,  I have difficulty breathing.  The bottom 3rd of my right lung had to be removed.   After 18 years of marriage, when I began gaining weight,  after three children and stress due to my husband working late at the office and going out  after hours with his office.   He  told me if I had more pride in myself I would loose weight.  He said  I was gross and obese  and he was leaving me for his assistant who was working under him at work. (literally)... Several years later I  have been diagnosed with hashimotos.  After congestive heart failure, I found out I had high blood pressure.  I stopped eating salt, pasta, rice, potatoes, sugar, bread.  My belly continued to grow larger.  I eat chicken, fish, vegetables and have started making fruit and vegetable shakes.  Two years ago I had 2 nodules (or goiters) on my thyroid.  I now have 7.  I stopped gaining weight about a year ago, but I cannot loose any.  I weigh 250.  With hashimotos, articles say not to eat vegetables that cause goiters.  These veges are those that are promoted for weight loss.  I  apologize for whining... I will continue my research.....and hope......



Hi, the responses you’ve received from your doctor and husband are just atrocious. I’m really sorry.

As Mary said, she’s not exactly sure how she lost the weight. And it’s impossible to write in a blog post how to “fix” your thyroid, especially when it often takes a personalized approach. Belly fat is often due to cortisol overproduction. And if this is the case, exercising harder can make things worse. While Hashimoto’s can certainly cause weight issues, it’s often one factor of several, including food intolerances, yeast overproduction, sleep issues, or all of these. 

Nodules and goiters are not the same thing. Nodules, which it sounds like you have, are largely due to inflammation, of which the above-mentioned weight-related factors can contribute. And you don’t have to worry about eating “goitrogens.”

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