It was a beautiful weekend, wasn’t it?

As part of my Labor Day festivities, I ran a 5K race as a fundraising effort for my {very small} hometown.

The last time I ran a 5K, was this same race the year prior, three months postpartum and 30 pounds heavier.

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My relationship with running is deep. Throughout my life, starting in middle school, I turned to this method of movement to help me lose weight. Yet, all the miles I logged and the dozens of 5Ks, 10Ks, Half-Marathons I ran, didn’t change the way I felt inside. I was not happy with my size. In fact, I was heart broken every time I looked in the mirror.

I thought, “How is this possible? Why even bother working out if I can’t SEE the benefit? If I don’t feel better?”

Looking back, I know exactly how this was possible.

Nutrient-dense foods weren’t even part of my vocabulary.

While I thought I was eating healthy {I really, truly did!}, I vividly remember “fueling” my body prior to a long run day, with a whole-grain bagel, smothered in peanut butter. During my run I would eat pretzels and drink Gatorade in order to keep my body “energized”. Post run, my go-to was chocolate pasteurized milk and a power bar to help “replenish” my body.

YIKES, right? I was taught that this was healthy and I’m sure you can relate!

As my journey towards Natural Health continued, I discovered the power of foods… REAL foods. NOT the low-fat, fake butter, toxic loaded, whole-wheat crap I was consuming.

It was eating REAL foods that allowed me to easily lose weight and feel a whole new level of energy. A whole new level of vitality! With Real Foods, magical things started to happen to me, and my passion for Natural Health ignited!

When I gained 50ish nourished pounds with my pregnancy, I wasn’t concerned about losing the weight post-pregnancy. I knew my body on a deep and intimate level; I knew I would be able to lose it one pound at a time, while loving who I was every “shape” of the way.

Much to my surprise, I was right. When the time came to put my money where my mouth was and lose the baby weight, it was the furthest thing from my mind. You see, the first seven months postpartum, my priority was establishing a plentiful and nourishing milk supply for my son. I had to work hard for every ounce – and I wanted to make every ounce count!

During this time, I weighed 155 and wore a size 10. I’m not going to lie and say that I enjoyed this larger shape, because I didn’t. I just refused to stress out about it. I knew without a doubt that this was my “Right Now” size, not my forever size.

When my milk dried up, I simply made subtle, yet significant, adjustments to my real food lifestyle and incorporated 30 minutes of intense exercise in my day four to five days a week.

Yes, it was that easy! I never counted calories or ate on a strict schedule, and I certainly never felt deprived of anything! The weight didn’t come off overnight, but why should it? It takes time to gain and time to lose. It took me 9 months to gain that weight and I knew that I would need to work at it for up to that long to take it off.

While my mom tries really, really hard to live a nourished life, she continues to buy into that “low-fat”, “calorie-counting” crap that the media and food companies are flooding the market with, literally brain-washing consumers with, in order to sell more product. I remember her telling me {in a loving way} around 8 months postpartum that my weight would never come off if I kept eating all that fat. I simply responded with a smile as I continued to lick the heaping dollop of coconut oil off my spoon.

As you might imagine, I still eat fat – lots of it! It nourishes my nervous system, keeping me calm, keeping my brain functioning at an optimal level and supporting my immune system as well as my structure. Healthy, real fat does not make me fat, nor does it make you fat!

In fact, I always have brownies, peppermint patties or lemon bars in my fridge just to help make sure I get my fats in.

Fighting your excessive fat stores on your body with healthy sources of real fat is a big part of my success! Take that, mama! 🙂

Contrary to popular belief, a “diet” from a book isn’t the answer, counting calories or points isn’t the answer, drinking nasty protein aka “healthy” shakes aren’t the answer and running miles upon miles isn’t the answer…

NOR is it the answer to put yourself behind a label and abide to the strict rules of Clean Eating or being Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, etc.

All these methods may help you shed some pounds, but do they really help you FEEL and LOOK your best? No two bodies are created equal. Everyone requires different needs; vitamins, minerals, fats, amino acids, proteins and more in order to support our unique DNA.

The REAL SECRET, my friend, couldn’t be simpler.

It’s eating the RIGHT nutrient-dense foods for YOU!

When I look back at last year’s race photo compared to this, I couldn’t be prouder. I lost the weight with patience, grace and pure nourishment at the forefront. I loved my body and it LOVED me back!

Love Yourself Fiercely,

Tonya