How I Lost Weight Eating Real Food {More Than Ever!}


Thank you for all your wonderful comments and feedback (love you guys!) to my weighty issue! I’ve decided to do a series here on AOC about weight loss and real food, because if I can help even one person get healthy and feel better by my story and tips, it’s beyond worth sharing my struggles!

Read all the articles in the entire series on Losing Weight with Real Foods:

Before I go any further today, I want to share about the pants I used for my “big pants” in the series banner. These are a fun, sporty pair of pants from the Gap that I’ve had for a number of years. After my daughter saw these pictures she said, “Yeah, but those were loose on you before, weren’t they?”

Um, no. When I bought these pants they were on the edge of my size, if you know what I mean. I should’ve bought a large, but was so happy to fit into a medium (hello, GAP, this is a medium?), that I bought them, even though they were snug. Which became tight after washing. So I hung them to dry (classic technique to help your tight clothes fit looser), and then would have to do some deep knee bends after putting them on to stretch them a bit further. But I was always uncomfortable in them, because I knew they were tight.

We took a number of pictures to try and illustrate how baggy these pants are on me now, but it just doesn’t show up very well. Take my word for it – there’s a lot of fabric there. And realizing how big these pants are now confirmed to me that this time I’ve reached a new milestone – this is real weight loss that works in real life with real food.

Oh yeah, these fit much better. Except that pose is so…not. me. Brian just thinks “after” poses should look like this.

This is more me. Shows off my “pear” shape more, but it is what it is. I think it also shows that I’m normal- nowhere near the realm of too skinny. Just right for me and where my body wants to be- when it’s being fed real food.

Sure wish I had known that years ago. Sigh.

So, here are 5 lifestyle-changing things I did – and continue to do – to help me be at my best weight ever:

  1. Cut portions in half. Everything, even fruits and vegetables, in order to get out of that “all-you-can-eat” mentality. I plan to do another post with more detail and showing what these portions look like, but suffice it to say that my portion sizes had crept up over the years and needed to be cut back. It was just easy for me to tell myself to halve everything. I’ve already tried diets where you writing things down, weigh and/or measure your food. These things aren’t sustainable for me. But eating half a hamburger or only one slice of pizza? Easy. And it’s still easy- but eating smaller portions is a lifestyle change that I have to keep up because TV, magazines, blogs, and restaurants constantly skew the portions to bigger amounts.
  2. Eat real, whole foods. I cook with butter, bacon, coconut oil and olive oil. I’ve moved to more and more whole foods over the life of this blog, including whole milk and cream, cheeses, and eggs (of course, vegetables and fruits are part of this, too, but that’s not the different part {smile}) and I lost weight eating these foods. That didn’t change. BUT- I was eating these foods a year ago when I was at a weight I wasn’t comfortable with, so this alone won’t help you lose weight. My point is, real food should be part of a healthy, sustainable, weight loss plan. Weird, processed, fake, or nutritionally light “diet”foods should not.
  3. Limit carbs and focus on protein. Not Atkins, South Beach, or “paleo,” but when a choice of food needs to be made, I go for a protein. Nuts have become my go-to snack instead of crackers or toast. Half an apple alone never satisfied me in the past, but one with a tablespoon of nut butter will. I don’t care about the buns on hamburgers, so it’s easy for me to use a lettuce leaf instead. We don’t eat a lot of pasta, and when we do, I try to have more sauce than noodles. I make sure I eat the protein and vegetable in a meal first, so if I get full, it’s the carb I’ll leave. But when I do want the carb, I eat it – but just a little. I find that the protein (and good fat) fills and satisfies me, so I don’t need to overload on carbs.
  4. Cut down on sweets. Well…duh. This one is typical, I guess. Except that I didn’t cut sugar out altogether. We still end our meals with a piece of dark chocolate. Some nights we have a few chocolate chips (about 1/8 cup measured out) when we’re watching TV and once a week we have ice cream (often homemade with real cream- and no machine). I’ve never gone to someone’s house and refused dessert saying, “sorry, I’m dieting.” I have a very small portion and then I’m satisfied. See what I mean about real life, real food, and really sustainable?
  5. Use easy “rules” and tricks. I’ve developed some habits that work for me- things I either really thought about or that have developed over the last year and work well towards losing weight and keeping it off.

In fact, I believe that adopting these techniques (or similar ones that work for you) are so important to making healthy lifestyle changes that are sustainable that I’m going into detail in the next installment of Losing Weight With Real, Whole Foods: Tips, Tricks, and Techniques to Help You Lose Weight.

In the meantime…thoughts? Do you agree with my five lifestyle changes or disagree? What would you add to the list that has worked for you?




This is linked to Real Food Wednesdays.


  1. says

    Yes, I completely agree. I have always avoided “diet” foods, they are just not real. You have to make changes you can live with for life. For me I gain easily if I include too many carbs, and when I cut them down I lose it again. I love real foods and I have cooked from scratch for 30 years. No mixes, I make the best buttermilk pancakes (speaking of carbs). I am the pear shape too but you look great!

  2. says

    Thank you so much for sharing this. The older you are the harder it is to lose weight. I have not had a weight problem until the last few years but it is harder for me to lose. I know I am not eating correctly. Too many sweets. I guess I am lucky though – I am 70 years old and weight 134 but for me I feel overweight. Everything drops the older you get and I feel like an apple because of my waist line. I weight 102 when I married and now 52 years later I am at 134.
    I am going to try and follow your advice about some of the “diet” stuff. LOL

    I would like to asked a question about a medium price handmixer. All these years, I have only had a portable hand mixer. I use to bake bread years ago but the kneading always got to me. I know with a mixer it will do the kneading for me.So many mixers out ohere, what would you recommend. I would like to do more healthy baking. Been writing down many of your wonderful recipes for future use.

    By the way, you look fantastic. I would be happy with a 10 pound loss.

    Thanks for sharing all the wonderful tips, etc., on your blog.
    Connie, IN/FL

    • says

      Connie,it would be hard for me to think of someone overweight at 134, but we all have our “sweet spots” where we feel best and healthiest. If you know what you have to change, that’s half the battle. :-)

      As far as a mixer (you did write “handmixer” but I’m assuming from the rest of your comment that you meant a stand mixer), I use a Kitchenaid. I have for years and I still like them, even though the reviews are mixed on them recently. If you’re wanting to make whole wheat bread, you’ll have to splurge on a lift-head model (vs. the cheaper tilt-head) because they have a more powerful motor to knead the heavier dough. I got mine on the Kitchenaid website’s refurbished section and have been happy with it for 3 years – making bread weekly.

      And I’m not even 70, but I wouldn’t make bread if I had to knead it, so I’m totally with you there!

    • says

      Thank you so much for the information. I did mean stand mixer but couldn’t think of the term. Thanks again. I love your “french chairs” and I am sure you will accomplished your goal and they will look beautiful.

  3. says

    I am so glad you have taken the plunge where few want to tread. Congrats on your weight loss. I too have lost almost 3o pounds since the beginning of the year by just cutting back and making choices. I cook from scratch and always have. i am looking forward to following along with this thread.

    • says

      Congratulations, Kim, that’s awesome! I always thought I cooked from scratch, but 20 years ago that would’ve included canned cream soup and lot’s of canola oil for me. 😉 You’re so right about not only cutting back, but making choices!

  4. Jill says

    Very smart weight loss! So glad that you didn’t get caught up in the standard weight loss advice of eating low fat and low saturated fat (which ends up meaning high carb). Immediately after the USDA released its first official dietary recommendations obesity rates skyrocketed, and it’s no coincidence! The government’s dietary recommendations (which are heavily grain based) are really designed to sell products for the food and agriculture industries, not to make people healthy.

  5. Jill says

    Very smart weight loss! So glad you didn’t fall for the standard advice of eating low fat (it naturally translates to high carb). Immediately after the first USDA dietary guidelines came out, obesity (and diabetes) skyrocketed like never before. Here is a link to a really interesting article that includes graphs illustrating the stats: Congratulations on your success!

    • says

      Well, for many years I did, Jill. I thought a big plate of pasta and vegetables was the best “diet” food ever. 😉 I have always thought the grain recommendations were too much, though- I could never eat that amount…unless I was eating mindlessly from a box!

  6. Regina says

    Whole heartily agree!! I did what you have done back in 2005 (without going to a gym) and it works without depriving yourself of any food. My portions slowly increased over the years and so did my weight. This is a nice reminder to go back to what I was doing. Great job!

  7. says

    You look great, Jami!
    Thank you for addressing the fact that we can still overeat real foods. I’ve been discouraged lately because I can’t seem to drop any of the extra 30 lbs I’m carrying even though I am eating so “good for me”. Portion control….and agh, that dreaded word…exercise. Need to get me a little of both. :)

  8. Anonymous says

    Congrats Jami! You look awesome and most of all healthy and happy! :-) I used similar methods a few years ago (along with light weight bearing exercise and walking) and lost 15 pounds and a couple clothing sizes over about 5 months. Frankly I didn’t even realize it was happening because I decided that I was making the changes in order to feel healthier and more energetic, not to lose weight (so I almost never looked at the scale). It totally worked and I never felt deprived. It was a sustainable lifestyle change – still living it!

    • says

      Yeah! You’re so right about not realizing it – that happened to me when I finally went below my “set point,” I kept thinking it was an aberration and temporary, since I wasn’t feeling deprived. Plus, I never trusted my scale. 😉 A visit to the doctor’s in January shocked me with the number…and I realized I really should buy some new pants instead of just belting up my baggy old ones!

      What an encouragement to know you’re still “livin’ the lifestyle” and have kept those few extra pounds off for years- thanks for sharing!

  9. Thoughts for the day says

    wow you look awesome.
    I am on a new plan hopefully very soon. The mid 50 stage is settling in the wrong places and since I am short (five foot) and weigh 150 at the doctors office I have room to lose at least 10 to 15 pounds. I already do the portion control so I am wondering what else?

    • says

      Cutting down on carbs really helped me as well as cutting everything in half- maybe that would help you, too? I have been shocked, really at the smallness of my portions over the last year- it’s really a LOT less than portions we see in magazines, TV, and restaurants, and yet I’m perfectly satisfied when it’s real food and full, good fats. That’s why my next post in this series will be a photographic look at my portions. :-)

  10. ChRiS says

    wow u look great and congrats you deserve all the prasie you have coming to you……my story is way to long but recently i had a silent heart attack and course they want you to clean ur frig out and start new with all this bland stuff……i just can’t bring myself to do it i love my butter my fried hamburgers etc……well anyways keep up the good work!!!!!

    • says

      Wow, Chris, that is scary! Maybe emphasizing the leaner parts of real food (veggies, easing up on grains) and using olive oil more would help? I’m sure Weston Price has some good research for people with heart problems- have you checked them out? I know I’ve read about people who’ve gotten their numbers down eating real food, but I think it does take some re-thinking and research. Take care of yourself!:-)

  11. Jennifer B says

    May I add that reducing stress in your life definitely helps with weight loss. I just left a stressful job and lost 5 pounds within 2 weeks. This is a good start at the 30 pounds I gained while working there over the past 2 years!

    • says

      Yes, Jennifer, that is an excellent point! I’m so glad for you. For those who are not able to get out of stressful situations (like family issues…), though, I would suggest lots of prayer and maybe counseling to be able to be good to yourself by eating healthy even in that situation. It’s so important that we take care of the bodies God gave us! :-)

  12. Chloe says

    Jami, I have loved your blog for some time now, but this series of posts is probably the biggest blessing for me. The only time I was ever successful at losing weight wad thirteen years ago, after the birth of my daughter, and I used this exact method. Since then, my weight has crept up, and neither exercise, food journaling, or weight loss programs have really helped. This week, though, after reading your posts, I have been much more mindful about getting my portions down again, and I already feel a little better. Thank you for this encouragement!

  13. says

    Jami, I congratulate you for taking control of your life and what you put into your body. I am involved right now in a Boot Camp of sorts and have lost just over 60 pounds. I still have a bit more to go, but eating no processed foods was huge for me. I find that a bit of planning once aweek and having the good foods available at a moments’ notice has kep me from the drive thru as well. I concentrate on protein as well and not going overboard on fruit. I do exersize nearly every day and for me it helps my mindset…it has become my reliefe rather than the fridge or pantry. You look great and I am so happy for you!

  14. Tami says

    You look so great!! I love all your posts….these included! Thanks for creating this blog for us to enjoy!

  15. says

    What a great article! I never had a weight issue until 2 years ago at 47. I literally gained 40 lbs in a two month time period even though I increased my work outs and ate less. I was exhausted which drove me to see the doctor. I found out that I am hypothyroid and have hashimoto’s. It has been a constant battle to lose the weight. I can lose 5 lbs and gain it right back for no apparent reason. I had the stomach flu recently for almost a week and at the end of it I weighed myself and had gained 3 lbs. It is very frustrating. I eat like you. Thankfully I have a doctor that believes in eating like this and encourages me to continue to do so.

    I make everything from scratch. I don’t eat processed foods or diet foods. My husband thinks I don’t eat enough but I am to the point of being afraid to eat. I get to thinking that maybe I am wrong about eating whole real foods like raw milk instead of skim milk. I eat very little grains and if I do it’s a soaked grain bread that I’ve made.

    I walk every day. We are raising 2 grandchildren that I chase after and care for every day and combined with making everything we eat from scratch I am not just sitting around. I was working out dilegently but my doctor had me stop while we are trying to get my thyroid settled down(tests are not coming back good). Even though I am exhausted I feel the need to keep trying to lose this weight.

    I really am at a loss of what to do or what I could add into what I am doing to see some weight loss. Since I literally went from a size 5/6 to a size 12 in a matter of a few weeks, I am tired of not feeling like myself in this body. I would appreciate any suggestions from you or your readers. I am desperate! Thanks for listening to my rant! :)

    • Anonymous says

      I had the same problem and yet I was 22 at the time. My doctor didn’t even look at my thyroid, and told me I was just depressed. GRRR.

      I found out about my thyroid problem when I was pregnant. Finally a doctor with a brain. We worked at getting my levels right, while adjusting medication for months. Once my levels were normal, and after I had my baby, the weight dropped off of me. I worked out moderately, and walked.

      The most important thing right now is getting your levels of hormone right. Until then you will be fighting a losing battle. Then once you have stabilized, eat well and do moderate excersizes (walking, weight resistance). You will find your energy slowly improve once the meds are right. Honestly, before being diagnosed I feel asleep at my desk instead of eating lunch.

      There is hope!

    • says

      Oh, yes, Lori – don’t give up hope! And don’t beat yourself up, either. Yours is a medical problem and you need to still give your body enough nutritious food while you’re getting your thyroid in balance. Sometimes that takes awhile.

      I hear you that you are frustrated because you don’t feel like “you.” But I think eating well, listening to your doctor, and getting your body to a better place, hormonally, should be your focus now and not the scale or weight.

      In fact, I don’t think you should weigh yourself right now at all. That sounds like it’s discouraging you. Get your numbers right and when you feel your clothes loosen up (which they will- yours is so obviously a medical condition), then check the scale- this time for encouragement. :-)

      I’m sayin’ a little prayer for you!

  16. says

    Thank you for your honesty! You look great and I hope to implement some of the tips you’ve listed here. I’ve lost weight before, but for some reason I just can’t do it now (I had a surprise pregnancy, um, over 4 years ago and gained the weight I HAD lost back….). I want to do it with real foods, but having kids getting older it also has to be realistic. Let’s face it, occasionally, there will be brownies in the house! LOL

  17. Teresa says

    This is exactly the type blog I have been searching for. I have been on real foods now for about 2 yrs but get so confused when I read post about weight lost. I just want to real real whole food and lose weight so I will be following your blog from this day.
    Thank you!

    • Jami says

      Glad you found AOC, Teresa! I’m so with you and constantly shake my head at so-called “healthy” recipes where they remove what’s good for our bodies and replaces them with what we already have too much of (particularly the replacement of oil with sweets like applesauce – hello? we already eat way too much sugar…). Balance, moderation, and real foods are what you’ll find here – plus a healthy dose of DIY for simple living. 😉

      • teresa says

        I had to reply back. I have been on your blog almost “all” day. Your weight lost series is the best I have ever read because it makes so much sense. Most of us are not going to stick with a plan that deprives us a certain food group. (esp for very long) I agree with the portion control and not over doing food groups like carbs. I really like your blog and recipes are great too. I have already sent a link for my sister who needs to lose weight and a close friend with the same issue.
        God Bless You!

  18. Katie says

    I like your approach, it makes so much sense! I’m a young mother of Irish twins (3 and 1.5) and have been trying to lose that last 30 pounds since my second was born. (I lost the first 20 pounds with the Digest Diet but it made me feel hungry and deprived).

    I recently signed on to real foods and make much of my own food from scratch. I also eat homemade granola every morning! I’ve been researching real foods but haven’t found anything about portion control until now. I’ve always heard it’s not how much you eat, it’s what you eat. This is nonsense! Now that I’m eating like Grandma did, I’m going to diet like Grandma did- eat less, and not so much bread and pasta.

    Thank you for sharing your success story. It brings me hope! I’m no longer going to take advice from the skinny health food nuts and listen to someone who’s more like me.


    • says

      Yeah, Katie, on your efforts to eat real foods you make from scratch! That and portion control will see you to your healthy weight like me, I’m sure! I’m honored that my story brought you hope. :)

  19. Floyd D. Calhoun says

    Hi, I’m new here and truly enjoy your ideas. I especially like your “Tex-Mex” spice rub. I do a lot of cooking here and use rubs a lot. This per mix will save me a lot of prep time. Like all foods this will be easy to tweak.
    As for weight and diets. I want to give this little story. At 65 I have put on the tummy most men get. I have always been physically active but years have caught up to me. My wife of 35 years ( praise the Lord) has always been weight conscious and watched her diet. But years have “gained” on her as well. Now for the results. Sorry no before pictures, just some stats. I started with a 42 inch waist and now fit loosely into a 36 waist jeans. My lovely wife has gone from a size 16-18 to a 8.-10 this. Our journey is not over yet.
    Now the important thing here is not just our weight and size change, our health. And yes guys to can enjoy great food and loose the weight. We cut out most of the processed foods and a lot of the starchy foods. I read the labels now , and pay close attention to what we eat. We have incorporated a large salad with our dinner. I know what the guys are going to say, “I don’t like rabbit food”. Really guys when you eat a well balance salad with, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, garbonso beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, and what ever else you personally like, your taste buds will be in heaven. Now don’t get me wrong, I still love my meat. What we have changed is the selection. We eat more chicken, and fish now. We limit our red meat to once a week and have included more pork into our diet( personnel choice)
    The bottom line is that no matter where you are in your own weight issue, you can do it with a personal choice to change. Good luck with your own journey.

    • says

      Wow, that’s so awesome, Floyd – what a great inspiration!! And that you are at a healthier place without resorting to weird or fad diets, but just paying attention to the types of food you put in your body and eating in moderation (I’m assuming). I love it – thank you for taking the time to tell us your (and your wife’s) story. :)

  20. says

    Agree 100%. And am working on it, but it does seem to be taking a while! I find that being hungry between meals is the hardest. I think that after I turned 50 it suddenly got vey hard to loose these last 20 pounds.

  21. Laurie says

    Just found you today, THANK YOU! I was beginning to feel alone in thinking that real foods including whole milk and real butter were better for you as well as tasting better! It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out if people are actually eating 11 servings of grain a day they will become obese! I am also going to go one further – I feel that alot of the increased autism is related to the increased processed food in diets today.

  22. says


    From one “Oregon girl” to another, Thank you for this post! I totally agree about cutting out fake food, diet food, etc. and eating real food, as close to the way God made it as possible!

    I’ve been on your website for about 2 hours exploring and I have to say, I really love what you’ve done with your home on a limited budget. Awesome!

    Oregon girl currently transplanted to Hawaii ~

    • says

      Hmmm, you can pretty much find anything on the internet, can’t you Scott? And they all contradict each other. :) As you can guess, I don’t agree. The idea that pressing an olive to get the oil (or any nut to get more of the oil that you can easily see when you pick one up) is ‘processing’ it, making it equivalent to a processed junk food to me seems like they’re saying you can’t do anything to any food (like cook vegetables). I didn’t watch them all the way through – are they raw food advocates? Because cooking vegetables releases vitamins and enzymes that our bodies need as much as raw.
      We need a balance, mostly, and the diet industry makes tons of money off of UNBALANCE – get rid of this! don’t eat that! Do eat only this! – which gets very OLD. Our bodies need fat. There are healthy fats with as many studies to back them up as not. In the end you have to make your own choices. I’ve come to the point where I have to judge on a couple of life-facts (for me):

      1. Is it sustainable? (no oil ever? really, how long will that last?)
      2. Does it make sense with what I know of the world? (I see oil in nuts, etc.)
      3. Can I replicate it at home? (nut oils are easy, so are meat oils – I could probably press olives and coconuts if I lived in an area where they grew…)
      4. Is it a real food that’s been around for 100’s of years?

      What do YOU think, Scott? :)

  23. Julia says

    Jami, hi. :-)
    I have followed your blog for a couple of years now. Always enjoy your posts even though I don’t garden myself or cook with grains (for health reasons). Because I don’t use grains (and very limited dairy) I had adopted the mentality that AOC was very limited in what I could glean from it food-wise. But I had forgotten about this series! (I know, I know, I need to check all the veggie and meat recipes too!) I have been “trying” (sometimes in earnest, sometimes not) to lose my baby weight for three and a half years now. I was so close a year ago, within 10 lbs, but then I gave up and stopped watching my portions. I have gained 20-25 lbs since then. I recently had to use the clothes money I had been saving (for when I reached my comfortable weight) to buy clothes that fit me now. I have been very discouraged but the Lord reminded me of these posts. I have printed out and taped your tips and tricks to my fridge and am going to use your ideas. I will let you know how it goes!


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