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Losing Weight with a Nourishing Traditions/Traditional Foods Diet

The Diet Makes a Difference

The real foods/traditional foods diet (also known as the ‘Nourishing Traditions’ diet) is a real winner when it comes to losing weight! For me personally, I find that the traditional diet has helped me to keep a satisfactory weight for over nine years! Plentiful testimonials corroborate with my experience. Those who switched from a processed food/modern diet to a traditional diet were able to shed pounds easily. Brittany from Instanfatloss.com shed 125 lbs. after switching to a real food diet. Allison of oursmallhours.com lost 47 pounds in a little over a year after switching to a ‘traditional foods diet’. Katie Kimball shares a load of testimonials of people who lost weight with the traditional diet. Tiffany from Don’t Waste the Crumbs shares her and others’ testimonies of amazing weight loss stories after making the switch to real and traditional foods.

Why Does a Traditional Diet Work?

traditional diet defined

The traditional (Nourishing Traditions) diet aids weight loss because it is loaded with highly nutritious foods. With farm-fresh produce, high vitamin fats such as grass-fed butter, and super nutritious organ meats, you get a lot more ‘bang for your buck’ with each bite! Less food = more satisfaction and more nutrition. Both are a boon for weight loss! (Infographic credit: price-pottenger.org)

Real food provides nutrients. You’ll find more nutrients in a single serving of any real food item than you will in any of its processed counterparts. This makes your body incredibly efficient…” and “every calorie of real food counts towards something,” shares Tiffany from Don’t Waste the Crumbs. Processed foods are full of empty calories while real whole foods provide much more nutrients with much less food!

Processed foods are full of empty calories while real, whole foods provide much more nutrients with much less food!


Fat Keeps You Full

Fat is probably the scariest thing the Nourishing Traditions/ traditional diet encourages for someone who is new to the concept. The ‘low-fat’ recommendations of the 70’s to recent times have been discovered to be incorrect. They can be traced back to the controversial studies of Ancel Keys and promulgated by the newly formed American Heart Association with the funding of industrial seed oil companies (Go figure!). Sadly, the truth about these incorrect studies was never disseminated and for decades ‘saturated fat’ in particular has been demonized. For further info on how seed oil companies weeded their way past saturated fats – eventually choking them to death- check out Nina Teicholz’ “Vegetable Oils: The Unknown Story” video and her book, ‘Big Fat Surprise‘.


Hmmm. Interesting, TIME magazine! You’ve certainly changed your tune.

Highly respected Mary Enig, Ph.D. of “Know Your Fats” explains fats’ role in satiety and weight loss: “Fat is digested slowly. This means there is a slow release of the fat molecules from the food…As a result of the presence of fat in the small intestine, special hormones are produced that prevent hunger contractions. This role of delaying the onset of hunger is thought to be helpful for dieters; thus a careful balance of fat in the diet becomes critical for someone trying to lose weight.”

She goes on to describe a very helpful rule of thumb regarding fat consumption:

“Too much fat in the diet and the loss of weight is thwarted; too little and the hunger pangs play havoc with good intentions and usually lead to overeating carbohydrates.”

Mary Enig PhD of “Know Your Fats”

So clearly, while moderation in fats is important, healthy fats do play an important role in relieving hunger, which leads to less overall eating and finally, weight loss.

What About Calorie Counting?

After having two children and not paying much attention to exercise for several years after my second child’s birth, I had gained a fair amount of weight – granted not a ton, but five to ten more pounds than I really wanted. I never would have advocated for calorie counting in the past, but after joining a new exercise program, I found that calorie counting for a week or even a couple days, was really helpful! My surprise? My dark chocolate and mini granola treat snacks were a whopping 200 calories each while my whole meal was only 400-500 calories! So, while being a slave to calorie counting should be avoided, tracking it for a short period can be really helpful!

Mindful Eating

The Okinawa Japanese (a modern ‘longevity’ culture) have a saying called ‘hari hachi bu’ which is translated, “eat until 80% full”.

A lovely Japanese meal! Source: Foodiesfeed.com

Slowing down to enjoy food and being mindful of how much you’re eating is a great idea! While I like this concept, I find that as long as I’m not snacking, it’s actually better for me to eat until I feel completely satisfied. Otherwise, I start feeling like snacks throughout the day. While some people may find snacking works better for their metabolism, I prefer the French way of doing it. Their style is three solid meals a day and (in general) no snacking. Whether you eat till 80% full or till ‘fully full’, it makes sense that giving thought to what you’re eating and not overindulging will contribute towards weight loss!

Create a Ceremony

Creating a beautiful atmosphere and enjoyment around eating is one practice that many healthy longevity cultures around the world indulge in. Flowers, candles, Latin guitar music are just a few ideas our family enjoys regularly.

Food that is celebrated is food that is savored. For example, the French are known for taking over two hours for a meal! I discovered this the hard way while in Paris on vacation and it took almost an hour before the waiter took our orders. Then it took another 45 minutes before the food came out. It seemed to be the expectation that eating was meant to last a long while and the conversation was meant to flow faster than the food was eaten! My American hopes for ‘an hour in and out’ were greatly disappointed.

Another thing the French do is regularly picnic by the river at sunset. Picnic blankets, wine bottles, lovers and families all congregate to savor their food over sunset and the beauty of the river. Since the French are known for staying slim and having low rates of disease, I think following their cue is a good idea! (Photo source: Photo by Elle Hughes on Unsplash)

Intermittant Fasting

The concept of intermittent fasting has had a re-explosion in the health world over the last few years. While fasting in general can be very useful for weight loss, I’m hesitant to encourage extreme fasting. For generations, TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) encourages the practice of avoiding extremes and doing things in moderation. Regular intermittent fasting seems like an unmanageable goal for many of us. However, a blogger I admire did a ton of research on it and came up with a simple rule of thumb that seems pretty doable. The idea is to eat an early dinner, and not eat again until a late breakfast the following day – or at least 16 hours. It’s not overly intense and has helped her with weight loss. I’ve been aiming to not snack after dinner and fast until breakfast ever since!


Watch Out for High Calorie Desserts!

Dark Chocolate is high in calories!

The thing that surprised me the most when I started counting calories (for a brief few days!!;)) was that my ‘healthy’ dark chocolates were so high in calories! I quickly stopped buying them and I’m sure it helped me lose a couple stubborn pounds.

Add in Exercise to Slim and Tone

Like I said earlier, while I was doing pretty good on the diet side for years, my exercise routine slipped downhill for a number of years after my son was born. Previously, I had competed in a triathlon, run long distances with my husband, and regularly lifted weights, so I was familiar with rigorous exercising. Fast forward eight years later, exhausted by two small children, I was about ten pounds heavier than I wanted to be. I searched for something I could ease myself into.

A little heavier than I’d like
After 3 months of LLP, my face is slimming out… Good progress!

I discovered personal trainer Rachel Attard’s Lean Legs program. She recommends fast walking 45-60 minutes a day and doing body resistance or HITT workouts two to three times a week. After doing this program for several months, I lost nearly five pounds (for me it was a really big deal!;), looked slimmer and was more toned in my arms. Diet alone is likely not enough for sustainable weight loss. While the biggest weight-loss gains will be seen while switching from a processed food diet to a traditional diet, staying trim and lean is going to take more work!

While the biggest weight-loss gains will be seen while switching from a processed food diet to a traditional diet, staying trim and lean is going to take more work!


Exercise BEFORE Breakfast

In the beginning I struggled with the Lean Legs program – working myself out of breath daily and still not seeing any results after nearly eight weeks! What went wrong? I read over all the training materials carefully and realized I had forgotten to do the walks (low-intensity training) before eating breakfast each morning. It’s called ‘fasted cardio’ – which Rachel highly recommends. That changed things for me – within four more weeks of fast walking before breakfast, I had seen the weight loss I was aiming for.



Remember to Pray about it!

Recently, I heard a testimony that Lisa Bevere shared. God challenged her to “Ask Him how much He wanted her to weigh.” I felt convicted by this too and decided to talk to God about my weight. I really wanted to lose ten pounds but felt the Lord saying all I needed to lose was five. I then asked the Lord for more specifics on the kind of exercise He wanted me to do. I felt Him saying “thirty minutes a day.” Sadly, I didn’t obey the Lord and ended up over-exercising for a number of months, which ended up contributing towards an end-of-year burnout. (Ahhhh!!)

Simple Weight Loss Prayer

It’s so so so important to bring all of our concerns to the Lord and be fully obedient and I know it will result in more overall happiness and fulfillment for you. At the end of the day, what if we lose all that weight but have lost our joy or energy in the process? It isn’t our weight that is the most important thing in life, but our willingness and obedience towards the Lord that counts both in eternity but also in our true happiness. Our dear Father truly knows what is best for each of us individually.

Incorporating a Traditional/Nourishing Traditions Diet into your Weight Loss Program

The first thing I’d recommend is looking at where your daily fat is coming from. Is it vegetable oils or healthy saturated fats? Don’t be afraid of grass-fed butter, pasture-raised lard and tallow or reusing that bacon fat! If you’re hesitant to add in animal fats, switch out vegetable oils for coconut oil or palm oil. These are both vegetarian options that are high in healthy saturated fats. Check every box of food you own and see what kind of fats are being used. Most likely the majority of boxed products from the store will contain vegetable oils. Better yet, get the boxes out of your house and learn to cook a real, traditional foods/Nourishing Traditions diet! Check out my blog post on the basic guidelines for a traditional diet.

Saturated Fats are Satiating and Compliment Your Weight Loss Journey

Next, slow down for mealtimes! Give yourself plenty of time to enjoy your food and try to make every meal special – even if it’s in simple ways. Eat slowly and mindfully being aware of how much you’re eating and how you feel while you’re eating. Pay attention to how full you are and how large or small your portion sizes are.

Additionally, incorporate exercise. Walking and body resistance exercises such as HIIT (or LIIT – low-intensity interval training) are great ways to lose weight and fat and get that toned look. Try walking or exercising in the mornings before breakfast and see if it makes a difference for you.

Finally, remember to pray and ask God for His target weight goal for you! You may be surprised that it’s higher or lower than you set for yourself. He cares a lot and will definitely guide you in the right direction.

I hope all these suggestions help you in your weight loss journey and be looking out for more posts to help you incorporate a traditional diet into your meal plans and weight loss goals!

Please share your thoughts on this with me in the comments,

How to Lose Weight with a Traditional/Nourishing Traditions Diet