Getting Fit with Dairy

Growing up, I was active and busy with daily chores on the farm, 4-H, FFA, wrestling managing, Dane County Junior Holstein Association and more. I constantly went from school to activities to chores to meetings.

I didn’t have awesome eating habits, but I ate when I was hungry. I was young enough to have a high metabolism and was busy enough that I never gained much weight. Capture2

This changed when I got to college.

I didn’t gain weight right away, or even notice it right away. It slowly crept up on me. Though I walked to classes and went to the gym about five times a week, the activity was much less than my daily chores on the farm.

When my jeans became too snug and my sweaters pulled a bit too tight, I realized that something needed to change. It was then that I really started to learn about health, nutrition and fitness. I started buying books and checking out informational DVDs from the library. I began following new health-related pages on Facebook and subscribing to health and fitness newsletters. I dove headfirst into a world of science, research and facts.

One of the things that ALL the books, programs and websites said was: “Cut the dairy products.”

As a dairy enthusiast, I was bound and determined to find a successful weight loss story about someone who consumed dairy products. Much to my surprise, I didn’t find many.

I was disappointed after not finding any success stories that involved dairy products, so I decided to try cutting dairy out of my life for awhile. I stopped eating cheese, said goodbye to my beloved ice cream and even tried to drink almond milk.Capture

And you know what? I didn’t see a single difference in my body, even after several weeks of cutting dairy products.

So, I started eating my beloved dairy products again. And I’m here to tell you that I lost weight, got fit and toned-up with dairy in my daily diet.

Yes, that’s right. I consume dairy on a daily basis and was still able to lose weight.

I eat cheese and cottage cheese, drink milk and even have an occasional bowl of ice cream.

According to MyPlate, milk products consumed in their low-fat or fat-free forms provide little or no solid fat.

Therefore, these products are great to add to your daily choices! I consume many dairy products on a daily basis. I do my best to select low-fat cheese or Greek yogurt varieties.

Here are some facts about the nutritional benefits of dairy products:

  • Calcium is used for building bones and teeth and in maintaining bone mass. Dairy products are the primary source of calcium in American diets. Diets that provide 3 cups or the equivalent of dairy products per day can improve bone mass.
  • Diets rich in potassium may help to maintain healthy blood pressure.
  • Vitamin D functions in the body to maintain proper levels of calcium and phosphorous, thereby helping to build and maintain bones. Milk that is fortified with vitamin D is a good source of this nutrient. Other sources include vitamin D-fortified yogurt and vitamin D-fortified ready-to-eat breakfast cereals.
  • Intake of dairy products is linked to improved bone health, and may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
  • The intake of dairy products is especially important to bone health during childhood and adolescence, when bone mass is being built.
  • Intake of dairy products is also associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, and with lower blood pressure in adults.

My journey to getting fit, living a healthy life and fueling my body with foods to help it thrive, didn’t happen overnight. This is an ongoing process. If you would like to follow my journey to better health and fitness and interact via Instagram, you can find me at @MacyyMichellee.

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Sources:

“The Dairy Download.” Midwest Dairy Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Oct. 2014.
“Dairy Product Health Benefits: Yogurt, Milk, Cheese, and More.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 27 Oct. 2014.
“Health Benefits and Nutrients.” Health and Nutrition Benefits of Dairy. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Oct. 2014.