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You can effectively and efficiently lose weight on a Plant-Based Diet. Science supports that it can stimulate weight loss faster, and help you to keep the weight off in the long-term. Are you having difficulty trying to lose weight? Or, are you feeling frustrated because every time you lose weight, you gain it back?
There is a ridiculous number of weight loss suggestions that are overly-generalized, impractical, full of myths, and outdated. Ugh, it’s so frustrating.
Research suggests that of the population of people who lose weight, 80-95% of them gain the weight back in time. It’s tough. Counting individual calories, feeling hungry all of the time, and exercising multiple hours a day doesn’t sound appealing either. Trust me, i’m not asking you to do that, and during all of my years of Nutrition Counseling I never recommended that strategy.
Here’s some news: Nutrition Research finally has years of (strong) evidence about losing weight and eating a Plant-Based Diet. We have also learned that you can keep the weight off in the long-term (not to mention prevent diseases)!
I don’t know if you’re reading this post to “try something different” because weight loss isn’t working for you, or even if you’ve been eating Plant-Based for a while and are not seeing the results. P.S., Don’t feel discouraged if you’ve been eating Plant-Based and haven’t seen a more significant weight loss. Your Dietitian (that’s me) is here to guide you!!! Also, the lack of science-backed weight loss meal plans is exactly why I created the 5 Day Plant-Based Meal Plan, which you can download for FREE here.
Weight loss is not as simple as Calories IN, then Calories OUT, because there are so many factors that affect losing weight.
Your time is precious, and so is your body! I’m going to share with you 8 weight loss approaches. The list is science-back, and specific, to help you slim down, reap the most benefits of eating plant-based, and add years to your life.
This is another way of saying, “skip processed ingredients as much as possible.” For example: Replace High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS – an artificial sweetener created in a lab to sweeten drinks, snacks, cereals, baked goods) with maple syrup, dates, molasses, or cooked fruit.
Your body can absorb the nutrients much better when they are a part of the food in the way closest to how it grew in nature. For example, a fresh banana versus banana pudding. Also, just because the box says “Whole Grain” doesn’t mean it’s not highly processed. Instead, look for the Whole Grains Council’s Whole Grain” stamp of approval” – meaning it is a good source of whole grains”
Nutrition Density means the amount of vitamins + minerals + complex (good) carbohydrates + lean proteins + healthy fats that are packed in a food compared to the amount of Calories it contains. Choose foods that have HIGH Nutrition Density and Lower amount of Calories.
For Example: Oats have a higher Nutrient Density score than Brown Rice.
According to Dr. Furhman, “The more nutrient-dense food you consume, the more you will be satisfied with fewer calories” – BINGO!
Completely remove animal-based foods or enjoy them no more than 8-10 times/month. What I mean by “8-10 times/month” means no more than 8-10 meals/snacks that include ingredients from animals. Your Animal-Based foods include: seafood, eggs, butter, yogurt, beef, poultry, etc
Check food labels for ingredients called “Partially Hydrogenated” or “Fully Hydrogenated” (crackers, cereals, baked goods, shortening, margarine). Trans Fats are toxic to your body, cause inflammation, and make it hard to lose weight.
The definition of Calorie Density is simple: if you had the same weight or same volume of different foods, how would each of their calorie contents compare to one another? Let’s compare 2 different foods, each of them weigh 1 Pound:
You’ll get the most nutritional bang for your buck by eating the LEAST Calorie Dense foods most often –> not surprisingly they are 100% plants. There’s a BONUS: compared to animal-based foods, plant foods are densely packed with nutrients to fight diseases and keep you full. The Least Calorie Dense Plant Foods include (again, notice that they’re all plant foods!):
FOOD Calories per Pound
|Vegetables||65 – 195|
|Fresh Fruits||135 – 420|
|Potatoes, pasta, rice, corn, whole grain cereals (bulgur, quinoa, oats)||280 – 650|
|Legumes: peas, beans, lentils||400 – 750|
As long as you’re eating a variety of the 4 categories of Plant Foods, it’s pretty impossible to over-eat or overdue the calories.
FOOD Calories per Pound
|Whole Cashews and Peanuts||2508-2572|
|Whole Nuts (Pecans, Hazelnuts, Macadamia, Almonds, Brazil, Pine Nut, Pistachio)||2548-3256|
As you can see in the Plant-Based Fats chart, Olives are listed #1 LOWEST in Calories, and Plant-Based Oils are listed #8 HIGHEST in Calories. To be honest, you’ll get MORE FLAVOR from the Plant-Based Fats that are LOWEST in calories. Here are some tips on how to include the Lower Calorie Dense Plant-Based Fats:
Keep the serving sizes appropriate (of course), like 1-2 Tbsp at most. The best part about the Plant Based Fats like Olives, Avocado, Nuts and Seeds (the ones listed in GREEN) is that you can enjoy a little larger portion size compared to Oils, AND….you get the BENEFIT of FIBER. Because of the Fiber, you’ll be fuller for longer, and you’ll keep bad Fatty Acids from building up in your body, which make it harder to lose weight.
Studies show that, on average, people consume about 500 calories MORE per day eating highly processed (fiber-less) food compared to if they’re eating mostly plant foods. Now, instead of me just telling you to get 25-35 grams of Fiber daily, i have a better idea! Here is a simple way to ensure you’re getting enough fiber (and nutrients) eating Plant-Based:
The science does not lie. Studies show that when your eating lifestyle incorporates mostly or 100% plant-foods, you’ll get more fiber, and are likely to NOT be overweight.
Don’t believe someone if they tell you “I’ll never like eating __________”. Evidence supports that we have the ability to change our tastebuds.
What I mean is you have the ability to change HOW SENSITIVE your tastebuds are to certain ingredients and foods (specifically salty, sugary, and fatty). How long does it take for our tastebuds to change? Just a few weeks, as a matter of fact.
Research already shows that humans can easily survive on only 500 mg of Sodium daily, but instead we eat about 3440 mg on average/day (even though the recommended daily max is about 2000 mg/day). Higher Sodium intake is connected with Higher Body Fat levels.
They are a “nice to have” but not necessary. Too much added sugar is connected to higher amount of inflammation in the body, which can lead to weight gain (along with a loooooong list of other health problems). Many of us are “addicted” to sweet foods, so you’ll need to retrain your body to not crave it. Research shows that we have pleasurable response brain mechanisms connected to sugar (and also fat), and are the same responses as the ones to Opioid drugs such as Morphine and Codeine.
Here are a few perfect sugar substitute SOLUTIONS: Fruit (cooked or fresh), Molasses, and Dates
Too much of any fat can be connected to unhealthy levels of fat in your blood.
Learn how to cook with no added oils (go back to our suggestions in the “Fat Serving Sizes” section!)
Cheat Days are basically staples in seemingly every weight loss and body-building book. But the PROBLEM with Cheat Day….it kills your progress! I highly suggest REMOVING it! There are far too many social media accounts, articles, books, guides, you name it, that encourage an entire day of “cheating.”
Here are 4 reasons why I’m against Cheat Days:
I get it, I really do, you just want some “flexibility”. Flexibility in your eating lifestyle can also look like this: Enjoy “rich” foods a few times per month, perhaps. It could be a taste of something, a bite, a small snack, or a slice of Birthday Cake. Finally, please don’t punish yourself if you did enjoy the richness of food all day! Tomorrow is a new day.
NOTE: Supplements can fill in the holes, but nutrients from food are the most imperative!
The next two are not specifically “plant-based eating” tips, but they should always complement your weight loss blueprint so you can lose weight on a plan-based diet..
I know you want long-term, sustainable weight loss results, because I want it for you too! Remember, I am with you! A HUGE focus of TherapyRDx is to teach plant-based eating for weight loss PLUS receive the added benefit of preventing diseases.
Let’s recap the 8 Plant-Based Weight Loss Tips!
Again, maybe the “disease prevention” comment might be 2nd tier in your weight loss plan, but let me share a final thought. If you choose to eat Whole Foods Plant Based, you’ll enjoy a 55% decreased risk of getting high blood pressure, a 78% reduced risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, and a 32% lower chance chance of getting heart disease.
You’ll also decrease your chance of developing diseases of the Brain, and being diagnosed with cancer because of less animal protein and animal saturated fats.
Throughout my years as a practicing Dietitian I have learned to adjust, redo, and modify how I teach weight loss. Truly, I hope the above strategies don’t feel like the “same old same old”. I spent a great amount of time building the weight loss strategies, but none of that matters if the strategies aren’t sensible.
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