Have you tried to lose weight and have no idea where to begin? Weight loss can seem overwhelming and complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Losing weight is extremely personal; you may want to lose weight for vanity reasons – you have a wedding or a high school reunion. If you’ve suffered a health scare such as a heart attack or type II diabetes it may feel even more urgent to lose the weight quickly. The good news is weight loss on a plant-based diet is easy! Personally, when I follow the guidelines outlined in this article, I easily lose 1-3 pounds a week.
If you’re looking for a crash diet to lose weight fast you won’t find that information here. Plant based eating is a lifestyle that will not only help you lose weight but will make you healthier. It gives you more energy, clearer skin and as an added bonus, it’s more affordable than the Standard American diet. The transformative power of eating plants has multiple benefits.
Why eat a whole food plant-based diet?
Everyone has their personal reasons for starting a plant-based diet.
It helps prevent or reverse chronic disease. A healthy, plant-based diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes are shown to reverse chronic disease. In a study by The Permanente Journal, a whole food plant-based diet effectively treated heart disease, high blood pressure and cardiovascular mortality. In the Lifestyle Heart Trial by Dr. Dean Ornish, 82% of patients who followed a low fat plant based program had some form of cardiac event regression.
It’s affordable. Like any new way of eating once you’ve purged your cupboard of the foods you’ll no longer need, plant-based staples are some of the most affordable. Rice and black beans for example cost respectively .18 cents and .10 cents per serving. Throw on some hot sauce and that’s a filling and delicious meal for only .28 cents.
It helps with weight loss. This is probably the main reason most people start a whole foods plant-based diet, it’s definitely the reason I did. Whole food plant-based eaters have the lowest BMI while meat eaters have the highest BMI. On average women weigh 7.5 pounds less and men weigh 16.5 pounds less than their meat-eating counterparts. Even more exciting the same study showed participants that ate a WFPB diet lost 1 pound per week without exercise.
Many have reported losing up to 3 pounds a week on a whole food plant-based diet. You can eat to your hearts content following some simple guidelines. Start losing weight today on a whole food plant-based diet!
8 Easy Guidelines for Weight Loss
- Eliminate meat, seafood, dairy and eggs. Eating a variety of plants is the cornerstone of this diet. Eliminating animal-based products has rewarding health benefits including lowering your blood pressure, bringing down your bad cholesterol, raising your good cholesterol and weight loss.
If you’re eating meat and other animal-based products, it’s possible to have high levels of inflammation in the body. Inflammation is linked to heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Plant based diets are anti-inflammatory and filled with fiber that can positively impact longevity.
There are so many tasty meat alternatives. Try using tofu, seitan or tempeh to add texture to a plant-based meal.
- Eliminate oil. Oils are nothing more than highly refined fat. A whole food is an olive, not the oil pressed from an olive, the same goes for avocado, coconut and nut oils. Dr. John McDougall famously said, ‘The fat you eat, is the fat you wear.’ Foods cooked in oil or consist of high levels of oil are concentrated in calories and is one of the major contributing factors as to why you might not be losing weight on a whole food plant-based diet. Instead try cooking your vegetables with water or a vegetable broth.
- Eliminate processed carbohydrates. Processed carbohydrates such as pizza crust, cakes and white sugar aren’t healthy and have little to no nutritional value. Foods stripped of nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants make it easy to overeat. According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, processed carbohydrates can stimulate pleasure centers of the brain that trigger addiction just like a drug. Stick with carbohydrates that come from beans, whole grains and vegetables and minimize the risk of sugar spikes, calorie addiction and hunger.
- Fill your plate with vegetables. This is probably the most important guideline for losing weight and keeping it it off for good. Keep a stockpile of fresh and frozen vegetables at all times, I recommend hitting up your local farmers market that supports local businesses and decreases environmental impact.
Lunch and dinner should start with a giant salad (seriously, I have a bowl that looks like it can feed a family of four) and load it up with all the veggies you love and a delicious and simple oil free salad dressing. After a big salad aim to fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables and the other half with starch such as a whole grain, potato or rice.
- Don’t drink your calories. Outside of the occasional ginger shot or coconut water refrain from drinking your calories. Grabbing a juice in place of a meal can be tempting, especially if you’re a busy person on the go but fruit juices easily shoot your blood sugar sky high without the fiber that comes from the whole fruit, you’re likely to be hungry soon after.
If you’re really in the mood for something you can drink on the go opt for a smoothie. Smoothies are a blend of fruit so you still have all the benefits of fiber and will keep you fuller longer.
- Add beans to your diet. Full of protein, zinc, fiber, potassium and iron beans, peas and lentils are some of the best replacements for meat in your diet. Beans are anti-inflammatory and regulate body sugar and blood pressure as well as contribute to a healthy micro-biome. Beans certainly are the magical fruit and all jokes aside should be a staple in your diet and eaten daily to support weight loss on a plant-based diet.
- Experiment with whole grains. There’s a big world outside of rice and it’s filled with delicious grains that pack a nutritious punch.
Whole grains such as quinoa, barley, oats and bulgur are quick and easy to prepare and extremely low in fat and filling. For breakfast mix ½ cup of oats with water or plant milk and microwave for 60 seconds. Top with berries, nuts, maple syrup or banana for a quick and filling breakfast.
- Add 30 minutes of daily movement. It’s completely possible to lose weight on a plant-based diet without exercise but movement serves many purposes. Exercise can be meditative and offer time to reflect on your day. High intensity exercise provides feel good endorphins that relieve stress and pain in the body. Exercise can be communal and a time to build relationships. Join a walking club or community dance class so you can make friends and move your body WIN/WIN.
You should eat a whole food plant-based diet so you can have the health you deserve. I believe in you and if this formerly overweight and lazy vegan can change, you can too!
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