When trying to lose weight we often think of restriction. What we can’t eat.
Those tiny meals can lead to hunger and frustration. Your best efforts derailed.
Fortunately, there’s a way to eat more food and still lose weight.
It’s one of the many benefits of a whole food, plant-based diet and lifestyle – being able to enjoy satisfying meals, and still watch the number go down on the bathroom scale.
But not all plant-foods are created equal when it comes to weight loss.
Some foods are lower in calories and higher in fiber and nutrition than other plant foods.
According to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, creator of the Nutritarian style plant-based diet, the focus should be on raw and cooked non-starchy vegetables.
From personal experience, and from working with clients, I have to agree.
I juice and eat a lot of raw and cooked vegetables. It’s how I lost my last 10 pounds and kept it off. And it’s how my clients reach their health goals without going hungry or feeling deprived.
Eat a Pound of Raw Vegetables Each Day to Lose Weight
When you are working on weight loss, eat as many raw vegetables as you want, with the goal of eating a full pound a day.
Appetite is controlled by three things:
- Fiber – contributes to satiety
- Nutrient Density – your digestive system knows when you have consumed high-nutrition calories vs. empty calories
- Caloric Density – 400 calories of chicken only fills your stomach up a fraction of what a 400 calorie salad of mixed greens, veggies and beans will.
Fruits and vegetables are “bulky” and make you feel fullest for the lowest number of calories.
These unrefined carbohydrates also help you burn more calories. Your body burns about 23% of carbohydrate calories to convert glucose into fat.
But if you eat fat (olive oil, dairy, chicken fat, pork fat) 97 calories out of 100 are stored as fat.
Dark leafy green vegetables, like kale, chard, spinach, collards, and arugula, are so nutrient dense and full of fiber they actually have a negative caloric effect.
How to Get Your Pound of Raw Veg a Day
A pound of raw veg may sound like a lot, but it’s actually very doable. One pound is only 16 oz.
Make a big one pound salad and eat a large portion at lunch and a start your dinner meal with a smaller salad.
1 small head romaine lettuce and/or mixed leafy greens (6 oz)
1 medium orange/red/yellow bell pepper (4 oz)
cherry tomato (2 oz)
sliced cucumber (2 oz)
shredded carrot (2 oz)
Add 1/4 cup of bean sprouts, beans, lentils or chickpeas for some extra protein.
Finish it off with an oil-free salad dressing.
Eat a Pound of Cooked Green and Non-Starchy Vegetables a Day
In addition to the pound of raw veg each day, the Nutritarian style plant-based diet also includes lots of cooked or steamed fresh or frozen vegetables. The goal is also a pound a day.
This includes eggplant, mushrooms, peppers, onions, tomatoes, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, broccoli, artichokes, asparagus, zucchini, kale, collards, cabbage, chard and other greens.
The more you eat, the more you will lose weight. All of this veggie goodness will offset higher calorie foods that you may normally eat.
Although the goal is one pound a day, don’t stuff yourself. Just eat what you are comfortably able to eat.
Other Guidelines for Weight Loss
In addition to all those wonderful vegetables, eat the following:
- Beans, Lentils, Bean Sprouts, Tofu – 1 cup minimum each day
- Fresh Fruit – 4 servings each day
Some plant foods are higher in calories and can make it difficult to lose weight.
You’ll want to limit these foods:
- Cooked Starchy Veg and Whole Grains – Limit to 1 cup or 1 serving/day
- winter squash, corn, potatoes, rice, bread, cereal, quinoa, etc.
- Raw Nuts & Seeds: 1 oz. max/day (Use nuts and seeds in your oil-free salad dressings. Download my free Oil-Free Salad Dressings Resource Guide. )
- Avocado: 2 oz. max/day
- Dried Fruit: 2 Tbsp. max/day
- Ground Flaxseeds: 1 Tbsp. max/day (Flaxseed has so many health benefits, it gets a separate line from “nuts & seeds.”)
Vegetable juices can be included on the Nutritarian-style plant-based diet, and provide additional nutrition that can help you lose weight, lower inflammation and joint pain, lower cholesterol, increase energy and improve mood.
This combo of high volume, low-calorie, nutrient dense foods helps you lose weight, and creates exceptional health. A truly healthy body on the inside out.
If you’ve been eating plant-based and your weight loss has plateaued, following these guidelines should help get the number on the scale moving in the right direction again.
It’s also the healthiest and most satisfying way to lose weight quickly, and keep it off.
If you’re ready to transform your health with a whole food, plant-based lifestyle but are finding it difficult to make doable changes that stick, book your complimentary 30-minute Health Consultation with me. We’ll discuss your current health goals and challenges, and explore options for support. – Stephanie Leach, H.C.