Since going plant-based about a year and a half ago, I’ve learned a lot about different ways of eating and how they affect our bodies.
So many of us struggle to lose weight, with no results even though we’re eating food we believe is healthy.
Let me just say this up front: it’s not your fault.
I do believe in personal responsibility, but things are definitely not stacked in your favor with clever, billion dollar food companies that have a lot to gain by keeping you as a customer. They do that with inexpensive, highly processed foods that feed our cravings for fat, salt, and sugar and keep us coming back for more.
Foods that are advertised as low fat often have tons of sugar, which causes your blood sugar to spike and hinders weight loss. They may also contain a lot of salt, which makes you retain water, leaving you puffy and dying to unbutton your jeans the second you get home (not to mention putting you at risk for high blood pressure).
Convenience foods targeted to dieters such as frozen dinners may be low calorie but often contain very little food and even less nutrients, leaving you starving and scavenging your pantry late at night.
Foods that are labeled “whole grain” or “natural” may be anything but due to lax food labeling requirements, and we often eat even more of them thinking we’ve made a healthy choice.
A quick look at the Nutrition Facts on the back of food packaging often reveals that you’re getting more than you bargained for with anywhere from three or four to dozens of unrecognizable food additives that are doing nothing positive for your health.
Even going vegan or vegetarian may not help. Just cutting out meat, or even all meat, milk and dairy may not give you the weight loss results you’re looking for.
So, what’s the solution?
Plants. In their whole form (or close to it).
It sounds simplistic, but just eating foods as they come out of the ground, or as close to that form as possible, often leads to weight loss and improved health.
Foods such as vegan butter, cream cheese, pizza, ice cream, and faux meat often contain large amounts of sugar, salt, fat, and food additives that are preventing you from meeting your weight loss goals.
A whole food plant-based diet differs because it includes minimal amounts of processed food, added sugar and oils.
With a whole food plant-based diet, your meals are made up of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
For many people, a natural side effect of eating this way is losing excess weight.
What if you’re already eating a clean, plant-based diet?
Many people experience quick weight loss when initially starting a plant-based diet, but then plateau and stop losing. This could be because you’re eating more calories than you’re burning. Tracking calories for a week or two can help.
Another possible reason is that you’re snacking at night which doesn’t give your body an opportunity to burn fat. Try skipping after dinner snacks and have a late breakfast, which may help jumpstart your body’s fat-burning abilities.