With summertime right around the corner it's no wonder so many of us want to lose weight and tighten up. Dropping pounds is, of course, not just about a number on the scale. More importantly, reaching your body's ideal weight is all about being the healthiest version of yourself. Diets don't work long term, and neither do juice fasts, or pills. Adopting and maintaining a balanced plant-based diet is your best option for losing weight in the short term, keeping it off in the long term, feeling your best, and lowering your risk for America's #1 diseases (heart disease, cancer, lung disease, and diabetes).
Here are our tried and true "secrets" for losing weight and keeping it off!
1. Eat a balanced plant-based/vegan diet. Animal protein found in milk, meat, cheese, chicken, and fish have all been linked to obesity, and diabetes risk. Studies show that people eating a diet of whole plant-based foods (whole grains, veggies, fruits, nuts, legumes, seeds, mushrooms, etc), are thinner than the general population––even when eating the same amount of calories! The phytonutrients, fiber, and water will keep you full and away from unhealthy foods.
2. Eat nuts. Even though they are high in calories, nuts can aid in weight loss. Eating nuts is positively associated with being thinner and healthier. Choose raw, sprouted, soaked, or dry roasted nuts. A handful makes a terrific and filling snack, and can help decrease the amount of calories (especially from less healthy foods) you eat.
3. Don’t cook with oil. In one tablespoon of your favorite oil there are 120 calories, all from fat. Aside from all of that fat, oil has hardly any nutrients. Though having fat in your diet is very important, you should be getting that fat from whole food forms (like nuts mentioned above, avocado, olives,etc). Oil added to cooking is often not burned by your body, and instead it is stored where it is not welcome. Simply sauté food with water, vegetable broth, or wine: this method works just as well, though it may take some getting used to (grabbing the bottle of oil is a habit).
Also, avoid eating fried foods. They are drenched in oil. Even more, heated oils found in fried foods have become oxidized, and bad for your health. Oxidized oils are known carcinogens, and have a highly inflammatory effect in the body––exactly the opposite of what you want for weight loss and good health.
4. Chew your food well. Start paying attention to how long you chew your food, and what consistency it is when you swallow. The first step of digestion begins in the mouth with the release of amylase, an enzyme that helps to break down food. By chewing thoroughly both your teeth and this enzyme start to break the foods into easier to assimilate particles. Well chewed food is less likely to cause indigestion, and other uncomfortable inflammatory reactions.
Also, by chewing food thoroughly you will eat more slowly, and better notice when you are satiated.
Drinking smoothies or eating pureed foods are fine, but they should also be consumed slowly. By gulping down a smoothie, or tossing back a container of hummus in 5 minutes, you will not give your body time to register fullness, and you will likely overeat. Can’t we all relate to this one?
5. Maintain a healthy gut flora. You've surely heard about the importance of having healthy bacteria in your gut. Did you know there is gut bacteria associated with obesity? Those eating a vegetarian diet are less likely to have this obesity promoting bacteria in their guts. If you suffer from digestive issues, you may want to supplement with a vegan probiotic as well.
6. Get plenty of sleep and lower stress. If this sounds impossible to you, then you may need to rework some of your priorities. Poor sleep and high stress is linked to weight gain, increased appetite, and inflammation. Don’t expect to find great health if you neglect this very crucial step. Everyone is different, so spend some time figuring out what it will take to improve your sleep and lower your stress.
7. Know thyself! It is important to have realistic expectations before embarking on a journey of weight loss and healthy living. Not everyone is meant to be a size 2, nor is everyone meant to sleep 10 hours a night, take spin class after work, eat a raw food diet, or eliminate sugar. Your weight loss path must be built around your most likely route to success. If you love sweets, then you can find a healthy alternative to traditional desserts. If you hate going to the gym, then you could experiment with other physical activities.
Know, listen to, and respect yourself every step of the way.
The 30-Day Buddhalicious Challenge is an amazing way to kickstart or refresh your plant-based lifestyle. Our program takes all of the guesswork out of eating well, so you can spend your valuable time how you like.
If you’re interested in one-on-one customized weight loss coaching contact Jenné or Isabelle at our respective websites to set up a free session.
Wishing you the best!!
Jenné & Isabelle
We're both passionate vegan foodies with backgrounds in nutrition. We decided to bridge our skills to create Buddhalicious; a program that guides members to find balance, excitement, and flavor on their plates, and in their lives.