Will a Plant Based Diet for Weight Loss Help Me Lose Weight
Follow Me In My New Plan to Get Healthy, Fit and Help Me Lose Weight
Like many people these days, looking for something or some way that will help me lose weight and get healthier is not far from my mind.
I mean, I look in the mirror and see that my shape has changed, and I feel heavy and tired a lot of the time. I know that I could stand to lose a few pounds (or kilos) and that I would feel better for it.
I have been thinking about a simpler style of eating....wondering if a whole-grain, whole food, plant based diet might be the answer.
Follow with me as I explore this option and attempt a new way of eating... and see if I can lose weight and ultimately improve my health.
Vegetables ...Mmmm! Yum
What Do I Hope For On a Plant Based Diet?
So what is it I want from this apart from helping me lose weight?
I am a 56 year old woman and I am concerned about my weight. I currently weigh 86kg - am 1.72m tall with a BMI of 29.07, the high end of pre-obese. (My goal weight should be 70-73kg, only 13-16kg to lose...)
I had always been a slim person till I hit my 30's.
I currently work in an office at a desk most of the day and am very unfit and feel tired a lot of the time. I recently attended several morning teas at work within a short period of time, ate far too much cake, sweets etc and ended up feeling rather unwell - queasy, bloated and off color!
I also know from past experience that when I don't have vegetables for a few days that I don't feel so good either.
So it got me thinking ... and reading about other people's views on eating more vegetables and fruit, and less processed and sweet foods. I found that there are different diets such as the Daniel diet, which is based on the story in the Bible about Daniel eating a very simple diet and not eating the rich foods that the King had offered him.
There is a vegan diet which is a diet that does not include any animal based foods - originally a 'non-dairy vegetarian' diet which excluded eggs as well. Carefully planned a vegan diet can cover all the nutrients a human body needs to be healthy and goes a long way to ensuring that it stays healthy too.
There are also variants in between, where the diet is modified to include small amounts of lean meat, fish, eggs and low fat dairy as these include valuable proteins that the body uses.
The question is can I really go without meat and dairy and cakes and lollies?
Well, I am certainly going to give it a go and the first thing I am going to do is substitute my favorite sweets (marshmallows) with fruit and nuts.
Last night when I went out on a date with my husband, instead of going to a coffee cafe and having a sweet chai latte and a rich piece of cake, we went to the supermarket and bought some fruit and nuts (ones we don't usually buy) and filled a dessert plate with melon and orange slices, grapes, a few dried figs and a small handful of cashew nuts.
That supper cost the same amount but it filled us up and satisfied us without the sickly sweet after taste and feeling that usually comes with the 'normal' coffee etc we would have had.
Our breakfast is usually a plate of porridge with nuts, seeds and dried cranberries, three tablespoons of yoghurt and a sliced banana, so I am not changing that for the moment.
I am substituting avocado for margarine on my whole-grain bread and I will explore other options for the bread shortly - such as brown rice, couscous,beans, lentils and quinoa.
I am increasing the vegetables for lunch and dinner and snacking on fruit and nuts. The good thing is that a little satisfies when it comes to fruit and nuts.
I am reducing the amount of meat I eat at dinner.
My plan is to eat about 100gms meat 2-3 times a week, same amount of fish per week and increase the vegetables I eat.
My main change at the moment will be to eat fruit and nuts for snacks instead of biscuits etc.
My goal will be to add beans, lentils, brown rice, couscous and quinoa grains over the next few weeks and remove bread and other processed foods.
Look forward to my next update beginning of September and my next weigh in!
Why a Plant Based Diet to Help Me Lose Weight?
I have recently read about a plant based diet, rich in whole grains and whole foods - vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and legumes - that not only helped people lose weight but actually reversed some of effects of unhealthy eating and living. (Reversing diabetes and heart disease as an example - two top diseases affecting humans nowadays)
As I am getting older and want to protect my body from the ravages of aging and becoming more prone to degenerative diseases, this information was what I was looking for.
The great thing is that I really like eating beans, vegetables, fruit and nuts so I plan on seeing if this change in foods that I eat will do for me what it has done for others who have tried it - such as former President Bill Clinton.
Other Helpful Information
Below are some books available through Amazon and I have ordered my copy of The Engine 2 Diet book to help me to keep on track and guide me in changing my eating habits.
As I go through this, I will update this hub and talk about how I get along.
Plant Based Diet Books
My First Week - on a Plant Based Diet
I must say that I am pleasantly surprised at the results so far...
My plant based diet has consisted of:
Breakfast - Oat porridge with almond slices, walnut pieces, dried cranberries,sunflower and pumpkin seeds with sliced banana and two tablespoons low fat yoghurt
Snacks - Mandarin, gold kiwifruit, banana, oat bar, figs, nuts
Lunch - Beans, salad, tomatoes, avocado, tuna/salmon
Dinner - Small amount of lean meat/fish, beans/root vegetable whip (creamed with no additives) salad/lightly steamed vegetables, (twice) simmered tamarilloes with low fat yoghurt
Water - 1.5litres minimum a day
Walk for 30 minutes each day at lunch time
So how have I been feeling:
At first I freaked thinking that without "carbs" such as bread, I would be starving and I would get the "low carb" headache I usually get when I reduce/eliminate bread etc.
I did have a really bad day the second day and had a bad headache all day, but I cannot categorically say that it was the food, or simply that I had a virus or had become dehydrated over the weekend and it was the effects of that.
The next day I was okay again.
I have found that I have felt lighter, and much easier re bowel movements. I have found my energy levels improving and my thinking clear and sustained. 18 months ago, I fell off my bike, hit my head on concrete and suffered post concussion syndrome, which affected my ability to do heavy brain work. The work I currently do is brain work, and this week I have discovered that my work has flowed better and I can last longer in the day.
So - comments?
So far, so good.
I am not missing bread, cakes, biscuits, sweets and I am definitely not missing the sugar headache I would get after eating some.
Weight - (I do this first thing in the morning before eating)
Started with 86kg, now 84kg - loss of 2kg!
I am certainly happy with that!
Five Months On....a Plant Based Diet
When I last wrote, I had sent away for two books - "Eat to Live" by Dr Fuhrman, and "The Engine 2 Diet" by Rip Esselstyn, both bestsellers in their own rights.
I confess that I only got through Dr Fuhrman's "Eat to Live" book and started applying the diet he outlines.
He wrote about what I had begun to believe about diets, with having researched and experienced weight gain and loss (with Weight Watchers), and I had a sneaking suspicion forming in my mind that the way to lose excess, unhealthy weight was to stop eating excess unhealthy food, ie highly processed, high calorie/low nutrient foods.
The idea is relatively simple... and that is, to eat wholesome natural foods - mostly plant-based, minimal animal protein (if at all) and drink water; avoiding sugar, salt and fats (with the exception of good sugars and fats).
The trick here is to know what is good and what is not.
So... here I am, about five months later and with fits and starts (not strictly adhering to the diet outlined in "Eat to Live") I was 86kgs to start with and now weigh 78kgs (I always weigh myself first thing in the morning) - a loss of 8 kgs!!
This is just changing what I eat, no extra exercise,(and I work in an office environment basically sitting all day) and eating not less food... but actually MORE FOOD than before.
It is about changing what you eat....
And I feel better, and I have noticed that I look better....less 'porridgey' and with a real natural look to the skin on my face... so I am going to keep going.
I eat a mostly vegetarian diet (or as Dr Fuhrman says, a "nutritarian diet") which consists of:
Breakfast - banana, blueberries, small amounts of dried cranberries, walnuts, sunflower seeds, ground flaxseed, oatmeal and unsweetened almond milk (I have gone dairy-free)
Lunch - veggies, beans, fruit, muesli bar (one made with the same ingredients as my breakfast)
Dinner - basically the same as lunch
I do occasionally have a cob of corn, or a sandwich thin/pita pocket, or 100gms of either salmon(two-three times a week) or lean red meat(once a week) or a couple of cage-free eggs(once a week). As I said I am not strictly vegetarian, but I have limited the animal proteins and have removed dairy protein from my diet.
The place I missed these foods most was in my mind, and eating healthily does require a change in mindset.
Everywhere I look I see white or yellow fatty, sugary, salty foods; the complete opposite of what is found growing naturally in the ground - the greens, bright yellows, red and oranges of vegetables, and the bright colors of the reds, oranges, yellows and purples of fruits growing from bushes or trees are all signs of healthy life-giving foods - the ultimate in takeaway foods if ever I saw one.
My desire to be healthy and whole physically is what drove me on and being able to look sexy and attractive in my clothing was and is a huge plus for me! And with a little of effort toning my abs my belly will shape up nicely too, not bad for a 'granny' aged 57!
My goal weight is about 69/70kgs, so I will post again when I have further good news to report!
(and I might even feel brave enough to stick up a photo or two - you know, before and after)
Update on Losing Weight on a Plant Based Diet
Another several months down the track and I am reporting in again...
I seem to be stable around 78kgs for the moment but I must confess that I have been unable to give up chocolate and still eat this on a regular basis. I do go for the lower sugar Whitakers chocolate with almonds so at least there is some food value in it, besides the 'feel-good' factor of chocolate, that is...
I have completely eliminated dairy from my diet (apart from the chocolate) so don't have yoghurt any more. I have upped my intake of broccoli instead. (for calcium - being aware of my need for this mineral as I grow older)
I now have my breakfast in the form of a raw blended smoothie and have also converted my grandson to them (aged 6.5yrs) and he says they get a double thumbs up and two big toes up!!
The breakfast smoothie ingredients can be varied for the taste, but this is the basic recipe (for two):
1 cup almond milk (200ml) (I make this myself)
2 tbsps walnuts
2 tbsps cranberries (dried) - alternatively you can use raisins
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cocoa (optional)
half cup raw rolled oats
2 cups frozen blueberries (or strawberries or raspberries for different flavor)
Blend as you add each ingredient till smooth and thick, devour immediately!
- JohannaBaker on Facebook
If you want to see the recipe for a chocolate avocado smoothie, I have added a chocolate smoothie recipe (just add half an avocado to it) and shared it in my Facebook timeline, along with other interesting recipes I find from time to time...
Almond Milk ...and Mindsets
If you want the recipe for almond milk, here it is:
1 cup almonds
1 liter fresh cold water
Soak almonds overnight in a liter of water. Drain and rinse. Discard soaking water.
Place in blender with 1 liter fresh cold water and blend for 3-5 mins. Strain almond meal using cheesecloth or sieve (can be used in baking/cooking recipes for a nut flavor, or discarded), and store almond milk in clean container, refrigerate. Use in 3-4 days as for dairy milk.
I have found it as much a mental challenge as a physical one, radically changing what I eat and the hardest time is when I am with other people and being offered the food they are eating...I had dinner recently with friends and ate a very small amount of what they offered but my tummy was quite upset afterwards and I couldn't wait to get home and fill up on a berry smoothie!
I swear that I am turning into a banana-loving creature!
I still eat one meal a week with about 100gms very lean red meat, I still eat some eggs a week (especially now that we have our own chickens - but that's another story) and I still eat some fish a week (usually salmon).
I haven't at this point incorporated any additional exercise and I think that to move those last few kilos and to reduce stress in my body, that I will need to get myself into the mindset of regularly attending a gym for a mix of aerobic and weight building exercises.
The hardest thing is to change my mindset - about food, what I want to eat and why, about exercise and finding the gain and the pleasure in these changes.
I will update again when I have completed the next leg of my journey - to a new, improved, healthier, lighter, sexier me!!