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Will a Plant Based Diet for Weight Loss Help Me Lose Weight

Updated on October 3, 2014

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

Ingredients for pumpkin soup
Ingredients for pumpkin soup | Source

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?

Goodbye sugar and salt
Goodbye sugar and salt | Source

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!

Our vege garden will get a lot of use
Our vege garden will get a lot of use | Source

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.

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)

2 bananas

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!

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!!


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    • Chuck Bluestein profile image

      Chuck Bluestein 

      5 years ago from Morristown, AZ, USA

      I like the Bill Clinton video so I put it on my article. Eating plants removes the middleman. The animals that we eat got all of their protein and nutrition from plants so we can eat the plants directly and cut out the middle man.

    • dwelburn profile image


      6 years ago from Birmingham, UK

      I respect your decision to eat as you wish, but there are many other studies that totally go against the China Study, and show that animal protein has no correlation whatsoever to the conditions you mention.

      It's the processed foods and sugary foods that are the problem. Eat natural whole foods (animal protein included) and you can't go wrong. Best of luck anyway.

    • Johanna Baker profile imageAUTHOR

      Johanna Mary Elisabeth Baker 

      6 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      Hi Dwelburn, Having read about the China Study and watched videos on the subject, I disagree. I do still eat eggs and also salmon or tuna 2-3 times a week but the meat is in my opinion not necessary (even though I do have very lean beef on average once a week for haem iron).

      The study showed a direct correlation with a completely vegetarian diet to diets with increasing amounts of animal protein and the increase in heart disease, diabetes and cancers from nil or negligible in completely vegetarian diets to extremely high rates in a completely animal protein diet as seen in USA.

      My effort to change my eating patterns is to be as healthy as possible for as long as possible given that this is my 58th year of life... :-)

      Given that, I still eat one dietary weakness...kind regards Jo

    • dwelburn profile image


      6 years ago from Birmingham, UK

      It's great that you are making such a positive move towards eating healthier. And you're making brilliant progress so far. Personally I would advise eating some animal protein (meat, fish or eggs) every day for optimal health and performance. Otherwise some brilliant choices here.

    • B. A. Williams profile image

      B. A. Williams 

      6 years ago from USA

      This article was awesome like reading a true life story. Congratulations and I hope it works out for you. I think without dairy and fish I'd be a goner, but I gave up red meat pretty much too. Very informative article.

    • Johanna Baker profile imageAUTHOR

      Johanna Mary Elisabeth Baker 

      6 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      Hey there, thanks for your comment. Just a quick tip, fruit and vege juices while healthy have quite a lot of sugar and very little fibre in proportion, so that may be an extra hidden source of sugar that is hindering your progress too. If you have a sweet tooth eating whole fruit or blending them into a fruit smoothie with a banana and a small handful of nuts could help satisfy that need...

    • quildon profile image

      Angela Joseph 

      6 years ago from Florida

      Great hub, Johanna, and I admire for your sensible approach to weight loss. I don't eat meat either and I've switched from dairy milk to soy. Lately I've also begun replacing my breakfast with fruit and vegetable juices. However, I do have a weakness for sugar and use it occasionally. I think that is preventing me from losing the weight as quickly as I should. Voted up and useful.

    • Johanna Baker profile imageAUTHOR

      Johanna Mary Elisabeth Baker 

      6 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      Great sharing Donnah, and fantastic to hear you've lost 12 pounds!

    • donnah75 profile image

      Donna Hilbrandt 

      6 years ago from Upstate New York

      Fantastic discussion. I have been trying to move to this nutritarian way of eating as we'll. 12 pounds lost, I am also feeling great! Best of luck on your confining journey.

    • Johanna Baker profile imageAUTHOR

      Johanna Mary Elisabeth Baker 

      7 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      Feeling better is a great motivator to moving more and getting fitter, and that has got to be good! Thanks, Alphagirl, for your kind greeting...

    • alphagirl profile image


      7 years ago from USA

      Good Luck! I gave up most carbs and sugar and did not lose pounds as much as I felt better and lost all the bloating.

    • Johanna Baker profile imageAUTHOR

      Johanna Mary Elisabeth Baker 

      7 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      The change in the mindset is happening slowly but the change in the body is quicker. I noticed yesterday I deviated from my simple fare and had some foodstuffs rich in sugar and fat and felt all the worse for wear reasonably quickly, a short time after a small handful of sweets I felt nauseated. Thanks for your comment Susan, I am less 'attached' to dairy, though yoghurt would be the hard one for me to give up, but I still feel the need for a small amount of lean meat on occasion and egg... though if I had a more abundant supply of spinach maybe I wouldn't need the egg as much?

    • susansisk profile image

      Susan Sisk 

      7 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Very good hub! You sound a lot like me. I am a semi-vegetarian. I do not eat red meat, chicken, pork, etc.. I do occasionally eat seafood, and I eat dairy products. I could lose more weight eating vegan, but honestly, the hardest thing for me to give up would be dairy. I LOVE ice cream!

    • Johanna Baker profile imageAUTHOR

      Johanna Mary Elisabeth Baker 

      7 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      Thanks Sue

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Hi Johanna,

      The dessert plate filled with melon and orange slices, grapes, a few dried figs and a small handful of cashew nuts sounds yummy.

      I wish you all the best with this healthy way of eating and look forward to your progress.

      Voted up and awesome

      Take care

    • Johanna Baker profile imageAUTHOR

      Johanna Mary Elisabeth Baker 

      7 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      Thanks Mackyi for your comment. That is what I am aiming for.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      A very interesting hub Jpohanna Baker. Actually, research has shown that a vegetarian diet is linked to a lower cataract risk. It's interesting to know than half of Americans develop this eye condition by the time they reach eighty! If you consume the right plants, vegetables, fruits, nuts, etc you can get all your sources of protein, healthy carbs & fats, and other essential nutrients.

    • Johanna Baker profile imageAUTHOR

      Johanna Mary Elisabeth Baker 

      7 years ago from Christchurch, New Zealand

      Thanks guys for your comments. I have been reading excerpts from a book called "Eat to Live" on Amazon while I wait for that book to be delivered (along with the other book I have also ordered) and mentioned to my husband about the benefits people have had - weight loss, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and reversal of heart problems and diabetes and he said to tell him what the foods are to eat and he (our resident chef) will seek out recipes and give it a go!

      It is great to have support from others when making changes to our eating habits.

      Today when I went to reward out two little grandsons for good behavior I gave them sliced apple instead of lollies - changing the food mindset!

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 

      7 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great hub and full of very useful information, hope this diet works for you. Good luck !

      Vote up and more !!!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Best of luck to you on your journey, but of course it has nothing to do with luck. YOu have done great research, you have a goal, now, as Nike says, JUST DO IT! Great info!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      7 years ago from southern USA

      What a very informative hub, and you sound just like me, as I am concerned here lately about my weight. These are great ideas here you have shared for more healthy eating habits! To get here, I had to go to my followers and then click on this hub, as the email that was sent to me, did not allow me to click on this hub - very strange - it was all in black in lieu of the blue, so I was not able to just click on it and read this hub. I hope it is not going out to all others in the same manner. May need to report it to HP. God bless In His Love, Faith Reaper


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