Have you ever wondered why intelligent adults armed with all of the right information still struggle to make healthy choices?
When I embraced the Plant Powered lifestyle, I was freed from that constant struggle, and wow, who doesn’t want that freedom? I got my brain, my body, and my life back.
We spend all this time worrying about food: Can I have this? and How many calories are in that? With Thriving on Plants, you don’t have to do that anymore. You are getting more than a new waistline. You are getting a new reality – a whole new way of thinking about food.
If you read this article you'll know that;
- Restricting your food intake damages your health in the long run.
- Exercise is amazing for your total wellbeing but when it comes to losing weight it just doesn’t cut it.
- Eating a predominantly plant based diet is an enjoyable, sustainable solution to losing weight.
But that’s only half the story, now you need to know what to do to set yourself up for success.
I’ve written this article because our mind is a little crazy sometimes and doesn’t always do what we know is best for us. There are some simple practices that if you put in place can make your transition to a healthier diet much smoother.
By applying these 6 steps you will set yourself up for success and get to your ideal weight in the quickest time (healthily) possible and with the least amount of upheaval.
Are you ready to live like you mean it? Are you ready to get out of your slump, over your fear, and plug into your Plant Powered potential. If so read on…..
Step 1: Get your head in the right place
I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again; You are amazing just the way you are. You need to believe that and approach your weight loss from a place of self-love as opposed to one of self-deprivation and punishment. If you undertake to lose weight you must do it for yourself and not because of the way society says you must look or anyone else for that matter.
Then you need to slow it down and be gentle with yourself. Take the pressure off and open your mind. Let go of the all-or-nothing beliefs, fads and myths you’ve picked up.
Sometimes we can feel like a big failure when it comes to weight loss if we ‘fall off the wagon’ and eat the “bad” foods. If you’re caught up in that stress, then I’m handing you a free pass to forgive yourself! Focus on all the other areas of your life that you’re successful in and instead of striving to just drop a certain amount of pounds, shift your mindset to improving your overall well being……..because you’re worth it (but don’t tell L’Oreal I stole their line!)
Step 2: Get a good night’s sleep
Aim for at least seven to nine hours sleep each night. This is essential for a healthy and properly functioning metabolism. Lack of sleep can lead to various metabolic issues. It can cause you to burn fewer calories, have difficulties with appetite control and experience an increase in cortisol levels, which encourages the body to store fat around the middle.
Step 3: Stay hydrated
You’d be amazed at how many people miss their thirst cue and instead of reaching for the tap reach for a snack. Avoid this by drinking 2 glasses of water about 15 minutes before each of your meals (not during your meals because this will disrupt your digestion). By drinking water before your meals you are not only giving your body the water that it needs to function properly but you will avoid overeating at the dinner table.
Overall, aim to drink 2 litres of water every single day.
Step 4: Find other motivators
Although the desire to lose weight can become an absolute obsession, amazingly this alone is not always enough to keep you going through the challenging times. This is why education is invaluable. There are so many worthy causes and reasons to eat more plants. Find out what motivates you and keep this at the fore of your mind. This is also helpful for creating a more positive mindset as opposed to just thinking about losing weight. Here are just some other big reasons to want to change what you eat.
For your overall health: As well as tending to weigh less people following plant based diets tend to have lower rates of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and various cancers, as well as greater cancer survival rates, better skin, more energy and actually have greater life expectancies.
For your athletic performance: Maybe you’ve always wanted to train for a marathon! These athletes are excelling with their plant based diets;
- Scott Jurek, seven-time winner of Western States (a 100-mile endurance race), follows a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle.
- Michael Wardian, who ran 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents -- maintained a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle the whole time.
A few notable Olympic athletes who follow a whole-food, plant-based diet:
- Carl Lewis (Track & Field) -- 10 Olympic medals
- Murray Rose (Swimming) -- 6 Olympic medals
- Martina Navratilova (Tennis) -- #1 player in the world for 322 weeks
- Bode Miller (Downhill Skiing) -- 6 Olympic medals
And if that isn’t enough...
- Venus & Serena Williams -- no intro needed here!
- Heather Mills -- holder of 5 world records in winter sports
- Fiona Oakes -- marathon & ultra-distance runner
- David Haye -- UK heavyweight boxer
- Patrik Baboumian -- Germany's strongest man in 2011
- Nate Diaz -- professional mixed martial artist
For your household budget; People eating this way spend about €650 less on groceries annually. You don’t need to buy fancy fine foods. Once you get over the initial set up costs there’s some really smart ways to buy and save money.
For your planet; People eating this way have a much smaller carbon footprint. For example the water required for producing 1 pound of beef is 1,850 gallons, whereas 1 pound of vegetables only takes 39 gallons of water.
And last but not least, for our animal friends.
Step 5: Limit or avoid the scales altogether
I know losing weight may be your main goal but by weighing yourself on a regular basis you are putting yourself at the mercy of a number. You could be feeling great, experiencing more energy, making progress but be devastated if you don't see the number that you want to see.
I stopped weighing myself long before I actually lost weight. I know now that these ‘weight ins’ and my obsession to lose weight was actually causing me stress and this stress completely stalled my progress. Once I stopped that obsession and instead focused on just making positive lifestyle changes, good things started happening for me.
But if the temptation is too much for you here are some things to keep in mind. Your weight can fluctuate 3-4 pounds from day to day due to water loss, sodium intake, dehydration and even hormone levels. Avoid the effects of this roller coaster by picking one morning a week to weigh yourself, and do it before you eat or drink anything. These numbers will be much more reliable.
But mostly just let your clothes do the talking. The scale can come later when you know you’re moving in the right direction and just need a motivational boost.
Step 6: Eat more plants
If you read this article you know why eating more plants is the single best step you can take in order to lose weight while protecting your long term health. But if this is new to you, how do you actually do this, where should you start?
It can actually be really easy to quickly ramp up your veggie intake without taking you out of your comfort zone. Start by doing this;
- Eat a green salad before your lunch and dinner. This salad should contain lots of green leaves, along with your favourite raw veggies shredded and a good quality salad dressing. Trust me salads are not boring. I can’t remember the last time I had iceberg lettuce, tomato and cucumber!
- Add a cup of beans and legumes to your lunch and dinner. Losing weight is not all about removing foods from your diet. Research has shown that just adding a portion of ‘pulses’ as they are also known to your diet without even removing anything facilitates weight loss. In one study researchers compared the weight loss effects of a calorie restricted diet versus just adding beans. They found that not only was regular bean consumption as effective as portion control in reducing waistlines and better blood sugar control, but the bean diet led to additional benefits beyond just weight loss.
Your turn: Tell me what motivates you to want to make dietary changes or lose weight? Is it to clear your mind? Reduce stress? Gain energy? To wear that dress? Or do you have specific fitness goals?