Weight Loss Tip & Weekly Update: 12 Week Vegan Challenge

Weight Loss Tips

A few thoughts before Elise’s post.

Some of you struggle with weight loss. I mean, you lose a pound or two, then plateau, then you lose a half pound, then nothing. It IS frustrating. Remember, slow and steady. Consistency and compliance to weight loss principles is the number one factor in successful and sustainable weight loss.

What are the principles of weight loss, the whole foods vegan way?

1) Consume fewer calories than you burn.

You do this not by eating less, but by replacing calorie-dense foods with calorie-dilute foods. There are many different takes on this approach. Dr. McDougall’s MWL (maximum weight loss) program suggests 1/2 unrefined intact starch (so no flour products) and 1/2 green/yellow veggies with 1-2 fruits a day. Dr. Furhman’s ETL (Eat to Live) is slightly different–it’s mostly greens/beans/fruit, a few nuts/seeds and a cup or two a day of starch. Either approach works because the foods that you are eating are high in fiber (fill you up quickly) and low in calories. I’ve done both, and find that both work in being satisfying, tasty, and the weight will come off (if you are COMPLIANT). The problem for most people is being consistent. We binge on the weekends or at parties or whenever, then we try to starve ourselves, and it’s a vicious, unsustainable cycle that is neither health promoting and it doesn’t work!

2) Exercise is about 20% of the weight loss equation. Diet is 80%.

Both are important, but diet trumps. Aim for 30-60 minutes a day, most days of the week. Have FUN, sweat, get your heart rate up, and incorporate some stretching and strength training.

3) Instead of focusing on losing weight, focus your attention on being healthy.

Focus on feeding your body when you are truly hungry. When are you truly hungry? Try this. Try not eating a morsel in between each meal. Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner (no skipping!) but do not snack at ALL between meals. You will be hungry when meal time rolls around, especially if you’re doing MWL or ETL. Take note of what hunger feels like. Usually at the first inclination of hunger we freak out and think we must eat. Often we are just thirsty, bored, tired, ect. Remember, you will not starve if you are surrounded by healthy food. Focus on nourishing your body and begin to view food as a way to nourish your body and give you the energy you need to live vibrantly. When you eat, especially when weight loss is your goal, make veggies a large part of your meal. Veggies are filling, very low in calories, and extremely high in nutrients. Dr. Furhman and Dr. McDougall both have excellent recipes in their books that help you do this in a tasty, satisfying way.

4) You will not starve if you are surrounded by plenty of healthy food options.

One thing I’ve realized over the years is that I’ve had a very warped view of food (remember, I’m a recovering food addict). I’ve thought I had to eat all the time and if I didn’t eat whenever I had the slightest sign of hunger, I’d pass out. I’ve learned that I actually need to eat far less than I used to. We are a culture where food is abundant and calories are cheap, so this mindset is one that I’m sure is not isolated to just myself. One thing that has helped me, is to eat when I’m sitting down with my family at the table (so a structured meal time), chew slowly, enjoy each bite, have conversation, and listen to my body’s cues to let me know when I’m full. The problem most of face is we “don’t have time” for meal times so we inhale a frozen burrito on our drive to work or snarf down a pop tart as we head out the door. Aside from the fact that these convenience foods aren’t ideal, we leave out some important steps in the eating/nourishment process.

Hope that gives you enough to chew on for now, here’s Elise for this weeks update. I look forward to hearing from the rest of you!

12 Week Vegan Weight Loss Challenge
by guestblogger Elise

Week 7

I’ve been sick. The flu kind of sick.

I don’t know what happens at your house (I’m sure you all have it much more together than I do), but when mommy is sick at our house (which rarely happens, I promise), the house doesn’t get cleaned, children don’t get showered, laundry doesn’t get put away, and meals don’t get made. That last one is the kicker. I haven’t made dinner in two weeks. My children have been eating cereal two-three times a day. I know. Someone call Child Protection Services.

You can imagine the effect this has had on our vegan attempting lifestyle. Eating healthy vegan can be hard work. Preparation is required and eating often is pretty important in order to get enough calories. But we’ve just been eating whatever we can munch on. Anything that’s quick. And that doesn’t always mean healthy.

The good news is, I’m feeling better. I actually feel like cooking. Which is a minor miracle, let me tell you. So this week, I’m back to healthy dinners. My husband is going to be so happy.

First on my list? Farmstand Vegetable Skewers with Rosemary Dijon Vinegarette. I’ll have to modify the recipe slightly, but does that look amazing to anyone else? In the middle of this cold winter, I feel like having a summer meal.

Finally, I am done reporting weekly statistics. It is stressing me out! I feel like I work hard during the week exercising and then feel like I don’t get adequate results. Maybe weekly reporting is too much. From now on I will report at least one positive milestone I’ve hit during the week. (However small that is.) I should announce that I have finally made it down to the elusive 135, and my waist is finally measuring 30 inches at my thinnest point. This means that my waist/hip ratio is finally at a healthy level. It’s not ideal yet, but it is better.

What recipes will you be making this week? What positive milestones have you hit?


  1. Julieg
    on February 26, 2010 at 1:28 am said:

    I lost the pound I gained last week but have not been doing as well, as I have not been feeling much like cooking. Eating on the fly is not the best way to eat healthy that is for sure. Hopefully I can refocus this week.

  2. Tia and Amara
    on February 25, 2010 at 3:40 pm said:

    Yay you! thanks for standing up to the Weston Price people. I really struggle with that whole thing because their anecdotal evidence really is compelling if you read it –and now there's the whole Paleo diet resurrection of that work. All I can say is for actual scientific, peer reviewed data you can't beat the China Study, and I got a masters degree in science so that's my background and that's what I trust.

  3. Steph H
    on February 25, 2010 at 2:57 am said:

    Things are balancing back out. I gained one pound, putting me at seven pounds lost since the start.We had a fabulous vegan dinner party on Saturday, eating the leftovers was a bit much, but it was so good.We findig our balance again this week after that and healing up from the neck injury.

  4. Gillian
    on February 25, 2010 at 2:29 am said:

    I think I have found a much better balance for me right now. I'm going to be more consistent when eating elsewhere (taking my own food etc.) and not so strict on myself at home. If it's a whole food and plant based I'm not going to stress over eating it right now. I was trying to do a AWL or MWL and it just wasn't working. I'll keep those ideas in mind, but to have them as strict guidelines was backfiring on me. I need to deal with my compulsive overeating issues first.Finding my trigger foods and avoiding them seems to be more important then completely cutting out the healthy foods that aren't as good for weight loss. It seems to be working as the first part of last week I wasn't doing well at all. But by the end of the week I had lost 1 pound, getting me back out of the 160's! I also lost about an inch at my smallest point. My tummy staid the same. I'm loving and craving fresh raw veggies! yey!Glad you are feeling better Elise! Hope you find it easy to get back into the swing of things:)