By Guildford Joe Thomas
We are bombarded, every day, by numerous ads guaranteeing ways to lose fat quickly. There are diet tips for losing belly fat, and a large variety of fat-burning exercise videos and DVDs. The message that you have to be slim to be attractive is everywhere. There is no shortage of advice on ways to lose extra fat.
Personal weight management, or more exactly, weight loss, is a major challenge for many people today. There is a preponderance of crash diets, prepackaged meal plans, doctors’ diet plans, fitness-guru plans, 21-day plans, 30-day plans, and much more.
For many, this is a lifelong struggle. You may be one of those who suffer daily from the social stigma of being overweight or obese. You would like to live a so-called “normal life”, like people half your size.
You find it painfully difficult to cope with the subtle and sometimes cruel comments by family and friends about your weight gain. You see, and feel, people staring at you when you are eating.
You sometimes wonder if they think that you should stop eating until you lose weight. It is almost impossible to avoid being self-conscious when you are overweight or obese. When you walk down the street, you feel all eyes on you. You wonder what negative things they are thinking and saying about you.
This heart-breaking scenario has caused many people to fall victim to the weight loss industry of obesity doctors, weight-loss-supplement manufacturers, diet companies, and diet-book authors, who continuously repackage failed programs and plans that desperate consumers keep buying -with the same results.
The only valid and sensible solution to the problem of overweight or obesity is not to go on a diet, but to change your lifestyle. More specifically, change what you eat for your lifetime to come!
It is also essential that you get a right balance of essential nutrients in this shift to more wholesome foods. You need a balance of fats, carbohydrates, and protein. Remember your overall good health is much more important than losing some pounds to look sexy in your spring and summer clothes. It is a fact that not all fat people are unhealthy and conversely not all slim people are healthy.
Here are some simple ways to start your plant-based weight loss journey.
- Intentionally increase your daily intake of fruits and vegetables. Choose the ones you already like and eat more of them. Buy, as much as possible, those that are organic, in season and locally grown.
- Start your lunch and dinner with a wholesome plant-based soup, or a salad without those calorie-laden dressings. A simple mix of olive oil, black pepper, Himalayan salt and fresh lemon juice will have your taste buds popping.
- Eat more beans. Yes, many people avoid eating beans because of the flatulent after-effect. But if you seriously want to lose weight, the benefits of this fiber-rich food far outweigh any embarrassingly noisy and possibly smelly, expulsion of hot air from your body. Beans also provide a rich source of plant protein. One study in Nutrition Journal cited the significant role plant-based protein consumption can play in preventing obesity.
- Avoid “vegan junk food.” There are many foods that may be classified as “vegan” because they contain no meat, dairy, eggs, and seafood or animal by-products. But there is an alarming growing list of vegan junk foods. Many of these are marketed as vegan “meat alternatives.” A lot of these foods are packed with harmful chemical additives and dangerously high levels of sodium.
- Snack on nuts. Recent research shows that a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack of nuts, like (unsalted) almonds, pistachios or walnuts, can help you to lose weight by ensuring that you are getting enough protein when you cut meat out of your diet.
- “Spice-up” your food. People are often quite surprised at how spicy and tasty vegan meals can be. That old reputation of bland, flavourless vegetarian and vegan food is being replaced. Fresh herbs and spices are low in calories, provide additional nutrients, and also make your greens and vegetables so much more appetizing. For example, Cayenne pepper adds great flavor to a meal and also has fat-burning properties.
- Drink lots of water daily. Neurologist Dr. Brown Landone advises that anyone drinking distilled water exclusively would eventually return to normal weight. The reason, hard water film imprisons the cells, so tissues become water-logged. Retention of fluid is the chief cause of obesity.
You most likely acquired your excess weight over a period of years. So be patient and consistent as you make the transition to a plant-based lifestyle.
(Guildford Joe Thomas is a former licensed massage therapist. He is a vegan and lifelong student of nutrition and fitness. His new book Let Food Be Your Medicine Today –Live Strong and Healthy on Plant-Based Whole Foods is now available at www.Amazon.com. He can be reached at email@example.com)