When it comes to weight loss, many people are confused as to what it takes to make it happen, and keep happening over a period of time without the body becoming stressed, prone to binging, run down, and unable to keep up with one’s weight loss plan. I’ve definitely experienced this over the years when I’ve attempted to lose body fat, so I know it’s super important to have a plan that works in the long run. Otherwise it’s going be your typical yo-yo scenario and any results you experience could just as quickly disappear!
In this article I want to share some aspects of a plant-based weight loss plan that will steadily chip away at your fat stores, increase your energy levels, and have a lot of other health benefits as well!
Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals in your food that are needed in all reactions including those important for weight loss. For example, without enough iodine your thyroid gland's ability to regulate your metabolism is compromised. Lacking in iron, your red blood cells cannot properly transport oxygen to your tissues that need it to break the bonds of fat molecules for energy. B vitamins including thiamine, riboflavin, folic acid, b12 and others are critical for transforming fat into useable energy and handling it’s breakdown products. Anti-oxidants like selenium, zinc, and vitamin C ensure the free radicals produced by activity don’t wreak havoc on your tissues and your immune system and make you inflamed and sick. Even looking into the micro-components of proteins and fats, we see that individual amino and fatty acids play specific and essential roles in our health and ability to recompose our fat to muscle ratio. Micros matter, and deficiency can be the greatest limiting factor in your weight loss pursuits. The best way of ensuring you are getting the micros you need is by choosing nutrient-rich foods and taking supplements for the nutrients that are not present in plant-based foods (Vitamins B12 & D and Omega 3 DHA/EPA). Our list, Top 24 Healthiest Foods, can serve as a starting point--we’ll send it to your email when you sign up for our Microvore Starter Guide above. Our program, The Microvore Diet, is also a valuable guide to nutrient-rich eating. For information on choosing supplements you are welcome to read these articles:
Best Vegan B12 Supplements
Best Vegan Vitamin D Supplements
Best Vegan Omega 3 Supplements
Blood sugar is another aspect that becomes important to manipulate if we want to lose fat quickly and sustainably. Excessive and/or frequent intake of carbohydrates will make it so that insulin is ever-present in your bloodstream. Insulin is a storage hormone, it causes fats in the blood to be stored in fat cells, and prevents muscle cells from using fat for energy. This isn’t to say that you need to cut carbs or go on a low carb diet. You need carbohydrates to fuel your nervous system and keep your mood in balance. During physical activity, you’re not going to be able to put in your fullest effort if you’re low on carbs and using exclusively body fat for energy. Controlling carbohydrate intake is a way to feel energized during activity while also burning body fat. There are a few ways to control carbohydrate intake in a way that favors fat loss. The first and most obvious way is to eliminate the junk carbs in your diet. Refined sugar, flour, and most alcohols are all sources of simple carbohydrates that will spike insulin, cause fat gain, and prevent fat loss. Now from here there are a few ways we can tinker with carbs to make weight loss easier. One is by making meals with a balance of complex carbs, simple carbs, protein, and fat. This will create a meal that is both energizing and satiating, does not spike blood sugar, and will allow you to space your meals further apart which is beneficial for weight loss. If you’re wondering how to achieve a good macro-balance, you can use the Microvore Meal Formula here.
In our guidebook we also suggest periodically lowering the amount of complex carbohydrates to the minimum value or leaving them out of the meal completely. This trick will speed up weight loss and can be practiced if you’re still finding it difficult to lose weight. The limitation or avoidance of complex carbohydrates is a big part of our other plant-based program, Fruit. Fat. Forage (FFF). FFF is our raw food detox program that calls for the temporary avoidance of complex carbohydrates and consumption of fruit for energy instead. Since the sugars in fruits come from both glucose and fructose, and fructose does not have an impact on insulin, a fruit-based diet is energizing but still permits fat burning throughout the day. FFF is effective for very quick weight loss, but if you are looking for a longer term and potentially more sustainable method for weight loss, keep reading.
So if you are eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods, cutting out the junk carbs, and making macro-balanced meals, you’re on the right track to sustainable plant-based weight loss. Taking it a step further, if you have not yet tried cyclic or intermittent fasting, I highly suggest it. Fasting is the voluntary abstinence from food for a period of time. We are in a fasted state approximately 12 hours after the last time we eat. Many of us wake up from sleep in a semi-fasted state as much of this time has elapsed while we slept during the night. It is in this fasted state that a high amount of body fat is burned for energy until the first food of the day is eaten. Not only is intermittent fasting great for weight loss, but it has many other health benefits as well. Autophagy is turned on when fasting. It is a process in which your cells “clean house” by removing debris, toxins, and recycling damaged cell parts into new ones. Autophagy stops cancerous growths, dampens inflammation, slows down the aging process, and optimizes the entire body. For beginners, the easiest way to include periods of fasting is by pushing your breakfast back a little later in the day. Many people find success in “breaking their fast” at lunchtime and eating two meals a day rather than three. Thirst is easily mistook for hunger, so staying well hydrated in the morning is key to pushing your “break fast” to later in the day and getting the health and weight loss benefits of intermittent fasting. More info on fasting can be found in both the Microvore Diet and Fruit. Fat. Forage.
Low Intensity Activity
If you are practicing the tips so far mentioned, most forms of activity and planned exercise will be burning some body fat for energy. The metabolic effects during and after physical activity are all good for health and weight loss so it’s my belief that one should engage in whatever activities they enjoy and are most convenient for them. It doesn’t have to be intense, and it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. While it’s true that intense activities can quickly deplete carbohydrate stores and potentially cause greater post workout fat burn, if this sort of exercise exhausts you and makes you tired and hungry the rest of the day, it’s not going to be sustainable for long. It’s also my belief that low intensity activity that can be performed all throughout the day, day after day, may be the least stressful and most enjoyable way to lose weight. The easiest things that almost everyone can do are walking and standing. Seriously. Any opportunities you see to just walk or stand more, take them. It’ll all add up and make a difference in your weight loss while not exhausting or stressing you out. A few days a week, some sort of resistance training can also be beneficial. Simple body weight exercises, lifting weights at a gym, yoga! A good mixture of low intensity aerobics and muscle resistance training will result in weight loss while improving other aspects of fitness.
Adequate Relaxation & Sleep
Finally, although losing body fat for most people will make them healthier in the long run, the body doesn’t always react to weight loss so positively. It’s a big internal change in a system that is always striving for balance, for things to remain as constant as possible. Weight loss can cause stress and lead to resistance and weight gain if not properly counter-acted by good amounts of relaxation and sleep. Be sure to follow up a day’s worth of healthy eating and movement with relaxing activities before bed, otherwise you may find yourself prone to unhealthy eating, binges, or have trouble getting to sleep. Meditation videos and audio tracks can be found all over the internet and on iTunes, try looking for those focusing on stress management and whatever other areas you think you could benefit from! Remember that success is dependent on consistency. It’s not going to be of any use going hard at this and exhausting yourself because the pendulum will eventually swing back and you’ll lose the progress you’ve made. Balance between work and rest is essential!
Weight loss on a plant-based diet doesn’t need be difficult or confusing. Bringing to life all of these essential tips will ensure your efforts will be well rewarded by the changes you are seeking! It can be hard getting away from the common and commercial understanding of weight loss and realize that it represents complicated and important changes inside you. While media tends to focus on these outside results, it’s important to understand the significance of what’s happening inside, so you can be kind to your body and make these changes as stress-free and successful as possible.
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Fruit. Fat. Forage. is a 5 day raw food cleanse designed for detoxification and rapid weight loss! Read testimonies here.
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Thanks for living vegan and have a healthy day!