Sunday, 29 June 2014 04:59

Eat Smarter, Don't Diet Harder: The Best Way to Lose Weight

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One of the most common themes in the questions I am asked is how to lose weight on the plant-based diet. I always try to address this topic carefully, as it's a sensitive subject. Having struggled with an eating disorder in my teens and twenties and body image issues most of my life, I understand how important one's mental state is to feeling good physically and emotionally. Changing my diet has had an ongoing impact on my life, including healthy weight loss and the ability to maintain it. Additionally, learning about how food impacts the body helped me feel more grounded and comfortable in my skin, and reduced unhealthy eating habits (like binging and purging).

I've also discovered that there is no such thing as a quick fix or a one-size-fits-all trick, and that keeping the body thriving inside and out is a perpetual process. That's why I love coming across weight loss advice that offers long-term, nutritious tips featuring food and healthy emotional guidance. Here are some of my latest favorites, starting with 10 delicious, body-friendly foods.

On “The Juice,” a talk show on Veria Living TV Network, nutritionist Haylie Pomroy revealed the Top 5 Foods That Will Jump Start Your Metabolism:

  • "Eat smarter, not diet harder. The foods you eat either inhibit or increase your rate of calorie burn aka your metabolism. Not to mention your metabolism affects every aspect of your body from the quality of your hair & nails to your libido. Make your food work for you and making your body super conducive to weight loss by including the above five food choices wherever and whenever you can.
  1. Food #1: Use ONIONS to flush out fat
    Onions are full of chromium which works to stabilize blood sugar. This means you have room to sneak in that post meal piece of chocolate if you’d like because onions will help balance out the added spike in sugar. They’re super easy to sneak into almost any meal: cut them raw into a salad or load up into a stir fry, chili, or casserole.

  2. Food #2: Add CURRY to fight cellulite
    Curry has a lot of turmeric which helps increase blood flow into the cellulite areas. Add curry whenever, wherever, anytime you can!

  3. Food #3: Use COCONUT MILK to regulate hormones
    Aside from being amazing for your hair and skin, coconut milk helps regulate hormones including your thyroid gland. It's thick and creamy consistency make it super satisfying as part of any recipe.

  4. Food #4: Combine PROTEINS with alkalizing VEGGIES
    Alkaline rich dark leafy greens stabilize your ph balance and help turn lean portiens into amino acids which are used to build healthy muscle in the body. The higher the percentage of muscle the higher the rate of fat burn. 

  5. Food #5: Use WILD RICE to replace empty carbs
    Wild rice is actually not a rice (aka not a carb) as commonly thought. It’s a actually a seed of a grass, loaded with fiber, and is an excellent tool to aid in flushing out excess fat from the body."


Keren Gilbert is a certified nutritionist, registered dietitian and the founder of Decision Nutrition, a consultant firm in New York:

  • “Consuming water absorbent foods helps detoxify the body’s system. Incorporating these foods into your diet will not only keep you feeling full longer, it will also help to curb your appetite. Not to mention, they will keep you feeling slim all summer long.”
  1. Chia Seeds: Once a staple food of the Aztecs, these little black seeds offer a high natural source of Omega-3s, which is proven to lower fattening stress hormones like cortisol. “Chia seeds are also rich in antioxidants, minerals, fiber and protein,” adds Gilbert. “They can easily be added to any meal; whether it is sprinkling on salads or veggies, or mixing them in oatmeal or shakes.”

  2. Apricots: Replacing refined sugars (such as those found in white pasta or white rice), with carbohydrates from fruits will reward your waistline. Not only do apricots have high levels of antioxidants like Vitamin C and beta-carotene, the water-absorbing fiber helps you stay full and fends off belly fat.

  3. Oatmeal: This tried and true breakfast dish is a favorite for a reason. Oatmeal contains soluble fiber, which means it attracts water and stays in your stomach longer. This helps reduce blood cholesterol by flushing bad digestive acids out of your system. “It is most beneficial to eat unsweetened oatmeal because the added sugars in sweetened oatmeal cancel out the health benefits,” says Gilbert. “Adding fresh berries or a little almond milk for added flavor is the best option"

  4. Broccoli: A highly nutritious green vegetable, broccoli is packed with vitamins and minerals and is very high in fiber. The vegetable is a great choice for those looking to slim down during the summer months as broccoli has enzymes that assist in digestion and metabolism.

  5. Almonds: Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats and rich in the minerals magnesium and selenium, all of which have been shown to support adrenal function and boost metabolism. In addition, they keep you satisfied and full for a long time. “Be cautious of salted or smoked nuts which contain a lot of sodium as it can cause bloating,” warns Gilbert. “A handful of raw almonds a day will keep the belly fat away!”


Now that you know some of the foods you can incorporate into your diet, I want to introduce you to a book that will support the emotional side of the weight loss journey. Stop the Torment: Conquer Your Relationship with Food is a quick yet informative and inspiring read by Joyce Lillis. She offers a unique roadmap to weigh loss and weight maintenance, offering information, stories and exercises designed to understand the deeper relationship each of us has with food. Within it she covers how to:

  • Uncover the triggers of what keeps you yo-yo dieting
  • Stop the "inner food debate" about how much and what to eat
  • Recognize eating behaviors when on an "emotional merry-go-round"
  • Digest and metabolize food by learning to trust your body's physical hunger

Joyce recommends that you first “identify when your inner food voice takes over your decisions regarding what you eat. You have to become aware of how often you listen to your inner food voice and watch what it is saying to you. Then you get in touch with your real feelings about your relationship with food and slowly and steadily you train yourself to shift your attitudes toward food in a new direction.”

Here are some examples of the shifts to make:

  • BAD Attitudes/BAD Thoughts: You feel defeated, disgusted about how you look, dismayed you made a bad choice, and hopeless that you will never reach your desired weight. You couldn’t care less about the food you eat or how much you eat. You feel embarrassed about how your clothes fit and you hate yourself for eating candy and chips.
  • GOOD Attitudes/GOOD Thoughts: You feel happy when you eat only when you are hungry, enjoy your choice of food, and stop when you are full. You get on the scale and feel good about what you see. You feel wonderful when you taste delicious foods at a party and stop without overdoing it.

“To conquer your relationship with food,” Joyce says, “you must treat yourself kindly. Don’t beat yourself up if you give in to your inner food voice once in a while. Just forgive yourself and begin again. Realize that food can become a pleasure that you no longer fear. You can look forward to the day when you have more energy, sleep better and love how you conquered your relationship with food. You can be assured that you will never have to diet again.”

As someone with an eating disorder history, Joyce's advice and perspective were very helpful and inspiring. I highly recommend picking up a copy of her book, which is less than $5 on Amazon.


Lastly, a quick note about fat. It has been drilled into our heads that fat is the enemy and that cutting fat is the key to losing weight (as you noticed, some of the tips above focus on that). Science, on the other hand, says otherwise. 

  • “Fats in general have a bad rap and have been targeted as the scapegoat in the obesity epidemic,” says Dr. Larry Kaskel, medical Director of Northwestern Wellness Center in Libertyville IL. “However a diet rich in fat, monounsaturated fats specifically, have been proven to help patients lose weight and stabilize their blood sugar.”
  • Monounsaturated fats, which are found in foods such as olives, nuts, coconuts and avocados, are actually good for you and your heart. “It is a huge lie and misnomer that the fats you eat contribute to a heart attack,” says Dr. Kaskel. “In fact it has been proven around the world that those who eat a diet high in monounsaturated fats are less likely to suffer from cardiac arrest, are less likely to have heart disease, and are more likely to lose weight.”


I hope the tips in this post have helped you. There are many different perspectives on weight loss and it is a confusing topic, so my biggest piece of advice is to listen to your body and keep an open mind about the research you come across - don't believe everything you read and hear about weight loss, and be mindful of the source of information. To learn more about my personal experiences and perspective on weight loss, please check out the following video playlist:


Photo by Petr Kratochvil

Read 11284 times Last modified on Wednesday, 02 July 2014 12:21