Two days ago my wife and I were grocery shopping and we bumped into a friend who we hadn’t seen in months. After we got past her looking over my grocery basket and my looking over her’s, she reminded me of how I had helped her get past a weight plateau. She is also a vegan and took the extra step of moving to a low oil, whole foods plant based life about a year ago. At that time, she was already in great shape but wanted to lose about 10 lbs. She and I went over her average daily diet and she agreed to make 2 small changes.

  1) She was stir frying vegetables using a little oil. Using 2 tablespoons of olive oil adds 240 calories. Cooking this way just 3 times a week adds 720 calories per week and 2880 calories per month.  Recommendation: Stir cook using vegetable broth or water instead.

2) She was eating peanut butter, snacking on nuts and sunflower seeds. Two tablespoons of peanut butter contain 190 calories; 140 calories from16 grams of fat. That means 74% of the calories come from fat. One serving (¼ cup) of Sunflower seeds contain 190 calories; 150 calories or 78% from fat. Ideally the percentage of your daily calories that come from fat should be less than 10%.  Eating one serving of peanut butter and/or sunflower seeds 5 days a week adds up to 950 calories per week and 3800 calories per month.  Recommendation: Snack on fresh fruit, vegetables and air popped popcorn instead.

Those 2 small changes made a huge difference and she reached her goal quickly.

      Once you reach your goal the next step is maintaining your weight. It is natural and normal for your weight to fluctuate. Many factors such as activity, stress, hormonal changes, medications, holiday eating, social activity, alcohol consumption and variations in which foods are available and how they are cooked are all contributory. Personally, my weight will vary by 3 to 5 lbs during any given week. Sometimes I can account for the changes and sometimes I’m clueless. The problem is never that I have lost too much weight either. Here is what I do to get back to my target.

 1) Get a scale. Don’t depend on a mirror or on how tight your clothes feel. Monitor your weight every few days to catch any undesirable changes early. Conversely, when you are trying hard to lose weight and having success it gives you rewarding positive feedback.

 2) Admit to your weaknesses. I happen to love pasta. My problem is portion control. Knowing that even whole grain pasta, while a healthy choice, can be “over served”. My solution is to use a small plate or bowl for the pasta and a big plate for salad and veggies. My stomach gets full and all I have to do is hold myself back from going for seconds (or thirds).

 3) Collect a few recipes for meals you like. It’s not hard to do. Check out the recipe section in the PBNSG.org website. Don’t be afraid to ask your server at a restaurant to make substitutions and to cook things without oil. I’ve ordered chicken cacciatore but hold the chicken and add some portabella mushrooms instead. They have never said no to me.

 4) Stay on track. Eat whole, unprocessed by a factory, plant based foods with no oil at every meal and for every snack. Stick with mainly fresh fruits and vegetables. Limit your consumption of nuts and seeds to just a small handful not more than 3 days a week. Stay in control of your portions.  

 You are in charge of everything you put in your mouth. Make good decisions and you will be amazed at how quickly and comfortably you will reach your goal. 

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