This may be the most startling article about weight loss you will ever read. Mainly because I’m going to teach you opposite of what most weight loss consultants out there will tell you if you walk through their doors.
They’ll tell you some version of the calorie in/calorie out model, that you have to restrict your calories, and up your proteins (and eat some with every meal).
If it’s a mainstream diet company they’ll even get you on a plan which includes their processed, gluten and sugar containing foods, making sure that you never break the cycle of addiction to certain foods.
Most diets out there might get you skinny fast, but they come with a serious cost to your physical health. Between you and me, I’m not interested in being a skinny garbage can. The following are the tried and true tips that have helped me and thousands of others achieve a slim, fit physique while also realizing optimal health…
Tip #1- Eat raw foods
I’m pretty sure Adam and Eve never foraged for cheeseburgers or coke in the Garden of Eden, and neither did early man.
All our closest primate relatives, those that are 99% similar to ourselves in DNA, rely on simple fruits, leafy greens, nuts, seeds and the occasional bark for their nutrition.
Mother nature has a brilliant and wise design.
I find it so strange that people think this diet is extreme or weird or even un-natural. To me this is the most conservative diet on the planet. One that is designed to suit our physiology perfectly.
Nature’s bounty of fresh, ripe, raw fruits, vegetable, nuts and seeds is rich in phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals and the perfect amount of macronutrients (carbs, fats and proteins) for the human body.
What’s even more magical about raw foods is that they are have a thermogenic quality – meaning that they frequently burn as many, and sometimes more, calories than you consume, in the process of digestion.
They also provide easily assimilable nutrients that the body can uptake, leaving it freed up to do the crucial job of eliminating toxins stored in fat and excess fluid in the body.
But do you have to go 100% raw?
There are certainly many people who thrive on a low fat, high carb vegan diet when they include 75% or more raw foods in their meal plans. However, some people, including myself are sensitive to starch, in the form of cooked grains and tubers, and are best to stay clear of them if they want to lose weight.
I have found that grains, even whole cooked grains like rice and oats, leave me wanting to overeat, and so I’ve decided it’s best for me to avoid them completely.
Tip #2 – No starvation diets – Eat enough
A recent public apology was made by an ex-weightloss industry consultant in which she said sorry for misleading all her clients to restrict their calories in order to lose weight.
Let’s face it, 1200 calories is a starvation diet. And in my experience starvation diets, and even fasting in an uncontrolled environment (ie at home and not in the hands of a professional), ALWAYS lead to the starve-binge cycle.
Do your body a MASSIVE favour and eat enough.
Easier said than done, right? We are so out of touch with our bodies that we don’t even know what enough is.
And in my experience, whatever calories you thought you needed on cooked food, needs to be increased on raw foods. By how much is dependent on your physical requirements, but the tendency with new people to raw foods is to not eat enough, leading to cravings for high calorie cooked foods.
When we’re new to raw foods, it’s difficult to know how many calories we’re actually eating so I recommend using an online diet diary like cronometer.com to log your food and get an accurate picture of what you’re getting in.
When you eat enough you’ll begin to notice that your cravings for unhealthy foods and beverages just disappear and you’ll be able to maintain this diet effortlessly.
Tip #3 – Go Salt-free and Low fat
All the media talk about the evils of sugar seems to have drowned out the very real fact that salt is just as big a contributor to ill-health, obesity and death as sugar. It may even be that salt outranks sugar on the black list.
I have discovered that salt keeps me holding onto jiggly wiggly ‘fat’ in the form of fluid retention and that it also keeps me addicted to unhealthy foods and wanting to overeat.
Now that I understand the effect of this protoplasmic poison on the body, I can see why it was definitely hindering my endeavours to lose weight. If you want to read more about how salt works in the body read my article Are you a salt-aholic?
** Update – I include a small amount in my diet these days, usually with my dinner meal. I found that I used to have very bad salt cravings and these would lead me to end up bingeing on unhealthy things like chips and salted crackers. Now that I include a little bit of salt in my dinner salad those cravings have gone. And I haven’t noticed any resulting weight gain.
Fat is another massive culprit causing weight-gain. Combined with sugar it elevates blood-sugar levels, stresses our adrenals, and causes us to lock the fat into our cells. All ripe, raw fruits and vegetables contain a certain amount of fat, some more than others. Go for whole fats like avocados, durian, coconuts, nuts and seeds, not refined oils which are really empty calories, meaning they are devoid of nutrients.
Tip #4 –Water yourself
It’s scientifically proven that those that drink water in the 15 mins before meals lose more weight than those that don’t. This may be because water acts like an appetite suppressant, but it also has the effect of hydrating the digestive tract in preparation for effective digestion.
Particularly at the beginning of your weight loss journey, when you’re carrying excess fat, you’ll also be carrying extra toxins, which need to be eliminated from your system. Water, contrary to popular belief, doesn’t actually cleanse the body. What it does is dilute the toxins in the body, and allows the cells of the body to effectively do their work of regeneration and renewal.
Many of the guidelines for water consumption are based on people who eat primarily cooked and dehydrated food. However, if you take notice of the colour of your pee you’ll soon see whether you’re dehydrated or not. If your urine is straw-coloured or clear, you’re doing fine. Yellow or brown and you definitely need to consume more.
Tip #5 – Weight-training for weight loss
If your goal is just to be skinny, then you’re on the wrong site.
Hear this now… It is not possible to be healthy without exercise.
But if you want the most profound results in the shortest timeframe then you’re best bet is weight-training.
It’s a fact that strength training burns fat faster than cardio.
There are many bodybuilders these days that have foregone much of their cardio training for more weight-training because they know it’s more effective in burning fat.
Weight training builds not only muscle tissue but also strengthens your skeletal structure, preventing aging diseases like osteoporosis.
You don’t even need to join a gym. A simple calisthenics program of bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, push-ups and plank is really all you need.
Try to cycle through a set number of repetitions for 15-30 mins. For instance you could cycle through a regimen of 20 squats, 20 lunges, 20 push-ups and a 20 second hold of plank pose.
As you get stronger work up to 50 of each. Don’t take a break between each exercise or each cycle.
Pretty soon you’ll be in a lather of sweat. I have used this routine in my workout for a year or so now with great results. I learnt it from Jeff Sekerak, The Super-fit Vegan, who has his own You tube channel.
A word of warning: If you’re addicted to looking at the number on your scales every morning, or even every week, then throw your scales away.
Your bodyweight is one of the most inaccurate measures of body fat, unless you have one of those fancy scales that measures your fat percentage. If you’re aim is to build muscle then you’re not going to see your body weight go down any time soon, since muscle weighs more than fat.
Tip #6 – Have a long-term mindset
People…we HAVE to get over the instant gratification mindset that has infected our society. We want to lose weight and we want it NOW.
There are so many quick-fix weight-loss programs out there that we have come to expect dramatic weightloss.
But shouldn’t our number one goal be to get healthy, and then as a bi-product of that you reach a healthy weight?
Don’t get me wrong, you WILL lose weight on this program, but it may take a little longer for your body to find equilibrium enough to begin to let go of the fat.
Some people lose dramatic amounts of weight the moment they start this diet. For others it takes a little longer.
If you have a history of disordered eating it may take a while for your body to trust you again.
If you have a history of taking pharmaceutical or recreational drugs then perhaps your body needs to do some healing and housecleaning first before it takes care of the fat. But you can trust that your body has your needs top of mind, and provided the right circumstances, it will do it’s job perfectly.
In the mean time, work on your attitude. Believe that it WILL happen. Immerse yourself in the literature about raw foods and natural hygiene. Get support from others who have been successful over the long term.
Conclusion – Make this the last “diet” you ever go on. Before long your body will find its balance and you will never, ever have to diet again. Yes, it takes some adjustment, some education and a commitment to your health. But it’s absolutely worth the effort you put in.
Anthea Frances is an author, raw food health coach and host of the Raw Life Summit series. Grab a copy of her free Balanced Raw Vegan Nutrition Checklist and start improving your health today!