For most people losing weight on a raw vegan diet is effortless and not something they really need to focus on. It just happens naturally after cutting out processed foods and starchy carbohydrates and focusing your diet around raw fruits and vegetables in large quantities and nuts and seeds in small quantities.
However, there are some people that still struggle to get their excess weight off. If that’s you, then this article is for you.
A common question I’ve been receiving recently is “How do I lose weight?” and another is, “How many calories should I be eating on a low-fat raw vegan diet?” so I thought I’d address these questions specifically with their own special post.
Firstly, let me share my own personal experience on a low-fat raw diet over the past 5 years.
I started off about 8-10 kilos (18-25 pounds roughly) above my ideal weight. My weight had gone up and down frequently over the years with various diets and subsequent binge-eating. It was so bad that for many years I was in and out of OA and FA and various food programs.
I came to a fruit-based, low fat raw vegan diet for health reasons – chronic painful digestive problems at the root – which were quickly resolved and I also saw that the fruit-based approached seemed to solve a LOT of my over-eating issues, though not all. (I can tell you it has NOT been a straight line for me, but with every fall my resolve has strengthened even more and my choices just get better and better and better).
At the start I ate raw fruits and veggies, pretty much as much as I wanted and the weight flew off me. But at some point I started adding in starches, grains and got stuck in the bread trap and the weight started to pack on again. I gained back all the weight I had lost fairly quickly and was very disheartened.
So I would go back to 100% raw, lose heaps, then keep going back to starches and bread and gain it back.
Definition of insanity, right?
I have since learned that I absolutely CANNOT eat ANYTHING with flour or refined sugar in it (that includes honey, maple syrup, agave or coconut sugar). I have lately even cut out dried fruit completely and will reintroduce it sometime over the next month to see if it becomes a trigger.
I have learned that 30% of people have the genetic makeup for food addiction. And if you have that gene, you will ALWAYS have it. So for me I now have a bright line for those foods. I do not eat them AT ALL in any shape or form (One day at a time).
The other trigger for me is grazing all day. While my body seems to do okay on grazing, my head doesn’t. I need to have meals so that I know there’s a beginning and an end and that between meals I get on with my life.
This is why I like to plan my meals the night before. Then I know what I’m having and I don’t have to worry about whether I’m eating too much or not enough. I just eat my meals and get on with life. So freeing.
These couple of ‘rules’, if you like, have made it SOOOO much easier to stay raw.
Now onto how to lose weight on a raw vegan diet.
I DON’T subscribe to the “eat unlimited calories of raw fruit and ‘she’ll be right mate” philosophy. For me that hasn’t worked. I regularly over-ate on fruit and I would say that 30% of us will do that because of that pesky gene.
That being the case, if you want to lose weight, here’s what I recommend you do.
First, decide on what you would like your goal weight to be.
There are two formulas you could use…
1) The French formula – If you’re a female and 5ft you should weigh 100 pounds, then you should add 5 pounds for each inch over 5ft. (so a 5ft 3inch female should weigh 115 pounds, If your 5’4” you should weigh 120 lbs etc)
If you’re male and 5ft you should weigh 106 pounds, then add 6 pounds for every inch after 5ft. (so at 5ft 3 inches, a male should weigh 124 lbs)
2) Dr Fuhrmann’s formula (which prefers an even leaner body mass).
If you are female then you should begin at 95 pounds for a 5ft female and add 4 pounds for every inch of your height after that.
Males get to weigh slightly more. If you’re male you should begin at 100 pounds for a 5ft male and add 5 pounds for every inch.
Bear in mind that these are formulas only. In reality, your frame might look better with slightly more, or slightly less. Also, bear in mind that muscle weighs much more than fat, but it’s a rough guide.
When you’ve decided your goal weight, what should you do next?
So once you’ve decided on your goal weight, then choose a number that is halfway between that weight and your current weight. So if your goal is 115 and your current weight is 200 then choose 157.
Then go to this BMR and calorie calculator and punch in your numbers.
And voila, you will then have two numbers: Your basal metabolic rate (the calories that you burn even when you are at complete rest 24/7) and your daily calorie needs number.
If you were to eat the amount of calories for your stated needs indicated there then you should be able to reach your intermediary goal weight target (157). You could choose to eat slightly less than that and you would lose weight faster but you definitely need to eat more than your BMR, otherwise you are not going to have enough energy to go about your day, and you’ll be cranky, and you probably won’t want to exercise.
I think it’s a good idea to choose a number that means that you’ll be losing steadily each week 1-2 pounds, so that you can see results, but a number that doesn’t throw you into starvation mode and bingeing.
The important thing is, choose a number and STICK to it. Decide on the number, work out what you need to eat to achieve that number, write down your plan in your food journal and then ask for the willingness to stick to it, and come here for support in sticking to it.
What if I get hungry?
You’ll probably find that for the first 2 days to a week you’ll feel hungry. That’s okay. That’s good, right. If you’re a little hungry it means you are LOSING WEIGHT.
Which is what you want, right?
We are so used to being stuffed that it takes a little getting used to this feeling hungry thing.
But after the first week your body and your stomach will adjust to the new calorie load, and you won’t feel as hungry – yayy!
If you’re hungry and obsessing… this is where you need to develop some strategies.
Remember you only have to do this for ONE day – Today. You can binge your brains out tomorrow if you really need to (although I don’t advise that), but JUST FOR TODAY you are not going to, right? Strangely enough, this philosophy has meant that tomorrow never comes anyway, because all there is is today.
Yesterday’s history, tomorrow’s a history, but today is a gift!
Remember there are other things in your life to focus on. Go clean your house! Call your mum or dad or great Aunt Patty. Breathe, meditate, go for a walk.
Food is only ONE aspect of the 30 elements of hygienic living. Start to learn about the other 29!
I hope this is helpful. Let me know how you go!
Have you found success losing weight using a particular formula? Have you found it effortless to lose weight on raw, or a struggle?
Share your experience in the comments below. I love hearing from you.