We all know there are many ways to lose weight. In fact, the weight loss industry has grown into a $71 billion industry—proving the amount of supplements, programs, and plans that promise weight loss. But what about long-lasting, sustainable weight loss—keeping the pounds off? Here are 3 misconceptions on weight loss and how a whole-food plant-based diet can achieve long-lasting weight loss without counting a single calorie.
Misconception #1: I have to eat a low-carb diet to lose weight.
Many fad low-carb diets today such as Atkins, Keto, and paleo feed into the misconception that carbohydrates are fattening or bad for you. Carbohydrates are not a food group, but an essential nutrient that promotes sustainable weight loss, a healthy gut, overall health, and a steady source of energy.
When considering carbohydrates in your diet, it’s best to understand the source of your carbs—whole or refined. Whole carbs are unprocessed and contain fiber, which is only found in plants, while refined carbohydrates have been highly-processed or stripped of the fiber and phytonutrients essential for a healthy diet. Processed carbs are to be avoided not because they are high in carbs but because they are stripped of their fiber and nutrients.
Research has shown that an increased consumption of carbohydrates and dietary fiber, as part of a plant-based, high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet, were associated with reduced body weight, reduced fat mass, and insulin resistance in overweight individuals
Examples of healthy, whole carbohydrates include:
- Whole grains
- Brown rice
Misconception #2: I can eat what I want, as long as I count my calories.
It’s time to let go of the old practice of traditional diets: counting calories. But instead, pay attention to what’s filling your plate. A whole-food plant-based diet eliminates counting calories and is more focused on the calorie density of foods.
Calorie density is simply the amount of calories per pound of food. For instance, the calorie density of 1 pound of beef = 1,000 calories, while the calorie density of 1 pound of vegetables = 100 calories. Whole, plant-based foods are less calorically dense (think more food for less calories) and with the added source of fiber you’ll feel full without overeating—all while adding nutrient-dense foods to your plate!
Misconception #3: I have to eat less or skip meals in order to lose weight.
Overeating can certainly play into weight gain, but research has shown skipping meals or fasting have proven negative health results as your metabolism slows down, energy depletes, and can lead to weight gain. The more important thing to consider is what foods are filling you up? Animal products, oils, and highly-processed foods are more calorically dense, meaning in order to feel full you have to eat more food.
The wonderful thing about a whole-food plant-based diet is it’s less about reduction and more about adding in the right kinds of whole foods into your diet.
A whole-food plant-based diet allows you to eat more food with less calories, all while fueling your body with phytonutrients, reducing the risk of disease, and helping you reach a healthy weight without starving yourself.
Hear how Faith and John have pursued their journey to get healthy and how they’ve lost a combined 200 pounds so far with a whole-food plant-based diet!
A few additional resources:
-Video: My Four Favorite Foods for Weight Loss by Julieanna Hever, Plant-based Dietitian