Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Plant-Strong Success Tip #10: Give Up the Diet Mentality

What would be different in your life if you were able to maintain a healthy weight relatively easily?

What is the one thing stopping you from achieving your happy weight and ultimate health?

Adopting a Plant-Strong way of nourishing yourself is what I like to call "The Real Deal." Why? Because you really can achieve your happy weight and stay there with little or no fuss, after you have mastered all of the basics.

This series, "Healthy Girl's Top Ten Tips for Plant-Strong Success" is aimed at making this way of eating effortless and sustainable. You don't have to follow all of my tips, just the ones that speak to you. If all of my tips resonate with you, also recognize that you certainly don't have to do them all at once. This is a process of change and real, lasting change comes from making small changes over a long period of time.

Please remember that when I gave this talk, I was addressing a group of adults who are participating in a 21 Day Vegan Weight Loss kickstart program organized by Whole Foods. So, as you read my first Tip in this series, keep in mind that this tip may no longer apply to you, my precious reader, as many of you are 100% Plant-Strong committed!

Plant-Strong Success Tip #10: Give Up the Diet Mentality

I'm going to be very blunt. If there is a part of you that is here right now thinking, "I will do this Plant-Strong 'diet' for as long as it takes me to lose my excess weight and then I will go back to eating the same as I always have," I am here to tell you that you need to give up your "I'm on a diet/I'm not on a diet" mentality RIGHT NOW.

People who maintain a healthy weight with ease do not go on and off of diets endlessly. They maintain their weight with relative uneventfulness and without yo-yo dieting. The miracle of becoming Plant-Strong is that you can end the horrible yo-yo dieting forever once you make the commitment.

I am not here to scold anyone about the pain of yo-yo dieting. I was there myself for far too many years and I know how deep your pain is. I am here to make one point about eating, and one point only:


Why does this matter?

First, anything that is a continuous struggle for you is going to be unmaintainable over the long haul. A weight loss "diet" in the conventional sense, sets you up for disaster. You restrict your calories for months on end, all the while losing weight and feeling insanely hungry. By the time you reach your breaking point (and you may or may not have reached your goal weight also), you are so ravenous that you will binge on anything and everything within 100 yards of your mouth.

I do not mean to poke fun of Oprah. I love Oprah!
These photos merely represent
that diets do not work.

Contrast this scenario with becoming Plant-Strong. You are filling yourself up every day, three times a day, with uber-nutritious meals. You are satisfactorily full three times a day. You don't even realize it, but you are consuming far fewer calories than you were prior to becoming Plant-Strong. The weight is coming off and you never even get ravenously hungry. Now that is something that you can stick with for the rest of your life. And you don't ever feel like you are "on a diet."

What does this look like?

  • You enjoy the food that you are eating enormously.
  • You fill yourself up and never get ravenous (this doesn't mean you don't get hungry, but more on that in a later tip).
  • Your fixation on what you are going to eat and when comes to an end. You are free from your food compulsion!
  • The way you eat, think and feel about food has changed. Food and nutrition are no longer scary or a mystery. You know how to nourish yourself completely without gaining weight.
  • You would never, ever think of going back to your old way of eating. That would be ridiculous! 
Are you new to Plant-Strong as a way of eating?

Have you thought to yourself, "I'll do this until I lose my excess weight and then I'll stop?" 

Or have you found your happy place with food and cannot see yourself eating any other way but Plant-strong?


Jen said...

Nice talk!

Bonnie said...

My husband and I changed to the plant strong diet eight months ago. I can't imagine going back. We are in our 60s and now weigh what we did in high school, feel great, and are eating boatloads of delicious food.

Amy said...

I am trying so hard to switch to a plant strong diet and leave behind the idea of dieting to lose weight. I just need to have a better mind set about following through. The good part is that my husband has to and wants to do this too so I have his support, but my 3 year old and 2 year old twins don't eat this way. We making baby steps and we will get there! Love your blog and look forward to your posts!

QZB said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
QZB said...

AMEN! This is truly, IMO, the single most important switch to make.

I think if, like me, you're drawn to eating Plant Strong for ethical reasons, it's actually much easier to stick with it. So I really can't speak to how someone might do this when their primary motivation is to lose weight or to improve their health.

But I can testify that if you make the switch and stick with it, something amazing happens: You no longer desire the foods you once thought you couldn't live without! In fact, in time those exact same foods will even become unappealing, and when you do break down and "cheat", you'll wonder why you ever liked them.

Our bodies LOVE healthy food like nobody's business and we just have to help them reach the point where they can help us!

Megan said...

About 8 weeks ago I came across Dr. Fuhrman's Eat To Live and I have been plant strong ever since. At first I was just doing this to loose a few extra pounds before a family vacation to Hawaii, but now I can't see my life any other way! I'm so excited because not only have I lost 14 pounds, I feel better than I ever have!
This is a life change for me and I don't ever see myself going back to my old ways. The thought of eating any kind of meat really is gross to me!

Wendy- Do you ever snack? I have an apple between breakfast and lunch. Do you strickly keep to the three meals a day?

Wendy said...

Megan-I generally don't snack during the day because I work full time and keep my day filled with other stuff. I am going to do a post on hunger as part of this series, so I will tackle the snacking idea at that time. My personal challenge is with extending my dinner for far too long! If I'm home at night with not much going on, I do tend to overeat!

Alipet813 said...

I am slowly working toward Plant Strong. I am purposely looking at it, because I am not interested in a diet. I still have cravings at this point, but I also haven't gone in 100%. It is hard with teenagers to cook meals they will eat when you haven't cooked this way before.
I don't have an ethical reason so when I crave meat I do eat it. However, I make sure at least 1 day a week is meat free, and I only eat meat one meal a day on the other days.
Right now my struggle is planning ahead and having all of the ingredients on hand for the awesome recipes I find. I don't have dates on hand for example. After reading Chef AJ's book and this blog it is apparent I need them!

Tiffany said...

Thanks so much for this post. Even though I have been vegan for 16 months, I am always looking for tips to improve. Unfortunately, I am not one who lost weight when I went plant-based. I think it's because I still will bake cookies "for the kids," but end up eating them, too. While they are vegan and I only use maple syrup, I'm sure that still adds up. My kids will drink green smoothies, but other than that, they aren't big on veggies and I struggle with snacks for school, etc. Could you share what you do for kid's snacks?

One more question: my kids will only drink green smoothies with spinach. I have heard that if you eat too much spinach, you might get kidney stones. Have you heard that? Thank you so much-LOVE your blog, it's my favorite! :)

ViviDu said...

Your blog is an inspiration and a daily nudge towards a more healthy and joyous life. I am changing by small steps, and let me add my diet was not horribly bad to begin with, but by replacing usual lunches with a large salad & homemade soup I have lost a few kilos easily and feel better. I am more conscious with other meals but my first goal is to make great lunches a habit. It's easy because it's only me, for dinners I have to consider others but it's creeping in there and they don't even notice. I no longer crave empty calorie food (and wine!).

Kathryn said...

I just found your blog via Engine 2's facebook post. I LOVE IT! Where have you been all my life :)

I also noticed that you love Clevland Yoga - Several of my teachers used to work there before they moved out to Nor Cal. What a lovely coincidence! We are all connected!

Mark Osborne said...

I totally agree. I went vegan a year ago and lost all my excess weight and by making a permanent lifestyle change the weight stays off.

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