Working in an office for 8 to 9 hours a day, I’ve come to really appreciate my mid-morning walks. They allow me to get under the sun, breath outside air, break up my sedentary work-day, and think alone.
The biggest benefit I’ve noticed, however, is how much it has helped me be positive, uplifted, and better at managing the stress of my day.
Here are a few other benefits I’ve noticed about mid-morning walks:
Lowers stress later in the day – I don’t know why but I do better in traffic if I take a walk in the morning
Increases sunlight exposure – Less likely to come home and take a walk at the end of my day, getting my sunlight exposure earlier helps me make sure I get some during the work week instead of only on the weekends
Helps with stress management – the sun is good for giving me good vibes. I’ve read in a few places that the sun helps humans release the hormones that make us feel better.
Lowers the damage of a sedentary lifestyle – humans aren’t evolutionarily prepared to sit for long periods of time. We are supposed to move. Walking mid-mornings and to get water regularly helps with movement big time.
If you also spend a majority of your day sitting at a desk and notice your mood can definitely use some improvement, try getting outside for a walk. Especially in the morning when the air is crispier. If the weather is permitting, a good mid-morning walk can not only help with your mood but also your health and wellbeing.
One common idea is how complicated it is to eat healthy. I really do believe this is just another very effective marketing tactic.
Eating healthy really isn’t as hard, confusing, and complicated as people make it seem. But thanks to years of bad science, high-paid lobbying, and billion-dollar marketing, we’re perceiving what’s obvious and simple as super complicated and hard to figure out. (That’s life though huh? Anyways…)
Here are the rules I’ve learned to implement over the years to make healthy eating more concrete and straightforward in my life. Implement these and I’m sure healthy eating will get super simple for you also. No more confusion. Well, way less of it anyways.
Repeat These Words: “Healthy Eating IS EASY!”
It all starts with how we think, what we believe, and what we’re constantly saying to ourselves.
Telling yourself healthy eating is too hard, you can’t find nothing healthy you like to eat, or, my mom’s personal favorite, “damn, I can’t eat nothing,” will make healthy eating much harder than it is. And you will hold onto and find a thousand reasons as to why you can’t eat healthy.
Cut all of that out by reminding yourself that healthy eating is easy. Also, keep in mind and constantly tell yourself that healthy eating makes you feel way better than eating bull shit. Counter “this is hard” type of thinking with “this is easy” ideas.
Tell yourself things that’ll support your goals including how easy it is to eat healthy.
In working to overcome binge eating, I’ve found I tell myself that I wish I could eat like regular people (whatever that means) or I say it’s not fair that I have to cut out foods I think taste really good.
I’ve started countering these thoughts with reminders of how sick and unhealthy I was because I ate like “regular” people. Or I give thanks for being fortunate enough to have the knowledge of and access to high-quality, nutrient-dense foods. I changed my thinking.
A Simple List of Foods I Do and Don’t Eat
There’s a simple list of things I don’t eat and know for damn sure are not healthy to eat. There is no if, ands, or buts about them. I know they’re trash, make me feel miserable, and really aren’t worth the “but life is too short” jive. Life is shorter with them.
Then there’s a really simple list of things I do eat. If it was grown or raised humanely, ethically, naturally, with a proper diet, and free of chemicals, I eat it. Sounds complicated, but I ensure you it’s pretty simple. If eating humanely raised seems like a reach for you, then go for real foods period. They don’t have to be organic. Just more real.
The easiest rule to follow when learning to eat healthier and make it simple is to keep your diet real. Only eat real foods of fruits, vegetables, meats, fats, roots, and nuts. Some people still eat rice and beans even. Keep your diet real.
Seriously… Plan Ahead and Cook Ahead
This advice is old as dirt and said in so many ways. Why? I bet it’s because planning ahead really does work. It helped my ass out.
My healthy food used to go bad. I was spending money on groceries and then buying fast-food because I was “too busy” to pack my meals. I was also buying way too much food.
Then I got to making my lists and cooking once a week. Changed. My. Life.
Honestly, if you want to get more time during your days, do as much as you can ahead of time. Rather that’s cooking, washing clothes, writing content, or getting errands done. If you can get those things done once a week instead of once a day, do that.
This saves time, frees up more time, gets things done, and helps you better reach your goals.
Planning ahead makes healthy eating simple because the hard part of choosing and prepping is done. Being too busy or too tired or too confused to eat healthy is hard to do when the food is already made and ready to go besides maybe some heating.
Anything that isn’t on the food plan of your choice is a solid “NO.” There is no debating, no “just this once,” and for damn sure no “I’ll do better on Monday.” The answer is always NO. Check out this post for details.
Start by giving yourself a solid affirmation, or a few affirmations if needed, that healthy eating is easy and for you. Thinking and telling yourself healthy eating is hard is truly what makes healthy eating hard. If you’re ready to start eating healthy, tell yourself it’s easy.
Have a simple list of foods you do eat and a simple list of foods you don’t eat. According to what’s healthy for humans, real foods (vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, roots, meats, and natural fats) are good to put on your list of foods you do eat. Foods that are heavily processed, fake and toxic don’t belong on your list. Capeesh?
Beat your excuses by planning ahead. Cooking and meal prep once a week is like one of those old-as-time fitness tips. It’s that way because it works. Pay attention.
Lastly, give my “No” Self-Discipline Challenge a try. No matter what, if the food isn’t on your plan, the answer should always be NO. No debating or compromising.
Well, this is how I make eating healthy simple. I pretty much don’t give myself the room I know my cravings will take full advantage of. Beating my bull shit to the punch.
When I first got back to the states, I practiced these things during the day and before bed. I saw noticeable changes in my body quickly. And the scale was doing some good thangs too.
My results were so good one night that my waist beads fell off. I stood out of bed and they rolled right off my waist and onto the floor. Kid you not.
Not only do the methods listed below help with weight loss during sleep, but they also helped me get the most regenerative, brain power boosting, subconscious connecting, make you wanna type of sleep ever!
Fast a few hours before sleep
Ok, so what I’ve been seeing around is that it’s ok to eat close to bedtime. It’s a health myth that the body gains weight if you go to bed on a full tummy. It is found that our metabolisms stay the same and the body is still using calories. Bottom line, eating before bed does not cause weight gain.
HOWEVER, I’ve found in my own experiment that going to bed on an empty stomach, giving my body a few hours to digest food before bed, helps me see the most weight loss and get the most out of sleep.
I figured the reason this works is that the body isn’t spending energy to digest food so it has more energy to regenerate and remove waste during sleep.
Most times I have my dinner 5 hours before bed, but I think 2 to 3 hours between the last meal and sleep works also.
Note: If you are fresh off of heavily processed foods, still eat heavily processed foods, or new to low-carb, this might be a serious challenge that will keep you up. You likely will be hungry at night and need to eat.
Turn off electronics at least 45 minutes to an hour before bed
Have you ever found yourself popping up in the middle of the night? Sometimes it’s what you ate, but a lot of times it’s because you were watching your electronics way too late.
I’ve watched a few gurus speak on the effects of electronics on sleep. I decided to give it a try on myself. It only took a week for me to start sleeping longer hours without popping up in the middle of the night.
Electronics give off lights that trick our bodies into thinking it’s daytime. So even when you’ve fallen asleep, your body begins the process of waking you up. In a few hours, you’re up.
Give it a try. Turn off your electronics an hour to 45 minutes before bed for two weeks and see what happens. It might take some time for your body to adjust, but I bet your sleep will see some type of improvement.
Stop exercising right before bed
I’ve had friends swear that working out before bed was best for them. They’d say the workout tired them out and helped them get drool-worthy sleep.
Those that oppose sleep close to bedtime say exercise too soon to bed negatively affects your circadian rhythm by raising your stress hormones which are designed to also keep you alert.
I workout first thing in the morning and might do a second workout before 3 pm. By my bedtime, I am hella ready to sleep. Eyes heavy and everything.
When I worked out past dark it took me longer to fall asleep and I’d actually lay in bed with an “excited” type of rush. It was interesting when I got a taste of the difference. lol
Give your body a few hours to rest and chill out for better sleep.
Don’t drink caffeine past 3 pm
Caffeine is something I found snuck up on me too like the electronics. I was waking up in the middle of the night if I had caffeine too late.
Caffeine can hinder your sleep, and reduce its beneficial effects by raising your stress hormone and causing alertness. This keeps your sleep too light to reach into those states of sleep where the magic happens.
If your schedule works out where you can sleep at night, quit drinking caffeine after 3 pm. But if you need the caffeine because you’re up at night, give yourself at least 3 to 5 hours between caffeine and bedtime.
Go for a light walk outside before bed and get more sunlight during the day
Believe it or not, our bodies are evolutionarily still the same bodies they were over 40,000 years ago. That’s way before electronics and all this indoor living, during a time when human bodies also followed the rhythm of the sun.
Sunlight helps your body know when it’s time to go to bed and when it’s time to get up.
I did notice a bit of a difference in my sleep. The most benefit I experienced was improved mood and getting sleepy less during the middle of the day. I think the days I didn’t need a nap I slept better at night.
Eat healthy throughout the day
Eating clean, nutrient dense, wholesome, natural foods keep the body properly fueled. Being properly fueled means the body can do what it has to do including have good sleep.
Eating clean also helped with hunger before and after sleep. It’s much easier to fast and intermittent fast on a clean diet. Trust me. I know.
Besides sleep, good food improved my mood, energy levels, complexion, blood sugar, weight management, and appetite.
These are suggestions based on what I’ve experienced while working on getting better sleep and improving weight management. I’ve picked up some of these tactics reading and watching health information and just putting information together.
I love scheduling stuff. There’s something about having a calendar of to-do’s, planned projects, checks, and cute doodles that makes me geek out.
I have a schedule for work, a schedule for my passion project, so I figured, how cool will it be to have a schedule for the health and wellness “stuff” too?
Health and wellness “stuff” being my daily, weekly, and monthly self-care routines and daily practices. This can be workouts, weekly meal plans, check boxes for if I ate clean for the day and if I had enough water, and even my nature walks.
Disclaimer: This post may contain links where if you make a purchase or sign up via my links I receive a commission at no additional cost to you! I will always only recommend products and services I’m diggin’ (love). You can read my full disclosure here.
The benefits I’ve experienced keeping a health and wellness planner
Laying out all my healthy activities into a schedule has been helpful to say the least. I get to see how I’m doing and it helps me keep in mind new things I want to try daily that I could easily forget if I didn’t review them regularly.
Before buying a designated planner for health and wellness “stuff,” I was keeping a wall calendar I where I marked off workouts and if I ate clean for the day.
This was helpful, but it didn’t allow me to get as detailed about my health and wellness plans as I wanted to. I also couldn’t keep all my plans in one place. Being able to keep everything in one place has been beneficial in implementing new habits.
I find that keeping a designated planner for self-care also helps me stay hyped and motivated about my plans. Days are getting marked off, boxes are getting checked for that “gold star” effect, and I’m even keeping better track of what I plan to eat. A health and wellness planner was definitely a good move.
Another benefit is making sure I remember to take care of me and my needs on top of running a blog and working full-time.
If I get too involved in my blog and job, I easily neglect my personal development and daily health and wellness practices.
What I’ve found is if I skip these practices, the work I skipped these practices for is actually poorer. Meaning, if I don’t make time to take care of my health, wellness, and personal development, the quality of my work and results suffer.
Over the years, I’ve learned my goals, work, and results benefit big time when I make sure to take good care of myself FIRST.
Keeping a health and wellness planner helps me stay on top of what improves my overall performance.
What health and wellness stuff do I keep in my health and wellness planner
Even though taking good care of myself is important for my overall performance, I’m still having fun with this.
I put every and anything health, wellness, and personal development related that I want to give a try daily, into my health and wellness planner.
I have check boxes for new habits I’m implementing. I plan and schedule my workouts, my meal prep days, my meal planning days, my grocery shopping days, and I schedule outdoor activities (I LOVE getting sun). Oh, and I also like scheduling my hair-wash days.
My planner includes self-care, health, and wellness activities.
Here’s what I typically keep in my health and wellness planner:
“Mind – right” exercises – personal development:
Reading a personal development book
Workouts and gym days:
HIIT Cardio days
Weight lifting days – legs and butt days, chest and biceps days, back and triceps days, etc
Sauna and steam room day
The day I sit down and balance out what foods and meal combinations I’ll have for the week based on my caloric and macro needs for the month
Usually scheduled for the day before my grocery shopping day
This HAS to be done when I’ve got the most time to get it done so this most definitely gets planned
Plus if I’ve got to shop during my work week, it throws off my plans a bit during the week
Check boxes for daily accomplishments:
Somewhat like a habit tracker for each day
“Ate clean” checkbox
“1 gal of water” checkbox
“Completed fasting window” checkbox
“Completed workout” checkbox
“Warm lemon water” checkbox
Any other personal-care activities:
Deep conditioning days
Hair wash days
Clean up and organizing my environment – wash car, clean house, organize office, throw out old mail from the week, wash clothes, wash bedding (because I’ll get too busy to “remember” despite the accumulating mess), throw out magazines I’m done with
Face masks and exfoliating
Nails and pedicure days – planned to fit around other activities
Have the meal planning and grocery list done for you. Check out the $5 Meal Plan where you’ll receive a meal plan and shopping list each and every week for only $5 a month. Start out with their 14-day trial to give it a try for free. Visit the $5 Meal Plan site for details and to sign up. Not sure if they offer low-carb, keto-friendly, or paleo-friendly meal plans, however.
And I’ve got to also suggest these super dope meal prep containers. These meal prep containers have been such a huge game changer for me. Yea, you can buy regular ol’ Tupperware, but these hold up so much better. Plus these are BPA free and stackable. Enther Meal Prep containers come in 1 compartment, 2 compartments, and 3 compartments. I own the 1 compartment containers and they’ve held up great over the last 6 months.
Cute mind tricks I use to stick to a health and wellness planner
Even though I love using planners and scheduling stuff, I’ve still struggled with using a planner meant just for my self-care.
What I do with my self-care planner is keep it looking cute, cute. I’m talking washi tape, a colorful assortment of fine liner pins, planner stickers, and cute post it notes and tabs.
Keeping my planner cute makes it more than a planner at that point. It becomes a crafty project I want to add to every day. It encourages me to want to see it filled in and current.
The second way I encourage myself to stick to my planner is including a vision board for each week. I take images from my vision board on Pinterest and the luxury magazines I’m subscribed to and add to my mini vision board once a week. It’s part of the planning process.
The vision board reminds me of my goals and how crucial self-care is to reaching them.
When I first started keeping a health, wellness, and personal development planner, I was somewhat worried that it’ll turn into another reason to beat myself up.
Like, if I skipped days or missed an activity, would I use that as a reason to talk negatively about myself?
To take all that weight out of my health and wellness planner, I’m remembering this is a fun personal challenge.
I am having a good time learning what I can get done and an even better time stretching myself. I love getting healthy, learning new habits, and improving with each day.
No sweat if I miss something. There’s always tomorrow to do better and the goal is to do better.
Keeping a health planner doesn’t have to be another burden. It can be a fun challenge.
Will I keep a health and wellness planner “forever”?
I think I will keep one, but the activities I have to “keep a close eye on” will change.
For instance, when a habit becomes a habit, I don’t think I’ll need a checkbox. Showering and brushing my teeth don’t need a checkbox, get my drift? Soon drinking a gallon of water a day and eating clean for the day won’t need a checkbox either.
Keeping a health and wellness planner will be how I implement new health, wellness and personal development practices I want to give a try. I’ll also use it to track effectiveness and my results.
I can definitely see myself making a health and wellness planner a part of my routine long-term.
I personally don’t mind the extra time it takes to plan and track these things, but how do you feel about it?
How do you keep track of your health and wellness goals and daily practices for self-care and personal development? Do you track them in a planner or thinking about tracking them?
Does keeping a health and wellness planner seem like too much work?
If you keep one, how’s it going?
I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Weight Loss Transformation Resources
If you need help with your weight loss transformation or looking to start strong on your transformation goals, please check out these weight loss transformation resources I’ve created based on my own weight loss success and research:
Over the last few years, we’ve witnessed more fifty-or-better people hitting social media to show off their age-defying physiques. Mr. Steal Your Grandma, Ernestine Shepard, and Mimi are only a few that have wowed and inspired plenty.
What do they have in common? Healthy diets and healthy lifestyles! They exercise, don’t smoke (to my knowledge), eat healthy, and Mimi even collects her own rainwater for crying out loud.
I want to be like them when I grow up. And I already have a good start. People don’t believe I’m 30 when I tell them so that’s cool right? I’m hoping to age like Gabrielle Union and the other black actresses well into their 40s and 50s looking like they’re in their 20s and 30s. #AgingGoals
Any who… Below are four proven ways a clean diet and healthy lifestyle can help you too tap into the fountain of youth. (You knew the cliché was coming.)
Lowers Chances of Forming Wrinkles
I often hear maintaining resting bitch face and avoiding too much sun prevents wrinkles. I can still hear my grandma warning me against excessive frowning. Emotional child, I was.
Although these do help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, eating a clean diet and living healthy do much more to reduce wrinkles. A clean diet and healthy choices lower the chances of collagen being broken down during the aging process. Collagen is a protein that’s formation is encouraged with the right nutrients and minerals.
Foods you can eat to reduce or prevent wrinkles include healthy fats, certain fruits and vegetables, and some dairy products. Some of these foods prevent wrinkles by helping in the production of growth hormones while others provide essential nutrients and vitamins. These foods include coconut oil, grass-fed beef, Greek yogurt, eggs, avocados, salmon, and olive oil.
In addition to eating healthy, living healthy also reduces the appearance of wrinkles. Get enough sleep to reduce the production of cortisol – a hormone that also breaks down skin cells. Keep skin thick and elastic by sleeping long and deep enough to produce growth hormone. Not smoking should go without saying. Getting enough sun, but not too much, also helps.
And watch out for that stress. Easier said than done for most, including myself.
Keeps Skin Clear, Reducing Scarring and Hyper-pigmentation
I used to suffer terribly with hyper-pigmentation and irritated skin on my face. Being overweight and borderline diabetic, I developed the common diabetic dark spots on my cheeks, around my mouth, around my nose, and even on my chin. Eating clean and weight loss transformed my skin.
Acne, skin breakouts, and dark spots are not only the result of hormones and birth control drugs. The foods we eat also have a lot to do with how well our largest organ, our skin, functions. Especially the skin on our face. Some foods can also cause breakouts because we’re allergic or experiencing some type of autoimmune effect.
Eating a clean diet reduces most of the main contributors to breakouts like sugar, gluten, hormones in dairy and meat, and additives. A clean diet of wholesome, nutrient dense foods that promote clear skin will include grass-fed and pasture raised, organic animal products and byproducts. Also drink plenty of water.
Not smoking and getting enough sleep also helps with breakouts and dark spots. Other practices include using coconut oil to cleanse skin and apple cider vinegar as a toner. The coconut oil removes germs and puts healthy fat right on the skin. Apple cider vinegar is also good for removing bacteria, oils, and dirt.
Maintains Healthy, Strong Teeth
Cavities, plaque build-up, and gum disease are a result of too much sugar and poor nutrients. And a struggling set of teeth will age you.
Keep your teeth healthy with a clean diet of nutrient dense foods that encourage your body’s own teeth-protecting functions. Contrary to conventional knowledge, the human body has the ability to heal its own cavities, prevent cavities, and even protect against plaque. Our poor dental hygiene is a result of poor nutrition (highly processed foods) and the consumption of more sugar, flour, and grains.
The work of a dentist, Dr. Weston A. Price, proved a diet high in white flour, sugar, grains, and fruit preservatives caused tooth decay and gum disease. In as early as a generation, Price observed an increase in cavities and weakening of the teeth in populations newly adopting the western diet (high in flours and sweets).
He found poor diets to be a major contributor to poor dental hygiene not because sugar and flour fed bacteria (which is false by the way), but because they contributed to malnutrition and poor health overall.
Keeps Joints, Muscles, and Bones Strong
I used to date this fifty-year-old that looks mid-thirties in the face, but tapping early seventies in the body. His arms and legs are skinny because he lacks muscle mass. His limbs look stiff and his skin looks thin. And He has a round, bloated belly that isn’t too big, but noticeable enough.
His face, however, has not one wrinkle, he has a beautiful, wide smile, and his skin is smooth and youthful. He even acts young (a little too young in my opinion, which is why we no longer date).
Man. Had. A. Terrible. Diet. Besides drinking up to three beers a day and topping those off with wine, he barely ate a full meal the four months we dated. He mostly ate junk food and if he did eat a meal, it was canned, frozen, or boxed. His body looked like how he ate.
Avoid this by eating healthy, properly managing stress, and making healthy lifestyle choices. The right foods and activities will keep your bones strong, keep your body from tearing down your muscles, protect the health of your joints, and keep your skin moist and elastically youthful.
Keeping your skin, hair and teeth healthy from the inside out are proven ways to look much younger as you age. A healthy, nutrient diet, and healthy lifestyle, will reduce (even eliminate) the appearance of wrinkles, keep skin clear, maintain healthy, strong teeth, and keep joints, muscles and bones strong.
As a recovering chronic dieter, I know the struggle.
You’re constantly drawn to new diet trends like a moth to the flame. One month you’re doing a master cleanse, the next month you’re drinking powdered meals and eating a salad a day.
But nothing seems to really get you to where you want to be: weight loss and weight loss that last.
That was me for a while although I didn’t quite see it that way. Being the geeky, science nerd, hippie that I am, I was constantly reading up on and trying new holistic cleansing methods for weight loss.
I was a vegetarian after I read somewhere that meat allegedly caused weight gain. When being a vegetarian didn’t work out right, I became a vegan. And when that seemed to also stall my weight loss, I went raw food vegan. I saw my diet hopping as lifestyle testing.
See, my train of thought during this time was eat less to see results so I was drawn to holistic methods that required less and less food. Soon after being a raw food vegan, I found myself doing master cleanses and juice fasts to lose weight. Those were even harder to stick to and I jumped on to some other “holistic” method.
Sound familiar? Well here’s the secret to ending serial dieting: stop dieting and start living. Sounds cliché, I know, but it’s really that simple.
When I finally realized I could not starve to get the weight off, I found a lifestyle to stick to, that satisfied me, and made the most sense to my geeky, science nerd, hippie self.
Here are the steps I took to end my 15-year serial dieting:
Step One: Get out of the mindset of “quick” weight loss
The first thing I had to do to change my diet into a lifestyle was to quit expecting quick weight loss. In expecting weight loss to happened quickly, I wouldn’t stick to a diet for very long or I would think I needed to make changes.
Instead of giving a routine time to work or my body time to heal, I would move on to something else to see if I can make weight loss happen quickly.
Step Two: Educate yourself on what is truly healthy eating
In retrospect, this was a tough one. EVERYBODY swears they know what healthy eating is. They’ll swear their methods are backed by science and guaranteed. Even in the holistic and wellness communities. I’ve too been fooled. But as a science and research methods nerd, I eventually came across nerdy information that has worked like a charm.
I suggest starting by going to websites that discuss the paleo diet by Googling paleo. I’ve found that these paleo communities do really well with breaking down misconceptions and myths surrounding health, weight gain, weight loss, and how modern foods affect our bodies. Get lost down the rabbit hole for a bit. It’s a trip.
Step Three: Implement and be easy on yourself. It’s a journey.
Lasting weight loss and a healthy body is a journey without an end destination. Yeah, you’ll reach your goal weight, but you’ll still have to maintain. Along the way, you’ll make mistakes and that’s totally ok. You might even fall off and gain weight.
Forgiving your self, learning how to improve and moving forward are the best methods. Not only for weight loss, but also for practicing self love. Along the way, it’ll get easier to implement your new, healthier lifestyle and the “mistakes” will come less often. And maybe not. The important thing is to keep trying, starting with baby steps if you need.
At first, I found myself disliking me for not being able to stick to my new healthy lifestyle. But I eventually realized that each time I made a mistake, I learned and grew from that mistake.
I did, in fact, get stronger although I thought I was weak. There was nothing to dislike, just a lot to love and enjoy about the transition.
Recovering from serial dieting took ditching the gimmicks, educating myself on food and being easy on myself. Remember, this is a journey with room for mistakes.
Mistakes are where the lessons are and when the growth happens so don’t beat yourself up. On this journey, you’ll realize that you feel much better without the mistakes and you’ll learn how to avoid them.
End your search for the next best diet and end serial dieting in your life with knowledge, simplicity and self-love. You’ll do just fine.
I was a miserable bitch without a period and even more agitated than I can hormonally be. Thinking about beef pissed me off, hunger was a monster and I found it unfair. Why did I have to give up meat and fat to lose weight? But I gave it a try anyways. For a year and some change I went meatless by first going vegetarian, then going vegan until I eventually went with all raw foods for a few months. Hovering around 220 pounds for almost a year after initially losing 15 pounds was enough to make me slap any gleefully righteous vegan or vegetarian that swore I just wasn’t trying hard enough. A year and 6 months ended with a beef patty after an intense dream I had about eating a beef patty. Dreaming about meat is where I drew the line.
But some find vegetarian and vegan diets to be the bee’s knees when it comes to weight loss and improving health. It helps them implement healthier lifestyles and see some serious weight loss. However, I find some of these studies and occurrences misleading. Eliminating meat and animal products isn’t really why people lose weight on meatless diets.
Why do people become vegans and vegetarians to lose weight?
It is believed that vegans and vegetarians weigh less and are overall healthier than omnivores. According to this article, below 10 percent of those that eat meatless diets are obese and meatless dieters typically have body weights 3 to 20 percent lower than omnivores. And this article cited research stating vegans and vegetarians lost more weight than those that eat meat.
Vegetarian and vegan diets are also seen as beneficial for weight loss because they are low in dietary fat, you can freely eat fruits and veggies with little to no guilt, and you don’t have to worry about cutting carbohydrates. Making these diets appear easier to stick to for weight loss. For many looking to lose weight, the thought of having to starve themselves and cut out their favorite foods can be daunting. What looks so attractive about the vegetarian and vegan diets is the idea that there isn’t going to be much limitation on the amount of food you eat because all you have to do is cut out animal products and find healthy subs for your favorite animal products. Well that’s how it was sold to me. As long as the diet is low in fat, new vegans and vegetarians often times have the perception they can enjoy fruit, vegetables, tubers, beans, lentils, vegan junk foods, and nuts as they please and still lose weight.
Cutting out animal products seems like an attractive, simple fix that also comes with “positive” stereotypes. Lets face it, vegetarians and vegans are often times looked at as the pillars of good health. Studies are always saying they weigh less, experience less diseases and cancers, and also live longer. These studies rarely touch upon the other lifestyle changes vegans and vegetarians make, but that’s another story.
Why do people really lose weigh on vegan and vegetarian diets
Vegan and vegetarian diets do for overweight people what needs to happened anyways: they eliminate a lot of the heavily processed foods that were making them accumulate excess fat to begin with. Those overweight that adopt a vegan or vegetarian diet are sure to see weight loss when they get rid of sugary sodas and juices, stop consuming factory farmed meats and dairy products, remove junk foods, and cut out other processed, chemically produced foods.
Any diet that implements whole foods of the earth in place of the Standard American diet will lead to weight loss. Vegetarian and vegan diets are essentially good elimination diets. But people don’t lose weight on these diets because they remove animal products. They lose weight because they are no longer depending upon heavily processed foods. They cut carbohydrates by hundreds of grams and greatly lower their sugar intake.
I’ve also found that studies comparing vegans and vegetarians to omnivores fail to point out the details of the omnivore’s diet. Are the omnivores of these studies eating whole food diets that include healthy animals or are they on Standard American Diets, eating way too much sugar, way too many carbs and excessive amounts of protein? Likely they’re on crappy omnivorous diets. Of course plant-based eaters weigh less than omnivores when these omnivores are on crappy diets. It’s an unfair comparison and misleading.
Conclusion: So will a meatless diet help you lose more weight?
A vegetarian or vegan diet will help you lose weight, but not because you’ve removed animals from the mix. It’ll help because it drastically lowers carbohydrate and sugar consumption as well as the damaging effects (like inflammation) of heavily processed foods. Any diet that does that is sure to help improve health and lower weight.
In order to accurately determine if vegan and vegetarian diets do more for weight loss than omnivorous diets, studies need to compare meatless diets to whole food omnivorous diets that are geared towards weight loss.
I was still a hungry hippo as a vegan. Tackling hunger and cravings as a vegan caused me to eat much more carbohydrates in the form of nuts, nut butters, sweet potatoes, sprouted-grain bread, brown rice, beans, oats, and dried fruits. I lost weight, but stalled and craved a lot. One day, the cravings became too much and I fried up the fattest beef patty I could. I didn’t feel guilty but was tempted to punch any vegan in the throat that told me I didn’t try hard enough.
What I found to work the most is a diet with much less carbohydrates and way more fat than a vegan or vegetarian diet. So far I’m the lowest weight I’ve ever been and I haven’t regained the weight. Even if I backslide, I remain in better control of my cravings and find it much easier to get back to my routine.
How many of you do this? You go to the store looking for a new hair care product and you immediately turn the bottle to read the ingredients? If it’s got any of the no-no ingredients, you put it back on the shelf and move on.
Many of us have become sticklers about what goes on our hair and scalps. I love it! We’ve realized what ingredients are damaging, we’re supporting the products that come correct, and manufacturers are forced to step up and deliver what we’re requesting with our dollars. That’s called consumer power.
But what about what goes into your body? Do you also turn bottles of juice to read the list of ingredients? Avoiding high fructose corn syrup like you avoid mineral oil? There are also chemicals, ingredients, and other additives in our foods that are just as, if not more damaging than the ingredients you avoid putting on your hair.
The first thing I do with a new food product is check the ingredients. People probably think I’m a bit extra because I’ll spend a good couple of minutes reading through ingredients and putting food back as soon as I find a no-no ingredient.
And I’m not talking about avoiding these ingredients for weight loss. Studies have found that these modern, heavily processed foods manipulate our ancient bodies into addiction, diseases, cancers, mental health challenges, and reproductive issues just to name a few. They’re toxic and should be avoided for many more reasons than to watch your figure.
So here are three simple rules to follow if you’re looking to avoid the damaging chemicals also in your food.
Avoid any ingredient you cannot pronounce
Chances are if you can’t pronounce it or it has more than three syllables, you shouldn’t consumer it. It also didn’t come from nature.
Food manufacturers use several ingredients to make their manufactured products more palatable to our bodies and taste buds.
They have to add taste, smell, “vitamins,” minerals, and color as well as maintain consistency and shelf life. All of that just to feed you something devoid of nutrients.
The longer the list of ingredients, the least likely you should eat it
Foods from nature are simple and straight to the point. A long list of weird looking ingredients is likely an indication something strange is going on.
These long lists are dead give-a-ways.
Think about it. What are all those things they have to add? Where did those ingredients come from and did they test them? It’s just too many questions.
Stick with ingredients you can recognize as foods
The easiest way to avoid all these nasty chemicals in your foods is to stick with real foods and real ingredients. Stuff of the earth and by the earth.
This isn’t always easy considering we live in a day and age where these foods are EVERYWHERE and easily accessible. You might find it particularly difficult to avoid processed foods if you have food addiction or binge eating disorder.
Remain patient with yourself and overtime sticking to foods with ingredients that consist of other foods will get easier.
Eating clean doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be easy and does get even easier with practice.
Avoiding long lists of ingredients that don’t look like names of foods, but chemicals of a science lab is a great place to start.
Need some help with tasty clean eating recipes?
Check out these affordable Paleo cookbooks that provide hundreds of clean eating recipes with all real food ingredients.
We can easily see the problem with telling people that it’s ok to do crack in moderation. For starters, ewww. Secondly, we know crack is highly addictive, it’ll ruin your health and your appearance in a few mug shots. It’s yucky stuff. A good amount of us can grasp the concept of why “in moderation” isn’t even a factor.
But why is it with addictive, health damaging, habit forming foods, we tell people that it’s ok to consume them in moderation? We even have programs like Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig to help people manage their addictions so they can still lose weight. Never mind that these foods caused the weight issues to begin with. Never mind that these foods are inflicting your body’s ability to “respeck” its natural functions. High blood sugar? That’s alright, Oprah can still experience the inevitable blood sugar dips and spikes of bread while losing 27 pounds so why not? Answer: you’re health.
For myself, it’s like watching those old tobacco commercials from the 50s and 60s where doctors are smoking in their offices around patients and pregnant women are happily taking hits of their slims. During that time, the tobacco industry hid research and lied about the addictive properties and damaging health effects of smoking cigarettes. They marketed viciously to everyone including doctors, pregnant women, teenagers and children. But when people started “mysteriously” suffering from health complications, people started asking questions. Eventually, the tobacco industry was forced to come relatively clean. Regulations and advocacy groups pushed to properly inform the public and end the marketing of cigarettes to children. Now, people make informed decisions about cigarettes and have the real power of choice.
The tobacco commercials of the 50s and 60s is where we’re at right now with heavily processed “foods” in conventional knowledge. Children gleefully declare “let go my Ego” in commercials while increasing amounts of children in the real world suffer from obesity due to consuming such products. Parents are told feeding their children sugary cereals and toaster pastries are part of a balanced diet as more children develop behavioral issues due to sugar highs they’re unable to bring themselves down from. Adults are constantly bombarded with addictive foods, are being told that moderation, more exercise, and Weight Watchers is the answer as increasing amounts of us, over the last 30 years, have experienced high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, degenerative diseases, heart disease and many other illnesses due to the effects of these foods on our bodies.
Despite the mounting evidence against modern day, heavily processed foods, much of this information is slow to reach the masses. It is information that must battle the US government’s dietary guidelines that suggest it is perfectly fine to consume addictive foods in moderation. There’s also the large food industries and corporations that lobby regularly to maintain the “in moderation” concept and to keep these foods readily available, especially in schools. Hopefully some day soon food industries and corporations will be forced to tell the truth regarding their products and people can stop blindly suffering from consuming their foods. Even in moderation.
Lectures on sugar, processed foods, and the effects on our bodies and society: