Strategy for Weight Loss
NOTE: What I do an you may choose to do could be totally different… and that is okay. This is just how I approach my diet.
The best way for me to lose weight is not to calorie restrict all of the time, to make sure I eat raw foods during the day, and make it easy. The way I make it easy is to have the same thing for lunch and breakfast every day. In the morning I have a super nutritious green smoothie with blueberries, overnight oats, and vegan protein. At lunch I have a large salad. At night, I eat a cooked, plant-based meal.
The total caloric content for the first two meals of the day is around 791 calories. This may be all I need, during the daytime especially on days I am intermittent fasting (i.e., waiting until noon or 2:00 p.m. to eat the first meal of the day and trying to stop by 6 or 7:00 p.m.). Rather than eat too much at dinner, though, I try to get in a few more raw fruits and veggies before 4:00 p.m. than that, if I am hungry since studies show why raw foods are better for weight loss. Raw-food enzymes increase your adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is the energy needed to burn calories. You produce this when you do cardio exercises. Using food enzymes to break down and digest our foods is also better for our health because our own enzymes don’t have to be depleted to do the job.
Even if I did not eat any more than the raw food calories from these two meals, by eating a 400-600 calorie dinner, I am able to still get the majority of my calories from raw foods than cooked. Nevertheless, that is not the ratio I am aiming for. The higher the percentage of raw to cooked foods, in my opinion, the better. But it’s not worth fretting over if I don’t. However, I do like to do the math to see what a ratio of 75% raw foods to 25% cooked looks like so I can get there a majority of the days of my week.
To get the majority of my calories from raw, uncooked food sources is my personal goal and may not be yours. I just find I lose more weight that way while eating more calories. But for some reason, I stop losing as soon as I start eating cooked foods during the day. At that point, for me to lose weight requires exercise and calorie restriction.
In my personal experiments, I have proven that I am able to lose about the same amount of weight if I eat about 1,800 or more calories on a raw-till-four diet as I can restricting way down to 500 calories per day on some horrible fad diet. I lost 15 lbs. in only 10 weeks last spring eating an average of 1,800 calories per week. That’s 1.5 lbs per week.
The Right Percentages
If you are interested in getting most of your calories from fresh produce, let’s do the math to see what that might look like. If I only ate those two meals described above for a total of 791 calories and ate a 600 calorie dinner. Of those 1,391 calories, the ratio is 57% raw to 43% cooked.
To get at least 75% of 1,800 calories from raw foods, I must supplement the two day-time meals described above with 550 more raw calories throughout the day. I can have my choice of any assortment of lovely fruits and vegetables, sprouted nuts and sprouted grains. I enjoy bananas and various melons but I always try to include some citrus and an an apple every day, too. Here is what 575 calories of raw food looks like. (Hint: I might make the first five ingredients into a fruit salad):
- 1 banana = 108 calories
- 1 apple = 70 calories
- 1/2 cup grapes = 52 calories
- 2 tbsp raisins = 54 calories
- 4 tbsp raw walnuts = 192 calories
- 1 lg. naval orange = 100 calories
That leaves around 434 calories left over for my cooked dinner. That is the ratio I shoot for, but I certainly don’t stress out if I don’t get it exact. This just helps to give me a general idea of what that will look like.
I shoot for between 500-600 calories from cooked foods. That is really easy to do if you don’t add fat to the meal.
What do the ratios look like on a higher calorie diet (when I stop dieting)?
2,200 calories allows for 550 cooked calories for dinner. If I eat a smoothie and a salad, I will still need 859 more calories of raw foods. So take away the 575 “extra” raw calories listed above. That would leave me with 284 more raw foods to eat.
That might be hard to do. So, what that means is I am likely going to eat more cooked green, yellow, and red vegetables on this day. To keep it as healthy as possible, I may substitute a couple of cups of cooked green beans, squash, or some other vegetable for some of the raw calories I need. Then I will either make a salad with dinner, or wait a couple of hours after dinner to eat a homemade fruit sorbet. Or, I might just decide to eat more cooked starches or have some popcorn at night instead.
I am not looking for perfection here. I just go through this exercise to have a good idea of what a good ratio looks like so I am sticking fairly close. I probably am closer to a 60/40% to 65/35% ratio half of the time.
Hint: To make sure you get enough nutrients, consider joining cronometer.com to track your food.
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Here are some suggestions for easy, no-recipe, plant-based meals:
Go here to learn more about intermittent fasting, another strategy I use for weight loss:
To learn what I feel I must eat every day to get enough nutrients and to simplify my diet, check this out:
Copyright Tracey Porter Nelson January 17, 2017
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