My Weight-loss Strategy

Strategy for Weight Loss

NOTE: What I do and what you may choose to do could be totally different… and that is okay. This is just what works for me.

I have the greatest success losing weight by: a) eating raw foods during the day and cooked food at night, b) making food prep as easy or instant as possible, c) not calorie restricting except on “intermittent fasting days” (i.e., to break a plateau).

My The way I make everything easy is by doing the following:

  • Have the same thing for lunch and breakfast most days.

    • Breakfast – A super nutritious green smoothie. Mine has:
      • 1 c frozen berries
      • 3 c kale
      • 1 c frozen mango or cantaloupe
      • 2 svgs raw vegan protein (Organic Food Bar)
      • 1 T ground flaxseed
      • 1 t Co Q10 & phosphatidyl choline liquid
    • Lunch – Either a large salad or a plate full of raw veggies (e.g., sliced tomato, baby carrots, cucumbers, celery) with ranch dressing (when I was vegetarian, I had 1 oz. raw cheddar cheese)
    • Snacks – All the raw fruit desired (mostly bananas and melon of some type or citrus in season) – for some reason bananas really speed up my weight loss
    • Tip – Without the fats typically eaten all throughout the day in a meat-based diet, you may feel some hunger. Hunger solutions until body adjusts:
      • Eat a banana or fruit every hour (you’ll lose more weight this way)
      • Add the 1 oz raw cheddar cheese to your lunch (I got away from this in my effort to cut out dairy and eggs)
      • Add ranch dressing (pick one made with healthier olive oil or nut oil preferably)
  • Dinner – Cooked, plant-based meal.

    • Sometimes I may still allow dairy or egg (particularly in baked goods). But knowing that a baby calf grows to cow size on dairy, I figured I’d do better if I got off of dairy. And there are lots of studies showing eggs to be bad for us.
      • Tip: I lose weight faster if I don’t have animal products often. There are some great cheese substitutes and nut or rice milks.
    • Keep it simple most nights (i.e., foods you are familiar with and like) Tip: Make as usual just without the meat
      • vegan chili (with or without cheese)
      • spaghetti (with or without cheese)
      • garlic mashed potatoes with corn, green beans, biscuits, and mac and cheese or pinto beans
      • potato salad, cold macaroni salad, coleslaw, vegetarian baked beans, roll
      • cornbread or biscuits with pinto bean “soup” (use vegetable broth for liquid, thicken with mashed or refried beans, flavor with onion powder and garlic)
      • vegetable pizza (with or without cheese)
      • smothered burritos, soft shell tacos, cheese quesadillas and enchiladas, nachos
      • Morning Star vegan corn dog and frozen tater tots or fries
      • vegetarian sub with chips
    • Desert or Snacks:
      • If did not include overnight oats in smoothie, may have oatmeal with walnuts and banana for dessert
      • Popcorn, pretzels as needed but don’t overdo

My 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 8:00 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. Why? The ratio of raw calories to cooked calories is the secret to my success.

Raw to Cooked Ratio

While you may believe “a calorie is a calorie is a calorie,” with regard to weight loss. In the eyes of many nutritionists and scientists, the type of calorie doesn’t matter, be it protein, fat, carb, cooked, or raw, caloric restriction is the key to weight loss. But that is where they’d be wrong. At least in my experience with weight loss, the type of food I eat makes all of the difference. In fact, I can lose weight eating 2,500 calories a day even though my basal metabolic rate is only about 1,600 calories at this age, but only if I eat a majority of my calories from raw foods. But as soon as I include sweets or more cooked food, I will start to gain at that caloric level.

Scientifically speaking, each type of food is metabolized differently. Take, raw foods for instance. They are far superior for weight loss than cooked calories. Raw-food enzymes increase your adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Anyone who exercises has usually heard about the benefits of producing ATP in your body. This is what causes fat burning to take place. In other words, ATP created by raw foods is the same energy created when doing those cardio exercises that are required to burn fat.

All caloric expenditures are not equal.

Most dieters have learned that it is better to burn fat than it is to burn muscle and sugar. Burning sugar will create more hunger in you and won’t decrease your size unless you can resist eating when your stomach hurts. Burning muscle decreases the size of your fuel burning engine. This isn’t good either because it lowers your daily caloric requirements.

Eating raw food is like exercising.

Eating raw food is like exercising because your body creates the ATP needed to burn fat. That may explain why you need more raw food to satisfy hunger.

One Secret to Long Life: Save Your Body’s Limited Supply Enzymes

I read a scientific book by Dr. Edward Howell in the mid 1980s called Enzyme Nutrition that was based upon the research available at the time which concluded that living things only have so many enzymes. In it Howell stated that studies with identical fruit flies revealed that they only have so many heart beats in them then they are done. What was the limiting factor that created this precise number of heart beats? If it could be found, could it be augmented, fixed, or supplemented in some way?

The theory was that the living organisms can produce only so many enzymes. Once they run out, their hearts or other essential systems stop and cause death. The idea was to preserve our enzymes as long as we can. The hope was since important life sustaining enzymes get wasted when we eat cooked food to help our bodies break down and digest our foods, eating raw foods, which have living enzymes in them that will help digest themselves will help us to preserve our own supply. I don’t think this theory has been proven yet, but it was worth mentioning because it helps to have one more good reason to encourage us to eat more raw, uncooked plant-based foods.

It is my personal goal to get the majority of my calories from raw, uncooked food sources. But if you can lose weight fast without being so precise, that may not be your goal. I just find that I lose much more weight while eating more calories if I do it this way. 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, with my metabolism at this age (over 50) that I am able to lose about the same amount of weight if I eat about 1,800 or more calories (on average) on a raw-till-four diet as I can if I were to restrict my caloric intake on another type of diet that only allows me to eat 500 calories per day! That is remarkable. Despite eating so much, I lost 15 lbs. in only 10 weeks last spring. That’s 1.5 lbs per week on 1,800 calories per day versus 11 pounds in six weeks on 500 calories per day (that’s a rate of 1.8 lbs/week). I much perfer not starving myself!

Even if I did not eat any more than the raw food calories from the breakfast and lunch described above, 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 or caloric intake I am aiming for at only 1,191-1,391 calories per day. I want to enjoy more calories while still being able to lose weight.

Consequently, the higher percentage of calories that I can get from raw foods versus cooked foods, the better. I like to have an idea of the math in my head. So I will calculate a ratio using 75% of my calories per day from raw food and 25% of my caloric intake from cooked food. This will help me to shoot for that ration a majority of my week. But it’s not worth fretting over if I don’t hit hat ratio on the nose, right?

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 to track your food.

Please like, share, and subscribe! Let me know what has worked for you, in the comments below!

Here are some suggestions for easy, no-recipe, plant-based meals:

Easy Plant-based Meals (No Recipes!)

Go here to learn more about intermittent fasting, another strategy I use for weight loss:

Hunger: The Feeling of Pounds Melting Away

To learn what I feel I must eat every day to get enough nutrients and to simplify my diet, check this out:

What I Make Sure to Eat Every Day


Copyright Tracey Porter Nelson January 17, 2017

Use with permission is implied as long as credit is given and a link to The Plant-based Grandma is included. That is unless it is to be put into print or any other format for sale, then permission must be sought by leaving a comment below.



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