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How to eat as much food as you want and still lose weight

eat_lots_lose_weight
I’ve lost four pounds in the last two weeks, without much (if any) exercise.

Am I on a secret diet pill? Nope.

Am I starving? I have to admit, I eat more food now than I did three weeks ago.

Am I one of those freakishly awesome people who lose weight easily and have a hard time gaining weight? Hahaha. My BMI is 28, which is clearly in the “overweight” category. But if the last two weeks are any indication, I’m not going to be stuck there long.

My secret

Vegetables, fruits, beans, and grains. A plant-based diet. Vegan food, if you will. And as much of it as I want to eat. It’s really, really hard to get that painfully too-stuffed feeling on this diet. Believe me, I’ve tried.

I’ve given up meat, dairy, sugar, white flour, and oily food, for the most part. I occasionally eat some of this stuff, but it’s the exception now.

Why would I do such a thing?

I am anti-animal cruelty, of course, but I do believe it is morally okay to eat meat, so I never considered a plant-based diet before. But there’s this documentary lauding a plant-based diet, Forks Over Knives, which talks about the health reasons for plant-based food: animals and animal products are dangerous and cause cancer and disease!

The documentary makers had people switch their diets to plant-only food and tracked their results. Diseases and suffering were minimized or even stopped, even serious things like diabetes.

Result: I feel amazing.

I haven’t had that heavy feeling you get after eating meat. I feel full after every meal, but never uncomfortably full or lethargic. I thought the lack of protein would be an issue, especially since I’m still nursing the baby, but it hasn’t. At all.

I don’t get the weird sugar buzz, because I don’t eat sugary things anymore. I don’t get that sticky feeling after eating fried food, because I don’t eat it.

Plus, I feel like I can eat as much as I want, as long as it’s vegetables, fruits, grains, or beans. As much as I want!

I feel slimmer. I’ve lost about four pounds so far, and that’s just over the past two weeks (including a stop at In-N-Out with cheeseburger, cheese fries, and a chocolate shake. All by myself.) And these four pounds are THOSE hard pounds to lose. You know, the ones right before you get to your pre-pregnancy or pre-college or whatever weight? Those four melted right off. Without much exercise, too.

My mind feels less sluggish. My body feels lighter and stronger and happier. Overall, I feel wonderful.

I admit, giving up dairy was weird. I love dairy. I love milk and, especially, cheese. But I do feel a significant difference after not eating or drinking much dairy. (I kept some, because I am nursing and, no matter what Forks Over Knives claims, it is a little challenging to get enough calcium without milk. I also kept some eggs–once or twice a week–because eggs are amazing.)

So, what do we eat?

Our meals used to feature meat as the main course and everything else as sides. So what do we eat now? Only delicious foods.

If the food you eat isn’t delicious, you’re not going to stick with a plant-based diet, no matter how good it is for your body. These are some of the delicious things we eat:

Snacks/sides

  • Sweet potato. BEST snack ever. Wash it off, stab it with a fork a few times, then microwave it 2 minutes. Flip it, microwave 2 more. If it’s not done then, try 2 more minutes (it’s hard to overcook). Add salt, maybe a little butter, and it’s delicious!
  • No-bake energy bites. Sweet and delicious. These disappeared before I even rolled them into balls.
  • Soup. I make a big pot of soup about once a week for dinner. The leftovers make perfect snacks–just zap a bowl and you’re set. See the Dinner section for soup recipes.
  • Hummus and Triscuits. I made cheap and easy homemade hummus in the crockpot. The idea is here, but I used the recipe in the book: Family Feasts for $75 a Week.
  • Smoothies. Add a handful of spinach to any smoothie recipe to get extra veggies without compromising flavor. TOO much spinach (several cups) makes your smoothie taste like spinach, but a cup or so won’t.
  • Whole-wheat blueberry muffins.
  • Bean burritos, using the leftovers from refried beans.
  • Veggie and hummus wrap. I used homemade hummus, left out the feta the recipe calls for, and tried a couple different vegetables. Each time, delicious!
  • Carrot Apple Nut Muffins. These are delicious! Like carrot cake, but not overly sweet. My kids and every other person who’s tried these loves them.
  • Oven fries. I made a huge batch of these from a 10 pound bag of potatoes. Yeah, they were gone within 2 days.
  • Applesauce. I don’t like apples or applesauce, but everyone else in my house does, and they gobble this up. You don’t even need a recipe–just peel and chop apples until your crock pot is full. Add 1/2 cup of water. If you don’t want brown applesauce, coat your apples in a capful of lemon juice or add 1 teaspoon cinnamon.

Dinner

  • Minestrone Soup. My sister-in-law introduced me to this one. It’s delicious, filling, and healthy.
  • Vegetable Chowder. Tried this one last night. Very tasty. We added more salt than the recipe called for.
  • Veggie and hummus wrap.
  • Quick & easy noodle stir-fry. Yum! My kids don’t really like this, but they eat enough to not starve. My husband and I LOVE it.
  • Refried beans. I make these once a month–at least. Sometimes I smash the beans, sometimes I leave them whole. I cut the pepper by half, though–the original amounts are too strong.
  • Sweet potato curry. I replaced the chicken in the recipe with more sweet potatoes. Delicious!
  • Chili. I love the recipe for Chili non Carne in this cookbook: How to Cook Everything.
  • Beans and rice. Sometimes we use the refried beans recipe, but don’t smash the beans. Sometimes we use this black bean recipe. We recently switched to brown rice, and I’m not looking back. It’s delicious and filling. You just have to remember to start it early enough–it does take a while to cook.
  • Sloppy joes, with beans instead of meat. I used to do half meat, half cooked pinto beans (usually leftover from the refried beans recipe, unsmashed), but I just tried it with all beans–delicious! It’s a different texture, but just as flavorful.

As you can see from the occasional pasta and sugar we’re not 100% enslaved to the plant-based diet, but we do follow it pretty closely. And we feel great.

(P.S. there are a couple of affiliate links in here, bolded to distinguish them. I have no problem recommending these cookbooks to you because they’re ones I use and love.)

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