Healthy Eating Plan For Natural Weight Loss

In my experience, the best way to lose weight and to keep it off would be to eat natural, whole foods and to avoid processed or unnatural foods. The average American diet is characterized by cheap, fast food, “junk” food and foods that are high in unhealthy fats, sugar and salt. This “fast food” way of life is killing us. It makes people overweight or obese and is a source of disease and early death. Obesity increases the risk of diseases like diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, cancer and stroke. Eating healthy and maintaining a normal body weight can lower the risks associated with obesity.

This is not a “diet” and it shouldn’t be regarded that way. It should be a way of life. It can take weeks and months to gradually lose excess weight and be able to keep it off. There is no “quick fix”. Fast weight loss usually backfires. Most people who lose weight too quickly wind up gaining it all back – plus more. The best way to prepare good food is to cook it yourself. That’s the reason for the recipes section of the website. Some recipes are quick and easy, while others take more preparation. You can broil salmon and serve it with a green salad in 10 minutes. You can cook oatmeal in 5 minutes. Those are a couple of examples of fast and easy recipes that are very healthy and help reduce cholesterol. Salmon is high in Omega 3 fats (good fats) and oatmeal has been shown to reduce cholesterol.

One thing that I have noticed is that bad food deprives the body of energy and when the body is low on energy what do we do? We become hungry and we need to eat. If what we eat is bad food, it will just make us hungry for more. This is the downward spiral. So the first hurdle to overcome is to replace bad food with good food that doesn’t make you hungry.

Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen

The first guidelines to adopt for a healthy way of life come from Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dr. Michael Roizen. I saw them on an Oprah show on TV. They list five ingredients you should avoid when shopping for food:

  1. Hydogenated oil, or partially hydrogenated oil and/or trans fats
  2. Sugar
  3. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
  4. Saturated fat
  5. Enriched flour

This simple list of ingredients to avoid is the best place to start because they are so ubiquitous. HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) is virtually everywhere. You can find it in beverages, breads, pastries, condiments (like catsup), snacks, soups, salad dressings, sauces, ice cream, jams, jellies and syrups, etc., etc. HFCS has replaced sugar in most processed foods found in grocery stores and restaurants.

“Enriched” flour is another one. In the process of making enriched flour, naturally occurring vitamins are removed then added back in afterwards. The result is a food that is high in carbohydrate, but lacking in nutritional value. The best flour is made from whole grain – in it’s natural state – that hasn’t been processed. Don’t be fooled by foods made from “whole wheat”. That is not whole grain. Avoid foods that say “whole wheat”. Insist on “whole grain” instead.

Trans fat is another one. It is true that food labels can say “zero trans fat”, but beware that even good fat can be turned into trans fat under the right conditions – like when hot oil comes into contact with starch. For example, deep frying produces trans fat (like french fries). Roasting nuts produces trans fat because nuts contain fat and starch (along with some protein). I buy raw nuts – raw almonds, raw pecans and I buy peanut butter made from raw (not roasted) peanuts. Trans fats are all over the place.

Hydrogenated fat is another one – similar to trans fat. Unsaturated fats will chemically combine more easily than hydrogenated fats. Unsaturated fat will combine with oxygen and go rancid. It is due to the outer shell of electrons on the atoms. If the shell is fully populated with electrons it can’t combine with other atoms. Hydrogenation is the process of bubbling hydrogen into the fat in order to “saturate” the outer shell of electrons and keep them from combining with oxygen – which prevents it from going rancid. Hydrogenation is a preservative process. It makes products last longer on the shelf. But it also makes a fat that the body can’t use easily. It has to work hard to break it down. If the fat was natural, it can use it more easily. Be cautious even when eating in restaurants. The bread they serve can contain trans fats and hydrogenated fats.

You have to start reading labels when you shop for food. That’s the only way you can guarantee that the foods you choose won’t have these ingredients.

Artificial Sweeteners, Pesticides and Toxins

In addition to the five ingredients recommended by Drs. Oz and Roizen to avoid, I also try to avoid artificial sweeteners, pesticides, preservatives, toxic chemicals and environmental pollution because I believe these contribute to robbing the body of energy. Fatty foods, sugar, toxic chemicals, preservatives, pollution and lack of exercise and lack of sleep will rob the body of energy. Drinking too much coffee or tea can rob the body of energy. Anything that robs the body of energy can lead to weight gain. When the body’s energy runs too low, it can sink into a downward spiral of hunger, cravings and over-eating that inevitably leads to weight gain.

The whole point of a healthy eating plan is to give the body a chance to obtain all the energy it needs plus more to the point where it burns its stored fat without being hungry.

Sugar makes you hungry. Even if you were to satisfy that hunger with good food, you would still tend to over-eat because the body would not be able to signal you that you were full until you have eaten too much. With a healthy eating plan you will have to ween off sugar, enriched or white flour and all junk food snacks and desserts. If my goal is weight loss, then I will try to make all my meals from a set of “core foods” (below). I expected that for the first week or so that I would experience uncomfortable “sugar withdrawals”, which should subside after awhile. Good “core foods” would allow meat, fish, poultry, fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, whole grains, rice, beans and hot cereals (like oatmeal) and limited amounts of coffee, tea, fruit, fruit juices, raw nuts and salad dressing made from natural ingredients like Italian dressing or Balsamic Vinegrette (without sugar or additives). The core foods that I choose do not include alcohol, diet sodas or foods containing enriched flour, HFCS, trans-fats, hydrogenated oils or partially hydrogenated oils and fats of any kind, etc.

Core Foods

All calories were not created equal, and neither were carbohydrates. The “core foods” in a healthy eating plan are simply basic, whole foods. I would only include small amounts of bread or pasta for awhile and I would try to get whole grains only and avoid foods containing enriched flour or refined flour or non-organically grown wheat. Examples of core foods are:

  • Fresh or frozen fish, meat and fowl. This includes beef, lamb, pork, turkey, chicken, duck, salmon, cod, etc.
  • Whole grains, cereals and legumes like oatmeal, brown rice, pinto beans, mung beans, split peas, millet, etc.
  • Lots of fresh vegetables, both starchy and non-starchy like broccoli, couliflower, lettuce, onions, potatos, beets, carrots, radishes, parsley, cliantro (coriander), bell peppers, chili peppers, asparagus, etc.
  • Fresh fruit and good fats – like raw nuts. Always buy raw nuts – never roasted. Roasting introduces trans fats, and trans fats are one of the foods to avoid.
  • Moderate amounts of coffee or tea.
  • Plenty of water.
  • Pretty much any recipe made from the above raw materials.

I felt that if I wanted to lose weight then it was probably best to avoid breads and pasta for awhile because breads can act like sugar and make you hungry. It’s also probably better to lay off dairy products like milk, eggs, butter and cheese for awhile if my goal was to lose weight. I felt I could introduce small amounts of bread and dairy products afterwards. Coffee and tea should probably be used in moderation. Coffee and tea contain caffeine and too much caffeine can interfere with blood sugar levels just like sugar.

Core foods should be organic, naturally occurring whole foods. Try to get foods that are as un-processed as possible. If you prefer vegetarian, then you can do the core foods without the meat. The core foods are at the heart of a healthy eating plan. For me, the idea was to build my eating plan around a sound core and to withdraw from sugar. I believed that I would be able to gradually add small amounts of bread, dairy and other things later after my body had some time to adjust and for my appetite signals return to normal once I had experienced some weight loss. I watched my results carefully. If I saw my weight starting to go up, then I would back off the foods that caused me to put on weight. Oftentimes I would find myself getting hungry because I had eaten foods containing sugars (even natural sugars like fruit juice and honey). When this happened I would fall back on a regimine of core foods for awhile. Watch your weight and pay attention to your appetite and get it back on track. Try to make it a way of life – not a diet.

You should be able eat whatever you need to feel satisfied. Some people do well eating steaks with fresh cooked vegetables and salads while you are shaking off the sugar Heebie Jeebies. Try to eat your last meal no later than 7 pm and then nothing from that time until you go to bed, sleep for the night and wake up in the morning for breakfast.

Eat Your Last Meal No Later Than 7 PM

A healthy eating plan would be to eat regular meals during the day and then nothing after 7 pm. Some suggestions for the last meal of the day could be a protein with vegetables and try to include a salad with fresh leafy green vegetables and perhaps sliced cucumbers, radishes and tomatos. You can have a small amount of natural salad dressing like Italian or or Balsamic Vinegrette (without sugar or additives). For example, you can eat a heavy soup like split pea soup for lunch but maybe not for  dinner. You might eat brown rice during the day – maybe up to 2 pm – but not at dinner. That sort of thing.

I like to have a green drink in the morning with supplements, followed by a breakfast of oatmeal topped with fresh or frozen fruit and some chopped raw nuts about 30 minutes to an hour later. Lunch can be anything that satisfies you. You can have as little as a couple of ounces of broiled salmon or as much as a plate of rice and beans with cooked ground meat or a bowl of thick soup like mung bean soup or split pea soup if you like. There are recipes for all of these in the recipes section of the website. For dinner, I like to have a protein meal like meat, fish or fowl with a non-starchy vegetable (like green beans or asparagus) plus a leafy vegetable salad. I like to have a grilled or broiled steak with a salad made from Romaine lettuce and red lettuce with sliced cucumbers, radishes and tomatoes and a little all natural Italian dressing. Sometimes I will have just a salad with about a half a can of tuna in water (about 3 oz. of tuna) for dinner. I am a little nervous about canned tuna because most all tuna nowadays contains mercury, which is toxic. The linings of most food cans these days contain chemicals like BPA (Bisphenol A) which are also toxic.  I always try to minimize all toxins and harmful chemicals and try to avoid them altogether.

A Healthy Way of Life

I had to learn how to read labels when shopping for food. I also learned to cook my meals. It wasn’t hard. I also began to stay away from restaurant food because there was no way to check the ingredients. There was no way for me to be sure that the food restaurants were serving were free of HFCS, trans-fats or enriched flour. Even the salads might contain sulfites to keep the lettuce from wilting.

After I began to buy whole foods and cook my own meals I began to lose weight – very, very slowly. It is much better to lose weight slowly. I have had bad luck with rapid weight loss because it only lead to gaining back the weight. I want a healthy eating lifestyle that IS NOT A DIET. I would like it to be a way of life because I believe that most diets don’t work. My goal was to learn to eat good, wholesome, nourishing food all the time and enjoy it. Hopefully I would be able to eat as much as I needed to feel satisified because I was counting on my body to send me the right signals. The goal was to be truly satisfied and not hungry all the time.

If I found that I was gaining weight, then I would fall back on the core foods. Through trial and error, I believed that I would lose weight down to my ideal weight – whatever that was. I figured that it could take months, even years, but it will be worth all the effort. To me it was worth it to gain control over my eating by making it a way of life.