I love food and have a big appetite. This was part of the reason I was so obese just a few short years ago. Excessive eating of candy, bread and processed foods caused my weight to balloon to over 350 pounds.
I was like many of you... I thought I could exercise my way to a healthier weight. I walked the treadmill, sometimes 40 minutes with knees that were sore from the excess weight. I took swim classes because I heard that swimming was a good way to lose weight. I didn't exercise as consistently then, but still, I did try, only to discover, you just can't lose weight by not changing your eating habits.
I also ignored my health, fearing in the back of my mind about diabetes, which runs in my family. i didn't go to the doctor for years as I didn't want to know what I was doing to my body. When I finally went for a physical and found out I was pre-hypertensive, it was a huge wakeup call.
But how did someone like me change my eating habits when I ate so much food before? Well, for one thing, I replaced the sweets with fruits and vegetables. I can eat as many vegetables as I want without worrying about my weight. Calorie counting has become a thing of the past... it's more important to eat nutrient rich food at each meal.
I developed my eating plan by researching what foods would lower blood pressure. Eventually, I realized my eating plan closely resembled that of a Nutritarian. Dr. Fuhrman coined the term and basically it means getting the majority of your caloric intake from the most nutrient-rich foods. Dr. Fuhrman says he wants people to eat at least one big salad a day. I've been eating salads as part of my plan nearly every day. I love having big salads as I'm supplying my body with the nutrients it needs and it fills me up so that I don't have to feel hungry a little while after eating.
The other benefit of eating this way: it has given me lots of energy. I've been able to keep up with a 5 day a week workout schedule. I never would have been able to keep up with the pace if I was still eating bowls of ice cream! Also, as a Nutritarian, I get all the protein I need to build muscle. A common misconception still exists that people who eat plant based foods don't get enough protein but that's definitely not the case. You just have to eat the foods that are higher in protein, like chia seeds, flax seeds, broccoli and quinoa, among other foods.
I know everyone has different eating needs. If you are trying to lose weight, you should do the research to see which diet will work for you before jumping into it. Remember, a diet is really a lifestyle change. It has to be consistent to have sustainable weight loss. In other words, if you find a diet that you will not stick with, you will most likely gain the weight back. As for myself, eating this way has become easy because I enjoy the foods so much! I never imagined that I would like the healthy foods the way I do. I guess it's true, once you eat healthy foods, you don't crave the bad foods anymore!