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Calorie Density and Weight Loss.

Calorie density is the measure of calories or energy in a certain weight of food. Typically, calories per pound or kilojoules per kilogram.

Vegetables are the lowest calorie dense food at about 200 cal per pound and oil is the highest at approximately 4000 cal per pound. If you eat below the 600 cal per pound mark (Chef AJ calls this left of the red line) you are able to lose weight and get to a healthy weight.

The plant based foods above 600 cal per pound are: avocados, dried fruit, bread, nut butters, nuts and seeds. These need to be avoided when on a weight loss diet. See Calorie Density Chart here.

Volume Eating.

Most people eat more or less the same weight of food every day. This amount is what fits in your stomach and satiates you. I might eat 3 lbs each day, my father 4 lbs, my son 2 lbs you get the idea. Due to the principle of calorie density each pound of plant based food takes up more space with less calories. More fiber, water and bulk from vegetables makes more volume.

For instance, let’s use the silly example to explain. Imagine one pound of junk food (gummies, burgers, chips ) at approximately 3,000 cal per pound and one pound of potatoes at approximately 400 cal per pound. Let’s assume you eat 3 pounds of food per day to feel full and satiated. Well on the eat every junk diet you have 9,000 cal per day (3,000 cal X 3 lbs).

You most likely only need 2,000 cal to function so that is 7,000 calories in excess, this will cause major weight gain. As a side note you gain one pound for every 3,500 calories you consume in excess of what you burn.

Now let’s assume you eat 3 lbs of potatoes (300 cal x 3 lbs) this is 900 calories. Which will fill you more 3 lbs of junk or 3 lbs of potatoes? The potatoes will take up more space, hence fill you up. In this example you can add a salad, some green veggies and fruit to your potatoes and you still would be well under 2,000 calories total.

Very simply put to lose weight you need to eat less calories than your body needs. This is called a calorie deficit. The easiest way to do this is the whole food plant based way. It provides more bulk than just eating a teeny tiny amount of everything. So to lose weight keep to the left of the red line (as per chef AJ ) on the calorie density chart. Don’t eat oil or salt. Limit or avoid bread, avocados, nuts or dried fruit to lose weight. No processed foods! And drink enough water and green tea.

If, however you would like to maintain your weight you can go ahead and eat bread, avocados, nuts, nut butters and dried fruits. And to gain weight simply eat more of everything and add smoothies.

If you were to place all the food that I eat in a day onto the table it would be much more than my omnivore eating counterpart in volume, but much less in calories.

Weight Loss FAQ.

Will I be full or will I be hungry?
This is tricky because what is full? Is full so stuffed you want to vomit? Because chances are if you are overweight like I was, full had a different meaning. If full is no longer hungry, then yes you will be full. All the fiber and the sheer amount of food will satiate you.

If it doesn’t, please look at what you’re eating. If it is only salads and greens, you need more starches. Starches like potatoes, sweat potatoes, whole grains, corn will fill you up. Also, at the beginning (first few weeks) you will have this weird feeling of … I am full but I could still eat. This is because you are eating less calories per pound. Just stay calm and carry on. Your body will stop soon. But if you feel crazy hungry simply eat some more whole food plant based food.

I weigh myself every day and it went up from yesterday?
Your weight will fluctuate. Mine did as I lost weight. Per week you will lose a 1/2 to 2 pounds. I did mine in kilograms and I lost 1 kg (2.2 lbs) in one to two weeks. Some weeks nothing was lost, typically when I had my period.

Some weeks I lost 2.2 pounds in one week. This also depends on how much you exercise. In addition, the fatter you are the faster the initial loss but this will subside. Many people only weigh themselves once a week for this reason.

What if everyone around me is unsupportive or even rude?
Swimming upstream has never been encouraged by others. In fact, nothing great has ever come from those who swim with the stream.

People will think you’ve gone to extremes and they will try to debunk everything. They’ll tell you about their cousin friends sister’s dog was once vegan and almost died because its hair fell out. If they are true friends or family try explaining to them that you wish to be healthier and would like to ask them to help and support you in your endeavor.

Don’t try to educate your friends until you have lost the weight. After the first 25 pounds that I lost a “friend” said “Gee, that vegan shit isn’t really working for you is it.” I was still fat in her eyes as I had not reached my healthy weight.

Plus, people are embarrassed by their own crappy eating habits, they don’t like being reminded of what they are doing wrong.

For great ways to handle this type of thing watch YouTube videos with Dr Doug Lisle.

I've tried this and it is not working. What am I doing wrong?
I have been here, so I know exactly how I thought I could trick the system :😜
• Are you drinking juices or smoothies? Stop. Because when you break down the fibers you will eat much more at one sitting. Don’t drink your calories eat them. Another great example is an apple versus applesauce versus apple juice you can eat maybe 3 to 4 apples at once but you can eat more than four apples worth of sauce or juice in one sitting, it’s the fiber.
• Be honest are you eating vegan or WFPB? No processed foods, that includes no crackers, bread, vegan pizza, vegan cheese etc.
• Are you eating nuts, dried fruit, bread and avocados? If you wish to lose weight either completely cut them out or count calories to make sure you don’t eat too much of them. At the beginning I advise against this calorie counting, just don’t eat them
• Don’t add salt. Salt makes you eat more. While cooking don’t add salt, if you must do so after the food is done. Put salt on before you eat. Try black salt that way you see how much you use.
• NO oil, sugar or flour.
• NO alcohol. PERIOD!
• Eat salad or veggies together with calorie dense food, that way you will eat less of the calorie dense food. Simply put it is a dilution of calories.
Isn't this just calorie counting?
Yes and no. You’re controlling the calories without having to count them. That is if you abide by eating only vegetables, fruit, potatoes, whole grains, beans and lentils.
I think I've hit a weight-loss plateau?
• Make sure to cut out all the food over the 600 cal per pound mark. That means NO avocados, nuts, nut butters, dried fruit and bread.
• Eat more salads and vegetables, less tofu and rice.
• Eat steamed or roasted vegetables for breakfast. Yes you heard me breakfast.
• If you aren’t already, do exercise or a walk around the block will help you get your metabolism going.
• Eliminate all additional salt. Salt makes you eat more.
• Try intermittent fasting (check with the doctor before doing this). When I hit plateaus, I stopped eating at 3 PM until 9 AM the next morning. It helped my heartburn and jumpstarted the weight loss again.
• Sometimes you hit a plateau due to getting sick or getting your period. Don’t sweat it, just keep going.

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