You are eating a healthy diet, probably a whole food plant-based diet. You have even lost a considerable amount of weight since you started. Just as you are enjoying this victory, this journey to your new size, you stop losing further. The weight may even come up slightly or stay just about the same every time you go on the scale. You have looked for a weight loss plateau solution, but everything you are seeing doesn’t make sense. And you are now even more confused than before.
You are beginning to think there’s something wrong with you. Maybe you are supposed to be overweight. Some gurus may even tell you it is your body type or your bone. Having examined your diet, you see you are still on track. Eating healthy like you did when you started, but stuck even though you are far from your ideal body weight. . You have even increased your exercise regime but nothing seems to work. So, what exactly is the problem?
I have been there:
I completely know what you are talking about. It happened to me too and I know how frustrating that can be. When I started my weight loss journey, I was 100kg (220 pounds) and my BMI was 35.4. After losing about 15kg (37.5 pounds), which is actually a lot, I stopped losing weight further. I didn’t understand what was happening. But I knew I had hit a weight loss plateau.
I couldn’t really complain to anyone around me because I knew they wouldn’t understand where I was coming from. To them, I had lost a lot of weight and was ok with the new size. In fact, some people often had told me not to lose weight further. They even went ahead to say I would be ugly if I lost more weight…hahaha!
But, I knew I was still obese though borderline. Being 5’6 (1.68 m) in height, my BMI was 30.1. As I mentioned in my post on 13 Reasons To Ditch The Fat And Lose Weight This Year, because most people are overweight or obese, people’s perception of normal weight is now skewed. People see overweight and obese individuals as normal weight and normal weight individuals as skinny.
Even though I knew I was still obese, I was beginning to think well maybe that BMI thing is not for Africans… lol. Maybe we need different parameters. And as I meet people that hadn’t seen me in a while and they praised my weight loss effort, I continued to lie to myself that maybe this is ok. I truly could be ugly if I lost more weight. My shapely body could be gone forever and I’ll be like a stick. One lie after another to justify my inability to lose weight further.
But, there was someone I saw every day that always told me the truth – THE MIRROR. When I stand naked in front of the mirror, I saw the truth. It was there staring me in the eyes. I could continue to lie to myself or face the truth standing right before me. I was stuck at 85kg for almost 2 months. Fluctuating about 1kg on both sides.
I knew I had to do something about this weight loss plateau and do it fast. Particularly considering the fact that I started the whole food plant-based lifestyle for health reasons. I actually didn’t particularly have weight loss in mind when I started. I had given up on the idea of ever losing weight after many failed attempts. However, I knew deep down that being Obese or overweight was not healthy and was costing me. My cholesterol levels were high and abnormal.
When I started a whole food plant-based diet, it was during the peak of the Corona Virus Disease pandemic – July 2020 to be exact. As I mentioned earlier, it was for health reasons. A number of young people that were my age mates started dying and it wasn’t the virus. These are people who were otherwise healthy and they will just die. It was scary honestly and I became scared for myself.
I have two young girls, it’ll be irresponsible for me not to do something about my diet and lifestyle since I now knew what to do. They were my major motivation for change.
Also considering the fact that my mum has hypertension and kidney disease. My uncles and aunties had/have high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, gall stones, arthritis, low back pain. All of which is strongly linked to being overweight and obese. Being obese will increase my chances of having any combination of those illnesses.
So remaining obese was not an option. And then my eyes were opened to the solution.
THE WEIGHT LOSS PLATEAU SOLUTION:
A whole food plant-based diet/lifestyle is the best diet for weight loss and overall health. Not just based on my opinion but this has been confirmed by a number of studies. However, there are some whole foods that are quite calorie-dense (lots of calories in a small amount).
This was an advantage in the olden days when death from starvation was a real threat. Our ancestors had to eat the most calorie-dense foods they could lay their hands on in order to store enough energy (fat) for the day they won’t have much to eat. It was survival of the fittest.
However, today we live in an environment of abundance. Thank God for that, but we have to be careful to prevent being overweight or obese. We live in interesting times.
Here is the list of food you may still be eating on a whole food plant-based diet that most likely is responsible for your weight loss plateau. I removed them and I started losing weight back.
Even though nuts are healthy containing many beneficial nutrients, they are very calorie dense. There’s about 2,600 calories in a pound of nuts. And with the way they are roasted, highly salted and packaged these days, once you pop, you can’t stop. It is very easy to eat a pound of nuts in a day. Between sprinkling them on your salad, using them in salad dresings, popping them in your mouth, a whole pound is gone before you notice it.
That’s why in my post on Best Way To Lose Weight Without Going Crazy, I recommend you don’t include nuts. I learnt this the hard way. You don’t have to go through the same mistake I went through. Any nutrient you need to get from them can be derived from an array of other whole plant foods.
So, ditch the nuts for now. When you get to your ideal weight, you can monitor to see if you can bring them back and in what amounts.
I’m talking about these separately from nuts for a couple of reasons:
- It is way easier to eat way more amounts of nuts as butter than as whole nuts.
- The blending process liberates all the calories in the nuts for absorption. Eating whole nuts, some of the calories don’t get absorbed and are passed with stool. But eating it as butter, almost all the calories are absorbed.
- Most store-bought nut butters are loaded with oils shooting up the calories and lots of chemicals, preservatives, and the likes.
- A lot of factories use nuts that have mold. These are the ones people wouldn’t ordinarily buy as whole nuts in the store. They do this to prevent wastage and cut down cost.
Ditch them to see the number on the scale go down.
Seeds And Tahini:
I struggled hard with this one. As most of you know flax seeds and chia seeds are particularly very healthy among seeds. Others like hemp seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds are healthy too. flax seeds and chia seeds really take the lead because they are high in Omega 3 Fatty Acids, which are anti-inflammatory. However, they are calorie-dense.
What makes it worse is people include them in recipes and heat destroys the omega 3 present in the seeds and just gets the calories and other nutrients. You also have to break the shell by grinding before consumption or else you pass it right out in the toilet without getting the Omega 3s. After breaking the shell, you have to consume it immediately because it oxidizes easily.
It’s too stressful. You can get enough omega 3 fatty acids from your green vegetables. Yes! green vegetables have enough omega 3 fatty acid to meet your daily requirement. And you can get your daily requirements in a pound or two of raw vegetables. Easy right?
However, you can take 1 tablespoon daily and that will give you all your omega 3 fatty acids requirements.
Don’t get angry with me on avocados. I’m just the messenger… lol. As healthy and nutritious as avocados are, they are also quite calorie-dense. 750 calories per pound. Though not as bad as nuts, they can also frustrate your weight loss efforts. Particularly if you are a big guacamole fan. Some people smear guacamole on almost everything they eat… lol. Are you like that? That may be the reason for your weight loss plateau.
I understand it is very tasty. Leave them out for now. When you have reached your ideal weight, you can then introduce it back in small quantities. Any nutrient you need from them can be got from an array of other plant sources.
If you are on a whole food plant based diet, i don’t expect you’ll be taking oils. It’s not a whole food. It is highly processed and very, very, very calorie dense. It is the most calorie dense thing people put in their bodies.
Some vegans are obese and unhealthy and this is largely due to oils and junk food. That’s why this blog is not a call to veganism but to a healthy way of eating to lose weight and stay healthy. When it comes to weight loss and health, oil and vegan junk food are worse offenders than even some animal products.
This is not to encourage you to keep eating animal products but to run from oils.
Usually these are the major offenders if you are on a whole food plant based diet. Follow the plan laid out on my blog post Best Way To Lose Weight Without Going Crazy and you’ll continue to see the weight drop.
However, here are other things you can do:
- move more (please note I didn’t say exercise). Check out my post on Do I Need To Exercise To Lose Weight?
- Sleep 7-8 hours at night
- Manage stress and stressors in your life
- Love more! Live more!! Be happy!!!
Why Did I Then Lose Weight Initially Eating These Foods:
Cutting out junk alone from your diet would make you lose weight. The weight loss may just not be enought to take you to your ideal weight. This of course depends on what your diet was before and your starting weight. It gets to a point where the effect of that dietary change is maxed out and you have to take out more calorie dense foods to move further.
37 pounds is a lot of weight to lose. I lost that while still having nuts and seeds in my diet. There’s a Nigerian dish called egusi made from pumpkin seeds. That was another meal I had to let go of. I’m not an avocado fan. But, I can easily sit to finish that whole bottle of peanut. For me to lose more, I had to remove the nuts and seed and be more strict with the 50/50 rule. After doing these, the weight loss continued and is actually moving faster than before.
If you are just starting your weight loss journey, congrats. You are getting it right the first time. If you are experiencing a weight loss plateau, thank God you’ve got it right now and can continue to lose the excess weight.
I’ll be in the comment section if you have any questions. To your healthier and slimmer body.
Love you always