Last week Ashley shared in the forums, “I think 150-ish is where my body wants to naturally rest if I eat everything I want to, but there's still more fat there than there should be."
I had the exact same experience.
Even when I was perfect, not "cheating" with vegan junk, I couldn't break the 140 lb barrier.
140 is in the "normal" range for my height, but I still had fat. It wasn’t a vanity issue: my stomach was hanging over my pants and I constantly had chafing issues with my legs and arms from rubbing. I wasn’t comfortable.
Then I had my body-fat measured: I was at the tippy top end of what was considered "healthy" even though I was at a "healthy" weight!!
Yet I kept listening to all the plant-based experts who say, “You can eat as much as you want. As long as it's plant foods, especially whole foods close to nature. Don't count calories.” So I did not.
I ate lots of potatoes, lots of brown rice, lots of big “gorilla” salads, lots of kale and other greens, tons of carrots and other veggies, some beans, and fresh fruits.
I even spent $8,000 on personal trainers and TRX classes!
But I couldn't crack the 140 lb barrier.
I wondered what was wrong with me...
But the truth is I was told I could eat a lot -- and that I SHOULD eat a lot -- eat as much as I wanted… eat until I felt "full," so I did.
I ate and ate.
(Then I ate some more because I “worked out.”)
I quickly developed a habit of having 4 plates of food at a meal, all the while patting myself on the back for being so healthy.
But when I GAINED 7 pounds in three weeks following the all-you-can-eat plant-based approach, I had a “Coming to Jesus” moment.
I was eating perfect foods, but waaaay too much for my biological needs.
When I first started doing the 1,200 calorie meal plans strictly, I thought the weight I was losing was from my occasional “cheating” with oil and vegan junk foods, and I still do think that was some of it.
BUT when I broke the 140 lb barrier, and broke it EASILY, I knew there was more to it.
Because even without ANY oil or vegan junk in my diet I couldn't do that.
I then lost another 5 pounds, eventually another 5, and a little while later 2 more.
I then maintained that weight for TWO YEARS.
(I’m still in shock, as I was chronically a yo-yo dieter before.)
Before strict compliance with the meal plans-link (but plant-perfect) vs. me last week.
I absolutely, 100% believe being able to break 140 (and keep it off) is the result of 2 years using the meal plans consistently
AND finally coming to terms with how much I need in a day, and that it can't be a free-for-all.
At least not for me.
I HAVE to pay attention to total calories, too.
Plant foods don’t have “magic calories” that don’t count.
There is still a cumulative effect.
And that excess is still excess.
Many members left comments to Ashley’s post saying they have had (or are having) the EXACT same experience, so I know my experience is not a freak outlier.
Here are a few of their comments:
To be clear, I don’t believe weight-loss is purely about counting calories.
It’s NOT a simple math formula of calories in (consumed) versus calories out (burned).
WHAT goes in the mouth is far more important than how much you eat (total calories).
Intuitively you know 100 calories of carrot cake isn’t the same as 100 calories of carrots…
…so we can’t plug them into the same math formula or expect our bodies to treat them equally.
There’s no running off a bad diet... just like your car isn’t going to run on the wrong fuel no matter how hard you put the pedal to the metal.
AND if you put too much fuel in the gas tank, it’s going to spill out.
I think the clincher for me was when I had my metabolism tested along with all the other professional (expensive) fancy testing that sent electrodes through my body to tell me exactly how much bone, water, muscle, fat, and poop I was...
The tests said…even with moderate activity, on a day-to-day basis I would not need more than 1507 calories. and that was WITH activity -- if I just sat on my butt all day it was way way less.
I said to the lab girl, "But that’s so little food!" I refused to believe it was right! She told me “The human body is like a Prius: very efficient. It's not a gas-guzzling Hummer."
Coming to terms with portion sizes and total calories, sticking to the meal plans and not trying to wing it was how I got over the hump.
It didn’t matter that I only ate steamed vegetables, I wasn’t going to lose weight overeating.
As you get closer to your healthy weight, it gets more tricky and there is a smaller margin for error.
And I’m not just talking from my personal experience or my husband’s -- this echoes hundreds of experiences shared by our meal plan members in the chats and forums.
Soo if YOU have hit a plateau or you’re FRUSTRATED, follow us.
I can’t recommend the meal plans enough.
No guessing, no room for error -- just doing.
Get the results you want step-by-step.
P.S. The scale is also a big LIAR. It’s NOT a good way to track weight-loss, especially once you’re within your last 20 lbs. TOMORROW I’ll share what happened when I weighed myself every day for a month.
UPDATE: A few people emailed and asked what my thoughts on Dr. McDougall’s teachings, based on these experiences.
Dr. McDougall says “The fat you eat is the fat you wear” and I believe him…
But in the same breath, all foods, even kale and bananas and rice, contain a little fat naturally.
So if I’m over eating (and I was) that fat is going to add up. It’s why I think I was still wearing so much of it despite my perfection.
In fact, even when I was only eating vegetables, it wasn’t uncommon for me to exceed 15% fat. If I also had beans that day, I could easily reach 20% fat (and that’s when I was zero oil, nuts, seeds, olives, etc.)
SO my “low fat” diet wasn’t very low fat after all if I was chronically overeating.
I guess that makes us both right :-)
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