“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” ~Maya Angelou
Hard to believe but we’re almost at the finish line of our 21-Day Food Day Challenge.
And you’ve all done just great!
But this is not the ‘end’ of a journey—just the beginning.
I’ve learned a lot listening to all of you as we celebrated successes and shared challenges.
In that vein, here are some insights and principles which I believe are key to remember as we seek to extend our plant-based habits beyond the Challenge.
3 Plant-Based Principles to Remember
A famous California basketball coach once said, “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”
John Wooden took his college basketball team to 10 national championships in 12 years.
That’s pretty big.
And he did it by minding the details.
Here are 3 little details I believe are crucial to your ongoing success as a plant-based eater. While we covered these at length during the Challenge, I feel they are so important I’d like to once again highlight them:
- Dilution Is the Solution: This principle, which is based on the concept of calorie density, is fairly
simple. Fill half your plate with foods like non-starchy fruits and vegetables and fill the other half with medium-to-high calorie density foods like intact grains, legumes and starchy veggies. You’ll feel full and you won’t overeat. You might want to review our article on calorie density as well as our preparation guidelines for the 21 day challenge.
- Go Low Fat: Most people think they’re eating a low fat diet when they go plant-based. But that’s not necessarily true. A few olives here, a few slices of avocado there and especially a few extra nuts every day will accelerate the fat content of your diet really fast. And of course, it will also stall your weight loss. If your aim is to lose weight, eat a LOW FAT plant-based diet. Avoid or highly limit your consumption of seeds and nuts, avocado, olives, edamame, tofu until you reach your weight goal. Learn about nuts here. And, of course, NO OILS…ever.
- Remember the Why That Makes You Cry: We’ve talked a lot about this before. Everyone has different reasons for wanting to change their lives. And the deepest reason—the why that makes you cry—is what keeps you going. Revisit these mindset tools to help keep you on top of your why. And remember this awesome advice from some of the top experts in the plant-based field.
You Lose Weight in the Kitchen. You Get Fit in the Gym
If I could, I’d like to add a few comments about losing weight. You didn’t gain 10 pounds in a week. You won’t lose 10 in a week, either. The most healthful and reasonable way to lose weight is by losing about a pound a week. Slow is definitely the best way to achieve long-term weight control.
Equally, while exercise is of course crucial to a healthful lifestyle, always remember that you won’t lose weight in the gym. As the saying goes, you lose weight in the kitchen. You get fit in the gym. So, you will lose weight ONE way–by modifying your diet and avoiding high fat foods (even plants).
I gave a talk on this subject that I think you might find quite interesting called Your Diet, Your Genes and YOU: How to Take Control of Your Obesity Genes that you can view here.
Change Your Habits One at a Time
Transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle is all about learning how to change your habits. And one of the best pieces of advice I can give you on that subject is to not try to do too much too fast.
Change your habits.
So for example, if this is your first plant-based excursion, start by focusing on ONE meal. Or cutting out ONE type of food (oil or dairy). Or if you’ve just transitioned to a 100% whole food, plant-based diet, wait a month before starting a new exercise routine.
Don’t try to do too much at a time; your system (and your spirit!) will short-circuit with too much change and you will end up ultimately disappointed.
You might want to read this article for a quick refresher course on changing habits.
My final piece of advice as we race toward the finish line of our Food Day Challenge is this: don’t stop learning.
The more you know – especially about “controversial” subjects like protein, oils, soy, nuts, starches, organics – the more you will learn to trust yourself.
The less you’ll doubt yourself.
And the easier it will be to follow your plant-based journey.
Best of luck and thank you from the bottom of my heart for your commitment to living a healthier and happier life.