How eating whole plant foods results in effortless weight loss

I started eating whole plant foods for my health, not weight

When I started my whole food, plant-based (wfpb) journey, I was interested in one thing only. I wanted to improve my heart health so that I could live without debilitating angina and fatigue. I wasn’t trying to lose weight. I knew I would lose some, but it wasn’t important to me. I was so desperate that I didn’t care what weight or size I was just so long as I felt better.

A Very Brief Whole Foods, Plant-Based Primer


I think I am somewhat unusual among chubby women in that I do not have a significant history of dieting, yo-yo or otherwise. I wasn’t overweight as a child or teen, though I was never slender – sturdy is probably the best word to describe me. I gained an average of roughly a pound a year over my adult life, a number that is fairly typical.

I may have been heavy – 190 pounds on my 5’8” frame, but it snuck up on me gradually, except for the last few pounds during my period of illness when I was unable to do much exercise. Whenever the thought crossed my mind to try to lose some weight, I immediately laughed off the idea because this was obviously my body type and I wouldn’t have the willpower to sustain a diet anyway. I was sure I would rebound and end up even heavier.

Weight loss happened as a side effect

By diving into the whole food plant-based lifestyle,  I saw very dramatic changes in my health. My angina started to improve within a week. Other health benefits followed shortly thereafter.

3 Reasons to Jump Into a Whole Foods, Plant-Based Life

How I Reversed my Chronic Angina and Got my Life Back

I also started to notice my clothing was looser. Before long, I had lost 40 pounds. I now weigh less than I did when I got married 26 years ago. I wasn’t doing anything specifically to lose weight like restricting calories or carbs or portion sizes. The dropped weight was simply a side effect of the wfpb way of eating.

It’s all about calorie density

So how is it possible to lose weight without counting calories or carbs, or restricting portion sizes? How is it that I snack whenever I want and never feel deprived? The secret is in the types of food I eat, rather than the quantity. Most whole plant foods fall at the lower end of the calories per pound spectrum. You just can’t get fat eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. The body is getting appropriate signals about the amount of nutrients and sheer volume of food and sends the correct messages to the brain to control appetite. It really is as simple as avoiding very high calorie foods with limited nutritional value, like meat, dairy and processed junk foods.

See what Jeff Novick RD has to say about this:

Calorie Density Approach to Nutrition and Lifelong Weight Management

Also check out Doug Lisle PhD  and watch the video if you have a chance:

How To Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind

A confession

Although I didn’t start out seeking to lose weight, I am thrilled with my new body. It’s the visible manifestation of my new health status. No one can see my blood pressure or cholesterol levels, but my weight and shape is visible proof that I am feeling strong and healthy. I never thought my weight was a barrier to feeling my best, but being lighter and stronger feels younger and better, and it turns out to be a pretty important part of my plant-based midlife rejuvenation.

feature image: By Kulmanhiro (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons


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