By Jane Birch
This is a companion page to the series on “The Word of Wisdom Way to Weight Loss” published by Jane Birch in Meridian Magazine. Please see these articles for all the key concepts and strategies:
- Introduction to the Word of Wisdom Way to Weight Loss (“My Yoke is Easy”)
- Overview of the three principles (“The End of Dieting”)
- Principle #1: Focus on low calorie dense whole plant foods (“Calorie Density”)
- Principle #2: Abstain from foods that trigger cravings. (“Overcoming Food Addiction”)
- Principle #3: Rely Wholly on the Lord (“Rely Wholly on the Lord”)
Extra Tips for Maximum Weight Loss
If you are already eating 100% whole food, plant-based and still not losing as much weight as you would like, there are ways you can tweak your diet to increase weight loss.
- I’ve summarized all the major suggestions in this article: Maximum Weight Loss Principles
- Check here for a list of Maximum Weight Loss Recipes
Note: a good, healthy weight is not necessarily what we think is our ideal weight; avoid the temptation to become obsessed with weight and to be as skinny as possible. That should NOT be the goal! Enjoy the right foods, and you can forget about your weight. However, if you know that you need to lose more weight and are willing to do what it takes, you can succeed. If you are serious about losing all the weight you can and are willing to do what it takes, carefully study the resources in this document:
If you’d like to read what others have to write about maximum weight loss principles, check out these articles:
- Jeff Novick, “Maximizing Weight Loss: How To Fine Tune Calorie Density”
- Jeff Novick, “Calorie Density: How To Eat More, Weigh Less and Live Longer”
- Lindsay S. Nixon, “Not Losing Weight on a Plant-Based (Vegan) Diet? Here’s Why (How to Lose Weight).”
- John A. McDougall, “The McDougall Program for Maximum Weight Loss.”
- Engine 2, “Stuck in a Rut.”
- Going hungry is also a danger because then you are easily tempted. Check out, “Are you Hungry all the Time?
Check for these Common Causes.”
- Jeff Nelson, “How to Lose Weight – Vegan HCLF [High Carbohydrate Low Fat]” (February 27, 2016)
- Chef AJ “Chef AJ- From Fat Vegan to Skinny Bitch” (September 2015). [She uses a very few unsavory words, but this is an amazing story that everyone interested in weight loss should hear. Skip to minute 36 if you just want to learn how she finally loses the weight, but you’ll appreciate it much more if you listen to her life story in the first 36 minutes.]
Why the Word of Wisdom?
There are many diets, but the Lord has revealed only one diet to His saints for the last days. His plan is not only best for our health, it is best for dramatic, permanent weight loss. People who switch to this diet get down to the weight they were as young adults (or less if they were overweight at that time) and stay at that weight. They feel better, have more energy, eat well, and never go hungry!
Quick Summary of Calorie Density
Principle #1 of the Word of Wisdom way to weight loss is to focus on low calorie dense whole plant foods. These are the foods at the top of this chart. If your diet consists of these foods, you will get full before you consume excess calories. The high calorie foods at the bottom half of the chart should be eaten sparingly, if at all. People who consistently average 400-800 calories per pound (preferably with moderate exercise) are able to lose excess weight or maintain a good weight.
Whole foods are plants as they look when they are harvested from the garden or farm, with minimal processing: washing, husking, cutting, and cooking. The are the foods in the produce section of the grocery store, along with whole grains and beans. This should be the bulk of our diet.
Some nutrient-rich whole plant foods are also relatively calorie dense, so for best weight loss these should be eaten sparingly, if at all:
- Avocados (700 calories per pound)
- Dried fruits (1200 calories per pound)
- Whole wheat flour (1500 calories per pound)
- Coconut meat (1600 calories per pound)
- Nuts & seeds (2800 calories per pound)
Adding a few of these healthier calorie rich foods to our diet adds delicious flavors and texture, but we need to be aware that calorie dense foods inherently increase the risk of overconsumption and excess calories. It is harder to maintain an average of 400-800 calories per pound if you consume too many of these foods.
Please see the related Meridian Magazine article for more details: “The Word of Wisdom Way to Weight Loss: Calorie Density”
Jeff Novick on Calorie Density
A whole food, plant-based diet is extremely powerful for weight loss, and due to the principle of calorie density it is a permanent solution, but our society is so awash in misguiding information, that understanding this principle takes some serious study. Registered Dietician Jeff Novick is my favorite source for better understanding calorie density:
- “The Calorie Density Approach to Nutrition and Lifelong Weight Management” (June 19, 2012)
- “A Common Sense Approach To Sound Nutrition” (May 20, 2012)
- “A Date With Disaster: The Pleasure Trap of Whole Natural Foods” (June 27, 2013)
- For more from Jeff Novick, I highly recommend purchasing his 90-minute presentation on DVD, “Calorie Density: How To Eat More, Weigh Less and Live Longer” (I have a copy you can borrow if you live near Provo!). Here is short clip from this DVD: “Calorie Density with Jeff Novick”
- “The Ultimate Guide To Free Calorie Density Resources” (collection from both Novick and others)
- This visual from Jeff Novick translates his message into an image:
More Resources on Calorie Density
- Chef AJ shares her secrets for weight loss. In this video, she gives a good demonstration of the difference between whole foods and processed foods, “Ultimate Weight Loss Secrets #1 With Chef AJ.”
- Healthy Vegan Weight Loss [The information on the site is very useful. This is a good page to start on. It links to other pages that list the calorie density of various vegetables, fruits, grains, and beans.]
- Barbara Rolls, The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet: Smart, Simple, Science-Based Strategies for Losing Weight and Keeping It Off (New York: HarperCollins, 2012). [Barbara Rolls is the top researcher in calorie (or as she calls it “energy”) density. She does not promote a 100% whole food, plant-based diet, but her research certainly supports this diet. She does teach the principles of calories density with lots of support from scientific studies, many of which she conducted.]
- Perez-Escamilla R, Obbagy JE, Altman JM, Essery EV, McGrane MM, Wong YP, Spahn JM, Williams CL. Dietary energy density and body weight in adults and children: a systematic review. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2012; 112(5): 671-684. [This is another study that demonstrates strong and consistent evidence supports low energy density diets for weight loss.]
More on Overcoming Food Addictions
This is a big topic. In addition to the Meridian Magazine article on “Overcoming Food Addiction,” see also:
- An earlier Meridian Magazine article, “Discovering the Word of Wisdom: Food Addiction.”
- A companion webpage, “Overcoming Food Addiction.”
Last Modified: July 30, 2016