hey wow this is inspiring! im in my mid 20s and although have been slightly over weight here and there i usually stay within a BMI of 24-26. coming from a family that eats relatively healthy yet can eat what ever they want and still struggle to gain weight i am definitely the black sheep. i figured this was just my body since my parents have put me on diets since the age of 1 (doctors orders). This past February i decided to get fit for the summer after looking at a terrible photo of me on the beach and decided to count calories to see where i was going wrong. although i was eating my suggested calories a lot were bad (overdoing things with olive oil, cheese, salad dressing- all things i thought were good). so i recently decided to stick to a 80% clean plan, which is easy for me since i love my veggies. except cutting out oils and cheese made me realize i was slightly and mostly eating vegan 60-70% of the time. after losing 10 pounds i hit a plateau for a few months until i cut another 100 calories. as i am in health care i worry about enough nutrients, calcium, protein ect so i spoke to my doctor who told me to eat more! he sent me to both a dietitian and nutritionist who both told me not to worry as my BMI was now 22.8 and that calorie shouldn’t matter but i know theres something wrong. im not going to count calories for the rest of my life but i do believe it is important at beginning stages. im currently consuming 600 calories per day! i know its scary when i say it but its mostly raw veggies and im actually full but my energy level is still low so ive had to stop exercising as much. i now struggle to eat more without felling stuffed or bloated, did you have this issue too? was it hard to eat more and was it a gradual increasing of calories? and when you went from 900 to 1500+ did you gain weight initially with the added calories and then start losing or did you just start losing from where your current weight was?
Anecdotally, many people say they feel great on the Paleo diet -- losing weight and lowering health markers such as blood pressure and cholesterol. However, like most programs, many simply don't stick with this way of eating over the long term -- they keep lapsing and going back -- the same issue we see with all eating plans. Again, there is no formal "Paleo" diet, but there are plenty of books and online resources for anyone interested in exploring the idea.

In addition to improving your health, maintaining a weight loss is likely to improve your life in other ways. For example, a study of participants in the National Weight Control RegistryExternal* found that those who had maintained a significant weight loss reported improvements in not only their physical health, but also their energy levels, physical mobility, general mood, and self-confidence.

Proponents of the Paleo diet say it's a much healthier way to eat than the standard American diet, which is often heavy on added sugars and processed foods. Critics say it's too restrictive, banning dairy, wheat and legumes -- food groups that many nutritionists feel should be part of a healthy diet. However, as we noted earlier in this section, veganism and vegetarianism also ban entire food groups and do not come under the same cloud of criticism.
There are so many protein powders on the market, and sometimes it can be hard to decide which one is best for your weight-loss goals. But by swapping out a whey or creatine powder for something plant-based, you could cut down on belly fat. Although whey powder is chock-full of muscle-boosting protein, it can also cause a belly bloat. Instead, try one of the 100+ recipes in Zero Belly Smoothies, made with vegan protein that will still have the same muscle-building, fat-burning, and satiating effects, just without the bloat.
Whether you track how many inches you’ve lost, keep a food diary or maintain a journal about the healthy changes you’ve made, it’s encouraging to see what a great job you’re doing! Bonus: Keeping an exercise or food diary can help you see weaknesses in your routine, push yourself out of a fitness plateau or notice what situations drive you to eat more or exercise less.
At the heart of its flexible system: SmartPoints. SmartPoints derive primarily from number of calories; sugar and saturated fat drive the number up, protein brings it down. Getting a feel for the number of points that different foods typically “cost” in order to stay on your daily “budget” is a great way to cultivate healthy decision-making: A fried chicken wing is 7 points, while 3 oz. of chicken breast without the skin is 2 points. A sugar-laden Coca-Cola is 9 points, but so is a dinner-sized serving of Moroccan chicken rice and potatoes. Some foods are zero points: fruits and vegetables, skinless chicken and turkey breast, seafood, eggs, nonfat yogurt. Being encouraged to eat certain items in this way helps to restructure your mindset around food.

Full Plate Living is a nonprofit dedicated to a simple mission: Encourage, educate, support, and inspire anyone who wants to live a healthier lifestyle. They don’t advocate for starving yourself, spending your life at the gym, or giving up the foods you love. They’re also not about fad diets or weight loss supplements. Instead, they offer practical, straightforward steps to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Visit the blog.

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