The Whole Foods Solution: Natural Weight Loss Without Dieting Part II (Implementation)
Welcome to Part II of The Whole Foods Solution. Today I'm going to walk you through how to implement the best natural weight loss program ever, as I outlined in Part I of the series.
If you haven't had a chance to read about The Whole Foods Solution, hop over to Part I, because in this article I'm going to dive right into implementation, which may leave you lost if you have no clue what the program is all about.
The Whole Foods Solution is the simplest and easiest way to lose weight and get healthy. You won't be required to count calories, cut out/or overeat certain foods, or exercise your body to exhaustion.
All you require to be successful is a little bit of willpower and support from friends, family, wherever you can find it.
If you are concerned about staying motivated:
The Whole Foods Solution Guidelines
1. The 80/20 Rule
Throughout the program keep this rule at the top of your mind. This is the key to preventing you from giving up on yourself.
I don't believe in cheat days, many experts will say it's okay to give yourself just one day to eat what you want. So much damage can be done on a cheat day that you make all the hard work from you did that week irrelevant. But, we still need to have a safety net, a way to tell ourselves it's okay when we eat a cookie or are too tired to be active.
Enter the 80/20 rule.
Simply put, this rule states that you are excellent in your diet, exercise, and other areas of this program 80% of the time. If you do this, then you can allow a 20% rate of downtime.
For example, I love coffee (as mentioned in Part I), which happens to be on the non-foods list. I'm okay with my love of coffee, I enjoy having 1 cup of coffee every morning. It's my little treat, I enjoy it, it makes me feel good. I'm at peace with my love of coffee, a non-food, because I know that 80% of the time I eat well, I exercise, I focus on self-development, so that one cup of coffee every day isn't going to sabotage my hard work.
One of the biggest reasons we fail in our weight loss efforts is the feeling of deprivation. We try and survive on carrot sticks and water, ignore our cravings, hoping our focus on the end goal will get us through. It won't, if you are unhappy and deprived you will fail.
The 80/20 rule gives you an out, a way to still enjoy the foods you love, or to enjoy a day in front of the TV. The funny thing is, as you progress through the program changing your lifestyle, you will find your little treats will change to healthier options ;)
2. Baby Steps
You must start this program slowly, make only a few changes at a time, and settle into those changes. I cannot stress this enough.
If you jump in headfirst trying to do everything at once, the amount of change will be overwhelming, and once again you will probably give up on yourself. So, throughout this program think baby steps.
Only make 2 or 3 changes a week, and don't add anything new the following week until you are confident with the changes you've already made.
If you follow this rule, you will be successful. This is what makes The Whole Foods Solution a lifestyle change, instead of a weight loss band-aid.
3. Make Yourself Accountable
If we don't have someone to motivate us on our down days, how can we keep pushing forward?
To succeed you need to find a way to be accountable. Here are some suggestions:
- Do the program with a friend
- Tell your spouse/partner/friend and discuss your progress daily
- Join my mailing list
- Start/join a weight loss group (if starting one, I recommend not having a reward for the most weight lost - the competitive nature of these groups leads to unhealthy weight loss, which generally isn't sustainable)
- Journal (we will discuss this in the next section)
- Create a vision board/sticky note on the mirror - anything visual that you see everyday to reminds you why you want to lose weight
The Whole Foods Solution Implementation Strategy
Week 1 is the only "structured" week of the program. I'm recommending 3 changes that will make or break your weight loss journey.
This week focus on the 3 lifestyle changes below.
1. Keep a Daily Weight Loss Journal
Studies show that those who keep a weight loss journal are more likely to lose weight and keep it off. (1)
The nice thing about a journal is that you can approach this however you want. Simply track a few bullet points every day, or write long paragraphs detailing your day, any approach is fine as long as you find benefit from the act of writing in the journal.
The key things to note about a successful journal:
- Write in your journal daily
- Track your progress/goals
- Don't skip writing down your treats, you may not like seeing it on paper, but that's okay because you subscribe to the 80/20 rule and are at peace with your decisions, so write it down
- Don't forget to write down your feelings (physical/emotional)
- Track your food/drink (not calories), just what you ate/drank and quick portion estimates (no need to measure or be overly detailed)
- Track exercise, what you did and for how long
- Remember to keep it simple and make the journal work for you
2. Find Some Clarity
Set aside your first journal entry for finding clarity. Discovering who you are, why you want to lose the weight, and why you gained the weight. Answer the following questions in your journal - be as honest as possible with yourself, don't hold back.
- Why did you gain the weight?
- Why do you want to lose the weight?
- Are you generally happy? What causes any unhappiness? What makes you happy?
- What improvements would you like to make to your life? (home, family, relationships, career, finances, body image, spirituality etc)
- Do you love yourself? Why, why not?
- How do you want to look? Are you being realistic?
- What are your stress levels? What causes you undue stress? How do you react/cope with stress?
- What are your life goals? How do you envision your future?
- Look at your free time, what do you do? Is this productive time?
Don't hold back when answering these questions, write it all down as it comes to mind. This isn't about fixing the problems now, or even finding solutions. These questions are to help you figure out yourself and what you want. If you don't know, it's impossible to change.
3. Write Down Your Goals
After you've found some clarity, use the next couple pages of your journal to write down your goals. Leave at least 5 pages to do this.
When creating your goals remember to ask yourself - can I achieve this? Is this goal reasonable? Don't constrain yourself to a goal like losing 100 pounds in 6 weeks, this simply isn't possible. You can lose 100 lbs, but generally this will take months to achieve and for some people years. So be honest with yourself, what are you capable of.
The first goal you should write down is how much weight you want to lose and by what date. As you progress through the program you will add to this list each week. Also write down any goals you created when going through the clarity exercise.
Write your goals in a column down the page, then write dates/weeks along the top row to create a goal chart. Strive to track your progress bi-monthly.
All Remaining Weeks
For each week after week one, choose 2 - 3 lifestyle changes to make that week. Write down your goals in your journal. Before making changes the following week, ensure you are comfortable with the changes you made the week before. If you feel you need to work on those goals further, skip adding new changes until you are ready.
I have listed out possible lifestyle changes based on The Whole Foods Solution Program outlined in Part I.
The Whole Foods Solution - Lifestyle Change List
Whole Foods Diet
If you haven't read Part I, head over there to learn what whole foods are.
- Cut non-foods from your diet (see part I) - I recommend removing these one or two at a time, and don't forget the 80/20 rule
- Clear the crap from your pantry and fridge - throw out all the packaged GMO corn infested junk foods from your pantry/fridge and replace with healthy options and dry ingredients for whole foods cooking, (Please don't donate this food, if you feel bad make a donation of healthy whole foods in it's place, these foods have no place in anyone's diet)
- Shop at your local farmer's markets - getting to know your farmer is the best way to control the quality of your food
- Eat seasonally - avoid eating foods out of season as they are shipped long distances, their nutrients decreasing every day they are off the vine, food out of season are also more expensive and of lower quality, a good way to do this is to freeze your farmer's market foods in the summer to eat in the winter - this preserves their nutrition
- Plan your meals - this can be as simple as writing down some recipes you want to make that week, then purchasing the ingredients (there is no need to be fancy here)
- Look for alternative healthy recipes for your comfort foods - you don't have to deprive yourself and there is always a healthier way to make a food you love
- Limit your portion sizes - use a smaller plate and don't fill it, you can always grab a second helping if you're still hungry, generally a healthy plate will be 75% carbohydrates (veggies, fruits, grains, legumes) and 25% animal proteins and healthy fats, this is NOT a vegetarian diet
- Increase your veggie intake, raw and cooked - a general rule of thumb is to eat a raw and cooked veggie at every meal, for example tossed salad and potatoes, or veggie sticks and steamed kale
- Practice mindful eating - sit down to eat free from distractions, focus on eating, eat slowly, chew your food, listen to your body for those "I'm full" signals, don't drink cold liquids when eating (instead sip on room temperature water/lemon water)
- Eat your "heaviest" meal at lunch
- Pick a day for meal prep and do as much preparation as you can for the week to make cooking/snacking easier
- Have healthy snacks on hand
- Drink a healthy smoothie every day - these are satiating and packed with nutrition, they are a great addition to any diet, especially weight loss plans
- Drink 2L of water a day - remaining hydrated helps with food cravings, keeps your skin/hair beautiful, is important for metabolic processes, and just makes sense
- Don't skip meals - eat three meals per day and if you require, have healthy snacks in between, it's not necessary to eat small meals throughout the day
- Make meal time family time - involve your family in everything, menu planning, grocery shopping, cooking, and clean up
- Add unpasteurized fermented foods/drinks to your diet - you can purchase these in health food stores, or make your own, I want to be clear this is not a probiotic supplement, examples are Sauerkraut, pickles, and Kimchi, my recommendation is to start with the pickles ;)
- Each week try a new whole food you've never had before - find a recipe to prepare the food and enjoy, eating a varied diet with lots of colour is important, experimenting with different foods is the best way to achieve this
- Eat less meat - this program is not vegetarian, but generally our meat intake is too high. The right portion of meat is about the size of your palm for each meal.
For more information on the importance of the mind body connection for weight loss, see Part I.
- Meditate daily
- Write down 5 things you're grateful for in your weight loss journal every day
- Practice deep breathing - breathe in expanding your belly for a count of 3, hold for a count of 3, exhale deflating your belly for a count of 3, repeat as needed
- Take up a creative hobby - anything from knitting to playing the piano, letting our creative juices flow is a great way to find clarity and help with stress
- Colour - adult colouring is all the rage right now, it doesn't hurt to try :-)
- Write out a positive affirmation and say it aloud at the beginning and end of each day - for example:
"I see my patterns, and I choose to make changes. In the infinity of life where I am, all is perfect, whole and complete. I now choose clarity and objectivity to see my old patterns and I am willing to make changes. I am teachable. I can learn. I am willing to change. I choose to have fun doing this. I choose to react as though I have found a treasure when I discover something else to release. I see and feel myself changing moment by moment. Thoughts no longer have any power over me. I am the power in my world. I choose to be free. All is well in my world." ~ Lisa Tsakos (2)
- Try holistic practices like Reiki and Acupuncture - sometimes you will need outside support, try some holistic modalities and see what you think, the more support you have and the more you focus on the mind body connection, the more likely you are to lose the weight and keep it off
- Read self help books
- Simply walk outside in nature
- Try Yoga, T'ai Chi, Gi Gong, Capoeira, or Dance - these practices are not only for the body, but for the spirit as well
- Explore religions or spiritual practices that call to you - this doesn't have to mean joining a church, spirituality does not mean religion (it could if you want it to), being spiritual can simply mean appreciating nature and her glory, you define this for yourself
- Practice living in the present - set aside time each day to simply enjoy the task at hand, don't worry about the future or the past, simply live, the more you practice the better you will be
Physical - Exercise
CHOOSE ACTIVITIES YOU ENJOY!!!!!
I can't stress this enough - for more information, see Part I.
- Set reasonable achievable goals for your exercise program - determine what you LIKE to do, how often you want to do it, and for how long, write down your goal, track it in your journal and stick to it as best you can
- Participate in group activities - having fun and feeling supported is integral to keeping a good fitness routine
- Make all family holidays and events active - rather than simply relaxing on the beach sign up for a hike, go swimming, learn to kayak, when you are planning your weekend get outside, play, and have fun
- Avoid sitting as much as possible - park further away from the building, walk up the stairs vs. the elevator, do a chore you've been putting off (washing the walls anyone), walk on a treadmill while watching tv, just get off your arse and move, track time sitting in your journal
- Shut off the screens - develop a screen time policy for everyone in your household, be reasonable about the policy, talk to your family about it and get their opinions on how it should work, limiting screen time is going to help the whole family be more active, track screen time in your journal
- Reduce your time in a vehicle - if you have the time and you're going nearby, walk or bike
- Take up an active hobby like gardening
Physical - Sleep
Getting better and good sleep is important to all weight loss programs, see Part I for more information.
- Create a bedtime routine - write it in your journal, including what time it starts, do your best to do it every night
- Keep your bedroom clean and the bed made
- Shut off the screens at least an hour before bed
- Avoid eating 2 hours before bed
- Address any sleep issues like snoring and Sleep Apnea with a professional
- Practice night time meditation, deep breathing, gratitude, prayer, or something of the like
- Use essential oils like lavender to help calm and relax you
- Have sex with your partner before bed
- Before sleeping write down all your thoughts in your journal - this mind dump technique is great, especially for us busy moms who tend to stay awake thinking of all the things we need to do the next day
- Have a bath
- Listen to relaxing soothing music
- Before bed enjoy a cup of herbal tea like Chamomile
Physical - Hygiene
The last category of lifestyle change is hygiene - this is the fun category, the one where you love and pamper yourself. For more information on it's importance for weight loss, check out Part I.
- Get a massage regularly
- Drybrush your skin daily - this is a technique where you brush your skin, this helps move lymph fluid, which helps not only with your skin health, but with weight loss as well
- Enjoy a soak in the tub, hot tub, or relax in a sauna
- Go to the spa
- Take time to yourself away from your family
- Shave, wax, pluck your eyebrows etc - only if you want to of course, but taking care of yourself will give you more confidence and help you to love your body, again this isn't required just something I know women like to do :-)
- Get or give yourself a manicure/pedicure (include your daughter if you have one)
- Go to the salon
- Make your own beauty products - reducing the toxicity in our lives is always beneficial to weight loss
- Learn new makeup techniques on youtube
- Invest in organic or natural beauty products
That is The Whole Foods Solution in it's entirety. I hope I've spelled it out in a simple easy to understand way, if I haven't tell me where you're confused in the comments below and I will do my best to be more clear and of course answer your questions.
If you find you are struggling to implement the whole foods solution, consider working with me. We will go beyond this program and individualize it to your needs. I will work with your health and any negative symptoms you are experiencing and suggest foods and techniques to help. I want you to succeed, to lose the weight, and to keep it off.
(2) The Weight Battlefield: A holistic approach to weight management by Lisa Tsakos