Q:  Dear Coach, I’ve tried every diet out there but always gain the weight back and more.  What advice would you give for me for how to lose weight without starving?  Jan

A:  Dear Jan, thanks for your question.  Good for you for wanting to lose the extra weight!  I’m not surprised that those diet plans have not been successful.  Due to a variety of reasons, typical diets which count calories, points, or measure portions often have dismal results (less than 3% success rate). 

Weight loss which happens slowly and safely should be the result of a new lifestyle pattern rather than a short-term diet.  Focusing on plans such as The ‘Plan A’ Diet’ shown on my website –  veggies, fruits, legumes and beans, whole grains, rice, beans, potatoes –  will not only contribute to keeping one healthy, but gradual and permanent weight loss will be a natural side effect. 

Remember, it’s a lifestyle change that will be the best option, and not a temporary period of deprivation in order to lose weight.

With the goal of making permanent dietary changes in mind, here are some weight loss tips that will help during the transition:

  • Get oils out of the diet.

Oils are 100% pure fat and every tablespoon contains 130 calories and 14 grams of fat.  Just 3 tablespoons per day (salad dressings, cooking/baking with it, and hidden oils in foods) can easily add up to 3 pounds per month. 

Oils add no bulk to our food and are just extra calories and fat.  Plus there are MANY health detriments to consuming pure fat (inflammation, arterial damage, This includes olive and coconut oil.  Get rid of them for your health AND weight.


  • Don’t drink your calories.

Sugary beverages are diet and health busters.  Check your labels:  4 grams of sugar = 1 tsp.  So one can of soda containing 39 grams of sugar (39 divided by 4 = roughly 10) contains nearly 10 teaspoons of sugar.

Avoid the sweet teas, high- coffee drinks and sodas.  Make water your first beverage of choice, and drink 8 glasses a day.


  • Eat a complex carb breakfast.

Our bodies run on complex carbs, which are densely nutritious, high fiber, and calorie dilute. 

Oatmeal topped with fruit, ground flaxseed and plant milk is great.


  • Increase your fiber.

Shoot for at least 45 grams a day (from food, not man-made fiber bars and cereals).  Americans are only consuming about 17 grams per day.  Fiber is only found in plant foods (there is no fiber in meat or dairy products). 

High-fiber foods greatly contribute to achieving and maintaining optimal weight.


  • Give up the dairy (especially cheese).

Cheese is 70% fat, and contains more saturated fat than beef.  Milk is a common allergen that can trigger inflammatory responses such as stomach distress, gout, arthritis, diabetes and more. 

There are many health risks associated with dairy, and eliminating all products (milk, yogurt, cheese, sour cream, butter, and ice cream) will not only improve health but assist in weight loss.


  • Choose whole-grain.

While I don’t advise consuming a lot of processed foods, there are times when we will need to purchase pasta, crackers, cereals, breads, or grains.  A product can say “whole grain” or “whole wheat” on the front of the box, yet it is not truly a whole grain product. 

Read the ingredient list to see if the word “whole” is the first ingredient (whole wheat, whole oat, whole rye, etc.) 


  • Eat Less, More Often. 

A standard weight loss tip is to eat frequent, smaller meals throughout the day rather than one or two large meals. 

Your stomach is about the size of your fist – keep this in mind when you eat.


  • Distinguish between food and treats.

Food nourishes the body, treats do not. 

That’s not to say healthy treats are off the table! 

There are wonderful options for the sweet tooth (cookies, puddings, granola bars, ‘ice creams’) – all home-made and quite delicious/satisfying.


  • Keep a food journal.

Include your beverages and any exercise that you’re doing. 

This helps to see at a glance your overall picture. 

Sometimes having to write something down can be the deterrent we need not to eat it.


  • Be prepared.

This is probably the key factor!  Planning is crucial if you plan to succeed in eating well. 

The decisions often begin at the grocery store, so make a list and stick to it.  Sanitize your environment from unhealthy, tempting foods; fill your pantry with approved foods, plan your menus, and shop accordingly.

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