Maximum weight loss strategies

While most people will reach a healthy weight by simply adopting a low-fat whole foods plant-based diet, some may need additional strategies to achieve their weight loss goal. These strategies may be particularly helpful to those whose weight has plateaued after an initial period of weight loss.

Tips for maximum weight loss

  1. Eat enough moderate calorie density food to avoid becoming too hungry.
  2. Keep WFPB ‘fast food’ in the refrigerator and carry snacks when away from home.
  3. Aim for 100% adherence during the first 3-4 weeks.
  4. Don’t drink your calories as juices or smoothies.
  5. The food you have at home is the food you will eat – restock your kitchen.
  6. Upskill in food label reading.
  7. Limit or avoid whole plant foods that are high in fat – nuts, avocados, soy products.
  8. Limit or avoid dried and baked foods with low moisture contents (i.e. bread, cakes – even if whole grain).
  9. Dilute your ‘starches’ – whole grains, starchy vegetables and legumes – by adding more non-starchy vegetables to your plate, but don’t go higher than half the plate.
  10. Sequence your meal by eating low calorie density food first. Start the meal with salad or soup. Eat a piece of fruit before considering the cake.
  11. Remember that this plan is about eating more low calorie density food not smaller portions.

NB The less a food is processed the better it is for weight loss.

McDougall’s maximum weight loss plan

Dr John McDougall has a maximum weight loss (MWL) program designed to assist people to speed up their rate of weight loss. It is not suggested that you aim to eat this way all the time – it might be something you try for 3 or 4 weeks before returning to the regular WFPB program.

Basic principles include the regular McDougall guidelines:

  • Base your diet around starches
  • Avoid all meats, poultry and fish
  • Avoid all dairy products, eggs and oils

Also avoid:

  • Nuts, seeds, avocados, olives, and soybean products
  • All dried fruit and fruit juices
  • All flour products such as breads, baked products with flours/nuts/sugar syrups

There is a further tweak you can try for a short period of time to really give your weight loss a kick-start, known as “Mary’s Mini McDougall Diet”. It is based on the principle to make your diet as simple as possible for a short period of time to help you re-set your taste buds. You can choose one starch, e.g. potatoes, to form the centrepiece of your diet and eat this for every meal with the addition of a few other vegetables of your choosing.


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Page last updated 15 February 2016