Being vegan can make it a little easier to watch your weight, but it’s no guarantee for staying thin. I love to cook and as a result I get to eat a lot of tasty vegan meals. I offer many favorite recipes on my site as a way of helping people understand that being a vegan doesn’t mean eating only salads and low-fat muffins.
However, having tasty vegan food around the house is why veganism for me doesn’t equal a golden ticket to a skinny waistline. As a result, I’ve found some great resources that help me keep my weight in check. Three books that I turn to the most are: Victoria Moran’s The Love-Powered Diet: Eating for Freedom, Health and Joy, Geneen Roth’s, Women, Food, and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything, and Judith Beck’s, The Beck Diet Solution: Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Person.
Here are my top five healthy eating tips that I’ve gathered from this triumvirate of books:
1. Fix your salad at breakfast. That doesn’t mean you have to eat the salad for breakfast, it just means that as Moran suggests, preparing your lunchtime salad in the morning ensures that you’ll actually eat it. It’s easy to give in to lunchtime cravings and eat more than you had intended. Fixing your salad at breakfast helps you stick with your game plan.
2. Be hungry like a wolf. Beck comforts her readers with the knowledge that it’s alright and even natural to feel hungry. In an interview with O Magazine’s Barbara Graham she says, “Most people who struggle with weight loss tend to feel hunger pangs intensely and often eat to avoid those feelings. But the point is, hunger comes and goes. Thin people know this and don’t worry about being hungry.” She encourages readers to go eight hours without eating to learn how hunger comes and goes. Besides, eating when you’re truly hungry makes food taste so much better.
3. Show the love. Many people who overeat claim that they just love the taste of food. That’s why they want to keep eating it. Geneen Roth points out that, “When you like something, you pay attention to it. When you like something—love something—you take time with it. You want to be present for every second of the rapture.” She continues that overeating does not lead to rapture, it leads to a lot of discomfort.
4. Be happy. Food does not provide happiness. It might be good to remind yourself of this when eyeing that chocolate cake, especially if you feel tempted to eat it all — at one sitting. Roth says this is a way of avoiding feelings of deficiency or emptiness. She says, “It’s called postponing your life and your ability to be happy to a future date when then, oh then, you will finally get what you want and life will be good.” Happiness is not something that we hope for in the future, it’s something we can cultivate in our lives today.
5. Learn to let go. It may be easier to not eat a particularly troublesome food at all than to find a way to stop once you’ve started. Moran says that if “a certain food has always been a problem for you (‘one bite is too many and a thousand aren’t enough’), face the fact and leave that food alone.” Whether it be cinnamon rolls, chocolate chip cookies or potato chips, identify your trigger foods and avoid them.
All three books delve into the reasons behind why we overeat. That’s really the best place to tackle any problem. You don’t tend your garden by cutting weeds at the stem. You pull them out, hoping to get at the very roots. Roth, Moran, and Beck offer tremendously helpful strategies for pulling out the unhealthy eating habits (weeds) that have been keeping your life’s garden from bearing fruit.