While this nut pate looks delicious, eating just a little… not the whole tray might be better for you in the long run.
It’s a bummer.
You wanted to try the raw food diet because you thought you were going to lose weight – like everyone else seemingly does.
Unfortunately, for you, after you begin the raw food diet you start to gain even more weight. It’s disappointing, demoralizing and could make anyone go back to doughnuts and corn chips – why not, if the diet that everyone is losing weight on can’t help you, then you might as well enjoy your food, right?
Well, not exactly. Just because your entire diet is raw, doesn’t mean that it’s going to work. Today I answer a question from a reader about why you could gain weight on the raw food diet.
Here’s the question…
“What are some reasons why an overweight 52-year old woman would NOT lose weight on a 100% raw vegan diet?”
The bad news is that this is more common than you think – which also makes it the good news… because there are places to look.
A sizable portion of the people who get on a raw food diet lose weight, but there is another rather large number of people on the other side who don’t and end up stumped because they’ve been hearing the raw food diet is the best way to lose weight and it’s not working for them.
So where do you look…
First off, as a 52 year old woman, you need to look at your hormones closely. (Actually, any woman over 35 should be monitoring their hormones to catch imbalances before they become problems.)
I would go to a natural or functional medicine doctor and have them test your thyroid hormone levels, your adrenal function and your sex hormone levels. Chances are something is out of place that is slowing your metabolism or causing your body to store more fat. In most cases, it’s the thyroid that is under-functioning, but I’ll let your doctor figure out what the issue is.
For your thyroid, talk to your doctor about getting your TSH checked as well as the possibility of checking your T3 and T4 levels. For adrenals, you can test your pregnenolone and for your sex hormones, you definitely want to check your estrogen levels.
Second, I’d look at the types raw foods that you’re eating. While it’s a fun goal to eat all raw food, sometimes the varieties food that are eaten to achieve high percentages of raw food aren’t the right types of food for you.
Too much coconut (meat, oil), too many nuts and seeds, too little carbohydrates can cause you to start storing fat like a squirrel before winter.
We have one friend who was doing 90-100% raw food for a while and she kept getting fatter. Her face also broke out in terrible acne. She was devastated – how could this “amazing” diet cause her to gain weight and make her face look so awful.
It turned out, she was eating too much fat – in the form of coconut, nuts and oils. When she switched to a more moderate raw food diet with some cooked carbohydrates she lost all the weight and her acne is now almost completely gone – all of which started within days after she finally gave up on the ideal of a complete raw food diet.
I want to be clear here, I’m not saying everyone should give up on the raw food diet (in fact, I’d like more people to try it), but I’m asking you to be flexible in case it stops giving you the results that you desire.
A third reason could be excess raw processed sugar like agave and honey – which is usually accompanied with fat. I would assess your sugar consumption and play around with the amounts.
And finally, I have no idea if this applies to you, but many of the people I see when we travel want the raw food diet to save them (which in some cases it can!) The reality is that this diet just one of a handful of tools that you can use to get yourself in great health.
The tool that most people leave out is personal fitness. Exercise must be a part of the equation if you truly want to be healthy. The exercise also must challenge you. Walking and gardening is great and can be a large part of your exercise routine, but there also must be lifting (organized or around the home), strength building exercises and activities that raise your heart rate more than just climbing a set of stairs at the office or walking through the parking lot at the mall because you chose to park in the back.
That is normally it, but I want to say one more thing…
I don’t know if this is you or not, but I can’t tell you how many men and women tell me their on a raw vegan diet but they cheat by eating cheese. I know it sounds weird, but I’ve talked to enough people who eventually confess to their cheese addiction that it’s somewhat unsettling. Cheese will make you fat it you eat even moderate amounts of it. So if you happen to be one of those raw vegan cheese cheaters, see what happens when you take a break from it for a week or so. You might find you’re losing some of that added weight!
I want to know your thoughts: Have you had any experience with gaining or losing weight on the raw food diet?