This page will show you the basics of losing weight with green smoothies and whole foods.
Weight loss is one of the most celebrated health benefits of green smoothies. In fact, I lost 40 pounds and I have maintained that weight loss with minimal effort since I incorporated green smoothies into my diet every day beginning in 2008.
Over the years, I have simplified the method of losing weight by making a three-step change to my diet and lifestyle.
But before I get into that 3-step change below, I must stress that weight loss is never a sprint, and long lasting results never come from a temporary crash diet.
The ONLY way that you can successfully lose weight and keep it off for good is to develop a new relationship with food.
If you don’t permanently change your thinking and relationship with food, none of the advice that I (or anyone else) give you will help you one bit. No diet program will work long term.
If you want to lose weight for good, then you must…
Focus On Long Term Weight Loss Rather Than Temporary Crash Diets
A rapid fat loss diet might help you lose a dress size or two, but you’ll likely put the weight back on and then some once you go off the diet.
While those who market weight loss products (and diets) make claims about losing 15 pounds in 10 days, or 30 pounds in a month, this sort of weight loss is rarely permanent.
In fact, rapid weight loss can negatively impact your metabolism.
A recent article in the New York Times exposed how rapid weight loss on TV shows like The Biggest Loser can cause your metabolism to slow down. In short, most participants – including the winners – end up gaining much of their weight back after the show.
What happens is that your body adjusts to your diet. If you drop calorie intake too low, your metabolism will slow down to adapt to the insufficient diet.
The problem is, your metabolism doesn’t rev back up after the diet. It tends to remain depressed, making weight gain a lot easier. It also becomes impossible to maintain weight loss.
So while you will feel on top of the world after losing 30 pounds in 30 days, the reality is that when the diet ends, it will be very hard to maintain that weight loss. This is the reason why people tend to gain all of the weight, plus a few extra pounds, weeks or months after going on a diet.
A slow, steady lifestyle change that incorporates green smoothies, whole foods, and daily fitness is the only answer to long term weight loss, but it doesn’t always blast fat off as fast as you’d like.
How Fast Should You Lose Weight?
There is some confusion about how fast you should lose weight. If you have ever watched TV shows like NBC’s The Biggest Loser, you might think that it is normal to lose anywhere from 6-15 pounds per week, every single week.
Unfortunately, that’s not realistic weight loss. The contestants on this show are playing a game and their lives revolve around exercise (six hours or more per day).
They are on a medically-supervised diet. They have a professional team of experts monitoring their health by the hour. And a former contestant has claimed the weigh-ins on the show are taped several weeks apart, not weekly.
Your life is not a TV show so your results will reflect “real world” weight loss numbers.
According to most professionals, 1-2 pounds per week is the healthiest rate at which to shed pounds. I know, patience is HARD!
While this rate of weight loss is frustratingly slow, keep in mind that you are not wrecking your metabolism in order to lose weight quickly. The 1-2 pounds per week that you lose are more likely to be permanently gone from your life.
You might lose a lot of weight in the beginning – especially if you have a lot of weight to lose. Somebody who is more than 150 pounds overweight is going to lose weight faster (initially) than someone who is only 30 pounds overweight. As you get closer to your ideal weight, weight loss may slow down or plateau.
On the first week of your new weight loss plan, you typically reduce sodium and cut starches. You’ll lose a lot of water weight. You might lose more weight the first week than you do the second, third or fourth. That is completely normal (and healthy), it doesn’t mean that your diet needs to be tweaked to speed things up.
Many weight loss experts recommend creating a deficit of 500 calories per daythrough a combination of eating fewer calories and increasing physical activity. Over the course of an average week, this should yield a loss of about 1-2 pounds of fat.
Losing weight should be a long term goal. You didn’t gain all of your excess weight in only 30 days so you shouldn’t expect to lose it as fast.
If you want to keep it off for good, you need to learn actual weight loss strategies for the long term. Crash diets are only going to cause you to put the weight back on later.
Okay, now on to the 3-step lifestyle change to lose weight with green smoothies and plant-based, whole foods.
Step 1: Drink A Green Smoothie Every Day
The first step in to losing weight is by drinking a green smoothie every single day. The most effective way to do this is to replace one meal each day (preferably breakfast) with a large green smoothie meal.
A green smoothie meal should be about 28-32 ounces. If you can’t drink the whole thing all at once, then drink half once you make it, then finish the other half about an hour or so later. (Store leftover smoothie in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.)
Your green smoothie meal should have at least 300 calories if you are a woman, or 400+ if you are a man. Most of the recipes that I share on my website are meal replacements.
You should also aim for at least 10 grams of naturally-occurring protein and some healthy fat (1/4 avocado, a tablespoon of chia or flaxseed, or some coconut). You can double the protein content of your green smoothie with a protein powder (my favorite is the vanilla protein from NutriBiotic).
Replacing one meal each day with a green smoothie has four benefits that facilitate weight loss:
- It typically results in an automatic reduction in calorie intake, because fruits and vegetables are not calorie-dense. They are also loaded with fiber and water.
- It boosts energy levels.
- It resets your taste buds so that you begin to enjoy healthier foods. Sugary foods start tasting too sweet, and salty or greasy foods feel heavy and less appealing.
- It increases your fruit and vegetable consumption, making it easy to get 5+ servings every day. The overwhelming body of clinical evidence shows that those who eat more fruits and vegetables tend to have lower body weights, and lower risk of chronic disease.
To get started, check out the 25 most delicious green smoothie recipes that you will ever taste!
If you want to break out of a weight loss plateau, or quickly jump start weight loss, then try BLEND: A 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse.
Step 2: Eat More Plant-Based, Whole Foods
Green smoothies are a powerful weight loss tool, but they are much more effective when they are part of a healthy, whole foods-based diet.
The best weight loss results come from transitioning to a diet that is more plant-based (but not necessarily vegan or vegetarian), with lots of fresh, whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, and lean proteins.
I say this a lot, but it’s true: A daily green smoothie will not undo fast food lunches, mindless snacking, or frequent indulgences in unhealthy snack foods. Green smoothies are a not a bandage fix over a less-than-stellar diet.
There are lots of little changes that you can make to your diet that add up to big results over time. Some of these changes include:
- Swapping white rice for brown rice (or quinoa). Brown rice and quinoa are whole foods, packed with protein, vitamins and minerals. They are a much healthier alternative to white rice, pasta, couscous, or other high-calorie, high-carb meal companions.
- Try zucchini noodles in place of pasta. They are super-easy to make in a Spiralizer (or Veggetti), and have a delightful crunch. Plus they are very low in calories and 100% veggie!
- Eat more in the morning and less in the evenings (most people do the opposite). Your body needs more fuel in the morning, but excess calories that come in with a large evening meal (or nighttime snacking) turn to fat while you sleep.
- Don’t skip snacks, but be sure you keep healthy foods available (especially when you’re on the go) like raw nuts, fresh fruits. Healthy, mindful snacking helps eliminate hunger, prevent cravings, and keeps you on track with your diet.
- Stay hydrated. Studies have shown that people who are chronically dehydrated tend to have higher body weights. Part of the reason for this is that symptoms of dehydration are often confused with hunger. Not only is water the best drink, a diet higher in fresh fruits and vegetables is naturally more hydrating.
These changes don’t need to be made all at once. Take your time. Start by replacing some high-sugar, high-fat processed foods with whole food alternatives. Read labels and choose foods that have less added sugars, preservatives, sodium, and artificial ingredients.
Start by tweaking your lunches by making them healthier. Then tackle dinner.
One more thing – do not skip meals or eat as little as possible.
Severe calorie restriction (eating less than 1500 calories per day) will not make you lose more weight, or shed pounds faster. Instead, it will make you feel hungry, and set you up for experiencing intense cravings which may threaten to pull you off track.
Severe calorie restriction can also slow your metabolism. A slower metabolism means that it will actually become harder for you to continue losing weight, while making it easier to gain it – especially when the diet is over.
Instead of doing a liquid starvation diet or other extreme protocol that won’t keep the weight off, make permanent adjustments to your diet. Change your habits!
How to get started: If you would like some guidance, motivation, and support, then I’d like to invite you to join my Reset 28 Program For Energy & Weight Loss.
Reset 28 is a 28-day program with a meal plan, and you can connect with fellow participants in the online support community. The average participant loses about 10+ pounds during the 28-day period.
This is NOT a 28-day crash diet. It’s a new beginning – a runway to help you give wings to your weight loss and health goals.
You can also browse the plant-based diet pages of my website for nutritional guidance, sample recipes, and diet tips.
Step 3: Move Your Body
Weight loss is 80% diet, and most people can get close to their goal weight without hitting the gym on a regular basis if they stick to a healthy diet over the long term.
However, regular exercise accelerates weight loss. It also boosts your metabolism, which can make it much easier for you to maintain a lower body weight.
Fitness boosts energy levels, as well as mood, and fights stress – all things that give you an edge when it comes to losing weight.
Now you don’t need to join a gym in order to be slim. All you really need is about 30-minutes per day of physical activity. You can also make easy lifestyle adjustments to boost your fitness, such as parking further away from store entrances, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work.
You can also do “Cardio Commercials” by completing a set of exercises during commercial breaks when you watch TV. Even walking provides a ton of health benefits, so you don’t need to do high-intensity workouts in order to get results.
No matter your physical ability (or mobility), find some activity (even if you have to do it while sitting down), that makes you more active today that you were yesterday!
To get started: My Reset 28 program has a fitness routine built into it. I also do Beachbody workouts. My favorites are FOCUS T25 and PiYo, which is a combination of Yoga and Pilates. (Disclosure: These links are Amazon.com affiliate links.)
What About Carbs?
You might think it’s odd that I write a whole article on weight loss and not once mention cutting carbohydrates. The truth is that in the context of a healthy, whole foods-based diet, carbs do not matter.
There is a HUGE misconception that in order to lose weight, you need to avoid all carbohydrates. Carbs are seen as bad things that make you fat.
Many super-healthy, whole foods are considered carbohydrates but do not cause weight gain. Foods like brown rice, quinoa, beans, and fresh fruits (yes, even bananas, grapes, and watermelons) are awesome weight loss foods and feature prominently in meal plans that I have created that have helped thousands of people lose weight.
Unlike sources of bad carbs (pasta, pizza, cookies, white bread), good carbs provide fiber, vitamins, minerals, and they are naturally lower in calories. They don’t spike blood sugar levels.
When you are eating healthy, whole foods (that is, foods in or close to their natural state), you do not need to count carbs (or track calories).
I hope this article has given you some direction and motivation to take your next step toward your weight loss goal. I would love to assist you, as well. (That’s why I created this blog!)
Here are three things you can do right now that will get you started:
1) Kickstart your weight loss journey with a plan you can follow. My standard green smoothie and whole food weight loss protocol is Reset 28: A 28-Day Program For Energy & Weight Loss.
This program includes all of the recipes, the meal plan, and the strategies that I used myself to lose 40 pounds and get into the best shape of my life (I even ran marathons!)
2) Choose a fitness routine that works for you. Walking counts!
3) Losing weight isn’t just a physical/diet process. It’s a mental and emotional one, too.
Don’t let yourself get caught up in only focusing on calories in vs. calories out. Take some time for self-care and mental/emotional/spiritual support.