03/18/2013 05:29 pm ET Updated May 18, 2013

7 Tips to Help You Lose Weight on a Plant-Based Diet

Once in a while I get an email or a Facebook message from a reader or a friend saying that they've been following a plant-based way of eating, but they aren't losing the weight that they were hoping to lose. Here are a few tips to help you in this direction:

Eat three meals a day that consist of real, whole foods that are as minimally processed as possible. Think whole grains, beans, and vegetables. Ditch the processed foods and simple carbohydrates like sugar and white flour products such as cookies, pies, and cakes.

Eat primarily whole grains. There is a huge difference between a complex carbohydrate and a processed carbohydrate or a simple sugar. Not familiar with whole grains? Some examples are: brown rice, quinoa, and millet. Sometimes cracked grains are included in healthy diets as well, but limit the cracked grains to once a day or every other day if you are trying to lose weight. Still scared of carbs? Know that there is evidence that the thinnest people in the world eat a diet that is high in carbohydrates. Limit bread or a tortilla to a couple of slices two times a week. Bread is actually a cracked grain, even if it says "whole grain" on the package.

Eat beans, bean products, and legumes at least once a day, and if you're hungry eat them twice a day. Beans (without a ton of oil) are very low in fat and very high in fiber and nutrients. Contrary to what most Americans believe, eating beans (and chewing them very well) are a great way to get your protein without the fat and calories! And, yes, canned beans are OK to use, but at some point try beans from scratch. Some examples are chickpeas, black beans, tofu, tempeh, and lentils -- just to name a few!

Eat vegetables of all kinds -- leafy greens, round or ground vegetables and roots, every kind you can think of! These are again low in fat and high in fiber and nutrition. They fill you up and make you feel satiated.

Use only small amounts of oil in cooking or go no-oil for two weeks and progress to low-oil meals. Go with high-quality oils like sesame and olive oil, but use only in cooking, such as sautéing. Use only an eighth of a teaspoon for cooking. Sautéing can be done on some days with water or broth. Get your "oils" from your snacks of low-fat seeds and nuts, like sunflower and pumpkin seeds or a few almonds. Another idea is to use seeds as a topping for your brown rice or other grain.

Keep snacking to a minimum and eat fruit like apples, pears, or berries as a snack between meals. You can also eat leftover vegetables as a snack.

A couple of lifestyle tips I recommend are: Don't eat three hours before going to bed and only eat until you are 80 percent full. These are two tips that may help you burn fat more efficiently.

If you have any questions about these seven tips, please feel free to add them directly to my comments section below. I love hearing from you!

Interested in learning how to take the steps towards a healthy plant-based way of eating? My 8-week "Life In Balance" teleseminar will be starting soon! Why not join the many others who are making this life-saving choice!

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