Dr. Stoll - My family and I are eating a plant-based diet and everyone seems to be losing weight except me? What am I doing wrong?

If you are eating a nutrient dense, plant-based diet and are not losing weight, but are still over what you believe your body’s ideal weight should be, you might want to ask yourself a few questions. Have I slid back into old patterns of emotional eating? Have I exchanged a low nutrient, yet high calorie item, like coffee, cream and sugar for non-dairy creamer and grain-based coffee substitute, believing it to be healthy? Am I adding oils or added salt to my food preparations? Consider keeping a food journal for a few days, asking God to show you where the extra calories are hiding.

Sometimes you need look no further than nuts, seeds and dried fruits as the culprit. One ounce of nuts contains about 200 calories, and just two dates can contain over 100 calories! Don’t skip the addition of these foods in your diet, though. Nuts and seeds have some wonderful nutritional benefits. Walnuts and ground flax seeds are rich in Omega-3, while almonds and sunflower seeds are a good source of Vitamin E. Dried dates are a good source of calcium and are high in fiber, and dried apricots are rich in Vitamin A. Nuts and nut butters can be used to create wonderful dressings, spreads, and dips, and add creaminess to sauces, soups, and stews. Dried fruits like dates and apricots can be used for spreads and as a whole-food replacement for sugar in baking.

Nuts and dried fruit can, however, be a common culprit of weight gain, especially if they are eaten as a snack during the day. Avoid using nuts or dried fruit as a snack and, unless you are an athlete in need of extra calories, limit yourself to eating only one ounce daily of nuts or seeds for women and two ounces daily for men. What does an ounce of nuts look like? It fits in the palm of your hand, or is about the size of a three-by-three sticky note.

As you become mindful of your eating habits, listen to those childlike clues for hunger and satiety. Be aware of the textures and aromas of food, and give your body healthy options. Avoid emotional eating and emotional conversations at mealtimes. Study the intricacies of the foods that God created and practice thankfulness for His beautiful provision.