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.
Thousands and thousands of my readers and program participants have also shed weight thanks to green smoothies and whole foods.
Over the years, I have simplified the method of losing weight by making a three-step change to my diet and lifestyle.
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 Incredible Smoothies and on the Facebook Page 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, subscribe to my free e-mail newsletter. You will then get access to my free green smoothie-related challenges that I periodically. Most people lose a few pounds during one of my challenges, and it’s a great way to start a daily green smoothie habit.
Step 2: Eat More 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, or try this easy, homemade granola recipe. 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 an upcoming Reset 28 Live Challenge. Reset 28 is a 28-day program with a meal plan, and you can connect with fellow participants in the VIP online support community. The average participant loses about 10+ pounds during the 28-day period.
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) Join the Free Green Smoothie Experience. Join my e-mail newsletter and get access to one of my free green smoothie-related challenges. It’s free and will get you started with drinking a daily green smoothie.
2) Join Reset 28. Enjoy a 28-day (with 56-day option) meal plan with grocery shopping lists and a supportive online community of fellow participants to motivate and inspire you along your journey.
3) Choose a fitness routine that works for you. Walking counts!