I know all those years when I was trying and failing to lose weight, I’d see people say, “It’s a lifestyle change, not a diet.”
But I didn’t really know what that meant or looked like.
On some level, I think we all know that fad diets don’t work.
It makes perfect sense that you’d have to alter your lifestyle in a way that naturally supports your ideal body shape and size.
Yet, it can be hard to wrap your mind around what it means to alter your lifestyle in a manageable way that promotes weight loss.
As someone who has finally had great success losing weight through intermittent fasting and moving toward a plant-based diet, I want to do something different today.
I want to show you what a typical day of plant-based intermittent fasting looks like for weight loss.
I know we are all different and have differently structured lifestyles, commitments, and obligations.
So what I do to support my ideal body weight may not necessarily 100% vibe with you and how you live.
And that’s okay!
But perhaps you can find something that sparks a new idea that you hadn’t considered before for something you can include in a more aligned lifestyle with where you want to go.
So, here is a typical day of plant-based intermittent fasting for weight loss!
My General Intermittent Fasting Schedule
When I first started fasting, I used the 16/8 fasting protocol.
That simply means you eat all your day’s food in eight consecutive hours and fast for the remaining 16.
And I do still recommend that for those just starting with fasting.
I found that fasting longer hours was necessary to lose weight until I switched to a plant-based diet.
With a cleaner diet, I no longer feel the need to fast so many hours, as I’m naturally taking in fewer calories.
But I love fasting!
I feel better, leaner, and lighter when fasting, and I like not having to think about food as often.
As such, I typically eat between 10 am and 7 pm these days.
Usually, by the time I take my first bite of food for the day, it’s around 11 am, but I’ll eat as early as ten if I’m hungrier.
As long as I hit at least 12-14 hours of fasting, I give myself space. Because generally, the more plants you consume, the better off you’ll be.
Start The Day With Centering & Grounding
When I first wake up in the morning around 6:30 or 7 am, I start the day with a quick meditation and jotting down my thoughts or desires for the day.
Usually, some of this includes the commitment to my overall well-being.
I typically also stretch my body just for a few minutes.
I don’t do a full yoga session or anything at this point, but it feels good to release any tension from a night of laying down for eight hours.
These activities help me rise gently and focus on what matters most to me.
When I used to wake up and immediately go into my phone, e-mail, and social media, I’d find it entertaining, I suppose.
But that’s not the best way to start a fresh new day!
Starting days with intention has helped improve my quality of life and my weight loss so much.
Once I’ve spent about fifteen minutes getting centered and grounded, it’s time to move to the kitchen!
Hot Water, Coffee, Or Tea (Dirty Fasting)
Next up is heading to the kitchen to prepare a hot drink.
Sometimes I drink plain hot water with lemon in it.
Other times, I’ll make a pot of tea for myself and my husband to share (I call it “lover’s tea!)
Other times I’ll make a coffee and put a splash of almond milk and artificial sweetener.
I know some people say a splash of almond milk or artificial sweeteners would break a fast, but you have to do what’s right for you!
If you are fasting for weight loss benefits, your primary concern is going to be calories.
So, anything less than fifty calories or so will likely not prevent weight loss.
Should you choose to add sweeteners or almond milk to your beverages, this is called “dirty fasting.”
I love it, and I will never give it up!
A Light, Fasted Workout
Sometimes once I’m caffeinated, warmed up, and awake for the day, I’ll do a workout in the morning before eating.
Some people enjoy fasted workouts, others don’t.
I don’t think it matters one way or the other – whatever works for you!
For me, my workouts could be anything from going outside for a quick jog, doing a yoga session, Zumba on YouTube, practicing handstands, hula hoop, or sometimes even walking or jogging in place while playing games on my phone.
(I LOVE Plants vs. Zombies & Words With Friends… it’s fun to have playtime that’s also productive!)
Plant-Based Eating = Pleasurable Exercise
The beauty of eating a light diet is that exercise loses importance in the weight loss process.
I’m enjoying moving my body in ways that feel good to me rather than these strenuous workouts that make me miserable during and after.
I’m not saying that harder workouts don’t have their place – they do.
Sometimes I do go harder and wind up all winded and sore for days after. But it’s no longer necessary to get good results.
No longer stressing over the exercise part works for the overall happy, wholesome lifestyle that I desire.
A Delicious, Plant-Based First Meal
Once it nears 10 am or so, I start thinking about what I want to eat for my first meal.
Whenever I prep a meal, I will listen to a podcast or play a vlog on YouTube about this lifestyle.
It keeps me motivated to stay on track and make the best choices (because it’s not always easy to do!)
For my first meal, usually, I already have something quick I can put together – maybe leftovers from days prior.
Or I’ll build a quick veggie power bowl that goes something like this:
- Start with 100 grams of super greens (a big bag or box of mixed greens from the grocery store)
- Put one of my plant-based, low-calorie salad dressings into the greens to give them moisture and flavor
- Layer with a few other veggies like roasted sweet potato, cooked corn (from a frozen bag), seasoned black beans (canned or made in bulk from my Instant Pot)
- Top with red onion, avocado, diced tomatoes, cilantro, green onions, and more of one of my tasty homemade sauces
- I might top this with some nuts & seeds or a few tortilla chips for an extra fun crunch. It doesn’t add too many calories and gives great texture and flavor.
Eating Fruit With Every Meal
I also will start every meal with a piece of fruit (sometimes two!)
Whatever is in season is what I go for!
So apple, peach, pear, watermelon. Anything is fair game.
I try to keep this fruit appetizer under 100 calories or so.
And I LOVE putting Tajin Chilli Lime seasoning on my fruit – especially mangos and peaches. SO GOOD!
(Make sure you get the low-sodium version that I linked to above!
But eating a piece of fruit before a meal is excellent for slowing down your eating and keeping you full.
All of this comes out to a TON of food, and I feel incredibly full, yet still light at the same time!
Stay Conscious Of Physical Activity
After eating, I’ll go on about my day, conscious of how many steps I’m getting in.
I wear a Fitbit watch and monitor my activity levels all day long.
My daily goal is 10,000 steps.
It sounds like a lot, I know, but 500 steps here and there add up from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep!
Just this practice alone has melted the weight off.
My goal is to just be more active overall.
So even if I don’t do a full workout that day, I will still walk around more just to get to 10,000.
Drinking water helps with this because when you have to use the restroom, guess what?
You have to walk to get there!
Feeling Snackish Between Meals
If I feel snackish throughout the day, I don’t starve myself or wait until my next mealtime.
The beauty of eating plant-based while intermittent fasting is that you get to actually EAT!
If I’m just a little hungry, I’ll go ahead and have another piece of fruit, a bowl of oatmeal, veggie sticks with my low-calorie plant-based dressing, or even popcorn!
Popcorn is an excellent snack, especially if you make it yourself. A WHOLE BOWL is less than 200 calories, and it will keep you munching for a long time.
I like to put nutritional yeast and a little salt on mine – tastes cheesy!
I can get by with a few snacks and water or sometimes tea, coffee, and I do still drink sugar-free soda here and there as well.
If I’m really hungry, I’ll go ahead and have another full meal mid-day, however. But usually, I can just munch my way through the day on yummy, low-calorie, plant-based snacks and do just fine.
Tasty Plant-Based Dinner
For dinner around 6 pm, I’ll have another really big meal, starting with fruit again.
I’m a huge fan of one-pot meals. They’re so easy to throw together!
I like to purchase non-wheat pasta (my fave is the Banza brand because it’s made of chickpeas) and make a variety of protein and fiber-rich pastas that come out absolutely delicious and don’t take much time at all!
Again, I’ll put the pasta on top of 100 grams of mixed greens blended with salad dressing for flavor. Then I’ll top the pasta with more sauce, tomato, or whatever other “bulky” additional vegetable that makes sense.
My meals are HUGE.
I am absolutely a volume eater, and one thing I love about plant-based living is that I can eat until I’m full and still lose weight!
Dates For Sweet Tooth Cravings
After dinner, if I have a bit of a sweet tooth, I’ll snack on some organic dates if I haven’t prepared plant-based cupcakes or another dessert.
Keep in mind that dates are very high in calories, so eating too many while trying to lose weight isn’t the best idea.
Even still, I’ve found that I can lose weight consistently when snacking on dates versus processed foods and desserts that have no benefit.
Stop Eating At 7 pm
Once 7 pm hits, I’m done eating for the day!
Sometimes I go a bit over, but it’s rare that I eat past 7:30.
And I almost never go beyond 8 pm.
If I feel hungry after hours? Honestly, I just drink water and tea or go to bed.
And if I need more steps in the day I’ll just walk and move in place.
It may sound weird, but moving your body can distract you from hunger. It works for me!
This is a rare occurrence too, however, as I’m used to intermittent fasting and prefer my stomach feeling lighter by the time I go to bed.
More Plant-Based Inspo Before Sleep
I usually go to bed sometime between 10 and 11 pm, which works well for me.
I used to be against devices in bed because I think they can do more harm than good, but I read on my Kindle every night.
At the time of writing this, I’m reading Dr. Michael Greger’s “How Not To Diet” for the third time (it’s really that good!)
Purely just reading high-quality books though – no social media or other stuff!
And again, here is where I read books on plant-based living, weight loss, wellness, self-care, etc…
I can’t impress upon you enough how important it is to stay motivated by staying informed.
It’s so much harder to mess up on your diet when you’re continually infusing your brain with relevant information every night and whenever you go to prepare your meals throughout the day.
It’s A Lifestyle, Not A Diet
So there you have it!
That’s the routine I try to stick to that helps me stay motivated, focused, and losing weight without losing my mind while intermittent fasting on a plant-based diet!
I hope you got something useful out of it and that it sparks or inspires you to make little tweaks to your daily routine that can help you get to where you’re trying to go.
Good luck on your weight loss journey!