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The Fat You Eat Is The Fat You Wear

Health and fitness has always been important to me. I started going to the gym when I was 17 years old to look good, feel good, and be able to wear whatever I want. That was motivation enough for me. As I got older, health and fitness remained an essential part of my daily life and I still want to be able to wear whatever I want!

Before my first wedding, I trained harder to sculpt my arms and tone my back. In my twenties, I ate well to maintain long hours in the office, while at the same time attending college at night. I worked out and ate low carb foods when I wanted to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight after the birth of my two children. So when I turned 40, I knew I wanted to stay fit and healthy as I got older for longevity, and to look great in my clothes! But at 45, it wasn't as easy as it was in my 20's and 30's to keep the weight off. Because while I was working out more than ever at 6 days a week and eating "healthy," I was starting to put on weight that wouldn't budge.

As I approached my mid-forties it became more and more difficult to stay lean and fit. I was starting to gain weight in my hips and thighs and (gasp!) my clothes didn't fit so well anymore. Everything was a little tighter, I felt self conscious in a bikini, and I was hungry all the time. I didn't know what I was doing wrong. I was desperate for answers. I googled "How to lose weight in your forties" I asked my doctor how to deal with weight gain. I considered liposuction, laser treatments, fat burning pills, anything that would stop the weight from piling on. But I couldn't find the answers I was looking for. The more I read the more frustrated I became.

Until the day I heard one woman speak in an interview that changed my life. This woman was talking about eliminating fats from your diet in order to lose weight. At first I thought she was crazy. What about healthy oil like olive oil? Isn't that the type of oil that's healthy and we need in our diet? Being first generation American, my family immigrated from Greece and brought their love of traditional foods with them. My Mom used olive oil in everything. We ate salads with olive oil, we cooked with olive oil. My grandmother even used olive oil to cure our ear aches! To this day my favorite meal is a piece of fresh baked bread with olive oil and feta cheese. So I couldn't fully grasp what this woman was talking about. How could something that was derived from a plant be bad for you?

Me and T.Colin Campbell November 2016

It's In the Research

I delved into the research by the pioneers in plant based nutrition; Esselstyn, McDougall, Goldhamer, Barnard, Ornish and T. Colin Campbell. I read every book, listened to every podcast and watched every youtube video having to do with a plant based diet, without the use of fat. I learned the many benefits associated with adapting this diet including reversing diabetes, lowering blood pressure, and even curing and preventing certain cancers. But what the plant based diet also showed was how reducing your fat intake works in allowing you to lose weight. Not only that, but people who ate this way not only lost the weight, but kept it off for good.

The reason has to do with the way the body processes fats in your body. While carbohydrates is the body's main source of fuel, it is stored in the form of glucose in the blood, and glycogen in the muscles and liver. The body requires only a minuscule percentage of it as daily calories from fat - roughly 3 to 5 percent. The body also has the ability to store fat in a very efficient manner. For example if you eat 100 calories from complex carbohydrates, 25 of those 100 carbohydrate calories are burned up in the storage process. If you eat 100 calories from fat, only 2 of those calories get burned up in the storage process. That's why the fat you eat is the fat you wear.

Fats To Avoid

1. Saturated fats such as those found in animal products including butter, eggs, lard, cheese, chicken fat, and/or beef fat. These foods raise cholesterol levels and contribute to laying down plaque deposits that contribute to heart disease. Saturated fats also contribute to weight gain.

2. Added trans fats such as those found in hydrogenated oils and partially hydrogenated oils. These are man made junk that are added to certain breads, crackers, cookies, and other packaged goods to increase the product's shelf life. These fats have been shown to raise LDL cholesterol and lower HDL cholesterol and are major contributors to plaque formations and heart disease and promote cancers and tumors.

3. Avoid hidden fats such as monoglycerides and diglicerides. These are also fats and contain 9 calories per gram. In short, they will add fat to your waistline.

The best sources of fat are whole foods. such as nuts, seeds, greens, grains and vegetables, rather than added oils, meat, dairy, or man-made trans fats. And if you're trying to lose weight, fat should make up no more than 25% of your total daily calories, and no more than 10-15% if you have a lot of weight to lose. Which means you should also limit high fat plant based foods such as avocados.

A plant based diet is best for overall weight loss because animal based foods contain between 20 to 60 percent fat, whereas most plant-based foods contain less than 10 percent fat. And animal products contain zero fiber, while the naturally occurring fiber in plant based foods allows you to become full without having to pile in so many calories. The human body does require fat, plants provide all the essential fats we need.

I have fully embraced the low fat, plant based diet for the past 4 years and as a 50 year old woman, I am able to eat more, weigh less and look and feel my best. I also get to wear whatever I want!



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