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Anyone following a Whole Foods Plant Based diet?

If you are following a whole food plant based diet do you track and count calories/macros? I've had success on MFP prior with losing weight but I basically ate what I wanted and stayed under my calories and carbs. I want to eat more healthy now but most things I'm reading say if you are eating whole plant based food you don't need to track. I'll probably track anyway and see how it goes, was just wondering what others do. Other than this, any advice for a beginner?


  • withoutasaddle
    withoutasaddle Posts: 191 Member
    I do (raw vegan) and I would still track. You will gain weight if you snack on cups of nuts all day. I don't track my macros, but I do notice they always stay around the same (70/15/15ish).
  • janejellyroll
    janejellyroll Posts: 25,878 Member
    The foods eaten by people on a WFPB diet still have calories and you can still consume more energy than your body requires on that sort of plan. If weight loss is a priority for you, I would still count calories.
  • JaydedMiss
    JaydedMiss Posts: 4,288 Member
    edited January 2017
    definatly still track, Their not magic foods if you make a smoothie (or 2) and use like 5 bananas thats alot of calories. (500-600) Thatd be half of my daily allowance. No thanks xD
  • violetta5345
    violetta5345 Posts: 38 Member
    You still have to track calories no matter what type of food you are eating or what diet plan you are on if you are trying to lose weight. I've had a mostly plant-based diet for 15 years or so and I can promise you that tracking calories will make all of the difference in your weight loss.
  • jemhh
    jemhh Posts: 14,273 Member
    I ate mostly "whole foods" though not totally plant based (does that mean vegetarian?) while losing my first 30 pounds. I don't believe that anybody, regardless of what type of food they eat, absolutely must count calories to lose weight. If you are honest with yourself about what you eat, you can just cut back and lose. At a certain point it gets more difficult to find the spots where you should be cutting back and calorie counting is a relatively easy way to find those spots. I got stuck and switching to calorie counting after 30 pounds helped me move forward.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 22,367 Member
    Y'know, I think this "must track" thing varies by person. I eat mostly whole foods, lotsa plants (though I'm ovo-lacto veg). Personally, I have to track.

    Some people, especially (it seems to me subjectively) those converting from a more extremely-processed-foods way of eating, sometimes report that they find the whole foods so filling that they have a harder time even reaching as much as their calorie target at a reasonable deficit. They may not need to track.

    I, on the other hand, am absolutely able - even now, in maintenance, at 120-something pounds - to eat way, way beyond my maintenance calories, consuming mostly or entirely whole foods. Nuts, seeds, avocados, some fruits, more - totally yummy, quite caloric. So I track.

    So . . . if you don't want to track, try the whole foods/plant based thing for a month without tracking, and see if you lose weight. If you didn't, then maybe track. Or, eat freely on this new way of eating, and track for a month without limiting yourself arbitratily, and see how it goes on both the consumption & weight loss sides.

    If you're fairly new to whole foods/plant based, this latter approach would have the advantage of verifying that your macros & major micros stay where you want them on this newer way of eating.

    Experiments can be useful.
  • NewGemini130
    NewGemini130 Posts: 219 Member
    Yes- I was an obese person following a plant based vegan diet. Track. If after time you can ease up, great. But for loss phase, track.
  • Thanks for the feedback, tracking it is! The WFPB is hard for me to follow since I'm also watching carbs. I'm trying to be super healthy but think I'm going to have to modify some.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,215 Member
    edited January 2017
    Thanks for the feedback, tracking it is! The WFPB is hard for me to follow since I'm also watching carbs. I'm trying to be super healthy but think I'm going to have to modify some.

    Are you watching carbs because you have medical reasons that require this? My vegan friends eat way more carbs than I do with no issues. They focus on foods with protein like legumes. They are very fit and healthy. (They also have active lifestyles and do lots of yoga.)
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    If you are just switching to WFPB I would definitely track at first. You could easily overeat, but you could just as easily undereat or be off in your nutrition, and it's a good thing that helps you understand better how you are eating. You may find you don't need to track after a while.

    If you've been tracking no reason not to continue to, also.
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    edited March 2017
    I don't understand why some act like tracking/counting is the worst thing in the world or something to avoid at all costs, as if everyone is going to find it burdensome, and then suggest worrying about obscure things like calories per lb in one's food.

    Not everyone is a volume eater (some find fat really filling) and even for those who are more volume eaters than satiated by fat (like me) the idea that you have to know the numbers about your foods seems weird to me. I know what foods feel satiating to me and which ones are high volume for low calories (which include vegetables, fruit, but much less so and it varies by fruit, grains and legumes, but less so and it varies by food, and nuts not at all (but they can be filling anyway if you don't eat them mindlessly).

    If someone is already tracking continuing to track as you transition to WFPB seems really sensible and educational.

    I think the issue is that the FoK people and some others (Fuhrman) promote their diet to people who think counting would be burdensome (and often who have not particularly healthy diets with lots of junk food) and push that you don't have to worry about calories and will lose, which is typically true, at first. It's no different than switching to low carb for many. But tracking is not bad, is educational, and IMO (again) can be really important if one is still learning how to balance the nutritional requirements.

    But then I don't agree that someone on a deficit will be definitely getting all they need with no more than 10% fat and 10% protein from all plant-based sources, as was also claimed above. At a deficit I think 10% protein is too low and you have to make an effort to include a variety of fat sources also (and probably should supplement omega 3s (specifically DHA), such as through an algae source. (Also should supplement B12, but that isn't something that can be fixed through diet at all. The DHA thing might be hard too, but I'm not 100% PB so haven't gotten into the weeds.)
  • AmyOMAD
    AmyOMAD Posts: 25 Member
    edited March 2017
    I'm just gonna throw this out there....

    I have been professionally diagnosed as having ADD. Not counting and worrying about calorie tracking has been the most important thing for my past and current successes. When I track I am good for only so long, about 2-3 weeks, before I grow complacent with it and distracted and then comes the guilt, anxiety, and feelings of failure because I have stopped tracking.

    In my example it is a mental health choice not to overstimulate and obsess which works.

    In regards to 80/10/10 ratios being protein deficient, I'll give this example....breastfed newborn babies, in their first year of life, grow over 300%. That's 300% body, muscle and weight growth on just 6-7% protein. Protein needs are far less than what is being pushed by the Dairy and Meat industries.
  • CaffeinatedRats
    CaffeinatedRats Posts: 24 Member
    I follow a plant based diet for ethical reasons. Whole foods are great, but sometimes I just want some junk food. Tracking calories with mfp lets me fit in treats that I enjoy that aren't entirely healthy for me. I don't think I could sustainably lose weight without being able to have ice cream sometimes. :smile:
  • AmyOMAD
    AmyOMAD Posts: 25 Member
    edited March 2017
    To add on, I actually do want to know approximately where my calories are falling, but only when I am NOT eating all raw foods. The trouble is, I can make my cooked foods too savory sometimes and that is a trigger for me to overeat.
    I'm am not however greatly concerned with being 100% calorie precise or worried about macro counting.