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The Truth About Raw Foods and Your Weight

Many people upon hearing about the numerous benefits of eating mostly or entirely raw, want to go on the raw food diet. Before you do, make sure you understand how raw foods will affect your weight and especially what is going to happen if you fall off the raw food wagon.

Losing Weight

If you decide to eat mostly raw, and you have some extra weight, you have a big advantage. Losing weight will be a breeze. I believe the raw food lifestyle is the best for shedding unwanted pounds.

What kind of weight can you expect to lose, long-term?

The answer is: all you need to. Especially if you combine your raw food program with appropriate exercise, you can expect to lose not only the right amount of weight, but weight in the places you need to—tummy, love handles, the fat between armpits and breasts—all that can be gone. You’ll get slimmer all over.

What will happen to your weight if continue eating exclusively raw year after year?

You’ll end up looking slender than the average non-raw healthy person in your height- and-weight bracket.

I’ve been following the raw foods lifestyle for almost 20 years. And during this time, I had to resize my wardrobe downward and get alterations done three times! After an initial loss of about 30 pounds, my weight has become pretty stable. But due to practicing yoga and Pilates, my weight has been continually redistributed more effectively.

Look at my picture at 58, taken recently. In no way could you describe me as “too thin.” Yet I'm smaller (I like to say slimmer) than about 90 percent of women my age. In tops I usually wear size M or S, and when I buy a full skirt I go for XS to fit the waist line.

Reverting Back to Cooked Foods

You’ve been 100% raw, or near, for several months—maybe a year. If at this point, you start eating cooked food again, as you had before, you will most definitely gain weight. And be aware that you’ll gain it fast. Indeed, faster than you’ve ever seen. That’s true whether you slip up or whether you deliberately step off the “raw” wagon. And that new weight is likely to appear in the “wrong” places.

If you don't want to end up with even more weight than before you started your raw food experiment, find a raw food level that you can reasonably maintain. Better you don’t go 100% raw, or even 80% raw, if there’s a risk you can’t sustain it. Stay at 60% if that’s more doable for you. Expect to lose weight, if you go raw. Go gradually if you want to lose it and go super slow if you don’t.

Your Right to Be Beautiful

The Miracle of Raw Foods

Gaining Weight

If you’re thin to begin with, going on the raw food diet will present a challenge for you. Is is a trickier issue, but know that it can be done. But first you need to educate yourself. Start with my book Quantum Eating. You can find more information in the article: Gaining and Losing Weight the Quantum Way!

Here is a good formula to remember:

Cooked, then raw = rapid weight loss.

Raw, then cooked = rapid weight gain.

If you want to gain some weight, it will be much easier if you begin with a cleansing high-raw diet, and then add in some healthy cooked foods. If you insist on staying 100% raw, then read this article for ideas: If You Must Gain Weight.

Gaining New Muscles for Lost Fat

On raw foods long-term, your weight will be approaching the weight of a healthy 18-year old, with one exception: With age you’ll actually be losing some fat. Even raw foods can’t stop this process completely, just slow it down.

If you’re happy with your health, and you just hate those “too thin” comments, my solution is weights! Get some push, pull, and shove going, and new muscles will eventually make up for lost fat. If you want to add a little extra bulk in the right places, do weight bearing exercises.

Be careful about going back and forth, cooked…raw…cooked…raw. It’s bad for your health. It’s bad for your looks. And this yo-yo is particularly bad for your skin, because it can lead to excessive sagging. Therefore, after 40, make sure your weight loss spreads over months, after 50—over years.

Only lose weight that you can sustain, except when you need to cleanse your body fast in the face of a serious health issue. In this situation, don't worry about your looks, take care of your health and in time you'll be able to focus on your appearance. Health first…looks second. Look after your health, and your looks will follow.

Let me summarize it for you...

The Top Four "Going Raw" Mistakes

Don’t let yourself commit any of these serious mistakes…

  1. Don’t let yourself “diet.” Don’t think of where you’re going as anything like a one-time or quick-fix solution. Raw foods must become your lifestyle.
  2. Don’t yo-yo! Don’t go raw, relax, go raw, fall off the wagon, go raw and then think it’s okay to eat a lot of cooked foods again. Don't play this dangerous gain with your metabolism. With each diet-swing, losing weight will get harder.
  3. Don't treat lightly any kind of cleanse you may perform—a juice fast, water fast, or any other popular cleanse. After each cleanse, your must upgrade your diet. Specifically, you want to up the percentage of wholesome raw foods you’re eating. Do not revert to the same diet you had before. 
  4. Don’t worry that your healthy body is slimmer than those of your peers on cooked foods. You do want to be healthier and younger than your age, right? So don't compare yourself with the others who represent this age.