I have lost 50 pounds eating the Mediterranean Diet. I want to share with you some of my favorite Mediterranean Diet recipes for weight loss, but also tell you a bit of my story and what I have learned about losing weight.
I was once a very unhealthy, stressed out, and obese dietitian who was not following his own advice on healthy living. After my Mom passed away in 2010, I started stuffing my grief down with lots of food. Sometimes, it was healthy, but often it wasn’t and it was always too much of everything. I would lead a healthy cooking workshop and then eat at McDonalds on the way home. I started a website called Confessions of an Overweight Dietitian. The contradictions of my life were making me very unhappy and my physical and mental health were taking a toll. I had horrible reflux and could barely make it up a flight of stairs. As I became more overweight I found it more difficult to lead healthy eating workshops without thinking that everyone was questioning my own habits.
In 2012, I got married to my partner, Christine. It is a little shocking to look at photos of myself to see how bloated I looked. I weighed around 260 pounds when we were married. I have lost 50 pounds since then and have not gained any of the weight back. I kept the weight off even over the last two years when we moved into the country, had a baby and were pretty much stranded for a year during the pandemic. I feel like I have really learned the secrets of losing weight and keeping it off for the long term. Before I share with you some of my Mediterranean Diet Recipes for Weight Loss, I would like to also give you a few of my tips on losing weight and maintaining the weight loss over time.
Bill’s tips on losing weight:
- Change your habits. I had to change a number of habits in order to lose 50 pounds. The first is that I had to train myself to be comfortable feeling slightly hungry. I also had a habit of eating chips and goodies during my afternoon “grogginess”. Instead of processed sweets I started eating an apple as my craving destroyer. It has worked wonders. There is nothing more important in any weight loss journey than changing your habits. One of the reasons so many “diets” fail is that they don’t change your habits for the long term. You might eat a certain way that is not sustainable and then you go off of it and return to your old habits. Switch your negative habits to positive habits and you will lose weight permanently.
- Eat food that will make you feel good and that you will want to keep eating forever. When I am just trying to maintain my weight, I eat a traditional Mediterranean Diet the includes lots of olive oil, fruits and vegetables, beans, whole grains and meat, chicken and fish. When I am trying to lose weight, I eat a slightly modified Mediterranean Diet with slightly less fat (but still lots of fat) and less processed grains such as bread, rice and pasta. I still eat all of that, just less of it. The food is so good that I am not worried about going off the diet. Even if I go on vacation and take a week off I know that I will always go back to this way of eating.
- Move everyday. You don’t have to go crazy with exercise to lose weight. I go for an hour walk in the morning and that is pretty much it. New studies are showing that weight bearing exercises can also be beneficial to weight loss plus it is toning to the body which will make look better anyways.
- Improve your gut health. A healthy gut microbiome is crucial to maintaining and losing weight. If your gut isn’t healthy, then you aren’t digesting food properly. If you aren’t digesting properly, then you are using up less calories digesting plus you aren’t getting the nutrients you need which can cause cravings. Improve your gut health with probiotics, probiotics and fermented food.
- Deal with any issues that make you want to overeat or eat poorly. The reason I gained 50 pounds was because I wasn’t able to deal with the emotions around my Mom’s passing. If I had been able to process these feelings I would have never gained any weight. In order to maintain and lose weight you must be able to deal with stress and difficulties that will come up in your life. The good news is that there are many ways to work on your emotions from traditional therapy to breath work and even exercising.
- Keep unhealthy food out of the house. My wife eats the Mediterranean Diet just like me. Sometimes, though she likes to have a chocolate chip cookie or some chips. When I have been in the process of losing weight I have told her that I would prefer not to have any “junk” food in the house. She is fine with this and it really helps me. If there are some freshly baked cookies in the house, I am going to eat them. If they aren’t in the house I won’t be eating them. It is as simple as that.
- Eat more fat. Eating fat is one of my favorite parts of the Mediterranean Diet. Eating a lot of fat, mostly in the form of extra virgin olive oil, has been so helpful for my weight loss journey. It fills me up, takes away cravings and it is just so good! There is even some new evidence showing that a high fat diet will actually increase your metabolism. As long as the fat is extra virgin olive oil, it is also good for your heart and can be a potent anti-inflammatory.
- Have a morning routine and a daily routine. I always thought that a morning routine was important for my weight loss journey, but then I realized that an all day routine was even more important? Why? If you are doing things all day to take care of your health, then you are much less likely to “fall off the wagon.” If you spend your whole day treating yourself well, why would you treat yourself like crap?
- Be curious. Being curious has been so helpful to me in my weight loss journey. I am curious about my own body and have noticed how I can lose weight and maintain it successfully. I am curious and excited about trying different recipes and love eating them. I am also curious about new ways I can take care of myself. This curiosity keeps me going when times get a little tough.
Bill’s tips on maintaining weight.
- Keep up your new habits.
- Continue eating good food.
- Move everyday.
- Continue with your morning routine and daily routine.
- Continue being curious and learning about your body.
- Pay attention when you veer off the path and return to the path without guilt.
Mediterranean Diet Recipes for Weight Loss
A few years ago, I started working on a Mediterranean Diet Weight Loss Program. I wanted to incorporate everything I had learned from my own experience to help others. Thousands of people have gone through the program and I love to hear stories not only of people’s success with losing weight, but the also the other changes they have experienced because of eating the Mediterranean Diet. Many have shared that they have drastically decreased their cholesterol or that they have gotten off medications they thought they would have to take forever. Below, I am going to share some of the recipes from the program (there are over 100!) plus some newer weight loss recipes we are working on.
Baked Cod with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Olives
Authentic Greek Salad (Horiatiki Salata)
Shrimp with Feta and Tomatoes
Spinach and Goat Cheese Quiche
Tuna Patties Fried in Olive Oil (France)
Sheet Pan Chicken with Peppers and Onions
Moroccan Harira (Lentil, Chickpea and Tomato Soup)
Avocado Toast with Caramelized Balsamic Onions
Spinach and Mushroom Omelet