Holistic weight loss is an integrated focus on well-being that can include natural supplements, diet plan, and mentality working together in unison.10 One is more likely to lose weight sustainably and keep the weight off by following a holistic approach to weight loss since it reveals interconnectedness of eating, exercise, and mindset which most crash diets completely ignore.
Below we’ll review everything about losing weight loss holistically, from diet, exercise and mindset, to mitigating sleep, reducing stress, and mindfulness — as well as how to incorporate it into you daily life for optimal results.
What Does Holistic Weight Loss Mean?
Holistic weight loss varies from many other weight loss diets as it takes an all-encompassing integrated effort towards losing weight naturally–including being active, eating clean, and using natural weight loss aids. This type of weight loss centers on fostering a more healthy and positive mindset towards losing weight and improving every aspect of the body and mind.
Holistic weight loss is not a type of diet per se, but is more so a lifestyle change and commitment to bettering one’s overall health. It’s possible to take some ideas or concepts from other diets since tracking food, calories, and exercise can be very helpful but a holistic approach doesn’t have to be as strict or as structured as other diets may be.
Why Is Losing Weight Holistically Effective & Is It Right for Me?
While some alternative fad diets or trending diets require strict carb or calorie limits or even cut out entire food groups, holistic weight loss relies more on whole foods, clean eating, and natural weight loss remedies.
This may include home remedies to reduce weight in 7 days like honey, lemon, green tea, and aloe vera or can be integrated over a much longer term weight loss journey.
What makes holistic weight loss most different from other traditional diets is that it integrates the mind and calls for an entire lifestyle adjustment and whole-body betterment.
Holistic Weight Loss Is Natural
Holistic ways to lose weight do not involve buying specific products, protein mixes, weight loss drinks or workout programs. This method of weight loss is focused on natural foods, organic supplements, and making gradual but effective changes to improve mental and physical health and well being.
The Whole Body Is Incorporated
The whole body is made healthier through holistic living; rather than focusing on only the upper body or only blasting away belly fat, holistic weight loss means moving and caring for all parts of the body, eating foods that will provide ample nutrition and energy, and integrating the mind to foster mental and spiritual health instead of solely physical.
Mindset & Well Being Are Integrated With Physical Health
A huge part of why so many people give up on their health or weight loss goals is that their mindset isn’t as positive, healthy, or strong as it could be; if we have a weak or negative mentality, it’s very difficult to stick with our routines when the going gets tough–especially when we feel hungry, tired, or frustrated.
That’s why learning about our personal relationships with food, movement, nourishment, natural foods and supplements, and our bodies–and then developing a weight loss plan that utilizes all of these interconnected aspects–will be much more successful than those that only rely on one of these.
Research done on mindfulness and weight loss showed that significant weight loss was documented among those who practiced mindfulness versus those who did not; 68% of the mindfulness studies gave positive weight loss results.1
Why Mentality Matters When Losing Weight Holistically
Mentality can mean the difference between thinking I will never lose weight and thinking if I stick with it, I can reach my goals and achieve the body and life I’ve been yearning for.
That’s why holistic weight loss can be so transformative–when our bodies feel tired or overwhelmed, we can fall back on our mental strength to remind us that consistency is key and to remember why we started and keep our eyes on the prize.
Mentality can also mean educating oneself on common setbacks and obstacles to weight loss, taking a look back at what has caused their weight loss or health goals to be fumbled in the past, and gaining a better understanding of how to foster a healthy relationship with eating, moving, and thinking.
A study on the collaboration of mindfulness training and diet for obese persons (in comparison to those who tried either mindfulness or diet exclusively) determined that performing mindfulness training with a dietary regime had a much greater impact than either variable alone.
In this research, mindfulness training involved cognitive therapy to teach the participants about the origins of their food addictions or tendencies and how to retrain their brains to not repeat the same actions or behaviors that led to obesity. Through this educational therapy, patients lost significantly more weight than either control group (only dietary changes or only mindfulness training) and had less anxiety around both eating and health.2
Mindfulness exercises or habits can take many forms, including but not limited to:
Breathing Exercises: Breathing exercises can be used for decreasing stress; by slowing down and focusing on breathing speed and technique, one can learn to be present in the moment, to take time for self-care, and to release anxiety.
Meditation: With many methods and variations, meditation has been around for thousands of years and can enable someone to practice being present, focusing, relaxing, or releasing negative thoughts and energy. Some techniques involve focusing on a specific thought or activity, while others are more centered on releasing detrimental thoughts and mindsets to make mental room for more healthy or positive thoughts.
Meditation can take just a few minutes or can be practiced for hours, and is used in many religions and practices. Regarding weight loss, meditation can be a tool to focus on previous mindsets, to release negative views of oneself and their body, and to practice valuing their own self-worth and well being.
Positive Affirmations: Meant to encourage, affirmations can be spoken to others or to oneself, and are often in the form of a powerful and motivating sentence or phrase. Weight loss affirmations can function to inspire oneself and can be written down or spoken aloud in the mirror or even in the car on a commute.
Some such weight loss affirmations could be:
- I am working towards bettering my body and mind
- Even when setbacks come, I will persevere
- I have come so far and I’m excited to see where this journey leads me
- It feels great to accomplish a workout
- Each day brings me closer to my goal weight
Sleep Schedule: Proper and consistent sleep is a simple yet crucial aspect of weight loss and overall health; when the body gets interrupted sleep or less than 7 hours or so per night, the body may be prompted to release cortisol–the body’s stress hormone–which promotes more fat storage and weight gain. Therefore, sufficient sleep is an effective weight loss tool.
Stress Reduction: Weight gain can be exacerbated by heightened stress not only due to cortisol but because many people use calorie-loaded foods and drinks to cope. Taking a walk, reading a book, practicing meditation or trying breathing exercises can all aid in reducing stress and preventing weight gain.
Yoga: Combining physical, spiritual, and mental health, yoga is similar to meditation in that it has been used to center oneself and destress far into the past. Yoga is a perfect example of a holistic weight loss technique as it integrates the mind, body, and spirit collectively to better oneself.
A Holistic Diet Plan for Losing Weight Naturally & Sustainably
A holistic diet plan isn’t truly a “diet” but is more so a general eating guide, similar to intuitive eating weight loss but with a few recommendations for clean eating and regularly moving for overall healthy habits and living.
The main hallmarks of holistic weight loss are being kind to yourself and your body, being mindful of what you’re nourishing your body with, and focusing on clean eating and whole foods rather than sugary or highly processed non-nutritive options.
Intentional and Mindful Eating
Intentional and mindful eating is essentially the concept of being aware of what one is eating, focusing on how it can nourish and energize the body, and taking the time to enjoy and appreciate the food rather than devouring it quickly and moving on to the next thing. Mindful eating can also include taking the time to notice the smell, taste, and texture of foods and truly savor them, focusing on food as fuel for the body.
This not only fosters the mindset of being present and appreciative, but eating slowly helps you feel full faster and can therefore be helpful in losing weight. Intriguingly, feeling full comes not just from the physical sensation of fullness, but from signals to the brain via the vagus nerve–which connects the gut and brainstem–as well.
These signals come from stretch receptors in the stomach, and hormones including cholecystokinin and leptin that let the brain know when the stomach is getting full.
When someone eats too quickly, these receptors and hormones don’t have ample time to communicate to the brain, so they may eat more than necessary and gain more weight over time–whereas when eating slowly, their brain would be notified to stop eating sooner and weight loss could occur over time with less food consumed per snack or meal.3
Further supporting this concept, another study was done on 2500 middle-aged women in New Zealand which also determined that eating quickly raises BMI; participants self-reported how quickly they ate their meals, and it was found that a faster eating speed translated to an overall higher body mass index average than those who took their time on their food.4
Developing a Positive Relationship With Food
A holistic eating plan and health journey is all about straying away from toxic “diet culture” and beginning to foster a healthier relationship to what nourishes your body. Focusing on creating a positive relationship with food means being aware of the nutrition content of what you’re consuming, taking better care of your body, and not beating yourself up when you overindulge or gain a pound or two here and there.
What Does a Healthy Holistic Meal Plan Consist Of?
A healthy holistic eating plan consists of staying hydrated, giving the body nourishment via whole foods, eating a natural diet rich in nutrients, and avoiding high levels of sodium, added sugars, and highly processed foods.
Below, we’ve compiled some holistic weight loss food and drink options in three categories; nutritious whole foods that would preferably be single-ingredient, natural weight loss drinks and natural weight loss tea options for hydration, as well as holistic weight loss supplements and remedies.
Be sure to get plenty of prebiotics and probiotics in your meals as these can drastically improve gut health and probiotics’ effect on weight loss is substantial, proving to aid in both overall weight loss and fat loss in overweight and obese people.5 Some prebiotics and probiotics include chicory root, leeks, onions, asparagus, banana, mushrooms, seaweed, and miso.
Other foods and beverages perfect for a holistic eating plan are:
- Cruciferous Vegetables
- Black Tea
- Ginger Lemon Water
- Grapefruit Juice (Organic)
- Green Tea
- Hibiscus Tea
- Oolong Tea
- White Tea
Natural Weight Loss Supplements and Remedies:
- Aloe Vera
- Omega-3 Fish Oil
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin K2
How Is Exercise Incorporated Into a Holistic Regimen for Weight Loss?
Holistic weight loss should take all aspects of one’s body and lifestyle into account, so this includes physical health. Just about any type and intensity of exercise can be incorporated into a holistic weight loss strategy, whether you’re a professional athlete or need something more suited for beginners.
For context, a medically safe rate of weight loss for the treatment of obesity shouldn’t exceed 1.5 kilograms or about 3 pounds per week due to potential health issues if expedited further–including the drastically increased risk and likelihood of gallstone formation beyond this rate.6 Another useful metric to go by is to aim for losing 1% of one’s total body weight per week.
Don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re losing weight at a slower rate, as this is simply a goal, and any weight loss is still one step closer to where you want to be. Additionally, a holistic plan is just as much about mindset and positivity towards oneself as it is about physical change.
Keep your head up and keep pushing; here are some workouts or exercises to have fun with along the way.
- Body Weight Exercises
- HIIT Workouts
- Jumping Jacks
- Jumping Rope
- Playing Catch
- Rock Climbing
- Weight Lifting
If your goal is to improve your body, mind, and spirit and lose weight while bettering your whole self, give holistic weight loss a try and remember that a positive mindset is what will set you apart and keep you from giving up.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Can I Eat on a Holistic Eating Plan?
Nothing is “off the table” on a holistic eating plan, but general recommendations are to get plenty of veggies, single ingredient whole foods, and prebiotics as well as probiotics (foods that foster gut health) like yogurts, bananas, asparagus, artichokes, kombucha, pickles, and kimchi.
Do Weight Loss Supplements That Claim They're Holistic Include Natural Herbs & Medicines?
As opposed to human-made medications or refined supplements and weight loss products, holistic medicine weight loss is much safer, healthier, and less likely to cause bloating, intestinal discomfort, and other issues.
Holistic medicines and herbs that can aid in weight loss include ginger, cayenne pepper, chili peppers, oregano, black pepper, and turmeric.
Are There Different Types of Weight Loss Programs That Are Holistic?
There are plenty of specific types of holistic weight loss programs or routines to choose from such as holistic weight loss for women or holistic weight loss combined with keto; however, the broader idea or concept of a holistic weight loss program should remain constant and should involve the interrelatedness of mind, body, and spirit to move towards a healthier life overall.
Do I Need To See a Nutritionist When Attempting to Approach Weight Loss Holistically?
Meeting with a nutritionist could certainly be beneficial in learning more of the ins and outs of one’s own body and its needs, but this generally isn’t a requirement for beginning a holistic weight loss journey.
Is Weight Loss With a Holistic Approach a Type of Diet? Can It Be Paired With Another Diet?
Holistic weight loss isn’t a type of diet in the traditional sense; although there are some loose guidelines, these are more meant as stepping stones or advice rather than as strict rules to be followed.
As long as the demands of another diet can fit into the idea and style of holistic weight loss, some aspects could certainly overlap–for example, tracking carbs could be a helpful concept taken from the keto diet or keeping an eye on calories consumed could also be useful especially when beginning holistic weight loss.
1Olson, K., & Emery, C. (2015, January). Mindfulness and weight loss: a systematic review. Psychosomatic Medicine, 77(1), 59-67. <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25490697/>
2Asadollahi, T., Khakpour, S., Ahmadi, F., Seyedeh, L., Tahami, Matoo, S., & Bermas, H. (2015). Effectiveness of mindfulness training and dietary regime on weight loss in obese people. Journal of Medicine and Life, 8(14), 114-124. <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5319254/>
3MacDonald, A. (2010, October 19). Why eating slowly may help you feel full faster. Harvard Health Publishing. Retrieved February 28, 2023, from <https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/why-eating-slowly-may-help-you-feel-full-faster-20101019605>
4Leong, S., Madden, C., Gray, A., Walters, D., & Horwath, C. (2011, August). Faster self-reported speed of eating is related to higher body mass index in a nationwide survey of middle-aged women. Journal of American Diet Association, 111(8), 1192. <https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21802566/>
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