Holiday Eating. Gaining weight or losing? It’s your choice.

Today (11-7-11) — the ideal time to begin your quest for vibrant health.

Once again, Dr. Greger has provided us with a close look at a scientific report on the topic of BMI scores that are associated with various diet-styles. He carefully analyzes an April 2009 report published by the American Diabetes Association. He took a look at four different diet-styles:

Leveraging the simple, yet powerful concept of maximizing the percent of your calories from whole plant foods -- still in nature's package

  1. Meat eaters (meat and/or dairy at almost every meal)
  2. Flexitarian (mostly vegetarian but eats meat a few times a month)
  3. Vegetarian (mostly plant-based but still eats dairy and eggs)
  4. Vegan (consumes only plant-based foods)

But the report didn’t have any data on a 4-Leaf diet-style, where one is getting over 80% of their daily calories from whole plant-based foods; still in nature’s package.

We know that many vegans still eat a very unhealthy diet consisting of lots of high-fat, processed foods like oil, pasta, bread, chips, tofu, etc. Take a look at what the study showed and then let’s guess how “4-Leaf eating” would have fared against the other three.

Analysis of Data from the Video. I took his data and went a step further and included my own data to illustrate the BMI for a typical 4-Leaf eater. At 6-0 and 155 pounds, my BMI is 21. My son (38) has a BMI even lower than mine. With obesity starting at a BMI of 30, I have computed how much a six foot male would weigh at the various BMI levels:

  • Diet Style —  BMI — Weight
  • 4-Leaf  (me)        21            155
  • Vegan                  24            177
  • Vegetarian         26             192
  • Flexitarian         27.5          204
  • Avg. in USA    28.8          213
  • Obese Level       30             221

Two 4-Leaf eaters. Jason on the left with a BMI of 20.5 and me with a 21. Our initial goal was vibrant health and we've both eaten at the 4-Leaf level for over five years. We each lost about twenty pounds during the first year.

For a six foot male, the data would suggest the following weight-loss probabilities:

  1. Moving from the S.A.D to a flexitarian diet yields   = 9 pounds
  2. Moving from flexitarian to a vegetarian diet yields = 12 pounds
  3. Moving from vegetarian to a completely vegan diet = 15 pounds
  4. Moving from vegan to a 4-Leaf diet (the winner)  =  22 pounds

Weight-loss opportunity; what is your’s?  You can adjust these figures for your own body. Using the above numbers, how much weight can you expect to lose by next summer if you improve your diet-style before Thanksgiving?

  • Diet Style     Weight-loss   % Loss
  • Flexitarian      9 pounds             4.2%
  • Vegetarian      21 pounds           10.3%
  • Vegan               36 pounds          16.9%
  • 4-Leaf               58 pounds          27.2%

As I’ve said many times before, the problem with all of the designated diet-styles above, only the 4-Leaf one truly describes what you are eating. As we know, there are many definitions for both vegetarian and vegan — and we never know how much oil, pasta, bread and other refined carbohydrates any of them are eating.

J. Morris Hicks, author and activist. Working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

With 4-Leaf, it’s really simple; just average getting over 80% of your calories from whole plants, still in nature’s package. Try it this holiday season and beyond. Your permanent weight-loss success may astound you. Here are a few other articles on this topic:

Eating 4-Leaf for “vibrant health” — with weight-loss as a bonus

Effortless weight-loss — on the “4-Leaf” road to vibrant health

Weight-loss targets; not recommended — Here’s why

Weight-loss or vibrant health? What is your goal?

How quickly will you lose the weight once you start eating 4-Leaf? That depends on how much you have to lose. Our observation is that weekly weight-loss will vary from 1 to 3 pounds a week for a 220 pounder with 60 pounds to lose. So if you shed an average of two pounds a week for the next 30 weeks, that will put you at your “ideal” weight of 160 in roughly seven months.

If you start on November 15, you should be looking good by June 15 — just in time for swim season. Of course, you better start putting aside a little extra money to buy some new clothes. But we don’t recommend a weight-loss target. Your goal should be “vibrant health” and the weight-loss will take care of itself. Take a look at the links to several articles to the right of my picture above.

For an easy BMI calculator, go to the bottom right corner of the website. While my evidence is purely anecdotal for now, I am confident that a 4-Leaf diet-style will yield a BMI in the very low twenties. Try it — then let me know your score to add to my list of anecdotal evidence.

If you like what you see here, you may wish to join our periodic mailing list. Also, for help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4-Leaf page. From the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

If you’d like to order our book on Amazon,  visit our BookStore now.

—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at

For more Dr. Greger Videos, visit

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About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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3 Responses to Holiday Eating. Gaining weight or losing? It’s your choice.

  1. Brian Hurley says:

    Good afternoon! After talking with Jason (your son), I was reminded I made the decision to start eating the 4-Leaf lifestyle at Thanksgiving 2010. As you have documented on your blog, I started at 208 pounds at that time. I started with the goal of weight loss but learned the change was truly about achieving Vibrant Health. I have more than succeeded in the goal of vibrant health and today my weight is maintaining at 161 lbs.

    Last month, Dawn and I were attending a wedding. Later, when looking at pictures, she told me that she was ready to completely adopt the 4 Leaf lifestyle. My daughter and she have supported me since day one and made my transition easy. While their eating habits improved, they were more lax in eating at the 4 Leaf level. Upon our return from the wedding, Dawn asked me to help her reach the 4 Leaf level and I was ready to help her gain vibrant health. (I have stated before that someone needs to be committed to making a lifestyle change!)

    Today, she has been eating 4 Leaf for three weeks. She feels great and as a bonus, has lost 8 lbs. she is well on her way and I am excited to watch her get healthy!! Jason joked by asking, “What is with the Hurley’s choosing the hardest time of the year to start–the HOLIDAYS?” My reply, if you can do it then, the rest is a walk in the park. The best time to start is when you are committed to improving your health and there is no time like the present!!!

  2. Denise Welsh says:

    Your scenario of Nov 15 to June 15 is one that I just lived last year. You are so right on. I dropped weight without trying. I felt great and still do. Most of all, this past summer for the first time in many years I actually looked forward to spending time on the beach in my BATHING SUIT. If I don’t say so myself…..I look great 🙂 and I’m in vibrant HEALTH!

  3. Jean Myers says:

    Hi, I really enjoyed this post as it mirrors my experience over the years. In 1984 when I became vegetarian I no longer struggled with weight control and leveled off at 120 pounds (small-boned 5’5” female). Then in 1997 when I became vegan, my weight dropped to 115 and stayed there. In 2003 when i started following Dr. Fuhrman’s nutritarian approach (a lot of whole foods like your 4 – leaf program), I dropped another 10 pounds without trying and currently maintain that weight. While the BMI charts claim I am too thin, because of my small frame, my weight seems perfect and I never have to worry about it. For someone who weighed 140 in my teens, I am delighted to know that healthy eating takes care of the weight issue!

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