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The 5 Things You Need To Do To Achieve a Healthy Body Weight, And Keep It Permanently

Make fresh or lightly cooked plants the main event on your plate. Gone are the days of them being a side dish. The reason this works and why plants are so healing, is because Plants digest within hours and the body is designed to heal itself. When you eat plants you’re letting your body put its energy on healing and getting rid of toxins already stored there. Plants are also the only food that contains antioxidants to help clean up free radicals which cause cell damage, and phytonutrients, which have potent anti-cancer and anti-heart disease effects. Most people think protein (in the form of fish or meat) is the most important thing on your plate and that’s part of our problem today. It’s rare anyone will have a protein deficiency, but people often have vitamin and mineral deficiencies as well as excess acidity, which things like green vegetables can offset.

So many of us have tried dieting. All too often though, many of us lose 10–20 pounds, but we end up gaining it back. Not only is yo-yo dieting unhealthy, it is also demoralizing and makes us feel like giving up. What exactly do we have to do to achieve a healthy body weight and to stick with it forever?
In this interview series called “5 Things You Need To Do To Achieve A Healthy Body Weight And Keep It Permanently” we are interviewing health and wellness professionals who can share lessons from their research and experience about how to do this.

As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Victoria Sol.
Victoria Sol is a Natural Health Coach and Chopra Certified meditation Teacher. She has helped thousands of people adopt a healthier diet and lifestyle to discover better health and wellbeing since opening her first juice bar in 1997. Her 7-day body, mind and spirit detox program, created to accompany her book, Lifting the Layers to Vibrant Health, is available at victoriasol.com

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I was the only girl of 5 children. I was raised in a little town called Thornton, NH — not much there except fresh air and a view of the mountains. My 4 brothers and I grew up working in my Dad’s many businesses. We had an auction hall where we ran auctions every Saturday night, a tent rental business, a real estate business and a construction company. We would go home to my Mom’s home cooked meals. She was a loving Mother and she wanted us to be healthy, so she cooked the traditional family dinner of meat, potatoes and a vegetable. My poor Mom always struggled with her weight. She was either on a diet or going to start one on Monday. I remember her eating a lot of grapefruit and cottage cheese on toast.
What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

When I was 17, my oldest brother Jerry, died of cancer. He was 24. It was a shock to all of us because he was so young and back then cancer wasn’t as common as it is now. It started as testicular cancer, then spread into his lymph nodes. He had surgery, then chemotherapy and radiation. Prior to that he was a muscular guy with broad shoulders and really thick dark hair.

Watching him go through his body dwindling to nothing and losing all his hair, including his mustache, was more than we knew how to handle. I remember going to visit him in the hospital near the end his life. It’s all a blur to me now, but my school guidance counselor permitted me to leave school early to spend time with him. I remember feeling the whole time when I went into the hospital that, it just felt wrong, like there had to be a better way. It felt really hopeless. I think that cancer seems so much bigger than us that we don’t think about it until we or someone we know is diagnosed.

There were about 1.9 million Americans diagnosed with cancer last year and 608,570 cancer deaths. And both those numbers keep rising each year. After all I’ve seen, prevention makes the most sense. We live in a world with a lot of cancer-causing toxins and our bodies are designed to handle some, but for many of us at some point, when you throw in mental and emotional stress on top of the chemicals in our food, water, air, skincare and cleaning products, there’s a tipping point. It’s not just cancer either, these things impact heart disease and diabetes as well.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?
My Dad is such an inspiration for me. He was raised in severe poverty; much of his childhood was spent without running water or electricity. He was 15 when his mother died, and he was sent to live with his aunt and uncle. He remembers turning on a lamp in his bedroom for the first time there. He has always focused on creating a comfortable life for his family, with shear hard work and discipline.

Anyway, I think a pivotal moment for me on my life path was when I was 24. I had a one month-old baby, and he had an ear infection. I had taken him to the pediatrician who prescribed rounds of antibiotics that hadn’t worked, and we were at the end of that option. The doctor wanted to sedate my son to put tubes in his ears. I was really nervous about the idea of sedating a one month-old, so I called my Dad. He told me to go to the health food store and get some garlic and mullein oil, warm it slightly, and put 3 drops in my son’s ear followed by a cotton ball, morning and night. It worked like magic. In a matter of a few days the ear infection was completely gone. In my mind I weighed the two scenarios that got me to that point: holding him down, forcing him to take this gooey pink medicine that didn’t do anything, but compromise his immune system, compared to the pleasant experience of putting a warm, soothing oil inside his painful ear, that healed the infection. In that moment I was turned on to plants as medicine.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

I had just opened my first juice bar, about 25 years ago. I was peeling carrots and dropping them one at a time into my blender to grate them up to put on sandwiches. Each night we needed a full bucket of grated carrots for the next day lunch rush. So I had trained the women who was working for me at the time to do the same thing. We’d been doing this for about 3 months at this point.

One day, my Dad was in town and he stopped by. He saw me putting one carrot at a time into the blender to chop it up like that and he looked bewildered. I said, “What?” He said, “Honey, you need a food processor.” I said, “What’s that?” and he told me that it was an appliance I could get at the kitchen store. When I bought the food processor and we started using it, you should have seen us. It was so exciting. We were running the carrots through, one after the other and jumping up and down with excitement.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?
My quote I often say is, “Health is the lens through which you see your life.” To me, your health is your starting point. Wherever you go, there you are, and you bring what you eat and consume in all ways with you. How you feel sets the stage for everything, how you think, treat other people and what you place your attention on. I mean when you don’t feel good, nothing else matters. Plus, if you’re walking around in a pair of dirty sunglasses, after a while you don’t even know how wonderful it would be if only you cleaned them.

As far as quotes from someone else, there are many, but one that comes to mind is from The Dhammapada, which is a collection of the Buddha’s teachings, and it goes like this:
As irrigators guide water to their fields,
as archers aim arrows,
as carpenters carve wood,
the wise shape their lives.

I love this for two reasons. I believe it points to the fact that you can do whatever it is you want, but you need to decide what you want and make it happen. And, it takes intention, care and time to shape our lives and only the wise will do that.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

I am really excited about and focused on getting my book and digital program, Lifting the Layers to Vibrant Health, out there. I’ve received such great feedback from people who have done the program and read the book. I can’t even tell you how satisfying it is to have such a powerful impact on other people’s lives like that. The thing that really excites me about that is how much it impacts everyone else around them, from their husbands or wives and kids to other friends and family. Or having it change the way they think and feel so much that they start a new career or upgrade their lives in a whole new way.

For the benefit of our readers, can you briefly let us know why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field?

As far as credentials, I have a doctorate in Natural Health from a very non-traditional, alternative school. My first course was called “the politics of cancer”. So I’ve looked at wellness and healing through an alternative lens for decades. At the same time, I don’t discredit allopathic medicine. I believe there is room for all healing modalities and what works for one person may not work for someone else. The main issue of importance is that we, as individuals, take full responsibility for our health and do what we can to help the body heal itself. Which usually just means stopping toxic behaviors that got us to where we are.

Really, what makes me an authority is experience. I owned and operated juice bars for over 10 years, which gave me an opportunity to offer food that not only tastes good, but has the ability to make people feel better and actually contribute to healing the body, as opposed to much of our food today that depletes our health. I also got to witness the mindset problem in others and myself again and again, of trying to change through willpower alone and having it only produce a short-term result. All that witnessing and experience gave me the information I needed to create a solution that is doable and transformational.
OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview about achieving a healthy body weight. Let’s begin with a basic definition of terms so that all of us are on the same page.

How do you define a “Healthy Body Weight”?

In my current perspective about body weight, I believe a “Healthy Body Weight” should be defined by how you feel. We are not all the same and who would want to be? I believe we need to get the mental confines out of the way with what other people think. Really go inside and connect with ourselves and decide what’s right for us. So to me a healthy body weight is when you are being true to yourself and you feel really good in your body. You’re not limited by what you can do and you don’t get pangs of sadness or disappointment in yourself around food, exercise or your weight.

I have weighed the same weight for many years now. Occasionally, I will go up or down a few pounds because of my life circumstances, but for the most part, when you get in touch with your body and you reach your “Healthy Body Weight,” you become so in tune with your body that it won’t fluctuate much.

How can an individual learn what is a healthy body weight for them? How can we discern what is “too overweight” or what is “too underweight”?

In the past, at times I have felt both, too overweight and too underweight. The thing is, we can discover what’s right for us by going inside and asking ourselves. How am I feeling? Do I feel good? Do I feel healthy? You cannot lie to yourself. You know the truth once you ask. If you’re always trying to live into someone else’s standard you will feel untrue to yourself and it will cause you to hide. When you feel really good, you’re not focused on your weight; you’re just going about your life in your strong, resilient, body.

You already know the answer, you just need to look inside and ask yourself. It’s so funny because many pictures and statues of the Buddha is depicted as fat and happy as a way to show abundance and good fortune. Nowadays we have a mixed view, some scorn obesity and all the health issues associated with it, and others embrace and celebrate it. But the bottom line is, how you feel sets the stage for your life. Whether you’re a housewife or an athlete preparing for the Olympics, you know inside when you are healthy and resilient and when you need to make some changes. You don’t need anyone else to tell you, you just need to go inside and listen to your truth.

This might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to expressly articulate this. Can you please share a few reasons why being over your healthy body weight, or under your healthy body weight, can be harmful to your health?

Being both over and underweight can cause imbalances in the body, like vitamin deficiencies, increased risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. It can cause lack of sleep and lack of energy in general, or weaken your immune function, but I believe the real problem is in how you feel.
Because how you feel sets the stage for your life experience. It’s really the lens through which you see your life. There’s a loss of freedom in it and that impacts your life situation and everyone around you. It shows up in everything: how you treat yourself, your relationships with other people, and what you can do.

In contrast, can you help articulate a few examples of how a person who achieves and maintains a healthy body weight will feel better and perform better in many areas of life?

A healthy body weight diminishes the likelihood that you’ll be thinking about your body or food as much. It gives you room to think about and do other things. It also sets the stage for more choice in life. You can go on that hike with friends, eat without feeling bad in some way, or even tie your shoes without it being difficult.

Ok, fantastic. Here is the main question of our discussion. Can you please share your “5 Things You Need To Do To Achieve a Healthy Body Weight And Keep It Permanently?”. If you can, please share a story or an example for each.

Make fresh or lightly cooked plants the main event on your plate. Gone are the days of them being a side dish. The reason this works and why plants are so healing, is because Plants digest within hours and the body is designed to heal itself. When you eat plants you’re letting your body put its energy on healing and getting rid of toxins already stored there. Plants are also the only food that contains antioxidants to help clean up free radicals which cause cell damage, and phytonutrients, which have potent anti-cancer and anti-heart disease effects. Most people think protein (in the form of fish or meat) is the most important thing on your plate and that’s part of our problem today. It’s rare anyone will have a protein deficiency, but people often have vitamin and mineral deficiencies as well as excess acidity, which things like green vegetables can offset.

The story I’m about to tell you is when I first saw the power of eating primarily plants. I’d heard about Hippocrates Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida, and I remember hearing that people were healing all sorts of illnesses there, even cancer, with a plant-based diet. So I bought a plane ticket and went. It was there that I met a man who would change my life forever.

When I got there, we were getting a tour of the grounds and I was standing next to this man in a wheel chair who looked like he was not going to make it another day. His skin was gray. His legs were swollen. He was out of breath and he seemed exhausted just to be alive. I helped him a couple times, because he was having a hard time maneuvering the uneven ground with the chair.

I later talked to his wife at dinner who told me he had gotten the “go home and sort your affairs” speech from his team of doctors. There was nothing more they could do for him. She and her husband had come as a last resort, because their son had pleaded with them to give it a try. I kept an eye on him over the next couple of days. On the 3rd day, I saw him walking across campus — no more wheel chair. He looked like he had drunk from the fountain of youth, like a spell had been lifted. His transformation in such a short time was absolutely miraculous. His swelling had gone down, and he had a big smile on his face. Right then, I knew I had to share this with the world.

2. Set your intention with a good reason to do it. Decide what you want to be feeling and where you want to go with your new healthy body. Everything we decide to do is because it holds the promise that we will have a positive result from it. When you have an intention that makes you feel really good or uplifted when you say it; then, you’ll have a really good reason to stay the course when you don’t feel like it.
In Simen Sinek’s book, Start With Why, he talks all about having a good why. When you set your intention based on your “why”, it’s like a little lifeline to keep your attention and focus, with the promise of something good for your choices.

3. I think the third thing you must begin to do to achieve a healthy body weight and keep it permanently is to have a good, doable plan. Plan ahead for what you’ll eat for the week, get groceries, make it simple so that you won’t change your mind last minute and eat what’s available or if you want to gain weight, not eat at all. You can’t rely on self-discipline in the moment when you want to change your habits and you’re hungry. You have to know what you’re going to do and when you’re going to do it. Same thing goes for going out to a restaurant. Don’t leave it to chance. Look up the menu and decide in advance what you’re going to have when you get there.

If you want to lose weight, I recommend you don’t go out to eat for at least the first week; depending on how much weight you have to lose, you may want to make it longer. This isn’t forever, it’s just until you are living from the place that feels confident and content with healthy food choices. Your taste buds will change, because your body will feel so good and you won’t want to disrupt that.

All my clients are grateful for a plan. That’s the main reason I wrote the book and created the online program. A good example of what having a plan can do for you is when one of my clients was going home to visit family. They had always connected around food and they all had a weight issue impacting their health. Her intention was to connect with them in a new way and stay on her path. She brought healthy food to share and they went for a walk after dinner, instead of staying at the table snacking on sweets, as they had always done in the past. When I spoke with her later, she said she had such a great time with her family and left feeling confident and satisfied like never before.

4. After you’ve set your intention and you have a plan, you also need to handle those thoughts that have kept you stuck reliving the reality you want to change, in the moment. Our minds tend to play the same thoughts over and over again and often they lead us to self sabotage. When you can recognize thoughts as something you want to detox, you can catch them in the moment, clear them, and introduce thoughts you want to think, instead. For example a common thought to detox is, “I’ll start tomorrow.” Well, tomorrow never comes. It’s always today that you’re making the choice. When that thought arises, you can act like a detective, like “Hah! I caught you.” And then do a little process to clear it out, imagine it leaving your mind or being washed away. I like to shine a bright light on it and think a new thought in its place, a healthier thought like, “I am eating only healthy food today.” Then read your intention.

A really simple way to recognize that this works is to try it in the moment. Granted if it’s a thought you’ve thought many times, it may take a few times to clear it, but you’ll soon recognize you no longer have that thought. For example, Alice was addicted to having chocolate after a meal. Her problem was portion control. She couldn’t just eat one square. She would find herself eating half or all of the bar nearly every day and it was adding up. Finally, she decided to detox the desire for chocolate. First, she had planned ahead so she didn’t have it in the house, but she didn’t live alone so she could talk herself into buying it for others. But now, she decided to set herself up for success and not have it in the house until she didn’t crave it anymore. When the desire for chocolate arose after she ate. She recognized it was a thought and she didn’t have to follow it. She cleared it from her mind, planted the new thought, “I’m creating new healthy habits”. The desire for chocolate disappeared and she went about her day. After a few days the craving disappeared. She is no longer eating chocolate every day.

5. Finally, once you’ve lost the weight, stay inspired. Read books, watch documentaries, recognize that you already have the answer within you. You did it. There are no “quick fixes”. And you can quickly turn around and go back to what you were doing only to end up back where you started or you can keep the weight off and continue to move in that direction.

You don’t have to eat only vegetables for the rest of your life. It’s not an all or nothing once you’re where you want to be with your weight, staying inspired can keep you from yo-yo dieting and gaining the weight back. There are many ways to stay inspired, but one of them is gratitude. Practicing gratitude for yourself, for how you got here and what you enjoy every day is really the key to see all the beauty and abundance that you are and the life you live. Food can often be a band aid to avoid how we feel. When you feel good, you don’t need food to make you feel better. So, recognizing and feeling grateful that you feel good is inspiring to stay that way. Other ways to stay inspired are to focus on the good that comes from your new lifestyle, how it impacts others, future generations, the planet, everyone.

The emphasis of this series is how to maintain an ideal weight for the long term, and how to avoid yo-yo dieting. Specifically, how does a person who loses weight maintain that permanently and sustainably?

In addition to staying inspired, present moment body awareness is key. Much of the problem with weight gain comes from reaching outside ourselves to feel better, to soothe discomfort in some way. Taking a moment to go inside and recognize how we feel on a regular basis, instead of always looking outside ourselves, is the new paradigm. Many women I work with have a hard time placing their awareness inside their body, for a variety of good reasons; but bringing our awareness back inside and really knowing ourselves changes the game. Practicing going inside through mindfulness or meditation really helps.

What are a few of the most common mistakes you have seen people make when they try to lose weight? What errors cause people to just snap back to their old unhealthy selves? What can they do to avoid those mistakes?

The most common mistakes people make when trying to lose weight is to adopt a diet they can’t incorporate as a lifestyle. There are so many diets out there that work short term, but healthy body weight doesn’t come from being on a diet, it’s about what you do every day over time. Usually, when someone goes on a diet they eventually go back to eating “normally” and over time gain it all back. If the intention and mindset is to change long term, you need to shift your mindset away from deprivation and toward a new way of eating and being that’s sustainable.

How do we take all this information and integrate it into our actual lives? The truth is that we all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?

I believe the main blockage from information to integration is the fact that we use food to soothe our emotions. It’s an easy way to feel good temporarily and we have all sorts of habits built in, often since childhood. You really need to let those emotions arise, recognize them and then do something new to shift it, like go for a walk or take a bath. Once you’re in tune with your body, you will know that you’re not actually hungry when you’re feeling down or upset.

On the flip side, how can we prevent these ideas from just being trapped in a rarified, theoretical ideal that never gets put into practice? What specific habits can we develop to take these intellectual ideas and integrate them into our normal routine?

Set yourself up for success. Put some rules into practice that are doable and you can stick to. First, we need to make sure we have healthy food available when we’re hungry. Plan your meals ahead as much as you can. Bring healthy snacks or pack your lunch, etc. You can’t leave your health up to chance in the moment. More and more restaurants are offering healthy food. If you eat out, shift your perspective to feeling really good after the meal, instead of regretful.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

The truth is, if most people adopted a plant-based diet, we would not only decrease all sorts of illness and health care costs and improve our lives in a number of ways, but we would also be reducing animal cruelty and have a massive impact on the planet by merely choosing to eat plants over animals.
Animal agriculture not only wreaks havoc on our planet and our health, but it requires that we ignore how it impacts the animals and future generations. When we live that way, we are not living in our authenticity. If we took the time to look at it instead of away from it (because we don’t want to change what we’re doing), if we saw the truth, by watching what really happens to that animal that you’re about to eat, would you do it? The truth is, getting to a healthy body weight by eating plants is amazing for healing your body and your future health, but it’s also a win/win situation, because you are decreasing animal suffering and decreasing the amount of pollution you contribute to the planet.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

It is my absolute dream to sit down with Oprah. I see her as someone who’s true to herself, while having a massive impact on other people. She is heart-centered, open-minded and caring. I could learn a lot from her, and I have. I’d love to see what she thinks and how she feels about plant-based living. She aired a show many years ago that showed the traditional way that cows were slaughtered, and she was sued by Texas cattle ranchers after saying, “I’ll never eat a hamburger again.”

I believe we all live by example, whether we mean to or not. When we are true to ourselves, it serves everyone else around us. Only we have the power to change what’s happening in this world and it begins with changing ourselves.

How can our readers further follow your work online?
I am available at victoriasol.com, facebook https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1108066426
and Instagram https://www.instagram.com/victoriasol_ltl/?hl=en.

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.

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Disclaimer Notice: The information provided here is based on my experience and observation. I am not a medical doctor.

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