Week 5 – Total weight loss 9lbs and body fat down to 16.4%!

So 5 weeks leading up to my holiday and following the scientific method of a 1000 calorie deficit per day has done the trick. Monitoring my daily calorie intake and using the recipes in the Plant-Based 4 Running nutrition guide and cookbook has enabled me to drop weight but also reduce my body fat % from an overweight 20.2% to a healthy 16.4% for my age.

The scientific evidence is pretty clear that if you create this sort of deficit in total calories then you will lose weight, no matter what the diet. In fact an American professor went on a junk food diet and managed to lose weight by following this simple but effective principal. What I have found with following a Plant-Based diet is that I have aso been eating nutritious, healthy food without feeling hungry. The recipes are quick and easy and can be fitted into any busy lifestyle, with just a bit of planning and a few store cupboard essentials. The benefits of a plant-based diet and lifestyle are discussed in the book but a diet that is better for your health, the environment, is sustainable, ethical and can help you to lose weight gradually, surely is one worth giving serious consideration? And the food is delicious and varied with different favourite recipes every week, this weeks were Rainbow Rice Salad and Special Baked Beans! I certainly didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything and am confident that the lifestyle changes I have made are sustainable and manageable and have not just been a quick fix diet.  Time will tell!!

Week 4 – Another 2lbs lost and body fat closing in on target!

A pattern is emerging where I am managing to keep my calorie intake below the target 1661 calories during the week but not at the weekend. This weekend a major curry was the issue on Sunday but despite that my weekly average intake was only just over at 1774 calories per day and I still managed to lose 2lbs! As previously discussed energy balance is key. Energy in has to be below energy out/expended to lose the weight. So by concentrating on keeping the intake at or below the target  while maintaining moderate exercise 3-5 days per week the balance is still tipped in the weight loss direction! I also managed a long walk on Sunday as I knew the curry night was on the cards which, again, managed to offset the extra calories consumed. My target body fat percentage is also now in sight and measured at 17.5% with the “healthy” band of 14-17% now tantalisingly close!

Caribbean Beans “n” Rice from the Plant-Based 4 Running cookbook was this weeks favourite, which is not only tasty but has a good balance of nutrients to support health and active living! Cooking the rice in low fat coconut milk really gives it a delicious creamy texture and flavour!

Week 3 – 1.8lbs lost and down to 18% Body Fat


Managed to continue to keep my calorie intake down to 1618 kcal/day, slightly below my target, and my exercise to 5 days of moderate activity per week and the science is still proving its worth! I also tweaked my diet this weeek to ensure that I was hitting my micronutrient targets shown in the Nutritics software analysis. During the previous weeks the only ones I wasn’t hitting through the balanced WFPB diet were the Selenium and Iodine targets. Not major concerns but by introducing Brazil nuts into my diet as a snack food and starting to use iodised salt in my cooking (you can buy it in Polish supermakets) I managed to get my levels up and close to the recommended intakes. No problem with Calcium or Vitamin B12 intake as I regularly use fortified soya milk, particularly for breakfast, and yeast extract (I love marmite!) as a snack on seeded bread. All in all another successful week with no major issues or cravings and I’m getting seriously close to my lowest weight since 1998 when I ran the London Marathon! Managing my food intake seems to be just as effective for weight loss as running 50+ miles/week and I’m 20 years older! My protein intake is slightly below target, an issue I will look to address next week with some more minor tweeks to my menu planning!


Favourites recipes this week from the Plant-Based 4 Running cookbook, Bircher Fruit Muesli in the mornings with different flavours of soya yoghurt, and the Pearl Barley Mushroom Risotto, a tasty WFPB take on a restaurant favourite!

Week 2 – 1.6lbs lost body fat stable

With the May Bank holiday and a weekend away this week was always going to be harder. Not cooking my own meals and eating out gave me less control of my calorie intake. Having said that by choosing healthy plant-based options from the menus (and more and more retaurants are offering good vegan options now!) and even given a couple of beers in an Italian restaurant my average calorie intake was 1557 and below my target of 1661! I also kept to my exercise regime with 5 days per week doing 1 hour of moderate exercise. On the Bank Holiday Sunday we actually did 3 hours in Yorkshire Sculpture Park followed by a Vegan dinner at the Prashad Vegetarian Indian restaurant near Leeds. If you are ever in the area you must try it the food is amazing and unlike your standard high street Indian restaurant!

Bottom line the science is still working with a calorie deficit, even given some less than perfect days, resulting in weight loss. My Nutritics report also showed that my overall macro amd micronutrient intakes were pretty healthy too! More on that next week!

Favourite recipe from the Plant-Based 4 Running cookbook this week? The Curried Cauliflower Salad, which is a go too favourite!

Week 1- 2lbs lost and a 1% Body fat reduction!

Using the equations included in the Plant-Based 4 Running cookbook to calculate my daily energy needs the figures came to 2661 kcals based on moderate daily activity and exercising 3-5 times per week. In order to achieve my target weight loss of 2lbs per week the science suggests a calorie deficit of 1000 kcals/day so my target intake was therefore 1661 kcal/day. By using the recipes in the book, which give you the calorie and macronutrient breakdowns, my weekly total average intake was actually 1672 kcal. I love cooking and I love the food and I also love the fact that I did lose the first 2lbs and 1% off my body fat measurement in the first week! This was despite having a bit of a blip on the Saturday and a 2000 kcal day! The macro and micronutrient analysis showed that with the exception of iodine, the diet was 

well balanced and gave me all the minerals and vitamins I needed. I found that logging my food daily on Nutritics, and planning each day in advance meant I avoided snacking late at night and didn’t get over hungry, with fruit being my go to snack. Favourite recipes of the week were Black Bean Soup, which served as dinner one night and lunch on the next day, and Satay Peanut Pasta, which is not only delicious but gave me plenty of carbohydrate (86g) and protein (23.1g) as well.


Let’s see what Week 2 brings but up to date scientific theory into practice is certainly working for me. The quick and easy recipes are really helping me to ensure I eat both healthfully and in line with calculated calorie targets!

Using nutritional science to achieve weight loss!

Being a sports nutritionist with an MSc in Applied Sports Nutrition I have an understanding of the science behind weight loss and energy balance. Calories out have to exceed calories in to achieve weight loss. But can I put it into practice in a way that will work for anyone on a whole food plant-based (WFPB) diet?

Since starting a WFPB diet around 10 years ago and after an initial weight loss of around 7 lbs my weight’s plateaued. I have decided to use a scientific approach to weight loss with the objective of getting back to my last rugby playing weight of 12st 8lbs (80kg) which was over 20 years ago! I am starting at 13st 3lbs (84kg)and am aiming to lose the 9lbs steadily at a rate of 2lbs/week over 4-5 weeks. The science suggests that a calorie deficit of approx. 1000kcal/day should enable me to achieve this. So by increasing my energy expenditure, by exercising more, while decreasing my energy intake, by monitoring what I eat, I should be able to get to the weight I am aiming for. I also want to ensure that my new “playing” weight of 80kg is maintained so the lifestyle changes I am making need to be sustainable too! I will also be monitoring my body fat % throughout using a Bodpod machine I have available at work, with a starting value of 20.2%, and seeing if I can get this down to around 17%, which is a much healthier level for my age and gender.

I will be using the recipes in the Plant-Based 4 Running cookbook and nutrition guide to help me in this process. All the recipes in the book have the energy and macronutrient contents calculated for me. I will also be using a software programme called Nutritics to monitor and track my daily food intake which will give me breakdowns of both the macro and microntrient content as well.

These tools should enable me to track my energy expenditure and energy intake to ensure that I achieve the right energy balance, eat healthily and enable me to lose the weight gradually and sustainably!

Wish me luck!


Philip Woodbridge MSc BA(Hons) SENr

P4S Nutrition