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I Lost 70 Pounds on the Flexitarian Diet and Here's How

This fitness instructor changed her life and her health.  
FACT CHECKED BY Christopher Roback

Fitness instructor Alana Sanders lost 70 pounds on the flexitarian diet. The flexitarian diet is essentially a mostly vegan/vegetarian diet with the option to eat meat now and then, making it one of the more sustainable diets out there. "I think people are attracted to this diet because you can be a little bit more flexible on it," Kate Patton, MEd, RD, CSSD, LD, tells the Cleveland Clinic. "Most diets imply a start and stop, and the weight can creep back on, but the flexitarian diet places a large emphasis on eating a mostly plant-based diet, which is always recommended for long-term weight loss." Here's how Sanders lost weight on the diet and kept it off.

Limited Red Meat

Grilled top sirloin or cup rump beef meat steak on marble board. Black background. Top view

Sanders only eats meat when she really craves it, which is once or twice a week. "You don't have to get rid of all meat all at once. Instead, try easing into meatless meals," says the Mayo Clinic. "Think about going meatless one day a week. You may find you'll want to add more days."

Chicken and Fish

Roasted or seared chicken breast sliced on a cutting board with herbs and spices

Sanders sticks to chicken, fish, or turkey for her meat options. "Try to eat at least two servings a week of fish, especially fish that's rich in omega-3 fatty acids," says the Mayo Clinic. "Doing so appears to reduce the risk of heart disease, particularly sudden cardiac death."

No Pork or Beef

Raw minced pork. Black background. Top view. Space for text

Sanders avoids eating pork and beef. Ever since she mostly eliminated those two types of meat from her diet, she says her energy levels have gone up. She also found that her belly fat went down.

Fruit Plates

Delicious fruits salad in plate on table close-up

Sanders loves fruit and will often have a plate of fruit and vegetables for a meal. "Eating fruit has many health benefits," according to USDA MyPlate. "People who eat fruits and vegetables as part of an overall diet may lower their risk for certain diseases. Fruits provide nutrients needed to maintain your health and body."

Breakfast Always


Sanders never skips breakfast, calling it the most important meal of the day. She sometimes makes smoothies with multivitamins and antioxidants added to them. Sanders has better energy throughout the day, thanks to a good breakfast.

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Chocolate On Sundays

various chocolates as a background - sweet food

Sanders loves chocolate and allows one day a week to indulge. By giving herself the option of enjoying sweets in moderation, she avoids overconsuming her favorite treats. Her cheat day is Sunday because she goes hard in the gym on Mondays.

Eggs and Juice

Healthy diet breakfast concept. Scrambled eggs and orange juice over white stone background. Top view, flat lay

A typical breakfast for Sanders is cranberry/orange juice, eggs, and cheese. She makes her own breakfast sandwiches from these ingredients. She snacks on granola bars.

Salmon For Lunch

Sea food Burguer with Salmon.

Lunch for Sanders is usually a salmon burger with whole grain bread, fruit, vegetables, and plenty of water. "Make at least half the grains in your diet whole grains," says the Mayo Clinic.

"You can find whole-grain versions of rice, bread, cereal, flour, and pasta at most grocery stores."

Zumba Workouts

Back view of multiethnic zumba dancers performing movements in dance studio

Sanders teaches Zumba classes in the afternoons, which she says burns off essentially all the food she took in that morning—over 800 calories. "The more you enjoy your exercise routine, the more likely you are to stick with it," says Piedmont Health. "Many people say they have so much fun dancing that they forget they are actually exercising."

Pre-Dinner Meal

Salmon Salad with spinach, cherry tomatoes, corn salad, baby spinach, fresh mint and basil. Home made food. Concept for a tasty and healthy meal. Dark stone background. Top view. Close up.

Sanders enjoys a small evening meal to bridge the gap between lunch and dinner. She's teaching so many classes throughout the day, the extra fuel is necessary. This meal usually consists of a salad and protein, with no heavy dressings. She will drink water or fruit juice with this meal.

Fish and Rice

Hands holding salmon and buckwheat dish with green beans, broad beans, and tomato slices. Nutritious dish with vegetables and fish from above. Healthy balanced diet

Dinner for Sanders usually includes fish with rice and more fruit juice. If she does snack after dinner, she chooses low-calorie options such as grapes or popcorn without salt. Sanders burns a further 400 calories in the evening with her night-toning exercises.

She Loves Carbs

Healthy Food: Best Sources of Carbs on a wooden table. Top view

Sanders emphasizes that all carbs are not bad. She enjoys carbohydrates throughout the day but makes the point that all bodies are different. Enjoy what makes you feel good!

Slow and Steady


Sanders has good advice for people trying to eliminate unhealthy foods from their diet—take it slowly. Eat those foods more infrequently, finally allowing yourself to have them twice a month. This will lead to sustainable changes.

Fun Workouts

Selective focus of african american trainer leaning with multiethnic dancers movements of zumba in dance studio

Sanders teaches bodywork classes as well as Zumba. Her advice? Find an exercise or workout you genuinely enjoy. This way, you are far more likely to actually stick to it long-term.

RELATED: 15 Quick Ways to Lose Body Fat Percentage in a Week

The Bottom Line


The most important advice Sanders gives is to remember being healthy is a lifestyle. The whole point is to enjoy life, be happy, and spend as much time as possible with friends and loved ones. As Sanders says, your body is a temple!

💪🔥Body Booster: Exercise should make you happy and energized, so pick something you can stick with long term.

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more