I can see what you mean by empowering in the sense that it's empowering to know it's possible to lose weight through a good diet (as well as a little lifting) alone. But I think people probably have pretty different metabolisms and that wouldn't work for everyone. It doesn't seem to work for me--I've been eating a lowfat diet (with a "vacation" from it maybe one meal every week or two) for three months now, and if I'm not doing much cardio, I don't lose much weight no matter how good my diet is.
The times when I've lost the most weight by far have been when I was doing a LOT of cardio as well as watching my diet. Of the approximately 33 pounds I've lost over those three months (note: a slightly faster rate of weight loss than what you had over 4 months), almost 20 of them were between about July 15 and August 30, when I was biking around 150 miles a week as well as doing other things such as playing sports with my son and lifting weights about 3 times a week. I was exercising maybe 3 hours a day, which was more time than I really have now, but I really got results--more than 3 pounds lost per week. Since August 30, when I've had to cut back a lot on cardio due to a busier schedule and some shoulder soreness from the heavy bike riding, I've only lost 3 pounds in a little over 2 weeks.
I'm not sure what eating raw fruit for a week would do any differently than eating a low-fat diet composed of a mixture of raw and cooked fruits and vegetables, like I've been eating, would do, other than be really
expensive. I actually ate a mostly raw fruit diet (aside from some beans and a couple of corn tortillas for dinner) for about a day and a half earlier this week when our electricity was out and I didn't want to go in the fridge. I went through more than $20 of food
during that time, and I didn't lose an ounce. And I'm not sure how consuming salt and spices is toxic or would result in water retention. I've rarely experienced any water retention from eating salt, etc., and if I drink too much liquid, I just pee it out, so it's not a problem. Aside from studies associating salt and sodium with high blood pressure, I'm not aware of any scientific evidence that would suggest any common spices have any toxic effects. And in fact the research seems to find that almost all of the correlation between sodium intake and blood pressure is because most of the food people eat with lots of sodium is unhealthy animal crap! Eating rice and tofu with soy sauce isn't going to significantly affect your blood pressure. I don't consume a lot of salt or sodium, just some once in a while. My blood pressure is just fine: 111/65 when it was recently checked about a week ago.
For me, losing weight--pretty rapidly most of the time--through heavy cardio and a good diet is very, very empowering. Not only have I lost 28 pounds since July 1, but in the process I've gotten in much better shape. I've gone from being able to run a 5k in 28:56 last fall to being able to run the same distance race in 23:49 last weekend, more than 5 minutes faster, placing 47th in a field of about 200 people who were mostly in their 20s. (I'm 47.) It's empowering as hell to be able to outrun the majority of people half your age, and despite still carrying about 20 pounds more than I'd like to, I still look
like I'm in better shape than a lot of them, too.
It's also empowering to know that combining regular, intense exercise with a low-fat vegan diet is the best way to get my body as healthy as it can be. I mentioned the blood pressure figure. Resting heart rate is 45, which indicates my heart is in very good condition. A couple of years ago when I was off-and-on sedentary, and vegan but not lowfat, my cholesterol was 160 with an HDL of about 55. I'm sure that it's well under 150 with an HDL level a few points higher now. Vegans are healthy, usually, but vegans who eat low-fat and work out hard every day are even healthier, plus they get that endorphin rush every single day! I'll take that over being vegan and sedentary any day, even with equal amounts of weight loss.
Lookin good, though I gotta say your workin awful hard to get there- I lost 40 pounds this past winter in 4 months with NO CARDIO just by switching to a raw lowfat diet. If you wanna have some fun, try eating nothing but raw fruit for a week. You'll probably loose close to ten pounds as your body sheds excess water no longer needed to dilute toxins like salt and spices. You just might find you love a super clean, ultra high energy diet composed of mostly fruit and greens and a small amount of nuts and seeds. Loosing weight, down to your ideal point and leveling off, without breaking a sweat, is a very empowering feeling and very sustainable over the long run; it also allows your body ample recovery since exercise is done strictly for strength, endurance, and flexability and not weight control. Your on the right path; keep on climbin!