According to a study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, people who follow a vegan diet for about 18 weeks lose an average of four pounds more than those who follow an animal-based diet. The beauty of the vegan diet is that there are no gimmicks, no hard-hitting calorie restriction, and no mid-afternoon malnutrition. Plus, you can eat carbs (that is, unrefined carbs)! Follow these six tips to lose weight the healthy way while saving the animals and the planet in the process.
What is a vegan diet?
A vegan diet used to be synonymous with a healthy, relatively wholesome diet. Today, veganism encompasses a broader definition. Rather than a plant-based diet, perhaps it’s better defined by what it doesn’t include. A vegan diet is free of all animal products, including meat, dairy, fish, eggs, honey, gelatin, and other substances that may come from an animal. Despite the elimination of these foods, a vegan diet is extremely prevalent, especially given the innovation of plant-based products over the past decade. There is a vegan variant of almost all animal-based foods, which come from plants and are still free of animal components, but by no means wholesome. Many vegan products contain ingredients you can’t find in the store, like methylcellulose, natural flavors, and various gums and starches.
What is a vegan diet? Like any diet, it can be high in healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, and herbs and spices; it can be full of fats, sugars and artificial ingredients; and it can be anywhere in between. The unifying element of all vegan diets is the complete renunciation of animals.
What is a healthy weight?
There is no simple equation here. A healthy weight depends on the person and is not necessarily determined by the scale. “There is no universal healthy weight. And usually, the weight on the scale can be dangerous because it varies significantly depending on your hydration status, bowel movements, and where you are in your menstrual cycle. Bodies are unique and can hold varying amounts of weight while still being healthy (disease free),” explained Whitney Stuart, MCN, RDN, and CDE Whole30 trainer.
Instead of stepping on the scale, Stuart recommended paying attention to your overall body composition. How much of your weight is essentially based on bone, muscle and fat tissue. “A DEXA scan, or Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) analysis, is an easy way to analyze the specific breakdown of muscle, bone, and fat tissue in your body. This can help determine if they need to lose body fat, gain muscle tissue, or improve bone density,” explained Stuart.
Your mental health can also play a role in determining a healthy weight for you. How you feel in your body is important. Does your current weight allow you to do all the things you want to do, or does it make you feel handicapped? Note: This can go either way. Those who are underweight may struggle to perform, just as those who are overweight may struggle with everyday tasks or hobbies. If you’re underweight and don’t have the energy to fully engage in certain activities, or you’re at risk of breaking a bone, it could be a sign that you need to gain weight.
Risks of rapid weight loss
Eating a relatively whole, plant-based diet shouldn’t result in rapid weight loss unless you significantly reduce your calorie intake at the same time. While dieticians argue that losing weight isn’t as simple as calorie intake and calorie loss, it’s helpful to know that 3,500 calories equals one pound. So if you reduced your daily calorie intake by 500 calories (3,500 calories over a week), you would lose about a pound a week. This is within the range of safe weight loss. Starting to lose more than a pound or two a week is considered “rapid” weight loss and may be a cause for concern. One such risk of rapid weight loss is rebound. Strict calorie restriction and/or extreme training that results in a loss of more than a few pounds per week is virtually impossible to sustain, and eventually you will plateau. While one could theoretically adjust to a new, lower weight, the extremities tend to follow each other and old habits of overeating and/or sedentary lifestyles may emerge. This is called the yo-yo diet – more than a pattern 30 percent of Americans fell in. The physical risks of rapid weight loss include fatigue, headaches, constipation, dizziness, and malnutrition.
6 tips for losing weight on a vegan diet
1 Balance calories against nutrient density
Weight loss and nutrition is all about the return on investment. You should aim for low-calorie but nutrient-dense foods. Stick to these, and not only will you feel energized and full throughout the day, but you won’t have to worry about counting calories. Typically, vegetables have the lowest amount of calories while offering a robust nutrient profile — followed by fruits, starchy products (pumpkin, potatoes, corn, and oats), whole grains, and beans and legumes. Focus on these foods to make up the bulk of your meals, and consume high-calorie plant-based foods like nuts, seeds, and avocados sparingly.
“Simple substitutions like granola for oatmeal and soyrizo for tofu improve the nutrient density of the food while eliminating the added sugar and predominance of flammable oils!” said Stuart.
2 Focus on fiber
Constant hunger is one of the main reasons why diets fail. When you focus on high-fiber foods, you’ll feel fuller for longer because this essential (but vastly underrated) nutrient is digested slowly. Most Americans are fiber deficient and don’t even come close to the American Heart Association’s recommendation of 25 grams per day. High-fiber foods include leafy greens, fruits, legumes (including beans, lentils, and peas), and oats.
3 Limit processed foods
Sure, these vegan crackers might contain some fiber, but they also likely contain high-calorie oils and other ingredients that could lead to weight gain. It’s wonderful to live in a world where vegan options are plentiful, but just because they exist doesn’t mean we should help ourselves to dairy-free ice cream or vegan grilled cheese every day. Focus on plants and only enjoy these vegan treats occasionally.
4 Train your taste buds
We’ll just say it – cravings suck. Along with hunger, these incessant neurological signals are another culprit for weight loss failure. There is no magic pill to stop cravings, but over time you can at least bend it to your will. Your taste buds and gut microbiome can adapt to what you put in them. Over time (at least six weeks) your body will start craving the healthier foods you give it. We know this is a major exercise in trust, but we promise it will work. For example, there’s probably a vegan product or vegetable that you didn’t like before you went vegan. When you first tried vegan cheese you weren’t a fan, but now you always stock it? Freaked out about Brussels sprouts but now you crave it every winter season? See? trust the process.
“As an adult, give yourself a chance to get used to food,” Stuart recommended. “I always suggest using a favorite flavor profile with new foods. Add a familiar flavor to a new food. Dear mexicans? Make a Spicy Tofu Scramble!”
5 Put groceries in your fridge
Don’t leave your meals to spontaneous decisions. You don’t have to write a plan or spend hours preparing Sunday meals, but you should have healthy groceries on hand so you don’t end up with vegan pizza delivered. Convenient foods to keep on hand include frozen veggies, quick-cook cereals, pre-chopped veggies and salad, canned beans, oil-free hummus, and sauces (try it). root) and fruit galore (if you’ve never had cotton candy grapes, you need to). With a well-stocked kitchen, there’s no excuse not to eat incredibly tasty, plant-based meals.
6 Spring cleaning for your Instagram feed
Just as you would unfollow a person who is giving off negative vibes, it helps to unfollow any accounts that are causing cravings or eroding your self-esteem. If you know you act on impulse when your local vegan bakery posts a 2-for-1 offer, it might be time to take a break from this account (you can always follow them back after you hit your weight loss goal to have). . Also, get rid of any accounts that make you feel guilty or not good enough. Images of toned vegan bodybuilders or lean, plant-based yogis may be ambitious and motivating for some, but if they make you feel down or inspire thoughts of hopelessness, these accounts won’t help. In the first few weeks of your weight loss journey, you might even want to delete the app from your phone. Focus on yourself because you are worth it and you will succeed.
For more information on vegan health and wellness visit:
I tried the first plant-based Whole30 program
15 Brands That Make Plant-Based Whole30 So Much Easier
10 high protein vegan recipes
Vote at the 2022 Best Vegan Ice Cream in America Awards.
Vote at the 2022 Best Vegan Ice Cream in America Awards.