How to Lose Weight as a Vegan
Many people associate vegans with being skinny, and they think that if you go vegan, you’ll automatically lose weight. This is not necessarily true.
Veganism is a lifestyle, not a diet. There are so many unhealthy foods that vegans can eat, and there are definitely overweight vegans.
If you want to lose weight as a vegan, here are some tips on how to do so. Whether you are just starting out your journey, or you have been vegan for years, these tips can apply to you.
- Focus on whole foods. The absolute best thing you can do if you want to lose weight is eat whole foods! Whole foods naturally have less calories than processed foods. Since they are in their whole form, they contain lots of fiber, and all the vitamins and minerals that you need. Whole foods include fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains.
- Avoid eating out. It’s always fun going to vegan restaurants and finding vegan options when eating out. However, if you are trying to lose weight as a vegan, this will hinder your results. Vegan restaurants still use lots of oil and salt and unhealthy ingredients. Food can be fried, greasy, and generally unhealthy. If you do want to eat out, try opting for a smoothie or juice. Acai bowls are great too!
- Avoid vegan processed food. Even though vegan mock meats, vegan cheeses, and vegan ice creams are completely cruelty-free and don’t harm the animals, they aren’t necessarily the best thing for your health. They are often very high in calories and it’s easy to gain weight if you eat them regularly.
- Use healthier mock animal product alternatives. If you want to eat mock meats and cheeses, that’s totally fine! But what about going for healthier options? For example, instead of buying pre-packaged frozen vegan meatballs, why not try making your own with ingredients such as lentils? Soy curls are an amazing vegan alternative, very similar to “chicken.” They only contain 1 ingredient (soy) and you can flavour them however you want. Tempeh is also great for making foods such as “vegan bacon.”
- Meal prep. Whether you’re a vegan or not, preparing your meals in advance always helps with weight loss. Spend a couple hours on Sunday making your breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. You can cook a large batch of chili, soup, or curry to eat with brown rice. For breakfast you can prepare overnight oats with fruit. For lunch you can prepare a large batch of chickpea “tuna” to spread on bread for sandwiches.
- Don’t be afraid of carbs! Many people think that in order to lose weight, you need to avoid all carbs. This isn’t true. Every single cell in our body runs on carbohydrates and we need them to survive. Even if you eat 80% carbohydrates, you will still lose weight. The important thing about carbs is to eat carbs from whole food sources instead of processed. For example, sugar is a carb, but that’s not healthy, nor is it a whole foods. Some examples of healthy whole food carbohydrates include: potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, whole wheat pasta, oats, whole grain bread, etc. If you haven’t already, John McDougall has an amazing video on Youtube called “The Starch Solution” which explains how carbs actually help you lose weight.
- Go for whole grains. The whole grain option will always be healthier. It will contain more fiber and help keep you full longer. Choose brown rice instead of white rice, whole wheat pasta instead of white pasta, whole grain bread instead of white bread, steel cut oats instead of quick oats, etc.
- Try to eat vegetables with every lunch and dinner. Try to incorporate some type of vegetable, whether it be raw or cooked, in at least 2 of your meals. If you’re making a smoothie, add spinach to it. If you are eating a meal that vegetables won’t go well with, try to have a side salad. Vegetables are important because they are extremely low calories, but they will fill you up and provide your body with vital nutrients.
- Don’t be fooled by advertising. Next time you’re at the store and you see a box of cookies that have the vegan symbol on them, don’t buy them. Just because something is vegan does not mean it’s healthy. Always read the ingredients, and if you see lots of processed foods (especially oil) then it’s not the best choice.
- Get inspired! An amazing way to stay on track is to stay inspired. Follow people on social media who eat a whole foods diet. This way, you can get meal ideas from them. You can also create your own community for support and to help you stay motivated. Feel free to join our My Vegan Dreams group HERE for support and ideas for losing weight as a vegan.
These are only a few ways that you can lose weight as a vegan.
The main takeaway is that just because something is vegan, does not mean that it’s healthy. After all, oreos, chips, fries, and soda are all vegan. None of these foods are healthy and they won’t help you lose weight as a vegan. If you stick to whole foods, and avoid processed foods as much as possible, you will see results.
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