So you finally committed and decided to switch to a vegan diet, positive it would help you lose weight?
The problem is, you’re not losing weight. Or even worse, you are gaining weight!
We got you covered on that. Today, we’ll talk about what you’re doing wrong and give you tips to lose weight on a vegan diet in a healthy way.
With that said, let’s talk about…
The main reason vegans don’t lose weight on a vegan diet
Calorie balance is king when it comes to weight loss.
Whether you get your calories from vegan or non-vegan food sources, if you consume more calories than you burn, you’ll gain weight. That’s it.
So the first question you want to ask yourself is “how many calories do you need to consume to lose weight in a healthy manner?”
Ideally, you would like to eat as many calories as you can while still going a bit under your maintenance calorie level. Most experts agree that dropping between .5% – 1% of your body weight per week is a healthy approach towards losing weight. If you’re gaining weight, you might be underestimating how many calories you’re consuming daily and would need to adjust it accordingly.
When we eat, the glucose in carbohydrates is converted into energy. Insulin helps you store the excess in the liver and muscle cells as glycogen for use when it’s needed. However, our body only has limited storage space for glycogen so the rest are stored in the fat cells in the form of triglycerides. The more excess energy needs to be stored, the bigger the fat cells get.
When you eat more calories than what you burn, you put yourself in a calorie surplus, and your body will store the extra energy that you’re consuming as tissue, fat in most cases, but in some cases it will also be muscle.
If you want to lose weight, or fat in particular, your body has to be in a caloric deficit to release the fats in the fat cells and use it as a source of energy so your fat cells grow smaller and smaller.
So now that you know what you need to pay attention to in order to lose weight, let’s talk about…
Common mistakes to avoid in order to lose weight
High calorie foods are easy to consume because they have high amounts of calories and are very low in volume. That means that they easily put you in a calorie surplus and leave you hungry, which is not recommended if your goal is weight loss.
2. Being a vegan junkie
Take a look at all these yummy vegan junk food on the market:
It’s easy to feel hungry all the time when you’re on a vegan diet because of how few calories you eat. Eating vegan junk food seems like the most convenient way to curb your hunger but eating too much of it is a sure-fire way to gain weight fast.
Remember that aside from not having nutrients at all, these snacks are also high in calories and refined carbs, which can barely fill you up.
That said, it can be tempting to eat these and not everyone has the willpower to resist, so if you are going to reward yourself with junk food, be conscious of your portioning.
3. Consuming too much processed food
Some processed meats are very high in saturated fats, and they add a ton of calories to your daily diet, which again is not ideal during fat loss diets. Stick to lean meats that are high in protein and low in carbs and fats. Seitan, tofu, and tempeh are usually good options.
Tips to lose weight on a vegan diet
1. Make this hormone your friend
One of the most overlooked aspects of weight loss is your cortisol levels. Cortisol is produced by our body during stressful situations in preparation for a fight-or-flight response. While this response is normal, a constantly elevated level of cortisol is not.
Consistently elevated levels of cortisol can lead to weight gain, overeating, fatigue, high blood pressure, irritability, and difficulty in concentrating.
There are several factors that contribute to stress in your life. It could be stress in the workplace, at home, pressure from work and school, etc. However, there is one factor that causes stress which can be easily fixed: lack of sleep.
Try to get seven to nine hours of quality sleep every day. You can also meditate and do activities that make you happy like playing with a pet, talking to people that are dear to you, laughing often, and doing hobbies that you like.
2. Stick to high volume, low calorie foods
You knew this was coming.
- Leafy greens
- Fruits and vegetables
- Tofu, seitan, and tempeh
- Nuts, seeds, and legumes
- Whole grains
Eat plenty of whole foods, greens, and snack on fruits.
The reason why sticking with whole foods helps you lose weight is because they are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals but have fewer calories. You can eat until you are full and still eat less calories than you need, helping your achieve a caloric deficit which will help you lose weight.
3. Got protein?
A common misconception about the vegan diet is that you won’t get enough protein from your diet. This is absolutely false. These foods will help you consume your daily protein requirements.
Protein, just like fiber, helps keep you full longer, thus allowing you to consume fewer calories than you normally do.
4. Plan, plan, plan
Meal planning (and planning your grocery) is important to ensure that you’re getting your vitamins and nutrients from a wide variety of foods. It helps that you already know what to eat when get hungry to prevent you from reaching for convenient, unhealthy vegan snacks like potato chips, Oreos, and Skittles.
However, if you don’t have meals prepared in advanced, the next best thing you can do is…
5. Keep a stash
Imagine coming home, tired and hungry, with nothing to eat. It’s very tempting to reach for vegan junk food if you have them stashed somewhere instead of cooking.
Now, imagine doing this several times a week. How many calories would you consume by eating what’s easily accessible?
If you don’t have a meal prepared, at least make sure you have the ability to cook something real quick, something that doesn’t require too much effort, but is also delicious and healthy.
Just like this one, which took about five minutes to prepare:
Thirst can sometimes be mistaken as hunger.
Drinking water helps you curb hunger, and has zero calories. If you don’t like the boring taste of water, try sparkling water. You can enjoy a bubbly drink like cola, but without the taste and extra calories.
Black coffee and tea are two awesome zero-calorie drinks that can help you stay hydrated without consuming calories as well.
7. Avoid high-calorie drinks
Speaking of hydration, ditch cola and avoid the mistake of drinking your calories. Refined carbs are hiding in drinks such as cola and “fruit” juice.
Instead, get the zero-calorie versions of the sodas you like to drink.
8. Take advantage of oatmeal
Oats are one of the healthiest food on earth. They’re nutritious, a great source of antioxidants and fiber, can help lower cholesterol levels, and can help you improve your blood sugar levels.
And since oats are full of fiber, they can help keep you feel full longer and can help you lose weight as well.
They’re awesome for breakfast too.
Here are some oatmeal ideas from eatingbirdfood.com you can try.
9. Make healthy swaps
Ramien lost 15 lbs when he switched to veganism.
Aside from switching to a plant-based diet, another change he made was switching from snacking on chips to eating apples instead to relieve stress. He had a habit of eating something crunchy when stressed. However, he realized he gets the same satisfaction when munching on an apple instead of chips.
Jacked Vegan contributor Oliver started eating a watermelon, banana, or grapes whenever he craved muffins, and this does the trick most of the time. Of course, a banana doesn’t taste like muffins but it helps curb the craving. When you’re feeling full, you might find that the craving goes away.
10. Take a hike
And lastly, increasing the amount of physical activity will help you lose more weight.
The activity can be as simple as walking more, hiking, or if you’re up to it, an intense workout in the gym, or playing sports. Physical activities like these also help produce endorphins, which help fight stress.
Learn to count calories and read nutritional labels. Once you understand what you’re eating and how it affects your daily caloric intake, you’ll be able to make better decisions when it comes to your meals.
Give these tips a try to lose weight as a vegan
If you’re not losing weight even after going on a vegan diet, then it’s time to shake things up. Take a good, honest look at the foods you consume, the amount of calories, and how much junk food you eat.
Focus on eating more whole-food, sleep more, prepare your food, and always have something healthy available when you get hungry. Make healthy swaps to curb your cravings, be more active physically, and watch as you melt away the fat.
We’ve helped thousands of vegans shred fat, build muscle, and get the body they’ve always wanted.
How? With our 1:1 coaching program – The Jacked Vegans Academy. In the program, we provide nutrition, fitness, mindset, and accountability. We literally baby step our clients to the their goal.
If that sounds like something you could benefit from to finally get in shape and become a healthier person, apply to become a Jacked Vegan !