You don’t have to search long online to find a video or post of someone attributing their massive weight loss to becoming vegan. In fact, one of the most popular benefits mentioned about eating a vegan diet is how much weight you can lose. While we encourage a plant-based diet, veganism should not be your main focus if shedding pounds are your goal. In this article, we’ll share why and how you should eat to reach your ideal weight.
A vegan diet is devoid of all animal products. This means no animal meat, organs, fish, eggs, dairy, bee products, gelatin, or animal protein products. The reasons to go vegan are different for everyone. For some, it is a matter of animal welfare and saving the environment. For others, it is a matter of reaching a health goal. And for some, it is both. Even still, veganism is often touted as a fast way to drop weight.
As of March 2020, 9.6 million US residents were vegan. This number is steadily increasing and with it are testimonies of drastic weight loss. Celebrities are even promoting the weight loss benefits as well as multiple social media influencers.
They aren’t necessarily wrong. However, for every person who experiences weight reduction there are many more who try and fail to do so. As a result, they prematurely return to their previous way of eating without any sustainable changes to their weight.
If this is you, there are several good reasons why going vegan has not given you results:
1. You’re still eating processed food.
Eating vegan does not always equal eating healthy. A vegan diet can still be packed with processed foods. Many meat and dairy substitutes contain chemically-processed soy and wheat protein flavored with additives to mimic the taste and texture of the real thing. Instead of eating fish, for example, a protein the body recognizes, you’re consuming texturized soy product with a long list of barely digestible ingredients; all for the taste and feel of meat.
As a result you experience digestive upset and inflammation, both which can promote weight gain, a sluggish metabolism, and bloating. Some vegan meat replacements are higher in sodium, sugar, unhealthy amounts of saturated fat. Many vegans who enjoy the taste of the meat but wish not to eat animals opt for these severely processed substitutes. Doing so defeats the purpose of going vegan.
For example, most candy is vegan. So are potato chips, energy drinks, soda, and French fries. If this is the basis for your vegan diet, chances are high that weight loss will still be a challenge.
2. You’re focused on weight loss, not health.
There is a reason the diet and weight loss industry is a billion dollar one. In today’s world of instant gratification, most people want results fast. Like yesterday. The problem with this desire is that true sustainable weight loss is a gradual process. Most fad diets don’t work. You gain the weight back just as quickly as it melted off.
The reason many turn to fad dieting is because they are focused on the end goal of weight loss, and not being healthy. Those who have lost weight in a healthy manner and kept it off know that focusing on having more energy, sleeping better, feeling lighter and stronger was the real desire. Focusing on these things can and usually does lead to weight loss. The difference?
Before weight loss occurs, you usually experience other signs first. Signs such as feeling energized, being in a better mood and even a reduction in food cravings are some of the first indicators that your body is getting healthier. Decreasing your blood pressure, if it’s high, can add years to your life! Getting your blood sugar under control can reduce bloating and inflammation. Focus on your internal health and your body has no choice but to reflect externally!
3. You don’t nourish yourself properly.
One of the biggest reasons vegans revert back to being meat eaters is they do not supplement or nourish themselves as they should. In fact, many vegans struggle with iron-deficiency anemia, dry skin, dry hair, and deficiencies in zinc, B12, and calcium. Those who adopt a vegan diet in order to lose weight often unintentionally starve their bodies of the proper nutrients. They start off feeling great and after a few months, they complain of fatigue, hair loss, and other avoidable challenges.
There is also the myth that there aren’t many foods a vegan is left with. This couldn’t be farther from the truth! An entire world of nutrient-rich, delicious foods open up to you as a vegan. There is no better time to experiment with fruits and vegetables you enjoy. Play with new recipes that utilize whole vegan foods such as organic produce, nuts and seeds, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and herbs.
Contrary to popular belief, losing weight does not mean starving yourself. In fact, not eating enough can lead you to gain weight. Instead, focus on getting in an abundance of nutrients instead of skimping on food. Not only will it be easier to sustain, you’ll feel amazing -- which is the key to weight loss you can maintain.
If you’re wanting to lose weight and see veganism as a path to getting there, be prepared to make this a lifestyle change. Not only will you reap a plethora of benefits like healthier skin, better immunity, more energy, better digestion, and better sleep, you’ll likely experience weight loss as a result.
Becoming vegan is one of the best decisions you can make for your overall health. If you avoid these three common mistakes above, you’ll not only reach your goal weight, you’ll enjoy the process as well!
Schedule a health consultation with us if you want personalized support in transitioning to a vegan lifestyle and losing weight properly!