Have you ever wondered how to lose weight on a vegan diet effectively? It takes a lot of self-discipline and hard work, but it is definitely possible to eat plant-based and lose weight.
Some people actually say that it is easier to lose weight as a vegan, especially if this is a drastic lifestyle and eating change for you. Plant-Based vegans stick to eating only whole foods, which are healthier and tend to aid in weight loss. These foods include vegetables, legumes, whole grains, lentils, whole grains, and plant-based protein such as tofu.
In this article, we’ll go over the pros and cons of a vegan diet, why you may gain weight instead of losing it, and the dos and don’ts of which foods to eat for weight loss on a vegan diet. By the end of this article, you’ll have the tips and tricks that you need to start a plant-based weight loss plan!
If you’ve already been following a vegan diet and haven’t lost any weight, keep reading. I’ll be sure to go over some of the reasons why you may not be losing weight, and what you can do about it.
- Is it easier to lose weight as a vegan?
- What is a vegan diet?
- How long does it take to lose weight on a vegan diet?
- Can a vegan diet cause weight gain?
- Why you’re not losing weight on a vegan diet?
- How to Start a Vegan Diet for Weight Loss
- Healthy Vegan Foods For Weight Loss
- Vegan Foods to be Cautious of When You’re Trying to Lose Weight
- What To Do When You’re Not Losing Weight On A Vegan Diet
- Benefits of Following a Vegan Diet
- More helpful vegan weight loss tips and recipes!
Is it easier to lose weight as a vegan?
This depends on what your body is used to eating. For instance, if you are in the fast-food drive-thru every day loading up on greasy, high-calorie foods, you will probably lose weight by switching to a vegan diet (and your body could probably use the detox!).
If you already eat vegan, you may need to switch up the foods that you eat to ensure that they are high in nutrition and look into your portion sizes in order to lose weight. I will say that because most of the food included in a vegan diet are unprocessed, they are low in calories but packed with nutrients, making it easier to lose weight than a diet with, let’s say, sugary protein bars or other processed foods.
What is a vegan diet?
A vegan diet includes plant-based proteins, healthy fat in the form of unprocessed plants such as nuts, veggies, fruits, and whole grains. Vegans avoid all dairy including milk and cheese products, as well as eggs, and animal products of any kind such as meat, or products that are derived from animals.
How long does it take to lose weight on a vegan diet?
Again, this depends on your previous eating habits, your activity levels, your foods of choice, and your portion sizes. Keep in mind that everyone’s body is different. Some people may see weight loss in a few weeks, and for others, it takes a few months.
This all depends on your age, gender, metabolism, and many other factors that come into play for weight loss. Even though you can’t control these things, if you increase your exercise and decrease your calories consumed, you will see weight loss on a vegan, plant-based diet.
Can a vegan diet cause weight gain?
Yes, as with any diet, if your vegan diet is filled with fats, and foods high in carbs and sugars, you may gain weight. For example, I LOVE sweet potatoes. If I’m not careful, I could eat a whole tray of them when they are roasted. If I did that, I would probably gain weight instead of losing it.
This is where your self-control comes into play. Watch your portion sizes and food choices. Also, everyone’s body is different. You may have a food sensitivity that you are unaware of. If you’re sticking to a healthy vegan diet and exercising but are still gaining weight, food sensitivity is something that you may want to look into.
Why you’re not losing weight on a vegan diet?
There are several reasons why you may not be losing weight on your vegan diet. One reason could be your food choices. When people think “vegan,” they think “healthy”, but remember – just because something is vegan does not mean that it will aid in weight loss.
There are still processed vegan foods out there! Many of these contain hidden sugars and unhealthy fats. Try to stick to whole foods and be sure to check your labels.
Another issue could be that maybe you are not eating enough. I know that may sound crazy. Eating less should help you lose weight, right? While that can be true, your body still needs certain things in a healthy diet. If you don’t eat enough, it can affect your metabolism and thyroid and you may gain weight. I like to set a daily calorie goal and keep a food journal to make sure that I stick to it. This is a great way to hold yourself accountable.
The most common reason why people don’t lose weight on a vegan diet is portion control. Some people think that because they are eating healthier, they can eat more. This can actually cause weight gain. Keep reading to learn some methods for portion control.
How to Start a Vegan Diet for Weight Loss
Cut Back on Your Daily Calorie Intake
To make a long story short, burning more calories than you consume equals weight loss. To do this, you want to watch how many calories you eat each day. One way to lower your intake is to cut back on fatty oils, nuts, and other foods that may be high in calories.
Okay, I know that I’ve stated this one over and over again, but that’s how important it is! Just because a food is vegan, doesn’t mean that you should eat too much of it. Measure out your portions for each meal and snack into healthy amounts. Set a daily goal of calories, fat, etc., and make sure that you stick to it.
Meal Prep Helps!
Creating a vegan meal prep plan makes all the difference! Having your food ready to go for the week, or even for the next day, helps with self-control and portion sizes. It also just makes your life easier during the week! If you have everything made and portioned out, you’re also less likely to veer off of your diet and eat something that probably won’t aid in your weight loss goal. In addition to prepping, try keeping a daily food journal to hold yourself accountable.
Read the Labels
Even if something is vegan, it can still be processed and have hidden fats and sugars that would make it more difficult to lose weight. Make sure that you are reading over the ingredients list of everything that you buy. Try to stick to whole, low-calorie foods as much as you can.
Protein is important!
Incorporating protein into a vegan diet can be tricky, but it is a very important element that will help keep you full and keep you from snacking or overeating later. Be sure that you have enough protein in your daily diet.
Healthy Vegan Foods For Weight Loss
These are some of my favorite foods to keep on hand for weight loss on a vegan diet. They are nutritious, low in calories, and will help you stay full. I also have a list of helpful store-bought plant-based snacks that are great for when you’re on the go!
- Zucchini Noodles (or, as I like to call them, zoodles)
These will help you satisfy your pasta cravings with something wholesome rather than with empty calories. They even taste good without any sauce!
These are good to have on hand when you want a sweet treat. They’re low in calories and high in nutritious values.
High in fiber, and a great snack, apples are full of vitamins and nutrients and keep you feeling full.
- Black Beans
I keep both dried and canned black beans in stock. They are simple to add to salads, tacos, soups, and chilis. They are high in protein and low in calories.
- Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds are a staple in my pantry. They are full of protein and fiber, among many other health benefits. Ground hemp seeds are great in a fruit smoothie!
I love the versatility of cauliflower. You can eat it raw, steamed, or even mashed. Its low-calorie content makes it a great food for weight loss on a vegan diet.
Hummus is one of my favorite foods (and something that I definitely have to portion control!). It’s a filling snack that is full of protein and fiber, which will help you stay full.
High in fiber, low in calories, and super filling, oatmeal makes an excellent breakfast option that will keep you full and satisfied until lunch!
Vegan Foods to be Cautious of When You’re Trying to Lose Weight
- Nuts and Nut Butters
While nuts are high in protein and can keep you full, they’re also full of fats. If you decide to incorporate nuts into your diet, make sure that you are keeping them limited. A little bit of peanut butter can go a long way!
- Olive Oil and Other Oils
Olive oil is a sneaky little ingredient that may keep you from losing weight. While it does have many health benefits, it also has many calories.
- Quinoa and Brown Rice
Quinoa and brown rice have a reputation for being very healthy foods (which they are, don’t get me wrong, they are full of nutritious benefits), but if weight loss is your goal, you’ll want to limit these foods in your diet because of their high-calorie count. Stick to one serving of 100 grams per day or about ½ a cup.
- Fruit Juice
While juice is made from fruit, it is high in sugar and high calories and loses the fiber of the fruit when it turns into juice. Drink water instead.
- Dried Fruit
While it may seem strange to tell you to watch out for fruit on your diet, dried fruit can be sugary. I’m not saying that you have to cut it out completely, but be sure you don’t overdo it.
- Vegan “Junk Food”
There are so many foods out there with a vegan label that are really just recreated junk food. Some examples are vegan frozen pizza, vegan brownies, vegan ice cream, etc. Try to stay away from these foods – they can still be very high in calories.
What To Do When You’re Not Losing Weight On A Vegan Diet
If you follow all of the tips above, you will more than likely lose weight on your vegan diet. If you’re not, first think about the foods that you’re consuming.
Are they high in fat and calories? Are they processed? Then think about your portion control. Are you eating too much of these foods? Are you eating enough each day? Consider your activity level each day. Are you burning more calories than you are consuming?
If you’ve done all of this and still aren’t losing weight, you may have an issue with your thyroid or even a food sensitivity. This is something that you would want to talk over with your physician.
Benefits of Following a Vegan Diet
Not only will you be more likely to lose weight if you follow a whole food plant-based diet, but you will likely notice other health benefits.
- Reduce risk of developing type 2 diabetes
- Decrease risk of heart disease
- Lower cholesterol
- Increase nutrients
- Decrease nutritional deficeinces
If you’ve been struggling to lose weight on a vegan diet follow the tips above!
More helpful vegan weight loss tips and recipes!
I hope you found these tips for how to lose weight on a vegan diet helpful! If you have any additional questions, please comment below. You can also follow me on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest for more family-friendly plant-based vegan recipes!