Not losing weight on a vegan diet? Honestly, a vegan diet may not be ideal for weight loss. Why? Because most of the scientific research on a vegan diet for weight loss has been carried out on a small scale under proper guidance from experts. In the real world, most vegans do not have this ideal situation. The hidden calories in the marketed vegan-friendly foods, limited understanding of your body’s physiology, and a sedentary lifestyle promote fat gain. This article lists 10 reasons you are not losing weight on a vegan diet. Identify the problem and tweak your habits to lose weight healthily. Read on!
10 Reasons You Are Not Losing Weight On A Vegan Diet
1. You Set Unrealistic Goals
If you think you will lose 10 pounds in a week, you will end up being disappointed. This will demotivate you, and you will go back to your old habits. If you are trying to lose weight on a vegan diet, you must set your weight loss goals right.
How To Set Realistic Weight Loss Goals
Set realistic goals for yourself. Break down your weight loss goals into smaller goals. For example, write down the goals on a weekly basis. Say, “I want to lose 2-3 pounds in a week.” This way, you will commit to your weight loss plan and give yourself a deadline, which is very important when it comes to losing weight.
2. You Are Eating Too Much
One of the reasons you are not losing weight even if you are active is that you are consuming too many calories. Portion control is the key to losing weight irrespective of the diet you are following. The science is simple – you should create a negative energy balance in your body, meaning that the calories you consume should be less than the calories you expend.
How To Control Portions
Use a small plate for your meals. Half of the plate should contain protein, one-fourth veggies, and the remaining one-fourth should contain whole grains/seeds/nuts/brown rice. Eat slowly and avoid eating while working or watching TV/Netflix. Looking at your food while eating will give your brain a visual cue of how much you have eaten, thereby preventing you from going for a second (or third) serving.
3. You Are Drinking Too Many Calories
Sure, most of the packaged drinks are vegan. And most of them are loaded with sugar/aspartame, artificial flavors and colors, and preservatives. Also, the fizzy drinks can cause bloating. Therefore, even if these drinks are vegan-friendly, they are not health-friendly, and this could be the reason you are not losing weight. Here’s what you should do.
How To Choose Weight Loss-Friendly Vegan Drinks
Look at the labels and check the sugar content. The best thing to do is avoid packaged juices or fizzy drinks. Choose freshly pressed or cold pressed drinks. While eating out, order juices without added sugar or salt. Avoid mocktails, which mostly contain flavored sugar syrup. You must also watch your alcohol intake.
4. You Are Not Consuming Enough Protein
Vegan food is low in protein content. Plant-based protein is not adequate and does not contain all the essential amino acids that you need for your body to function effectively. Protein is also needed for muscle growth and increased metabolic rate. If you are not consuming enough protein, your muscles will become weak, leading to metabolic slowdown and fat accumulation.
How To Get Enough Protein On Vegan Diet
Make sure to have at least 2-3 types of vegan protein sources for every meal you consume. Consume mushrooms, lentils, pulses, beans, soy chunks, nuts, and seeds. You can also include a vegan protein shake in your post-workout regimen.
5. You Are Not Working Out
Leading an inactive lifestyle can also lead to weight gain. Most of us sit for at least 18 hours a day and sleep for the rest of the hours. Not working out not only hinders your weight loss but is also dangerous for your heart, muscles, bones, and mental health. Here’s what you must do.
What Is The Best Workout Regimen For Weight Loss?
You must do a mix of cardio and strength training, 5 hours per week, to see results. Cardio will help you mobilize fat, and strength training will help build lean muscle mass, thereby making you look slimmer and toned.
6. You Are Eating Vegan Junk Food
Love munching on potato wafers? Fried and processed vegan foods can be the reason you are not able to lose weight. High sodium, oil, and sugar can lead to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and obesity – putting your health at risk.
How To Add Crunch And Fun To Vegan Snacks
Consume snacks that are healthy – fruits, cucumber, carrot, hummus, popcorn, homemade baked potato/spinach/kale chips, toasted peanuts/Bengal gram, nuts, etc. Use olive oil or clarified butter (ghee), have homemade snacks, control the portion, and use minimum or no salt.
7. You Are Skipping Meals
It’s absurd to think that skipping meals will help you lose weight. Not eating for more than three hours can push your system into the famine mode, and the cells in your body will store everything and anything as fat. And instead of losing weight, you will gain fat. Here’s what you can do.
How Many Meals To Eat Per Day For Losing Weight?
You must eat 5-6 times a day. Eat every 2-3 hours, and make sure to drink at least 3-4 liters of water per day. Control the portions and keep all the points mentioned above in mind.
8. You Are Not Preparing Your Food The Right Way
Deep fried or fried foods have no food value as the vitamins, amino acids, and other essential nutrients get denatured at high temperatures. Moreover, consuming too much oil can lead to high cholesterol.
How To Prepare Food The Right Way
Add minimum amount of salt, avoid sugary foods, use cooking sprays, sauté or blanch the veggies, prefer baking or grilling over frying, have a salad with light dressing, do not overheat oil, and avoid overcooking.
9. You Are Not Getting Enough Sleep
If you are eating right and working out but not getting proper rest, you will not lose weight. It is scientifically proven that the body and brain need rest, and by sleeping, you will help recharge the batteries. When you sleep, the muscles are repaired and rejuvenated. Moreover, sleep also helps clear the toxic build-up and clear your head. So, basically, you can sleep your way to losing weight (and following all the pointers mentioned above). Here’s what you must do.
How Much Sleep Is Required For Weight Loss?
You need at least 7 hours of sleep to help rebuild the muscles and flush out the harmful free oxygen radicals. If you find it difficult to fall asleep, here’s what you can do.
10. You Are Not Documenting Weight Loss
As important it is not to lose focus while you are on the weight loss mission, it is also important that you document your progress or regress. Either way, you will benefit – you will know if you have lost weight, are stagnant, or have gained weight. And accordingly, you can tweak your food habits, workout regimen, or check if there is any underlying medical condition. Here’s how you document your weight loss.
How To Document Weight Loss
Firstly, check your weight and write it down in a journal. Next, check your body fat percentage and BMI. The body fat percentage will give you an accurate idea of how much fat you have lost and if you have gained lean muscle mass. Finally, click pictures of the front and back and either side of your body for a visual cue. Make sure to do these three every two weeks.
I am sure you have found out where you are going wrong. Now, it’s time you take action and make a conscious decision to get rid of the habits that are preventing you from losing the extra flab. Just keep the following points in mind.
Points To Remember
- Keep yourself hydrated.
- Workout regularly.
- Steer clear of junk food.
- Don’t consume extra calories from foods that your friends offer you. Politely say no.
- Enjoy a cheat day once every week but have no more than 500 calories extra.
- Ask your doctor if you are on any medication that can potentially hinder weight loss.
- Keep the stress away.
- Go for a health checkup before deciding to lose weight.
- Keep your doctor/dietician and trainer updated on your weight loss plans, progress, and discomfort, if any.
Now that you have everything sorted, go ahead and lose the flab and gain the chiseled body that you always wanted to have. Good luck!
Charushila is an ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition and a full-time contributor to Diet & Weight Loss at Stylecraze. She believes that food has healing powers and eating good food is the best way to lose weight. A binge eater-turned-fitness enthusiast, Charushila likes to share her knowledge and experience with the world. When she is not working, she loves to cook healthy food, watch movies, travel, workout, and read Bengali literature.