Are you thinking about going vegan but unsure if it can help you achieve your weight loss goals? Or perhaps you are a Vegan but not sure on how to lose weight on a vegan diet.
Whatever your situation, I am here to tell you, you totally CAN lose weight on a vegan diet. It just takes some effort (like any nutrition program does) and changes to your current diet.
Here is what I recommend if you are a vegan whose goal is to lose weight or more specifically reduce body fat and improve your body composition!
HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT ON A VEGAN DIET: MY 9 TIPS!
Reduce the amount of refined foods in your diet:
Most vegans unfortunately rely on refined grains, starches and sugar (like pasta) for their calories. Instead, rely on whole, unrefined foods (like whole grain brown rice, fresh fruit and quinoa) for the bulk of your diet. (get a copy of my 50 Food Vegan Grocery List!)
Add more veggies:
Vegetable are full of vitamins, minerals, fibre, phytochemicals and even contain protein! So add in lots of veggies and reduce the amount of heavy starches and sugars in your diet. A good rule of thumb is to stick to ½ cup of starches (think brown rice, sweet potatoes, squash) and 1 to 2 cups of veggies PER MEAL! This is good balance of carbohydrate for weight loss.
Add dairy alternatives:
Vegans do not consume any animal products which of course include dairy. You can get some of the benefits of dairy from plant based dairy alternatives like vegan greek yogurt and almond or coconut milk. These are great choices and can be used instead of dairy in smoothie or recipes that require dairy!
Reduce refined oils and add in more healthy fats:
Another common mistake for some vegan is taking in too much fried foods and unhealthy, refined oils like canola oil. Remove refined oil and add in healthy fats from nuts, seeds and healthy oils like coconut and avocado oil.
Do not starve yourself! Make sure to eat every 2 to 3 hours! Starving yourself will mess with your hormones and can lead to a sluggish metabolism! So eat and eat often! I would suggest planning all your meals (including your snacks) ahead of time!
Up your protein (and fiber!):
Protein and fiber keeps you satiated. They are also crucial in maintaining your muscle tissue (which helps your metabolism). Most vegan do get a healthy dose of fiber but not so much protein. So keep an eye on your protein intake and make sure to get between 80 to 120 grams per day! Take a look at my post on how to get enough protein as a vegan for more specific suggestion on how to up your protein.
Drink lots of water:
Replace sugary drinks (like juices and pop) and have more water! Water has a slew of benefits. It helps us digest food, feel satisfied and improve our skin. So drink water! I recommend sticking to 2.5 litres of water per day!
Add EEAs and a Vegan Protein supplement:
I personally think supplementation can go a long way for those of us who have hard set goals and are training hard. I would suggest you invest in AREAs (Essential Aminos) and a Vegan protein supplement to ensure you are recovering from workouts and retaining as much muscle tissue as possible. Remember muscle is an active tissue that gives a much needed boost in metabolism so best to try your best to preserve it!
Hit the gym and go HARD:
If you are not working out, I would suggestion joining a gym or signing up for some strength training classes! Why? Because a good workout can lead to a HUGE metabolic boost and an increase in lean muscle tissue. As mentioned above, muscle means a better metabolism so good to try to increase it!
If you feel totally lost on how to set up your vegan diet or looking for a detailed meal (and workout) program, check out my online program! Many vegans (and vegetarian) have had great success with weight loss and improve body composition using my TWL program.