If you lined up every vegan you know against a wall, each one would look different. Some are lean and fit, some are average, some are overweight, and some are rail thin. The truth is not every vegan is created equal.
I had not really given this much thought until someone recently asked me an interesting question. She wanted to know how she could become a vegan without losing a lot of weight. I could see that she was already at a healthy weight. She was concerned about drastic changes in her appearance.
Though it is very normal to lose weight after switching to a vegan diet. It doesn’t have to be extreme. It’s natural for your body to initially change because it’s a major change for most people. When you start eliminating meat, dairy, cheese, and eggs from your diet you will lose weight. When I first became a vegan six years ago, I lost about 7 pounds in two weeks. That wasn’t too much because I was coming from a vegetarian diet. It wasn’t too drastic of a shift for me.
The main reason most people lose a lot of weight initially is because they don’t know what to eat. They remove a lot from their diet but they don’t replace it. Consequently, they end up eating rabbit food and are hungry all the time. Most people focus so much on what vegans don’t eat that they are unaware of all the great things we do eat.
So, I thought it would be helpful to offer some tips on how to transition to a vegan diet without losing too much weight.
- Count your calories. We usually count calories to reduce them for weight loss. But you should measure them to make sure you’re consuming a healthy amount. You need enough calories to satisfy your hunger.
- Eat a balanced diet with a good mix of fats, protein, and carbohydrates. Healthy fats help you feel satiated after meals. Some examples of healthy fats are avocados, nuts, seeds, and peanut butter (make sure you consume peanut butter with simple ingredients. It shouldn’t have a bunch of sugar. If you see more than peanuts and salt in your peanut butter, you don’t need it.) Some good sources of protein are quinoa, beans (i.e. lentils, black beans, garbanzo beans, lima beans), tempeh, and plant based protein powders. Some healthy carbohydrates are brown rice, sprouted breads like Ezekial bread, and beans. Beans are a good source of healthy carbs and protein.
- Eat your veggies, especially cruciferous veggies like broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage. They are high in fiber and protein. They make you feel full longer.
- Incorporate snacks between meals. Fruits like apples and bananas have fiber and natural sugars in them. A favorite snack of mine is nuts. There are tons to choose from like almonds, pistachios, peanuts, walnuts, and cashews. They give you the healthy fats and extra calories you need to avoid losing too much weight.
- Learn new recipes. There are so many recipes available that are so good that you won’t miss any of your former foods. I get tons of recipe ideas from Instagram. Just follow other vegans and you will learn so much. Avoid eating the same things all the time. Explore your options. Remember, variety is the spice of life.
These are some good suggestions to help you transition to a vegan diet in a healthy way without the fear of drastically changing your weight. If you incorporate these suggestions you will be healthier, leaner and more satisfied.
Until next time…Peace, Love and Fitness!