How to be vegan and lose weight? Stick around and I’ll show you. I recently wrote about this topic in my post easy vegan diet for weight loss which includes two sample menus if you want to check it out.
This chat is going to be about the major factors that you need to keep in mind when you become vegan to lose weight or if you are vegan but want to lose weight.
I’m going to try and distill it down to its most basic factors. On this blog I like to keep things as simple as possible and as straightforward as possible. The good news about losing weight is that the key concepts are both simple and straightforward despite what you might have heard to the contrary.
How to go vegan and lose weight
The first thing to keep in mind is your mind. I’ve said this before and I’ll keep saying it because it is that important. You need to have the right mindset in order to succeed in weight loss. I can’t emphasize this enough.
You have to be psychologically ready.
Well, if you’re looking how to be vegan and diet then you have to be prepared for a number of things. The first thing is below.
1. It takes longer to lose weight than you might think
Yeah I know, this is not going to make me your number one fan. But I ain’t here to be popular I’m here to help you lose weight for good.
But what exactly do I mean that it will take longer than you think it will to lose weight? Well, let’s look at it this way. Let’s say you figure you have 30 pounds of weight you’d like to lose on a vegan diet. If that took you 5 years to add to your physique it meant that you only ate an extra 57 calories a day over and above what you needed.
It also took you 5 years to pack on those pounds. It will take some time to take it off.
From my own experience and the science bears this out, a realistic and reliable amount of weight to lose is 1 to 2 pounds per week. I recommend going for 1 pound as the calories you need to cut are more manageable and you won’t feel very hungry if at all.
Losing 20 pounds on a vegan diet will therefor take you around 15 to 30 weeks. Just under 4 months to just over 6 months.
That’s doable and pretty quick considering you put the weight on over many years. Yet it is still a marathon and you have to prepare yourself for that.
2. You eat way too much
Sorry, but it’s true. This was an eye opener for me as I lost over 20 pounds recently. When I really started weighing and measuring foods and figuring out what legit portion sizes look like, they look really small compared to what I used to eat.
How small, about half or less of what you are currently eating.
Let’s take an example. A legit serving of pasta is considered 0.5 cup of cooked pasta. How big is that? It’s about the size of a tennis ball. That’s not very big. I used to easily eat 4 servings of pasta at a time. Not a big deal. But that’s like 440 calories compared to 110 in half a cup.
So you have to prepare yourself to star taking in smaller portions. I thought this would make me hungry but it didn’t. The first 2 or 3 days took some getting used to. But I think the stomach adopts to the new and more realistic food serving sizes.
I’m not saying you can only have a half cup of pasta every time you have some, but you need to be aware of portion sizes.
How to be vegan and get abs
Okay, so you’ve prepared your mind. You realize that you’re going to have to get accustomed to smaller serving sizes and that it is going to take a few months or longer to lose your weight depending on how much you have to lose.
The good news is that you are creating a new lifestyle rather than going on a diet. When you reach your new found weight the only change you will make is increase your daily calories allotment by a couple of 3 hundred calories or so.
Dieting is the devil’s handiwork and that is why it doesn’t work very well. You starve yourself or eliminate so many foods that you binge when you get off the diet.
That brings me to another benefits of becoming vegan to lose weight.
3. You can eat anything you want!
Yes you can. Because we are going for a lifestyle change this is not about deprivation but more about realigning the calories we consume.
Any food that is vegan is up for grabs and can be eaten.
If you want to eat out at your favourite fast food restaurants all day you can. And you can still lose weight. You just have to eat appropriate portion sizes and make some choices. Which leads us to.
4. You can’t eat everything you want
As I said earlier, to lose all the weight you want you can eat ANYTHING you want. But you can’t eat EVERYTHING you want. There is a difference.
That difference is all about your caloric bank balance. You have to figure out how many calories you can eat each day and still lose weight. To do this you use a tool like a calorie calculator to figure out how many calories your body requires at its CURRENT weight. From that number you deduct 500 to 1,000.
Vlad the vegan, not the impaler 🙂 is 5’11”, has an inactive lifestyle and weighs 200 pounds. He needs to eat 2,300 calories a day to maintain his husky self.
But he want to lose weight. So his daily calorie bank. The maximum number of calories he can eat each day and still lose weight is 2,300 – 500 or 1,800. He can eat less too or he can exercise to help create a greater calories deficit. However, exercise is not required.
Here is Vlads vegan junk food diet that will still let him lose weight.
Dunkin’ Donuts Apple Crumb Donut (490 calories)*
Wendy’s Apple Pecan Chicken Salad Full Size hold the chicken (440 calories)
BK Veggie Burger hold the mayo (350 calories)
|Total calories: 1,860|
* I know this item is not vegan at Dunkin’ Donuts, it is just used as an example of calories in a donut vegan or other wise.
How to become vegan and lose weight
Let’s put it all together.
The key takeaway is not that I’m recommending you eat a junk food vegan diet to lose weight, but rather that you can enjoy “treats” in your day or vegan weight loss program and still lose all the weight you want.
Calories count above everything. So long as you eat a calorie deficit of 500 or more each day you will lose weight over time.
You will also notice that if you choose healthier foods you will be able to eat more food in volume.
So if you are hungry and you’ve only cut out 500 calories from your daily calorie requirements its time to look at what kinds of foods you’re eating. In this case, choose more salads and soups and less oils and other fattening foods.
Best of all for vegan weight loss is to eat healthy 5 or 6 days a week and just limit junk food to 1 or 2 days a week. You can have your cake and eat it, it just has to be a small cake! Good luck!