There’s a common misunderstanding in the health community that someone who pursues a vegan diet is more likely to lose weight or have an easier time managing it compared to someone who isn’t a vegan. Needless to say, this is false for a number of reasons. In fact, sometimes adopting a vegan diet might just sabotage your weight loss goals. It also doesn’t help that “vegan-friendly” foods might contain hidden sugars, salt, fat and other unhealthy additives that aid in weight gain. That in addition to limited knowledge about your body’s physiology and an overly sedentary lifestyle is a recipe for disaster. If you’re surprised that you’re gaining weight while on a vegan diet, then you’re definitely making one or more of these mistakes.
Reasons You Are Gaining Weight on a Vegan Diet
It’s unrealistic and sometimes even dangerous to lose a lot of weight over a short period of time. For one, when you fail to achieve your weight loss goals, you will not only feel demotivated but there is a chance that you might fall back to your old habits. Even if you do manage to lose a lot of weight over a short period of time, it would require you to extensively limit your caloric intake, to a point where you’re hungry all the time. This kind of weight loss is typically temporary and would cause you to gain weight rapidly when you stop dieting or start eating normally again. Not to mention, losing too much weight at the aforementioned time is unhealthy and will do more harm than good to your body. It is highly advisable to set realistic weight loss goals if you want to maintain your weight. Breaking down your weight loss goals into smaller, manageable goals will go a long way in helping you lose weight and keep it off in the long-term. Doing this will also keep you committed to your weight loss plan without pushing you to severely limit your caloric intake. Losing 1 to 2 pounds or less than 1 kg a week is considered to the healthy amount of weight you should be striving to lose if you want to keep it off in the long-term.
Lack of Portion Control
Portion control is crucial and sometimes an underrated factor when it comes to weight loss. Caloric intake plays a major role in weight loss or gain. Even if you are going vegan, eating too much of anything over a period of time will inadvertently cause you to gain weight instead of losing it. This is why portion control is critical in achieving your weight goals. One of the best ways to practice portion control is to use a smaller plate for all your meals. Filling half your plate with protein, ¼ with veggies and the remaining ¼ with whole grains such as brown rice/ seeds/nuts/grains will ensure that you are getting all the nutrition you need per meal. Another helpful tip is to avoid watching TV or Netflix while eating. As long as your attention is elsewhere except on your food, you will end up feeling hungry and unsatisfied. This is due to the fact that looking at your food while eating provides your brain with the visual cue it needs to prevent you from helping yourself to another serving. Essentially, this visual cue tells the brain that you’re getting fuller with each bite. Additionally, eating or chewing slowly will have the same effect as well.
Consuming High-Calorie Drinks
Although most drinks are packaged and advertised as vegan drinks, most if not all are high in sugars and other additives including artificial flavours, preservatives and colours. These additives not only contribute to weight gain but are extremely detrimental to your health in the long run. One of the best things way to avoid consuming too many calories is to read the labels before making a purchase. Another thing you can do is to choose more fresh juices that are free from added sugar or salt. Limit your intake of alcoholic beverages, especially ones that are sweetened. Alternatively, you could just drink more water instead of reaching for a vegan-friendly drink. Water acts as a natural appetite suppressant, increases calorie burning, flushes out toxins and keeps you feeling fuller for longer, all of which will aid in weight loss.
A sedentary or inactive lifestyle will inadvertently cause weight gain. This is especially true if you have a desk-bound job that doesn’t let you move around much. Schedule some time to move around or walk around the office. You could also incorporate some leg exercises while sitting down. If it’s possible, get a standing desk, this way you won’t be sitting for long periods at a time. Incorporating a mix of cardio and strength training 5 times a week will help you burn fat while consistent strength training will aid in building muscles which will make you look slimmer and toned.