If you’ve been following some of the more well-known vegans on social media, you may be under the impression that switching to a plant-based diet is the key to instant and effortless weight loss. For some, I suspect this is true (I’ve seen them in bikinis, standing under waterfalls, all a yoga-glow). For me, this was not the case. I, in fact, gained an easy five pounds overnight and was bloated for the first two months of this diet. It took me some time to figure out what works, and what doesn’t work for me and the challenges I face in losing weight (menopause, insulin resistance and hypothyroidism). If you are trying to lose weight, keep the following in mind:
- Every body responds to its own set of rules. Some people can eat all of the low-fat carbohydrates they want and lose weight. Others, like me, can eat a slice of bread and gain weight. You have to find what works well for your body.
- All carbs are not created equal. For example, while most of us do very well eating lots of fresh vegetables, some of us may need to eat less fruit than others. Other types of carbs, including whole grains and beans, can affect everyone differently.
- To lose water weight, cut down on the salt. Even if you are eating clean, it is easy to use too much salt from sea salt and condiments. Try using a little lemon juice, fresh herbs, and vinegar to season your food instead.
- For three weeks, track all your meals in a cronometer. This will allow you to see if you are eating significantly more calories that you need, or if your macros need to be adjusted.
- Make exercise a part of your daily routine. Increasing your muscle mass helps you to burn more calories (even at rest). More so, it will help decrease your stress levels. You’ll sleep better at night, and have more energy during the day.
- Cut down on ordering out as much as possible. Food that you cook will generally have less fat, calories, and salt than restaurant food.
- Eat your veggies, and lots of them, in every color.
- Drink plenty of water, especially if you are trying to flush over excess water weight.
- Avoid simple carbs and sugar. Replace them with healthier options, like sweet potatoes, and salads.
- Try to eat organic, non-GMO products as much as possible to avoid Round-up. The active ingredient in this herbacide, glyphosate, has been linked to weight gain and obesity. https://www.betternutrition.com/news-flash/weed-killer-weight-gain
Lastly, if you are still struggling despite your best efforts, it might be a good idea to schedule a visit with your doctor and/or nutritionist. Conditions such as hypothyroidism or sluggish adrenals, if untreated, can wreak havoc on your weight loss efforts.