Maybe you’re looking to lose weight for the summer, improve your blood pressure and overall health, or simply drop a few pounds to fit into that ‘dress’. Whatever your reason is, there is scientific evidence that a vegan diet can help you get to an ideal, healthy weight1. In addition, meat-eaters consume more calories and fewer vegetables, on average, than vegans do2.
Many people who have just recently adopted a vegan lifestyle are confused as to why they are not hitting their target weight. Here are 6 tips for combating weight-loss resistance when you’re on a vegan diet:
1. Limit Vegan Junk Food: A great advantage of the vegan diet is that you can eat whole food, plant-based foods (WFP). However, newcomers of the vegan diet often eat frozen pizzas, burritos, and ice cream. Many of these foods are calorie-dense, high in carbs, and can lead to overeating. Instead, you should focus on single-ingredient fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. One study found that processed foods may decrease post-meal calorie burning by nearly 50% compared to whole foods. You can also try eliminating added salt, oil, and sugar.
2. Avoid Chemicals And Plastics: Chemicals called endocrine disruptors3 are pervasive and enter our bodies via plastic bottles, thermal receipts, food wrappers, and even coffee cups. Endocrine disruptors are associated with obesity and can be avoided by substituting glass for plastic, asking for an email receipt, and not eating fast food.
3. Monitor Your Sleep Patterns: Although it’s more common in obese patients, both thin and overweight people can also suffer from sleep apnea4. Some things to look out for are snoring, daytime fatigue, and waking up suddenly during the night. Sometimes you can even stop breathing in your sleep. If you think you have any of these symptoms, we recommend getting tested for sleep apnea and getting therapy as it may help reduce stress and restore weight loss.
4. Lower Stress levels: Stress from relationships or a job might activate the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis5 and lead to weight gain. Weight loss can be restrained by elevated cortisol levels. Try managing your stress levels and lower cortisol levels with therapy, yoga, meditation, adaptogens like ashwagandha, and exercise.
5. Exercise Regularly: Studies have shown that aerobic exercises like swimming, walking, hiking, and dancing can lead to weight loss6. A plant-based diet, fasting, and exercise can restore optimal weight in just a few months.
6. Take Supplements: Some plant-based supplements can help trigger weight loss. A study showed that women taking a vitamin D supplement have experienced weight loss7, and most vegans can always use the extra vitamin D3 anyway. Another study has shown that garcinia cambogia can lower the amount of fat in the blood and reduce oxidative stress
1. Type of Vegetarian Diet, Body Weight, and Prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes, 2009 May; 32(5): 791–796
2. Postprandial energy expenditure in whole-food and processed-food meals: implications for daily energy expenditure, 2010; 54: 10.3402/fnr.v54i0.5144
3. Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals, Endocrine Society
4. Interactions Between Obesity and Obstructive Sleep Apnea, 2010 Mar; 137(3): 711–719
5. Stress and obesity: the role of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis in metabolic disease, 2010 Apr 22
6. Aerobic exercise alone results in clinically significant weight loss for men and women: Midwest Exercise Trial-2, 2013 Sep 1
7. Vitamin D3 supplementation during weight loss: a double-blind randomized controlled trial, 2014 May; 99(5): 1015–1025
8. Antihyperlipidemic and antioxidant activities of the ethanolic extract of Garcinia cambogia on high fat diet-fed rats, 2016 Mar;13(1):9-16. doi: 10.1515/jcim-2015-0020