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In a study conducted by the Journal of General Internal Medicine, an individual on a vegan diet for 18 weeks could lose up to 4 pounds more than a person on the animal product. Additionally, the vegan diet seemed to improve body health and the general well-being of the person.
A vegan diet, when carefully followed, can lead to tremendous results in terms of losing weight and maintaining a healthy body. However, the contrary is also true. This is primarily because, as a vegan, you may tend to compensate your diet with a massive amount of carbohydrates, particularly refined ones, which translates to high-calorie intake. The following key points should provide a guideline on how to lose weight and maintain it on a vegan diet. The key point is to develop these steps in your daily diet and not just for losing weight but in adopting a long term health vegan diet. You may want to look at this as a lifestyle adjustment rather than a weight loss plan.
1. Jumpstart your weight loss by reducing carbohydrate intake
A high carbohydrate diet, especially refined carbohydrates from wheat products, are high in sugar. This translates to a high glucose level in blood. The glucose in the blood is used by the cell for the production of energy. The liver stores the extra glucose as glycogen, which is spent by the body when power is needed. On a high carbohydrate diet, there is still a high amount of glucose in the blood even after storage. The body then has to store this extra glucose in the most effective way possible, which is fat that in turn leads to weight gain.
2. Increase vegetable and protein intake on your vegan diet
Greens and other vegetables are the baselines on the revised vegan food pyramid followed by fruits and whole grains. Green leafy vegetables are high in potassium, which allows the storage of glucose in the cell by acting as a bond holding the glucose molecules together. In the absence of enough potassium, glucose is directly converted and stored as fat cells, which translates to weight gain. Also, vegetables are high in fiber, which keeps you full for longer and promotes healthy bowel movements.
Ensure you consume approximately 4-7 cups of vegetables daily.
Proteins are a significant building block for the body. A good source includes lentils, hemp, and beans. Protein powders can also be incorporated in smoothies.
3. Choose healthier plant-based fats and oils
Incorporating healthy whole food like nuts and seeds such as chia, flax, almonds, walnuts, etc., provides a great source of omega-3 and needed fats. Healthy oils such as algae for your cooking and olive in your salads give a feeling of earlier satiety, thus reducing the chance to overeat. Healthy fats also slow down digestion keeping your stomach fuller for longer and reducing cravings at the same time. Processed oils should be reduced if not eliminated as they are more calorically dense than the oils found in whole food.
4. Avoid processed sugar in snacks, tempting as they are
Processed sugars in carbonated drinks, desserts, and even fruit juices can only add to your caloric intake. Its way better to eat whole fruit than the juice concentrate as the pulp in the fruit is high in fiber, which provides additional digestive benefits. Always have your favorite fruit around to help keep you on track.
5. Get regular exercise and adequate water intake to supercharge weight loss
Aerobic activities such as running, cycling, or even dancing can be a great way for calorie expenditure. Moreover, exercise promotes circulation in the body, improving the rate of oxygen delivery in different organs leading to an improved body function, including strengthening the heart. But take note that exercise cannot be a substitute for a bad diet.
Adequate hydration maintains a proper functioning environment for the cells and allows for body cleansing, which promotes overall health and fitness.