Is It Possible To Lose Weight While Transitioning To A Vegan Diet?
Changing gears in terms of diet approach can be overwhelming, even with a background in the medical field.
My transition to a plant based diet seemed like walking into a new territory. Wanting to lose weight was my main goal, but also to get the benefits in terms of cardiovascular health.
Being on the heavier side was always an existing issue, and the word “diet” was a dreadful one for the longest time. Not knowing how to approach weight loss in a fun and manageable way was definitely a problem.
I started by replacing my main foods with mostly carbs, healthy carbs/plant protein combos, like quinoa. I also went crazy at my local Whole Foods with their ample selection of plant-based and vegan options.
My health lab tests were better, and even my skin improved a ton!
But I was still struggling to lose weight.
I was getting frustrated and confused. Then it hit me. There was a MAJOR aspect that I was overlooking, and a very simple one: CALORIES ARE CALORIES!
I needed to track what I ate.
I needed to track everything I ate.
I needed to take all my macros into consideration.
Here is what made a difference for me:
1.) LABELS, LABELS, LABELS.
Read those darn labels. Take into consideration those macronutrient grams and percentages. Especially for those that are meant to be a “meat” replacement, check the protein content in these. Sometimes these are high in carbohydrates and don’t have much protein to them, which defeats the purpose of eating them to hit your protein goal and may not give the longer filling and satisfying sensation.
2.) I got more bang for my calorie buck!
I opted to go for carbohydrate groups that offered the highest fiber content, to lower the net carbohydrates grams, which also helps you feel full longer and aids with digestion.
Some quick ideas for this: Low carb high fiber tortillas like, La Banderita Carb Counter with 50 calories each, 11 grams of fiber and 5 grams of net carbs, or Tumaro’s Carb Wise wraps with 60 calories, 8 grams of fiber and 3 grams of net carbs. For bread, I’ve used Sara Lee Delightful (a portion is 90 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 14 grams of net carbs) and Lewis Bake Shop (a portion is 70 calories, 2 grams of fiber and 6 grams of net carbs).
3.) I got creative!
Eating fresh vegetables does not have to be dreadful or boring. Air-fry them, roast them, make them into your own sauces, stew them or dip them in low calorie sauces (watch out for that sodium content, though). The permutations are infinite!
A super easy snack: air-fried broccoli and cauliflower. I season them with salt, pepper, garlic powder and lots of “I can’t believe it’s not butter” spray. Set the temperature at 212F and cook for 10 minutes. They retain their fresh crisp and nutrient value since they’re not overcooked!
Air-fried oyster mushrooms are the perfect plant based “meat” substitution. Season them with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and Worcestershire sauce. Then set the temperature at 365F and cook for 15-20 minutes. The mushrooms get crispy and have that satisfying bite feel.
4.) I TRACKED, TRACKED AND TRACKED!
For me, tracking what I eat has definitely been a top helper. Any mobile tracker will do, but the one that has helped me the most has been MyFitnessPal — there I can see the macro and micronutrients in detail.
5.) The knowledge that time is key and your friend.
Give yourself time and enjoy your journey. My journey is currently ongoing and it took me about 10-11 months to lose 62 pounds.
Following these 5 aspects has helped me lose 60+ lbs in a little less than a year. Mind you, enjoying myself, and for the first time ever, not dreading the word “diet”. There have been ups and downs, but I’m definitely progressing continuously and feeling great.
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