Not losing weight on a plant-based diet? Can going vegan help you lose weight even? Here's the deal: while a plant-based lifestyle is associated with lower BMI and better overall health, these 3 things could be keeping you from reaching your healthy weight loss goals and even explain gaining weight on a vegan diet.
Before we begin: how to stop yo-yo dieting (and lose the weight for good)!
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So you've been plant-based for a while now and you're not losing weight on vegan diet? A plant-based diet is naturally low in calories and fat which may leave you wondering "why am i gaining weight on a plant based diet?"
Can going vegan help you lose weight or not?
Sometimes, you just don't need to lose any more weight. Optimal health isn't about weighing 100 pounds (unless that's a healthy weight for you!).
Ok, but back to the question at hand...if you're struggling to lose weight on a plant-based diet you may be wondering "does being vegan help you lose weight" or is it all a gimmick?
It is NOT a gimmick. In general, vegans have lower BMIs than their omnivore counterparts. But it's important to understand that the absence of animal products doesn't necessarily yield weight loss (nor is does it mean you're eating healthy).
Think about it: Oreos are vegan! So it's just as much about what you add to your plate as what you omit.
So if you still do need to lose some extra weight to be healthier and stronger, there are usually three culprits to your plant-based diet weight loss plateau or even for weight gain on vegan diet...
3 sneaky reasons you're not losing weight on a plant-based diet
1. You're still consuming and cooking with oil
If the scale's not budging or you're even seeing weight gain on a vegan diet, it's important to cut out oil. To lose weight, you want nutrient-dense foods over calorie-dense foods. Nutrient-dense foods are high in nutrients but relatively low in calories.
Oils are nutrient-deficient and calorie-dense. One tablespoon of oil has 120 calories and 14 grams of fat.
At MamaSezz we try to avoid calorie counting when possible. That said, a calorie-dense food like oil lacks both nutrients and fiber so your body quickly absorbs it and turns it into fat.
And even though it's got lots of calories, oil doesn’t take up as much space in our stomachs as nutrient-dense whole plant foods so our bodies have a harder time recognizing when we're full. This leads to overeating and sometimes plant based weight gain.
image from HelloNutritarian.com
Or skip the cooking altogether and get MamaSezz oil-free and whole food plant-based meals (and salad dressings!) delivered to your door, ready to heat and eat. Order MamaSezz here.
2. You need to add more leafy greens to your diet
Unlike oil, leafy greens, like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard, are low in calories and high in nutrients. They've also got lots of fiber, helping you to digest your food slowly and absorb the nutrients from your food.
Plus, they take up space in your stomach but don't pack a big calorie punch. So you'll stay full longer and be less inclined to overeat after a big leafy green salad, which means you probably won't see weight gain on a vegan diet that's loaded with leafy greens.
(Pro tip: it's all about the dressing, baby! We love MamaSezz vegan ranch on just about anything.)
3. You're going out to eat a lot
Most restaurants, even the vegan ones, use all sorts of salt, sugar, and oil in their cooking. In other words, restaurant dishes tend to have more calories and fat than if you cooked at home.
Love going out to eat? Don't worry. Your restaurant days aren't behind you. Just follow these whole food plant-based dining out tips and ask the kitchen if they can cook with water or veggie brother instead of oil.
A whole food plant-based diet often leads to healthy weight loss, but if you're not seeing the scale move, these reasons could be why:
- You're still eating and cooking with oil
- You need to eat more leafy greens (and fiber in general)
- You're going out to eat too much
- Bonus: you may not need to lose any more weight!
Interested in losing weight for good?
By Ali Brown
Ali is a mom, wife, and nutrition and lifestyle writer and editor. She has her Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.