Eating plant-based for weight loss works! But if you're trying to lose weight on a plant-based diet and feel like you're always hungry, chances are you won't see the results you want. Feeling deprived often leads to overeating (this is why dieting doesn't really work!).
But here's the thing: always being hungry on a plant-based diet doesn't mean eating this way won't help with your weight loss goals. It probably just means you're eating the wrong foods. No worries! We've rounded up our top tips to help you see weight loss on a plant-based diet (and never feel hungry).
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Did you know 97% of Americans are fiber-deficient? Yikes! When you're eating a plant-based diet for weight loss, the type of plant-based food matters! Skip refined foods and load up on fiber-rich foods like:
High fiber foods are great for weight loss because it takes your body a while to digest them (unlike refined and processed foods which have been stripped of their fiber). This means you feel full longer. And high fiber foods are also great for your blood sugar and digestion. And we know that stable blood sugar and a healthy gut biome often lead to healthy weight loss, too.
Look, we love a good smoothie with the rest of them — they're a great way to take a healthy breakfast on the go, not to mention they're delicious. That said, if you find you're drinking your calories more than chewing them, opt for solids instead of liquids. Why? Studies show our bodies don't respond to liquid energy the same way as solid energy so we might actually feel hungrier after a smoothie than if we ate a solid meal that contained the same amount of calories.
Is this to say smoothies can't be part of your plant-based weight loss journey? Heck no! Not all smoothies are created equally. Here's how to make a delicious vegan smoothie that'll actually fill you up.
Gut health is a key piece of the plant-based weight loss puzzle. We have more than a thousand species of microorganisms and trillions of bacteria in our gut, AKA our gut microbiome. "Good" bacteria in the gut helps to keep your BMI lower. Individuals with a higher bacterial richness are associated with a healthier overall weight, while those with low levels of good bacteria are more susceptible to obesity and are more likely to gain weight over time.
So what can you do to maintain a healthy weight? Eat more plant foods to help you reach that ideal bacteria equilibrium, specifically prebiotic and probiotic foods. (Read about the difference between prebiotic and probiotic foods here.)
Unfiltered and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
Cultured dairy-free yogurt (look for no added sugar and live cultures)
Red kidney beans
Here's the thing: when we say "eat salad for lunch" we're not talking about some paltry (and slightly limp) iceberg lettuce on a tiny plate. Yes, salads have a reputation as a “diet food” that hardly fills you up, but this doesn't have to be the case.
At MamaSezz, we know a salad should never be boring, nutrient deficient, or wimpy. When done right, a salad can be hearty, delicious, crave-worthy, and great for helping you lose weight on a plant-based diet (without going hungry).
How can a salad keep you full? Well, when you fill up on loads of fresh vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes (all of which we highly recommend you put in your salad), all those plant-based foods take up more space in your stomach than animal products or refined foods, and this helps signal to your body that you're full, AKA, you don't need a post-salad snack (at least not right away).
image from HelloNutritarian.com
Ready for delicious, filling salads? Here's our easy guide for making a hearty Instagram-worthy salad, every time.
Snacking isn't the enemy. At MamaSezz, we believe if you're hungry, you should eat! We have a saying that if an apple doesn't sound good, then you're probably not hungry. So before you head to the pantry, ask yourself: do I want an apple?
If the answer is no, maybe make yourself a cup of tea instead or go for a walk until mealtime.
If the answer is yes, grab that apple and enjoy with a tablespoon or two of your favorite oil-free nut butter or a handful of nuts. Remember, if you deprive yourself when you're truly hungry, you may be in for a hunger-motivated binge later which could definitely derail your plant-based weight loss plans.
Grab our favorite healthy and filling plant-based snack ideas here.
Want to see weight loss with a plant-based diet? Drink two glasses of water before meals! Sometimes we eat a lot because we're actually thirsty, NOT hungry.
(Also, make sure you're drinking enough water in general throughout the day — at least 64 oz, or eight glasses.
If you want to see plant-based weight loss success, make sure you:
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.