Are you looking to lose weight on a plant based diet? While plant based diet weight loss is not guaranteed, if you follow the right steps, it’s definitely possible, and even very easy to achieve! The best part about it is that losing weight on a plant based diet is really fun, delicious, and effortless because unlike most other diets, there is no need to count your calories and write down everything you eat. Just eat – and you’ll watch your body naturally transition to the weight that it’s supposed to be.
And then, there’s health. Many other “diets” out there that will help you lose weight will not ensure that you’ll gain health in the process. While being overweight is unhealthy, losing weight through the consumption of unhealthy foods will leave you exhausted, unable to think clearly, and more often than not – actually sick!
In this blog post, you’ll learn the key steps that will ensure your weight loss on a plant based diet, while also helping you prevent disease and feel truly amazing from the inside out!
Benefits of the Plant Based Diet for Weight Loss
A plant based diet is conducive to weight loss mainly due to one single “nutrient”: fiber. Fiber is not a typical nutrient: it is actually a type of carbohydrate that goes through your system without being digested at all. And it can only be found in plants.
While going through you, fiber performs many magical tasks. When it comes to weight loss, fiber helps you feel full. Please take a look at this graphic from Forks Over Knives, showing how your stomach feels when you eat different foods. It will help you understand why fiber is so pivotal to weight loss.
When you eat-fiber rich foods, the stretch receptors in your stomach act differently. Think about this: a plant based meal worth 500 calories and a meal of animal products worth 500 calories will look completely different. Can you guess what will be different between them?
Well, the meal containing animal products will be a much smaller portion. Your stomach will feel much fuller when you eat the plant based meal. Part of the large size of this vegan meal is the fiber, and the other part is the water.
For this reason, if you follow a plant based diet (like the one you will learn about here), you can easily lose weight and maintain a healthy weight because your portion sizes will be much bigger than before, and even if you eat until you’re completely full, it will be impossible for you to gain weight, unlike with animal products.
In addition, fiber is crucial for gaining health – not just losing weight!
Many studies have demonstrated that fiber is pivotal to digestion, a healthy weight, blood sugar regulation, longevity, cholesterol maintenance, and so much more!
The RDA for fiber is 25 grams for women under 50, and 21 grams for women older than 50. It’s 38 grams for men younger than 50, and 30 grams for men older than 50.
However, in order to prevent one of our top leading killers, stroke, our fiber intake should look more like around 70 grams per day, consisting mostly of insoluble fiber (from whole grains), and some soluble fiber (from beans, oats, nuts and berries).
The good news is that it’s easy to achieve this intake of fiber, and the best news for you is that it’s actually extremely conducive to weight loss to do so!
Plant Based Diet Weight Loss: What’s the Focus?
Many of the coaching clients I work with begin their weight loss journey with a focus solely on weight loss. If that is your mindset, that’s not a bad thing: many studies show that weight loss is a determining factor for longevity and good health. Many of the health benefits of a plant based diet is the massive weight loss you can easily undergo while eating this way.
However, once my clients start eating a plant based diet and continue with it for a little while, they discover that weight loss is actually the least important part for them. What they gain back in this process is their health! They feel energetic, full of life, and their zest for living is back! They literally feel better than they have ever felt before in their life. And they realize then that weight loss is just a side effect for gaining their whole life back.
So as you begin your weight loss journey, I encourage you to begin thinking about not only wanting to lose weight so badly, but also why you want to lose that weight.
Are you excited to have more energy to wake up early in the morning and start a business? Are you looking forward to playing with your kids and grandkids? Do you have a member of your family who passed away from a chronic disease like cancer, diabetes, or heart disease, and do you want to prevent that from happening to you? Do you want to look in the mirror and feel incredibly proud and confident?
All of those reasons are beautiful, and the most beautiful reason is yours. Here is what I want you to do: take a piece of paper, and write down your reason. After you do this, take a look at it and connect to it emotionally. What feeling does it bring up in you? Excitement? Joy? Love?
Place this piece of paper somewhere where you’ll see it often, and every time you look at it, bring up that positive feeling.
And remember that over time, your reason may shift and change. You may find, like my clients that while weight loss was their motivation at the start, feeling good became so powerful and so important, that it turned into their primary motivation for eating a healthy, whole food plant based diet.
Plant Based Diet Weight Loss: The Plan
Now that you know why a plant based diet is so conducive to easy weight loss, you’ll be excited to learn exactly how to make it happen.
The following are the keys to losing weight and preventing disease effortlessly on a plant based diet:
1. Drink lots of filtered water. If you have trouble remembering to drink water, set a timer on your phone to remind you, and get a reusable bottle – it makes it a lot easier when you have one by your side. Often times, when we are hungry, it’s actually thirst. Plus, water makes up a majority of our body, so it’s crucial to remember to hydrate.
2. Eat whole plant foods. These are foods that are full of fiber, nutrients, and water and will make you feel full and satisfied. There are so many foods to choose from. When you make your choices, try to pick the highest fiber foods. These include whole beans, grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. The key is to eat these foods in their whole, unprocessed form. Always check the fiber content to see that you’re getting the highest amount of fiber possible. Some finer stars are: white and navy beans, elderberries raspberries and blackberries, amaranth, barley and teff, split peas, collard greens, pine nuts, flax seeds, squash, Brussels sprouts, dried prunes, pears, avocado, and guava. But really, any plant food eaten in its whole form is absolutely excellent for weight loss!
3. Include a lot of raw foods in your diet. Raw foods are full of water and fiber, as cooking foods depletes them of water. This means that they help you eat larger portions of food, with lower calories. Some of the easiest ways to include raw foods in your diet is through smoothie bowls and Buddha bowls, where part of the meal is raw and part is cooked.
4. Avoid refined foods of any kind. If you’re very serious about your health and weight loss, you definitely want to stay away from any processed forms of the foods mentioned in #2. This includes things like protein powder, white sugar (or any other forms of processed sugar like maple syrup, agave, coconut sugar, etc.), refined flours, and oils. Instead, focus on the whole food versions of these categories: beans, dates for sweetness, whole grain flours, and fats like avocado, olives, nuts and seeds in place of oils. When you eat refined foods, you actually cut down the amount of fiber and nutrients that you’re eating, and thus you can easily overeat and gain weight.
5. Don’t give up. Please remember that weight loss is a journey, not a destination, and it does take time. It takes time for your body to learn how to eat healthy, and to get used to a new weight, both physically and emotionally. Ever since I went vegan over 7 years ago, I have constantly been losing weight, very gradually. Each moment was a celebration of my connection and understanding of my body. So see this as a journey: to learn more about yourself, and what your body wants and needs. Your weight is merely a reflection of who you are on the inside, so taking care of this inner you is the most important priority. Ask yourself every day what you need and want, and whether those needs are being met. This is the quickest way to reach weight loss. The happier and more fulfilled you are, the easier it’ll be for you to lose weight.
And ask for support. Weight loss can be so hard, and doing it alone can be extremely daunting and overwhelming.
I’d absolutely love to support you on your weight loss journey and help you make that journey fun, fulfilling and a positive experience. I work with clients one on one for 3 months to help them eat plant based and sustain a habit of healthy eating for life! Learn more about my personalized coaching program here.
6. Eat for fuel, not for meaning. Similarly to the previous point: focus on eating for fuel, rather than looking at food as something that can give your life meaning. We often eat because we are bored and unfulfilled, looking at food as something that will bring back the joy that is missing in our lives. I know, because I’ve been there! I realized that I kept eating and eating way more than my body needed (even on a plant based diet) because something was missing in my life. As soon as I looked at my eating habits as indicators for my needs, I could easily change them! I spend many hours working at home alone, and this is what drives me to eat: I miss the company of people because I derive my energy from being around people. As soon as I started being around people more, going to networking events, and connecting with others, I stopped eating for meaning, and starting eating for fuel!
Take a look at your life right now. Do you ever eat when you’re actually not hungry at all? Why do you think you do it? Try to track your emotions when you eat without being hungry. Are you sad? Lonely? Looking for fulfillment in life? It’s really good to know the reasons why we eat, and then we can do something about it!
7. Move your body in a way that feels good to you. If you are very overweight and feeling extremely sluggish, you may have a hard time exercising at first, so give it some time and remember that weight loss comes with eating plant based, even if you’re inactive. Over time, you’ll find your favorite form of exercise and you’ll absolutely crave it!
If Weight Loss Isn’t Happening, Tweak This
Finally, if you’ve been vegan for a while, and you are still not seeing the weight melt off of you, then there is definitely something that isn’t working properly. Take a look at the following:
1. Perhaps there is a thyroid issue going on, or another underlying health issue. I would highly recommend paying a visit to your doctor and checking on this, because if you’re doing everything right and weight loss isn’t happening, it could be a sign of a deeper issue.
2. Track your calories. An absolutely daunting practice that I would never recommend doing for longer than a few days, yet a very helpful one in the short term. A great website to use is cronometer.com. You can diligently track how much food you’re eating, as well as take a look at the nutrients you’re getting from this food, and see if you may be eating too much for your body without noticing, and whether you’re getting all the nutrients you need in a day. If you aren’t, tweak things so that you do get all of your nutrients! And if you’re eating too much food, it may be because something is missing in your life, unrelated to food (check out point #6 above for more on that).
3. Get support! I know it can be extremely frustrating and overwhelming, and you may feel like you’ve literally tried everything you could to lose weight, and it’s still not happening! In this case, I’d absolutely love to support you through this journey and actually help you enjoy it, rather than lose your mind. I have a 3-month program where I work with coaching clients one on one, and I’d love to see if we would be a good fit for working together. Learn more about my personalized coaching program here.
Look out for my post next week, where you’ll learn how to meal plan and meal prep for weight loss on a plant based diet!
Lose Weight on a Plant Based Diet with this Meal Plan
Download Deliciously Planty, a 1-month meal plan [includes// weekly grocery lists, meal prep guides, bonus video course on nutrition].
You’ll feel like I’m right by your side, grocery shopping and cooking with you. We’ll kick off our shoes and meal prep with a glass of (hibiscus tea?)