If you thought becoming vegan meant you’d automatically lose weight, you were probably disappointed if you didn’t. While research has shown that meat-eaters have higher BMIs than vegetarians and vegans, you have to do more than start eating fruit and vegetables.
Lots of people don’t lose weight on a vegan diet, and some even gain weight. See if any of these five reasons apply to you.
You May Be Eating Too Much
Fruit, vegetables, nut, seeds, and whole grains contain the raw materials we need to fuel our bodies as well as maintain, heal, and regenerate tissue. But, we don’t need an unlimited amount of these nutrients. Just as with any diet, how many calories you should consume depends on your sex, height, age, and physical activity level. If you are eating more calories than you burn, your body will store it as fat.
You May Not Be Getting Enough Protein
Unless you are a bodybuilder or athlete, you don’t need a huge amount of protein, but you do need some. In addition to being essential for maintaining all bodily functions, eating enough protein is essential for maintaining muscle mass, which helps keep your metabolism going. To make sure you are getting enough protein, include more beans and legumes in your meals. One cup of cooked lentils gives you 17 grams of protein.
Your Meal Timing May Be Off
No matter what type of diet you eat, when you eat can make a difference to your waistline. Most people eat their main meal in the evening – the time when they are least active. A better strategy is to eat larger meals earlier in the day. This way, you’ll burn most of the calories you consume during your most active hours of the day.
You May Be Eating Plant-Based Junk Food
Yes, it is possible. Just because a treat is plant-based doesn’t mean you can eat as much as you want of it. Plant-based frozen desserts and other snacks are often made with added sugar and refined flour. And they are often lacking in fiber and nutrients. Junk food is junk food, so consider these treats as an occasional luxury and choose fresh fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth.
You May Be Drinking Too Many Calories
This is a common issue, no matter what diet you follow. Most people forget to take into account the calories they drink. But, if you are sipping on kombucha or green juices, coconut water, and chia drinks, the calories will add up. Unless you are drinking water or unsweetened tea or black coffee, your drink calories should count.
While following a balanced vegan diet may be better for your health, and the key to a healthy gut, simply going vegan isn’t a magic bullet for weight loss. The key here is to eat a healthy, balanced diet that gives your body what it needs.