If you’re not losing weight as a vegan this post is for you.
What I’m sharing with you today is my 6 years of experience eating a vegan diet and not losing weight to changing it up and implementing some steps on how I (finally) succeeded in losing 25 pounds in just under 3 months.
Many of you know me (and many of you don’t) so real quick I’m Megan.
I’m a nurse and Nutritarian Health Coach and I run a food blog megankerry.com and the brand Go Vegan With Megan where I share how to eat a vegan diet that not only tastes incredible but also promotes weight loss and disease prevention.
Now today specifically we are addressing what parts of a vegan diet could be preventing you from seeing the results you want, and I’ll be sharing with you how I help my coaching clients move past their blocks to get results.
I focus on teaching people not only how to eat vegan-because if you can believe it or not there are just as many ways to eat vegan as there are to eat an omnivorous diet.
I teach how to eat a micronutrient-rich diet.
The benefit of this is that we are packing as many good for you phytonutrients, antioxidants, and anti-cancer properties into us as we can and these foods have the added benefit of being super low calorie.
So essentially, we are washing our body in rich micronutrients that feeds all of its processes and helps it do its job of healing and helping us feel our best-all while facilitating weight loss.
The beauty of eating this way is that because we are eliminating sugar, salt, and added oils we are no longer plagued by cravings.
Here’s why you’re not losing weight as a vegan
It’s really crazy how the food industry has learned to turn food into addictions.
And they do this by over-processing foods down to their most triggering forms which then allow our brains to get super happy when we eat them almost like a high.
But just like getting a high from other substances, our bodies react poorly when we come down.
As in, when we are finished digesting the high sugar, high salt, high oil foods, our body doesn’t feel as good anymore and it wants that feeling back.
So it tells you that you’re hungry when really you’ve already eaten more than enough calories but you’re lacking the nutrition that should have come from them.
This is one component of toxic hunger. There is another side to it as well.
And I want to get deeper into that subject in another post.
So, if this subject is interesting to you go ahead and let me know in the comments and I’ll get working on that material for you right away.
What to do when you’re not losing weight on a vegan diet
What you need to do to lose weight on a vegan diet is to focus on adopting a micronutrient-dense diet.
The main principles of eating a micronutrient diet come down to 3 things:
- What you eat
- When you eat
- And what you don’t eat
It’s time to grab a notebook because this info is important, and I want you to be able to absorb as much of it as possible.
What you should eat to lose weight on a vegan diet
What I teach is a vegetable-based diet with a focus on leafy greens both cooked and raw and a focus on cruciferous vegetables.
These cruciferous veggies are especially important components because they prevent cancer, inflammation, and heart disease among many more benefits.
Cruciferous veggies include kale, collards, arugula, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage, and more.
You want to make sure you’re eating an extra-large salad at least once per day with a mix of greens, colorful veggies, and a nut and seed-based dressing to help you absorb all of the nutrients available to you.
If you just do this one thing and have a huge salad topped with beans, cooked veggies like broccoli and cabbage, and add a nut-based dressing you’re already 50% of the way to a Nutritarian diet.
It’s not just veggies though
You also want to be eating a variety of fresh and frozen fruits, beans and legumes, onions and garlic, mushrooms, berries, and nuts and seeds paired with the veggies to make up 90% or more of your intake.
Any animal products (if you’re still eating them) or processed foods should make up no more than 10% of your total calories and of course, less is best.
If you want to get a better idea of what that looks like in real-time be sure to follow me on Instagram.
I’ve been posting in my stories more often now and sharing what I eat for almost every meal so you can get a really good understanding of what I’m talking about here.
When you eat matters!
When you eat is important because our body does the bulk of its healing and recovery in the catabolic stage of digestion.
This phase won’t happen if we are constantly eating and snacking.
One of the biggest changes I made to my routine to start seeing major results was to eat within a certain time frame and not before or after. This way of eating is known mainly as intermittent fasting.
I’ve also kept snacking to a very minimum to keep myself in that catabolic phase longer and more often.
The other thing to consider is that every time we eat our body releases insulin to store the sugar from the food we eat.
Insulin promotes storage and growth and the less insulin we stimulate the better for weight loss and cancer prevention.
How to get losing fast
At first, this might sound hard to do especially if you are suffering from food addiction like 90 % of people out there are right now.
But I can promise you (as someone who used to constantly crave something to eat) this goes away pretty fast once you start eating in the way I described using those micronutrient-dense foods.
If you were my client I would tell you that 100% compliance for 5 days of eating only micronutrient dense foods and avoiding all sugar, salt, and oil is the fastest way to beat cravings.
I wake up around 7 and I will eat breakfast around 9 or 10, lunch around 1, and then dinner at 5.
I might have a dessert (like nicecream) around 6 and then that’s it for the night.
So I’m working on a 16-hour fast period and an 8-hour eating window most days give or take an hour.
What to avoid at all costs
Finally, let’s cover what to avoid so you aren’t stuck wondering why the hell you’re still not losing.
The main things to keep in mind are to avoid any added sugars, salts, and oils.
When you keep it to those basics everything else kinda falls in line.
For example, if you look at a beyond meat burger you’ll see it is loaded with added fat, salt, and sugar.
Already you know it’s not a health-promoting food.
It’s a better option than a beef burger but it’s also not as healthy as a bean burger.
This doesn’t mean I never eat beyond burgers. It means it is not a staple part of my diet. I’ll have a burger at a cookout maybe once a month, then I’ll make sure my diet is really focused on micronutrient dense foods for the next few weeks.
How oil prevents you from losing weight as a vegan
I think a lot of us came to the idea that olive and coconut oils are healthy but in reality, our body doesn’t benefit from them at all.
Because the oils are stripped away from everything else the plant contained, many of the benefits are taken with it.
And because it can be absorbed by the body so quickly it is stored so much faster than fat from nuts and seeds is.
When the fat is bound with the fiber in a whole food form, it slows the digestion and allows your body a chance to use that energy instead of pack it on your hips.
Plus the fiber will pull a lot of that fat through your system so you aren’t really getting the full caloric load from nuts and seeds as you do with oil.
What I’m saying here is that when you look at the back of a package of almonds and see 300 calories per serving, all of those calories are not absorbed due to the fiber.
If we’re taking about 300 calories of oil, you can bet every single one will be stored on your body.
Pay extra attention to this: Salt needs a warning label for Vegans
Salt is especially important for vegans to avoid.
And, it’s not talked about near enough in our community.
I’m talking about all salts here. It doesn’t matter what type of salt it is, the mineral content of specialty salts do not make up for the impacts the sodium will have on your system.
When you eat a balanced diet, you’ll get more than enough minerals from the food you’re eating-no need to consume specialty salts to increase your mineral intake.
Here’s why you need to avoid salt
Because eating vegan lowers your cholesterol, it is great for preventing strokes that happen from a blockage.
But the very same benefits that lower our risk of blockage will increase our chances of hemorrhagic stroke when combined with a high salt diet.…
…one where there is a bleed rather than a blockage.
This is due to a combination of increased blood pressure from high salt intake and the effects salt directly has on weakening the arterial walls.
Even if your blood pressure is fine right now (or even low), adding salt has a cumulative effect that will raise your blood pressure in the future.
And cutting back at that stage has less of an effect to reverse high blood pressure than starting today would.
Salt increases osteoporosis risk
The other thing to consider with added salt is its link to increased rates of osteoporosis.
Salt will leech calcium from the bones when there is excess sodium in the system.
Less is best and the natural foods we eat already contain the best amounts of sodium for us.
Just remember to include a source of iodine in your diet either from small amounts of kelp or a great whole food plant-based multivitamin like this one from Dr. Fuhrman’s site
Mindset is 90% of the weight loss battle
The last thing I want to say today to help you reach your goals is about mindset.
You know, for years and years I had no idea I was carrying around many different limiting beliefs that were holding me back from actually pulling the trigger on my lifestyle change.
Remember, I’ve been in the vegan space for over 6 years.
You can bet I’ve seen every documentary, and my background in nursing naturally made me curious to learn as much as I could about plant-based nutrition.
I wasn’t in the dark about what I needed to do.
I was struggling with the deep-set beliefs and fears I had surrounding the possibility of actually reaching my goal.
You also likely have deep-rooted beliefs that are making it impossible for you to use willpower alone to get you to your goal.
And although the diet part of what I teach works to eliminate cravings, you will still be up against that self-talk that runs under the surface.
It’s not just about what we consciously tell ourselves, but it’s about how aligned the subconscious mind is with our conscious mind.
How your subconscious affects your actions
The subconscious is like an overprotective big sister who doesn’t think logically. She thinks with emotion and intuition.
And it’s her job to keep your mental state safe.
So, if you have a limiting belief that is blocking you from reaching your goals, the subconscious mind has deemed it necessary to be there to protect you from a negative outcome that might happen if you succeed.
An example of this (which is a super common one) would be the limiting belief that goes something like this:
“If I lose weight I would attract unwanted attention that would make me feel uncomfortable and vulnerable.”
And what the subconscious is actually trying to do here is to keep you from experiencing the pain that would come from feeling vulnerable and the fear of not being protected.
Does that make sense?
Even if on the surface you think it’s absolutely ridiculous to feel worried about a deep belief you have because you know you’re a strong person, and you “shouldn’t” feel a certain way, the worst thing you can do here is to brush these fears off.
What you need to do is uncover these beliefs, and pacify the subconscious by acknowledging it and allowing that fear to be seen, and then addressing it so you can carve a pathway forward.
If you don’t deal with these limiting beliefs, it will be nearly impossible to allow yourself to succeed.
Your subconscious mind makes 90% of the decisions for you.
Even with an iron will to succeed that comes from your conscious mind, 10% doesn’t get you very far.
And in those moments of weakness (that will inevitably come), you’ll find yourself struggling.
This is what I teach my clients to do so they can be free from self-sabotage.
The breakdown on why you’re not losing weight on a vegan diet
If you are struggling to reach your health goals and you aren’t losing weight as a vegan here’s what needs to change:
- You need to eat a high micronutrient diet including lots of greens (cooked and raw), beans, berries, fruits, mushrooms, onions & garlic, and nuts and seeds as the base of our diet.
- When we eat matters-try and eat for no longer than 8 hours with a 16 hour fast period and limit snacking.
- Avoid Salt, sugar and added oils at all coasts while your losing, and limit the amount you consume when you reach your goal.
- Your mindset and unconcious beliefs control a lot of your ability to succeed. In order to move forward you must relase the blocks that are holding you back from success.
If you’d like clarity around what your subconscious is keeping from you and you want to be free from the same patterns you’ve experienced in the past with weight loss then I invite you to book a strategy session with me.
Here’s how a strategy session can help you:
1. You’ll get your current diet assessed, and I’ll tell you where you can improve
2. We’ll set a smart goal together so you have a realistic plan to reach your goals
3. I’ll walk you through an exercise that will reveal the limiting beliefs that are holding you back so you leave the session with a clear path to follow to get you where you need to be.
If we decide together during our call that you would be a good fit for continued support in my coaching program, then I will make you an offer to work together.
But to be honest, I’m very picky about who I invest my time in and I will only work with clients who are 110% committed to the process and ready to show up for themselves.
What I do isn’t for everyone, but I will make sure to get you the support you need regardless if that’s through personalized coaching with me or in our free coaching community.
If you feel like you are in a place right now where you are coachable and ready to do the work it takes to truly transform your life, you can book in for your strategy session here.
What’s your takeaway?
I would love to hear from you what was your biggest takeaway from this post today?
What was something new that you learned?
And if you have questions, post them down below so other readers (who likely have the same questions) can see the answers!
Here’s a shareable pin for your board so you can easily explain what you learned today with your friends and family.