Losing Weight on a Vegetarian Diet

People often believe that weight loss is going to be a effortless bonus to living a more cruelty-free, planet-conscious lifestyle.

For some, this is definitely the case. When I became a vegetarian at 13, I dropped about 10 pounds without any effort on my part. I did gain it back, but I was still a growing child. Whenever the diet is restricted in any way, the odds for increased weight loss tend to occur.

Others find it harder to lose weight on a vegetarian diet, or have difficulty feeling full, satisfied, and energetic.  The differences between individual metabolisms and genetics mean that each person needs a different dietary lifestyle to have the health, energy and body they desire. For some people, a vegetarian diet is not suited as a life-long choice and a transition back into a omnivorous lifestyle needs to be done with attention paid to physical health, ethical beliefs, and any emotional implications of such a transition (especially if vegetarianism is due to ethical or religious convictions).

If you are a vegetarian and find it difficult to lose weight, here are some tips that work and take YOUR needs into account:

  1. Vary Your Protein Sources: Protein plays an important role in satiety and retaining muscle mass on a low calorie diet. As a vegetarian, it is easy to rely on soy deli slices, soy cheese, soy protein, and other forms of highly refined soy to keep your protein needs up. The problem with this is that soy is very difficult to digest, 90% of it is genetically engineered, and the rates of soy intolerance (especially among vegetarians) is rapidly rising. Mix it up by including hemp or rice protein, quorn, eggs and dairy (if tolerated) and whole beans (canned or boiled) to stay satisfied. A benefit to the beans is the fiber which, as you’ll see below, is also an asset for weight loss.
  2. Up the Fiber: This post details the benefits and recommendations in using fiber for weight loss. Adding vegetables to every meal, psyllium husk or ground flax to your morning smoothie, and consuming whole and sprouted grains will keep you satisfied for much longer. If you consume bread, Ezekiel 4:9 ensures you receive maximum fiber and nutrition in every slice – naturally!
  3. Practice Mindfulness: regardless of what is on your plate, knowing how hungry you are and when you actually feel satisfied is the biggest secret to sustained weight loss. This alone prevents overeating, mindless nibbling, and being lured into unnecessary snacks and extra portions due to cues in our environment. In addition to food education, much of the work with weight loss clients is learning tools to increase mindfulness and identify sources of food cravings.
  4. Get support: I cannot say it enough — supportive atmospheres increase your likelihood of success, regardless of the endeavor you are undertaking! Join a group, hire a trainer or nutrition professional, team up with a coworker, enlist your family members, but do what you need to to have the camaraderie and support to make your goal a reality!

These tips apply to anyone, regardless of dietary choices. Losing weight needn’t require hours of counting points or calories, nor does it mean limiting yourself to canned shakes or dehydrated, freeze-died diet meals. Instead of further disconnecting from your food, re-connecting to your meal and to yourself is how sustained weight loss can be assured.  If you are struggling to lose weight and need additional support, check out my services to see if a package can work for you, or contact me to create a more customized option to suit you, no matter where you live!

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