I Went Vegan So WHY Haven't I Lost ANY Weight!?
Dear LORD this is a such common question/misconception, that I am finally going to BURY it for you.
For those of you who don't know I am the creator and primary moderator of the Plant Strong fitness group, but also an active member in many other groups too - and this is such a regular question and it's SO misunderstood, that I felt the need to write a blog on it and WHY you aren't losing weight after going Vegan.
First off I want to add a really important point. It might sting, some won't agree, some will and some will be offended.
But Veganism isn't just about fat loss. It is so MORE than that. It is a movement about compassion and non-violence. It is an ethical stance, not a fat loss pill. It was never about selfish, self serving reasons so don't think this is some diet pill. It's not. Yes, it is also optimal health for sure, but if you are thinking purely on the myopic level of fat loss you will always struggle. I always say I am Vegan for ALL the reasons, for the animals, the ethics, the environment, my health, higher awareness and so on.
NOT just fat loss. So get off that train and believe me you will enjoy this more and probably see better results too.
Often the people who get the best results do so because they fought for a cause that was so much bigger than them and their immediate needs. As a byproduct of that, results just often happen - it's called being in a state of 'flow' where everything aligns and things just work. So my first suggestion to you is, learn about Veganism beyond just fat loss.
Docuementaries like Earthlings, Cowspiracy (It is on NetFlix too), Vegan Everyday Stories, Forks Over Knives,Swine, The Best Speech You Will Ever Hear and 101 Reasons To Go Vegan - are all great start points.
Secondly - and this is so freakin' critical. Being Vegan is NOT some magical fat loss pill. I will repeat this again. Just because you go Vegan or eat plants is NOT going to magically give you fat loss. I think in part, this SUPER ridiculous belief is perpetuated by other good-intentioned Vegans, who are trying to encourage people into Veganism, on the pretense they will magically lose body fat just by not eating animals.
I hate to break it to you, but you can get fat as a Vegan. It's not hard. You can get fat by eating vegan junk food like donuts. Hell, you can even get fat by over-consuming calories of healthy food above and beyond your metabolic needs.
Understand that there isn't some special 'plant based blackhole' that magically sucks calories into a parallel dimension! That there is energy balance, a thing called science! That if you eat above and beyond your metabolic needs - NO MATTER WHAT food it is, you WILL gain body fat.
I once saw someone get upset they lost no weight as a vegan, but they were eating Vegan donuts every day! God damn it. What did you THINK was going to happen eating shit every day?
You could gain fat eating 10,000 calories of freakin spinach, if your metabolic needs are 2500 calories per day lol. Granted 10,000 calories of spinach would be like a 10 dump trucks full, because its so calorically light/high volume, but you get the picture haha..
That you can overeat even as a vegan and gain body fat.
Understand that even with Veganism calories STILL matter. Yes, quality of calories also matter a LOT. So it's not just enough to eat a pile of junk food, whilst being in a calorie deficit to see fat loss. It can work for some people short term, but I promise you long term you will feel like utter crap and it will work less and less - and I explain this in more depth in an article I wrote on "How Much Protein Do I ACTUALLY Need? (COMMON Vegan Concern)". Read it.
So obviously being Vegan and being Whole Foods Plant Based are totally different too. Being Vegan includes Vegan junk food, donuts, Mac'n'Cheeze, Vegan Big Macs, Plant milk ice creams and so on. You could get SUPER fat on that stuff if you eat enough of it. Whole foods plant based is exactly what it sounds like. Whole plant foods, so its raw forms of food, healthier choices full of fiber and micronutrients in natural forms like legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables and so on.
Remember you CAN gain body fat even on a whole foods plant based diet too. If you eat above and beyond your calorie needs. The body get's a surplus of energy whether it is fats, protein or carbohydrate it will store that excess energy as fat stores.
Simply put, if you gain body fat, you are eating above and beyond your requirements. If you drop weight, you are below it.
Two of the main culprits of no fat loss are:
i) Excessive Vegan junk foods (obviously)
ii) Excessive high calorie plant foods like, avocado, hummus, nut butters, oils, nuts. These are good foods in the right amounts, but are super easy to over consume because they are caloricallty dense, so even a seemingly small portion can offer a pretty big calorie hit.
iii) Just over-consuming calories in general above and beyond your metabolic expenditure.
It adds up fast if you aren't careful. Notice how I say "excessive" at the start of each point, because there is a point whereby you can still achieve fat loss having these foods in your diet, but if you don't lose any fat or gain - you know it's too much.
The best way to see fat loss as a Vegan is this:
1. Lots of low calorie, high volume foods for each meal, such as green fibrous vegtables. If you add 2-3 cup serves of fibrous vegetables to each meal you will fill up more on calorie light choices and see fat loss.
2. Cut down on calorie dense foods. It is not to say you have to eliminate them, but be very weary of your intake. For example someone might make a big green salad (lots of fibrous veg right there) but drown it in olive oil. So much oil and so many calories that 400 calorie meal became a 1000 calorie meal just like that.
3. Limit vegan junk food. Yeah it's fun to add this in, try it and see what it out there, but eating vegan donuts 3x a week then getting upset you aren't losing body fat, well DUH.. what did you expect would happen!? That the 'magical plant based calorie blackhole' would just suck those calories up and it wouldnt store as body fat!?...
4. Intermittent fasting can be a great tool for long term fat loss. If you are eating dusk till dawn it can be pretty tough to not over consume calories. So a good way to compress down your caloric intake is using an intermittent fasting proctol and we explain this more in a VIDEO HERE.
5. Regular resistance training. Honestly, don't just rely on diet alone to get in shape. You want and need to build metabolically active tissue AKA muscle! There is a lot of science to support longevity and optimal long term health via resistance training, muscle mass and improving bone density so do it.
Take home points are this:
i) YES, you can achieve an amazing physique and fat loss as a Vegan, with all the added fiber in foods we consume it's not hard. But be real about the expectation of this too.
ii) Veganism is NOT some magical fat loss pill and if someone told you this, they are a moron.
iii) Take ownership of your situation and don't blame Veganism for your lack of fat loss, understand that your food choices and how much you consume within the lifestyle of Veganism dictates those results and outcomes. Own it and do something about it.
If you are a frustrated Vegan not seeing fat loss then I HIGHLY suggest you get on our 8 Week Fat Apocalypse Program - we created this awesome online system with ALL the knowledge experience and application we have. To take ALL the guess work out of it for you.
The choice is yours. Struggling is a choice. Knowing this it also means you can change that too.
Beyond that if you need more explanations and guidance to learn this in more depth I suggest getting my eBook here "Evolving Alpha Body Blueprint To Insane Muscle Growth & Fat Loss".