How to Become a Vegan for Weight Loss

Overview

A vegan diet is a strict form of vegetarianism that does not allow the consumption of meat, fish, eggs, dairy or animal products. Vegans avoid foods made with dairy and foods made with honey, because they both come from animals. Most vegans choose their diet and lifestyle for animal rights and environmental reasons, yet some choose to become vegan to lose weight. The Mayo Clinic states that vegetarians have lower body weights, on average, than meat eaters. Becoming a vegan doesn’t automatically cause weight loss, because weight loss is a matter of eating fewer calories than you burn. However, planning the diet carefully can make weight loss from a vegan diet possible.

Step 1

Get rid of all the animal products in your house, including meat, dairy and eggs. The Vegetarian Resource Group states that vegans should avoid all products that are made using animals, including those that have only traces of dairy or honey like wheat bread and baked goods. A vegan diet is a completely different lifestyle, because you have to read the ingredients on packaged foods to make sure there are no animal products. However, the limited food choices cause most vegans to consume fewer calories than meat eaters, according to the Mayo Clinic. This ultimately leads to weight loss, over time.

Step 2

Purchase low-calorie vegan options like “light” soy milk and “light” tofu. These products, which are made from soybeans, contain protein and calcium and make excellent replacements for meat and milk, but they have fewer calories. The Vegetarian Resource Group recommends purchasing these lighter versions for vegans who are watching their weight. You can prepare tofu by marinating it in a vegan sauce such as teriyaki or soy sauce overnight and then sautéing it with vegetables and olive oil in a pan. Serve tofu with brown rice for a low-calorie, well-balanced meal.

Step 3

Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Because fruits and vegetables are low in calories but filling, the more you eat, the easier it will be for you to lose weight. Almost all fruits and vegetables, fresh, frozen and canned, are acceptable for the vegan diet. When purchasing canned or frozen fruits, make sure there is no added sugar, because these provide empty calories.

Step 4

Watch your fat intake. Just because you are on a vegan diet doesn’t mean you can eat all the vegan sources of fat that you’d like. For example, the Mayo Clinic states that olive oil is a healthy, unsaturated fat. But using more than 2 tablespoons a day can lead to weight gain, because it is so high in calories. Consume no more than a few tablespoons of oil and a handful of nuts each day. Get plenty of beans, lentils and whole grains into your diet, because these foods are all low in fat, but rich in carbohydrates and protein.

Step 5

Walk at least two miles a day or participate in intentional physical activity for at least 30 minutes, five days a week. Physical activity is essential to burn calories and lead to weight loss. If you hate going to the gym, walk outside for an hour before work every morning, or take dance lessons in the evenings. Keep things fun and creative so that you will maintain your motivation to work out and lose weight.

About this Author

Sarah Davis has worked in nutrition in the clinical setting and currently works as a licensed Realtor in California. Davis began writing about nutrition in 2006 and had two chapters published in “The Grocery Store Diet” book in 2009. She enjoys writing about nutrition and real estate and managing her website, RealtorSD.com. She earned her bachelor’s degree in nutrition from San Diego State University.