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Weight loss is one of the most discussed topics in the vegan world.
Because eating vegan is seen as naturally healthy, people assume that eating vegan automatically leads to massive weight loss.
That’s true and it’s not. There are still plenty of vegan foods and habits that can sabotage your weight loss goals without you even knowing!
Read on for the top tips to help you achieve the fastest weight loss on a vegan diet.
Shop the Perimeter of the Grocery Store
Losing weight on a vegan diet, or any diet for that matter, starts with eating right.
Eating healthy and clean.
Avoiding processed foods while eating right to give your body the fuel to become the best you can be.
If you think about the grocery store, most of the processed foods are in the aisles. Just imagine your local store. You walk in and all of the fresh produce is there greeting you.
Then as you go deeper into the store….
You’re a little hungrier, with a little less will power, a little looser with your shopping list. (You have a shopping list, right?) It’s there that you’re met with all of the processed foods like crackers, chips, cookies, cakes, etc.
This is not an oversight by the grocery stores.
Once you’re into the aisles your willpower has usually decreased and you buy more of those craveable items. On the other hand, fresh fruits, vegetables, and naturally unprocessed foods will be on the perimeter.
If you load your cart up with these naturally high fiber and low calorie nutrient rich foods the weight will just fall off.
It also makes for a less confusing grocery trip. Just run in, shop the outside aisles and make your way to the checkout. Shopping this way won’t just save you calories but will also save you money!
Eat More Greens
Let’s face it. Greens are God’s gift to this earth. They’re super high in fiber, water, and nutrients and they’re extremely low in calories.
You literally can’t eat enough greens to gain weight!
Some greens are even a negative calorie food meaning you actually burn more calories than you consume! It’s like going to the gym by just eating – AMAZING.
By increasing your greens you will decrease decrease your calorie intake and supercharge your weight loss.
Some of the best negative calorie foods are: celery, cauliflower, cucumber, radishes, sugar snap peas, and raw broccoli.
Flavor Your Food Naturally (Avoid Salt and Oil)
Salt is your worst enemy when it comes to weight loss.
It does a nasty thing – it draws in water and holds onto it so it stays in your body.
Ever heard of “water weight”? Yup, that’s what salt causes.
Water weighs about 8 pounds per gallon, which makes a big difference when you hit the scale.
Worse than that, it makes you feel bloated.
Have you ever looked at a fitness model and thought “she must feel amazing – toned body, no extra weight anywhere, looking great in a swimming suit”?
Water weight has the opposite effect.
And worse yet: salt is terrible for your heart. That’s because the extra water tends to pool around your heart making it have to work harder to pump.
Ideally, you shouldn’t add any salt to your diet at all. Just one teaspoon of salt is 2300 mg, which is the daily recommended allowance for sodium.
Instead of salt, experiment with different seasonings. A great place to start is adding garlic. I’m a huge fan. To me, there can never be too much garlic in a dish.
If you’re a little skeptical or unsure of where to start, Mrs. Dash has a great line of no-salt seasonings and marinades that are out of this world. You won’t believe they’re salt-free.
Another easy way to transition over to a lower salt intake is by buying no-salt canned items or frozen items. If you can’t buy no-salt-added products then you can rinse canned items with water before using them. This can remove as much as half of the sodium content.
Plan Healthy Meals in Advance
One of the sneakiest enemies of vegan weight loss is when you don’t know what you’re going to eat.
In times of uncertainty, it’s easy to grab something that’s not vegan or go for an unhealthy snack that’s working against your healthy eating and weight loss goals.
Introducing… Meal Planning.
Meal planning is great because it takes all of the time, effort, and guesswork out of the dreaded, “What’s for dinner” question. And it saves your lunches and snacks from the convenience foods that can derail your vegan weight loss plans.
FINALLY, you don’t have to worry about what’s for dinner after a long day.
You don’t have to get up in the morning and not have any good lunch options ready to go.
The Forks Over Knives Meal Planner is the very best meal planner and I recommend it to absolutely everyone (and use it myself).
They have vegan comfort meals, adventurous meals, and even snacks and breakfast options in their plans.
Best of all it even gives you a grocery list and meal preparation tips to save you time. Plus it’s super affordable at about $2 a week.
When we first signed up it even saved us money because I wasn’t buying groceries that I ended up throwing out. I had less time planning, less food waste and less overspending. Who couldn’t use more time and money?
Increase Your Protein Intake
Losing weight fast means eating the right foods, eating less, and burning more calories. Protein can help with this in a few different ways.
A high protein intake boosts metabolism, reduces appetite and changes several weight-regulating hormones.
Protein helps you feel full. It also slows the rise of blood sugar.
When you eat protein with simple carbohydrates (like in fruits) you help your body maintain its energy levels which helps to control your appetite which helps to control your unplanned eating.
Plus, because protein takes longer to digest it will stay with you longer helping you to feel fuller.
Bottom line: when you eat more protein you have fewer sugar crashes, you feel full, and you’re less likely to reach for a piece of cake or brownie for a midday pick me up.
There’s an elephant in the room when vegans talk about protein though…
Vegans don’t eat meat so HOW do you eat a high protein diet!?!?
Well, speaking of elephants, the Animal Kingdom has some great examples of animals who build a ton of muscle (elephants and gorillas being two) without eating any meat.
There are actually a ton of great plant based protein sources – including beans, oats, chickpeas, and soy just to name a few.
Snack on High Fiber Foods
Everyone knows you should eat high fiber because it helps you poop right? And you’ve probably also heard that fiber keeps you fuller longer.
But do you know what else fiber does?
It slows the absorption of sugar in your body which makes you less likely to get cravings and sugar crashes throughout the day.
Fewer cravings and fewer sugar crashes means you’re less likely to feel like you need a snack RIGHT NOW. And avoiding unplanned (unhealthy) snacks helps keep you on track for your weight loss goals.
Also, recent studies show that eating fiber reduces your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease or cancers.
So let’s put this all together into one magical lump of fiber goodness. When you eat fiber it helps you stay full, not crave sugar, and reduces your risk of death!
Avoid Plant Based Junk Food
It’s super healthy if I eat organic pizza rolls right? They’re organic so they must be healthy.
WRONG… they’re STILL PIZZA ROLLS. Just because something is organic doesn’t mean that food magically gets a seal of approval on health.
The same thing can be said for so many vegan foods. Beer, fries, and dark chocolate are all vegan. And guess what… They’re still terrible for you.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t cheat every once in a while. It just means that you still need to eat healthy even though you’re vegan.
There are still plenty of ways to screw up your diet when you’re vegan.
The point is to remember to make sure your diet is mainly fruits and veggies. Add in a few whole grains and you’ll be on the right track.
Don’t Drink Your Calories
You can’t lose weight fast if you’re taking in calories without even knowing it. But that’s exactly what happens with so many beverages.
There are so many sneaky calories in “healthy” drinks! This is especially true when it comes to drinks marketed toward vegan or vegetarian consumers.
One of the main drinks to be aware of is kombucha. It’s not that this it isn’t good for you because it has tons of health claims – everything from gray hair reversal to curing insomnia.
But it’s not a zero calorie beverage. One bottle of kombucha will set you back about 100 calories, which isn’t much, but it starts to add up…
Another drink to be aware of is juice. Even green juice, a healthy favorite, can bite you. One serving (1 cup) of green juice can be 120-140 calories, but nobody drinks 1 cup. So it’s probably more like 200 calories if you have a normal-person size serving of green juice.
Let’s do the math with just these two drinks…
If you’re drinking these two healthy drinks per day – green juice for breakfast and kombucha in the afternoon, you’re adding 300 additional calories per day.
Drink that every day and you’ll gain a half pound per week. 2 pounds a month. 24 pounds a year.
24 POUNDS PER YEAR.
Just from a couple daily drinks.
And those are just the “good for you” beverages!
If you want to melt away the pounds you really need to eat your calories instead of drinking them. You can drink way more calories in 5 or 10 minutes than if you were eating healthy food during the same amount of time.
For example, it takes 3 medium oranges to make just one cup of orange juice. Can you imagine eating three oranges in one sitting? No way!
Can you imagine drinking a cup of orange juice? Yeah, it would probably take you 5 seconds.
That’s why it’s so important that if you want to lose weight you stick to water.
And don’t be confused by coconut water, it actually contains about 50 calories per cup. Stick to the good old fashioned tap water.
Boring? Yes. But also very rewarding.
Embrace Healthy Fats
Most people think: “If I want to lose weight fast I should stop eating fat”. Well, that may not be as true as you think…
The low fat movement that swept the country left us with foods that are full of sugar and sugar substitutes.
Sugar is terrible for your body. It causes chronic inflammation, which leads to diseases and cancer. This is going to sound CRAZY but you need to eat fat to lose fat.
It’s the opposite of everything you’ve ever heard, but our ancestors thrived on a high fat diet.
It’s important to know that not all fats are created equal. Good fats will speed up your metabolism, balance your hormones, and even decrease inflammation.
Bad fats will do the opposite: promote weight gain and cause inflammation.
The fats you need to embrace are the ones that are naturally occurring and not processed.
That’s very important – NATURALLY occurring and NOT processed.
Good fats include coconut oil, nut butters, olive oils, avocados, avocado oils, and cocoa butter.
Bad fats include trans fats, refined/ bleached/ deodorized fats, or anything labeled hydrogenated. Examples of bad fats include: Refined peanut oil, Soybean oil, cottonseed oil, sunflower oil,corn oil, and safflower oil.
Fats can be high in calories but they’re also very filling and very satisfying. Meaning you’ll eat fewer calories overall throughout the day.
This probably won’t come as a shock, but diet and exercise will always be the main duo of fast weight loss – vegan or otherwise.
If you want to shed weight extra fast however HIIT or MetCon workouts are the way to go. These workouts consist of short bursts of intense exercise followed by another intense burst back to back with little rest.
The reason these types of exercises are the best for shredding weight is because they cause your body to continue to burn calories throughout the day.
Some studies have shown these workouts to burn calories up to 48 hours after you have completed them. Be warned though these types of workouts are tough and not for the faint of heart.
Another aspect to bring into your exercise routine is weightlifting. If you’re thinking “I don’t want to get bulky!” you’re not alone. But you can lift weights in a way that doesn’t create a lot of extra bulk.
The great thing about lifting weights is that MUSCLES BURN CALORIES.
All day, every day.
If you have more muscle you naturally burn more calories so even if you’re sitting at your desk or watching TV you’re burning calories.
With any exercise program, though, should consult with a physician before you get started.
Drink More Water
What’s a great way to lose weight fast? Eat less.
What’s a great way to eat less? Feel full so you don’t want to eat as much.
You’ve heard it time and time again on this site and on others… Drink more water.
You’ve probably also heard that sometimes you think you’re hungry but you’re just thirsty.
If your body thinks “hungry” when it should be thinking “thirsty” you could be getting the wrong signal to eat, which can quickly sabotage your weight loss goals.
Studies show that around 75% of the US is chronically dehydrated. That means you’re probably one of them! Especially if you just started those MetCon workouts!
Mayo Clinic says that an average man should consume 3.6 liters of water daily and women 2.7 liters. That sounds crazy, right? It’s so much water!!!
But think about this: if you’re filled up on zero calorie water, there’s no room left for other unnecessary calories.
Do you remember the example of Kombucha and green juice from earlier? Adding those two drinks every day would add 24 pounds to your waistline every year.
Check this out… If you substituted water for a couple cans of soda per day you’d get the opposite effect. You’d lose 2 pounds per month or 24 pounds per year.
So there you have it, start on these tips and you will for sure start saying hasta la vista to those pounds. Just remember to be easy on yourself. Your unwanted weight probably took time to put on so it will probably take time to take back off. It’s a journey and as long as you do better today than you did yesterday count it as success.
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