Trying to lose weight when you are on a vegetarian diet can be a challenge. Because vegetarians are limited in their choices of lean complete proteins, there may be a tendency to eat too many carbohydrate-based foods. In this article, we provide a diet plan for weight loss specifically for women who are following vegetarian meal plans.
Why it is a Challenge to Lose Weight on a Vegetarian Diet
Many people think of going vegetarian as a way to lose weight. However, there are a couple of challenges in this regard. The first is that there can be a tendency to eat too many calories. Regardless of how healthy your food is, if you eat too much of it, you will gain weight. While it is true that many vegetarian dishes are extremely good for you, you still need to limit your portion sizes.
The other challenge for people who are on a vegetarian diet is to get enough protein. Of the three macronutrients – protein, carbohydrate, fat – protein is your best friend when it comes to weight loss. It has the highest thermic effect of the three, meaning that it requires more energy in the form of calories to consume. Protein is also the most filling of the three macronutrients, which can lead to a lower daily caloric consumption.
Another potential danger when people are on a vegetarian diet, is to overindulge in vegetarian foods that are processed to a high degree. Foods that are engineered to be vegetarian while replicating non-vegetarian foods, such as sausages or beef, may be filled with unhealthy additives and other ingredients that are not going to help you to lose weight.
How to Lose Weight on a Vegetarian Diet for Women
In order to effectively lose weight on a vegetarian diet, women should follow our weight loss tips below:
Focus on non-starchy vegetables
Non-starchy vegetables are low on the glycemic index and are very high in fiber. Both of these things will help you to lose weight fast. As a result, you should make sure that around half of your plate contains such foods as:
- green leafy vegetables
Eat protein with each meal
We mentioned the benefits of protein for weight loss in the previous section. Having a portion of protein with every meal will keep you feeling full and keep your thermic engine turning over. Think of such protein rich vegetarian food sources as nuts, eggs, soy products, beans and dairy foods.
Don’t neglect complex carbohydrates
Contrary to what many people think, carbohydrates are not your enemy when it comes to weight loss. While it is true that you should avoid processed simple carbs, the complex variety should be a necessary part of your diet. They will provide the glucose that your body needs for energy as well as a range of vitamins and minerals to keep you in optimum physical condition. You should include such starchy complex carbs as yams and sweet potatoes as well as fruits and legumes.
Manage your portion sizes
When you are trying to lose weight, it can be a very good idea to go out and invest in a new set of plates and dishes. The size of the average dinner plate has increased by more than 50% in the last 30 years. It is no coincidence that Western society has become a whole lot fatter during that same three decade period. Buying smaller plates and dishes will help you to play your part in reversing that trend. It may sound silly, but investing in plates and dishes that are made for children makes a lot of sense when you are trying to reduce your portion sizes.
Focus on whole foods
Do not be tempted to try all of the new vegetarian foods that are designed to copy nonvegetarian products. As mentioned, these are likely to be highly processed and to contain compounds that will not support your weight loss goals. Focus instead on foods that are whole, such as fruits, vegetables and nuts.
Include healthy fats in your vegetarian weight loss diet
Healthy fats are very important when it comes to overall health in general and weight loss in particular. Get them from such food sources as extra virgin olive oil, walnuts, avocados, flax seeds and cheese.
Drink plenty of water
Staying hydrated is an often overlooked aspect of healthy weight loss. Many people mistake hunger for thirst. As a result, it is a good practice to always drink some water before eating. Wait a few minutes and then determine whether or not you are still hungry. If not, avoid the temptation to eat simply because you are in the habit of doing so. Keeping yourself well hydrated will also help the body to more efficiently burn stored body fat for use as an energy source.
Foods to Avoid: refined carbs and processed foods
Some vegetarian diets encourage people to consume such things as veggie burgers, frozen meals and meat replacement products. None of these things are good for your overall health or for your waistline. You should also completely avoid high sugar simple carbohydrates. These include pies, cakes, white bread and donuts. Be very careful about the beverages that you consume. Ideally you should stick to water and herbal tea. Stay well away from soda drinks fruit juices and, especially, energy drinks.
A sample day’s eating on a vegetarian diet for women
Poached eggs, broccoli, walnuts and blackberries
Lentil soup, whole grain bread, avocado
Green salad, hard-boiled eggs, tomato, avocado, extra virgin olive oil
Finding weight loss success is more about implementing common sense nutritional guidelines than following a prescribed diet plan. The eight recommendations given in this article will help you to implement lifelong healthy eating plans that will ensure that you lose the weight and keep it off.
Use our sample day’s diet as a general guide and build your own vegetarian diet plan for weight loss based upon it.
A healthy meal plan that is low in calories should be the aim. You can plan you days in advance to ensure you have the appropriate calorie diet plan (balances diet) that would give your body the nutrients it needs while also being able to lose belly fat. There are plenty of success stories online.
This healthy lifestyle approach will ensure your daily calories will reduce and you should keep a track of your daily total.
Also note there are many drink and foods to eat options available to you but proportion is the key. For example fruits and vegetables, sunflower seeds, kidney beans, black beans, green tea, brown rice, skim milk and other low fat diary products, cottage cheese, wholegrain toast, plant protein, omega3 fatty acids, chis sees, nuts seeds and the list goes on !
For those who want to understand the different main difference from vegan and vegetarian diets, vegans diets don’t consume or use products from animals.