I began the 21-Day Kickstart and have been following it pretty closely. I’ve been a vegetarian for almost a year now and decided I would try to move closer to vegan. I was hoping it would help me lose some weight. I’ve been exercising pretty regularly but haven’t seen any change on the scale. I don’t eat out much at all. Make all my own food. I eat whole grain breads and pasta. Lots of fresh veggies and fruit.Am I missing something? gourmetJo
This happened to me as well when I switched to a low fat vegan diet. Actually, I gained 2 lbs in the first month. And this was after decades of a vegetarian diet! So the changes for me were eliminating dairy, free fats (expelled oils), and minimizing higher fat foods vegetable foods such as avocados, nuts, and olives.
The 2 lbs came on pretty quick, stuck around for a month, and then in the month directly, after I dropped them. Then the next month I dropped 2 more lbs which became a 4 lb. weight loss, a net loss of 2 lbs during that time. Keep in mind I was not overweight since losing 50 lbs several years ago and my weight stays within a 3 – 4 lb range.
Here are 6 possible reasons you may have gained weight:
- Our bodies need adjust time. We always dread the idea of weight coming on fast but want it to go OFF fast, aren’t we something? Give it some more time.
- Increased fiber content. If your diet plant-based diet changes include a step up in dietary fiber (usually does, did for me) then you have more fibrous content in the digestive track which holds water in the gut. This can translate to poundage by the scale, but not body fat poundage. So you may be losing fat yet holding a bit of water in the system.
- Carbohydrate binds more water in our system than protein, so if your macronutrient (carbohydrate, protein and fat) content has shifted to a higher percentage of carbohydrates, this can explain water weight as well. I look at it as getting hydrated, especially for those coming off a dietary plan that is too steep in protein, which purges water from the system. You may be re-hydrating – which can be a good thing.
- Watch for hidden fats that can easily sneak into your diet with oils, nuts, seeds, and high fat vegetables and fruits. These rapidly climb the calorie density of your diet and can result in weight gain or stalled weight loss. See Is the fat you eat the fat you’ll wear?
- Are you drinking smoothies? Smoothies are an easy way to overshoot our daily calorie need because of the disruption of fiber that happens in the process of making a smoothie a smoothie. This disruption of fiber impacts the satiety of the smoothie contents. You don’t get the same result as if you had eaten the vegetables and fruits whole. This article went on the Plant-Based Fitness Expert Blog about that very phenomenon if you’d like to take a look:
To smoothie or not to smoothie? The skinny on blending your fruits and greens
I’ve received several replies, emails and comments on facebook in response to the smoothie post. One of the responders said she had started doing big smoothies every day since last October. She reported that she has gained 6 lbs not knowing why. She’s thrilled to have the smoothie insight and is investigating the connection. And she’s promised to keep me posted.
6. Are you including regular servings of TVP (textured vegetable protein) and soy meats? These items can contain big servings of hidden fats and sodium without the fiber advantage of whole foods. Stick to primarily whole foods and limit these items to occasional condiment or decoration.
I hope you find this encouraging! Give it time, take care and have compassion for your body. Keep getting support for positive changes! And you too will experience the slender, energetic joy of a whole-foods, plant-based diet.
Have you an insight from your own experience about weight gain with a dietary switch that you’d like to share? Please post in comments below.
What a great list and you’ve given me several things to consider in my eating. I have been ‘stuck’ at a weight for a certain amount of time and have about 15 lbs more to lose. This gives me a checklist to go through. Thanks so much!
I also found the smoothie article really enlightening!
Thanks for your post Gwen. Be sure to let me know what you find out once you go through the checklist.
TOTAL STUPIDITY. REMOVE WHOLE GRAINS AND PASTA COMPLETELY FROM YOUR DIET.
NEVER FAIL TO EAT AVOCADOS, NUTS AND FRESH FRUIT.
THIS ARTICLE BELIEVES THE FDA’s lies.
MEAT IS LESS THAN NOT HEALTHY.
FACTORY FARMS FEED GMO CORN TO THEIR COWS AND PIGS AND CHICKENS.
AND THE FISH IS LOADEF WITH MERCURY AND ALL KINDS OF HEAVY METALS.
GO VEGAN AND RAW IF YOU WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT.
I TYPE IN ALL CAPS…. SO I MUST BE SMART. GEEZ
You can lose weight without being vegan. I lost 95 pounds with calorie counting. Going vegan is by far healthier than consuming animal products though. But health and weight loss aren’t the same thing.
Hello, great tips! I too have gained belly fat on a plant based vegan diet and your words of encouragement that my body will adjust are spot on. It has been less than 30 days and the benefits are that my arms are firm and legs are strong. It is like I have a new body. I am only eating about 1,000 to 1,200 calories this week and eat constantly with fruits, veggies and light on the potatoes and grains. So, after your post, I am encouraged to stay on track and continue to eat my way to better health. Thank you!
How long does it usually take for the body to adjust? I’m assuming the weight will come off once the body adjusts to the new way of eating.
For me it is always bread. Doesn’t matter if it is whole grain – I swear there are days when I could eat my body weight in bread! 🙂 So I limit it drastically and if the pounds start to creep up, I omit it entirely.
Nanette, you are not alone with the bread and unless a gluten allergy, it’s all about the calorie density.
Starchy veggies/intact whole grains around come in at around 450-500 cal/lb
In contrast, processed grains such as bread (even if their whole grain) are around around 1200-1500 cal/lb. Quite the difference!
Switching out more intact whole grains and starchy veggies sure can make a difference!
Yes, Nanette and Lani!
Before I was vegan as a child and teenager as soon as I would eat bread or pasta my belly popped out like huge. My belly is still the same. I have always had a thick waist compared to my small hips.
Now I have eaten only a small amount of carbs in the past week (i.e., 3 potatoes and 4 slices of bread) my gut jetted out and is well, huge.
I enjoy bread, but will leave it off and journal how I feel and look. Then, if needed consider gluten free. Thank you for sharing.
I actually weigh considerably more following a no-oil vegan diet than I did when I meticulously followed Weight Watchers. But I DON’T CARE. I am so much happier. I’m not starving all the time and then binge eating or compulsively overating because I am nourished. Really nourished for the first time in my life. And I loathed weighing and measuring food all the time and recording everything that I ate. What a relief!
Hi Wendy, boy I hear that. That was my dream – to get out of the madness of micromanagement. I can see we are a match! WW has helped a lot of people yet also left a lot of damage in its wake. So glad to hear you’ve found a pathway that is so life-affirming. No wonder we get along so well! Thanks for popping in!
I have been vegan for 5 months now and couldn’t agree with you more. I used to calorie cut in the week and binge on the weekend, Id eat salad/greens and meat/fish over and over which while ‘leaned me out’ I felt so starved of food fun it didn’t help me mentally. At the weekend I crammed in pizzas and desserts and when Monday came around again it would make me unhappy. I might have been a little bit thinner then but mentally it was not the best place for me. Veganism has changed my world, I’ve fallen back in love with food!!
Absolutely. I never would had believed it! Because, I was well, butt-less. How can I refute that I am 56 and now have firm legs and arms? Wow! Rock on Miss Wendy!
I thought if my body looked like a stick with a head on it… then that was the best I could do… I just didn’t know… whoa…
Thanks for the info. For me I think it was the smoothies as I was having a huge one every morning. Since switching to the soaked steel cut oats with fruit in the morning I feel much more satisfied and have no trouble not eating again until lunch time. I used to get really hungry and need something mid morning.
I also have to watch my nut intake. I have been plant based whole food for about 13 months, lost about 20 lbs. and then put 3 back on this past fall, so I will start watching a little closer from now on.
Hey Sibyl, those nuts will do it for me too! I am glad you were able to make a simple tweak that looks like it will deliver for you. Keep me posted and thank you for coming in to share today.
Iv just gone Vegan and have put weight on, I have a big smoothie daily. Would a smoothie once a week be ok?
Each individual must decide what quality is best for finding their own needs and goals. There are lots of reasons that we can put on weight – one that I find quite common is when someone has come off of a restrictive diet or period of cutting back and missing meals to lose weight, which inspires the body to store against future deprivation. You didn’t say anything about that, so that may not be you at all, but I actually know nothing else about you either – what your diet history is, what your smoothies consist of, all of it! You could try having them less often and see if it makes a difference? Or it may not. Focusing on predominantly whole plant foods is always a good step, yet just as important is eating enough in variety and balance and especially ON TIME.
Hi, thank you for the reply, I was using the smoothie to replace a meal. I put all sorts in them veg, fruit, flax seeds or chi seeds sometimes dates.
I was vegetarian and had suffer from a bad tummy. When I decided to go vegan I noticed my stomach felt better. I think I had trouble with dairy all along and my ibs could of been caused by it.
I am only newly vegan so still learning.
For me, it has been missing the stuffed stomach feeling I had on a meat diet and trying to replace it with overloading (binging) on a plant-based diet. When eating whole foods, plant-based and no-added-oil, we don’t ever get that stuffed feeling that comes with an animal product diet so we can, if we’re not mindful, try to overeat to compensate. The lighter feeling we have is great but it’s not what we’ve been used to eating.
Shirley, you make a good point – the full is ‘different’ yet once you’ve made the switch you realize how much better plant-full feels because it is not accompanied by the heavy dullness of a higher fat, higher protein, more processed food diet. I’ve seen movie footage of blood flow after a high fat meal compared to a low fat, plant-based and the cell walls become sticky with the fat in the system. This slows down the blood-brain connection and no wonder there is foggy thinking after a rich meal.
I do find that with time, finding out “plant-ful” sorts itself out. We just need to be patience and not worry about it too much, and have more good food available if and when we need it.
thanks for sharing your thoughts.
All the blogs i read guaranteed weight loss if I stuck to the plan. I gained weight. I assumed I was the only person ever that gained weight eating this way. I found these tips helpful. Thank you. Would you recommend tracking by inches rather than by weight then? I am referencing the topic of fiber actually causing a slight weight gain.
Hey Nova, multiple measures can be helpful, meaning weight and the measuring tape. Of course the most accurate would be body composition testing, yet even those can vary based on the method used. Personally, I tracked the weight and just waist measure and the waist is where I’ll go up first when I gain. Waist measure wasn’t going up with my weight that first few weeks so I had the sense it was just as I noted in the article with the fiber content. The reason I took my weights and measure was to be able to help others with my own experience later, just as has been the case for you. Glad it helped. You don’t mention how much time has passed for you. Incorporating the tips I’ve given and letting time do what it needs to do will make a difference. Keep me posted.
I’m wondering if you can help with this problem. I am a relatively new vegetarian of about a year. And about 3 months ago, I went on a total and complete plant based diet. I have horrific gas and bloating! I never had any of this while I was eating meat, chicken, fish. I’ve been eating high fiber for 15 months now and you’d think it would get better, but it’s getting worse since I went on an all plant diet. (zero oils). I exercise, drink lots water etc. I’ve been eating potatoes, chickpeas as mock chicken sandwiches with tofu mayo and w.w. bread. I probably eat 1-3 slices of bread/day. Baked beans, black beans, brown rice, squash, mushroom gravy made with w.w.flour, peas, cucumbers, banana ice cream. But I just can’t figure out why I’m so miserable. My stomach looks like I’m 9 months pregnant. Thank you!
Nancy, you might want to see if there are any food sensitivies that could be exacerbating your problem, such as wheat or gluten. Try isolating out some of the beans, or check cooking methods. Do canned beans work better for you? That may mean better cooked beans are good for you –
Simpler food combinations, eating more slowly, smaller meals, separating cruciferous veggies from beans – these can all make a difference, depending on the individual. There is just going to be more digestive tract activity with all the fiber – yet there are ways to mitigated and engineer the process.
I’ve found yeast to be a big problem causing gas and bloating. This issue seems to be generally overlooked and it’s assumed to be a gluten intolerance if bread’s a problem. I restrict bread as much as possible and only eat it when I go out if there is nothing else and also avoid yeast extract, nutritional yeast etc. and things containing them. You could make a loaf with wheat or spelt flour and baking soda – lots of recipes online – unless you also have an intolerance to those grains or use pasta instead. I’ve also found a high dose mixed probiotic with 45 biĺlion CFU and 15 different strains of bacteria helps with gas. The problem will be worse initially but will then settle down to almost nothing. I’ve recently moved to whole grains rather than bread which is still a rather processed food and reduced soya based ‘meats’ which unfortunately my husband is very keen on. My mind has become clear for the first time in years. Not lost any weight yet – he uses a lot of olive oil in cooking(!) – but I’m working on it! I haven’t been able to persuade him to cut it out yet though when he’s on cooking duty so I prepare a lot of my own stuff.
In this article you talk about smoothies as being a possible cause for weight gain. Yet the very bottom of the page takes us to another page on your site, where you show Julianna Hever’s green smoothie and recommend it, as well as other smoothies. And listening to the recent broadcast, the good doctor is not in favor of smoothies.
I make them and enjoy them so I’d really like to understand. To me, there seems to be a contradiction.
Thanks for your note. Actually, no conflict.
If you’ll notice, the date on the green smoothie recipe video article is July 19, 2011, well in advance of the research-generated article “To Smoothie or Not to Smoothie” published January 18, 2012 – 6 months later. “To Smoothie or Not” provides important information for those using smoothies that may help them if there is an issue with weight, calories, or satiation. It doesn’t meant no one should ever have a smoothie, or that I am telling people what to do. The idea is to give important information so you can make your own decision based on your own needs and health.
Even though I do not recommend them as regular way to eat, especially for those with weight challenges, I still enjoy a smoothie on occasion.
Perhaps it would be a good idea to put a link at the top of the smoothie recipe page for more about smoothies – what do you think?
Looking forward to your thoughts and ideas,
Thanks Lani. Yes, I do think it would be a good idea to add a link – perhaps something to the tune of – smoothies when people are trying to lose weight – or something like that.
all the best
Great idea Fran – thanks again for your thoughts, I really value your input.
Sometime ago I located a pg. on your site for rules regarding maximizing weight loss by Dr. McDougall. Yesterday I tried to find it again but so far I have struck out, do you still have rules? Also unable to find Mary McDougall’s recipes.
Here is the Maximum Weight Loss page:
Here’s the other: Help with healthy holiday meal planning from Mary McDougall’s kitchen
Hope this is what you are after!
Thank you. How is your cook book coming along?
Hi Greg! I just saw your post!
I’ll have about a dozen recipes organized (and simple!) ready to go with the Plant-Based Blueprint coming out shortly. Including my World Burger! Can’t wait to get it into your hands. Thanks!
I’m new to your site and found this article very informative. I believe, as I have suspected for a while, that due to my higher fiber intake I am holding water in my tummy region… how do I neutralize the bloating? Thank you in advance.
You can try slowing down as you eat and chew a lot – and work your way up slowly to the higher fiber if you need. And give it time.
So glad you found it helpful and nice to meet you!
I am very glad to see this article, since I have had disappointing results on a plant-based low fat vegan diet. I started on this diet after losing 100pounds following a heart attack. I have had disappointing results on my cholesterol numbers and it has really given me lots of trouble with my blood sugar numbers as well. I recently switched to Dr. Joel Furhman’s plan – the nutrarian approach – and am doing much better. His theory is that even tho we are eating a vegan diet, we can still not be getting enough nutrients – especially if we are eating any packaged foods. He allows more nuts and seeds and fruit, but limits starches to beans. He suggests a salad for every meal. This is what I’ve been doing and have found much less cravings and resulting urges to binge eat. I think that we have gotten too used to eating too many foods that are not healthy for us. I don’t think grains are good for anyone struggling with their weight. And I have found as a type 2 diabetic, I can’t eat a diet that is starchy. I think it is an individual adjustment and each person has to find out what works for them. If the diet you are following is not working, you must try other things until you find what your body needs. It’s too bad that the diets are put out there as being the solution for everyone – because that’s just not true. It should be more tentative. Sure, it’s better than the Western diet – but many people with health problems have not been on the western diet for years. They have been trying many things. I think it’s all individual.
I too have gained a large amount of body fat since going completely plant based; no oil, dairy or animal products or sugar. I am very depressed about it.I need to eat the beans and grains and starchy veggies to feel satiated along with some fruits and very small amounts of nuts or avocado on only a few occasions. At times I think of going back to my fish based diet with some eggs to get back my firmer body I had before this diet. I don’t over eat and don’t do smoothies. I weigh the same but am much more flabby.I have become self conscious of my belly. I work out every day and walk a lot. Nothing helps. It’s totally this plant based diet change. I think I’ll take a year off from it and get my body back and let you all know. Sure if I starve my self with lots of veggies and salads I could maybe lose the belly but I can’t stand being hungry. The only thing that helps feel full is the whole grains and starch veggies. Ground flax etc cause too many bathroom trips.Beans always cause way too much gas but I eat them anyway for years. Most of the plant based doctors out there doing this a long time are men. The few woman I have seen look unwell. Any one else had this problem since going plant based? Even in the China Study I’m sure the rural Chinese ate plenty of fish.
I forgot to add I eat tuns of veggies and greens and once in awhile tofu or tempheh. The only bread I eat infrequently is the Engine 2 tortillas. I have oatmeal almost every day for breakfast, not instant with some fruit and soymilk. I really believe this is a healthy way of eating but I am always thinking about food for a year now where I never did before on my animal diet. I am always hungry even after a huge satisfying meal..within 3 hours I want more. I liked when I ate my fish how I could go 6 hours and not think about food. I’m torn as what to do. I don’t like cooking nor have the time so a quick grain with beans and greens or veggies is the norm. Getting sick of it. What to do.
Sorry to hear about your difficulties. Without seeing detailed food diary and activity and workouts, it’s hard to troubleshoot. Changes in body composition are due to excess calories and a change in exercise habits, sometimes hormones play a role too – so it can be a variety of things.
If you want to get to the bottom of the problem and move forward with plant-based diet but are unclear about what to do, I would recommend you work with a plant-based dietitian to help. Taking a look at how your activity levels have changed can be helpful, too.
Personally, what made the difference for me with a whole foods plant based diet – in terms of making energy and weight management easy – is to be sure I am eating enough of the starchies and beans. I detail this in the Fit Quickies: 5 Minute Targeted Body Shaping Workouts quite extensively, which may also be a good resource for you in finding your way. I wasn’t eating enough of them, found myself hungry a lot of the time, and struggling with weight managment. Once I ‘got’ it about them, things changed!
Hi Jenna, how are you?
did you resolve the problem?
My body past some days is flabby.
I have a huge belly at this right time… with a big stomach. 🙁
I eat enough…
Maybe i need to rethink this. 🙁
I have gained belly fat since I started this diet. I eat alot of fresh beans, all kinds with onions and vegetables. Love all vegetables. Minimum dairy on occaision. Walk alot.
3-4 fresh fruits a day. I’m not happy with my weight gain. Any thoughts or tips?
Thanks for your note, and I am sorry to hear you are unhappy. On the face of things, however, it would be impossible to say why you are experiencing what you are. There are way too many variables: age, diet history, the fact that it may be unrelated due to other factors….it’s just too vast for a simple answer. Best to work with a plant-based dietitian or coach to get direct answers.
I’ve been slowly switching from a vegetarian diet to a plant based diet. I’ve been tracking my calorie and nutritional intake (I got into this habit for losing weight, lost 50lbs in the last two years).
I’m 100% on the plant based diet now, and I’ve noticed at the end of the day I’m barely at 900 calories. During my weight loss, I was always told we need at least 1200 calories a day, otherwise we are starving are bodies and could actually gain weight. Does this apply for a plant based diet? I’ve been forcing myself to eat more on the plant based diet even though I’m not hungry to reach at least 1200 calories but I’ve noticed a slight weight gain. I’ve read that on a plant based diet you should just eat as much as you need to, so is it alright if I only eat 900 calories in a day?
It can be very easy to miscalulate our calorie counts – that may be part of it.
Is there a problem that you are trying to troubleshoot?
And wow congrats on the 50 lb weight loss – we’re twins!
Are you exercising, by the way? Muscles need challenge to stay!
Hi,I’ve been eating fat free,salt free ,plant based food but gaining weight.??.
I am moving moderately in my job but don’t work out much.
I am really disappointed as I love eating this way .i eat beans ,some times sweet potatoes ,huge salads and cooked veggies.I have been a fatfree ,salt free ,whole plat dieter for some time now.
I am premenopausal with normal thyroid levels .what should I do ?
Without knowing more about a week or more review of daily eats, it would be a long shot to assess the problem.
Every person needs to find their level of quality of diet to read their weight goals. Have you read the Nutrition Chapter in Fit Quickies? I recommend you start there as you will find over 30 pages of revelation, analysis and insights into my own challenges with weight and how I am able to eat a plant-based diet to overcome them. Do you have a copy of the book?
The Plant-Based blueprint will also help – it is free as a gift with purchase of Fit Quickis (See “the Food” page in the navigation bar) and will give you lots of insights as well.
It is difficult to answer your questions without a clear picture of what you are eating each day, what the time frame has been, and what gain you are talking about – according to the scale? Body composition? Working closely with someone to help you troubleshoot would be the next step if you still are having difficulties. There are plant-based dietitians who can help and I also serve as food and eating coach should you need more assistance.
You know who this diet is good for? People working out intensively for hours a day. The guys you read on “Mark’s Daily Apple.” The Crossfit people. The triathletes. For them this diet is perfect.
For those of us in the real world who have obligations, weight issues, and not a lot of time for working out, this diet is a disaster. And try being in menopause – at that point, all bets are off on a high carb diet. Talk about a train wreck of a plan.
I gained 4# in six weeks doing the “McDougall” diet. I ate 2/3 starches (potatoes or rice) with 1/3 veggies like McDougall says will “work for everybody.” When that didn’t work to get weight moving, I changed it to 50/50 starch/veggies. I cut my fruit to one cup of (lower carb) berries per day, sometimes I would skip the fruit altogether. No oils, no animals, no junk food, nothing off plan. I made the Jeff Novick “SNAP” meals for the “calorie density” angle – didn’t work.
I walk 1 hour per day and also have a fairly active day job in which I’m sitting/standing/walking constantly throughout the day, and I try to do some toning videos 1-2 times a week.
I put on 3/4 inch around my waist during the time I did this plan. I was more bloated than I ever remember being, even compared to the SAD diet I did years ago. Like the above poster, I tracked my calories and couldn’t hit more than 1,100 to 1,200 in a day, which is still below my BMR of 1500-1600, and yet I GAINED.
I’m now doing a low carb diet with fish, chicken, eggs, low fat string cheese occasionally, piles of non-starchy veggies and still one fruit per day. I lost 7# in 3 weeks and I feel much better than I did eating 80% carbs.
All those dense carbs don’t work for everybody. Obviously, the advocates of this WOE don’t have solutions for the water retention that occurs with these huge amounts of carbs, or for people who can’t work out 5 hours a day. Sugar is sugar, it all acts the same way once it hits the inside of your body. Doesn’t matter if its a Snickers bar or a potato.
The above poster mentioned the Furhrman diet, maybe I’ll look into that one. Maybe it will work better for me since it has some added nuts and fats. But 80%+ of carbs just wasn’t healthy for me. I’m looking to lose the 20 extra pounds I’m carrying around, not add to it!
Thanks for your note. Each individual must find the quality of diet they need to obtain their weight loss goals.
Snickers bars and potatoes are not the same thing, it does matter.
Without a complete food diary, it’s difficult to assess where the problem might be. And it can also make a difference what the dietary plan was previously.
As John Robbins says in his endorsement of the Fit Quickies book: “…This is one exercise book that understands that you don’t have to exercise like a maniac once you get the food right. Highly recommended.” I aspired to a way of eating that would make exercise and workout time minimal – and counter that there is no need for “5 hours of exercise a day”. I am a person with “obligations, weight issues, and not a lot of time for working out” and found this dietary plan to solve these problems. I explain how to do this for those who are interested in eating a whole foods, low fat plant-based diet, and have found it to be unsurpassed in success with those I’ve coached and taught over the years – you can see it in the testimonials and reviews on my site.
I wish you all the best of success in your endeavors to find the best match for you.
Same thing happened to me. Gained sooo much belly fat and found the beans and whole grains, mostly brown rice and qunioa backed on more body fat. My weight stayed almost the same but lost all my muscle. This whole food plant based vegan diet will cause a gee ration of people with more food disorders. I hope over time on a pale type diet I will recover . I like Dr. mark Hymans approach. I will cut out completely beans, legumes and all whole grains. I’ll check back here.
Pnina, the point is to take a look at transition features and errors that can be easily remedied. Whole plant foods without the addition of added fats and too much energy load in high fat plant foods can challenge weight loss – but low fat whole plant foods do not cause loss of muscle and beans don’t cause fat gain.
I had the same problem with belly fat.
I started to gain weight after a coulple mounths of being vegan.
I’m a skinny man with a huge ballon full of fat.
I tried everything, one meal, two meals, low fat, high fat etc..
My energy is very low.
I started to notice, if i use fat with my meals i can get energy for more time.
I need a cup or two of coffee a day, because without that i’ don’t have energy.
In the present i’m doing something like this…
Carbs and Fats at every meal.
– Soy yougurt
– Raisins ( This gives me a boost in my focus )
– 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
– Usually i take a coffee but without sugar.
– Soy milk
– 1 Teaspoon of cacao powder ( Gives brain boost )
– Nuts or almonds
My belly don’t come off.
I know if i cut the carbs, and consume only fat, i can be better.
But i’m doing a chance to this at a few years, because of the animals.
I have a great look, people think that i’m very young.
The only thing that i’m regret is my belly fat.
I can’t go to a beach for example, because a young person with a belly like this…. IT’s a male ego.
Some people have problems in digesting carbs, and this is a reality that some people can’t put a blind in it.
so what ended up happening ? im bloated and have gained weight in the exact same place, the only difference is that i have not eaten any oil or fats in over a year now (am starch based too), did the symptoms subside ??
Until 2 weeks ago I was a meat-eater and had been all my life and then I decided enough was enough. Since, I have been on a vegan diet and it is going really well and is so much easier than expected. I have to admit that the main reason for me beginning all of this was one about weight. I had had enough of yo-yo dieting and realised that I needed to do something long term. I am 33 and active and regularly exercise about 2-3 hours of cardio a week with an hour of yoga and an hour swimming. I started using the 21 day kickstart diet to, well, kick start everything. I feel happy in my new diet switch and I’m finding out so much more about nutrition and foods than ever before and for the first , enjoying it! However, I am feeling a little let down by it at the same time! I haven’t lost a pound! Is it because I have made the switch too quickly from meat-vegan? The diet is supposed to make you feel more energised but I do not feel any different. I haven’t increased my sugar intake or overdoing it on the carbs ( 1-2 portions a day normally). I also haven’t had any alcohol at all in the 14 days and only one glass of Coca-Cola. Can you give me any tips please. I am going to continue this vegan diet even if I don’t lose any weight- I know it is a much healthier choice for my future- but, ultimately I do want to lose weight. I am taking Gota Kolu to help with circulation and also water retention but from what I have read this shouldn’t hinder the weight loss process at all. I have minimised all oils, am not eating nuts and only have a couple of sugars in a coffee every other day. AGH! I have ordered your Fit Quickies book and looking forward to building that into my workout too. I just wonder, as I haven’t found it mentioned anywhere really, how long you really need to give a meat transition to vegan diet before weight loss occurs. I understand it is different for everyone so will see how I go. Also, how on earth do you diet on a Vegan Diet? I will continue to be a Vegan, it is so much better I am sure but how I would diet on this is beyond me!! Thanks in advance for your help!
Thanks for your note. I appreciate your enthusiasm and tenacity!
You say at 2 weeks in : “I am feeling a little let down by it at the same time! I haven’t lost a pound! “. That is exactly what this post is about. Did any of the pointers connect for you?
Some people have dramatic ‘results’ with energy levels and weight loss rapidly, others slower. I’m one of the latter and that’s why I want to encourage and explain for others. You are wise to look at the big picture and all the reasons for doing what you are doing.
Has your Fit Quickies book arrived yet? It sounds like not – please study the Nutrition chapter for lots more tips to help and let me know how that goes.
The oils were a big one for me with weight management. Some people need to eat really high quality with whole foods, minimal – if any – processed foods, and keep a sharp eye on high fat whole foods such as avocados and olives and nuts – to reach their weight loss ideal. And depending on how much you have to lose, it just may take a little more time.
Thanks again for your post and I hope this helps – and let me know when you get the book! How did we meet – through the 21 day Kickstart?
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I have to post my experience here as I have all but given up on my totally whole food plant based diet with no oils, no sugars, and only 10 walnuts a day with 1 tbls of either chia or flax…. the result….a fattier more flabby belly than I have ever had. No weight gain, just more flabby deep fat. I’m miserable about it so I keep trying harder. I have come to believe now that for me, a whole grain, bean and fruit and veggie based diet wrecks havoc with the distribution of fat in many. A year ago I had flat abs and tight muscles everywhere eating fish, eggs , veggies, fruits, with NO beans or grains. I guess the only way to reverse my problem is to go back to this diet which I’m seriously considering, even if less healthy. I am so unhappy with these body changes that I can’t sing the praises anymore of plant based. Read every plant book out there, took the Cornell plant based course…Perhaps there is a reason you will be hard pressed to find any society that lives totally on a whole food plant diet with no animal products. I am trying to convince myself it’s ok to start eating animal products again. I feel guilt and frustrated I have failed on this diet but I’m tired of this belly going nowhere.
I understand you perfectly.
I’m tired of this too, my fat belly 🙁
Maybe eating fish, eggs, vegetables, and nuts.
I think fruits, is not good for me…
Well, I’ve been trying a plant based diet with no oil for 3 weeks. I started off with smoothies and salads then added quinoa and beans. I saw an initial drop of 3.5 lbs that first week. All week i ate only smoothies and salads . I added quinoa and beans the next week and gained back 2 lbs. Finally, I cheated over the holidays with 5 cookies and a cupcake over the period of a week. I am now back where i started with all the weight back. I think I lost only water weight. I’m frustrated and feel that the meal preparation is a lot of work with little results. I sabotaged myself with the cookies but I think I was gaining already with the addition of beans. I eat very low calories ..probably 1000-1200 as I dont really ever feel real hunger and have seen no success with addition of more food..healthy or not. Very frustrated and unsure if I should regroup and just make sure I have nothing outside of the plan or if its not for me. I have about 25-30 lbs to lose.
These are my typical meals for several days:
I eat 2 meals everyday as I am not hungry in morning. First meal around 11 or 12 can be a half cup of oats, half an apple, half a cup of blue berries, 1/2tbl of flax, chia and sunflower seeds and 10 gogi berries with 1/2 cup almond milk.
Around 5-6pm I eat a huge salad of either mixed greens or kale with a quarter avocado, tomatoes and lemon juice with braggs.
Other days it’s a kale smoothie with 75% kale, half cup almond milk, half cup blueberries and quarter banana with tble flax.
Dinner tofu broccoli bok choy sautee or veggie soup and salad with 1/2 cup quinoa or brown rice.
Another day it’s 1 slice ezekiel toast with 1 t/l raw almond butter
Dinner soup and raw veggies with humus.
So what’s the problem????
I have developed a large lower belly with lots of visceral fat, the deep kind and I hate it. It’s the diet that is doing it yet I am certain I am not exceeding my calorie intake. I walk at least an hour a day and cardio at the gym almost every day for 45 minutes.
So my experiment now is eating some animal product, chicken, fish and eggs to pray I lose this belly I have gained since going plant based.
If I starve myself maybe I’ll lose the belly but am really really unhappy with the results of this :plant based fatty belly diet”.
May be healthier but honestly, at this point I would rather be more unhealthy than have this belly:(
I have the same problem.
I did a test, by eating only fruits and salads ( Fruitarian style ) during and i lost many weight, but my belly was like a big big balloon all the time.
I gained fat…
And i’m passing the same situation, at vegan ….
I’m you ate fish and egg’s and salads, you will not be like this, because you have low carbs, low sugars.
It’s the explanation i have.
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Hey I’m 24 i only just recently turned vegetarian as I do not agree with the way the animals are being treated before and during death, I’ve gained 5kgs, however I assumed it was because of the amount of baked beans, pasta and bread i was consuming, is there a starter kit for new veggies. I’m a chef so learning how to cook vegetarian will be a good skill to learn, thanks
Yes – there are lots of resources to help you advance your journey! I wish my new book were ready to pass into your hands – The Plant-Based Journey: A Step-by-Step Guide – will be out later in 2015.
For now, here are some great tools to get you going.
1) The Kaiser plant-based diet guide (yes, Kaiser now promotes plant-based diet): http://www.lanimuelrath.com/diet-nutrition/new-plant-based-diet-brochure-download-for-you/
2) Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine Starter Kit: http://www.lanimuelrath.com/wp-content/uploads/PCRM115-Vegetarian-Starter-Kit-60.pdf
There are also multiple resources right here to advance your journey, along with the Nutrition chapter in my book Fit Quickies: 5 Minute Workouts.
Keep me posted on all – and all the best to you on your work as a chef! How, by the way, did we ‘meet’?
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Hi! Thanks for these tips. I have been on a plant based diet for 2 weeks now and I have gained 1 pound. It is getting very frustrating! I still don’t have any energy and I have broken out in a rash on my chin and cheeks. Am I detoxing or is something wrong? I was a vegetarian before, so going plant based isn’t much of massive change, so I am confused as to why this is happening to me.
I am not using oil, keeping the grains to a minimum, drinking juices, not smoothies. The only thing I think I might be doing wrong is putting salt on my food. Thank you for your article…it appears I am not the only one and maybe I just need to be patient.
This is exactly why I posted this article! Read through again, because as you note, there are several things that can explain the weight fluctuation. And keep in mind that we ALL fluctuate in weight every day – I can see a difference of 3 – 4 lbs, if for nothing else than the salt in my food. One pound is nothing – pull back for the broader view and give it more time.
Without a food diary and conversation, it’s difficult to pinpoint but I encourage you, one week in is very early on. I also was vegetarian going in – yet still saw these shifts when I cut out oil and focused on whole plant foods – and I ate whole grain bread every day of my weight loss and still do. I know the angst of wanting the scale to budge but I KNEW I was doing the right thing and just kept doing it – it was those 4 -6 weeks that showed a turnaround. As a matter of fact, I actually made sure I ate too much rather than not enough so that I wouldn’t get hungry and start being interested in inappropriate fare. It really pays off over time!
I also don’t know your current healthy, age, activity level – so all of this is on the surface. But it hopefully will assist and please keep me posted! As for the rash, it could be anything – maybe even co-incidental, or it could be food sensitivity if you are eating something new to your system.
Keep me posted on your progress!
I’d like to find out more? I’d want to find out more details.
I came here because I seem to be having similar problems with the starch-based diet. I was vegan for over a year but switched to the ‘Starch Solution’ since everyone was raving about the weight melting off as if by magic. I’m a month in, and I’ve followed the diet to the ‘T'(I even logged everything on cron-o-meter), have been exercising more, and drinking more water, and I’ve not lost a single pound. It’s so discouraging, especially considering how excited I was by all the positive testimonials. Is it possible that maybe some of us have poor reactions to starch? It’s a notion I prefer not to consider since I love potatoes, rice, etc. but I’m so disappointed that I can’t help but wonder if this diet just doesn’t work for everyone. Any ideas? Thanks.
Thanks for your note and sorry that you are discouraged. A month can seem like such a long time, can’t it? But big picture, it is a short period of time.
And we also seem to grab on onto those ‘weigh melting off as if by magic” stories as if they are true of everyone but ourselves. This can work against us as we develop expectations and to be honest nothing has ever, for me, worked as ‘melting off’ and ‘magic’. Once we shift out of that mindset and see our individuality as just that, we are better off.
With that as starting point, it’s difficult to coach a process for an individual without having all the details and facts. I can’t begin to tell you how many people I’ve coached who came to mw with “I’ve been eating perfectly for _________ and __________”. This is not to discredit your report, but to tell you there are many more people in this position than the “melt off” and “magic” people, plus – who are they? what is their diet history? How old are they” How long have they had a weight problem” and on and on, important elements of discovery in the coaching process.
These are some ideas!
No weight loss doesn’t necessarily mean no fat loss, you could have muscle gain with the exercise counterbalancing and any visible changes take a long long time to notice. BMI readings may be a better gauge than just weigh ins. Patience.
I’m 15 years old and have been a HCLF vegan for almost a year. No oil, no salt, minimal grains, some legumes, and VERY minimal processed foods. I eat what most vegan health gurus would call “the perfect diet,” primarily cooked & raw veggies, with fruit in the mornings.
However, for this whole period of time, I have not only not lost any weight, I’ve put on a whopping 15 lbs. I don’t know what’s going on, and I’d really appreciate your input.
Here’s what I typically eat in a day:
Breakfast: 32 oz. strawberries blended with 1 cup almond milk + 17 oz water + 1 tbsp flaxseed
Snack (if wanted): 8 oz baby carrots or cherry tomatoes
Lunch: Oil Free Salt Free Veggie Stir Fry (usually 1 cup cauliflower, 1 cup broccoli, 1 white onion, 3 cups kale, 2 cloves of garlic, & spices)
Snack (if wanted): 2-3 cups raw White mushrooms
Dinner: Some sort of fully raw salad or raw zucchini pasta
I also drink a cup of green tea or hot lemon water after every meal.
Please help me. I went from 135 to 153 in less than a year, and I don’t know what’s going on.
Thanks for your note and it sounds like you are having challenges with matching your eats to your goals. It might be a good idea to consult with a plant-based dietitian who could work with you specifically on a food plan. For instance, you say you ‘eat what most vegan health gurus would call the perfect diet’ yet you minimize grains and eat primarily cooked and raw veggies, and ‘some’ legumes. I am not aware of minimal whole grains being a vegan health guru standard, and mostly vegetables and raw vegetables can make it difficult to get the calories we need on a daily basis, which can show up as stored hunger and inspire make-up eating. You don’t mention this, but a year of low calorie consumption without break would usually not result in a weight gain – and if that is the case, then it may be quite likely that something else is going on, beyond the scope of answering in a blog post. Keep me posted on how this progresses for you!
nor really a high carb plan, less veggies and more wholegrains might help. much more enjoyable, satiating and likely to fire up your metabolism.
Eating more carbs won’t work for everyone. For many people too many carbs and whole grains will cause weight gain.
The MyFitnessPal app calculated Madison’s daily macronutrients going by what she posted above as 72% carbs, 18% protein and 10% fat. That’s a very high carb diet.
I know this comment is really old and it’s unlikely that you will read this, but I will put this here for others who might come across this.
Its seems to me that your problem is that you aren’t eating enough calories. Your breakfast lunch and two snacks only amount to about 763 calories.
I’m not sure exactly what your salad would have in it, so I can’t calculate the amount of calories, but looking at your other meals it probably would not be any more than 200 – 300 calories.
Lets just say that for dinner you had a large raw salad with 3 cups spinach, 1 large tomatoe, 1 cup zucchini, 1 cup carrots and 1 cup mushrooms. That would be about 200 calories and bring your total to about 963 calories for the whole day.
That’s not enough calories and you will gain weight by putting your body in starvation mode which causes your metabolism to slow and your body will hold onto whatever calorie you take in.
Your diet is also very very low in fat. I would suggest that you increase your caloric intake and eat more healthy fat from avocados, nuts, olives and seeds.
I became plant based vegan in January after being almost vegetarian most of my life. I have always struggled with my weight. In January I started a juice fast but not real strict . It was hard but I lost 30 lbs that month. I havent lost anymore since even tho I eat very little sugar and almost no oil. I even tried cutting out the nuts for a time. Still nothing. I go down one lb back up 2. I have been down to 192. But right now 195 this AM. I started back trying to juice again today. I wish I didnt have to be so strict
Hey Lani! Great article! I have gone vegetarian/semi-Pescatarian now for about 2 weeks (I’m still new haha), and I’ve noticed a bit of weight gain around my stomach area. My scale broke about a week before I went vegetarian so I haven’t been able to weigh myself, but in the mirror, I’m a pretty good judge on what looks like weight gain. My tummy sticks out a bit more than before; I’d like to know whats wrong. I eat whole grain rice with mixed steamed vegetables with a sprinkle of pink salt (for dinners), I eat no cheese, I don’t drink Cow’s milk (rarely I drink coconut milk/almond milk in my fridge), I drink a B12 XS energy drink mix, and I have Protein Powder from Amway (an organic company) because I know about the whole “Vegetarians gain weight by not getting enough protein and no B12” thing. I eat vegetables, organic Vegan soup’s (Amy’s Kitchen brand, Lentil soup is what I get), I rarely eat bread and pasta, and while I have eaten a few hunks of fish, I don’t eat other meat/animal products (such as honey unless its organic, eggs unless organic, cheese, cows milk) and I don’t eat “White” products such as white bread, pasta, rice, ect.
I exercise almost regularly (ab workouts, cardio when I can, I do a fitness dvd set called “DDP Yoga”, and I run 1-3 times a week). I know it takes time, but why the sudden gain? I try to get fiber in my diet as well by the way.
Why do I FEEL SO BAD on plant based? I am bloated, moody, and feel insecure about my belly fat. I am 18 years old, ten years ago i was diagnosed with Hashimotos disease, but i have my thyroid at optimal range now. I just don’t understand, because I cant eat meat anyways, because i was born premature, and born without the enzyme to digest proteins! I currently just eat sweet potatoes, root veggies, no grains and some fruit and lots of salad and with no dressing! I am at lost of what to eat, I have been struggling with depression for ten years now, and currently right now in my life i can’t seem to find the light at the end of the tunnel anymore. I have never lost weight in my life, my body seems to hold on to it no matter what! Help me, before I lose my mind. 🙁
So sorry to hear of your challenges and it all sounds very distressful. Your situations is far too complex to answer in an reply to a comment yet I compliment you for speaking out and urge you to work with your doctor or health care provider to find out what might be the causing factor in your problems. You mention several things that have bearing and a plant-based dietitian also might be able to help you. It may be that you are experiencing food sensitivities and combined with the thyroid and depression, a situation that needs some expertise. You don’t mention working with a doctor or dietitian which gives rise to my mention.
I am hoping that you get some direction soon so that you can get some relief from some of these challenges. Keep me posted.
For those experiencing weight gain on a starch solution type diet there’s a few things to bear in mind.
1. Weight gain does not necessarily mean fat gain, for some the protein in plants is much easier utilised, as testified by many athletes who say their gains and recovery INCREASED after going plant based. Remember too any visual changes take a very long time to notice. So dont be disheartened.
2. Indigestion, indigestion can caUse weight gain of itself. When digestion is thrown off gut bacteria can be upset leading to vital nutrients being robbed by unfriendly bacteria, moulds, yeasts etc and in return they give us more toxins many of which end up in our fat cells. So begins a vicious cycle. It can help to use food combining principles, eat only starches with neutral or starch friendly fruit (bananas, dates). Eat fruit early in the day and only fruit (including bananas and dates) until starches are started. Avoid things that cause indigestion, yeasty bread or yeasty anything, foods that are hard to digest for you individually (among mine are cucumbers and capsicum). And foods that are known to be hard to digest which brings me to point…
3. …Beans… beans are known to be hard to digest, they put a stress on the liver and kidneys. They can make an otherwise easily digested meal sit in the stomach for hours creating the problem mentioned in point 2. Also while beans are low calorie per protein and touted as being great for protein in fact on average they provide twice as much calories in fat per calorie of protein. Wholegrains on average provide 2-4 times more calories in protein per calorie in fat. So essentially grains are in reality the great muscle builders. Grains are in fact herb fruit while beans are seeds which is probably significant in that grains are designed by nature to be eaten and easily digested by animals while beans are not quite so palatable or digestible.
4. Calorie restriction. Calorie restriction is not necessarily good for weight loss or toning up. Our bodies are designed to survive and will do their best. When calories are restricted or long periods of time the body adapts. With fat being higher in calories these can be held onto for long term survival and of course as muscle burns more calories it makes sense that the body turns to using muscle over fat to slow down the metabolism and reserve calorie stores.
5. It’s not all about food, as Bovis demonstrated (“The Secret life of Plants” Tompkins and Bird 1973) emotions, water quality, food etc all have an effect on the bodys health. The body resonantes at around 6,500 angstroms and everything we do affects this. Eating high vibration foods, fruit, baked grains, baked potatoes, fruit infused water, laughing, enjoyable exercise, dancing, being touched affectionately, having hope, fresh air, sea water, encouragement all raise the vibration of the body while meat, dairy, boiled foods (even grains), processed foods, pollution, despair, negativity, criticism, being abused, lied to etc all decrease the vibration of the body. A high vibration means high energy output and low vibration the opposite. Bovis found that disease began when the body resonates below around 4750 angstroms which is the vibration bodies with cancer resonate at.
6. Psychiatric drugs, its well knwon that many people are on psyciatric drugs which can have a devastating effect on the body. Following lifestyles like orthomolecular therapy can be very beneficial. The physical effect is one thing, these drugs affect the nervous system, hormone balance and can lead to hopelessness, despair, panic on the long term despite their supposed benefits. Reducing them and replacing them gradually along with support from peers and loved ones can have immense benefits. Most good psychiatrists will support a reduction in medicines, if yours probably doesn’t best to seek one who will.
Relaxing, meditation, having patience (but being strict about the food), planning daily eating plans ahead can all benefit. Noticing a smile, feeling relaxed, enjoying something are all moments worth noting to ourselves. We often notice only the negatives. Be gentle, comforting and forgiving on ourselves for our mistakes is valuable and always remember any changes take a long time to notice so positive changes can be happening even though you don’t notice.
Eating a lot of salads can be bloating also, raw cellulose is hard to digest. A few grains might be better on digestion and overall health.
Hi Lani, I’ve been thinking about going vegan for the past couple weeks but I have some concerns and I was hoping you could help me with that. Right now I eat mostly vegetables, legumes and eggs, I’ll eat fish maybe twice a week and meat probably just once a month. I admit the reason why I decided to go vegan at first wasn’t because of animal welfare since I was still uneducated about it all. I decided to become vegan because I come from a disordered eating background. I remember only eating junk food when I was younger and then realizing how fat I’d gotten and changing my lifestyle abruptly to lose 19kg in a year bringing me all the way down to a bmi of 17.2. The lifestyle I adopted is the same I have nowadays because I fell in love with it but because of my hurry I developed a compulsive overeating disorder which I’m still battling with now. I only eat 1200kcal (marginally) because that’s what’s reccomended for my current weight (I’m 160cm and weight 49kg) but I feel extremely hungry and it’s just really hard for me. I know that by following this lifestyle I could eat in more volume with the same amount of calories but I tried it two or three weeks a couple months ago and I felt even hungrier! I also know I could eat more but that would mean gaining weight and my weight right now is the one I feel the most satisfied with…I just don’t know what to think… Will you please give your opinion?
I went vegan a month and a half ago. It was all dandy for the first few weeks,of course, and then the cravings kicked in. Oh how i miss pizza hut pizza and cream cheese on my bagel.. I live in a small town with only one vegan/vegitarian restront and limited vegan gerocries. So its not like i can go out and buy a vegan pizza. I crave it so much so i try to do alternitives or eat something else to just fill me up. I feel bigger and gross lately. I dont want to stop being vegan just because “i couldnt do it” but i really hope these cravings go away for good. I want to feel healthy again.
Hello, your tips are great. (Compared to others Ive read online) I’ve been vegan for almost five months, and I’m not sure if I’ve gained weight or bloated. I was happy with my weight before, but I decided to go vegan for mostly health and environmental reasons. Could you please give me some kind of explanation? I only eat white rice from time to time, but other than that I don’t eat refined carbs. I also rarely eat don’t vegan junk food, and when I do they are the healthiest ones. Only for occasions like Thanksgiving, etc. For breakfast I typically eat one or two fruits and some oatmeal. Lately, I have been mixing in a spoonful of unsulphered blackstrap molasses for more calcium and minerals. I do eat quite a bit of vegan protein from beans, tofu, etc. I don’t eat a lot of nuts or seeds or oily food as I don’t really like them. But I do occasionally sprinkle on some sesame seeds on my food. Last year before I was vegan I took a health class, and it taught you to count calories to lose weight. So I started doing that, as well as eating healthier more whole foods. At the time, I never thought I would be vegan. Possibly vegetarians in the future though. I lost probably a little over ten pounds, and my very mild acne/pimples cleared up and I thought it was great. I started losing too much weight, so I increased my calorie intake. For the most part I didn’t eat a lot of meat, or dairy. Until later in the year when I learned that eggs were the perfect diet food so I started to eat a couple a day, knowingly of the unhealthy cholesterol. My skin started to get awful, so I completely got rid of the eggs. I already had stopped eating meat and milk products. Also, I should mention that I NEVER ate cakes, oily greasy, salty, white sugary foods etc. I didn’t crave it, as I would incorporate lots of fresh fruits and veggies in my diet. I also did some moderate exercise here and there. So my skin noticeably got better after three weeks of not eating eggs, and I was drinking more water, trying everything to be healthier. I became vegan after watching some movies on Netflix, and feeling terribly sick after eating an egg and cheese (airplane food) which I hadn’t had in a long time. Since becoming vegan, (I still counted the same amount of calories) I THINK I have gained some weight. Also after I eat I am always puffed out. But it seems it doesn’t go all the way down. (Just a little) What does this mean? Also I think I should add beforeI was vegan I ate a small Breakfast and lunch, and then a large dinner. Now, I have been distributing my calories equally for all meals. I don’t really snack because I feel meals are enough to keep me full. Also I drink lots of water before I eat, and some 20 minutes after I eat. I have also heard about food combing, and I eat fruit first, etc. Is there something I should do? I tried to develop and exercise routine for me a while ago, which I loved to do. But know I find I have so much work I don’t have the time. I was really hoping that veganism would be the best decision I made in my life. But as just need help with some lifestyle changes. I would really like to lose the weigot and maintain it. (If I did gain weight it would probably be around 5 pounds) Should I still count calories? I tries to stop once and eat like other vegans, but I just started to gain weight so I stopped. I really need to learn portion controlling with all the different types of vegan food. I want to be able to eat a good amount with out eating just a ton of one or two things. By the way I am minimal oil, but not a HCLF, or high fat, or Rawtil4 kind of girl. Thanks so much for your time and assistance. It really means a lot to me:):)
Very good points, however, I don’t really eat many carbs. I only have abit of sweet potato and on rare occasions, a tbsp of wild rice in my buddha bowl. I am a gluten/wheat free vegan. For years I was just a gluten free vegetarian. Last week I lost 1 stone just by cutting out the dairy. I was so chuffed although I can’t really notice it on my body that much. This week, I’m just staying the same weight and I’m more bloated. My clothes don’t look as nice on as they did last week. Feeling abit miffed, all my hard work is starting to go downhill. I don’t exercise however, do you think Yoga would help? I’m only strict with tough workouts for about two weeks but get so bored I give up. Yoga doesn’t seem like a chore to me at all, I’d look forward to it. I wonder if it would help at all
Nothing is working for me except juice fasting. I went plant based Jan 2015 after 30 day fast and lost about 28 lbs. then did again later for a week and lost few more. Total I went from 225 to 183, kept off for about 6 months, then suddenly started gaining back. Sometimes 2 lbs in a day. I am now back up to about 205. I have tried no nuts, a few nuts, no oil, sugar, and no added salt. No bread. Almost no processed. Yesterday I roasted about 2/3 lb brussels sprouts, 2 carrots and a med sweet potato in balsamic vinegar, onion and garlic powder. Ate that for lunch and supper with 1 tb hummus and sriracha. One apple, tb choc chips,tb pecans,tb of navy beans on a bite of corn bread, about 10 small veggie chips. this morning I gained 2 more lbs. So frustrating. My thyroid tested WNL, TSH went from 3 to 4 a few months ago.but have all the symptoms for a long time. I have fibromyalgia and metabolic syndrome however my fasting blood sugar never goes above 93. I was on metformin for a long time, but went off around the time I started the fast in jan 2015.
I understand your frustration and am sorry to hear about these challeges and heartbreaks.
Without having all of your medical history and all of the other things that can come to bear, the thing that jumps out most clearly from your story is the problems generated by fasting. The body’s response to extended periods without or with low access to fuel is to seek and store everything it can to hedge against a food-deprived environment. This has been my experience, too – you are not alone. Our bodies don’t know we just want to lose an inch off our waist – they interpret this as fuel shortage and will set the system to conserve and store. We can’t starve weight off more than temporarily, and then the body will often respond by raising the default weight by a few pounds – sometimes with each fast – elevating our weight and angst at the same time. Sometimes this can be managed by regular fasting forever, but not always. I had an intermittent fasting experience that had me lose some weight, then as I continued with intermittent fasting, I started to gain and kept on gaining, even while keeping up a moderate fasting schedule.
Why Diets Make Us Fat , and The Great Big Diet Lie: Why Diets Backfire and How to Eat Enough to Lose Weight for Good are some books that enlighten on this subject.
Again, I am sorry for your experience and hope this sheds some new light on the subject for you.
Hi, I think that I have perhaps been eating too much fiber so it’s interesting to read about the extra water that is potentially in our gut. I’ve been a vegan for a year and a half and I’ve felt terrible over the last few months. I’m so bloated all of the time and even considering eating fish now as everything I eat as a vegan seems to contain fiber….I feel like I look 6 months pregnant all the time!
I gained 10 pounds on a Whole Foods diet. I wonder if it’s the almond milk and the weigh protein powder I am taking or maybe the coconut oil. My family found out that Celiac disease runs in our genes so I don’t eat bread. It feel like my stomach is bloated all the time. I am excersizing more consistently and perhaps am gaining mustle mass but that doesn’t explain why I am bigger around my midsection. I am eating fish about two times a week and some other meat once a week because I couldn’t go off meat cold turkey. I am also eating eggs two or three times a week. I miss milk and cheese and I hate all the substitute cheeses. Sometimes once in a blue moon I’ll eat goat cheese. What am I doing wrong? Help!
It can be difficult to say exactly what may be causing the gain without a much closer contact with your diet history and any other things that might have bearing. At the same time, there are phrases within your question that bring up more questions – a whole foods diet does not include whey protein powder (dairy product, highly processed), coconut oil, fish two times a week and other meat two times a week, and eggs. Plant-based may have some bits of these items, but in reality you could be eating a lot more of these non-fiber foods that you think might have an impact. So lots of things come to bear on your experience.
People with long diet histories also will tend to gain easily until their bodies recover from artificial controls. That’s a whole other topic and part of eating mindfully.
My husband and I have been plant based for 2 months now. I found this article as I google searched “plant based diet weight gain”. I’m 33, a group fitness instructor, runner, active mama of 7 kiddos. I was a healthy weight for me at 128 when I chose to change diet, and two months later I’m 138. Activity level basically the same (slightly less as fall weather arrives), and eat plenty of starches and tons of greens. I usually gain weight in my bum/hips. It’s all midsection. We chose to eat this way for health reasons. My husband is loosing weight (of course the dude is) while I’m holding on to this very large weight gain?? Is 2 months long enough that the fiber/water weight should subside? I’m just super conflicted as to what I should change? Advice?
There can be so many reasons for weight gain and loss, it can be hard to always tell exactly why it has been inspired. And sometimes it is simply co-incidental with other elements of behavior. With so little information about your gain, your diet, your eating history, your hormonal profile -all of it – it can be difficult to pin down any cause. Also ‘very large gain’ is relative. Is it the ten pounds as in your opening comments? Our weight fluctuates naturally between, sometimes, 7 to ten pounds, but I know it can be frustrating to have this occur.
It may be a good opportunity to reconnect with hunger and fullness signals. And that doesn’t mean to become aware of when you may be eating more than needed, which is always how we read that. It means paying attention from very early in the day to respond to hunger signals by not ignoring them or holding out to eat until later. This may not be your situation – see what I mean about so many bearing factors? But this reconnect, which I talk a lot about in The Mindful Vegan, is very important.
I was on low carb diet for years and switching to plant based diet. It simply doesnt work for me. It isnt full switch, I would consider myself and vegetarian and vegan. Even during transition period I have all side effects that others complaining about. And I’m very active. Most likely my body is tuned to low carb diet already and rejecting these changes.
So so unhappy with the results of 5 years eating a strict whole food no oil no animal product no nuts or avocado plant based diet. Have stayed same weight, 97 pounds at 4 feet 11 inches but dear lord, my belly is about 3-4 inches of pure fat. Hate it. I work out and am very active. No luck. Same thing happened to the rest of my family. We all have fat jelly bellies. We eat beans, quinoa, and lots and lots of veggies with mostly berries. Thats it! No processed foods or anything from above mentioned list. We see this happen to so many others in our group and it’s so depressing. Gone are our muscle bodies on our former diet many years ago of animal products with lots of veggies, no beans or grains. I googled why this is happening but your answer does not relate to us at all. What the heck is going on with all of us. Cutting back on beans and quinoa leaves me hungry so must eat them. Also small amounts of tofu and tempeh a few times a month. No flour at all. Infrequently ezekiel sprouted bread and a tbl chia seed a few times a week as I hate flax. Help! Please please Lani, help as I feel very deceived by this diet after 4 year or more of it.
I am now a whole food no oil no nuts or seeds or avocado skinny fat person with skinny fat family.
I am sorry to read of your challenges and disappointment. There are many influences on why our bodies do what they do. But consumption of one diet or another does not insure or lead to muscle gain or loss is related primarily to genetics and exercise. We know that muscle can be built just as well with plant protein as animal protein. Still, your frustration is clear. So much goes into our response to dietary change: genetics, previous dietary plan, habits of eating (restrictive on-and -off dieting), sensitivity to famine/undereating. This is why I do not give a succinct reply to such questions in such a short introduction. I understand feeling as if one is “deceived by a diet”, but the picture is broader. And it may be that you are better suited to a higher degree of plant protein.
I would suggest conferring with a plant- based dietitian for specific answers and dietary guidance, such as Brenda Davis (http://www.brendadavisrd.com) or Julieanna Hever at http://www.julieannahever.com.
Going hungry exacerbates the problem. You may be eating to strictly for your system’s well-being. We all must find the best combination of elements within the plant-sourced nutrition world to find our best match.
Keep me posted!
Thinking of you,
I lost 160 lbs by going plant based. I lose less when I incorporate soy based “meats” or tofu so I know that is definitely the truest part of this article. Also you must work out!!!!!! I can not stress that enough.
I have recently gone to a plant based diet, occasionally having fish. I have not gained actual weight, but feel fat! I eat a lot of Mediterranean food…. love it! And I have wine, red only. Will this even out and I will feel not-fat? I do feel hungry a lot. I drink plenty of water and pu erh tea every day. Am I too light on protein?
When I switched from the starch solution to the nutritarian diet I was eating a lot more raw vegetables, fresh fruits, and nuts, and I found that at first my clothes were getting much looser rather quickly but my weight on the scale stayed the same– more fiber and water makes sense.
Eventually I ended up losing more weight on a nutritarian diet that’s high in fat than I did on the starch solution because I was a lot more satisfied so I ate less food. Dr Furhman would say that I was finally getting the nutrients I needed so my nutrient-seeking hunger went away. I commonly eat 1500 calories on the nutritarian diet and feel stuffed at the end of the day, while on the starch solution I could eat 2300 calories in a day and still feel like I was starving. I often felt like I was binging every day, even though I never had that tendency before. So even though I initially lost weight, I could never get down to my ideal weight because I was eating so many calories. I also found that after a few years the starch solution made me dizzy, anxious, and gave me a hormonal imbalance, and it was really hard to follow because it’s so bland. I was on the starch solution on and off for 10 years, I kept having to go off it because it made me feel so terrible, but I believed what Dr Mcdougall said and thought it was the only way to lose weight.
After a few weeks on the nutritarian diet I guess my hormones started balancing out because my acne started disappearing, the weight was falling off, and I stopped having painful periods.
I’m just putting this out there in case anyone else is struggling to lose weight or feel good on a restrictive low-fat plant based diet. I know everyone is different, so I’m sure this isn’t the case for everyone. But I really object to the blanket statement that “the fat you eat is the fat you wear”, because I found this just wasn’t the case for me, and in fact adding more fat to my diet was really important for my health and my ability to get down to my ideal weight. I don’t want people to be misled into thinking unsaturated fats are bad for them or inherently cause weight gain– any excess of calories causes weight gain, so if you’re eating tons of nuts of top of an already calorie adequate diet then you will almost certainly have a problem, but replacing other calories with nuts is actually a great way to feel full and drop weight.
Thank you for sharing your experience. I am very glad to see that you are feeling better.
Though there are some “givens” in optimal diet, there are many ways that it seems we are each also an experiment of one. I also find that what works at one point in our life may not be optimal at another. So we need to stay attuned to the process and our bodies, and proceed accordingly.
I discovered myself that at one point increased dietary fat has been very beneficial. Listening to our bodies and responding in good sense can pay off.