I have come across a lot of people that said I “USED” to be vegan, but they switched back for various reasons. It may be because they gained weight, lost muscle, or some other explanation. I made the lifestyle change to become a strong vegan and have been successful.
This article explains how to make that lifestyle change to becoming a strong vegan, or any other “diet” that works best for you, and succeed long-term and avoid the saying “USED” to.
The first question you need to ask is, “What is the reason to becoming a vegan in the first place?” This question also applies whether you are considering other diets such as Paleo, Atkin, or whatever the latest diet may be. There has to be a main reason why you made the decision, and keep that in mind in order to succeed. It is not a quick fix to losing weight, or if it did work short-term, your body may eventually plateau. The key thing to remember is that when choosing the way you eat, it should not be a fad or a diet, but it should be a lifestyle change.
Once you’ve made that decision to make that change, here are some helpful tips to succeed with your plan:
1. You still need portion control. Just because you’re eating something “healthy,” it doesn’t mean you can eat a ton of it. Moderation is key.
2. Read the nutritional information on the back, and not just the labels in front. Just because it says “Gluten free,” “no sugar added,” “fat free,” “Vegan,” “1/2 the fat,” and the list goes on, it may not be healthier for you. It’s just marketing and might be just as bad, if not worse, as the regular stuff.
To learn more in detail on how to grocery shop smart, click here.
Vegan proteins have totally different macros than meat. Therefore, meal portions need to be adjusted accordingly. You need to not only watch what you eat, but also how much, just like you would non-vegan. Later, in this article I have an example of meal comparison and portions. One benefit of being a Vegan is that your cholesterol will be 100% better than non-vegan.
So here are the top 3 reasons of why vegan or non-vegan diets don’t succeed:
1. You might not have eaten sufficiently, which means you may be low in calories, proteins, fats, carbs, or a combination of the above. So back to the same concept with non-Vegan meals calories in vs calories out.
Now what is Calories IN vs Calories OUT? The food that you eat contains calories that is needed to repair the body (Calories IN). Your body then burns calories throughout the day depending on your body composition and physical activity (Calories OUT). When you burn more calories a day than you eat, then you will have not enough calories for your body to repair. Your body will then start attacking and eating your muscles, because it has nothing else to eat. So sometimes you may toss and turn in your sleep, which may be because your body is attacking your muscles.
Here is a link to learn more Daily Calories In vs Calories Out
2. You may over eat without realizing it. Just because it’s vegan, don’t assume it’s healthy. Vegan is healthy to some degree, but certain proteins have high sodium, fats, or sugars.
Fake meat source have a lot of sodium, which is fine as long as it’s split into 2 meals or once per day. You might retain water, especially if you do not drink enough water. Your body will hold on to it. This concept also goes with non-vegan eaters. You need to watch your sodium intake, because certain foods has natural salts and sugar. We still need to watch how much we intake. Restaurant food contain a lot of salts and even home cooking depending on how the food is seasoned. Sodium is important to our body especially post workouts, because salts are a great source of muscle repair, but you need to pay attention to the amount.
Here is a link to learn more Daily sodium intake.
3. Another reason you might be losing muscle is not having the right amount of macros. You might not be consuming the right amount of carbs and protein during the day and during your workouts. Breakfast, pre, and post workout meals are important. You might not be consuming enough. This again is the same concept as non-vegan eaters. You might be over doing your cardio and not eating enough carbs. When you lift you need carbs and protein for pre and post workouts. You need carbs in your pre and post because we want to grow muscles, so when you lose weight you have a base. We don’t want the appearance of loose skin. We need to gain muscle and lose fat weight.
Here is a link to learn more Pre & Post workout meal.
Now let’s learn how to breakdown your meals here is an example of a meal:
Meat Example: You Eat 4 oz of chicken (90 cal, 19g protein, 2g fat), 4 oz sweet potato ( 100cal, 1g protein, 22g carbs), and 1/4 cup avocado ( 60 cal, 1g protein, 3g fat, 5g carbs) This meal equals 250cal, 21 g protein, 5 g fat, 27g carbs)
Vegan example: If we kept the avocado and sweet potato and switched to vegan protein which we decided to add 56g tempeh ( 10 g protein, 6 g fat, 8 g carbs), 3 oz tofu ( 60 cal, 8g protein, 3 g fat, 2 g carbs) Now let’s add the sweet potato and avocado it equals to 18g protein,12g fat, 37g carbs. The calories doesn’t matter as much.
As we compare Vegan vs Meat, the vegan meal macros are higher in fat. So we need to do math. Let’s take out 2 oz of sweet potato, and take the avocado out in the vegan meal. So we shave 3 g fat and 16 g carbs. So now the total is 18g Protein, 9g fat, and 21g carbs. Now you see what I am talking about?
In conclusion, if you decide to be vegan and want to avoid failing. Ask yourself why are you getting involved? Same reason why non vegans choose to compete? How will this benefit you? If you need more help I personalize meal plans and can help guide you to the right direction to be a successful vegan.
Remember “Consistency” is the key to be a strong vegan and succeed in life. Understand how to adapt. Being consistent still doesn’t determine success or failure. You need to be “committed” to wanting to pursue a lifestyle change. You need to map out your life, not what others wants. Reflect the past of what failed and worked. Success is personal development.