How can I lose weight fast on a vegan diet?
There are many weight loss plans to choose from and most plans promise quick weight loss. Truth is, the only real factor to consider when trying to lose weight quickly is burning more calories than you eat. Here is the general rule:
Eating 500 calories less than you burn per day will generally result in a loss of 1 pound per week.
If you are an average woman that burns 2,000 calories per day you should consume 1,500 calories per day to lose 1 pound per week. As an alternative, you can also create a caloric deficit by exercising more.
Let’s say you burn 2,300 calories per day due to your lifestyle and exercise daily to burn 300 calories. This means you can eat 1,800 calories per day and lose 1 pound per week. The diet you choose does not matter as much if you are only looking to lose weight quickly.
BUT there are many dangers that come with this…
If you are creating a caloric deficit only by trying to eat less, you most likely will not get all your nutrients. When creating meal plans, I often see a person’s nutrients begin to drop below the recommended dietary allowance once the meal plan is below 1,700 calories.
Therefore, I do not recommend trying to lose weight fast on any diet. I also don’t recommend eating less than 1,700 calories per day.
For example, low carb diets are usually 1200 calories per day and you lose weight quickly, but in reality you lose water weight first and muscle mass as well.
While this might feel like a success, you run the risk of nutrient deficiency, hit weight loss plateaus, feel sluggish, and gain weight back after your diet ends.
Another way to create a larger caloric deficit is to exercise more. But for healthy, long term weight loss it is best to find a lifestyle that includes exercise and adequate nutrition with balanced meals based on your needs and daily routines.
So how can you lose weight quickly on a vegan diet?
By choosing balanced meals, eating around 1,700 calories per day, and exercising as often as you can, you should be able to lose 1-2 pounds per week while still eating healthy.
Don’t set your weight loss goals too high as this might impact your health. It is always best to focus on healthy eating first and weight loss will occur more naturally.
After receiving many requests I created today’s 1,200 calorie plant based weight loss meal plan. To be clear, I do not recommend 1,200 calorie diets as suitable for long term goals or health (at least not for more than a week).
How much can I lose in one month? What to expect on a vegan diet for weight loss
If you are an average woman and follow a 1,200 calorie vegan diet plan and exercise three times per week for about one hour, you can expect to lose 2 pounds per week and 8 pounds per month.
If you choose to stick to the recommended 1,700 calorie vegan weight loss meal plan with the same amount of exercise, you can expect to lose 4-5 pounds per month.
When following this 1,200 calorie vegan diet plan for weight loss without any added exercise you can expect to lose about 6 pounds per month. These numbers will vary for each individual depending on size, weight, workplace, lifestyle, etc.
Also note: If you do add exercise the muscles that you build will also burn calories while you are in resting mode, providing better long term metabolism.
If you are confused about how many calories to eat, check out this video tutorial on how to calculate your daily caloric needs based on your age, lifestyle, weight, height, and weight goals.
Why choose a vegan weight loss plan?
#1 The vegan diet is one of the healthiest diets
The vegan diet is indicated as the healthiest diet concerning body weight, nutritional intake, and nutritional quality (source). If you choose a healthy lifestyle you will automatically lose weight. Additionally, you’ll increase the quality of your life and avoid preventable diseases (for example, diabetes).
When a vegan was compared to the diabetes diet suggested by the American Diabetes Association, both diets led to weight loss and health improvements BUT (source):
- Diabetes medication was decreased 0.96 percentage points in the vegan group and 0.56 points in the ADA group
- Body weight decreased 6.5 kg in the vegan group and 3.1 kg in the ADA group
- Among those who did not change lipid-lowering medications, LDL cholesterol fell 21.2% in the vegan group and 10.7% in the ADA group
#3 The vegan diet performs well for fat loss
“In a recent study, restricting dietary fat led to body fat loss at a rate 68 percent higher than cutting the same number of carbohydrate calories when adults with obesity ate strictly controlled diets.” (source)
This means if you follow a low carb diet you will still lose weight, but a lot of the weight loss takes place as water weight loss or muscle mass loss.
This might be an option if you only want to lose weight quickly, but if you are really serious about long term fat loss you should go with the low fat vegan diet and enjoy the (complex) carbs!
#3 Vegans are the only diet group with an average BMI
Why does this matter? Because on average a vegan is not overweight, which means it is easy to maintain healthy weight on a plant based diet.
“… High protein and low fibre intakes were the factors most strongly associated with increasing BMI.” (source)
The reason it is harder to become overweight on a vegan diet is because of calorie density. Below is an image showing 500 calories of vegetables compared to 500 calories of starches, meat, cheese, and oil. As you can see, your whole stomach can be filled with 500 calories of vegetables compared to 500 calories of meat that would only fill 1/3 of your stomach.
Vegan Weight Loss Lunch (~390 calories)
For lunch, just reheat the dinner from the night before. Cooked meals are simply the best option to get a larger amount of whole foods (like healthy starches, beans, etc) and all important nutrients in your diet. Cooking double the amount for dinner and eating it for lunch the next day also saves you some time.
Vegan Weight Loss Dinner (~400 calories)
By adding a 400 calorie dinner to the meals mentioned above, you’ll get a 1200 calorie meal plan. Below are some example recipes to get started. You can print these recipes by clicking over to each post. Then use the breakfast and snack recipe from above and you have a 1200 calorie meal plan.