The Basics of Weight Loss
If you’re reading this, you’re probably on your journey to lose weight. Maybe you’re struggling or you don’t know where to start. If you’re like me, you have researched different diets, watched documentaries about health and weight loss, and watched YouTubers talk about how they successfully lost weight. I wanted to lose the weight that I gained from pregnancy so I can regain my confidence and feel like myself again. I was able to lose weight due to different factors like not eating late at night, portion control, balanced carbohydrates, increased activity, and taking enough vitamins, and drinking enough water. I didn’t take a magical pill or drink some expensive protein shake. It’s about motivation, discipline, and determination.
Make sure you talk to your physician before starting any new diets.
Meat and dairy
What are you willing to do to get the body you’ve been dreaming about? Are you ready to put in the hard work? Are you ready to turn down that birthday cake? I love sweets. So if I can do it, you can too. The first step is to Remove animal bi-products from your diet. Animal bi-products have fat and cholesterol which may hinder your weight loss. I have tried fat-free dairy products like fat-free plain greek yogurt and fat-free cottage cheese but I wasn’t losing weight the way I wanted to. Dairy is not good for weight loss and I love dairy but I quit dairy.
When I first began my weight loss journey, I tried going for a run and jump roping. I figured I would workout hardcore until I lost the baby weight. But I ended up at the doctors with knee pain. The doctor told me I would have to stop exercising and to just focus on my diet to lose weight. I lost weight by eating healthier; only eating fish and chicken, not adding extra oils to my foods, not eating processed sugars, and decreasing my carbohydrates. But my body hit a plateau. I was still overweight and not feeling like I was at the point I wanted to be. So I started the vegan diet.
No protein shakes
I lost some more weight when I started going vegan. but then I hit another wall. What was keeping me from losing weight? The protein shakes. I had switched to the vegan protein powder and stopped the yogurt and milk but I was still holding onto weight. When I stopped the protein shakes, the weight started melting off.
Don’t eat after 8 pm.
I was used to eating through the night because I was hungry all the time when I was pregnant and I was hungry all the time when I was breastfeeding. I was up all hours of the night, so I had to eat late. I wasn’t able to restrict my night eating cold turkey. If I’m too hungry, I won’t be able to fall asleep. So, when I first started my diet change I did not concern myself with what time I ate. As my weight went down, and I was putting healthier foods in my body, my food cravings also decreased. Over time I was able to stop eating earlier and earlier. My stomach felt lighter and I had less indigestion when I didn’t eat late at night. My belly would feel bloated in the morning if I ate too late. I would hate that heavy feeling in my belly. Now I don’t eat late at night and I wake up feeling good about how I ate and have no bloating.
Watch your portions
I can eat a lot of food at one time, Especially if it tastes good. I have the bad habit of wanting to eat until I can’t eat anymore. If there’s still room in my stomach I’ll feel like I’m still hungry. This is still one of my struggles. I usually eat two servings. Then I want something sweet after I eat a meal.
I’m still able to lose weight even though I’m not the best at portion control. The days that I do have more control, I do notice a difference in feeling lighter and less bloated. I know if I eat one serving and then wait to digest before I eat again that I would be able to lose weight even faster. But it’s something I’m still working on improving and that’s okay. I never starve myself to lose weight. I eat when I’m hungry and I eat enough to feel full. If you starve yourself it will only hurt you in the long run because you will end up binge eating eventually. You might even be able to sustain a depleted calorie diet for three months and then you’ll eventually want to eat everything in front of you and gain more weight than you lost.
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A vegan diet can be high in carbohydrates. I eat black beans, chickpeas, lentils, peas, corn, brown rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, squash, zucchini, vegetables and fruits. I eat many meals with brown rice. To decrease the amount of rice I put on my plate, I mix it with cauliflower rice or the cauliflower and broccoli rice. This way I eat more vegetables and do not load up on the carbs all the time. This way I can eat a large meal but most of it is vegetables.
I will eat processed carbs like tortillas and wheat bread. But I try not to eat too much processed carbs. I try to keep my diet plant-based with as much real food as possible. I eat brown rice, sweet potatoes, Quinoa, beans, squash, zucchini, vegetables and fruits. I also eat dried fruit and nuts. I’ll eat oatmeal with raisins and walnuts for breakfast. Then I might eat tofu, cauliflower rice/brown rice, and mixed vegetables for lunch. Then for dinner I might eat homemade hummus, cauliflower rice/brown rice/ quinoa, corn (bag of frozen corn) and olives. Then I will eat homemade granola for a snack. I will snack on fruit throughout the day. I also like to snack on the Belvita biscuits (which is a processed food but I enjoy it). Each meal is high in carbohydrates but is also full of plant protein, fiber and vegetables. These meals have real food, not processed foods that you can’t pronounce the ingredients. Processed foods also have added oils, salt, and sugar that can prevent you from reaching weight loss goals.
Vitamins and supplements
I make sure I take my vitamins everyday.
#1 Vitamin B12
A vegan must take a vitamin B12 Supplement because the only natural way to get vitamin B12 is through animal bi-products. I prefer a sublingual vitamin or liquid for better absorption. People used to absorb vitamin B12 by eating foods that grow from soil. But our foods are so sanitized now it depletes the vitamins. So Farmers have to give vitamin B 12 to the farm animals, we eat those animals and then we absorb the vitamin B12. But you could choose to take the B12 supplement yourself instead of giving the supplement to the animal and then eating the animal to receive it (veganfoodandliving.com)
I also take Ashwagandha that enhances mood and energy.
I take a prenatal vitamin because I am still breastfeeding. You can also find a multivitamin geared toward vegans.
#4 Calcium and vitamin D
I will take vitamin D depending on the circumstances.
If you are inside a lot and not getting much sun, you may need a vitamin D supplement. Also if it is winter season and the sun hasn’t came out much, you may need some Extra vitamin D. Since your cutting out dairy, you want to make sure you’re getting enough calcium. Usually the milk alternatives have calcium added to it. You can also get calcium from leafy greens and soy products.
Be conscious about getting all the vitamins and minerals that you need.
Iron rich foods:
dried fruit, molasses, and leafy green vegetables, lentils, tofu, chickpeas, quinoa, hemp seeds and nuts.
I also add yeast to my foods for added vitamin B.
Good plant protein sources are beans, legumes, quinoa, oats, tofu, tempeh, chia seeds, and nuts.
Fat sources can be avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, nuts, seeds.
When planning out your meals make sure you have a balanced meal with protein, carbohydrates and fat. Eating a balanced meal will leave you feeling fuller longer and give you the sufficient energy you need.
I used to be able to go for runs, lift weights, do kickboxing, and Hiit workouts. But since my pregnancy my body has not had the same abilities. I am in better shape now than 6 months ago from doing yoga and losing weight. Losing weight has helped decrease my joint pain and made it easier to exercise. I’m strengthening my abs and this helps with the back pain. I like yoga because it has stretching for flexibility and it uses your body weight for strengthening. Body movements become smoother and easier. Yoga helps me a lot. I also go for walks because it is low impact as long as I stay on flat ground. My kids and I get fresh air and they sometimes get a nap in.You don’t have to work out everyday for two hours to lose weight.you just need to eat healthy and go for walks. Increasing your physical activity can cause you to gain weight because as your body burns more energy your body becomes more hungry. Your appetite increases and you want to eat everything in sight. Decreasing your calories too low can cause a plateau because your metabolism decreases to adjust to the decreased calorie intake. You can keep it simple by not increasing your physical activity too much and not decreasing your calories too much. Lose weight without the extra unnecessary work.
Drink plenty of water
Drink water and don’t drink your calories.
According to the mayo clinic, a woman should have 2.7 liters of water a day and a man should drink 3.7 liters a day. This amount of water includes your intake from foods, tea, and coffee. So that’s why it’s averaged out to 8 cups of water a day. If your urine is light yellow or a clearish yellow then your water intake is sufficient. If your urine is dark yellow or has a smell, then you are dehydrated. You need to increase your water. Drinking H2O will give you energy and satiate some of your hunger. Drink when you’re thirsty. Use a water bottle that has a tracker on it to measure your daily intake.
I have tried different ways to lose weight throughout my life. I had ups and downs. A vegan diet helps remove many unhealthy foods from my diet. I can lose weight by going vegan because it increases my fiber and vegetables. But there are also other factors that can aid in weight loss such as, what time you eat, portion control, physical activity, vitamins and supplements and water intake. You CAN lose weight. You have the strength to make the healthier choice. How bad do you want it? What are you willing to sacrifice? You will become a healthier version of yourself. You will reach your goals by following the basics of weight loss.
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