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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Marsh

Navigating the Challenges of a Plant-Based Diet

Navigating the Challenges of a Plant-Based Diet: Conquering Weight Gain and Plateaus

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My Journey from Raw Food Success to Weight Gain on a Plant-Based Diet

Over the years, as I have grown older, my approach to maintaining a healthy lifestyle has evolved. I once experienced great success with a raw food diet, shedding excess pounds and feeling more energetic. However, as time passed, I encountered new challenges. A misdiagnosis from the doctor led me to believe I had a thyroid condition, which I later discovered was not the case. Despite diligently weight lifting several times a week since my late 40s, my metabolism seemed to slow down, and the scale began to show signs of weight gain. Alongside my personal quest, I was determined to help my family transition to a mostly plant-based diet, leading me to introduce "transitionary" plant-based, mostly vegan food products. While this seemed like a positive change, the weight started creeping back on. If you're also grappling with weight gain on a plant-based diet, you're not alone. Let's explore some of the main reasons why this can happen and discover ways to make adjustments for a successful journey on a mostly plant-based flexitarian diet.

1. Overconsumption of Processed Vegan Foods

In my quest to adopt a vegan lifestyle, I turned to a plethora of processed vegan alternatives available in the market. While these products can be convenient and tasty, they often contain excessive amounts of sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats. Over time, I realized that my reliance on processed vegan foods may have been contributing to my weight plateau.

2. Portion Control and Caloric Intake

Admittedly, I was under the impression that a plant-based diet granted me the freedom to eat as much as I wanted. However, even on a vegan diet, excessive caloric intake can hinder weight loss. I discovered that portion control remains crucial, and I needed to be mindful of the number of calories I consumed each day.

3. Lack of Nutritional Diversity

While plant-based diets offer a wide array of fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes, I realized that I tended to stick to the same set of meals, lacking diversity in my nutritional intake. This lack of variety may have impacted my ability to lose weight, as my body may not have been receiving all the essential nutrients it needed.

4. Sedentary Lifestyle

Although I embraced a plant-based diet, I failed to prioritize physical activity as much as I should have. Regular exercise is key to overall health and weight management. My sedentary lifestyle might have hindered the potential weight loss benefits of my diet.

5. Mindless Eating and Emotional Triggers

In moments of stress or emotional distress, I turned to comfort foods, even if they were plant-based. Mindless eating and emotional triggers can sabotage weight loss efforts, and I had to address these habits to see real progress.

Recommended Reading:
  1. "The Plant-Based Diet for Beginners" by Gabriel Miller

  2. "How Not to Die" by Michael Greger, MD

  3. "The Mindful Vegan" by Lani Muelrath

  4. "Eat to Live" by Dr. Joel Fuhrman

  5. "The Starch Solution" by Dr. John A. McDougall


Empowering Your Weight Loss Journey

Though adopting a plant-based, vegan lifestyle has brought significant improvements to my overall health and well-being, weight loss remains an ongoing challenge. By addressing the potential pitfalls of my diet, such as overconsumption of processed foods and lack of nutritional diversity, I can make more informed choices and take steps toward a healthier weight.

Remember, weight loss is a holistic process that involves mindful eating, regular physical activity, and emotional well-being. If you're in a similar situation, don't get discouraged. Take the time to assess your diet, lifestyle, and emotional triggers to empower yourself on your weight loss journey.

I came across an informative video that delves into the topic "Why You're STILL OVERWEIGHT AS A VEGAN: The Reasons You Can't Lose Weight on a Plant-Based Diet" by Healthy Vegan Mama, which could offer valuable insights for your weight loss journey.

  1. Vegan Society -

  2. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine -

  3. Forks Over Knives -

(Note: The information in this blog post is based on personal experiences and research up to September 2021. Please consult a healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalized advice.)

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