Vegetarian and Vegan diets are one of the simplest and most cost effective ways one can lose weight. Studies conducted have shown positive results for this. Vegetarians on an average weigh lesser than their meat-eating counterparts.
Plant based diets are lower in calories. They are rich in vitamins and minerals and are less fatty than their meat and diary counterparts. It is important to know that for losing weight one must opt for a well balanced diet. Eating junk food like chips and cookies can result in abnormal weight gain. Consuming large quantities of vegetables and fruits can have a positive effect on losing weight and at the same time it will also have essential nutrients, minerals and vitamins required for the general well-being and upkeep of the body.
It is also possible to gain weight through a vegetarian or vegan diet and therefore care must be taken in losing weight. Key principles must be kept in mind and dietician and nutritionist must be consulted to ensure effective and even weight loss.
Achieving a caloric deficit is crucial to lose weight
It is necessary that to reduce your weight you will have to get rid of more calories. Reducing too much of your calories is not good. Your base metabolic rate comes from the amount of muscle mass that your body possesses. If you have more muscle than you have a higher metabolic rate and vice versa. Therefore you calorie requirement per day is the metabolism rate along with the physical activity that you engage yourself in.
It is important to understand how much calories you need and how much you can shed each day. There are several calculators that will show you how much you require and for more customized care you can visit your local nutritionist or dietician.
Once you determine the amount of calories that you require simply reduce the calories by 400 to 500 by increasing your physical activities and reducing meal portions and cutting fatty foods.
Weight reduction isn’t all that hard. Small steps in the right direction like small tasks, which will burn calories and decreasing your meal sizes, and reducing snacking on junk can have a positive impact. Having more fibrous fruits and vegetables and using low fat products and switching to healthier food options like grain biscuits instead of cookies can go a long way in reducing weight.
This is precisely why a vegetarian or a vegan diet is really beneficial. Apart from being rich in fiber and an abundant source of healthy nutrients, it is also low in calories and low in fat. They also help in the general well being of the body providing you with a great shape and an excellent immunity system.
Let us compare two meals, one vegan, and one non-vegan:
A salad –
1 tomato (16 calories)
½ cup of cucumber (8 calories)
1 cup of cooked black beans (227 calories)
2 cups of lettuce (16 calories)
1 teaspoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon vinegar (41 calories)
Total calories: 308
The same salad but with…
1 chicken breast (boneless and skinless) – (284 calories)
Total calories: 365
A difference of 57 calories!
Cucumber has large quantities of water content and this is excellent for weight loss. The black beans also give you 15 grams of fiber and fiber aids in weight loss.
To add to the merits of the vegetarian diet, you should note that the chicken breast adds a lot of animal fat, which is not good because of its properties in increasing bad cholesterol. The black beans have little to no fat per cup and this is inherently better than the animal fat.
Now it can be noted that this 57 calories per meal makes a huge difference, and that is just one component of one meal. More examples and more of the components in the vegetarian form can reduce your calorie intake thereby effectively reducing weight but at the same time keeping you healthy and fit.
Increased physical activity will increase your energy expenditure
Exercising can aid in weight loss and will help maintain your physique. Exercising like a brisk walk or a quick run or a jog can burn calories and reduce your weight. It is also advisable to hit the gym for an hour daily. This coupled with a good diet that reduces your calories will evenly and healthily help you reduce your weight. Even small household chores like playing or attending a dance class or cooking can burn calories.
Increased fruit and vegetable consumption will displace less healthy food choices
Vegetarians weigh lesser because of the large quantities of fruits and vegetables that they consume. Fruits and vegetables contain huge amounts of fibers and other essential nutrients. Fibers are good ways to eliminate body mass and help to manage weight. Large quantities of fibrous foods also help in keeping you full and not munching on unnecessary foods. It is important to consume large quantities of fruits and vegetables. Increase the intake of these with around four servings of vegetables and two servings of fruits. Using more vegetables and fruits in salads and as snacking options will also benefit you.
Reduced intake of discretionary high sugar/fat foods and beverages
Sugars and fats can fatten you up and it is imperative to note that there can be vegetarian foods that are also very rich in fats and sugars. These are unhealthy and can beef you up. High sugary foods like muffins, cupcakes, cakes, cookies, chips and other sweets like candies must be reduced. These should be taken in moderation.
These sugary substances are usually greasy and contain loads of Trans fat and can increase free radical build up in your body causing health hazards. They also contain hug amounts of calories that aids in weight gain. It is better to switch or alternate to healthier snacks like Greek yogurt, nuts, vegetables, salads, fruits and grain biscuits.
Limit alcohol consumption to one or two drinks
Alcohol isn’t exactly good for you and it contains about 8 calories per gram. Drinkers have a harder time losing weight because of this. It is best to limit your drinks and drink in moderation. Also having water between drinks will dilute the alcohol and reduce intake of calories. This will inturn reduce your waistline reducing your beer belly.