How long does it take to lose weight on a vegan diet?

  • Author: Alicia Harris
  • Date: April 8, 2022
  • Time to read: 7 min.

Maybe you’re considering getting into a vegan diet for the first time for the health benefits? Or did you fall off the wagon and are looking to climb back on again and take the complete journey this time? Perhaps you’re wanting to lose weight on a vegan diet? Are you focused on those 10 remaining, stubborn pounds that just won’t disappear? Can this happen sooner with a vegan diet? Does it make it easier to lose excess weight or is a vegan diet simpler to maintain while having a life? Let’s find out.

Why a Vegan Diet Causes Weight Loss

A vegan diet can be beneficial for your weight loss journey. And for most people who are facing up to considerable extra weight on their frame, it is a journey, not a sprint.

However, it’s not a dietary-led panacea for every ill or ailment either, and nor should it be thought of that way.

A vegan diet also has no end of health benefits.

A Diet Reality Check

Weight loss has always been overcomplicated by different diets and dietary options. This helps the so-called “diet industry” that, like the fashion industry, benefits from continually reinventing itself.

As a result, consumers try more new products, ideas, and fad diets with little accomplishment.

Going vegan can help you achieve your weight loss goals

Diets work when following sensible eating patterns, including high-quality food, avoiding overeating, and not ignoring the need to exercise daily.

This applies to vegans as much as anyone else when wishing to lose weight.

Calories in and calories out. Keep it simple. Going vegan can help to do that.

What initial advantages contribute to weight loss on vegan diets?

Less Processed Food

Vegans have far fewer processed food options at the supermarket.

Even when you spot some, it’s easy to scoff at the idea of purchasing them because you don’t know what’s been added. When you’re used to eating plant-based food, trusting what’s in a can or a packet is harder to do.

As a result, you eat cleaner. Not paleo diet “clean,” but certainly cleaner than on other diets or probably the way you’re still eating at present.

Consume Less Junk Food

Driving past the local golden arches or another fast-food joint isn’t tempting you.

When eating as a vegan, food tastes clean and fresh. It’s like a tantalizing dance for your taste buds.

A fatty burger just doesn’t do it for you. Even if there is a vegan menu option finally now, do you believe it’s cooked on a grill that’s not already contaminated with dead animal products? Many vegans don’t want to risk it, so they take a hard pass.

Water Soluble Foods

Many of the ingredients on a vegan’s plate are water-soluble. Often, filled with fiber too.

When eating these, your stomach becomes filled up. After a while, a feeling of being full will come over you (it takes time for the body to send this signal). If in the habit of grazing rather than wolfing down a meal quickly, it lets your mind catch up with your stomach.

Because of this, it’s not uncommon for vegans to consume fewer calories with many of those calories being less dense too. Indeed, some vegans have trouble keeping weight on because of this!

Factors Affecting Your Speed of Weight Loss

Weight loss happens to different people in various ways. It is not uniform and so it follows that two otherwise similar people will respond quite differently to switching to a vegan diet to lose weight.

Here are some of the factors that change how fast weight loss is achieved for a vegan:

It Depends on Your Eating Habits Before

Any weight loss approach usually requires several weeks to get going. A sedentary person typically has a slowed-down metabolism. Through better eating and adding in moderate exercise, the human body kicks into a higher gear. However, a little patience is required for this to take place.

Maybe you were previously overeating or consuming a diet of high saturated fat, fatty meat, plenty of bad cholesterol from fried foods, few fruit portions, or an ample amount of veggies?

If so, a switch to a healthier vegan eating plan will likely do you the world of good. Weight will come off far more easily because there’s fat to lose.

On the flip side of that coin, if you previously ate lean, or were on a plant-based or vegetarian diet already, then a vegan diet won’t eliminate many troublemakers.

Your total calories could be close to what they were previously. So, some of the benefits from water-soluble foods, and they’re not being processed in a factory, won’t apply.

Body Type

Body type, genetics, and so forth do play a part. However, be careful with this because plenty of people use it as an excuse in life. They say, “Oh.. I have fat guy/girl genes” as an excuse for staying obese or 20 lbs overweight.

Yes, it’s true that from a genetic perspective, you may be an endomorph (you naturally hold more weight on your body) instead of an ectomorph (naturally skinnier, all other things being equal).

What this means is that it might be the case that you’re an endomorph who finds losing that last 10 pounds to be a total nightmare, even as a vegan. But it does not and should not be used as a ready excuse for remaining far heavier.

People get too big because they overeat, make poor food, and drink choices, and fail to exercise to burn off any excess calories. Then they didn’t fix the problem by changing their behavior. Genetics plays a part, but it is admittedly a small one at that.

How much weight do you have to lose?

The great news about being heavier with more extras fat on your body is that it’s tough to move around, to work, to live. So, your body naturally burns more calories on a normal day than average, and with exercise, burns even more due to the extra effort involved.  

This means that it’s easier to drop a meaningful amount of pounds through a healthy vegan diet. Someone with only a few more pounds to go has it harder, even if they’re lighter on their feet now.

The heavier you are, the faster the initial weight will come off. It may be water weight, to begin with, but soon it’ll be your fat stores too. Then your body’s composition will begin to noticeably change.

Quality of Your Vegan Diet

Just because you’re eating vegan, doesn’t automatically make it healthy! A shock.. but true.

If you purchase pre-prepared vegan food or frozen food products, they might be vegan but be processed too. That’s bad news, especially if weight loss or a healthier lifestyle is your goal.

When cooking a vegan burger in oil in a pan, instead of grilling it and letting any fat drip away, it’s an unhealthy way to get a meal ready. Old habits die hard. Be careful that you don’t use inferior or unhealthy cooking habits with vegan ingredients and take two steps forward with one step back.

Check out this article for our top tips for cooking perfect vegan meals. Also, our vegan cooking tips for beginners, and possibly most importantly our vegan cooking tips for a busy schedule, because none of us have time to waste.

Also, it’s just as easy to overeat (or overserve and overeat) on a vegan diet. When the food tastes even better, sometimes we don’t know when to stop. Recognizing that feeling full is a comfortable feeling but feeling overstuffed is not, is a good step to getting portion sizes right.

So, How long does it take to lose weight on a vegan diet?

Everyone loses weight at different rates.

Usually, rapid weight loss is followed by putting it back on again. There have been weight loss TV shows that have amply demonstrated this. Also, follow-up medical testing has found that rapid weight loss can cause a seriously depleted metabolism that’s hard to get moving again. This makes it doubly difficult to keep the weight off following accelerated weight loss.

Slower weight loss is more likely to result in lasting weight loss

Slower weight loss is better. Aiming for 1-2 pounds a week is a solid goal. The human body equates 3,500 calories equivalent to one pound. Therefore, if having a calorie deficit of 500 calories daily, this potentially is one pound a week of weight loss. This can be from a reduced-calorie vegan diet and/or daily exercise.

A deficite of 3,500 calories will equate to roughtly one pound of weight loss

Beginning to lose weight on a vegan diet is likely in the first few weeks. The most important thing is to not lose hope by expecting overly fast results. Depending on how you ate before and how quickly your body adapts to a new way of eating, it may require a few weeks to see meaningful progress on the scales.

If possible, check your weight at the beginning and then avoid looking at the scales after. Because it’s only likely to cause you to give up on a new vegan diet before you’ve properly adjusted to it. It’s better to give it a month or longer. Anyways, you’ll probably notice your clothes becoming less tight or looser before hitting the scale.

Good luck!

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