5 Reasons Why You're Not Losing Weight
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Have you switched to a vegan diet with the hopes that all of your unwanted fat will melt away in the blink of eye? Did you initially notice some great results, but after a few months, hit a plateau? You're not alone and it DOES NOT mean that veganism isn't working for you. Hear me out…
This post isn't just for vegans. Understand that weight loss plateaus happen to everyone at some point or another, and that has little do with your vegan lifestyle. In every diet, you will more than likely experience plateaus (unless it's a very unhealthy plan). Your body is a magnificent machine that is able to recognize the signals you send it, and it can adapt quickly in order to survive and thrive in your surrounding conditions. In other words, your body may get used to your routine and figure out how to store your fat even though you are working so hard to shed it.
There are many factors that could be hindering your weight-loss success. In order to identify which factor(s) could be affecting you, I recommend making slight changes in one of the following areas for one week at time. This will help you gauge your results and pinpoint your problem area. I do not recommend attacking all of these areas at once because it would be difficult to determine what the cause of your particular plateau may be. Once you pinpoint the root of your struggle, you can move onward, full steam ahead, with your new technique. That is, until you stall again, and then you'll need to simply repeat the discovery process.
Here are some reasons your weight loss might have stalled and some easy things you can do to push past this phase:
1. You're eating too many meat and dairy substitutes.
Hear me when I say that I am only speaking to people who are really trying to lose weight. Yes, meat and dairy substitutes are far better for you, for the animals, and for the planet than their torturous counterparts, BUT– they are highly processed, and they contain added sugar, fat, and preservatives. If you're overdoing it with the Tof-urky and Beyond Meat burgers, you're not going to see the results you're looking for. Try cutting back on these items and re-focus on fresh produce, whole grains, and nuts & seeds.
2. You need to increase your amount of exercise.
If you've been steadily maintaining a good exercise routine, it's probably time to switch things up and increase the intensity. Remember what I mentioned before about your body adapting to its circumstances? Well, if you've plateaued while eating right and working out consistently, this is most likely the issue. Add on 30 more minutes of cardio per day or lift heavier weights than you are now. Do this for one week and see if you can't budge that number on the scale.
3. You're not fully recovering from your workouts.
Tearing up your muscles while exercising and not recovering properly can lead to inflammation and water retention. This can make it seem like you're not getting into shape when, in fact, you may be. It's important to eat the proper foods before and after you exercise to ensure your muscles can recover. Try eating a "light portion" of protein, like a handful of pistachios or some broccoli and hummus, about one hour before exercising. Keep it light before a workout so that you don't upset your stomach. Then, recover with anti-inflammatory foods like pineapple, kale, ginger, turmeric, beets, and spinach. This should help you lose some water weight, tone your muscles a bit more, and slim your waistline.
4. There are too many carbs in your diet.
I get it! Pasta is life and carbs are delicious! #FriesBeforeGuys, y'all! As vegans, there aren't necessarily a TON of options when it comes to eating out in social settings. So, we tend to order pasta with red sauce or just fries for dinner because we know those are our safest choices. I've been there…I live there, too! Carbs are not a bad thing. Your body needs them to survive, but there is a difference between good carbs and bad carbs. Everything should be consumed in the proper balance. Really examine your diet over the course of a week. If you're eating potatoes, fries, and pasta every single day, then it may be time to reduce those servings to once or twice a week until you get closer to your goal weight.
5. You have a hormonal imbalance.
Don't let that phrase freak you out. Hormonal imbalances can be a major issue, but in most cases, they are very minor. In either case, it has the ability to affect how you lose weight. Decreases in testosterone in men and estrogen in woman can lead to increased belly fat, adult acne, fatigue, headaches, menstrual changes, bloat, and irritability. There are numerous different hormones that play a role in our physical well-being. If just one of those is slightly off-balance, it can disrupt your progress. Talk to your doctor about checking your hormone levels. There are plenty of vitamins, supplements, and even plant-based foods that can get you back in order naturally, and on your way to a fitter you!
Don't let a weight loss plateau discourage you from forging on into veganism. It’s natural and common and you're not alone! Give some of these tips a try and hopefully you'll continue to shed those pounds in no time!