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Veganism: A weight loss tool or not?

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So you’re overweight and someone convinces you that veganism is the weight loss tool for you. What do you do? Do you run for the border trying to hop on the next KFC truck heading out of town because there’s just no way that you can give up the ‘tastier’ things in life? No. You must embrace veganism as a lifestyle change - not a weight loss tool and not a sacrifice.

Transitioning to a vegan lifestyle can only contribute to weight loss if done in the right way. The change takes time and may not be easy, but it’s worth it in the long run. Including fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains in your diet is a good place to start. Incorporate these 3 steps:

Track your intake

Don’t lose heart if after 30 days into the new lifestyle you haven’t been losing big amounts of weight. Change your thinking. It took years of eating the bad foods to put on the weight, so don’t be upset that it’s taking some time to come off. Check your food choices. Just because it’s vegan eligible, doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Packaged foods, even though vegan, still fall under the ‘processed food’ category, so use these sparingly as you try to cut them out altogether. Too much bread, vegan desserts and fats, even the good fats, are not helpful either.

Exercise

Exercise is key to every lifestyle. Just changing your eating habits without exercising won’t yield the best results. Exercise and diet should be inseparable. Set new goals to challenge yourself.

Substitutes

Old habits are hard to break right? So what can you do? Be open to trying new things; make substitutions. For instance, try zucchini pasta with your own homemade sauce versus whole grain pasta with sauce from a jar. Tofu can be used as a source of protein over animal products. Air-popped popcorn or kale chips where you control the amount of oil that goes in can be used instead of oily tortilla or regular chips as a snack. A delicious fruit smoothie or ice cream made from frozen fruit can satisfy that sweet craving just as well as any other dessert.

Bottom line, veganism can help with weight loss. However, a mindset change, time, the correct food choices and exercise are some of the tools needed to maintain the lifestyle.

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