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If your only reason for switching to a vegan diet is to lose weight, think again. Though any reason you choose to become vegan is a great reason to me, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will lose weight if you become vegan. I know it may sound disappointing but it is not to discourage you. On the opposite, I want to let you know that vegan food does not always mean healthy. For example, vegan-friendly pop or fries are not healthy. Thus, if you do want to learn how to lose weight and stay healthy this year, this post is for you!
How to Lose Weight and Stay Healthy this Year
As you probably know, I have just celebrated my 3rd Veganniversary this year. You might be interested to know that I have lost and gained back the weight since my lifestyle change. My weight has been fluctuating these 3 years and I kept losing and gaining back about 12 pounds (~5kg).
Though it might not look bad for some, I feel it is not that good for me. I am mainly connecting these weight fluctuations to my exercising routine. Or to the lack of such.
It is as simple as that:
Exercising => normal weight + toned body
Not exercising => gaining weight=> discouraging fat/muscle ratio + the look I don’t like
I am sure I am not discovering Americas with these. Yes, it is pretty much that easy for me. Since the majority of my meals are homemade and cooked from scratch from either organic or grown in our backyard products, I know it is mainly the lack of exercising that causes my weight gain.
It might not be the case for you but I will address that below.
My day job is in the office which means mainly sitting at my desk for 7 hours. I am pretty good with following the schedule for my meals with quick morning and afternoon breaks (snacks), and an hour break for lunch.
And, with the exception of the delicious homemade bread that my hubby makes, and delicious pasta meals that I cannot resist, my calories intake is within the norm for my age. Which means that there is one thing that I really need to improve in order to get back to normal weight:
My Exercising Routine
I used to go to the gym 4 – 5 times a week. This would include both cardio and weights workout. I don’t really like running or jogging, as they seem to be boring for me. But I would do either swimming or a Zumba class for cardio twice a week instead. Pretty nice, right?
Well, it is, if you commit to it.
The last couple of years I would start and after a couple of months stop doing it. I have been lazy (or tired) and maybe unmotivated?.
As a result, I gained weight again…
And it is not just the cloth that I want to wear and can’t. It is also how I feel about myself. I know I can do better and be better me.
If you are feeling the same and exercising is one of those healthy habits that you need to improve, I think I have an idea. Just bear with me for a few moments and I will explain 😉
However, exercising might not be the only thing you need to improve to lose weight and stay healthy.
You Are What You Eat
If you looked at your eating habits, what do you think they would be like? Are you trying to eat healthy unprocessed foods? Does your diet contain enough vegetables and fruit? Do you have food allergies which limit your diet?
These are important questions to ask yourself. If you your daily diet includes veggies and fruit (fiber), beans and lentils (protein), nuts, avocado and good oil (good fats), and whole wheat pasta and bread (carbs), chances are that your vitamins and minerals intake is balanced and healthy.
However, if you tend to buy fast-food or processed food, you may want to try and change these habits. These are no good for your skin, your immune system, your body and your mind.
Are you now wondering HOW to do it? How to change these bad habits and live a better life? Well, I will share a not-so-surprising secret with you:
It is all about your Mindset.
If you lack a motivation, or an idea, or a cause, it will be pretty difficult for you to commit.
If I only chose to become vegan because I wanted to be healthier and skinnier, I would probably have quitted 6 or 7 months after I started. This was how long I lasted a couple of years ago when I decided to quit drinking coffee 😉
It turns out that no matter how much we love ourselves, we can still get lazy and stop doing something we should be doing.
When we are doing something for a Bigger Idea, something which is not only important to us but can help a better cause, we tend to commit.
In my case, going vegan was because I didn’t want my part in animals’ suffering in those cruel farm-meals.
In your case, it might be becoming a role model for your kids, your parents or any other important person in your life.
Find your WHY and it will be much easier to accomplish your WHAT.
So, if you want to know how to lose your weight and stay healthy this year, think about what will motivate you enough to keep you on your path.
And then build your strategy. We will start with a few basic steps.
Plan your meals
Being spontaneous and easy-going is a good quality. However, having plans can help you stay focused and organized. Meal planning is the same. Another advantage is that it helps you plan your budget and manage your money.
Yes, it helps you to save money!
If you plan your meals weekly or monthly, great job! You are ahead of so many in this adventure! If you don’t, you may want to give it a try.
Need some help and ideas? Download my meal planner for your personal use.
Cook at home
This one seems to be easier for some but not for all. However, there are many meals that you can make in less than half an hour. Some of these you can find on my blog. Pinterest is a great source of ideas as well.
My family likes fresh meals every day. And we usually cook every day. These are pretty simple staple dishes like pasta or rice with a salad, stir-fried or steamed veggies, and soups.
However, many of our friends like to do batch cooking on the weekends and refrigerate or freeze the meals to eat during the week. Some even make sandwiches for work for the entire week in advance.
With the modern technology and helpful appliances, you can also use a slow cooker and have your dinner waiting for you when you get home from work. How good is that!
Whatever method works best for you and your family try to stick to eating the homemade food.
This way you will have control over the quality of the products and the ingredients used, and once again, over your money.
This includes making at home whatever you buy from a coffee shop on the way to work: coffee, latte, or tea.
Seriously, it is so easy to program your coffee maker the night before and have the fresh coffee waiting for you when you wake up! Or get your cup with your favourite tea blend ready the night before and starting a teapot first thing in the morning.
Same is true for the homemade bread! Isn’t it awesome to wake up to an aroma of the freshly made bread? Just be careful – it is so easy to eat a lot of it – this is how good it is!
Another option is an overnight oatmeal. Mmmm… I love my overnight oats. It literally takes 5 minutes to prepare them the night before. They are also a great source of fiber, plant-based protein, magnesium, and iron! I will be posting my recipe soon.
But enough talking, shall we move to action?
Do you need someone to hold you accountable
If you are like me, in addition to a good motivation you probably need someone to hold you accountable. Someone you can talk to and share your ideas, your successes and failures with.
Someone who is not too close to you so you can share your problems without worrying about being judged. And at the same time, someone who understands your struggle and your doubts.
What do you think about a closed group where you can “check-in” once a week with your progress? A closed group of similar-minded online comrades who are part of the group for the same reason?
I have created a closed Facebook group for those of you who need someone to hold you accountable. Mutually, you will hold me accountable 😉 Because it is so new, all the members will have a say in what they want the group to be like.
Why would you want to become a group member? What’s in it for you? Well, as I have already mentioned, we will all try and keep ourselves accountable. I will be sharing my progress with you and will be happy to follow your progress as well. My sister is a chef, and she will be sharing her knowledge with us all.
I am also hoping to get my friend who has been a weight loss coach for many years to pop-up and share her secrets and tips with us.
And the most important thing: we will have fun!
By the way, I won’t be measuring my results by the weight loss. Personally, I think the weight is not a good indicator of the quality body change. I will be going by a combination of the change in the body measurements (bust-waist-hips-arms-legs), fat loss and muscle tone.
So, are you coming along?
If FB group is not your cup of tea, you are more than welcome to subscribe to my Healthy Lifestyle Club newsletter and follow my progress that way. This will be a monthly email progress report sent to you with a few tips and recipes.
The main goal is to stay healthy year round, isn’t it?
And this is what I am wishing you!
*Please always consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise program or diet.*