Getting in Shape


Hi all!

About three weeks ago I became a vegetarian.  it's something I wanted to do for years and finally just did it.  I LOVE it, I don't miss meat at all, and I wish I would have done it long ago.

But, I was thinking of "kicking it up a notch" and trying to go completely vegan, atleast until the wedding (Oct. 27th, 2012).  I don't think I could live a vegan lifestyle forever, but I think I could for the next 3.5 months.  I've heard being vegan can really kick start weight loss.

Are any of you vegan?  Does it "work"?    I'm looking to lose maybe another 15 pounds (I'm down 30 already!) but time is getting short so I'm looking for a diet that will really show results fast.  I know being vegan will be hard and I will have to be careful to get all my nutrients in, but will the results be worth it?  have any of you lost wieght fast by having a vegan diet? 

any advice would be helpful! 
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Re: vegan?

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    I've never tried going vegan, I love cheese far too much. But I was a vegetarian for six years and I was definitely my healthiest and smallest back then. The only reason I started eating meat again was because of some nourishment deficiencies. And even now I only eat certain meats. But just remember, just because you don't eat meat doesn't make you automatically healthy. I know plenty of vegetarians who can chow down on onion rings and cheese sticks like nobodies business.  

    I'd say go for it. Try it for a couple of weeks and if it's too difficult or not yielding the results you want then try something else. Have you thought about increasing your workout routines?
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    Honestly, you should consult your doctor or a nutritionist.  It can be a great decision (though I'd never have the willpower to do it), but only if you do it in a healthy manner.  There will be, as pp mentioned, some major deficiencies in vitamins and nutrients, but lots of times there is a simple daily vitamin or other food source that can replenish you.  Really, only your doc will know what levels you need for your build/lifestyle/etc-and what methods would be best for you to ensure you stay healthy.
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    CH11CH11 member
    First Comment
    Great job with the weight you have lost! It sounds like you're really committed to getting to your goal weight for your wedding. 

    Many people I know who have gone vegan have lost weight since much of what they ate before hand was restricted because of the ingredients list. Then again, I know some people who started opting for mostly packaged vegan food thinking they could eat as much as they wanted because it was 'healthy vegan'. That's where some of my nutrition clients slip up. 

    Some things to think about:
    • Being vegan can help you lose weight since you start to rely on more whole foods filled with fiber. For example, maybe you'll start to explore amaranth and other cool grains!
    • Being vegan can help you lose weight because some of the 'junk foods' you used to sometimes have are no longer an option.
    • Being vegan can cause weight gain if you opt for vegan 'packaged foods'/cereals etc instead of remembering to balance your diet with veggies.
    Have you thought about also doing a self contest  to make sure you're hydrating enough? Or maybe having yourself only have whole grains instead of refined grains?

    Best of luck!
    -Carlene R.D. 
    Carlene R.D. Registered Dietitian*Wedding Wellness Nutrition*
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    CH11CH11 member
    First Comment
    To follow up with a disclaimer as a dietitian:
    It is crucial you make sure you're getting all of your vitamins and minerals. Since you're cutting out animal products focus on protein from beans, calcium from leafy greens, and consider taking a B-12 supplement (only from animal sources). 

    -Carlene R.D. 
    Carlene R.D. Registered Dietitian*Wedding Wellness Nutrition*
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    Hi there,

    Congrats on your move to vegetarianism!  I've been vegan for years.  Generally speaking, I recommend to everyone that they incorporate as many whole-food vegan habits into their eating as possible!  I might quibble about the "serious deficiencies" in a vegan diet when compared to the SAD (Standard American Diet), but this is not the place.  We're here to offer input on your diet, not to have a debate :-)

    Typically, I would say, "YES! GO VEGAN!"  However...

    It's very easy to do it "wrong", as others have pointed out, by relying on packaged foods or not allowing oneself the time and space to
    (a) pay attention to the animal products you're eating out of habit versus out of craving/love,
    (b) experiment with recipies and nutritious eating within the vegan parameters, and/or
    (c) research whole food sources of the nutritrion their body needs (aka, relying on processed 'replacements'). 
    This often leaves people feeling a little gross, a little discouraged, and turns them off from their short-lived vegan experience.  If you're putting the added pressure of "this needs to cause weight loss fast", and perhaps it does not offer the results you want, you may be turned off even further.  Not my intention as a vegan advocate!

    So in my personal hope that you may turn to veganism in the long run, I would suggest something more progressive.  Only you can judge your current stress level with the upcoming wedding, and trying to adhere to new stricter diet rules may just be adding to the stress? Maybe?

    I am certainly not a registered dietitian, but my layman advice would be to start by limiting your animal products to something less than (maybe half of?) what you eat now and start there. 

    />Leafy greens, leafy greens, leafy greens.  then all other produce.  Then whole grains and legumes.  Then treats every few days.  In that order. 

    />Stock your fridge and spice cabinet with high flavored condiments: mustard, hot sauce, ginger, A1, garlic powder, dried onions, Braggs amino acids (like soy sauce only healthier), nutritional yeast (this is a MUST! Delicious and high in B-vitamins), fresh herbs...all of these will add so much flavor with 0 (or negligible) calories.

    />To progressively reduce dairy and eggs, pay attention to when you're craving dairy/eggs versus just eating it out of habit.  Work your way down to what you deem "necessary" for now (friday night cheese plate at happy hour, mom's famous custard, whatever you absolutely love/"need") and leave out the rest (use oil not butter, leave the cheese sprinkles off of the salad, no creamer in the coffee, whatever you're neutral about can go).  And even with the non-negotiables, see if you can limit the serving in 1 peice of cheese pizza instead of 3 :-)

    />If weightloss is really your goal, you may want to focus on limiting processed oils regardless of the source (animal or plant). 

    />If you do choose to go vegan, know when to "move on" if you slip up.  Meaning, don't throw the whole thing away just because you accidentally/purposefully ate dairy or egg at a party.  It's just one meal.  Move on and start again at the next one :-)

    Enjoy your next few months, whatever you may eat! 
    Vegan and healthy for 2 1/2 years :-)...engaged to a sexy 9-year vegan, btw :-)
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    I don't think that you should use Veganism as a diet. 

    End of story. If your sole purpose of cutting out major food groups is for weight loss, I am totally against it. 
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    HI There, 

    I would love to chat about your thoughts!  I am involved in a Healthy Living program that focuses on a vegan-lifestyle.  The results are amazing, but more importantly, I feel like a new person.  Feel free to email me at!
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    I used to be vegan. I am now vegetarian. This all started when I was 13. Being vegan was hard for me in that I had to cook and plan every meal. As I chose this diet for ethical reasons, I could not consume any animal products. I ate mainly rice, whoch ,ade me bloat. After 2 years of that, I relaxed back into vegetarianism. Now I don't have to be so picky about the ingredients I use and wage gelato. I am the same weight either way.
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    I think it's a great idea to go vegan until your wedding. I did it for six weeks and lost two inches from my waist and 4lbs...I "only" lost 4lbs b/c I was already a "healthy" weight to begin with, but I could see myself leaning out a lot more. It's easy to go vegan and go crazy with the carbs. You have to balance yourself. Oh and I should further note that I did not give up fish. I was doing it more for dietary purposes rather than ethical purposes so it was okay. You can get your nutrients and everything you need by making sure you eat plenty of veggies, tofu and beans. Also, they have "vegan" cheese if you ever get the urge to eat something cheesy when you think you start to miss it (although I think it's ultra-processed, which is probably not what you're going for). Either way there are a lot of substitutes: almond milk, vegan butter, coconut yogurt, egg substitute..the list goes on and on. Point of this long post: it really works just be very very aware of your carb intake!! Good luck.

    PS: Buy Skinny b! vegan cookbook ever!
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