Have you considered trying out a vegetarian diet in the hopes that this will lead to weight loss? Thinking that a vegetarian diet will be healthier for you? There are many advantages to opting to choose more vegetarian options, but weight loss isn’t necessarily one of them.
Think of swapping your steak for a salad? Meat alternatives include eggs, lentils, nuts, and tofu among others. It is important to substitute meat, chicken, or fish for another source of protein and iron rather than cutting this out altogether. A vegetarian meal in itself may be slightly lower in calories than its non-vegetarian counterpart, or it might not.
Chips are generally vegetarian, so is chocolate, Honey coated cashews, Mayo, Lollies, Dried fruit, Cheese, Cake, Cookies… You get the idea.
Issues arise when you overestimate how many calories you are saving by eating a vegetarian meal, and then overeat extra treat type foods thinking you can still lose weight. This kind of mindset will most likely prevent weight loss, and perhaps even result in weight gain.
Careful planning is required to ensure that a vegetarian diet meets your nutritional requirements. Even more so if you intend to lose weight on a vegetarian diet. You still need to eat a nutritionally balanced diet, consuming the right amounts from each of the food groups.
The problem is that a portion of overweight/obese individuals will have impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) or type II diabetes and will need to manage blood sugar levels carefully. Simply replacing meat, chicken, or fish with lentils, chickpeas, or beans can mean extra planning is required to ensure total carbohydrate intake for a meal isn’t higher than ideal.
The right reasons
Choosing a vegetarian diet based on your personal, family, or religious beliefs is a valid and important decision for you to make. Plants based foods are, in their whole unprocessed state, very healthy.
Make sure that if you are choosing a vegetarian diet you are doing so because of reasons that make sense to you, and not because you think that you will naturally lose weight on this diet. You may be better off trying to keep your eating patterns close to normal, and just making a few changes to ingredients or preparation methods to make meals healthier.
You want to choose an approach that you will be happy to stick with for months, years or even the rest of your life. You’ll be more likely to be successful in this approach to weight loss, instead of feeling deprived or restricted. As always, choose what feels right for you and your body.