Beginner vegan in college with concern about gaining weight on a plant based diet? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 01-09-2013, 01:33 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 2

GoodEvening everyone :) I've decided to become a vegan. I've tried and fallen off the bandwagon once before while I was in high school now I believe that I'm ready for the lifestyle change now that I'm in college. I've read that a vegan diet can be cheaper and of course healthier than a meat based one. I've  also read that you can gain weight on the diet which definitely scares me, however, this is not the reason I'm going vegan. I've read that a vegan diet can have some very promising benefits in regards to health. How do I make sure that I do not gain weight as a vegan? Besides the obvious doing exercise. 


Also if someone could possibly give me some advice and tips on how to budget and buy cheaply on a vegan diet without overbuying processed foods.I would like to go raw or as far away from processed foods as possible. I've been looking for a few grocery lists and most likely I'll do some shopping at my local farmer's market as well. Does anyone know of a good grocery list with cheap but healthy items or some staples that should be included?


Thanks so much and I hope to get the ball rolling soon :)

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#2 Old 01-09-2013, 01:35 PM
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Location: Canada
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I'm not a nutritionist but in my opinion there are only two ways to gain weight on a plant-based diet. Firstly, if you eat the wrong foods. I'm surprised so many people try to incorporate meat-imitation foods into their daily diets.. I guess I never liked meat so I will never miss it. But anyways, these types of foods are very processed and any processed food on a regular basis is going to have health consequences. Focus on foods in their natural form and you're really only left with healthy items like beans, fruits, veggies, nuts. If you balance your diet to ensure you're getting enough calories from carbs, proteins and fats you won't gain weight. UNLESS you simply overeat. If you overeat anything you can technically gain weight. Since you'll be eating (hopefully) healthier foods from now on, you may be less concerned with portion control. Of course these foods will generally contain less calories so you will need to eat more to feel full but remember to eat slowly as your brain is delayed in recognizing when your stomach has become full. Lots of foods high in fibre and protein will keep you full for very few calories!


I think those are both pretty straight forward and you won't have any problems staying fit! In fact, I've been vegan (used to be vegetarian) for about 2.5 weeks now and I've already lost a bit of weight even though I don't feel I have a whole lot of extra to lose. Plus I just feel better because I'm never bloated (you will be for a few weeks if you're transitioning from full omnivore to vegan though due to increased fibre, it will go away don't worry!). Good luck!

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#3 Old 01-09-2013, 02:14 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: California
Posts: 127

Gaining or losing weight just depends on what you eat. If you're eating a lot of whole plant foods, and little processed food, sugar, simple carbs (like white flour), and processed fats like oils, your weight will probably settle to whatever is healthy for you.


I'm a vegetarian, but eat a vegan diet/plant-strong diet most of the time, and I lost about 40 lbs. I don't count calories or restrict portions, I just eat whenever I'm hungry, and enough to feel satisfied. I only gain unwanted weight  again if I stop eating nutrient-dense whole foods and eat too many processed foods or sugars. 


There's an article on eating a plant-based diet on a budget here that should help:

Beans, which are a great protein and nutrient source, are very cheap! That site in general is a great resource for this topic.

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#4 Old 01-10-2013, 08:59 AM
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Do you have a history of an eating disorder? I'm a little worried for you since you describe a fear of gaining weight. Adopting a vegan diet can be difficult for people with active eating disorders and even those who have recovered.

It is possible to gain, lose or maintain your weight on a vegan diet. There are no guarantees. There is a wide variety of vegan food out there, including many calorie dense options. What determines whether you gain or lose weight is the same whether you are vegan or omnivore--what foods are eaten and how much, as well as your physical activity level.
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