This post is part of my ongoing Reader Questions Series.
Have been doing plant-based for more than two years and have never looked back. Initially lost 24 pounds. Went from 138 to 114 and have really enjoyed the adventure. However, in the past 3 or 4 months, I’ve been gaining weight. Likely because of stress with my adult son living in my home. My thinking is I just need to reduce the amount I am eating and be more disciplined with my exercise because I haven’t reverted to my former style of eating. Is there an approach I can take to jump-start if not to lose weight, to not keep from gaining any more? This morning I was at 128.
Plant-Based Cooking Answers:
I understand your frustration. This has also happened to me more than once, and just like you, my adult son was living with us for a time. It’s part of human nature that our willpower weakens with lifestyle changes and stress. Don’t worry, I have a few suggestions for you.
1. Start keeping a diary. I have mine on Google sheets and update it pretty much every day. That way you can see where you’re having trouble. Be honest with it. Just the act of writing down what you eat can help curb bad habits. Then you’ll want to look for patterns. Are you snacking at unusual times or on unhealthy choices? How can you turn these bad choices into better ones?
My bad habits have included eating toast with peanut butter after dinner, munching on dark chocolate, store-bought crackers, toast, toast and more toast, and avocados.
Keep in mind there’s a chance you’re not eating enough of the right foods.
2. Record your weight daily on the same chart. Some gurus don’t recommend this, but I’ve read that seeing your daily weight can psychologically set you up for the day. If you’re up a few pounds you’ll probably be more aware of what you actually eat that day. If you’re already on my email list, I have both a Meal Planner and a Daily Weight Chart that’s in the resource area of my website. All of the freebies are available if you join my list. https://www.plantbasedcooking.com/free-tools/. There’s also a Food Diary if you don’t want to use Google Sheets.
Thwart Those Bad Habits
3. Brainstorm on how to thwart these unhealthy choices. Here’s my list (including some I discuss here):
- Brush your teeth after eating
- Close the kitchen at 8:00 pm
- Have healthy snacks on hand and insight (fruit, hummus, carrot sticks, a bowl of soup, roasted potatoes)
- Keep a diary and weight in and record every day
- Meal prep
- Take a walk instead of snacking
- Use a pedometer
- Make homemade crackers instead of eating store-bought
Let’s see your list in the comments below!
4. Don’t purchase items that you know are your weakness. For example, since store-bought crackers are one of mine, I’m instead using my new recipe for oil-free Quino-Oat Crackers from my new cookbook, The Everything Plant-Based Meal Prep Cookbook, that comes out on Nov 17th and is available now.
Make a commitment
5. Make a commitment to add some exercise to your week, maybe 3 times of aerobic activity, and start using some weights, preferably two times a week, if you can. Working out with a trainer, even an online one, can really keep you on track. Having them check in with your weight and food goals is a great motivator.
6, Also, start making a meal plan for the week. You’re much more likely to stick with it and the food you should be eating. And, do some meal prep, as well. If you have good ingredients on hand, you’ll be more inclined to eat them. I make a pot of brown rice almost weekly or roast a lot of veggies and then use them in several dishes.
What About Sweets?
7. Are you a fan of sweets? I found that it was tough after dinner to stop eating or I wanted something sweet. I started buying more fruit to satisfy those cravings. I’ve especially been enjoying fresh pineapple which has been so sweet plus it has great digestive enzymes.
8. Have you by chance written out your health and weight goals? Doing this can help cement where it is you’re going and keeping them nearby, perhaps taped to the mirror or in your pocket where you can read them every day for reinforcement.
Here’s an article that might be helpful: “Five Ways to Improve Weight Loss on a Plant-Based Diet.”
9. And, lastly, it seems like from your question that you’re not eating any junk food, but do keep in mind that there are many vegan foods that contain more fats, sugar, and salt than is recommended on a whole-food, plant-based diet. If they’re tempting, choose other, healthier options such as these snack recipes here on plantbasedcooking.com
Remember it’s winter right now and a typical time for people to put on weight. You’ll be back in shape, I’ll bet, in no time when you put your mind to it. I hope that gives you a little boost to move the scale in the right direction.
All the best and good luck!
Share Your Experience
If you can relate to what this reader’s going through, let us know what you’ve found that works in the comments below.
Do You Have a Question?
This post is part of an ongoing series of questions and comments from my readers about eating a plant-based diet. If you have a question that you’d like me to answer, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I read every question and answer them personally, so if you feel stuck or are struggling with something or feel overwhelmed, I’d love to help you!