People turn to a plant-based diet for a dozen different reasons, but a popular one is as a way to lose weight. Many people turn to plant-based with the hope that the pounds will simply fall off and a lot of these people are disappointed when that doesn’t happen. The question is, why not? Plant-based is healthier right? The answer to that is, it's complicated. If you turned to plant-based with the plan to be healthier and you did a ton of research beforehand, chances are the weight is falling off. But if you just quit eating meat and hoped to see a change, chances are you are not reaching your goals. 

One thing nearly every diet can agree on is the key to weight loss is calories in versus calories out. Basically, you want to burn more calories each day than you consume. If you are eating the same amount or more calories than you burn, you will not be losing weight. What shouldn’t come as a surprise is that you can still consume more calories than you are burning on a plant-based diet. Recognizing that a plant-based diet can still be high in calories is the easy part, the hard part is doing the leg work necessary to determine what part of your diet is causing the issue. 

Many people who have turned to this diet might not be seeing the results they expected. Here are six common reasons why that might be happening. 


You are consuming too many calories. 

No matter what your calories come from, if you eat more than you spend your body will not burn away stored fat deposits. In order to lose weight, you have to eat less than your body needs. You can do this by either eating smaller portions or upping the amount of exercise you do in a day. Exercising can be hard to fit in, but it’s linked to multiple benefits for a healthy life, so it is a great option to help create a calorie deficit. 

You are eating junk food

This ties in with the 1st reason you may not be losing weight on a plant-based diet. Many of the plant-based junk foods are as bad or even worse as some you would find eating a regular diet. In fact, the popular cookie Oreo is considered vegan, but it’s easy to understand that if all you eat is Oreos you will quickly find that your vegan diet doesn't work. It’s the same with other vegan junk food, they are high in processed sugars and refined carbs and low in anything of nutritional value. Eating too much of this type of food will leave you hungry often and way over your calorie budget.


You aren’t getting enough Macronutrients

A healthy diet has proteins, fats, and carbs. Generally, when people switch to a plant-based diet, they replace proteins with carbs. While carbs in healthy portions are not the bad guy, they can quickly become an issue when they make up a majority of your diet. Refined carbs especially, which is what many vegan junk foods are made from, are quickly stored as fat if your body does not need them for energy. Making sure you are getting enough proteins and fats is essential to losing weight on a plant-based diet.


You are eating too much sugar

Unless you are on a whole food plant-based diet odds are good you are getting many of your daily calories from pre-made vegan meals. 

People often fall into the trap of trying to eat what they are used to and replace meat with fake meat. Unfortunately, it’s hard to make fake meat taste good, so often these foods contain excess amounts of sugar and or salt. Both sugar and salt can lead to weight gain and not weight loss. 


You aren’t tracking your food or exercise.

Many people assume how many calories are in something and many times they are extremely far off. Just because something is healthy does not mean it's low-calorie. Nuts are a great example of this. While extremely good for you, and a good source of protein, too many nuts add up to a high-calorie count fast. 


Tracking how many calories you are intaking is a quick way to show what foods are contributing to your lack of weight loss. In the same way, people assume they burn more calories than they really are. Tracking your exercise and daily habits will help you get a better understanding of how many calories you should be eating in a day. How many calories you should eat also can change daily, if you are more active one day, then it's okay to eat more calories. But if you have a rest day it might be an important day to really track how many calories you are consuming. 


You have a medical reason for not losing weight. 

Sometimes you can do all the right things, perfectly follow your diet, exercise daily, and count calories like mad and still not lose weight. This might be because of a medical reason. There are several reasons your body may be holding on to that excess weight. If you have tried and failed on your own, it might be time to talk to a doctor. 



There are many reasons a plant-based diet might not be working for you on your weight loss journey these include but are not limited to:

  • Eating too much sugar
  • Not eating enough protein
  • Eating too much junk vegan food
  • Not counting your daily calories
  • Eating too much of the wrong types of protein
  • Eating too much food

If you have been struggling to make a diet work on your own with poor or no results it might be time to seek help. There are many apps and healthcare professionals that can help you achieve your weight-loss goals. A plant-based diet has many health benefits and if done correctly can lead to living a more sustainable and healthy life. 

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