Skip to content
21 reasons you are not losing weight on a Vegan diet. - Roshni Sanghvi

21 reasons you are not losing weight on a Vegan diet.

Plant- based meals are proven to be effective when it comes to fat- loss. But not everyone see's 'instant fat loss' when they switch to a plant- based diet. Are you one of those that have adopted a vegan diet that is nutrient dense but still not seeing fat loss? Though there could be multiple reasons for not losing weight on a vegan diet, let's discuss a potential few. This article records 21 reasons why you are not getting fit on a plant-based diet.

1. Eating way too many hidden calories:

You might be stunned to hear that even nourishments we consider reliable can be high in calories, prompting weight gain. Have a look at a few ways you might be sneaking in extra calories without being aware of the same:
  • Olive oil: Despite it being one of the most healthy oils used in cooking, olive oil can be disastrous for your weight loss regime. Each tablespoon consists of 119 calories. Quick, how many servings of olive oil did you drizzle on your salad today in the name of health? But what about healthy fats? All foods we eat has some fat and we get more than enough of the same. Ideally, gear towards oil free cooking.

  • Fruit Juices: Fruit juices tend to contain double the amount of calories than the fruit itself. Replace drinking fruit juices with the fruit. A cup of orange juice with 3 oranges contains around 110 calories whereas a serving of orange is just 62 calories. Eating the fruit itself will increase the consumption of dietary fibres, make you fuller faster, thus boosting satiety. Are you 'juicing' in the name of health?

  • Dried fruits: Surprisingly, dried fruits can be packed with calories. Additionally, you tend to consume a lot more dried fruits because of its lower volume content. If you are mindlessly munching on dried fruits as your mid- noon snack, you might be getting more calories than needed.

  • Nuts: Ask your parents if they had access to the amount of nuts we have today. Nuts and seeds were considered luxury and a rarity. But gone are the days when we limit nut consumption to Diwali and Sal Mubarak only. These are very high in calories. Yet, due to their high nutrient profile, I suggest you consume one to two tablespoons in a day. No more!

  • Spreads: Spreads like Nutella and peanut butter might be nutritious. However, just a couple of spoonfuls of PB runs close to 200 calories. This is more than some of the most sugar laden jams. Plus who stops at just one tbsp of nutella.

  • Breakfast cereals: The recommended portion size is 30g, which contains 110 calories. By increasing your portion size to 50g, you increase your calorie intake by 75 calories per portion.

  • Smoothies: Surprisingly, our body processes liquid calories very differently from the way it processes solid calories. This partly has to do with the fact that we omit the need to chew food, reducing digestives juices in the gut and dropping satiety. If your idea of a hearty breakfast is a jar of smoothie, you might tend to be indulging in mind day snacking more than needed. Not to mention, smoothies run into 100's of calories which you otherwise might not eat in one sitting.

  • Salad dressing: If you read the nutritional label's of some of the salad dressings available in the market, you will likely never pick it up. Just a few tbsp of salad dressings might be as high as a couple hundred calories. Next time, read the label.

2. Setting Unrealistic Goals.

Healthy fat loss will take time. You did not gain the weight overnight, so do not expect to lose it in a few weeks. This will demotivate you, and you will return to your old habits. Set reasonable objectives for yourself. Separate your weight reduction agenda into more modest objectives. For instance, record the goals consistently. Aim for no more than 2-3 kilo's of fat loss per month. The process is a little faster if you are struggling with morbid obesity.

                                        3. Drinking too many calories.

                                        As stated above, drinking fruit juices can be disastrous. But also think about carbonated and processed drinks. Watch the below video to understand more:
                                        Replace smoothies/ juices and soda's with whole fruits and veggies. They are high in dietary fibres and also high in water content - both of which are responsible to keep you fuller for longer periods of time. Additionally, dietary fibre isn't stored in the body. It is eliminated, hence, there is no question of accumulating body fat. Smoothies might make you feel full for an hour or so, but eventually, you will get hungry again.

                                        4. Lack of physical activity:

                                        Though the lack of structured physical exercises is rarely the reason not to lose weight when struggling with obesity, lack of movement in general is a cause of obesity. Watch this eye opening video to understand more:

                                        If you want to expedite your weight loss goals, I also suggest adding in 120- 150 minutes of structured physical activity per week to your routine. What's more, it can also serve to be very beneficial to one's immunity and hormonal balance.

                                        5. Not Consuming Enough Protein.

                                        I am definitely not talking about proteins coming in from animal foods here, nor I am not talking about protein powders. But adding a fistful of lentils/ beans/ pulses to your meal does improve insulin sensitivity and aid if weight loss. Protein's also boost satiety, reducing mid meal hunger pangs. Besides this, proteins are not as calorically dense as fat's are. That being said, aim to consume no more than 25% of your calories coming in from plant- based protein sources per day. Excess proteins only converts to body fat, so no need to overdo this.

                                        6. Skipping Meals.

                                        It's ludicrous to feel that skipping meals will assist you reaching a healthy weight. Not eating for beyond a few day's can drive your system into starvation mode. This triggers the body to store calories as triglycerides (fat cells) VS temporary glycogen stores. What's more, rather than shedding pounds, you will put on belly fat. That being said, I am talking here about irregular eating patters. Structured restrictive eating patters such as intermittent fasting and weekly fasts might actually have a beneficial effect on overall health. Read this for more info:

                                        7. Eating Vegan Junk Food.

                                        Ice cream, highly processed vegan meat and high- fat dairy alternatives are all vegan. This point may seem obvious, but how often have you got away with saying 'how bad can it be, at least it's vegan'. Processed and fried vegan foods can be the explanation you can't get in shape. High sodium, oil, and sugar can prompt elevated cholesterol, hypertension, and stoutness – putting your wellbeing in danger. Instead of eating out every time you have an urge to do so, fix three cheat meals (not day's) per week. As long as you are on track for the rest of the week, the weighing scale will continue to budge. By a cheat meal I mean one dish and not everything from an entre, appetiser and desserts washed down with a glass of wine.

                                        8. Not Cooking and Depending on Home Deliveries.

                                        This is what 2000 calories online ordered for you coffee time snack might look like:

                                        vegan fat loss

                                        When one tends to eat from outside a lot, they end up consuming a lot of calories. This is because you do not know what are the ingredients that the food exactly comprises of. Cooking at home is much more beneficial for somebody who wants to lose weight. Because, apart from calorie counting, you will also know what exactly you are consuming. Restaurants tend to go overboard with sodium and fat (both being addictive). Limit ordering in more than once a week (as a cheat snack/ meal).

                                        9. Not Documenting Weight Loss.

                                        Documenting one's weight loss motivates one to stick to the journey. When you take progress photos, you notice the changes that your body is going through. Otherwise, it gets hard to keep a track of progress, so always make sure you document yours before and after pics for motivation.
                                        Besides this, documenting your results will help you understand what is working and what is not.

                                        10. Not Getting Enough Sleep.

                                        Absence of sleep causes expanded levels of a craving hormone called ghrelin and diminished levels of the satiety/completion hormone called leptin, which could prompt binge eating and weight gain. If you are having trouble sleeping, I suggest you give this a read:

                                        Introduction to light around night time - from the glare of a room TV or a streetlamp through a window - may accomplish more than lack of sleep; it might build the danger of weight addition and stoutness in women. Presentation to light around evening time may upset rest and circadian rhythms, modify eating practices, and advance weight gain.

                                        11. Eating outside often:

                                        Here I am specifically talking about the one's who have got into the habit of eating one meal out every day. Even if you order from supposedly healthy caters, multiple things could be wrong. Apart from the ingredients used, portion sizes, methods of cooking and incorrect nutritional value, restaurant food is cooked keeping in mind the profits of the restaurant and not your health.

                                        12. Not Getting Enough Greens.

                                        If you’re not eating green leafy veggies, you might be eating foods with a higher fat content and caloric density. Most often the diet containing foods that are high in energy density (meaning more calories per gram) leads to overeating and weight gain.
                                        Greens are low in calories (low in energy density but high in nutrient density). Therefore, one can eat more and feel more satisfied with fewer calories. Lettuce, Kale, Spinach, Beetroots are loaded with fibres and minimals. They also are high in volume and flavonoids, both of which fill your belly up without adding calories. Aim to start your meal with greens. Don't like salads? Watch this:

                                        Working with a plant- based nutrition expert or a sports nutritionist will help you reach your micro- nutrient goals.

                                        13. Underestimating the Importance of Spices.

                                        Even adding a pinch of spices such as cinnamon and cloves and boost the anti- oxidant content of food's by multiple points. Aim to consume herbs and spices as much as possible. Target to get two to three herbal tea's in per day and aim to add spices to your meals from top once its cooked.
                                        Besides the anti- oxidant content in spices, herbal tea's are a great way to keep you filled up, especially if you are in the habit of eating out of boredom.

                                        14. Not Achieving Daily NEAT Goals.

                                        Everything you do besides structured physical activity is NEAT. NEAT (Non-Excercise Active Thermogenesis) comprises of 63% per cent of your day. What you do in the gym, on the other hand, comprises only 5% of your day. So the number of calories your body expends for a marginal weight loss can be increased by a fair amount of NEAT. Make sure you achieve a target of 7000 steps in a day, throughout the day to pump up your NEAT. Watch the above video to understand how this translates to fat loss.

                                        15. Using Too Much Cooking Oil.

                                        Oil is an exceptionally refined and nutritionally deprived additive found in practically all packaged food. Oil's increase the shelf life of items (hello, pickles!) making it a favourite among food companies. It is 100% fat and is calorically thick. High-fat eating regimens cause weight addition, and oil is 100% fluid fat. The concern is regularly positioned on refined sugar and its part in weight gain, however, it is only occasionally revealed that oil contains twice the same number of calories per gram as refined sugar.

                                        16. Overconsumption of Alcohol.

                                        Forget the mindless munching post a drinking session, even if you do not munch of food and count for liquor calories, alcohol still has an effect on body weight. Alcohol consumption disrupts the hormonal balance in the body and kills the healthy gut bacteria. We use alcohol to rub on wound to avoid infection. Just imagine the impact this has on your poor gut bacteria that are in symbiosis with the body to protect you. Besides this, alcohol boosts estrogen (hormones responsible to store body fat) and drops testosterone (hormone responsible for muscle gains), leading to slow liver metabolism and storing excess calories.

                                        17. Not Eating Volume Dense Foods.

                                        Fruits and vegetables are high in volume but not very dense in calories. An apple is roughly 80 calories, but its high fibre content fills you up. Compare the same with a tbsp of oil, which is as high is 120 calories but does not even come close to filling your belly up. Choose food that is high in volume and fibre filled. This triggers the satiety hormone in your body to stop eating before you go overboard on calories. You want to choose foods that are close to 1 gram per or less per calorie. For example, spinach (7 calories for 30 grams).

                                        18. Under Eating.

                                        Under eating can hinder your digestion and make you put on weight. You need calories to work out, walk, eat, rest, think, inhale, siphon blood and the list goes on. On the off chance that you don't take in enough calories to endure, your body will store food to secure itself, slowing your metabolism even further.

                                        19. Underactive Thyroid Gland.

                                        Thyroid hormone controls digestion in both, animals and people. Low thyroid hormone levels were related to low metabolic rate and high thyroid hormone levels were related to high metabolic rate. Since the metabolic rate in an individual with hypothyroidism is diminished, an under-dynamic thyroid is commonly connected with some weight gain. The weight gain is frequently more prominent in those people with more extreme hypothyroidism. Watch this video on some tips to deal with thyroid (watch till the end):

                                        20. Binge Eating "Healthy" Snacks.

                                        Snacks that you think is healthy might be junk in disguise. Here is a list of 15 foods that are assumed healthy but are junk in disguise!
                                        • Processed fat- free foods: These foods are loaded with sugar. Despite being devoid of fat, the sugars in these foods keep you addicted for more.
                                        • Salad dressings:
                                        • Fruit juices:
                                        • Enriched flour products: Any bakery items are bound to have excessive amount of oils/ fats and sugar.
                                        • Margerine (vegan butters)
                                        • Energy drinks.
                                        • Low carb snacks.
                                        • Brown rice syrup.
                                        • Vegetable oil's.
                                        • Gluten- free snacks.
                                        • Processed breakfast cereal's.

                                        21. Neglecting the Most Important Amino Acid.

                                        Argenine is an important amino acids found in abundance in lentils and beans. It triggers the brown adipose tissue's in the body, to help burn more fat naturally. Watch this video to understand more:
                                        Fat loss is really not as hard as we make of it. Calorie restriction, yo- yo dieting and excessive obsession over food/ training is not the answer. Instead, try tweaking your nutrition by adding lifestyle modifications, such as starting the meal with a high volume food, pumping up your NEAT etc. Make changes that are permanent and easy to follow along.

                                        Still need help? Fill up the form below to help you with customised diet plan for fat loss.

                                        Let's Just Talk. No Obligations.

                                        I do free consultations every Tuesday's and Thursday's. Either way you will get some actionable tips to reach your fitness goals faster.

                                        Previous article 21 Reasons You Are Not Gaining Muscle Mass On a Plant-Based Diet.
                                        Next article 21 Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting That Will Surprise You!


                                        Freddye Bivens - February 8, 2023

                                        I want to know about Morning Star Farms products. I eat them for breakfast and dinner almost every day. Also, I use a plant based butter just about everyday. Do I need to eliminate these products from my diet. I am not losing the weight I desperately need to lose.

                                        Ram Kashyap - September 19, 2021

                                        Very authentic information

                                        Leave a comment

                                        Comments must be approved before appearing

                                        * Required fields

                                        About Roshni Sanghvi

                                        Roshni Sanghvi is an Indian plant-based sports nutritionist and body transformation specialist. She is the first Indian to represent on a national bodybuilding stage being on a 100% plant-based diet. Roshni is a holistic nutritionist, graduated from the prestigious NutraPhoria college of nutrition in Canada.

                                        She is also an ACE-certified personal trainer, certified PlantFed gut coach, certified Bodyshred, and Animal flow instructor with a specialisation in disease reversal through food and lifestyle modification.

                                        Her approach is more focused on helping you in adopting a healthy lifestyle. With her result-oriented holistic methods, she has managed to transform and reverse lifestyle diseases such as PCOS, Thyroid, Diabetes etc for 12k+ clients worldwide.