How to Eat to Lose Weight as a Vegetarian
By Laura Ng
Eating RIGHT is the NUMBER ONE thing you must learn and practise in order to lose weight effectively.
In other words, you must find out what food to eat and how to eat them in a way to generate maximum fat loss for you. Otherwise, you'll gain weight easily despite working out at your favorite gym like mad.
What Food to Eat for Weight Loss?
Cut down on processed vegetarian foods that contain white sugar (simple / refined carbohydrate), high-sodium and unhealthy vegetable saturated fats (except coconut oil).
Instead, choose more nutrient-dense vegetarian weight loss foods for their super high nutritional value but low calories. Such weight loss foods often come in whole, natural forms with abundant supply of dietary fiber (soluble and insoluble), complex carbohydrate, protein, and various vitamins and minerals essential for your optimal health and well-being, on top of helping you to lose weight.
Food containing complex-carbohydrate and fiber fill you up nicely before you consume too much calories. You'll feel full in your belly but without that heavy, "overeaten" feeling.
At the same time, your body will receive a steady stream of energy supply in the form of blood glucose because complex-carb requires more energy and longer time to digest due to its complex sugar structure, as compared to that of simple carbohydrate. With addition of fiber, the digestion takes even longer. So you get to sustain your metabolic and physical activities over longer duration.
More importantly, the presence of complex-carb and fiber keeps your blood sugar and insulin level in check, thereby preventing type 2 diabetes. It also puts a stop to your food cravings.
More fiber will also help to sweep toxins and waste out of your body quickly so they can't stay around in your intestines to create havoc, thereby accumulating fat in your midsection.
Protein also helps to increase satiation. Of course, plant-based proteins like beans, peas, and lentils, often contain good amount of dietary fiber and other essential vitamins (e g. A & C) and minerals (e.g. calcium, iron, potassium, manganese) too.
Now you got fiber, complex-carb and protein in your meals, superb! How about complementing your weight loss with coconut oil?
Coconut oil is no ordinary oil. It composes mainly of saturated fat, but it's a healthy fat-burning saturated fat, unlike other animal and vegetable saturated fats you have been eating all along which make you unstoppably fat.
Besides complex carbohydrate and fiber, adding healthy fat like coconut oil to your diet supports long lasting energy by preventing big fluctuations in your blood sugar and crash. When you don't crash, you won't crave more sugar for energy.
Now you know exactly what to eat for weight loss, next, let's find out how to eat your food in the way that will help you burn the excess body fat, block the extra fat from storing and maintain your shape for life.
How Many Meals to Eat Daily for Optimal Weight Loss?
Some say 4, some say 6. But 5 meals a day (i.e. breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner) help you shed the most fats and keep it off.
That's because this 5-mealtimes arrangement will ensure a steady supply of glucose to cope with your daily activities and successfully keep your metabolism running actively so as to burn fat, instead of storing fat throughout the day. But, no supper. Anyway, your fiber-rich and nutrient-packed dinner should easily stop your cravings for supper and last you till the next morning, which helps to keep up with your weight loss goal easily.
However, if you do feel hungry before turning in at night, eat a very light snack like a small apple or half a handful of nuts and seeds. Then wait at least 30 minutes before you go to bed. It'd be better if you can anticipate your hunger 1 hour before your actual bedtime so you won't have to wait another half an hour to ensure a sound sleep. The snack size should be smaller than that of your daytime snack.
How to Eat to Lose Weight Effectively?
Going back to the 5-meals-a-day in the earlier section, you must also consider the portion size of each vegetarian meal relative to the total daily calories you need. Having said that, don't get too paranoid over the portion size. If you become more mindful of what you eat and go more for nutrient-packed vegetarian foods, generally you won't have much problem in losing weight.
Here's a tip though — use smaller serving tableware to control portion size e.g. use china bowl instead of plate when serving food.
Another useful weight loss tip is fill your stomach up to 70% full only when eating main meals (i.e. breakfast, lunch and dinner). Not 80% or even 100%. (The snack in between main meals should only fill you up to about 30% to keep you going for the next 2 hours or so.)
People tend to fill their stomach to the brim, especially during lunch, thinking they still have a long day to deal with till their next meal. Misconception.
When you eat too full, more blood will flow to your stomach to aid in food digestion, thereby reducing blood flow towards your brain. Blood carries oxygen and when your brain doesn't receive sufficient oxygen, it will start to think slow and may even cause sluggishness. You end up becoming less productive and couldnn't perform at your best.
Why not change your eating habit now? You'll feel less tired and become more energetic at 70% full due to a more active metabolism. Trust me.
On top of that, slow down your eating speed. When you eat slowly, your stomach will have enough time to register satiety with your brain. Communication between your brain and stomach takes about 10 - 20 minutes (sometimes as short as 2 minutes).
If you eat too fast, by the time the signal reaches your brain, you could've overeaten. That explains why most people don't feel full while they're eating but ended up feeling stuffed at the end of the meal.
Try taking a 2-minute break midway through your meal or eating more slowly so as to ensure the signal gets to your brain before you overeat.
In a nutshell, eating slowly can instantly block excess calories from getting absorbed into your body, helping you to lose weight effectively.
Preparing Your Own Vegetarian Meals for Weight Loss
You can't guarantee the quality of vegetarian foods when eating out:
Did the food preparers wash their hands after they visit the toilet?
Will they continue to touch the food after they wipe out the sweat bullets on their face?
Did they handle and wash the veggies properly to minimize the toxic residues?
Are they using the best ingredients to prepare your meals?
What kind of oil do they use? Health-damaging or health-promoting oil?
How many times have they reused the oil for cooking and frying?
How much trans-fat does your meal contain?
How much sugar and sodium are you taking in?
How many different types of artificial coloring and flavoring additives are on the food you eat?
Are they using natural sweeteners like stevia or agave nectar in lieu of table sugar?
Most importantly, how many calories are you ingesting through eating the food prepared by others? Don't expect them to count calories for you. Don't expect them to know your intended caloric intake. Who cares?
That's why the best vegetarian weight loss meals on earth that you can ever eat is the food you pack with your own hands. Nothing beats that. And best of all, you don't have to worry about the aforementioned issues — they'll all vanish once you get in the kitchen and whip up your own delicious vegetarian meals for weight loss.