If you’re new to the plant-based weight loss lifestyle, you may have noticed that it’s not always as easy as it looks on Instagram.
I wanted to compile a list of my top tips for transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle to help you out!
So read on to check out the top nine tips for starting a plant-based diet for weight loss.
1- Start With A Plant-Based Meal Plan
The first thing you’ll notice when going plant-based is that you will be doing a lot of cooking.
While you can wing it by cooking familiar foods and just leaving out the meat, this approach gets old very quickly.
And it’s not like there are many quality plant-based or vegan options at fast-food restaurants or even on Door Dash when you need a quick fix. So you’ll have to learn your way around your kitchen!
I recommend you start with a plant-based meal plan for several reasons.
- You’ll know what you’re eating in advance and eliminate the guesswork
- You will learn different cooking techniques that eventually become the basis for your own recipe creations down the line
- You’ll gain exposure to new foods that you wouldn’t have tried before
- You will have a grocery list of specific items to shop for and can stick to a budget
2- Find Inspiration That Resonates
The next critical component of successfully becoming vegan or plant-based is to find inspiration that resonates with you – and make it part of your daily routine.
There are so many different vegan bloggers, podcasts, YouTube channels, books, Instagram feeds, documentaries, and you can even find a few Vegan cooking shows on Hulu, last time I checked!
I don’t mean just doing one or two of these things here and there, either.
I mean making plant-based and vegan inspiration and information a big part of your day and overall lifestyle.
A HUGE game-changer for me was getting the audiobook version of Dr. Greger’s “How Not To Diet”.
I would listen to it while preparing plant-based meals for myself and my family and it really helped to reinforce the positive direction I was taking.
For another idea, listen to an inspirational podcast while you drive to work.
Also, it’s good you’re reading this blog post! Find others from writers you enjoy.
Follow inspirational Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter accounts too!
Do ALL of it, most of the time. Because it helps to see others living the lifestyle too! Especially when you don’t have much support (as you probably don’t just yet.)
3- Know Your Why
Next, you probably already know that your reason for doing this is to lose weight. And honestly? I do think that’s a strong enough reason.
But if you can think even deeper than “lose weight” and get into what weight loss means for you on a deeper level, that’s even better.
When I first started, I definitely wanted to lose weight just for vanity purposes.
But as I moved deeper into plant-based living, it grew into an overall improved quality of life that I was after.
Being smaller feels good physically, but on an emotional level, it brought so much more self-confidence and self-worth that I was missing before.
So, you certainly want to look better in your clothes and feel more attractive, but what other strong reasons do you have for wanting to try a plant-based or vegan diet?
Keep those at the top of your mind daily, and you’ll have a much easier time.
4- Don’t Compare Yourself To Others
Next, I know I suggested you keep plant-based or vegan inspiration as part of your life – and you should!
But one trap to be wary of if you do this is that it can be easy to compare yourself to others.
Remember you are not in competition with anyone other than who you were yesterday, last month, or last year.
Someone who has been living the plant-based lifestyle for five years may already be at their goal weight and look incredible, while you’re still struggling.
Maybe someone has more experience with cooking, has more access to different foods and spices, or chooses to eliminate certain foods altogether (some people go raw vegan, for example.)
Some people take plant-based living 100% seriously and never eat anything processed or have meat ever. While others have “cheat meals” more frequently.
The point is, regardless of what anybody says, there is no right or wrong way for YOU to go plant-based.
You get to choose and decide what’s right for you.
And what’s more, you will change, grow, and adapt as time goes by.
Personally, the way I eat today is completely different from how I ate at the beginning of my plant-based journey. And I think it’ll be different in a year too, in some ways.
Don’t compare yourself to the next girl. Compare yourself to how you used to be.
5- Be Patient With Yourself
And that brings me to my next point. You must be extremely patient with yourself.
Transitioning to a plant-based diet is not something that happens overnight.
Well, I mean some people probably make the switch quickly, but most often if you listen to podcasts and other peoples’ journeys, it can take a while.
You may start by just having Meatless Mondays.
Or you may start with vegetarianism and work your way down.
You may include processed foods or eat out a little more than you hope to.
But that’s okay!
As I write this, I’m passing one year since I bought my first plant-based meal plan, and I’m still not perfect.
But so much better than I was at month one!
I’d be surprised if I were all the way there even one more year from now, but that’s okay with me.
It’s a journey. It’s a process. It takes time, but the ride is incredible.
6- When In Doubt, Keep It Simple
One of the things that, sadly, took me way too long to familiarize myself with and get comfortable doing is to keep it super simple when I’m hungry.
I started with rather elaborate meal plans where the food was way more delicious than take-out.
The meals were decadent and of gourmet quality, which made it very easy to choose those foods over other options.
But the problem was that I got so used to that level of meal that I “forgot” I could just as easily curb hunger with something far more simple – like whole fruits and veggies as snacks.
Sure, much of the time we want filling, highly palatable foods.
But learning that it’s okay to not have to eat that way every time you’re hungry means freedom!
Get comfortable with the idea of grabbing a banana or an apple when you’re hungry – multiple times a day even – and sticking to a plant-based diet makes weight loss much easier.
7- Allow Your Tastebuds To Adjust
The next tip I have to share with you is that your tastebuds will adjust if you give them enough time.
I didn’t know this at first, but I’m so glad this is the case!
I hated tofu at one point. But I realized that, first of all, I was cooking it all wrong (and so had others who’d presented it to me prior.)
But over time I actually started to prefer tofu-based dishes over egg and meat-based versions of the same.
Weird, but true!
In my experience, it takes about three weeks to see improvement.
So, if you’re not in love with plant-based eating at first, it could be that you could stand to prepare or season things differently.
Or, it could be that you just need to allow your tastebuds to adjust.
8- Think Of Adding Rather Than Restricting
Another tip I have for you transitioning to a plant-based diet has to do with your mindset.
Don’t think about what you “can’t” eat and what’s not on your plate.
Think about what you can add to your meals instead.
It’s more of a “crowd-out rather than restrict” approach.
When you have a HUGE bowl of well-seasoned, varied, filling, and satisfying foods in front of you, you’re not thinking about what’s not there.
Enjoy your food. Crowd out all the bad stuff with overwhelming amounts of the good stuff and you won’t feel deprived one bit.
9- Spices Are Your Best Friends
Last but not least – the spice rack is your friend!
Since going plant-based my palate has developed so much. There are so many different spices and seasonings that I’d never even heard of before, but now I use them every day!
Think about how when you eat a plate of chicken wings, for example.
What is it that makes the wings taste good? It’s the sauce or the seasoning, right?
Meat without seasoning is gross! So why would your veggies be any different?
I know at first it can be intimidating to try new things. But once you do, you’ll realize just how much pleasure and flavor you’ve been missing out on your whole life.
That’s the beauty of a plant-based meal plan as well.
It will expose you to new spices and seasonings you hadn’t considered before!
Pro Tip: If you don’t already have one, you might want to invest in a spice rack! I was using so few varieties of herbs and spices before transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle that I didn’t need one. But oh – I quickly realized the need and the one above is awesome-sauce!
Plant-Based Diet Is A Tasty Path To Weight Loss
Thanks for reading my list of top tips for transitioning to a plant-based lifestyle for weight loss.
I hope you learned something from it that you can use to raise your quality of life while lowering the number on your scale!
I’m rooting for you and wishing you nothing but good luck and success in getting that body that you crave and deserve.