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Vegetarian weight loss?

By September 23, 2008 - 9:05am
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I have been a vegetarian for 7 years. Coincidentally, my weight has been slowly rising for about that length of time. Part of the weight gain has to do with menopausal changes, but I know the biggest part is due to my diet.
Truth be told, while I am committed to being a vegetarian, I think it was easier to maintain my weight when I wasn't. I never ate much red meat, but chicken, turkey and fish are good, lean sources of protein that are filling and easy to prepare. Too often I find myself eating carbohydrate-filled meals and snacks without enough attention to the proper mix of protein, fats and carbs, simply because carbs are so much more available. Bread, pasta, cereal, chips, pizza, packaged foods, the list goes on and on. And I have always detested eggs, which makes it even a little more difficult.

I'd love to hear from someone with insight on how they make their vegetarian diet work, easily, and perhaps even lost or are losing weight in the process!

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Great post, susan, and congratulations on 18 years!!!

I went and read your previous post. Those are great ideas and I really appreciate the cookbook recommendations and the website links. It's also good to hear that you control your weight through theose old two faithful standbys: exercise and portion control. I think I'm going to have to get in touch with my old exercise habit and see if I can get some pounds off the old-fashioned way!

September 26, 2008 - 10:19am
HERWriter Guide

A great myth is that vegetarians should be thin.

The vegetarian diet is generally high in carbs and fat and if vegetarians overeat and lack exercise (and we are just as likely as anyone else to lack motivation!) then we should be just as chunky as anyone else. The fats that vegetarians eat are generally good lipids (that don't cause as many issues with cholesterol), from nuts and soy etc, but we can still gorge on French fries, pizza and ice-cream!

Did I mention chocolate?!

In other words, the veggie diet is not high in 'bad' fats, as long as we lay off the cheese and full fat ranch dressing. But it is still plentiful in terms of carbs, calories and fat in general. I know several pretty round vegetarians. The only reason I'm not one of them is exercise and portion control - my two best friends :)

I coincidently wrote about the Vegetarian diet here, where you can find lots more tips.


This coming new year marks my 18th year as a strict vegetarian and my kids have never known any other way.(I say 'strict' vegetarian as some consider themselves 'vegetarian' but eat fish or chicken occasionally or wear leather products). When done properly, it's a great way to live, if that's your thing!

Diane, I understand the issue with carbs - it's always an issue with vegetarians but whole rice and pasta help a lot, and multi-grain brown breads are a fantastic help.

I'm guilty of throwing a lean cuisine in the microwave myself, but we all are!

Here are some books we have at home:

The Vegetarian Family Cookbook: by Nava Atlas

Raising Vegetarian Children: by Joanne Stepaniak and Vesanto Melina.

Both contain hundreds of fantastic recipes as well as support for the vegetarian lifestyle in general. I highly recommend both.

Good luck!

September 24, 2008 - 12:24pm

You have just given me a brand new breakfast!! That orange soy milk shake snack sounds incredible!!!

My favorite veggie meals generally have to do with salads, grilled vegetables, stir fry and numerous other things that require chopping, lol. I tell people that when I win the lottery, I'm going to hire a personal vegetable chopper!

I'm afraid that I fall back on convenience foods way too often. And that's why the bad carbs seem so prevalent in my life. They are filling and comforting and easy, and I think i need to work to find more easy dishes I can make from whole foods that satisfy the same need. I love black beans, I will try your burrito idea as well.

Thank you!! Off to make an orange soy shake now!

September 24, 2008 - 8:13am

I am not vegetarian, but some of the higher-protein meals that I eat would be suitable for a vegetarian lifestyle and fill me up!

My favorite, filling and low(er) calorie meals:
- Bean burritos with mashed black beans, whole wheat tortillas, grilled veggies (the frozen section even has them conveniently sliced and pre-packaged together) with cheese and salsa
- Stir fry tofu (in place of chicken) in my favorite Chinese and Thai foods
- Orange Soy Milk Shake snack: blend 1/2 cup orange juice, 1/4 soy milk, 1 TBSP sugar and 1 cup ice cubes until frothy. Yummy and filling!!
- Chef Salad with lettuce, chick peas, cheese, sunflower seeds or other nuts, dried fruit and dressing

What are your favorite veggie meals?

September 23, 2008 - 2:53pm
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