How to Lose Belly Fat as a Vegan

by Monique
(New York)

Question:

I'd like to lose weight mostly because my stomach area is too big, and I'd like to reduce breast size. I am way too big for my body size and I am uncomfortable. I hear that losing weight can help that, and although I look relatively thin, those areas are not, and I wonder if there is a way to lose weight. I am not a total vegetarian; I eat fish, dairy and eggs. Sometimes I feel better eating some animal protein, even though I am philosophically opposed to eating it.

Answer:

Hi Monique,

I totally empathize with you and understand where you're coming from. I think most women worry a bit about our stomachs and belly fat, and it can be a tough area to target and tighten.

I personally ate just like you, and then when I went vegan, I gave up fish and eggs immediately, and I also tossed most dairy products pretty quickly. What I struggled with most was cheese because I absolutely loved it. I don't think I necessarily ate a ton of it, but I did have pieces of cheese as snacks, ate it on pasta and soup, and added it to every sandwich. And, I truly loved cheese, so giving it up was very difficult for me.

I initially felt better after cutting out most dairy products, but I didn't truly feel amazing until I quit cheese completely. And, when I did that, I lost about 5-10 pounds, and it all seemed to come off my stomach and thighs. It was like the dairy was plastered to the inside of my body, and when I decided not to add any more into my mouth, it shed itself off my stomach.

So, I can personally attest that cutting the remaining animal products out of your diet is a good way to get rid of the stubborn extra 5 or 10 that follow you around everywhere.

I also have to add that it's incredibly easy nowadays to go from eating a junk food non-vegan diet to eating a junk food vegan diet, and that's not going to help your body. If you're looking to lose weight, I recommend staying away from the vegan ice cream, vegan cheese, vegan desserts, and all those fun chips and cookies that are dairy-free.

If you pack your meals with a variety of vegetables, especially dark leafy greens, fruits, whole grains, and beans, and use nuts and seeds as snacks, you will be able to lose belly fat as a vegan. I also think if you're eating a well-balanced vegan diet like this, you will feel better than when you ate animal protein in the past.

As for your stomach... The increased fiber from vegetables, whole grains, fruits, and beans helps to push out the stores of fat that might be blocking you from having a toned, flat stomach. When you increase fiber in your diet, you should also increase your water intake to help push the fiber through your digestive system-- aim for 8-10 glasses each day.

If you're looking to find a few exercises and cardio routines to help tighten your body, check out my friend Liz DiAlto's tips to a tighter body in 10 days. She's not vegan, but she's in amazing shape and knows what she's talking about.

You can also read more about my struggle to quit cheese and what I did to overcome it in my ebook, Cut the Cheese.

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Vegans and carbs
by: LettuceLady

I went to my doctor for a checkup and told her I had been vegan for a year and was trying to lose weight but it was hard and my stomach was not looking flat. She said my liver enzymes were slightly elevated and that could be because I eat TOO MANY beans. She said that beans have sugar (carbs) and sugar is changed to fat and stored in the liver the same way that animal fat and other sugars are. I cut back on beans and used more SPROUTED soy (not TVP) and lost some but still my middle is not flat…probably because I do get into chips and crackers a lot…need to watch the humus, too! Does anyone know about the weight watchers vegan diet?

I have the same problem!!
by: Vanja dance

I have been vegetarian for 7 years and turned vegan 8 months ago.
I started noticing a huge inverse in my belly... Which is very bothersome. I used to model bikinies and I am actually quite embarrassed to take my short off nowadays.
I wish someone could help me with what I should do...
For breakfast I eat steel cut oats with strawberries and blueberries; lunch is quinoa or lentils with sautéed veggies- same for dinner. Snacks are almonds, apples, etc. I have drastically reduced fruits high in sugar.
I exceed use 6 days/week of worthy frisking and about 2 days/ week of jogging.
I use raw protein shake, amino acids, glutamine, dim, vitamin c and magnesium.
I also drink about half a gallon of water per day
What should I do?!

gained more belly fat on a plant based diet
by: Anonymous

I have been eating only beans, whole grains, lots of greens and veggies, fruits and small amount of nuts and seeds for healthy fats. I don't add any oilsfor a year now. My belly is fatter than ever although I have not gained any weight. I am thinking of adding back in animal proteins and removing the whole grains and nuts and beans and hope to get my flatter tummy back I had before. I even took the plant based nutrition course at Cornell University after seeing Forks over Knives and reading the China study. Unfortunately, for me the proof was not in the pudding. Some do not thrive on whole grains or beans or nuts.

Weight
by: LyNel

Hi all, I never had an extra pound when I was younger & ate anything & everything. So I thought. Now that I have this belly I have been thinking back. I never had enough time for me to eat any meal. I was a single Mom with 3 kids & worked all the time. Two of them were sick. They ate I did not. What I did do was put wheat germ & brewers yeast along with Linoleaic (spelling?) acid, Safflower Oil & Sunflower Oil in V-8 juice. I used a tablespoon of each oil & 1/2 cup of the wheat germ & brewers yeast. I was the absolute picture of health & only had this drink once a day. It was a big one though. Tupperware's tallest glass & to the brim. Walla, NO BELLY no fat & no hunger ever. I think I was mostly vegan & didn't even know it.

Give up cheese?
by: Anonymous

Cheese was the hardest thing for me to give up!
It can be done when you think about all the fat and sodium it contains...not to mention all the other nasty bits. But there is no substitute for cheese! Don't waste your money like I did trying to find a worthy replacement because they don't exist! The vegan cheeses I tried were made out of oil. Yuck! I'll just have to do without.
There are worse things in life.

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