Well, I knew this day was coming. It was inevitable. I plateaued. When I began my plant-based diet around 4 months ago, I consistently lost 1 – 2 pounds a week, every week without fail. Now, when it comes to dieting and trying to lose weight, this isn’t my first rodeo (a terrible word to use on a vegan website)! I’ve always been somewhat of a yo-yo dieter. I have great intentions, lose weight, lose my way and put it back on. What can I say, I’m a foodie! However, having been on many diets, I know the lay of the land. When you start a diet, you lose weight in the beginning. Could be 3 or 4 weeks, could be longer if you’re lucky. However, at some point, the weight loss will slow down and will eventually stop long before you reach your goal weight. At this stage, you have to change things to kickstart your weight loss again.
So I was well aware that this day would come and I already had a plan. Here is my journey so far…
1. I turned vegan and started a plant-based diet. I did this for the animals and the environment primarily but hey why not kill two birds with one stone (damn it! another terrible phrase on a vegan site)! It’s important to note that I did NOT calorie count, I did NOT watch my fat, carbs… anything! I ate plant-based/vegan and that was my only rule. I ate plenty and plenty of the wrong things! I ate crisps, Oreos, dark chocolate, fast food, puddings, anything and everything so long as it was vegan and in great quantity. I lost 35 pounds doing this but I knew the day would come that I would need to go to the next stage. I enjoyed it while it lasted. The day came a week ago when I did my routine Saturday morning weigh-in and I gained 1 pound.
2. So a week ago I began what I need to do to guarantee my next phase of weight loss. I’m calorie counting to ensure a daily calorie deficit. I’m also walking on the treadmill from time to time if I need to earn a few extra calories.
3. I’m not here yet but my phase 3 will come when I struggle in the future when I hit my next plateau. I’ll be hitting the gym for a proper workout maybe 3 days a week. Sooner or later, a stroll on the treadmill isn’t going to cut it and I’ll do some resistance training to build some muscle to increase my resting metabolic rate.
So I want to introduce you to a tool I use to track my calories. There is another benefit to this tool too that I want to talk about that I feel is very useful to vegans.
I use this tool for two reasons, first to track calories but I also wanted to ensure I got all my nutrition and didn’t lack anything and become deficient in anything. Sometimes I find myself lacking energy and wanting to nap a lot. From time to time I may get a bit of a light head. Of course, having just gone vegan, it makes you wonder if you are getting all the nutrients you need. This is compounded when the carnivores and omnivores get into your head about vegan being unhealthy. I know from research that the plant-based diet is amazing for your health when done right but what harm is there in making sure you tick all the boxes, right?
I signed up to Cronometer.com after a Google search for this kind of tool. It’s free to sign up but I have since upgraded from the free version to the Gold plan because I was that impressed with it. You can use anything you want, I’m sure there are other similar tools out there. I’m speaking about this because it’s part of my journey but I am not an affiliate of theirs.
So I was able to enter my weight, goal weight, height etc so that my calories could be calculated. Not all calories are equal though, right? For example, 100 calories of spinach are more useful to you than 100 calories of cake. Then every day, as I journal my food intake for the calorific value, I also get to track my macros and nutrition. This is a great way to see if I am lacking anything. It even takes into account my daily multi-vitamin supplement.
This is how my first day looked:
You’ll notice there that based on what I ate that day, I was lacking in vitamins C and K. I only had to find out what to eat to get those vitamins and eat them. Cronometer will tell you or you can Google it. That’s how simple it is to manage your calories and nutrition.
My vitamins the following day after having adjusted my eating, looked like this:
Check out my Cronometer Walk Thru below:
When you are trying to lose weight, don’t do everything all at once. Start off with minimal adjustments to your eating and enjoy the weight loss while it lasts. When you reach a plateau, take it up a notch. When you reach your next plateau, take it up another notch and so on.
Weight loss is more simple than we make it. Despite so many diet programs out there, it really boils down to “calories in and calories out”. Do you have a calories deficit? Remember too that not all calories are equal.
I like Cronometer but there are others. The takeaway here is to become intelligent and strategic in your health and wellness.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”.
Finally, I appeal to you to go vegan for the animals, yourself and for the Earth.