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TOPIC: Vegan, 1300 calories per day, and slow weight loss-HELP!

 
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April 28, 2012 6:01 AM
Hi Everyone!

I started losing weight about two weeks ago. I went vegan about a month ago because I am allergic to dairy. I am eating a variety of low fat foods along with a mix of fruit (not too much), vegetables, and other whole foods. I don't use oil for cooking, and try to limit my fats. I consume about 1350, which for my weight at 219, is said to be the calorie intake for a two pound loss per week. I had a foot injury in the winter, and I have not been cleared to return to normal exercise by my doctor. However, I do try to burn calories by taking leisurely walks.

The problem is weight loss is very slow. I expected with a drastic drop in calories and the vegan lifestyle that it would be a greater loss in the beginning. I feel bloated alot. I am wondering what I am doing wrong. I do eat soy and drink soy milk. In fact, soy has been one of my staple foods (with milk in my cereal for breakfast and coffee throughout the day; sometimes a boca burger at lunch; and/or seitan for dinner). Could this be the problem? I have been reading the controversies over soy, and some people say that it is all nonsense while other people warn against soy. What is your experience? Could there be something else that I am doing wrong other than soy? I will make my profile public, so people can see my food diary if they wish.

Thanks for the assistance!
G.
April 28, 2012 9:17 AM
Have you had your thyroid levels checked? That could be an issue. That, or you need to eat a bit more, make sure you're getting enough protein, etc.
April 28, 2012 9:30 AM
Feel free to add me if you want, fellow vegan. You could probably eat more calories at your weight. Soy can affect your thyroid with insufficient iodine. I don't eat a lot of salt, so I take a kelp supplement to get my iodine.

I used to eat a lot of soy. Now I drink flax milk instead and use a non-soy protein powder. I don't know whether or not it has affected my weight, as I wasn't thinking about it from that angle, but it has actually alleviated some other hormonal issues that I used to have.
April 28, 2012 10:36 AM
To be honest, I seriously wouldn't recommend going entirely vegan only due to a dairy allergy. (I was vegan for four years and was very unealthy.) Your carb intake seems really high to me, and by limiting your fat intake, you're going to tend to feel hungry all the time.
  14262621
April 28, 2012 10:42 AM
I think relying to heavily on any one thing is no good. After I realized how much soy I was eating (I'm vegan too), I switched to almond milk. I actually prefer it to soy anyway, and I just stock up when it's on sale (it can be a little more expensive).

The two things that really helped jump start my weight loss were - running and ditching sugar. I try to eat as little processed and added sugar as possible. I still eat fruit and other foods with sugar naturally in them, but I try to avoid extra sugars as much as possible. Since you're new to veganism, you might be relying too heavily on pastas and other carbs. This is something that's taken me quite a while to get a handle on, but I try to only have pasta once a week. I use other foods to satisfy that part of my meal - rice, quinoa or lentils.

If you haven't yet - you should check out happyherbivore.com. She also doesn't use oil and has a lot of recipes on her site. I have both of her cookbooks, and the food is really healthy and delicious! :)
  1282818
April 28, 2012 10:53 AM
I was vegan for two years - I found that when I first went vegan, I had no idea how to rebalance my carb to protein to fat ratio to the 40-30-30 ratio that I had previously followed and successfully lost weight on. When I went vegan, my carbs went sky-high, and my protein and fat went way low. Then I realized this, and made sure I ate a lot more tofu/tempeh/seitan/nut butters/cashew cream/beans for protein, and olive oil/Earth Balance for fat. I tried to have something from both of these categories every meal. I felt better and lost weight doing this (while I am not still vegan is another story but it has to do with PVCs that I was experiencing that went away when I started incorporating eggs/dairy/fish back into my diet).

I agree with the other poster about getting your thyroid tested. I would also recommend testing for vitamin deficiencies. If you are deficient for Vitamin D, for example, this can cause a whole host of other issues like low energy, poor glucose regulation, etc. Make sure you are taking your multivitamin every day!
  19759953
April 28, 2012 11:14 AM
I looked through your diary, and I don't think there's any major red flags- your protein probably could use a boost, and you could use more fat. 1300 calories is probably not enough for you, even if you can't exercise.I think you should ditch the 2lb/wk requirement. Its too high for the limitations on your body right now- maybe when you can exercise more you can get more aggressive.

I personally don't think the soy hype is a big deal, but I think you are relying on it a little too much. The best diet is always going to be a widely varied one. Oat protein is almost as complete as soy, so maybe get some more oats in. Try Tempeh, which is a fermented soy product that supposedly isn't as "dangerous" - but I think it just tastes better than tofu. I think all the veggie burgers and soy meat products are great for a transitional vegetarian/vegan since they fill that gap where you were used to eating meat- but if you're going to make this a permanent change maybe try making a fate-meat free meal 2 or three times a week. Vegans need to look at the whole plate differently- your protein is tied to carbohydrates so you won't have a protein and a starch and a vegetable- the lines between the three get all blurry. Vegetables, whole grains and beans can make delicious and satisfying meals with enough protein without the soy.

I suspect that the bloating is probably from the sudden increased fiber of the vegan diet. Your digestive system doesn't like radical changes- even if they're ultimately for the better.
  20711900
April 28, 2012 11:37 AM
Oh- If you haven't already- I would start taking a B12/B Complex supplement. You haven't been vegan long enough to likely be experiencing symptoms of B12 deficiency but it can cause a whole barrage of weird and seemingly random symptoms.
  20711900
April 29, 2012 4:30 AM
I echo what someone else said about bloat and increased fiber intake. Sometimes that can mimic weight gain. You might want to increase fat intake with olive oil and avocado if you like them. I am Vegan also, and I didn't experience a huge weight loss at first, your body needs to adjust. You may get a lot of people telling you that eating vegan is unhealthy..some people might even get angry with you. Stay strong, take supplements and enjoy the great variety of food you get on a vegan regime :)
May 1, 2012 9:36 PM
Hi Everyone! I wasn't able to access the boards while traveling-using only the handheld. Thanks for the advice. I am going to look at some of the sites suggested. I will see if I can incorporate more into my diet in the way of protein. Does anyone have suggestions for breakfast and such. I DID notice that I have a heavy carb-load, which comes with sugar. I often feel like I am limiting my carbs as best I can, but see that it is not the case. Someone mentioned Oat Protein. What might that be? Like Oatmeal? I am such a novice!
May 1, 2012 9:37 PM
I also just had my levels check...Thyroid is okay. B-12 is extremely low. Doctor wants to do a few more tests to see if I have a deficiency. Could that be doing it too?
May 1, 2012 9:42 PM
Oils are not the enemy, some fats are good for you! If you are eating vegan, you need to add essential oils like olives and oils from nuts. Also, make sure you are eating enough protein. I would recommend that at your start weight, only 1300 calories seems extremely low. When I lost 35 lbs I was eating close to 1700 without exercise, 2000+ with.

Edit to say: You should be able to do some lifting with a foot injury!
Edited by Kenzietea2 On May 1, 2012 9:43 PM
May 1, 2012 9:43 PM
QUOTE:


The problem is weight loss is very slow. I expected with a drastic drop in calories and the vegan lifestyle that it would be a greater loss in the beginning.



why did you expect to a drastic drop in weight by attempting to become a vegan? that right there is part of your problem. it's not a *diet* in the way you were hoping.
May 1, 2012 9:44 PM
QUOTE:

I also just had my levels check...Thyroid is okay. B-12 is extremely low. Doctor wants to do a few more tests to see if I have a deficiency. Could that be doing it too?


YES!!! Check out the Book "Could it be B12?" by Sally Pacholok and Jeffrey Stuart

B12 deficiency masks itself as TONS of other problems. I went through this a couple months ago, and since getting my B12 in check I was able to get off antidepressants that I had been on for years and I have so much more energy.
  20711900
May 1, 2012 9:52 PM
On diet:

Wouldn't expect any extra benefit from being vegan and weight loss. It's basically calories in and calories out. Of course the X factor is always metabolic performance...which can be altered to an extent by a number of things. (but I wouldn't worry too much about people yelling about starvation mode and all that fun stuff ruining your efforts -- calorie deficit will eventually win out)

Few items for consideration:

A) Are you indeed only consuming 1300 calories? This is an obvious, simple answer... but if you were too far off you wouldn't be seeing your expected results.

B) People don't always have a linear (constant) weight loss experience. Often times you'll "stall" out for a while and then overnight will drop a number of lbs. One theory is that as your fat cells shrink they are filled back up by water before finally being dumped. This is why some people that should be loosing weight notice more 'jiggly' fat before finally shedding it. I'm male, weight lift, and see this myself. My weight loss isn't linear at all.

So I'd hang in there. Unless something is else is seriously off with your body you'll likely come around and notice the positive effects of your diet soon enough. It's cliched but true... if you can just make it a habit and a lifestyle -- not thinking too much about the weight loss -- you'll be there before you know it. (on the flip side... you'll torture yourself asking 'are we there yet' on a long road trip)
Edited by toddramone On May 1, 2012 9:54 PM
May 1, 2012 9:59 PM
QUOTE:

To be honest, I seriously wouldn't recommend going entirely vegan only due to a dairy allergy. (I was vegan for four years and was very unealthy.) Your carb intake seems really high to me, and by limiting your fat intake, you're going to tend to feel hungry all the time.



That doesn't mean veganism is unhealthy. Plenty of people are unhealthy as an omnivore.
  6652417
May 1, 2012 10:03 PM
OP - I would limit soy. Not because of crazy fear mongering, just because a varied diet tends to be a healthier diet. However, some people are sensitive to soy. I'm fine if I eat some, but not if I go overboard. And seitan is wheat gluten. It's the same thing as soy - some people are sensitive to it. Just like dairy. So maybe you should try limiting the consumption and varying your diet - try replacing with other things, more/other veggie/legume things.
  6652417
May 1, 2012 10:03 PM
Thank you all for your advice.

Just wanted to clarify with Lisa...I agree, going vegan is a lifestyle- not a diet. I wanted to go Vegan after my diary allergy made me think "why not-you're almost there anyway." I have alot of friends who are long time vegans, and when I said I was going to take the plunge...they were pumping me up with the "Oh, it will fall off of you now" so I thought that would be a bonus and believed the hype.... embarassed LOL.

Thanks for the information about the B-12, the protein, and the calorie uptake...while I didn't feel hungry, per say, with my 1300 calories a day, I have had others tell me that they thought it was too restrictive. I am going to up the ante a little and see what happens. Regarding the B-12 issue, yeah I have been sleepy, cranky, and feeling unwell for a while, and I now see the connection the more I have researched and heard the stories of others.

I am going to try to diversify my protein more. I will start adding more fats and protein in too-that should round me out. I hope to get cleared for exercise next week. Patience, I suppose.
May 1, 2012 10:10 PM
QUOTE:

Thank you all for your advice.

Just wanted to clarify with Lisa...I agree, going vegan is a lifestyle- not a diet. I wanted to go Vegan after my diary allergy made me think "why not-you're almost there anyway." I have alot of friends who are long time vegans, and when I said I was going to take the plunge...they were pumping me up with the "Oh, it will fall off of you now" so I thought that would be a bonus and believed the hype.... embarassed LOL.

Thanks for the information about the B-12, the protein, and the calorie uptake...while I didn't feel hungry, per say, with my 1300 calories a day, I have had others tell me that they thought it was too restrictive. I am going to up the ante a little and see what happens. Regarding the B-12 issue, yeah I have been sleepy, cranky, and feeling unwell for a while, and I now see the connection the more I have researched and heard the stories of others.

I am going to try to diversify my protein more. I will start adding more fats and protein in too-that should round me out. I hope to get cleared for exercise next week. Patience, I suppose.


While B-12 is important to supplement, it's highly unlikely that you'd be feeling effects in a month. A lot of people who ate animals can go quite a long time before becoming deficient. Doesn't mean it doesn't happen, just saying it's not common. You'd have to have it tested to really know, of course, so maybe you are. You could also be sleepy and cranky simply due to eating too little, those are certainly side effects.
  6652417
May 1, 2012 10:12 PM
I would say the bloat could be from the too much soy. Try getting more protein from dark greens/green juice or a green protein shake. Hemp protein is great too you can add that to your cereal in the morning >^-^<
May 1, 2012 10:15 PM
Hi again.

It is interesting that the B-12 was brought up because I went to the doctor this week, due to ongoing fatigue and just not feeling well. I happened to mention that I was vegan now, but had been a vegetarian for several years. The doctor suggested an order of bloodwork, with a B-12 test included. The low end of normal is 239 and the high end is 900. Mine was 245. The doctor said come in for a few more tests to see if you are actually deficient. Doing that tomorrow actually. I was surprised because I thought that prior to going vegan, I was doing enough...maybe not.
May 1, 2012 10:19 PM
Without getting too personal or gross... If you have increased your fiber intake more then what your body is accustomed too, it could be that you are... Full of poo, seriously I just learned this in my dietary clinical nutrition class. It makes you feel bloated, ill, tired, Sometimes nauseous. So, if you haven't gone recently or if you've noticed a change in your frequency you may want to consider limiting your fiber intake for a while until your GI tract can speed up, and then slowly add more back in.
  4269604
May 1, 2012 10:44 PM
I peeked at your food diary...and I also say ditch the soy! You might want to get tested for food allergies other than dairy as well. 99% of soy is genetically modified, and it also has one of the highest contamination by pesticides of any of our foods. Soymilk and the soy protein isolate that's in many foods are over processed and very difficult to digest. I believe that clean, organic simple soy foods can be healthy, hey, it's worked for the Okinawan Japanese (he longest living people in the world) for thousands of years, but most of what's available to us in a package is not healthy. I agree that vegans need to mix it up, be creative about your protein sources! PREPARE your own food, get your hands dirty...a great cookbook for really tasty and interesting vegan and mostly raw food is: http://veganfusion.com/best-rated-vegan-vegetarian-raw-food-cookbooks/vegan-fusion-world-cuisine/ their Blossoming Lotus restaurant here in Portland is my favorite...I have a hard time going less than twice a week! BTW, I am not vegan (just eat that way mostly) and am allergic to soy...and wheat and corn and dairy. Good luck and good eatin'!

P.S. Equal/aspartame sweetener is highly poisonous stuff, it is literally made of 3 different poisons; Phenalanine, Methanol, and Diketopierazine, proven to cause brain tumors, birth defects, brain cancer, diabetes, emotional disorders, epilepsy and if that wasn't enough to convince you to eliminate it, it also CONTRIBUTES TO OBESITY. It's true. I am getting my degree in holistic health and nutrition, and several chapters of coursework were dedicated to the dangers of Aspartame.
  20433783
May 1, 2012 10:57 PM
QUOTE:

Hi again.

It is interesting that the B-12 was brought up because I went to the doctor this week, due to ongoing fatigue and just not feeling well. I happened to mention that I was vegan now, but had been a vegetarian for several years. The doctor suggested an order of bloodwork, with a B-12 test included. The low end of normal is 239 and the high end is 900. Mine was 245. The doctor said come in for a few more tests to see if you are actually deficient. Doing that tomorrow actually. I was surprised because I thought that prior to going vegan, I was doing enough...maybe not.


According to that book I mentioned- B12 deficiency is frequently underdiagnosed and people with 250-450 may have a deficiency that needs more testing. Also, get this- I don't remember the exact details but there is some compound specifically in soy or soy digestion that mimics B-12 on blood tests, so people who consume a lot of soy get falsely high B-12 readings. So not only are vegetarians and vegans at risk, but soy messes up the tests. People think its only vegans and vegetarians are fine (thats what I thought!) but long term vegetarians have almost the same risk as vegans. (I'm almost 20 yrs). Some other risk groups are:
people who take a lot of antacids
people who have had bariatric surgery
people with history of alcoholism
people with crohns or celiac disease
people with thyroid problems (me!)

I apologize- I'm not like a B-12 evangelist, I just went through a lot to get to feeling better and feel the need to share it with everyone. Wait, I am a B-12 evangelist.
  20711900

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