Updated: Feb 17, 2019
Throw away those "fat burning" pills and listen up fam
The struggle is real, there is so much misinformation out there today that you become so deeply overwhelmed with what's the right approach, what "superfoods" you need to eat that will magically shred that belly fat of your waist or how many reps/ sets you have to do at the gym to enter the "fat-burning" zone.
Or maybe you already know the science of losing weight but still can't seem to make it work. In this article I will be going through the most common mistakes, how to avoid them and help you lose weight while following a plant-based diet too.
1. You're not in a caloric deficit
This one is simple. To lose weight you need to consume fewer calories than the calories you burn.
First calculate your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) which essentially is the amount of calories your body needs when you literally don't move the entire day, imagine you're just laying in bed the whole day :)
Go do that now, I'll wait.....
Once you got that rough estimation of your daily caloric intake you need to calculate your T.D.E.E. (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) which let's you know the amount of calories you burn given your daily routine (going to work, walking etc) without taking exercise into consideration.
Lastly insert the amount of exercise you do on average and voila! That's your daily calorie expenditure, i.e. the energy you burn on average. To lose 4lbs or 1.8kg of weight per month you simply need to be in a 500 calorie deficit everyday.
Example: if after all those calculations your energy spent everyday is on average 2,500 kcal then you need to consume 2,000 kcal to lose that weight I've told you earlier.
2. You're consuming more calories than you think
Now that you know how many calories you need to eat to lose weight you have to track them correctly. Snacking isn't a zero calorie deal, juice, soda etc are not zero calorie beverages unless stated on the packaging.
I recommend downloading the Cronometer app where you jot down everything you eat although that can become a bit of a hassle and time-consuming. In that case a certified PT/ nutrition advisor can do it for you!
3. The food you're eating isn't satiating
All calories are not created equally. 300 calories of broccoli will fill you up much more than 300 calories of pasta for example. One of the secrets to ;vegan or not; weight-loss, is eating low calorie/ high-dense foods such as cruciferous vegetables, legumes and wholegrains.
These foods (broccoli, cauliflower, leafy greens, chickpeas, beans, lentils, oats, buckwheat, quinoa etc.) due to their high content in fiber, protein and vitamins will take longer to digest and will keep you full for a longer period of time rather than white rice, white bread, dairy, syrups, processed foods, poultry etc.
So get those huge salad bowls filled up with the good stuff!
4. Your workouts aren't burning enough calories
You may spend 1 hour or more in the gym but not utilizing that time to its maximum potential. When it comes to exercise selection in terms of weight and fat loss I always recommend a blend of both resistance training and cardio.
Choose compound lifts, i.e. exercises that use a bunch of muscle groups as opposed to doing bicep curls for 15 minutes. If you have the luxury of spending 45+ minutes exercising then compound lifts and cardio finishers at the end are essential to burn that maximum amount of calories in a shorter period of time.
On the other hand if you're struggling on time then H.I.I.T. (High Intensity Interval Training) is the way to go. What that essentially is are a couple of aerobic/anaerobic exercises performed as a group for a certain amount of rounds. That is something I always recommend to my busy clients as part of my workout plans.
5. Make it a lifestyle not a 6-week "hating" diet
This may be the most important aspect/ tip of the entire health & fitness thing. I've heard too many people saying that after their 4 or 8 week transformation that they just went back to their old eating habits, sedentary lifestyle and that fitness just isn't for them.
You're wrong my friend! The reasons behind this vary but the most common are:
- The "diet" you were following was restricting you, leaving you hungry and not feeling happy.
- It was a size-fits-all meal plan and not tailored to your needs, tastes and wants.
- There was nobody to motivate you etc.
What I do for all my clients is really understand what drives them, the foods they enjoy and provide ongoing support throughout their fitness journey, until the moment where they are able to spread their wings and fly! While embracing their new fitness lifestyle which they truly enjoy.
P.S. if you're vegan or transitioning to a vegan diet then head over to https://www.miguelthevegan.com where we'll create an awesome 2-week ongoing meal plan schedule for you to follow (and a workout plan if you need one) with all your favourite foods, vegan alternatives, stuff that ACTUALLY works towards achieving your goals, be they fat loss, muscle gain or overall fitness.