When I decided to become vegan a year ago, I knew those “last 15 pounds” would effortlessly melt away.  If you are not familiar with the lifestyle, vegans are the strictest of vegetarians, subsisting solely on a plant-based diet and abstaining from milk, cheese, and eggs in addition to all meat. While this may sound extremely restrictive, it expands the palate considerably since there are hundreds of varieties of fruits, vegetables, and grains and just as many delicious, easy vegan recipes utilizing these fresh and healthy ingredients.

Vegan French ToastI collected a variety of vegetarian and vegan cookbooks and quickly fell in love with the multitude of new meatless meals in my repertoire. Casseroles, soups, and pastas along with baked root vegetables, fresh salads, and green smoothies were all a part of my new diet.  Forgoing all cheese, ice cream, and fast food burgers, surely I’d be in my skinny jeans in a matter of weeks.

Sadly for me, that was not the case. Initially I lost two pounds while adjusting to my new way of eating. It was difficult to find food on the run and if I hadn’t planned ahead, I often went without.  I quickly learned to carry vegan snacks, scout ahead for vegan friendly grocery stores, and how to order “off menu” at restaurants.

I also became a better vegan cook! I discovered delicious vegan versions of my favorite recipes. I learned to make homemade veggie burgers, vegan cupcakes, and killer chocolate chip cookies. Even though I wasn’t eating meat lovers cheese pizza with my family anymore, the calories I was eating in (technically vegan) junk food easily made up the deficit.

Even though I wasn’t losing weight, I did feel better physically! I was sleeping soundly, I had more energy, and I never felt bloated after meals. The healthier vegetarian dinners digested quickly and I no longer felt the need for “power naps” every afternoon.  I still had 15 pounds to lose (I regained those first two I lost!) but  I knew I’d made the right decision for my health, for animal welfare, and for the environment. I was still a little overweight, but I didn’t regret my new lifestyle at all.

I did eventually lose those last fifteen pounds, but it took considerably more effort then simply forgoing meat, dairy, and eggs. I started counting calories, renewed my gym membership, and walked the dog with my husband every evening. I still made those killer chocolate chip cookies, but not as often as I used to. 

It wasn’t overnight, nor instantaneous, but I was successful. Now I am enjoying my healthier vegan diet along with a slimmer body. Although veganism wasn’t a miracle weight solution for me, I have found it easier to maintain my ideal weight without the constant temptations of fast food, ice cream “therapy”,  and unplanned office party treats.