Gaining weight as a vegan... help!!


Oct 29, 2017
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  1. Vegan
I wanted to start this off by saying that I’m 16 years old. I know a lot of the replies will be for me to love my body as it is, or something along the lines of my horomones not quite being in line yet. And I understand all that. However, please understand that I used to be at a severely unhealthy weight for my age and height and needed to lose weight, and now I’m worried that it’s coming back.

About two years ago, I decided to make a change to my life. I was about 5’7 and around 185 lbs (I’m female). I didn’t feel my best so I started making healthier swaps. Now, I didn’t have the best weight loss reigimen. I didn’t really keep track of how much I was eating—I could’ve eaten too much some days or too little other days. I also walked but mostly ran 2 miles a day, five days a week. I lost weight within about 9 months, getting down to 145lbs. I had been cutting down on animal products and didn’t consume them a lot but this was when I decided to announce becoming vegan.

Over the summer I enjoyed veggie burgers and legumes galore. I came back to school, and around January they measured my weight as 137lbs. I was happy with that.

Then tennis season hit. I started eating more than I had been during the rest of the year. I also didn’t limit myself as much—before, I hadn’t consumed any sugar, but now I was eating whole wheat bread that had a little brown sugar in it. Not huge changes, but I was definitely consuming more calories. One could argue that I was burning them off in tennis, until I got injured.

From about April until June, I wasn’t getting exercise at all other than walking. I tried not to eat the same amounts of food as I did when I played, but I could’ve failed—I never paid much attention to it. However, I wasn’t eating past feeling full or bingeing. I sometimes felt hungry.

Over the summer, I ate pretty leisurely and exercised here and there (never eating past feeling full, etc). July, I stepped on the scale to a surprise. I weighed around 147lbs. I didn’t know where the weight had come from.

I started implementing an arm workout into my week. I started doing it about twice a week. It was simple, just enough to tone up my arms a little, which I was the most self conscious about. (If you’re curious: I did 12 push-ups for 4 sets and 12 chair dips for 4 sets, alternating). I weighed myself right before school started and weighed about 153lbs. I told myself I couldn’t have gained all that in muscle just from the simple exercises I was doing.

Now, I weigh about 155lbs and can’t get the scale to budge. I don’t understand. I’ve been vegan for over a year, and while it helped me lose weight at first, it seems to be making me gain now. No matter what I eat, I can’t lose weight. Over the past two months I’ve tried everything and the scale has only inched up. I started doing my arm routine every other day instead of two days a week. I’m not running as much as I did when I first lost weight—is that the problem?? I feel hungry at several points during the day but I feel like I can’t eat because I’m gaining weight so fast. What’s going on???? Please help!!!

Also, thanks so much for reading all this. You’re the best :)
You said that you got injured likely leading to you not exercising as much as you were when you were trying to lose the weight running 2 miles a day for five days. If you exercise less and eat more you will gain weight. Weight can fluctuate and I wouldn't worry much about it.
Perhaps you could try this. You can lose 5 lbs in 3 days and even more if you do the whole 7 day diet. I do it whenever my BMI goes over 25 and I usually only do between 3 and 5 days of the diet. On day 5 substitute tofu or something similar for the paneer (cottage cheese). It's the best diet because it works quickly and you should not do it for more than 7 days, though you can do it again a month or 2 later. Go back to you normal vegan diet afterwards but it might also be a good idea to check your normal diet and eliminate all sugar except sugar that it naturally present in fruit.
Any diet will work better if you make exercise a regular part of your daily routine. If you don't exercise much, find a form of exercise you really enjoy. For me that would be walking, cycling or running. If you are healthy you could walk/run/cycle 5 miles per day.
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This is my first post on these forums. Obviously, like one person said, you aren't losing weight like you were at least partially because you aren't exercising like you used to. Give your body plenty of time to heal. Also obviously, as you already know, fixating on your weight is unhealthy. Especially coming from your past of feeling overweight, a fixation on weight will drain you of beautiful time you can't earn back. I recently entered my twenties and see where I messed my own head up by letting my weight and appearance matter to me more than developing my brain. So. I'm playing the ketchup game. I hope if you read this or if anybody reads this they can recognize the signs of entering the ketchup game before you're as messy as I am. The last thing I want to say is I wouldn't go back to eating animal products. I think all that will bring is more weight and stress about weight.
Maybe you try The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone. She has a great website and forum on Facebook and you can even ask her advice. Good luck. I know weight can be hard to deal with. I go up and down. Mainly down.