Why Vegetarianism isn't a Diet
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Okay, despite the title vegetarianism technically IS a diet when defined as “food or feed habitually eaten or provided.” But what I want to discuss in this post is the type of diet used to obtain weight loss. Vegetarianism is not a diet that will lead to guaranteed weight loss.
People decide to go vegetarian for many reasons, and it’s 100% a personal choice. Some decide to make the switch for ethical reasons while others make the switch for health. After all, consumption of meat is linked to disease and health risk. However, omitting meat from your plate for health reasons is a different story than that for weight loss reasons. It’s also important to remember that a vegetarian diet does not guarantee a healthy diet, just a more statistically probable one.
After all, macaroni and cheese, alfredo and pizza can all be vegetarian. Cake, cookies and ice cream are a few more vegetarian-friendly options. If committing to a vegetarian diet you could eat these items all day long and still be following the “rules”. And if your goal is to lose weight as a result of a vegetarian diet the effect of eating these things will more likely to be the opposite of what you were hoping for. Meat alternatives aren’t always a healthier choice either. Store bought varieties can have just as lengthy an ingredient list loaded with filler and salt as other pre-packaged meals.
A lot of people assume that vegetarians subsist solely off of vegetables. This isn’t true for every vegetarian, just as every meat eater doesn’t solely subsist off of just meat. If the idea of fitting more vegetables into your meals is what is attractive to you about eating a vegetarian diet start adding in more veggies to your daily meals. Ideally, you want to fill half your plate with veggies. Admittedly, this can be really overwhelming for those who are coming from a place where they hardly eat one vegetable a day. If this is the case for you start small and work your way up instead of trying to make such a large leap. Small changes over time are more likely to stick than large overhauls in a short period of time. For example, when ordering a burger or pizza you can opt to get all the plant-based extras alongside your animal-based protein.
Don’t be afraid to experiment. This is not to say you shouldn’t try vegetarianism at all. But if you do make the switch have realistic expectations of the “results”. Every body is different and will react differently to a diet change. How your body will react can’t be guaranteed. You may just feel more energetic and vibrant after cutting meat from your diet or you may feel sluggish and tired. The only way to know what will work for you is by giving it a try.
Remember, as with any change you make to your everyday eating routine, tune in to how you feel along the way. You may even want to keep track of your body’s cues in a food log. This makes it a breeze to reflect on the past week, what you ate, and how you felt afterward. If something isn’t working well for you, don’t be afraid to let go of the implemented changes and seek out something else that works best for your body. When you find what works you will be so glad you did!