I get it, I was just where you are right now, struggling to lose weight on a vegan diet. I used to believe that it didn’t matter what I ate, as long as I was vegan and exercised on a daily basis, it should be easy to shed pounds.
I was mesmerized by the variety of vegan products in the grocery stores.
And I said to myself, “maybe becoming vegan is not as hard as I thought!”
Everywhere I went, I would see gazillions of vegan JUNK FOODS, such as vegan chips, vegan cookies, vegan cheese, vegan ice cream – you name it.
The temptation was way too much and I just had to cram my mouth with all my favorite vegan junk foods!
I was being gluttonous!
The pounds were not coming off and the number on the scale kept rising! “How can this be”, I thought. But deep inside I knew why, I had gone from eating regular junk foods to eating vegan junk foods.
Today, I am at my ideal weight, the pounds have melted off, and all after I found the secrets to overcoming my vegan junk food addiction.
But not first without doing tons of research!
I also experimented on myself, and worked 1-on-1 as a personal trainer and weight-loss coach with other vegans in my community.
Here are the benefits I found are possible by eliminating vegan junk food:
- You will sleep better
- You will feel happier
- You will have more energy
- You will begin to shed excessive pounds
- You will get sufficient amounts of essential nutrients that boost your immune system
- You won’t be constipated
- Your blood sugar will stabilize
- Your skin will look and feel a lot better
- You will build strong muscles
- You won’t age so quickly
- You won’t keep getting headaches
- Your nails will be stronger
- You will have healthy hair
- You will become more health-conscious
- It will help reduce your risk of chronic health issues
The first step on your weight-loss journey should be recognizing why you continue to eat and crave vegan junk foods even though you know you shouldn’t. Lucky for you, I have laid out the top three reasons right here, so keep reading!
Secret #1: You Need To Examine Your WillPower
First of all, I want to say to you that it is not really your fault. The desire for sugar and fat, or in other words junk food, is part of being human.
However, that doesn’t mean that we should throw our hands up and use that as an excuse to eat all the vegan junk food we want. We are still responsible for taking control of our willpower.
Having willpower is not just a matter of choosing yes or no.
The science goes much deeper than that, and understanding it will help you make better choices. So, let’s talk about exactly just that…
1. It All Begins In The Brain
To be more specific, the prefrontal cortex. This region of the brain plays a role in our decision making and impulse control. Need I say more!
So what can cause of prefrontal cortex to mess with out willpower? Here are a few: being sleep deprived, being distracted, and being drunk.
In other words, if for example, you are not getting enough sleep at night, you are more likely to make poor food choices and dig into that bag of vegan chips.
2. Your Heart Rate Variability Matters
According to Harvard Medical School, heart rate variability (HRV) is “simply a measure of the variation in time between each heartbeat”. But what does this have to do with our willpower?
Believe it or not, if you increase you HRV you are also more likely to increase your willpower.
When you increase your HRV, your breathing rate drops. That means that you are relaxed and have better self-control when it comes to making a decision if you should buy that vegan junk food when at the grocery store.
And what affects your HRV? Anxiety, loneliness, and pain among others. So if you are experiencing any of these feelings, that could be the reasons why you don’t have much willpower. Crazy huh?
3. 3,500 Choices Per Day
Yes, you read that right, that’s how many choices we make per day on average according to Psychology Today. Well, no wonder we fall into temptation so often!
Our willpower is being tested all time, including the times when we must choose to eat vegan junk food or not! It is important that you know this, so that next time you are more likely to make the right decision!
What’s worse is that there are studies that suggest that our willpower is limited. Our willpower depletes as the day goes on and we become more tired.
The good news is that it can get easier. Your willpower is like a muscle, and the more you exercise it, the easier it becomes to resist the temptation of eating vegan junk food.
I have a friend at work who is also vegan. She often brings vegan brownies to work, and just leaves them out in the staff lounge for anyone to grab.
I used to get excited every time I would get to work in the mornings and see them on the table. I couldn’t wait to eat my vegan brownie with a cup of coffee. Just the smell of chocolate made my saliva turn into water. It was a real treat!
When I made the decision that I needed to lose weight, I told myself I needed to stop eating the vegan brownies at work. In the beginning, it was really hard.
Every time I would go to the staff lounge to get water or tea, I would see them. They would call me and say “eat me, eat me!”
But each time this happened, it got a little easier and easier. Now I still see the brownies at work, but it doesn’t hurt anymore not be able to eat them.
The temptation is not nearly as strong. I trained my willpower muscle, and it has definitely strengthened big time.
You need to give it a shot, too. With so much food choices we must make in a day, being able to say “NO” to vegan junk food by building up our willpower muscle is super important.
4. Your Emotions Are Getting The Best Of You
Your willpower is also tied to your emotions.
Some vegans turn to food because they feel lonely, exhausted, bored, apprehensive, stressed, furious, depressed, or fearful. Oftentimes, these negative emotions can cause overeating and cravings for unhealthy comfort foods.
Sure, eating may make you feel happy and help you forget about something unsettling going on in your life at the moment, but it will just be undoubtedly temporary. The feelings that caused the eating in the first place will still be there.
The truth is you may end up feeling horrible than you did before due to the unnecessary calories you have just eaten.
Binge-eating is destructive and it will only make you feel worse. As a matter of fact, the root of obesity is emotional. The poor eating habits are just a symptom of a much deeper emotional issue.
Pigging out won’t make the original emotional issue disappear. You need to first understand your behaviors and your emotional eating triggers. Learn to eat mindfully rather than mindlessly. Eventually you can break the insidious pattern.
I believe that you’re capable of making a positive change no matter how vulnerable you feel over foods and your feelings. There are so many healthy ways to cope with your emotions and fight the temptations.
The bottom line is learn to deal with your feelings head on, so you don’t numb them with foods.
Be mindful. Know that you have more power over your food cravings than you ever thought possible. By being able to control your emotions, you will also have more control of your willpower.
Bonus: If you would like a rundown of this article, you can watch the video below. I’m not as good with video as with writing so beware! Haha! But I think you will still enjoy it 🙂
Secret #2: Your Body Is Contaminated
Food addiction is very much like drug, alcohol and gambling addiction. But seriously, why is vegan junk food incredibly addictive?
Answer: Eating highly refined, processed vegan food leads to the rapid production of insulin. When insulin levels in the blood go up, your blood drives amino acids into the muscles.
Once the concentration of tryptophan (an amino acid) is enhanced in connection with other amino acids, it is driven across the blood-brain barrier, where it interacts with a protein in the pleasure receptor zone of the brain and activates the production of serotonin (a contributor to feelings of well-being and contentment).
This is why unhealthy processed foods such as vegan junk food can be extremely addictive! Every time you experience the pleasure effect from eating vegan junk foods, it’s very tempting to want to repeat the behavior over and over again.
Therefore, if you don’t detox from a vegan junk-food addiction, these unhealthy foods can really sabotage you and hold you back from reaching your fitness goals.
There are lots of vegan protein sources that you can eat instead of junk food, and that will keep you full until your next meal (I recommend you take a look at my blog post “You Need To See This Vegan Protein Sources Chart!”).
1. Cleaning Out Your Palette
According to Dr. Neal Barnard, addictive foods (vegan or not), like cheese, sugar, and chocolate all have chemical compounds that activate the brain’s secretion of chemicals like dopamine.
When you eat these addictive vegan junk foods, you feel great of course, and this can keep driving our cravings for them.
Consuming vegan junk food is linked to chronic disease. In addition, they make your tissues become inflamed, narrow your blood vessels, cause your blood pressure to rise, and more.
Therefore, in order to avoid any health issues as a consequence of eating vegan junk food, the first step we need to take is to clean out our palette.
When you stop eating vegan junk food, your palate will adapt to your new diet. In fact, unhealthy foods will start to taste too salty, or too sweet, and eventually you won’t think they taste good anymore.
But in order for this to happen, the body needs to get rid of toxins through the liver, kidneys, sweat, intestines, lungs, skin, urine, and lymphatic system.
Because when you don’t get rid of the contaminants in your body, these vital systems work too hard and are compromised, contaminants aren’t thoroughly purified and the body is harmfully affected.
2. Have You Detoxed Your Body Lately?
Toxins can negatively affect every part of the body. Nowadays our lifestyles are jam-packed with so many chemical preservatives and additives that our bodies do not even recognize or have no idea how to process.
Toxins are from a whole host of different sources like water, air, foods, cleaning products, medication, technology, stress, poor eating habits, bad lifestyle choices, and so forth.
If you experience symptoms, such as headaches, brain fog, fatigue, allergies, asthma, reflux, acne, irritated skin, bloating, menstrual problems, and irritable bowel that bother you, then starting a detox could be a great solution to all these annoying problems.
“Detoxification works because it addresses the needs of individual cells, the smallest units of human life,” says Peter Bennett, N.D., co-author of 7-Day Detox Miracle with Stephen Barrie, N.D., and Sara Faye.
Bennett recommends that everybody should detox at least once a year.
A word of caution, children, nursing mothers, and patients that have chronic degenerative diseases, cancer or tuberculosis must consult their physicians or healthcare practitioners to find out whether detoxing is right for them or not.
In a nutshell, getting your body rested, nourished, cleansed can result in a wide range of positive effects such as protecting against many diseases and renewing your ability to prolong optimum health.
Benefits of detoxification
- You will feel vibrant and joyful
- You will have more physical and mental energy
- You will lose weight
- Your immune system function will be enhanced
- You will unhook yourself from the addictive power of junk foods
- It will help slow down premature aging
- Your skin will glow
- It will strengthen your hair and nails
- It will help prevent a myriad of chronic health problems
- You will have better sex
- It will help get rid of cravings
Secret #3: Break Your Vegan Junk Food Addiction
What is addiction exactly? Addiction is when our bodies have become accustomed to a noxious agent. Indulging in the addiction is enjoyable without a doubt.
Say, if you drank 6 cups of energy drinks every single day, you would feel on top of the world, but if you try very hard to quit the habit, you would get withdrawal headaches.
The same goes with processed vegan food that is high in preservatives, calories, salt, sugar, and fat.
(of course not all fat is bad, to read about the kind of fat that you should be eating, check out my blog post “The Ultimate List Of The Best High Fat Vegan Foods/Sources”)
The reason why it’s hard for people to stop eating vegan junk food is because these calories dense unhealthy foods not only look mouth watering but also taste way too delicious!
You may feel light-headed, weak, shaky, fatigued, and irritable if you do not eat or drink a caloric load for relief.
Processed vegan food, like potato chips, french fries, bacon cheese burgers, cookies, doughnuts, muffins, whatever all these fake foods people are consuming, they are predominantly calories.
These unhealthy vegan foods don’t have any significant load of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals (chemical compounds produced by plants), and antioxidants that our brain and body need for normal cellular function and strong immune system.
This can cause vegans to lose brain function, age quickly, and become demented over the years. In addition, junk vegan food can make us a higher prone to depression and mental illness.
Processed foods aren’t just void of nutrients, they also contain toxins, chemicals, additives, flavorings, and colorings.
When we take in foods with ZERO nutrient supply, we produce metabolic wastes (substances left over from metabolic processes that cannot be utilized by the organism and must be expelled) from our own body.
Moreover, because the calories from vegan junk food is rushing in the bloodstream all at once, dopamine receptors in the brain get stimulated and over time we become dopamine insensitive.
These highly palatable processed vegan foods with concentrated calories are so addictive that they negatively affect brain receptors in the same way that cocaine does and this is why people love eating junk foods.
People get very excited when they consume unhealthy foods. However, if they try to stop eating junk foods, they feel discomfort.
Processed foods are so addicting that keep people overweight and they also make people want to consume even more bad foods just to avoid going into withdrawal.
In fact, companies spend millions of dollars trying to figure out how to make their food products addictive. They test everything from the texture, the flavor, and make it just right so that you will want to keep coming for more and more.
But, if you fuel your body with high nutrient foods and ratchet up the nutritional quality of the diet, you will be able to curb your appetite and the desire for calories will go down.
Vegan Junk Food & Weight-Loss
Kicking the vegan junk food habit is challenging, but doable. Not too long I was just like you, overweight and trying to figure out how I could stop eating vegan junk food.
Know that is not your fault that you crave vegan junk food. There are powerful people and big companies pouring money and working everyday into trying to make you addicted to unhealthy food so that you keep buying their products.
Unfortunately, there might also be people around you that are selfish and don’t want you to lose weight. But don’t forget that you are in the driver’s seat of your life!
Once you get into the habit of gradually eating healthier, you’ll begin to experience the cravings of vegan junk food less and less. The less vegan junk food you eat, the less you crave it.
Remember to eat a big variety of whole plant foods. Healthy foods contain a rich source of nutrients and our brain cells need a constant and continual supply of phytochemicals to stay healthy.
One of the reason why people fail on diets is because they try to cut back on calories without improving the nutritional quality of what they are consuming.
(To learn more about losing weight on a vegan diet, I highly suggest you go to these 2 of my blog post next: “The Ultimate Step-By-Step Vegan Diet Plan For Weight-Loss” and “Are You Not A HCLF Vegan Yet? Learn How It Can Aid With Weight-Loss”)
It doesn’t matter whether you are thin or overweight, low-nutrient calorie-dense vegan junk foods can really promote cancer development, in spite of body weight.
You can do it! Don’t be afraid! And you can count me as a friend to be with you when you feel the temptation creeping up. Just shoot me an email and we can talk about it.
Other than craving and eating vegan junk food, there are other reasons why your fat is not melting off.
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