The facts are laid out: vegetarians have a lower BMI on average, lower risk of early mortality, lower rates of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
We all know that following the vegetarian diet is a healthy alternative to the "traditional" diet in the mainstream today.
On an individual level, though, it doesn't always work out this way.
Becoming vegetarian is merely a step to controlling weight and achieving a healthy BMI, not the only step.
By abstaining from meat, you're avoiding a whole lot of fat and cholesterol, but if you replace this meat with fried potatoes and soda, then you're not going to lose the weight you wanted to.
Weight is a reflection of many things, including lifestyle, heritage, and, of course, diet.
All these things need to be taken into consideration in order to shed unwanted pounds, or, if you need to, put on a couple extra.
Here is a list of a few ideas to help you achieve a healthy weight on the vegetarian diet.
Eating Healthy, Wholesome Foods One of the reasons you may gain unexpected weight when becoming vegetarian is the tendency to replace meat with highly processed foods.
Avoid foods like potato chips, white pasta, and white flour (pizza dough, etc.
) and replace them with whole grains, instead.
Some examples of delicious, easy to prepare whole grains are: • Quinoa • Brown Rice • Millet • Whole-Wheat Flour • Oatmeal • Bulgur • Whole Corn Meal The benefit of eating whole grains is that it is not as easily digested and absorbed by the body.
Processed foods like bleached white flour are more or less predigested foods that the body can digest too easily.
As a result, your body does not burn nearly as much energy in the digestion process, and you store more calories in your body, mainly in the form of fat and sugar.
Eating whole grains can help keep off the pounds, while providing your body with more wholesome nutrition.
Eat Lots of Fruits and Vegetables A general rule of thumb is that food is most nutritious in its most natural state.
Eating raw fruits and vegetables is a great way to get a variety of vitamins and minerals that your body needs to maintain optimal health.
The vegetarian diet is a great way to lose weight and keep it off, and eating lots of fruits and vegetables is a great way to fill up on highly nutritious, low calorie foods.
Stay away from fried potatoes and other vegetables, opting for vegetable lightly sauted in heart-healthy extra virgin olive oil.
Eat Cheese and Cream in Moderation If you've decided to become a vegetarian, rather than vegan, dairy products can be a great way to get the protein, calcium, and fat that your body needs.
All too often, though, cheese and heavy creams become the new meat for vegetarians, eating it in excess at every meal.
The high fat content - especially saturated fats - make them detrimental to losing weight and keeping it off.
Try eating dairy products 2-3 times a day to get the proper nutrients for your body, while keeping off the pounds.
Eat Meals, Not Snacks Vegetarians are just as guilty of snacking all day as their omnivorous counterparts.
This is especially true if you work a desk job, where you burn relatively few calories throughout the day.
By concentrating calorie consumption to meal time - three times a day - you'll be less likely to eat more energy than you burn.
That said, snacking is only natural; try eating whole foods, like an apple, orange, or banana instead of processed snack bars.
Exercise This is one of the most overlooked areas of weight loss.
Simply becoming vegetarian will not guarantee weight loss.
Again, maintaining a healthy weight is a simple formula: a balance of the calories you ingest to the calories you burn.
Make sure to work exercise into your life, making it a natural extension of your everyday life.
Try commuting to work taking the bus - the extra walking can add up.
Even better, try riding your bike.
Make it a point to walk to the grocery store to get your groceries.
Not only will you be burning calories, you'll be outside, enjoying the delights of being outdoors, connected to the world.
Genetics and Metabolism Sometimes we simply get the short end of the stick and are genetically more susceptible to being overweight.
Look at someone in your family with a similar body type, and you may find this to be the case.
It's also important to note that as we age, our metabolism slows, which is why we tend to gain weight as we age.
Don't let this stop you from trying to develop a healthy diet and lifestyle, though.
It's always possible to hit that healthy weight target.
By putting all these tips into practice, you're sure to experience weight loss, or at least maintain a healthy weight.
On top of that, you'll feel better, with more energy to expend doing the things you love.
If you remain overweight, you may want to consider seeing a nutritionist to help you get on the right track, and figure out what may be the issue at hand.