Have you tried eating less meat to lose weight?
While there are many different motivations to stop eating meat, like the potential for weight loss, it can be challenging. Long term habits like dietary choices, often dating back to your childhood, aren’t simple to change overnight. Rather than trying to cut it out all at once, consider committing to eating less meat on a weekly basis. Making the change in a step–down fashion has a number of benefits.
For example, it’s an easy way to test out whether your new diet gives you the desired results, like losing weight. And, if you’re someone who’s currently eating an everyday meat diet, cutting down slowly gives your digestive system some time to acclimate and reduces the incidences of upset digestion that can accompany a dietary change. On the other hand, you may be pleasantly surprised that your experience is the opposite.
People who eat a lot of red meat might be used to the over-full, bloated feeling that can happen after a meal. Red meat tends to be more on the fatty side and moves through your digestive tract more slowly. And, slowed digestion is also linked to constipation. Cutting out red meat can create improvement on both fronts.
The flexitarian diet
If you’re not ready to commit to avoiding meat altogether, you have options. One is the flexitarian diet which is exactly what it sounds like. A flexitarian has no set diet, but rather can choose to eat differently from day to day. Instead of making a drastic change, it’s a gradual approach toward removing meat from your diet. One way to do this would be to skip meat or animal products three days per week and anything goes for the other four days.
This is an easy way to work your way up to another dietary goal, such as trying vegetarianism, while avoiding the pitfalls that can occur when a habit is changed too quickly. However, you may discover that you can make the move away from meat more easily than you’d thought because of positive incentives like losing weight and all the benefits associated with a healthy digestive system.
Avoiding meat for good
If your ultimate goal is to become a vegan, the suggestion to make changes slowly still stands. Most dietitians will recommend that you don’t go vegan cold turkey, because any radical change to the way you eat can be rife with side effects. Instead, give yourself at least a month to acclimate in terms of digestion, meal planning, learning how to shop for and cook vegan food, and putting a support system of like-minded individuals in place.
One strategy is to move through the stages from flexitarian to vegetarian to vegan. Also, be aware of nutritional deficiencies that can occur after a big change to your diet. To learn more about common deficiencies as well as good quality vegan supplements that can resolve them, check out the VLN website.