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 Post subject: Accidental weight loss?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:38 pm 
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Tofu Pup

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I've been vegan for about half a year now. I'm healthier, if having rather more exciting bowel movements than I was previously accustomed to, and couldn't be happier. Yay!

But I was not expecting one particular side effect of the shift to apply to me: weight loss.

I've always been skinny, it's hereditary. My father is thin, too. When I started out, I was 5'4 1/2", and 113-ish pounds. I've since lost about 10-and-a-bit pounds, putting me at 102-103. My BMI (yeah, I know it's crepe, but still) is now 17.4, well under the 18.5 that is considered healthy. I FEEL good. I'm still getting periods and all that jazz. But I went home for the holidays, and now my mother and her entire extended family is freaking the heck out because of how skinny I've become, begging me to get a physical and start increasing my portion sizes.

Should I be worried? Is there any way I can regain some weight in a way that doesn't damage my newfound health? I work full-time during the days and go to school at night, so joining a gym to lift heavy weights isn't feasible for me at the moment. I'm also without health insurance, although I'll spring the money for a clinic visit if it seems necessary. Has anybody else dealt with accidental weight loss as a result of going vegan?

Kat


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 Post subject: Re: Accidental weight loss?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:44 pm 
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It would help if you gave us a little more information on your current diet. You may need to do the same thing that people trying to lose weight do like tracking your calorie count, amounts of fats/proteins/carbs, etc. Depending on what your current diet is you can add more foods in that are healthy but not necessarily low in calories such as nuts and healthy oils, whole grains, etc.


Last edited by pixiedust on Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Accidental weight loss?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:44 pm 
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Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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whatcha eating? are you eating regularly? what kind of portions are you eating? etc. etc.
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 Post subject: Re: Accidental weight loss?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:20 pm 
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Tofu Pup

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kittee wrote:
whatcha eating? are you eating regularly? what kind of portions are you eating? etc. etc.
xo
kittee


I'm eating a variety of grains, veggies, fruits, and legumes, 4+ a day. Oats with fruit and soymilk at 5:45 in the morning. Usually some kind of leftovers for lunch at 1:00, plus some of what the kids at work (I'm a childcare provider) are eating for THEIR breakfast (9:15) and lunch (11:45). I can always eat the fruit, and often the vegetable as well. I also have a light snack like a piece of fruit while they're taking their naps (2:30). Early dinner (4:45) usually consists of pasta or a grain with a bunch of vegetable-and-protein type things on top. Then I have class from 6-10, and either don't get to eat again until the next day or have a quick snack during a break sometime during those four hours.

At meals, I eat until I feel satiated. It's usually only slightly less than my husband, and occasionally more if I've had a particularly active day. We eat much smaller portions than most Americans, but they're not teeny. Think salad plate full of food, rather than dinner plate. And whenever we're still hungry at the end of a meal, we always eat more. We don't measure portions, we just eat what feels like enough. One of the reasons we're so happy with our lives is because we promised never to make mealtime into an accounting exercise.

Is it possible my appetite is skewed? Should I be making myself eat more fatty foods, even though I'm usually craving lighter veggies?

Kat


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 Post subject: Re: Accidental weight loss?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:29 pm 
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Yeah, it's hard to tell (because pasta could have different types of sauces, for example) but it doesn't sound like you're eating much fat at all. And you do need some. What about adding some nuts or seeds to your fruit snacks? Avocados are another way of adding some good fat and calories to an overall healthy diet.

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 Post subject: Re: Accidental weight loss?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:59 pm 
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Yeah I would totally start splurging on avocados and eating lots of nuts as snacks. You probably do need to eat more calorie dense foods since your bulk is so small.

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 Post subject: Re: Accidental weight loss?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 11:21 pm 
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see a doctor or r.d.!


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 Post subject: Re: Accidental weight loss?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 12:28 am 
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Are you taking any medications that might be causing the weight loss? My friend started a new type of SSRIs a few weeks ago and that made him drop about 6 or 7 pounds in a week because it messes with his digestion somehow.

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 Post subject: Re: Accidental weight loss?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 8:49 am 
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lycophyte wrote:
Yeah I would totally start splurging on avocados and eating lots of nuts as snacks. You probably do need to eat more calorie dense foods since your bulk is so small.


I definitely second this, healthy fats are a really important part of your diet and will help you feel satiated for longer!


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 Post subject: Re: Accidental weight loss?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:15 am 
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This really is an issue that an R.D. (or a doctor, if blood work needs to be done) would be better equipped to answer. They'll be able to discern whether your low weight really is something to worry about and, if so, help you figure out how to put on some weight.

That said, if it were me, I'd probably start by tracking my calorie intake for a few days. Just keep eating as I have been to figure out about how many calories I'm taking in every day. After getting a baseline, I'd add 200-250 cals/day, using these calories to eat more of whatever I want (ideally something more calorie dense than vegetables. Your food tracking will help you figure out what you might need more of, too.). If, after a few weeks, I hadn't put on any weight, I'd go to the doctor/R.D. I'd handle it this way because, if it were really something as simple as not getting quite enough calories, I wouldn't want to spend the money on a professional.

Remember that, though you're eating until you're satisfied (which is great!!), you might be eating foods with quite a bit more bulk and fewer calories than the foods you were eating before, which could account for a calorie drop and weight loss.


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 Post subject: Re: Accidental weight loss?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 11:54 am 
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Pop! wrote:
This really is an issue that an R.D. (or a doctor, if blood work needs to be done) would be better equipped to answer. They'll be able to discern whether your low weight really is something to worry about and, if so, help you figure out how to put on some weight.

That said, if it were me, I'd probably start by tracking my calorie intake for a few days. Just keep eating as I have been to figure out about how many calories I'm taking in every day. After getting a baseline, I'd add 200-250 cals/day, using these calories to eat more of whatever I want (ideally something more calorie dense than vegetables. Your food tracking will help you figure out what you might need more of, too.). If, after a few weeks, I hadn't put on any weight, I'd go to the doctor/R.D. I'd handle it this way because, if it were really something as simple as not getting quite enough calories, I wouldn't want to spend the money on a professional.

Remember that, though you're eating until you're satisfied (which is great!!), you might be eating foods with quite a bit more bulk and fewer calories than the foods you were eating before, which could account for a calorie drop and weight loss.


I agree with all of this. You seem to have a busy life, so you may simply be too active for how much you are taking in. Since you don't have insurance, you're probably not jumping at the idea of not only taking time off, but spending the money on an appointment (or more realistically, 2 or 3). Track your calorie intake for a couple days. It's pretty easy to get an idea off the packages of things or you can use food exhange lists:

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/ ... d_exch.htm

Really great article that explains the above, and gives vegan menu examples:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m ... ntent;col1


I found food exchanges to be the best way for me to maintain myself at a healthy weight. At every meal, I strive to get at least 3 starches, 2-3 fats, 1 protein, 2-3 vegetables. Then I make sure I'm snacking when hungry and getting foods with calcuim. As you get used to how much you should be eating, you can just do it intuitively. Just know that hummus, avocadoes, nuts, and baking are your friends. If you continue to lose weight, then please see someone!


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 Post subject: Re: Accidental weight loss?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 1:30 pm 
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I think it's a wonderful thing that you are connected to yourself when it comes to recognising when you feel satisfied at a meal, but as some before me have mentioned, on a vegan diet this could be a sneaky thing. You might not get as many calories as you need, becuse the food you're eating is high in fiber and water (like veggies).

I've recently started to gain back some weight, because i lost a few pounds from stress and generally not taking care of my self this fall, and for med planning has been key. I too have been eating until I've felt satisfied, but since that obviously made me loose weight I decided I needed to change that. So I've started eating more, not unhealthy stuff and not loads and loads, but just a couple of tbsps more sause on the pasta, another tsp of hummus on the sandwich et.c. Just adding a little here and there.
And I second those who've already mentioned the magic trick: snack on nuts and seeds! You really can't go wrong with this one. Walnuts, almonds, sunflower, pumpkin - they do work like magic. A small handfull here and there will really help you get some more energy

Also, I found that there is indeed a psychological aspect of gaining weight (I do hope I'm not out of line here). We're constantly bombarded with messages on how to loose this and how to get rid of that, actually gaining weoght feels a little scary. There was a part of me that, under the influence of mass media and the general image of how a "woman" is supposed to be, did not want to gain back what I'd lost, that wanted to stay "slim". I just wanted to mention it, because it's a sneaky thing, and you really shouldnt listen to that part of yourself. I decided to block out those thoughts and listen to loved ones who thought I looked too thin, because I value their oppinion more than a picture of a heroin chic model in some magazine.

Best of luck to you!

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 Post subject: Re: Accidental weight loss?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 4:11 pm 
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You should definitely see a doctor/RD.

However, this sounds kind of like me. I'm slim to begin with, and a while ago, I lost weight, bottoming out at around the same BMI as you. I wasn't trying to lose weight, and I don't think much changed in my life (the only other times I've lost weight have been when I've been under extreme stress). I saw a doctor, and they didn't find anything wrong with me. My periods were still happening, and I wasn't otherwise sick.

I think that what happened was two things in conjunction: 1) I was losing muscle, because I was less active than normal due to a desk job I hadn't had before, and 2) perhaps I was taking in slightly less calories than I needed because I was busy with work. I felt like I was eating enough, but I think that in reality, I was probably getting a bit less than I needed (skipping the occasional lunch because I was busy, or replacing more filling and hearty meals with cup-o-soup or something similar, which was less calories than I'd usually eat).

Recently, I started working out (doing P90X) and paying more attention to what I'm eating, and I've gained back to a place where I feel like I'm at a good weight.

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 Post subject: Re: Accidental weight loss?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 4:31 pm 
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Agree with a lot of what has been said.

I've never needed to gain weight, but I do love to eat! One fun way to add a little fat/calories would be putting some nut butter in your oatmeal and/or some nuts, seeds, or granola (or a combination) on top. I have to be careful with this not to overdo it!

Also maybe a protein drink of some kind? I really like this in Spiced Chai http://sveltebrand.com/products/. I've heard varying opinions on it, but I like it! It was on sale at Whole Foods last time I went, so I bought a Cappuccino flavor, too, but I haven't tried it yet. I have to be careful with these, too! They have a nice amount of vitamins, including D2 and B12, but it they also have a decent amount of fat. The thing that sticks out for me though is that the sugar is less than 10grams, which I rarely see.

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 Post subject: Re: Accidental weight loss?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 03, 2011 4:39 pm 
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I've unfortunately not had this problem.....sigh. I've maintained around the same weight for a year since becoming vegetarian and then vegan. I've even gained over the Holidays (around 3-4 pounds). I am however in need to lose about 40-50 pounds to be at the top of my healthy weight.

I find it easy to eat high calorie and eat healthy/clean foods. I can make a morning smoothie that packs over 500 calories easily (banana, soy milk, peanut butter, rolled oats, chia seeds). It's easy when eating dressings and sauces made with tahini, olive oil, cashews, almonds, etc. I can easily eat an avocado in one sitting. I love throwing gaucamole over my mexican inspired meals.

I would D-E-F-I-N-I-T-E-L-Y consider entering your calories for a few weeks on something like Sparkpeople just too see where you are falling. If your foods are low in oil, sauces, nuts, nut butter, seeds, avocado's, and whole grains then I can see easily not getting enough calories.


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 Post subject: Re: Accidental weight loss?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 9:44 pm 
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Thanks for all the help! A physician friend of mine has been kind enough to help me out with this issue. She has me keeping a food diary for a few days, which has been kind of interesting. I still feel like I'm eating a lot, but it's pretty clear I just get fewer calories than I did before.

I'm actually a little confused about how one goes about counting calories to begin with. We don't normally eat packaged foods, and we cook in large quantities, not just enough for a single meal. How do you measure the calories in "three handfuls of oats," "three seconds of drizzle from the tahini jar", or "maybe around six bite-sized chunks of an eggplant"?

Kat


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 Post subject: Re: Accidental weight loss?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 9:51 pm 
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katamay wrote:
Thanks for all the help! A physician friend of mine has been kind enough to help me out with this issue. She has me keeping a food diary for a few days, which has been kind of interesting. I still feel like I'm eating a lot, but it's pretty clear I just get fewer calories than I did before.

I'm actually a little confused about how one goes about counting calories to begin with. We don't normally eat packaged foods, and we cook in large quantities, not just enough for a single meal. How do you measure the calories in "three handfuls of oats," "three seconds of drizzle from the tahini jar", or "maybe around six bite-sized chunks of an eggplant"?

Kat

http://nutritiondata.self.com/ is pretty flexible. You can add ingredients to your "pantry" and then use them to calculate the calories, etc... in a recipe. You might have to measure your ingredients the first time through, just to get a good idea of whether three handfuls of oats is about a cup, a cup and a half, or what.

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 Post subject: Re: Accidental weight loss?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 04, 2011 10:01 pm 
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katamay wrote:
I'm actually a little confused about how one goes about counting calories to begin with. We don't normally eat packaged foods, and we cook in large quantities, not just enough for a single meal. How do you measure the calories in "three handfuls of oats," "three seconds of drizzle from the tahini jar", or "maybe around six bite-sized chunks of an eggplant"?

Kat


This is where I like the food exchanges. Not ALL veggies are the same in calories, BUT in general you can estimate that:

1/2 cup cooked veggies, 1 cup raw veggies, or 1/2 cup veggie juice all = about 25 cals

Or 1/3 cup couscous (cooked), 1/2 cup pasta (cooked), or 1/3 cup legumes = 80 cals

Then, one time while you are cooking, measure everything . It will give you a good idea of what a cup looks like or a tablespoon of oil. Measure your drizzle of tahini. Then look at the label and now you know and don't have to do it again! Then from then on, you can eye-ball portions and estimate better how many calories you are eating.


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 Post subject: Re: Accidental weight loss?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:03 am 
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when i had to gain weight i ate:

-homemade luna bars (perfect snack, easy way to get 200 extra calories)
-granola bars
-snack bars of all sorts
-raw brownies
-smoothies and shakes with flax oil and lots of banana, peanut butter etc.

this was all extra foods i ate, besides what i usually had for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

i also added extra oil to my food - just the healthy, good for you kind. a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on top of pasta sauce, that kind of stuff.

protein powder was pretty awesome and around 100 calories per serving.


it can be really hard to gain weight. i found it to be a lot harder than losing - even though i've been eating A LOT to regain my weight it has taken me around 6 months to gain 10 lbs. so don't expect miracles - just slowly adjust the amount of calories you eat and snack a bit more..

good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Accidental weight loss?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:17 am 
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graffitipassion wrote:
katamay wrote:
I'm actually a little confused about how one goes about counting calories to begin with. We don't normally eat packaged foods, and we cook in large quantities, not just enough for a single meal. How do you measure the calories in "three handfuls of oats," "three seconds of drizzle from the tahini jar", or "maybe around six bite-sized chunks of an eggplant"?

Kat


This is where I like the food exchanges. Not ALL veggies are the same in calories, BUT in general you can estimate that:

1/2 cup cooked veggies, 1 cup raw veggies, or 1/2 cup veggie juice all = about 25 cals

Or 1/3 cup couscous (cooked), 1/2 cup pasta (cooked), or 1/3 cup legumes = 80 cals

Then, one time while you are cooking, measure everything . It will give you a good idea of what a cup looks like or a tablespoon of oil. Measure your drizzle of tahini. Then look at the label and now you know and don't have to do it again! Then from then on, you can eye-ball portions and estimate better how many calories you are eating.


I definitely agree about measuring once, just to get an idea of how much you eat. That's what I did when I was trying to get a better idea of how many calories I eat, and now I can mostly just eyeball.


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