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Weight Loss
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Vegan weight gain

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Since becoming a vegan I've been eating a lot of soy milk (light, plain), tofu and fruits and vegetables. I've also been eating a lot of nuts. Despite staying within my calorie range for maintenance at 5'11'', 138 lbs (around 1800) I seem to have ballooned within the past few months. My weight is about ten or fifteen pounds higher than usual. What's more, is that the weight is situating itself around by belly which has never been a trouble area for my naturally hour glass shape.

I read that plant estrogens (found in soy products) can cause weight gain in the belly and promote water retention. The effect is similar to the weight gain experienced by perimenopausal women. This is quite frightening. I'm going to cut back on my soy and re-think this lifestyle. Has anyone had a similar experience?

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Yes. I was vegan for about nine months and gained quite a bit of weight, though I wasn't counting calories. 

 I think that the bottom line is that veganism is for some people and not for others. I found that, even though I was eating a ton of protein in soy products, I was constantly hungry and ate continuously. 

 My parents were having lamb one night and that was that. I started eating meat again. I felt like I lost fifteen pounds in a week. I seem to remember people commenting right away, actually. That was a couple years ago. 

when i became vegan, i gained a ton of weight bec i was eating and cooking and throwing vegan dinner parties all the time.  i loved to cook, and i really thought that if i fed enough people delicious food, they'd convert.  didn't happen.  what did happen is that i put on about 15 pounds myself.

no, i don't think it's the soy.  i've never come across anything that said tofu was fattening and would be skeptical of any source that did.  but since your bmi's so low, maybe veganism is the right choice for you:  maybe it's a kind of lifestyle that provides your body w/more of the nutrients it needs to maintain a healthy weight.  best of luck. 

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I had a similar experience. I felt great eating vegan at first, but I gained weight. After i looked into it, I discovered that soy isn't as great as it is supposed to be. The vegan lifestyle really messed with my food ratios. I'm good when i stick to 20-25% fat, 35-40% protein and 40% carbs. I couldn't get that much protein without 35%+ fat.  I had no sugar or white flour for three weeks and gained 5+lbs while working out like a dog. (No alcohol either)

Soymilk is too processed to digest with ease which tells your something right there. I'm a non fat lactaid girl and I really liked soymilk but I did have to take a digestive enzyme with it . I have moved on to Almond milk in coffee and oatmeal. If I dropped weight living the vegan lifestyle I could have done it for life- but i'm back to meat fish and eggs and with that - convienience. 

 Google stuff about negative effects of soy products. You'll be surprised. 

Also please notice that a lot of the "studies" finding problems with soy were paid for by the meat and dairy industries.

true dat, disease_of_ease.  also, i read the review of "skinny bitch" in your journal.  i have some issues w/the book as well, though i haven't read it cover to cover. 
Original Post by disease_of_ease:

Also please notice that a lot of the "studies" finding problems with soy were paid for by the meat and dairy industries.

Do you have a source for this? I've also read that most of the "studies" saying that soy was good were paid for by the soy industry.

floggingsully it is cited in the book Skinny Bitch.

"Skinny Bitch" is a great book for those who haven't read it!

To the OP, 2 servings of soy per day should be the absolute most you consume. Including soymilk, tofu, faux meats, soy protein bars etc. :)

Also maybe the weight "gain" is actually water weight? You mentioned you had been eating more nuts. Nuts usually have a lot of sodium. Have you been eating more sodium? I know that I am REALLY salt sensitive and I have to keep a very close eye on sodium.

And please remember that really, eating soy has nothing to do with being vegan. I credit all my weight loss and health gains to being vegan, but my *processed* soy intake is extremely low. A teeny bit of tofu or soy milk here and there in a baked good or dressing recipe is all I eat. And I never eat the further processed soy in isolated soy proteins (found in most meat substitutes).
The weight came off easily eating mostly vegetables, some fruits, beans, and whole grains. And I feel better than I ever have. I agree this may not work for a few people, but I also believe if someone really gave it a go for a couple of months the results you see and feel keep you eating like this.
Most vegans I know eat very little soy products (processed ones as finchcat mentioned)
When I first went vegan 3 years ago I was eating a lot of soy, but since I have transitioned into a whole foods diet I find that I rarely eat it, and when I do... it's mostly edamame. :)

Thanks for the feedback!

I think the problem I was having had a lot to do with never being full and always thinking about when I was going to eat next. I was constantly hungry!

I had been a vegetarian for years and was eager to try veganism but the fatigue and weight gain became too much after a couple of months.

Also, I find it very mysterious to have gained weight in the midsection, which was never a problem area before. It probably is because I waseating too much soy and not being a proper vegan.

i am sorry to hear that this thread leads you to think you weren't "being a proper vegan."  it's such a wonderful gesture to people, animals, the environment, that you should applaud yourself for your efforts.

and remember that deciding that you don't want to be vegan right now allows you the freedom to be vegan WHENEVER YOU WANT.  so you can still have a vegan meal here and there, or try out some vegan recipes when you get a chance, or just read about veganism if ever you feel the urge.  good luck.

How many carbs were you eating? It's not meat that makes your gain weight; it's carbs, even if they are "complex" - please see my thread about Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes in the lounge...his book has no agenda other than the truth and science, and was not funded by the Beef COuncil or any meat constituency. It's pretty eye opening. Good luck!!
Unless he's giving the book away for free, he has an agenda other than truth and science.

Not true.

Carbs should make up the bulk of your eating, but in the form of fruits and veggies.

Thanks calorie counting me it was a good effort and if nothing else, I learned a bit more about nutrition.

Puff Daddy: I barely ate any refined sugar or bread-like products. Thanks for your help but I'm with ease of disease on the fruit/veggie issue. I love these things and have never been a meat lover.

Hilary_88, THANK YOU SO MUCH for posting this! I have been going out of my mind from feeling starving, eating and never feeling hungry and gaining weight BIG TIME! Especially in the mid section. Much like you I have been a veg and wanted to go vegan. However, after the past month and the way I have been feeling sluggish, bloated, it is just not good. I cannot get my protein in with under 40% of my caloric intake sometimes! And that is with raw almonds, legumes, almond breeze, crazy how it all adds up. Kuddos to you for trying! It would be fabulous if it worked for us, but I am convinced after reading this it is just not for us.

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