Let’s talk about sustainable weight loss, getting your nutrition on point and vegan protein powder to support your goals. OK?
I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com) to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.
Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.
(That feels like a quote that someone else probably said first—scratch that, probably tons of people have said it, but they weren’t Oprah, so there you go.)
Confession: I’ve been struggling with my weight lately.
Long story short, I put on some weight after Cass was born, then lost it alllll when I started running. Then I started CrossFit and the number on the scale crept back up again, but I legitimately didn’t care because the weight was distributed differently; I was mostly muscle. I was strong.
And then I stopped going to CrossFit, and the muscle turned to fat with some extra sympathy fat joining in for company. I’ve started again with a home gym, but it’s so much harder this time around. I don’t have a coach busting my chops when I’m slacking, for one, but also I’m older and more tired and research shows it’s harder to exercise off the pounds after you’ve done it once.
The good news is, I have done it and so I know deep down how to do it again. It’s just going to take longer for sustainable results because I’m hormonally, metabolically and physically different then I was at my last starting point. And that’s OK, because slow and steady means it’s more likely to stick longterm (or, rather, the weight is more likely to stay unstuck).
In my years writing extensively for a fitness-centric agency, I learned a LOT about weight loss and of course I also saw how that bore out with my own experience. So for those also going through this, here are my common sense Cliff’s notes.
The holy trinity of weight loss is nutrition, energy expenditure and sleep.
You gotta have all three, and lots of it, and the right kind. I talk about the benefits of sleep in this post, and I’ll get to energy expenditure in my next one. We’re talking nutrition broadly in this post.
My diet was not terrible, but it wasn’t great either. I don’t eat a lot of junk food, I don’t have a sweet tooth, I’m not much of a snacker, I don’t stress eat or emotionally eat, the vast majority of what I eat is “real food” that I prepare myself. It felt like what I should be doing is just jumping in with both feet with exercise, but I know from last time that’s not the answer. Here’s what I’m doing instead.
Tips to tighten up your nutrition
- The first thing everybody should do is start tracking their food intake. Everything. It’s HUGELY eye opening for most people, whether to learn how many calories they’re actually taking in or how much difference that daily nightcap makes or how lacking they are in the recommended allowances for fruits & veg. This time around, I realized how deficient my current diet was in a number of vitamins (particularly calcium, Vitamin D and potassium). I like My Fitness Pal, but I was recently gifted a Fitbit and that app works fine for me as well.
- The second thing most people should do is eat more fruits and veggies. And try to eat them first. Work with that food tracking app and figure out how much you should eat daily (and sticking with the kinds that you like is fine). Mentally sort them out into the times you usually eat, and then eat them first at those times; for instance, eat some peppers and carrots while you’re making dinner. For me it felt like a TON of food, and honestly I was never able to eat much of whatever the prepared meal was. It takes the pressure off of having to plan healthy meals all the time. Just fill up on fruits and veggies first, then go ahead and have some of whatever everyone else is having. You won’t feel like you’re making this huge sacrifice but you also won’t be able to eat as much of the more calorie dense offering.
- Drink that water! A lot of hunger pangs are really a sign of dehydration, and you’re going to want to be chugging water to counter all that fiber you’re getting with your fruits and veg. You will feel the difference while exercising too. There’s a lot of back and forth on how much water a (wo)man really needs; it depends on a lot of factors. Just drink whenever you think about it, track it in your app, and aim for really light pee.
- Up your (LEAN) protein. To put it really simply, protein plays an important part in the muscle building process, and having more muscle mass means more calorie burn. (Protein also plays a ton of other important roles in the body, but I don’t want to keep you here all day.) Protein has the added benefit of making you feel fuller for longer. What’s tricky is that some protein rich foods can have elements you don’t want; chicken is a better option than a cheeseburger, for instance, because cheeseburgers involve the added calories of cheese and whatever else is on it, plus ounce for ounce they have more fat and calories.
If you’re really making the effort to eat more plant based foods, or if you’re already a vegetarian or vegan anyway, hitting your protein goals can take a little more planning. I’m a big fan of protein shakes— they’re one of my few regular choices that don’t fall under the “real food” umbrella— because I hate eating breakfast, and I’m never hungry after workouts. But I also have a bit of a lactose intolerance (that’s probably a contributing factor in those vitamins I’m chronically deficient in), and sometimes whey proteins can really put a damper on my day via my stomach.
Now, I’ve had the opportunity to try out a lot of different protein powders in the last five years or so. I would say they are, in general, an acquired taste; since I grew up drinking them (I was chronically underweight as a child) I kind of like it. There are a few that do taste great on the first go but they generally have a trade-off in terms of sugar content (or sugar substitutes, some of which I also have tolerance issues with).
I’ve tried a couple of plant based protein powders before but I wasn’t a fan. I won’t name any names, but no matter the flavor they all tasted… earthy. Like literally very mineral/dirt like.
I’ve never had a plant based protein powder that I really enjoyed. Until now. Really.
I tried VeganSmart All-In-One Nutritional Shakes through the MomsMeet blogger program and I’ve been having a shake for breakfast on weekdays (weekends are for brunch) for a few weeks now, made with either almond or soy milk. I usually also try to choke down a small banana, even though I hate bananas, because I have a tendency to get leg and foot cramps when I run (as in, when I’m running somewhat regularly, not during the actual exercising) which some studies attribute to possible potassium deficiency, and I figure a banana a day certainly can’t hurt.
Here’s what’s in VeganSmart All-In-One Nutritional Shakes:
- a complete protein blend of five different non-GMO plant-based proteins, along with a whole food complex made from a rainbow of nine different fruits and vegetables
- 22 vitamins and minerals
- prebiotics to stimulate the growth and maintenance of beneficial intestinal flora
- a digestive enzymes blend which assists in digesting foods more completely for better nutrient absorption
Here’s what’s not in VeganSmart All-In-One Nutritional Shakes:
- cholesterol or trans fat
- eggs, dairy, soy or gluten
- artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors, and preservatives
- acesulfame-k or MSG
None of that matters unless it tastes good, and this definitely ranks up there on my top five. I like the vanilla better than the chocolate, but the chocolate is equal to the taste of most chocolate whey proteins out there. Like I said, I’ve been voluntarily drinking these 5x a week, and I plan to continue to do so until I hit some weight and fitness goals. It hits a lot of goalposts for me: I’m eating breakfast without fuss, I’m supplementing my nutrition gaps, especially those normal people would get from dairy, and I’m getting a protein boost to rebuild those muscles. More on that in my next post.
A 15-serving jug of VeganSmart All-In-One Nutritional Shake typically retails for $36.99. It comes in Vanilla, Chocolate, Wild Berries, Chai, Peaches and Cream, Raspberry Chocolate, Strawberry Shortcake and Cookies and Cream. You can find it a lots of different places, including Walmart, Walgreens, The Vitamin Shoppe, Albertsons, and CVS. (Full list here.)
Save $7.50 on VeganSmart with a printable coupon redeemable at your local brick and mortar retailer here: https://www.vegansmart.com/momsmeet.