How long does it take to lose weight on a plant-based, oil-free, vegan diet?

Those going vegan for weight loss purposes are likely to have this question at the front of the queue. Of course there is no answer since the variables involved are limitless – health, genetics, level of activity – etc. Each person is different, each will have differing dietary preferences within the vegan culinary cosmos.

But to provide some sort of answer, I’ll pull out my own, totally anecdotal, weight loss example. Perhaps it might provide some kind of metric by to which others might callibrate to their own weight loss journey.

I transitioned to a vegan, oil-free diet slowly. I had been “unhealthy vegetarian” for many years… around 25 years in fact. But at the mid-life stage I was becoming physically unfit and going downhill fast. In 2015 I hit 90kg. Far too much for someone only 164cm tall. And this is the timeline:

2015: 90kg

Action taken. Started running from Spring through to Autumn. Shedding the first 5kg was relatively easy. Running was however, difficult. Shortness of breath, wheezing – but building up slowly (despite a few leg injuries along the way) made it possible. Running 5-9km.

2016: 85kg

Action taken: starting cycling most days to work. 34km round trip. No changes to diet. End weight 80kg in Autumn which always proves something of a plateau. But this reverted back to 85kg during the cold Winter months.

2017: 85kg (once again)

Action taken: Spring and Summer kept cycling, no changes to diet. During Autumn encountered bad health problems. Blood pressure at 200/147 and put on Lisinopril. I blamed it on the medication but shortly after taking this blood pressure medication I developed a worrying lump in the neck. This was diagnosed variously as a lymph node infection, a saliva gland infection and an auto-immune problem. Also, for the first time in my life, I developed a strange eczema patch on the lower calf of one leg. Definitely a side-effect of the medicine: nausea, vertigo and wild swings to the other extreme, low blood pressure. Ironically weight had dropped to 80kg by this time, but it was not enough, far more weight needed shedding. So:

Autumn 2017: 80kg

Action taken: Severe rethink on health and life in general. Researched many diets and finally realised I was simply unhealthy vegetarian with a huge intake of milk, cheese and oil. That’s when I went vegan, plant-based and oil-free.

January 2018: hitting sub-75kg

Action taken: I have stopped taking blood pressure medication (and lymph node problems gone)! Stopped drinking alcohol. Finally within striking distance of the next barrier along the way, 70kg.

Conclusion

After several years of thinking sport alone could sort my weight and health problems out, the real breakthrough came in Autumn 2017. By going whole food, plant-based, oil-free vegan over a period of just 4 months my weight went through a difficult plateau – a band of around 78-80kg and plunged to the 73-75.5kg band.