I’d like to shed about 8 to 10 pounds of fat quickly. I’m about 5’9, 179lbs., 43 years old. I was told if I work out 3-5 times per week and eliminate all carbs and sugar for a month I should be okay. I’m vegan, so I’m guessing I should just eat vegetables, nuts and protein supplement?

– Antonio T.


To have energy for your workouts, it may not be the best plan to forgo all carbs. Plus, so many vegan foods do have carbohydrates. Your estimated energy needs for losing 2 pounds per week quickly are about 1500-1800 calories daily with your current level of exercise. Dividing that up, you should eat 400-500 calories per meal x3 and 150 calories per snack x 2. Here are some possible meal and snack combinations for more variety than just veggies and nuts…

Breakfast options:

  • pecans, blueberries, veggie sausage patty and unsweetened soymilk
  • potatoes O’Brien and low sugar vegan yogurt

Lunch ideas:

  • spinach salad with pine nuts, cherry tomatoes, red onion, olives (couscous opt.)
  • mushroom burger patty, arugula, sundried tomato, avocado (sandwich thins opt.)

Sample dinners:

  • pinto or black beans with sautéed peppers and onions, salsa (fresh corn opt.)
  • butter beans with asparagus, roma tomato, basil and garlic (orzo opt.)

Snack suggestions:

  • hummus with carrot and celery
  • small apple with peanut or almond butter
  • pea protein shake

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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