Are vegetarians too skinny?

The vegetarian diet is a popular and healthy way of living. However, some people may be concerned about the health risks associated with such a restrictive lifestyle. This article will explore how vegetarians can maintain their weight and avoid common pitfalls that come with this type of diet.

Vegetarians are often considered to be too skinny, but there is no scientific evidence that shows this.

Is it true that vegetarians are excessively thin? Is there something to be said for this kind of frugality? Are vegetarians just withering away as a result of their dietary choices, on the verge of anorexia and death? Is their svelte physique part of a larger plan?


Note from JB: Recently, an omnivorous bodybuilder attacked PN Director of Education Ryan Andrews for being too thin in the PN Member Zone. He described Ryan as “sickly” in one of his quotes. He went on to add that most Vegetarian/Plant Based Eaters he knows had the same sickly appearance.

Many bodybuilders and weight lifters seem to share this sentiment. Many ordinary people, in fact, share this sentiment. Is there, however, anything to be said for this degree of frugality? Are vegetarians just withering away as a result of their dietary choices, on the verge of anorexia and death? Is their svelte physique part of a larger plan?

Ryan discusses his own motivations for transitioning from a 255-pound bodybuilder to a 165-pound plant-based diet in this article.

You may or may not make the same decision in your life. Personally, I would rather have greater muscle mass than the typical plant-based eater. However, I think it is worthwhile to investigate the reasons behind other people’s health decisions before rejecting them as incorrect just because they are outside of my own worldview. 

Lean? Skinny? That, I suppose, is who I am.

A couple things occurred lately that made me consider my body size.

  1. My yearly doctor’s appointment weight was 165 pounds (I’m little over 6 feet tall).
  2. At the gym, a lady inquired whether I was a biker.
  3. A high school buddy saw me and inquired as to why I seemed “deflated.”

To be honest, I consume a completely plant-based diet. (I’m a vegetarian.) And, too, many fitness professionals believe that plant-based eaters (PBEs) are too frail.

I agree with you for the most part. The majority of PBEs I encounter are frail. And, despite the fact that it’s generally frowned upon, I find it interesting. We live in a country where 70% of the population is overweight, and we spend $140 billion each year treating obesity-related illnesses.

But it’s frowned upon to be “vegetarian skinny.”

Vegetarian and slim?

After working with a lot of plant-based eaters and eating plant-based for many years, I now feel like I have a solid understanding of why they eat the way they do. Let’s have a look at the first example. Me. Here’s how I got to where I am now in terms of body weight:

165 pounds at 14 years old

205 pounds at 17 years old

255 pounds at 19 years old

185 pounds at 21 years old

165 pounds (current age)

Dang! Is it because of Weight Watchers and yo-yo dieting that I’m all over the BMI charts? No, not at all. I was 255 pounds of muscle-building passion at my peak.

255 pounds 1

I was a really large, muscular man back then:

  • who couldn’t perform a lot of bodyweight dips or pull-ups?
  • who was constantly stuffed with food
  • who could never be satisfied
  • who was out of breath following a one-story climb to his flat
  • who was sluggish all day after eating huge quantities of food
  • He avoided doing anything outside of the gym and meal times since spending 3 hours without food would destroy him, and skipping a chest exercise would condemn him to a life of weakness
  • who couldn’t perform a handstand, a one-legged squat, or any other yoga position
  • who couldn’t locate a t-shirt with the proper dimensions
  • who didn’t feel well every day when they got up?

Anyway, I’m 165 pounds now. That’s correct, you’ll lose 90 pounds.

165 lbs 1

And now that I’m a man:

  • Who is the king of bodyweight exercises?
  • who is considerably lighter now that he isn’t constantly stuffed
  • Who can’t find comfort anyplace as long as the temperature isn’t below 60 degrees? (I get cold easily)
  • Who can sprint up many flights of stairs at an airport without risking a major heart attack?
  • He has more energy since he doesn’t have as much weight to carry around and isn’t constantly digesting pounds of food
  • He has a life outside of the gym and the kitchen since spending 3 hours without food isn’t a huge issue for him and he remains physically active outside of gym time
  • who is capable of handstands, one-leg squats, and more yoga postures than he likes to acknowledge
  • who could most likely purchase a t-shirt from the “boys” area
  • Who doesn’t think it’s possible to feel this wonderful every day?

While some may view my weight loss as “deflation,” it should go without saying that I’m ecstatic about the new me!

How did I end myself in this situation?

As a result, I’ve dropped 90 pounds and am in much better shape. However, how did the 90-pound weight reduction occur? Is it just due to the fact that I only consume plants? Is it possible that I’ve lost 90 pounds because I’m not consuming enough animal fat? Is it possible that I’ve lost 90 pounds because I’m not eating enough animal protein? Is it possible that I’ve lost 90 pounds because I’m not consuming enough animal cholesterol?

Yes, these factors have an effect on one’s health and weight reduction. The reality, though, is closer to this. I’m 90 pounds lighter because I don’t eat as much as I used to. I aim for a daily calorie intake of 2000 to 2200. I’ve lost 90 pounds by staying active with weights, circuit training, and plain ol’ walks. And, to be honest, I’m 90 pounds lighter because my eating motivations go beyond looking good in a tight t-shirt.

Many vegetarians and plant-based eaters aren’t slim because they’re on a diet. They’re skinny because:

  1. don’t want to utilize more resources than are really necessary
  2. I don’t want to generate any more trash than is absolutely required.
  3. I don’t want to spend as much money on meals as I would want to.
  4. After eating a whole-foods, plant-based, high-fiber diet, you’ll feel satisfied.
  5. They spend more energy bicycling, walking, and other forms of exercise because they want to drive less and consume less fossil fuel.
  6. aren’t you doing “balls to the wall” workouts with big weights in the gym?

New sources of inspiration

I was a professional bodybuilder from the age of 14 to 20, and I was interested in how food affected my physique and performance. However, when I retired from the postal service, my eating motivations changed. I began to consider how my eating habits affect…gulp…the environment and my health.

My views on eating during bodybuilding were as follows:

  • How will this food influence my body fat & muscle mass?
  • What effect would this meal have on my chances of winning a competition?

My priorities changed immediately once I quit competing to:

  • What effect will this meal have on my risk of heart disease?
  • What effect would this meal have on my chances of getting cancer?
  • What effect will this meal have on my body fat?

Another set of concerns has been on my mind recently (and for many years):

  • What effect would this meal have on animals?
  • What impact will this meal have on the environment?
  • What impact will this food have on agriculture?
  • What impact will this food have on global hunger?
  • What impact will this food have on human rights?
  • What effect will this meal have on chronic disease?
  • What effect will this meal have on my body (physically, spiritually, and so forth)?
  • Why am I preoccupied with so many problems before I eat?

I’m not claiming that they are the best motives. What I mean is that they belong to me. They also explain the motives of many vegetarians and vegans.


Is it possible that I’m suffering from a serious case of wishful thinking?

Positive and negative incentives

When I think about incentives, I think of individuals who have a hard time eating well. I’m wondering whether the absence of incentives has anything to do with the lack of desire to eat properly.


  • How many individuals stick to a healthy diet when their class reunion is coming up in a few weeks…
  • How many individuals stick to a balanced diet to decrease their cholesterol because they were frightened by their doctor…
  • How many individuals stick to a healthy diet after reading in a magazine that carbohydrates are harmful…

There aren’t many, to be honest.

Do we need more significant eating incentives if we really want to make a lifestyle change?

Personally, I can’t fathom eating just to seem slimmer and more muscular. It was once a really effective incentive for me. But there’s no way now. Being slim and strong is still high on my priority list. However, it is not in the top ten.

My close buddy and proven omnivore, Dr. Berardi, has spoken about his changing drive for eating and exercising. He discusses the following in this interview:

“When I was younger and competing in physique competitions, being large, powerful, and ripped was my top goal.

My emphasis shifted once I left my bodybuilding days behind me. My objective was no longer just aesthetic. I needed to establish a new balance since I had other responsibilities in life (school – later job, new hobbies, relationships, etc.).

I’m not going to lie to you. I’m still extremely concerned about my appearance. And it is unquestionably a top priority for me. However, health and function come before size and cuts.

The all-out pursuit of becoming bigger and stronger — which had great rewards but was costly because I always had to be near a fridge and was always exhausted from training — has been replaced by having fun in and out of the gym and attempting to strike a balance between my hobbies, occupation, training, and relationships. And maintaining this balance necessitates not sacrificing everything on the altar of my exercise and eating.”

You should learn from these lessons.

Okay, OK. These are just my own experiences. So, what do you think you’ll get out of this article?

Lesson #1

I’m slim because I try to live a lean lifestyle. I don’t eat much, yet I put out a lot of energy. It’s OK if you don’t want to look like me. Adding a little more muscle, on the other hand, is simple with a few more calories and a modification in exercise routine.

Lesson #2

Mindful eating, or eating with a feeling of purpose and meaning, motivates me. My everyday inspiration is derived from a general knowledge of the world and its resources.

What if we could all change our eating habits to conform to a higher societal standard? You are not obligated to share mine. However, if you want to stay slim and healthy for the rest of your life, you must adhere to certain guidelines. You must establish new social norms. We do, after all, take social conventions seriously. Social norms (socially imposed rules) include:

  • assisting a friend with a relocation
  • I’m holding the door open for a stranger.
  • Giving of your time

We perform things voluntarily, with no expectation of instant remuneration. They have the potential to be strong motivators. Looking slim for the wedding celebration is much more powerful.

Lesson #3

Our decisions are influenced by our motivations. Is there a right or wrong way to eat? No, I don’t believe so. However, there are certain outcomes that are more and less desirable. And the result is determined by the incentive.

So, think about it: what motivates you to eat? And if you don’t have the physique you desire, it’s possible that your motivations need to be rethought.

As for me, I’ve got to get going. I have a circuit exercise scheduled, and I can’t be late.



With this free special report, we’ll help you make sense of it all.

It will teach you the most effective diet, exercise, and lifestyle methods – all of which are unique to you.

To get a free copy of the special report, please click here.

Vegetarians are often seen as too skinny. This idea is based on the fact that they don’t eat meat, which is usually high in fat. However, there are plenty of famous vegan celebrities who have a healthy body weight. Reference: famous fat vegans.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do vegetarians have lower body weight?

Vegetarians have lower body weight due to the fact that they dont consume meat.

Can vegetarians put on weight?

Vegetarians do not put on weight.

Is it hard for vegetarians to gain weight?

Vegetarians can sometimes struggle with weight gain because they are missing out on the nutrients that meat provides.

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