When people ask me how to lose weight, they often find it difficult to believe me when I tell them they need to eat more. They want to drop weight, and I tell them they need to eat more?! It doesn’t seem to make sense, but it’s true – to lose weight, the focus should be on eating the right foods in the right amounts and not on decreasing meals.
Why do diets fail?
A huge reason why people fail at ‘dieting’ or improving their eating habits, is that they focus on cutting their calories right down. This can send the body into a fear-like state and can have a negative effect on the metabolism, as your body can hold onto body fat in case it needs it for later use.
How do you succeed?
If you want to create effective change and drop stubborn body fat, I highly advise against going on a drastic diet. You don’t want your body freaking out and slowing down your metabolism because it’s scared it’s not going to get enough fuel. Your body is smart – it will start hoarding body fat if you go for long periods without eating. Plus, it’s rarely sustainable to eat in this way.
So what is the best way to reduce calories but keep quality nutrition coming in and in turn drop fat? One way is to make sure that you’re not going hungry. A good nutrition plan incorporates foods that stop you feeling too much hunger.
Your meals can be fairly low in calories, but they should be satisfying and cover the nutrition requirements for your needs.
What type of food should you be eating?
Here are 3 factors to consider when choosing the best foods to fill you up, without blowing out your calorie requirements:
Certain foods are most satiating than others. This comes down to the rate that they are digested. Calories that are predominately coming from fast releasing carbohydrates, send a sudden burst of energy to the body. The body expends the energy very quickly and you become hungry not long after.On the other hand, if you consume healthy and low glycemic carbohydrate, along with protein and some fat, the combination of the three macronutrients will satisfy you for a lot longer.
- Chew factor
Foods that require little chewing usually leave us wanting more. Take for example yoghurt, which slides easily down the throat without needing chewing and is therefore consumed very quickly.Compare that to a large salad with lots of crunchy raw veggies. All those veggies take work to chew and to digest. The body is burning calories trying to digest them and break them down. Add some chicken breast and your body is really working hard.
Proteins have a higher thermic effect than other foods, meaning they use up more calories to digest them.
Also, the more you have to chew the food, the longer the meal will take to eat, meaning you should feel fuller sooner, and more satisfied. The best foods are those that require a lot of chewing. You end up consuming less calories, without feeling deprived.
Fibre is obtained through plant sources. It is not digestible, but provides bulk. The more fibre in food, the more filling it usually is and this will help you decrease your calories slightly without missing out on valuable nutrients.There are many low calorie vegetables and fruits containing fibre. Complex carbohydrates generally contain more fibre, but beware of starchy carbs if you’re looking to lose weight, and make sure they are within your calorie budget. The best way to do this is to keep a food diary and analyse it regularly alongside the changes in your body fat.
So how do you increase satiety, chew factor and fibre in your diet?
There are certain foods that will help you to maintain a calorie deficit, which is what is required in order to lose fat.
Try the following suggested foods to say goodbye to hunger pangs and hello to a slimmer you!
- Porridge with whey protein powder and a sprinkle of raw nuts or seeds
- Egg white omelette with 5-6 egg whites, 1 yolk, a large amount of chopped veggies e.g. mushrooms, spinach and tomatoes
- Turkey or chicken mince, chopped canned tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms, beans, capsicum, broccoli, chilli and spices
- Cottage cheese and tuna dip with your favourite herbs, spices and lemon juice. Dip raw veggies in for a healthy snack
- Homemade vegetable soup made with loads of greens, tomatoes, herbs, spices and stock or miso
- Raw crunchy vegetables – I recommend radishes, raw baby brussels sprouts, cherry tomatoes, snowpeas, sugarsnap peas, raw green beans – none of which need chopping, all are full of fibre and have lots of chew factor!
- Chicken/turkey breast – sprinkle with herbs or spices, grill and wrap in individual portions for an easy to grab snack
- Salmon – the oil makes it filling and the Omega 3′s are great for your heart, skin and many other body functions. Mix with egg whites and veggies for a quick omelette
- Raw almonds – they help balance your blood sugar
- A homemade, low-calorie oat muffin
- A Smoothie bowl
Over the course of the day, eating in this way will help you consume less calories, without feeling like you are starving! You’ll feel satisfied, healthy and well-nourished.