The laws of thermodynamics are unforgiving. To lose body fat, we have to force our body to burn our own reserves to fuel our energy demands. This quickly devolves into “eating less of …” spiraling down to ridiculous serving sizes as you try to maintain weight loss. Hunger creeps up. Frustration levels rise. Adherence plummets. But we can counteract this by eating more! Eating more of the right stuff. How is this possisble? Read on!
To lose fat you have to be in a caloric deficit. This can be achieved by eating less calories and burning more calories with activity. While increasing activity IS effective, it can also be quite time demanding, making it unsustainable long term. Also out-exercising a bad diet is almost impossible. This makes it necessary to decrease calorie intake.
Eating less isn’t fun. Nobody enjoys being hungry all the time. To make it easier, we need to make meals rewarding and satisfying when dieting. Compliance is king. Hunger kills compliance. Focus on eating more satiating foods for better diet results. How? Well, let’s take a look.
Protein is the most important macro nutrient for body composition goals. It helps to maintain and build muscle mass and is quite difficult for our body to turn it into energy, which is a good thing in the context of weight loss.
Protein is also often called the most satiating macro nutrient. Although there probably is an upper limit to how much satiety protein provides (more is not always more), it is generally a good idea to big up on lean protein foods. Most people get optimal results from about 2g of protein per kg of body weight. And before you ask, no, there are no health concerns of eating that much protein or even more!
Dietary fiber makes food harder to digest and quite often harder to chew, providing a solid satiety signal. Your body simply needs more time to process fiber rich foods.
You can find plenty of fiber in vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole meal products. There are fiber supplements, but I think most people should aim to get their fiber from “real” food. If you are not used to a fiber rich diet, start slowly, as high fiber intake can cause digestive problems.
The water content of food increases food volume, which is an important factor in the satiety cascade. You literally eat more food weight, if you prioritise foods with a higher water content.
Again, fruits and vegetables are your friends here, as most of them mainly consist of water. Soups are also quite popular in the dieting crowd, but I am personally not a huge fan of soups (except ramen). Also notice that a high water content increases satiety, but also is quickly digested, so increasing water content often results in a decreased duration of satiety, making you hungry quickly again.
Viscosity describes how fluid something is, in this case, food/drinks. A high viscosity is generally more satiating as high viscosity foods travel slower through the digestive system. Need a practical example? Here you go:
- skyr/greek joghurt > runny joghurt > milk > water
- apple > apple smoothie > apple juice
Putting it into practice
So, how does a satiating diet look like, that allows you eating more? Well, quite unsurprisingly, you need to incorporate a lot of vegetables, fruits and lean protein. These foods tick all the boxed mentioned above and make dieting much easier.
Most people can get great results from just focusing on this, but if you want to break a plateau, you might have to start tracking your foods. Fruits and vegetables generally are quite low in energy content, but you may be surprised about how many calories certain fruits (like bananas) or vegetables (sweet potatoes) contain. And yes, avocados are healthy and delicious, but they are still like butter grown on a tree, so watch out not to overeat on them.
Eating a lot to lose weight generally means you need to avoid processed foods and start cooking yourself. Don’t worry, it’s not rocket science. You can do it! If you scroll through the recipe section of our blog, you can find tons of recipes, and most of them are very low in calories, high in protein and very satiating (like this one). There are also some low calorie desserts (like this one), which come in handy when you really need something sweet.
Are you struggling with a boring diet or are you not enjoying your training anymore? Contact us and let us talk how we can reach your body composition or strength goals and let training and eating be fun again!