I don’t know about you but I certainly love food, and the idea of eating less food gives me anxiety. But what if we could eat more food and still lose some of those unwanted pounds of fat. Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it? Well I’m going to share some of the neat things I do to bulk up my meals, eat loads, keep hunger at bay AND stay lean – all while still enjoying my food and feeling full.
But how? How is it possible to eat more food and lose weight? It’s actually quite easy and I’ll take you through 3 ways that you can use to fill the plate and the belly without piling on the pounds.
No.1 Use Low Fat Swaps
If we’re going to lose fat, then we need to reduce the calories we’re eating. That doesn’t need to mean less food though. We can eat as much if not more food by making a few quick and easy swaps with our food. And that’s never been easier with all the lower kcal alternatives available nowadays. Take dairy for example. In every fridge, in every supermarket across the country you will find lower fat and calorie reduced milk, cheese and yogurt. Fat in itself, is calorie dense, so the majority of fat reduced items tend to be lower in kcals than their higher fat counter parts. By default the removal of fat increases the protein content of these foods weight by weight. Meat is another great example of this. Fatty cuts of meat are higher in fat and lower in protein weight by weight versus their lean cut counterparts and are much higher in kcals. Why not swap fatty cuts of meat out for leaner cuts. You’re eating the same amount of food but consuming less calories and more protein. I don’t know about you but more protein and food for less kcals is a big win for me.
And, the benefits do not stop there. Protein can be a huge help with weight loss and weight management. Protein rich foods are highly satiating. That means it fills you up and helps keep hunger down. Protein also has the added benefit of conserving lean tissue like muscle. This means that out of the weight you lose, more weight will come from fat and less from lean tissue making the diet more efficient.
All these benefits of fat loss; more food and muscle retention and all you did was reduce your fat intake. You can’t argue with that.
No.2 Eat More Fibre & Water Rich Foods
Fibre is a brilliant tool in bulking up those meals, filling the gut and reducing the kcals. One of the ways we can signal our brain to stop eating is by stretching the gastric lining, or stretching our stomach. Most fibre rich foods like non-starchy vegetables, salad, and fruit high in water content are all very high in volume, yet extremely low in kcals. As a result, you can eat a village worth of this stuff and barely make a dent in your kcal requirement.
Let’s start with where we can get more fibre and less starch to fill those meals.
Fibre rich foods.
Let’s be honest with ourselves, we all love a good starch filled dinner, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I love a good plate full of potatoes, or a rice bowl. But if we want to lose fat, these foods aren’t the most conducive to our goal. They won’t do us any harm if they fit within our caloric needs but we’re trying to eat less kcals and more food. An easy way to do this is to reduce but don’t remove (think reduce, not restrict) the potatoes from the dinner, and replace that space on the plate with lower kcal vegetables like squash, carrots, parsnip or any other low calorie vegetable you like. Now we’re eating less kcals but the plate is still full. Or you could go a step further and add them to your dinner, so now you’re eating way more for only a few extra kcals and it’ll fill you for longer, meaning you’re less likely to over-eat later. Just be careful with the butter and oils, they’re full of kcals.
Water rich foods
I’m a man with a sweet tooth, and if I can fit sweet foods into my diet you can be sure I’m going to do it! Allow me to introduce: water rich fruit. I’ve fallen in love with fruit over the years, they’re sweet, low in kcals, high in fibre (and as a man with IBS I need not explain how important fibre is for me), and I can consume a village worth of some of these fruits and barely make a dent in my kcals.
So what fruits are high in water? Here’s a list of some fruit and how much kcals they have.
- Watermelon: 30kcals/100g (You could eat a Kilogram of watermelon for only 300kcals. Give it a go and see if you can finish it lol)
- Grapes: 67kcals
- Cucumber: 45kcals (Load up that salad)
- Pineapple: 50kcals (If you do not like pineapple, you’re lying!)
- Oranges: 47kcals
- Tomato: 18kcals (Yes they are a fruit, but best kept in a salad with the veg)
Adding water rich foods to your diet will really help bulk up your diet with food you enjoy while keeping kcals low and keeping hunger at bay.
No.3 Dump the Sugar
I’m talking added sugar here. Every time you put sugar in your coffee, you’re adding more and more kcals to your diet. 1 teaspoon of sugar is 20kcals. 2 per cup, 3 cups a day, that’s 120kcals added to your diet that you haven’t even eaten. The same applies to sugar sweetened soft drinks. One bottle of cola has about 200kcals, where the ‘zero’ alternative has……..ZERO!!!! kcals.
What can we use instead of sugar? Artificial sweeteners are an easy and safe swap. There’s a lot of misinformation surrounding artificial sweeteners that has been unfairly dumped upon them by naturopaths that believe that everything is bad if it isn’t natural. The truth is there is no evidence to support any negative effects of artificial sweeteners in humans. There are however a very small handful of studies showing cancer development in rodents when dosed with extremely high amounts of artificial sweeteners. The funny thing is people can’t seem to grasp that if you give a small animal, doses of a chemical that is thousands of times the amount that humans would ever be exposed to, weird things start to happen.
In another rodent study, groups of rats were given over 8g of aspartame per kg of bodyweight per day for 9 months, and none of them developed any adverse effects throughout the 9 months of the study. (PMID:18685711). That’s the equivalent of me eating 720g of aspartame every day for 9 months. Considering a can of Coke Zero only has 180mg of aspartame do you see how ridiculous these studies are? I would need to drink over 4,000 cans a day every day for 9 months. I’d die from drowning before anything else happened!
Adding sugar or having foods with too much added sugar or sugar sweetened drinks is a sure-fire way to increase your kcals while reducing the amount of food you can eat within your required daily calories. So, reducing them and replacing them with artificial sweeteners or sugar-free alternatives will help you eat more for less kcals and we all love doing that.
What’s Stopping You?
By now you should have a good idea of a few things you can do with your nutrition to help reduce kcals and lose unwanted pounds while making sure you don’t go hungry. Being able to keep hunger under control and keep our food volume high can be a massive factor in ensuring a successful diet. Reducing your fatty foods, your sugar and increasing your high fibre and high-water foods will help make sure you never go hungry again. Okay maybe that’s an exaggeration but you get what I mean.
About the Author
Fitness instructor, personal trainer and author, Paddy Joyce specialises in nutritional science and fat loss. By his own admission, fitness has always been a huge part of his life and he really enjoys helping people to get fitter and healthier using a ‘sustainable’ fitness approach and by separating the fact from the fiction. Follow Patrick on Instagram (@big_paa) or Facebook (Patrick Joyce Nutrition)