Losing weight is hard. (Thank you Captain Obvious!) When you have a gnawing hunger constantly reminding you that your stomach is empty, it pushes self-control to a whole new level. Is it possible to lose weight without feeling hungry? The answer is… maybe. If you eat foods that are high in caloric density, losing weight will be harder. The fundamental rule still applies – if calories eaten are less than calories burned, you will lose weight. But research has shown that feeling full is associated with the volume of food eaten, not with the number of calories eaten. If we eat foods with lower caloric density, we can feel full while taking in fewer calories, which can lead to weight loss.
Let’s talk about some guidelines that will help increase food volume while reducing caloric intake.
• Start with a low-calorie appetizer. A green salad with low-calorie dressing will help you eat less of the main meal.
• Increase your fluid intake. Fluid will quickly add volume to your stomach, helping you feel full. However, do not drink your calories. Choose water, sparkling water, unsweetened tea, or fat-free milk. Unfortunately, the full feeling from fluids is fleeting. (Try saying that five times fast!)
• Eat foods high in fiber. Fiber adds bulk to your meal, and fortunately, the fullness from fiber will last. Fruits and vegetables (especially veggies) add fiber and nutrients that last, without adding unneeded calories. Spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, watermelons, berries, and apples are great choices. Limit bread, rice, and pasta, and make sure you eat whole grains or brown rice when you do. Another trick is to add generous portions of broccoli, brussel sprouts, or carrots to your rice dish to reduce caloric density. Start off the day by drinking a large glass of water mixed with Metamucil. The added morning fiber will help you make it to lunch without snacking.
• Legumes are great for adding long-lasting bulk. Add black beans, red beans, or pinto beans to your recipes. You will thank me, though I doubt your co-workers will.
• Look for lean sources of protein. Fats are the most calorie dense foods around. Choose lean meat, poultry, and fish whenever possible, and include fat-free milk, low-fat yogurt, and low-fat cottage cheese.
Hopefully, these ideas will help you reduce your caloric intake. Remember, regular exercise will help increase the number of calories burned, which will not only help with weight loss, but it provides a multitude of other health benefits as well. But that is a topic for another day.
Be well and be happy,