How Eating More Can Help You Weigh Less?
Many of us are looking for a way to lose weight and feel healthier. But, it can be hard to know what the best eating plan is to fill you up, give you all the nutrients you need, and also help you shed pounds. While it may seem impossible that eating more food can actually help you reduce your weight, it is true. We will help you learn all the best, most nutrient-dense foods to eat that will fill you up and help you weigh less.
What Is Eating More to Weigh Less Philosophy?
There is a difference between the amount of food that fills you up and the calories you consume. For many of us, our diets are filled with foods that are high in calories, yet we often feel hungry soon after or eat more than we should because the foods we choose are not very satisfying. To be able to lose weight, you have to switch your mindset to focus on foods that are lower in calories yet fill you up and keep you feeling full longer.
Not only can this way of eating help you drop excess pounds, but it is also healthier for your heart, can lower your blood sugar levels, and can regulate your digestive system, as well. While diet alone cannot solve all your medical problems, eating healthy foods rich in nutrients and full of fiber can help you reverse many symptoms of chronic illnesses prevalent in today’s society.
What Is Calorie Density?
There are two ways to cut calories. The first involves eating less of the foods you already consume. This will likely leave you feeling hungry, and soon you will reach for more of the same foods you are already eating, and you will be right back where you started.
The second way to cut calories, though, is to place the high-calorie foods in your diet with lower-calorie options that fill you up. This means switching to foods that are higher in fiber and water content. In general, eating whole foods like vegetables, fruit, legumes, and other high-fiber, low-fat will help you lose weight because they have a lower calorie density.
Every food has a specific number of calories. Depending on how much of that food you can eat to get sufficient calories is its calorie density. High-calorie foods that contain little fiber or water will not fill you up, which means you end up eating more than you should.
In this Nutritionfacts.org video, Dr. Michael Greger shares the importance of energy density: the amount of calories per unit weight of a food or beverage. Foods higher in fiber and water like fruits and vegetables have a low energy density; foods like bacon and cheese have a high energy density.
While 100 calories of chocolate and 100 calories of raw carrots have the same amount of energy, you get to eat a lot more carrots to get to 100 calories, and you will feel fuller longer after eating those carrots.
In general, foods with lots of fiber and high in water content are usually low in calorie density. These foods include nearly all fresh fruits and vegetables, broth-based soups, legumes, and whole grains. Eating large portions of these types of foods is not the same as eating large portions of higher-calorie options, like fatty meats, dairy, processed foods, and fried foods.
Another critical component of eating more to weigh less is consuming less fat. Fat is very high in calories yet provides you with less energy per calorie. You want to focus on eating healthy fats you get from natural foods, rather than processed fats or trans fats. Your heart does need healthy fats, like omega-3 fatty acids, but limiting your diet to just 10% of your calories from fat should be sufficient to get all you need.
Eating more means you can have all the fruit and vegetables you like, as long as they are prepared healthfully. Whole grains, leafy greens, soy products, and legumes will also ensure you are getting all the minerals and vitamins you need, which are often removed when food is heavily processed. Because whole grains take longer for your body to process and break down into energy, they stay with you longer, giving you a steadier release of glucose and energy.
Foods that are highly processed, fried, or otherwise prepared often are missing the essential nutrients your body needs to be healthy. Fiber is key to good health, and processed food often lacks even small amounts of dietary fiber.
Processed food is going to have more calories but gives you less energy than whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. You want to feed your body nutrient-packed, high-fiber foods that will keep you feeling full and provide you with the energy and nutrients you need.
Eating More Fruits And Vegetables
Eating lots of vegetables and fruit is a significant part of the eating more to weigh less philosophy. Not only are these foods high in dietary fiber and packed with minerals and vitamins, but they can also help you lose weight and reduce your risk of many illnesses, including cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Eating a wide variety of fruits and vegetables means you are getting the essential nutrition you need in a form your body can process and absorb.Successfully losing weight means you are eating fewer calories than your body uses in a given day. You can achieve this through a combination of things but eating low-calorie vegetables and fruits as the central part of your diet is indeed a valid strategy. Eating a large serving of apple or cucumber will fill you up and leave you satisfied longer than eating a small serving of a high-calorie snack like candy.
In addition to decreasing your caloric intake, you can also increase the number of calories you burn by exercising and becoming more active in your daily life. Exercise will boost your metabolism, which means you will burn fuel from food more efficiently, as well.
Good Food Choices When Eating More to Weigh Less
Here are some examples of good choices when eating more to weigh less. These foods are lower in calories and will leave you feeling satisfied longer.
⦁ Fruits and vegetables prepared without added fat
⦁ Soups made with a broth base, not a cream base
⦁ Whole grains, like brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, whole-wheat pasta, and popcorn
⦁ Legumes, like pinto, black, or kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, and black-eyed peas
⦁ Low-fat and fat-free milk products, in moderation
⦁ Lean meat, poultry, and fish, in moderation
You will have to forfeit or eat some foods in more significant moderation. These foods should only be eaten rarely (once a month or less), as they are high in calories but will leave you hungry sooner and with less energy.
Foods to Avoid When Eating More to Weigh Less
⦁ Fried foods
⦁ Full-fat milk products like cheese and ice cream
⦁ Snack foods like pretzels, chips, cookies, crackers, and dried nuts
⦁ Foods high in sugar, especially refined sugars, like candy, doughnuts, cakes, and pastries
⦁ Fatty cuts of meat like brisket, ground beef, and bacon
Health Benefits of Eating More to Weigh Less Plan
Not only will eating more whole foods and plant products help you lose weight, but these foods are also packed with ingredients and nutrients that benefit your health in countless ways. Eating a whole-foods, plant-based diet, or one that focuses on eating lots of plant foods, will help you lower your cholesterol, promote steady and lower blood sugars, improve your digestive health, and help you fight many chronic diseases.
The antioxidants, fiber, minerals, and vitamins in fruits, vegetables, and whole foods are necessary for proper hormone balance, cognitive functioning, bone health, and much more.
The most significant impact of this type of eating plan, though, is on your cardiovascular health. A diet rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes, and other whole foods is naturally low in cholesterol, can help reduce high blood pressure, can reverse damage done by atherosclerosis, and improve your heart’s overall function.
The foods included in this type of eating plan are the same as those recommended by doctors and medical organizations who focus on heart health.
12 Tips for Losing Weight While Eating More
While eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain foods will certainly help you along your path to eating more to weigh less, there are also some helpful hints that can keep you on the right track. Here are our 12 best tips for losing weight while eating more.
1. Eat a salad or some soup before each meal
When you start each meal with a fresh salad chock full of fresh vegetables or a hearty bowl of broth-based vegetable soup, you are filling up on low-calorie foods, which will encourage you to eat less of less healthy entrees. Eating a low-calorie, high-fiber appetizer will lead to you eating fewer calories overall during your meal.
2. Prepare foods simply
The way you prepare your food is just as important as the ingredients you use. Preparing vegetables and fruits simply will help preserve their natural nutrition and keep their wholesome flavor. Steaming, lightly sautéing in a healthy fat like olive oil or coconut oil, roasting, or eating them raw are the best ways to prepare vegetables. Fruits are best served raw. Avoid using butter, cream- or dairy-based sauces, frying, or breading of any kind.
3. Drink lots of water
Not only does water fill you up but staying hydrated is very beneficial when you are eating a high fiber diet. Sweetened beverages, like soda or juice, will not leave you feeling very satisfied, so opt for water, unsweetened tea or coffee, or fat-free dairy, if you are opting for animal products. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to support your digestive health as well as give your body and brain the water it needs.
4. Remember to substitute the vegetables and fruits for other foods in your regular diet
Substitute, not just add them in. If you continue eating all the same foods you did before, plus fruits and vegetables, you will gain weight. That’s not the direction most of us are looking for the scale to go. Instead, substitute these healthier options for things you would typically eat.
5. Snack smartly
It is okay to snack throughout the day, and many of us find snacking helps us maintain a more stable blood sugar level. The key, though, is selecting healthy snacks. Instead of reaching for traditional snack foods like chips or pretzels, instead eat fresh fruit or vegetables combined with healthier options like salsa, hummus, a small amount of nut butter, or other whole-food choices.
One small bag of corn chips has the same calories as one cup of strawberries, one cup of carrots with dip, and one small apple. So, choose better by eating the fresh fruits and vegetables, and you will get to eat more, which will help you weigh less.
6. Start early in the day to get as many servings as possible
Eating fruits and vegetables should begin at breakfast, so do not wait to get started. Add fruit to your oatmeal or smoothie and add vegetables to your eggs. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables means eating them at every meal and with every snack, not just occasionally.
7. Leave healthy choices accessible for everyone to see and eat
Keep a large bowl of fruit in your kitchen. Cut up fresh vegetables and place them in small bags or containers, making them easy for you and others to grab and go.
And do not hide them in a drawer in your refrigerator, where it is easy to forget about them. Place these foods front and center for all to see. Having healthy options readily available is key to actually eating them.
8. Always have lots of frozen options
It is so easy to add frozen vegetables to many dishes and steaming frozen vegetables for a quick side dish is simple to do. Having frozen fruits to add to smoothies or yogurt is another great option. These foods maintain their nutritional value, and they make meal preparation easier.
9. At least half your plate should be filled with vegetables and fruit
When planning meals, start with the produce you plan to make, then select the protein and/or grain that would pair well with it. Beginning with the vegetables and fruit first also means you will always have a plan for getting enough.
10. Be cautious of juice
While fresh juices and those that are entirely made of juices from fruits and/or vegetables can be a way to get some crucial vitamins and minerals, you are missing out on the essential and beneficial fiber that comes from eating whole foods. Enjoy juices occasionally and be cautious of your portion size. The sugar in these juices can add up quickly.
11. Be sure you are active
Eating well is not the only important factor in successfully losing weight. You have to exercise regularly to achieve and maintain health and proper weight. In addition to getting more exercise that elevates your heart rate and helps you build muscle, also build in more activity throughout your day. Taking the stairs, parking further away, walking to run close errands, and other small changes can help you increase your activity level. Even walking just 30 minutes a day can yield many health benefits, especially for your heart.
12. Reduce your stress
Learning stress-reduction practices will also help you to be healthier. By lowering your stress, you have a healthier outlook on life and are able to quickly see the positive effects your healthy choices are making on your body. Finding stress reduction techniques that work for you is essential. While yoga, deep breathing, and meditation are useful for some, exercise, reading, and spending time outdoors work best for others. Find your stress busters and use them regularly.
Sample Meal Ideas For Eating More to Weigh Less
Below is an example of meals that are based on the “eating more to weigh less” principles. This can help you see how much food you can eat and still lose weight.
Getting fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other filling foods in your breakfast does not have to be hard. Here are five breakfasts that will fill you up and give you plenty of energy for your morning.
⦁ Create a breakfast wrap using a whole-grain, small tortilla, sautéed vegetables, one egg scrambled, and fresh salsa. Enjoy with half a melon or grapefruit and unsweetened coffee or tea.
⦁ Enjoy old-fashioned oats topped with chopped apple, cinnamon, and two tables of chopped walnuts. Drink one cup of unsweetened plant milk or low-fat milk of your choice.
⦁ Toast two multigrain waffles and top with fresh fruit and chopped pecans or almonds. Enjoy with an unsweetened beverage of your choice.
⦁ Scramble one egg with an ounce of low-fat cheese, onions, spinach, and other vegetables of your choice. Top a toasted whole-grain bread or English muffin with your egg and enjoy with 1 cup cubed cantaloupe and one cup of unsweetened coffee or tea.
⦁ Make a yogurt parfait with layers of non-fat, unsweetened yogurt, fresh berries, and a puree of blueberries and honey. Top with two tablespoons of low-sugar granola. Enjoy with green tea or another unsweetened beverage.
Many of us eat lunch while at work or on the go and need something portable or easily transportable. Here are some examples lunches to get you through your day and enjoy where you are.
⦁ Enjoy a spinach salad that combines four cups of greens with one sliced pear, three strawberries sliced, one ounce of goat cheese crumbles, two tablespoons of toasted almonds, and two tablespoons of homemade vinaigrette. Serve with one piece of whole-grain bread.
⦁ Create a vegetable pita pocket by stuffing one whole-grain pita with one cup of salad greens, sliced cucumbers, carrots, and other vegetables of your choice. Top with a homemade vinaigrette made with olive oil. Accompany this with one medium apple, and sliced celery with one tablespoon of nut butter.
⦁ Create a wrap by filling a whole-grain tortilla with greens, fresh vegetables, one slice of low-fat cheese, and low-fat dressing or mustard. Enjoy with one medium orange and one cup of baby carrots.
⦁ Perk up a prepared vegetable soup or vegetarian chili with chopped onion, diced peppers, spinach, and frozen corn. Heat and top with fresh cilantro. Enjoy with one cup of fresh grapes and a snack-sized bag of light, microwave popcorn.
⦁ Create a southwest salad by topping three cups chopped romaine with one-quarter cup black beans, one-half cup corn, and two tablespoons of shredded low-fat cheddar cheese. Top with fresh salsa. Serve with toasted, whole-grain tortilla chips.
No matter the time of day, eating a small snack can sometimes help you make it comfortably to the next meal or fill you up when your energy is lacking. Here are some examples of healthy snack options.
⦁ One cup of sliced cucumbers or baby carrots with two tablespoons of hummus
⦁ A 12-ounce latte made with fat-free milk
⦁ Three cups of air-popped popcorn
⦁ Two whole-grain crackers with one tablespoon of soft cheese and a handful of grapes
⦁ A piece of fruit
⦁ A small handful of plain unflavored nuts
⦁ Fresh vegetables, such as bell peppers, carrots, celery, cucumbers, broccoli, or tomatoes
Eating a healthy, filling evening meal is a great way to get in lots of extra vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Consider these options.
⦁ Steam two cups of vegetables of your choice, such as broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, or mushrooms. Combine these with one tomato chopped, one-half cup of rinsed cannellini beans, and herbs and spices of your choice. Serve over a chicken breast that has been grilled. Accompany with a small garden salad with homemade vinaigrette.
⦁ Grill six ounces of flank steak or pressed extra-firm tofu. Cut into strips or cubes and place atop a salad of three cups of greens, one cup of additional vegetables of your choice, and two tablespoons of homemade vinaigrette. Serve with one whole-grain dinner roll and half a melon, cubed.
⦁ Steam one cup of edamame and one cup of broccoli. To broccoli, add one tablespoon of soy sauce. Add one-half cup of brown rice, and one grilled chicken breast, salmon fillet, or tofu steak, seasoned with fresh ginger and garlic.
⦁ Grill onions, peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini. Fill one whole-grain tortilla with the grilled vegetables, one tablespoon of shredded, low-fat cheese, fresh salsa, and one-quarter cup of black or kidney beans, seasoned with chili powder and cumin.
⦁ Grill a four-ounce fish fillet. Serve with steamed or grilled asparagus, four roasted fingerling potatoes, and a small dinner salad with homemade vinaigrette.
Eating More to Weigh Less Precautions
If you are changing your diet or exercise regimen, it is always a good idea to consult with your doctor. You may have specific nutritional needs because of your age, weight, or a medical condition that could be considered when changing how you eat and how much you move.Your doctor can help you determine the best and safest choices for you. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have specific nutritional needs, also talk with your doctor about your diet changes.
Many who switch to a high-fiber eating plan may notice some gastrointestinal distress, especially in the form of excess gas. Painful or embarrassing gas usually dissipates within the first few weeks. If you notice significant problems, start slowly and gradually add more fiber to your diet each week until you are at the recommended level.
Risks of Eating More to Weigh Less Plan
This eating plan is high in plant-based foods and very low in animal products, especially meat. If you opt for a purely plant-based approach to eating, which means no animal products at all, you are at risk for a deficiency in Vitamin B12.
While dairy and meat products naturally contain B12, most plant foods do not. If you are not consuming any animal products, you should consider adding shiitake mushrooms, nori (a type of seaweed), and nutritional yeast to your weekly intake, as these are all rich in Vitamin B12. You can also take a B12 supplement to get your recommended allowance.
Eating a lot of nuts and seeds is not recommended on the eat-more, weigh-less plan because they are high in fat. If you are severely limiting your intake of these, though, you may also become deficient in Vitamin E.
Depending on where you are focusing your nutrient intake, you may also consider taking a Vitamin E supplement. Again, always talk to your doctor about your nutritional needs.
Most vegetarians and vegans will agree that getting all your other vitamin and mineral needs comes easily when you eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, eat whole grains, and stay away from high-calorie, low-nutrient foods.
The basic premise of this eating plan is to substitute high-calorie, low-nutrient foods for low-calorie, high-nutrient options.
Eliminating processed and prepared foods, cutting back on meat and dairy, and increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will help you feel fuller longer, will satisfy your hunger and cravings better, and will give you all the nutrients and energy you need to live your life.
With a focus on whole, plant-based foods and getting more exercise, you will soon notice how full your plate is and how much less you weigh, when you stick to this plan.
You can opt for more vegetarian or vegan approaches to this plan or choose to eat meat and dairy, but the basis of your diet should come from plant-based foods.
Giving you necessary water, fiber, and nutrients, eating this way will allow you to fill your plate with healthy options and never feel deprived.
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