Surely if you want to lose weight, you need to start eating less food? This approach will ‘work’ simply because eating less food normally means eating fewer calories but may leave you feeling hungry and unsatisfied. So what if you could eat a larger amount of better food for weight loss? By making smarter food choices you can do exactly that!

Make Better Food Choices

The first step is to make sure most of the food you are eating comes from whole, single ingredient sources whilst limiting your intake of processed foods. Be wary of anything which comes in fancy packaging and has an ingredients list as long as your arm. If it didn’t walk, swim, fly or grow in the ground, it probably isn’t that great for you. (Of course there are a few exceptions!)

By doing this, it’s likely that you will automatically reduce the number of calories that you’re consuming. So instead of having a sandwich and bag of crisps, go for a salad instead. You can really pile on the salad leaves, spinach, rocket etc. – these foods have such a low caloric density that you can eat huge amounts of them without racking up the calories!

Put that together with a chicken breast and a low fat dressing like tomato salsa or balsamic vinaigrette and you’ve got a large quantity of food to enjoy with a fairly low caloric load. So a typical chicken mayo sandwich and packet of crisps might come in at around 484kcal and that big ass chicken salad and small piece of fruit comes in at just 285kcal.

The salad option is higher in protein, which will help keep you full for longer and is also packed with tons more vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy and full of energy! 200kcal could be the difference between your weight loss stalling and you seeing some solid improvements to your body composition.

The 80-20 Principle

It can be difficult to get your diet perfect 100% of the time so a more realistic approach is to look at diet as an 80-20 principle. 80% of your calories should come from whole unprocessed foods and you can be a little more relaxed with the other 20%. You might want to consider sliding the ratio to 90/10 if you have a particular deadline you need to get in shape for like a photo shoot or show.

There’s no need for the 80% portion of your diet to be unenjoyable either! There are plenty of great, tasty recipes made up of whole foods which you can enjoy. If you’re trying to reduce caloric intake, look for foods that have a low calorie density. As it happens, the foods with a low caloric density also tend to be dense in nutrients. So as well as reducing calories, you’re also getting plenty of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and anti-oxidants to maintain a sound bill of health. Win-win situation for weight loss!

The below table shows the nutritional values of a few common carbohydrate sources that can be interchanged in many recipes:

Kcal Carbs Fats Protein
Swede (100g) 26 5 0 0
Butternut Squash (100g) 40 10 0 1
Potato (100g) 72 16 0 2

 

As you can see, if you substitute potatoes for swede, you can reduce the total calories by nearly two thirds whilst still eating the same quantity of food! Little tweaks like this won’t make much difference in isolation, but will add up to positively impact your body composition! The best thing about this approach is that you won’t even feel restricted or have to really put that much effort it.

Don’t take this advice blindly without using a little common sense. For example, nuts are whole, natural foods but are also very calorie dense. So if you throw back a few handfuls of nuts every day, you can easily take in several hundred calories for a small quantity of food.

Conclusion

If you focus on eating whole foods most of the time, you should end up eating fewer calories without eating a smaller quantity of food. To get the maximum benefit, choose foods with low calorie density to allow yourself to increase food intake whilst reducing caloric intake. Overall, improving your food choices  and eating better food for weight loss is a much more sustainable lifestyle choice than simply reducing the quantity of food you are eating.

 

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