Calories are the measure of how much energy a food contains. Your body uses these calories as energy and stores the excess as fat. Successful weight loss and living a healthy lifestyle is strongly connected to the balance between increasing caloric output (exercise) and maintaining the right caloric input (eating less to lose weight or eating more to gain weight).
So many people struggle to reduce the amount of calories that they consume. We often try to starve ourselves until we cannot take it anymore and go back to our old eating habits. What if I told you that there are ways to make yourself feel fuller and more satisfied – while reducing the amount of calories that you eat on a daily basis?
Best of all, these tips don’t require any weird product or service purchases. Here’s how:
1) Drink a glass of water before every meal
Before you start eating your food, drink a full glass of water. This will add bulk to your stomach and reduce the amount of food that you eat before you start feeling full. Think of your stomach as an elastic bag. It constantly expands and shrinks when we eat or go without food. The grumbling sound that you hear when you are hungry is actually your stomach rearranging itself because it is empty.
When you eat food, your stomach expands to hold this food. When it can’t expand any longer, it tells you that you are full of food and that you must stop eating. When we constantly eat until our stomachs are full, they adapt by expanding larger and larger. This increases the amount of food that it takes before we feel like we’ve eaten enough.
By drinking a glass of water before you eat, you fill up a portion of your stomach before food reaches it. This will reduce the amount of food that it takes for you to lose the desire to keep on eating.
You can also try sugar-free drinks like lemon juice or tea. The used tea bags can double-up as a great eye strain reliever.
2) Eat foods that are high in fiber
Fiber is the part of plant foods that your body can’t digest. This makes it useful in the gut because it helps to clean out unwanted waste products. This is why fiber is often referred to as nature’s broom. Foods that are naturally high in fiber are almost always low in calories, because a large part of the food cannot be converted into energy or stored as fat.
Even though it has no caloric value, fiber still takes up space in your stomach. It also takes longer to break down in your gut because your body cannot absorb most of it. This will increase the amount of time that it takes before your gut feels empty and signals your brain for the requirement of more food.
Foods that are high in fiber are fruit and vegetables. Simply add two servings of these high-fiber foods to every meal. This will massively reduce the caloric content of the entire meal. It will also cause you to eat less of the calorie dense foods that you usually eat. On top of this, it will also prolong the amount of time that it takes before you crave for food again. If you struggle to eat healthy fruit and vegetables, eat them at your desk when you are more focused on other mental tasks and not on taste.
3) Eat slowly
Have you ever eaten so much that it is extremely uncomfortable, and wondered why you didn’t stop as soon as it became too much? Or have you ever gone for a second helping and realized that you weren’t that hungry as soon as you sat down? That’s because there is a time delay between food consumption and the feeling of being satisfied.
From a survival standpoint, this is very beneficial. When food is scarce and you don’t know when you will eat again, it is beneficial to be able to eat more than what your stomach can carry. The more nutrients you consume now, the more nutrients the body has in its storage until the next meal arrives.
In today’s life, this isn’t very beneficial at all. We almost always have access to food and starvation isn’t a potential threat. Our bodies are made to eat as much as what is available so that they can withstand periods without any food at all. When food is everywhere, we stay in ‘increase storage’ mode and never really go into ‘use up storage’ mode.
By eating slowly, you will realize that you aren’t hungry anymore halfway through your meal. By becoming conscious of every bite, you will realize that there is a turning point where you don’t enjoy it anymore and eating more is automatic instead of satisfying.
If you stop eating as soon as you are not hungry anymore, you can drastically reduce the amount of calories that you consume during each meal without ever feeling hungry or deprived. This will also help your stomach to decrease in size, lowering the amount of food that you will consume during the next meal.