Have You Overlooked This Simple Fat Loss Tip?
The journey of fat loss is often times a challenging one. Perhaps you’ve cut out carbs, maybe you’ve added in cardio and upped the training intensity. But the real challenge staring you in the face is that grumbling stomach, that hungry feeling you can’t shake ever since you limited your calories. You’ve put into place everything your personal trainer instructed you to, but you start to doubt whether those last few pounds are worth being constantly starving! If you are feeling like this, then you may be missing this one simple step to help make your weight loss journey a little easier!
As a personal trainer based in Chichester I frequently see the same response and structure when it comes to fat loss; reduction and removal. We reduce our intake of food, and often times remove certain food groups completely. Gone is that lunch time sandwich if you are on a low carb diet, and you can say goodbye to that big portion of pasta for dinner too! And purely from a scientific approach, to a coach like me this makes sense.
Fat loss almost always comes down to input-vs-output.
Calories in -vs- calories out.
Everything else is secondary to this primary goal.
But if you are used to eating lots of food, and suddenly you are eating half the portion size, you are most likely going to feel hungry. If you are hungry, you are more likely to reach for those highly palatable “snack” foods you have tucked away in the back of the cupboard in case of emergencies. A good day or week’s dieting is quickly wasted by a late night/weekend binge; but damn it feels good to engorge if you’ve been starving all week!
So here’s a simple step I like to use as a personal trainer to help diminish those “hangry” (hunger + anger) moments; maintain the same food volume.
By food volume I mean the amount of food you are eating on a day to day basis. Because guess what, you can eat just as much food, and it still be lower calories! This solves two problems.
- You are going to feel fuller, for longer throughout the day. You aren’t going to miss that big portion of pasta you usually have for lunch, because you had a big meal at lunch time anyway.
- You are less likely to reach for those calorie-laden snack foods hidden away. No hunger means less desire to eat throughout the day. Those foods which bump you over your calorie goal are no longer such an issue. And if you do have a snack, it’s going to be 4 digestive biscuits rather than half the pack!
Think of your stomach like a big bowl. If you took all your weekly food and scooped it into that bowl until it was full (not a pretty picture I know, all that stuff mixing together), then you would have a good idea of what your body is used to processing.
Now pour half that amount in, your body & brain is going to start feeling like it’s missing out. It’s used to being full, regularly….and now it’s half full (or half empty).
Imagine if you could fill that bowl up still (not hungry), but with fewer calories (fat loss). But how? It’s pretty straight forward, just swap out ingredients/sources of food for lower calorie alternatives that are still tasty and filling! Here are some examples for you:
Swap beef mince out for venison mince.
Beef mince usually runs in at 10-20% fat content (this is not a bash on fat intake, don’t get the wrong message), whereas venison mince comes in at approximately 4% fat content. So in a 200g portion you possibly have a difference of 144kcal (180kcal from fat – 36kcal from fat); over the course of a week, if you had one meal where you subbed that in from Monday to Sunday, that’s a total of 1008kcal less!
Same portion size, lower calories!
Butternut squash alternatives
With the rise of healthy foods, supermarkets have really upped their game when it comes to lower calorie alternatives. You can pick up butternut squash chips/wedges/lasagne strips in most supermarkets now, with significantly fewer calories.
Complex sources rather than sugar.
Now there is nothing wrong with sugar, but it may be worth trying to limit the amount you consume, purely because most sugary foods have little else to them. Skittles, haribo and sugar-laden fizzy drinks taste great…but don’t fill you up much. That packet of haribo will set you back 800 calories, and in 60 minutes you’ll be hungry again. Keep the sweets for after a tough training session; the rest of the day it’s just an easy way to bump the calories up without noticing it. Which leads me to my favourite method for increasing food volume whilst keeping calories low…..
Bump up that plate with a big portion of vegetables!
My go-to is simply to slice up a big courgette, an onion and a few peppers. A tray full may only be 200 calories at most, and last you 2-3 meals depending upon your appetite. Green veg is especially high in fibre, and pretty low in anything else macronutrient wise – but is crammed full of vitamins and micronutrients, so you are killing two birds with one stone.
Increased your daily intake of vitamins? MOST DEFINITELY
So there you have it, a few easy-to-implement ideas that can increase your food volume, allow you to fend off that feeling of starvation, and still lose weight. This is by no means an exhaustive list, just a few things I have used over the past few months.
Purchase good quality food, and get to work!
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