What if you could eat more food, but ingest fewer calories and fats? What if you could go through the day feeling full and satisfied so you could sit down to healthy meals without feeling deprived? It's possible if you eat the right foods first.
Finding time to exercise every day takes planning, and counting calories can take a few minutes, but the one thing that derails most people's weight loss efforts is feeling hungry! You know, that growly, empty feeling that makes you grouchy, tired, and eventually sends you running to the pantry to gobble down anything you can get your ravenous, trembling hands on? Yeah. We know. We like to eat too … a lot! But guess what? You can eat more and stay on track to lose weight and get fit.
The trick is to fill up on fiber and protein, foods that are slow to be digested and give you that satisfying feeling of fullness for hours. It's a practice called "volumetrics," backed by research from professor of nutrition Barbara Rolls, in her 2005 bestseller The Volumetrics Eating Plan: Techniques and Recipes for Feeling Full on Fewer Calories.
The basic idea is to load up on foods like green vegetables and fruits, lean protein like chicken and fish, plus soups that fill you up but are still low in calories. You should cut down on foods like cookies, pasta, chips, potatoes, rice, and nuts that are tiny in size but very high in calories and fat. Thinks about it this way: It takes a full 10 minutes to enjoy a bowl of soup, but a mere 20 seconds to chew and swallow a cookie. If you take time to enjoy your meals and fill up on the good stuff, you're not only putting nutrient-rich foods in your body, you're eating foods that give you a long-lasting feeling of fullness, instead of quickly raising your blood sugar and converting to fat, as with high-sugar foods such as potatoes, crackers, and pasta.
Here are a few ways to incorporate volumetrics into your daily life.
Substitute Green Veggies for Starch
If you make something really savory like beef stroganoff, put a very small portion (1/4 cup) of cooked egg noodles on the plate. Then ladle all that flavorful meat, onions, mushrooms, and gravy over two cups of cooked green beans. Because they're covered in yummy Stroganoff, the beans taste especially great and you'll never miss the pasta, although you should enjoy a few noodles, because outright denial just ain't our style!