So you want to get in shape and after typing "how to lose weight" in Google and doing a little research, you realize that in order to reduce your weight you need to go on a caloric deficit i.e. eating less calories than you're burning for an extended period of time.
That's all well and good but how do you actually do that? After all if you could "just eat less" you would already be doing it! The things in your way, of course, are hunger, lifestyle and habits.
Well, have no fear because I'm going to share with you 4 potent ways to cut the excess calories out of your diet effortlessly. And don't worry, you won't have to starve yourself either.
1. Eat more slowly.
Yep, you read that right: eat more slowly. You're probably asking yourself how exactly eating more slowly will help you reduce your caloric intake. Well, the reason it works has to do with your hormones.
Ghrelin is a hormone mainly secreted by your stomach and it is your hunger hormone. It directly signals your brain to seek out food. Logically, ghrelin is at its highest right before a meal and at its lowest right after a meal.
Leptin on the other hand is your satiety hormone. It signals your brain that you are full and that you should stop eating. Leptin's at its highest right after a meal and at it's lowest right before a meal.
Now, here's the interesting part: your hunger and satiety hormones need a bit of time to do their job - they need 15-20 mins to kick in. But think about the eating speed of the regular person. In today's fast-paced world a lot of us take 5-10 minutes in total to finish a meal.
Since that is not nearly enough time for ghrelin levels to drop off and for leptin levels to rise, we end up feeling hungrier and less full and thus we overeat before our hormones can kick in and tell us to stop eating.
So, all you have to do to help your hormones help you, is to commit to taking around 20 minutes to finish each meal. That way you'll make sure that your hormones can do their job properly and you'll be prompted to stop eating when you're supposed to instead of consuming a small village for lunch.
2. Give intermittent fasting a try.
Intermittent fasting hit the scene a few years ago as a convenient way to shed unwanted fat by manipulating the timing of your meals.
More specifically, an intermittent fasting regimen has you alternate between fasting and eating windows. During the fasting phase you're not supposed to consume any calories and the eating phase is when you have your caloric intake.
There are different variations to intermittent fasting - some people fast for 14-16 hours, essentially skipping breakfast, others fast all day and only have dinner. You can also eat normally on some days and use intermittent fasting on other days as there's some evidence that it helps increase your insulin sensitivity leading to better nutrient partitioning (i.e. more favorable utilization of nutrients leading to more muscle growth and less fat gain).
However the reason that intermittent fasting is a great way to cut excess calories is because you're literally skipping a meal (or more). So by limiting your eating window to less hours you're limiting the amount of calories you can consume, leading to a reduction in your caloric intake.
To make it more manageable to skip breakfast, many people simply increase their sleeping time since you can't feel hungry if you're sleeping! Chances are, you're probably not getting enough sleep anyway so increasing the time you devote to sleep might be beneficial for more than cutting down your calories. Besides, you can't eat while you sleep, can you!
3. Eat foods that take longer to digest.
You might not be aware of this but different macronutrients and foods in different states take a different time to be digested by our bodies.
This means that some foods will stay longer in your stomach and will keep you full for longer periods of time than others. Prioritizing these foods over other faster-digestible foods will help you cut out excess calories from your diet.
Carbohydrates are the macronutrient that our bodies digest the quickest so chances are that if you have a carb-based meal you'll be hungry sooner than if the meal is protein-based or fat-based.
Protein is the most satiating macronutrient. Plus it has other very important roles in the human body. That's why you want to have protein with every meal.
Fats leave the stomach after carbs and protein along with dietary fiber. You want to include a sufficient amount of both in your diet. There's a caveat to fat consumption though: while protein and carbs both contain 4 calories in a single gram, 1 gram of fats contain 9 calories. So don't go crazy with your fat intake just because they're digested slower than carbs - they contain more than twice the amount of calories that carbs do.
Another thing to note is that digestion time depends on the state of food you consume. First off, larger particles are digested slower than smaller ones.
Secondly, liquids are digested quicker than solid food and consequently liquids keep you full for less time. That's why if you're trying to reduce your caloric intake, it's a good idea to cut down on milk, fruit juice, sodas, etc. and instead have solid food.
4. Drink more water.
Drinking water has a myriad of health benefits for the human body. 60% of the adult human body is water, after all.
But water can also help us reduce our caloric intake. While it contains zero calories, it does take up space in the stomach so if you drink lots of water you'll feel more full and thus you'll seek out less calories.
So drinking a sufficient amount of water is both a great way to reduce your caloric intake AND important for making sure you stay properly hydrated.
The recommended water intake depends on your body weight but be sure to drink at least 2.5 liters.
So there you have it! 4 ways to effortlessly cut out excess calories from your diet. Use what you've learned in this blog post and you'll be well on your way to a leaner physique.
If you're struggling to achieving your goals and you feel confused regarding how to build a healthy, balanced meal plan, I can help you!