Dieting for fat loss can be tough.
The worst part is, is the more weight you lose and the longer you diet for fat loss, the tougher it becomes.
Your body tries to fight against it.
It does this by lowering your activity levels and increasing hormones like ghrelin which tell your body that you need to eat more.
All of which can make fat loss seem impossible.
No to mention you already are doing a good amount of cardio, weight training, and eating low calorie.
This is why I am a huge advocate of spending time eating more food and focusing on maintaining or building muscle at some point.
But it is a good idea to spend time focusing on losing body fat, so its important to learn how to eat while on a fat loss diet.
The good news is that there are ways you can eat that can help with lowering your hunger levels so you can make fat loss easier. In saying that in order to get leaner you inevitably will be hungry, however we can lower these hunger levels a bit.
One way to do this is to maximize the amount of food you eat while keeping your calories fairly low.
Aka increasing your food volume.
I like to think of this as finding ways to spend less money while on a budget. Basically you see where you can save money, which allows you to have more money for more important things.
This will help ensure that not only do you stay full, but you also make sure you hit your macro and micronutrient goals.
13 Ways to Increase Food Volume
1. Don’t Drink Calories
When you are dieting for fat loss, which now means you will be eating fewer calories than normal, it’s essential you save your calories for foods that will help fill you up.
Think of being on a budget, and you need to save money. You wouldn’t spend money on things that are a waste, you would instead save that money for more essential items.
Studies have shown that when we drink our calories, our body doesn’t compensate by eating less later. Whereas when you eat your calories your body will do a good job of compensating by eating less later. So you essentially are just adding in extra calories.
And the worst part is, they don’t keep you feeling as full as food. A double whammy for sticking with your fat loss diet.
When online clients are on fat loss diets, one of the first things we nail down is taking out liquid calories.
This allows them to fit in more food in their diet.
Drinking water throughout the day and before each meal can help fill up your stomach and send a signal to your brain that you are getting full.
Not to mention, by drinking more water you’re lowering your chances of drinking calorie drinks.
Sometimes hunger can just be that you are just thirsty. Also when you are hydrated you look, feel, and perform your best. Your muscles are happier when you are hydrated as well.
With online clients, we work on drinking water before each meal and having a big glass first thing in the morning.
3. High Volume/Low-Calorie Veggies
Veggies do a great job at filling up your stomach. When your stomach is full of food, even if it’s lower in calories it tells your brain that its getting full which can lower hunger.
So adding high volume foods like veggies is so important. Not to mention they help you with your micronutrients as well.
With clients, we focus on veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, peppers, celery, mushrooms, zucchini, spinach, lettuce, pumpkin, etc. as these can be consumed in large amounts without using up a ton of their daily caloric allotment.
4. Low-Fat Protein Sources
Low fat protein sources are important because again you don’t have a lot of calories to work with on a fat loss diet and protein foods that are high in fat can add up quickly if you do not pay attention to it.
So its important to choose LEAN sources of protein such as:
- low-fat dairy
- extra lean beef
- extra lean turkey
- low-fat protein supplements
- egg whites
5. Cooking Substitutions
This is a great way to make your foods more tasty but also save on calories. Examples of cooking substitutions would be:
- using fat-free or reduced-fat dairy
- fat-free plain Greek yogurt for heavy cream
- plain unsweetened almond milk for regular milk
- artificial sweetener for sugar
6. High Volume Carb Sources
Keeping your carbs as high as possible on a fat loss diet is essential. One of the main reasons you want to keep your carb intake as high as possible without going over your calories is so your training performance doesn’t suffer.
Not to mention carbs are also important for recovery and can help with muscle growth.
However its important that your carbs sources do a better job of filling you up while on a fat loss diet.
Here are some great sources that will help keep you full:
- cream of wheat
- sweet potatoes
- low carb bread
- high fiber tortillas
7. Avoid Alcohol
When dieting for fat loss alcohol is simply a killer. Like we discussed earlier, you want to avoid drinking your calories so you can save them for filling food, but alcohol comes with a whole host of other issues besides just drinking your calories.
For example, when we drink our inhibitions are lower and we are more likely to just say F it and eat whatever. And lets be honest, when this happens you aren’t reaching for veggies, its usually something that is fried or high in fat/carbs.
Not to mention it will negatively impact your sleep. Which in recent blogs I discussed how poor sleep can cause a decrease in activity and increase in food intake the following day.
Normally we would work on incorporating alcohol into a clients nutrition if they want it, but during a fat loss phase its important to temporarily abstain from alcohol.
8. Food Distribution
One way to maximize food volume is by eating on a schedule that works best for you.
Some clients work well with their meals spread out, some work better by having their meals in a shorter window.
You can also gravitate towards eating more meals around times when you find yourself hungrier. For example, late at night.
Find an eating schedule that works best for YOU
9. Minimize Eating Out
Portion sizes when you eat out are much larger, and you don’t know what they are putting in the meals. And lets be honest, restaurants sole focus is making sure you enjoy their food so you come back and give them business. They aren’t worried about your fat loss diet.
You can eat out and still crush your fat loss diet, it just is much tougher.
The good news is that you can make meals that you would normally eat at restaurants at home and you can make them more macro friendly.
One of my favorites is burgers and potatoes.
Cut up potatoes like fries, and then buy 93/7 or high ground beef, and add in veggies and you have a nutritious tasty meal with probably a third of the calories. Which again during a fat loss phase this is so important.
Another meal you can make from home are tacos. Again using 93/7 ground beef for the meat and then maybe using low-fat cheese and low-fat sour cream and high fiber tortilla.
10. Calorie-Free Sauces and Flavorings
Just like with the cooking substitutions you want to try and make your fat loss diet as fun and tasty as you can.
Many sauces and condiments have calories in them to where they can add up fairly quickly and take up a large portion of your caloric allotment without filling you up.
Take something like BBQ sauces or ketchup.
Instead, look for zero-calorie or low-calorie sauces and condiments.
Again we want to save as many calories for filling foods.
11. Artificial Sweeteners
There is no data that shows that artificial sweeteners are bad for you, atleast in the amounts that most people would be consuming them in.
So these can be a great substitution for drinks, think diet soda, energy drinks, crystal light etc. These can be great to help curb a sweet tooth.
They also have been shown to help people eat less in subsequent meals.
By saving your calories you can then use them elsewhere with real food that will help keep you feeling full.
Using protein powder for recipes like protein pancakes can also be a great way to save calories but help curb your sweet tooth when on a fat loss diet.
12. Making Smaller Portions
Many people make the mistake of completing cutting out essential foods like carbohydrates, which can lead to poor energy levels, higher hunger, poorer recovery, and poorer training performance, when instead you can simply cut your portion sizes down.
If you normally eat a cup of rice, cut it down to a half-cup.
If you normally eat a large potato, switch to a medium potato.
If you eat an entire apple, slice it into smaller pieces.
13. Foods That Take A While To Eat
One of the biggest reasons processed foods tend to be overeaten is because they don’t require much chewing and we tend to eat them faster, which can lead to overconsumption of these foods.
On the other hand foods, higher in protein and fiber require much more chewing and take more time to eat, which slows down how quickly we eat them.
It takes your brain sometime to realize you’re getting full so by eating foods that require you to slow down, we “hack” our brain to help us eat less.
There you have it, 13 ways to increase food volume to help you lower your hunger levels and crush your fat loss phase.
The cool thing about working on increasing your food volume is that it will set you up for years and years of progress.
If you need more help with figuring out how to manage your nutrition for your goals, hit the link here to apply for nutrition coaching, and lets get to work!