Let me guess… You’ve probably heard that to lose weight, all you need to do is “eat less and move more”. So why does it feel like you’ve been doing exactly that – but nothing’s changing? What if I told you that success is on the other side of “eat more” instead?
In this episode I debunk the common myth that eating less is better for weight loss. I also discuss why eating more in a strategic way might actually help you lose weight more easily and pave the way for long-term success. I break down the benefits of eating more including:
Eating larger quantities of high volume, fiber-rich foods can increase feelings of fullness and satiety, which can help reduce hunger and cravings, resulting in lower overall calorie intake. Here’s how it works:
High fiber foods slow down digestion and absorption of nutrients, providing a steady and prolonged source of energy, which can help regulate appetite and reduce cravings. High fiber foods also delay gastric emptying, helping to prolong the feeling of fullness and reducing the frequency of hunger signals.
Eating more of these lower calorie, high volume, high fiber foods can help you experience increased satiety, which can ultimately lead to sustainable weight loss.
If you don’t know what I mean by low-calorie, high-fiber foods here are some examples:
- Vegetables: leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, cucumbers, and bell peppers are all examples of low-calorie, high-fiber vegetables that can be added to salads, stir-fries, soups, or simply eaten as snacks.
- Legumes: beans, lentils, and chickpeas are excellent sources of fiber and can be used in soups, stews, salads, or made into bean-based dips such as hummus.
- Whole grains: brown rice, quinoa, bulgur, and oats are examples of whole grains that are high in fiber and can be used as a base for salads, stir-fries, or as a side dish.
Have you ever heard of something called “metabolic adaptation”?
This is when your metabolic rate adjusts down because you’re not eating enough. This can make weight loss plateau, or even reverse, as the body becomes more efficient at using fewer calories to perform basic functions. As a result, weight regain may occur once normal eating patterns are resumed, leading to the yo-yo effect of weight loss and regain.
But, your metabolism is flexible – it can adjust down to accommodate a lack of available energy and up because more energy is available.
enhanced nutrient intake
By eating more, you’re better ensuring a nutrient rich diet which can both directly and indirectly impact your ability to lose weight. We talk a lot about macronutrients here, but micronutrients are also vital for various metabolic processes, enzyme function, and overall health. Micronutrients include vitamins – such as A, B, C, D, E, and K, and minerals – such as calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and potassium.
A well-balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods is necessary to ensure adequate intake of these essential micronutrients for overall health and weight management – think digestion of food, absorption of nutrients, making and supporting your hormones, building tissue, detoxing products out of the body, and more.
reduced binge-eating behavior
It may seem counterintuitive, but eating more can actually reduce binge-eating behavior.
Binge-eating often occurs as a result of extreme hunger or deprivation. When you don’t eat enough or skip meals, it can lead to intense hunger, triggering a primal urge to eat large amounts of food quickly. Eating regular meals and snacks that provide adequate nutrients and energy can help prevent extreme hunger and keep your blood sugar levels stable, reducing the likelihood of binge-eating episodes.
sustainable eating habits
Here’s the deal – maintaining extremely low calorie diets for the long term is very difficult. It can feel isolating to limit yourself to such small amounts of food, to a particularly rigid set of macros, or to a foods list that makes it impossible to eat out. It’s only a matter of time until you won’t be able to – or don’t want to maintain a very low calorie diet.
Ultimately, in order to lose a significant amount of weight or body fat, you’re going to have to like how you eat. A moderate, balanced eating pattern tends to be much more sustainable and easier to maintain as a lifestyle shift. Eating more, probably more than you are right now, allows you the flexibility and freedom to enjoy foods you love alongside foods that your body needs to thrive.
BONUS REASON: support strength training
In order to support physical activity that actually leads to body change – you can’t be eating like a bird. Eating enough carbs helps to spare muscle from being broken down, and eating enough protein provides the body with the building blocks to gain and maintain lean muscle.
The secret sauce to getting a leaner, stronger and more fit body is a foundation of strength training. Eating as little as possible will never get you there, but eating enough can lead to massive changes.
If you find yourself in the camp of eating too little to lose weight, I’ll leave you with a few parting actions you can take right now:
- Start by tracking your eats – but! resist the urge to change anything about your habits.
- Get at least a week under your belt (better if it’s more!)
- Compare your average protein, fat and carbohydrate consumption to the recommendations from my DIY Macros Guide.
- If you’re really far off from the suggested calories and macros, slowly make adjustments to your meals so you are eating closer and closer to your needs.
I know it can be scary to eat more when you’ve been told that you should always eat less. But what if you tried something different? I hope I’ve gotten you thinking about eating more to see significant change in the way you look, feel and perform!