A choice between doughnut and apple

A Guide to Choosing Foods that Fill You Up

Managing a consistent, healthy diet is one of the biggest struggles to losing weight and getting fit. Everyone knows that maximizing the returns gained from working out is going to be tough if you end up eating foods you know you should be avoiding. The toughest part about this is the quasi-cruel way our body tends to make us hungrier than ever during these times.

As you decrease the amount of calories you take, and/or as you amp up the amount of exercise you carry out in your day, things start to change in your body and brain to make you feel hungrier.

While super-restrictive diets are a big reason many diets fail, other plans that might be perfectly good also feel impossible because of this hunger signaling.

The answer isn’t to quit on weight loss (if that’s your goal), instead, it’s to be aware of the inevitable hunger increase and make sure your diet is loaded with foods that will fill you up. When that happens, and especially when those filling foods are lower in calories, you can crack the diet code and experience weight loss without all the frustration (and endless hunger).

What Foods Fill You Up?

Let’s say your daily calorie intake is about where it should be for weight loss. That means you’ll be in a caloric deficit, in other words, you’re going to take in less calories than you are going to consume. In that case, we’d look to incorporate more foods that enhance your feeling of fullness. Research to date has found that there are three keys to achieving it. (Sadly, none of them are ice cream, pizza, or cheesecake.)

One important term to keep in mind when discussing food that makes you feel full up is satiety. Satiety is a term used to explain the feeling of fullness and loss of appetite that happens after eating.

A scale called the satiety index measures this effect. It was developed in a 1995 study that tested 240-calorie servings of 38 foods.

The foods were ranked according to their ability to satisfy hunger. Foods that scored higher than 100 were considered more filling, while foods that scored under 100 were considered less filling.

In short, eating foods that score higher on the satiety index can help you eat fewer calories overall.

Three things that can help you feel full are protein, fiber, and water.

Surprisingly, certain carbohydrates also keep you incredibly full (more on that in a moment).

If you’re trying to ensure mental sanity, adding more protein, fiber, and water will make your life a lot easier.

Prioritise High-Protein Foods That Fill You Up 

Research consistently shows protein is the most filling macronutrient, so it’s great to have a serving of it at each meal. If you want to take it a step further, you could set a goal.

If you’re trying to stay lower in calories, you’ll want to focus on leaner sources of protein, which means you’ll have less fat.

Some items you should definitely be investing in include:

  • Poultry
  • Low-fat fish (most of the white fish options will work)
  • Seafood like shrimp, scallops, or crab
  • Lean cuts of beef (sirloin, filets)
  • Egg whites
  • Chickpeas

Choose Fibre and Carb rich food That Reduce Hunger

This includes:

  • Boiled white or sweet potatoes
  • Legumes (Legumes like beans, peas, lentils, and peanuts have an impressive nutritional profile.)
  • Oatmeal
  • Beetroots
  • Blueberries
  • Quinoa
  • Avocado
  • Cottage cheese
  • Fruits

Fruit has a low energy density. It also contains lots of fiber, which may slow digestion and help you feel full for longer.

Researchers at Penn State University found that when subjects consumed a 125-calorie apple before lunch, they ate 200 fewer calories in the meal that followed. They also reported a greater feeling of fullness.

Drink More Water Before You Eat

Numerous studies show that consuming water before a meal reduces calorie consumption and increases the feeling of fullness. Many people have heard the “8 glasses a day” rule, but few actually do it.

From wherever you’re starting, see if you can add three glasses to your daily regimen: one before (or during) breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

How often should I eat?

Some people prefer to eat several smaller meals and snacks per day, while others find they do better by eating just 2 or 3 bigger meals.

As we’ve explained before, so long as your calorie total is the same, neither option is better or worse. It’s simply a matter of preference.

Research is always going to help reducing guessing time, but the road to becoming healthier isn’t a straight line, you’re going to have to keep experimenting until you find the choices that work best for you.

4 Reasons why Lifting Weights is key to Losing Fat

A big reason the majority of people join a gym is to lose fat, and amongst many, the dominant belief is that cardio is the most effective way to go about doing this, whether that’s in the form of cycling via an elliptical machine or running on a treadmill. While cardio should definitely be a part of your workout, we want to explain why you should still incorporate resistance training (weight-based workouts) in your routine.

NOTE: This applies to both MEN and WOMEN. The idea that you’ll bulk up if you do resistance training is a myth. You can only increase your size if you purposefully consume more calories than you’re burning through your exercise. Resistance training will help you tone up and grow your definition, it won’t turn you into hulk. 

For various reasons, resistance training is better for losing fat than just running; in this article, we’re going over the four major reasons why this is so. 

1. Relying only on cardio-based work-outs leads to a slower resting metabolic rate

Our muscles burn more calories than fat does. Therefore, if you build up your muscle mass, you increase your metabolism and burn more calories – even when your body is at rest. The changes to your metabolic rate are going to be slight, but not insignificant.

When you cut back on calories and/or emphasise cardio to lose weight, you lose both fat and muscle (‘lean mass’), meaning the rate at which you burn calories when at rest decreases. This makes it easier to gain back the weight you’ve lost. 

2. Weight training preserves muscle as you shed fat

Whatever your goal is, your aim at the gym should be not just to lose weight but to improve body composition by maximizing fat loss and minimizing muscle loss. If you lose muscle along with body fat, you won’t necessarily improve your body composition – or its appearance.

Weight training, not cardio, is what changes your physique. It’s not uncommon for people who do lots of cardio to lose muscle mass and become less firm and defined. Working against resistance creates a more pleasing physique and body composition. You look lean and strong, as opposed to the skinny, ill-defined physique some people get when they restrict calories too much and combine it with cardio.

3. Your body works hard to rebuild torn muscle fibers after each weight training session

The American Council on Exercise also shows how resistance training can lead to exercise post-oxygen consumption, or EPOC. Your body works overtime after vigorous exercise, consuming oxygen and increasing your metabolism. This burns lots of calories even after you’re finished working out.

The ACE says: “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption is a physiological phenomenon that increases the net caloric expenditure after a workout. In simple terms, you continue to burn calories after you’re done exercising.” In addition, this process primes your body for losing fat and gaining muscle more efficiently.                  

4. Burns abdominal fat more effectively

If you take a look at people who just run, you’ll notice some interesting things. Yes, these people are very skinny, but they often have noticeable body fat in their stomach, thighs, and buttocks. It’s very rare to see someone who just runs with a set of six-pack abs. One study performed at the University of Alabama found that people who trained with weights were able to lose more stomach fat than those who just performed cardio exercises. One reason for this is that weight training helps you burn intra-abdominal fat more effectively. 

Our argument here isn’t to ditch cardio, it’s to do a little bit of both.

If you can only manage a couple of exercise sessions a week, you can do some running or walking to lose weight on one day, and a HIIT workout in front of the television on the other day. The best elliptical machines also act as a combination of cardiovascular and resistance training.