It’s a fact that a low-calorie diet is most effective for weight loss. However, there is also solid evidence that it’s not the number of calories you consume but the quality of the foods that determines how much weight you lose (JAMA). You see, the low-calorie foods that are so popular in weight loss diets are no doubt nutritious. But they aren’t satiating. And that is one of the main reasons why it’s so hard to stick to your diet.
Low-Calorie Foods Vs. Hunger: A Battle Lost
What comes to mind when you think about healthy low-calorie foods for a weight loss diet? Things like high-fiber crackers, broccoli, carrots, and whole grain granola all are close to the top of the list. However, how much broccoli can you really eat in one go? Do you feel sated after munching on a very weight-loss-positive but bland cracker?
It’s true that technically, these foods make you full. If you choose a good combination of them, you will even get a healthy balance of essential nutrients in your diet.
But does that make you satisfied with your meals?
Very few people get genuine satisfaction from a low-calorie diet. And seeing it pay off by observing numbers on your scales will stop being enough to offset the discomfort quite soon. Such is the nature of humans that they will continue craving satisfaction even when it’s ‘not good’ for them.
In this particular case, this triggers hunger which comes from your desire for ‘better’ food, not from the fact that your stomach is empty. And that is a huge problem. It’s true that you can learn how to control your appetite to lose weight. These methods work extremely well when you are trying to make your body get used to a smaller calorie intake. And some of them might even work to control that ‘other’ hunger, because one of those tips is eating satiating foods like almonds.
However, overall, the hunger that appears because of dissatisfaction with your meals is nearly impossible to control. This is the reason why so many people eventually break their diet or end up overeating because they try dulling this hunger by consuming more low-calorie ‘good’ foods.
What Kind of Low-Calorie Diet Works Best for Weight Loss?
The truth is that there isn’t a single diet plan that one can consider the most effective. Harvard School of Medicine and multiple studies support this. You will lose weight as long as you start burning more calories than you consume.
Switching to a low-calorie diet is the best solution. However, the information explained above highlights the importance of planning that diet very carefully. In order to achieve your weight loss goals, you need a plan that is not only low in calories but also satisfying.
And this is how you do it:
- Make sure your meal contains proteins, fats, and carbs.
Never exclude any macronutrient completely as this can lead to serious nutritional problems.
- Eat foods you genuinely like.
There is a multitude of low-calorie recipes that include any mix of ingredients you can think of. Of course, you shouldn’t stuff yourself with candy or frozen mac’n’cheese. The right way to go about this is to determine which of the healthy foods you enjoy most. Pay attention not only to their taste but texture as well. And don’t forget to add some flavor with spices. It will be much easier to stick to a diet if you like what you eat.
- Eat slowly and mindfully.
Don’t allow for distractions when eating. Instead focus on chewing and tasting every bit. This is also a useful trick to prevent overeating as you’ll know exactly when you are full.