How to eat less?
Everyone knows that “you need to eat less to lose weight.” But what does this mean? How to eat less? Why do most people who eat a starvation diet quit after a week?
Eating less doesn’t mean starving.
Eating less doesn’t mean not eating at all. Starving is almost always guaranteed to eat much more shortly. After a few days, a breakdown occurs, which is scientifically called “post-starvation hyperphagia .”Hunger is the main reason people lack willpower and quit dieting.
The body does not like change. It seeks to maintain homeostasis or the constancy of the internal environment. When you go on a starvation diet, your body turns on the hunger to full capacity, making you sleepy and weak to save energy and compensate for losses. You cannot control this process because hormones control it.
About fifteen hormones are responsible for hunger; the main ones are leptin, ghrelin, and neuropeptide Y. They are secreted in different body parts, but all affect the brain.
Leptin is produced by fat cells. It tells the brain how much fat (stored energy) is in the body and how many calories you get. When you’re on a starvation diet, leptin levels drop, and satiety signals don’t reach the brain. In response, the brain “turns on” the feeling of hunger to escape starvation ( 1, 2 ). When there are a lot of calories, leptin is produced enough, reducing the feeling of hunger. In addition to hunger, leptin also affects overall metabolism by decreasing thyroid hormone production ( 3 ).
Ghrelin is the hunger hormone. It is produced in the stomach when empty ( 4 ). leptin and ghrelin are in a feedback relationship. When leptin drops on a diet, ghrelin rises. When there is more leptin, there is less ghrelin ( 6 ). Therefore, a starvation diet is a double whammy in terms of hunger.
Neuropeptide Y. One of the tasks of this hormone is to delay the feeling of satiety during meals ( 8 ).
If you’ve ever experienced the effects of starvation diets followed by weight loss and weight gain, an imbalance in these hormones most likely played a role ( 7 ). When we get hungrier, we eat more. When we eat more, we gain the weight back.
Junk food makes you eat more.
The quality of food directly affects the number of calories received. By “bad” food, we mean burgers, desserts, chips, soda, sausages, pizza, and the like that are high in fat, sugar, or salt. Unfortunately, the more “bad” food in the diet, the more and more often you want to eat it.
The human brain has the key goals of survival and reproduction. A reward system is built into the brain to reward us when we do useful things for survival. In nature, pleasant = useful, and the brain motivates with pleasure. When some action is aligned with these global goals, the brain releases the hormone dopamine, which is responsible for positive reinforcement and motivation to seek repetition of what brought pleasure.
High-calorie food is also a pleasure and makes you want to eat more. Receptors in the mouth and small intestine signal to the brain when glucose, fructose, fatty acids, and protein amino acids are detected, and dopamine is released in response ( 9 ). And the more glucose and fats in food, the greater the surge of dopamine occurs and the more pleasure we experience from food ( 10, 11, 12 ).
This mechanism made our ancestors crave high-calorie (energy-rich) food, which in difficult times for survival was a good survival mechanism. And for this, the brain is rewarded with pleasure and motivation to look for it again. Today, we still have the survival mechanisms of our ancestors, but high-calorie food no longer needs to be looked for; it is always there and in abundance.
No – giving up something forever
Don’t create forbidden fruit; it will make you think too much about it. As a result of refusing candy today, you can eat the whole box tomorrow. Therefore, once or twice a week, you can allow yourself to eat what falls into the category of “junk food .”The path to weight loss is through balance and moderation. Fear of food sells well, but it’s not healthy thinking and can lead to eating disorders.
No sugary drinks
“Liquid” calories are the most inconspicuous. Soda, juices, smoothies based on fruit or coffee, and even harmless-looking country compote – all this brings a lot of calories from sugar but does not make you full.
The brain controls appetite, and some studies show that it does not “register” calories from liquid sugar in the same way that it “registers” calories from solid sugar ( 13 ) and does not include a sense of fullness as it does after regular meals ( 14 ). So sugary drinks don’t fill you up but increase your thirst, causing you to drink more and more. This subtly increases your calorie intake throughout the day, resulting in weight gain.
The amount of food and calories is not always the same.
Many take the phrase “you need to eat less” literally, although it’s not much about the volume or weight of food and how many calories it brings. A large plate of salad is “a lot of food.” Eclair is “little food .”You can eat a little food in volume but a lot of calories and vice versa.
There is the concept of energy density (“energy density”). It shows the ratio of calories to the weight of the product. Water, in this regard, is the champion: it has zero calories at any weight. Fiber also comes close: 2 calories per gram. Fat is the champion on the opposite side, with a whopping nine calories per gram. A glass of olive oil equals the weight maintenance calories for the average woman. You need to eat a few kilograms to gain the same 1800 calories from vegetables. Therefore, when going on a diet, people often note that they begin to eat more but lose weight.
So, due to a large amount of water, fiber, and lack of fat, vegetables bring few calories to the body but saturate well. Insoluble fiber increases the volume of the food bolus in the stomach, and stomach fullness is one of the important signals of satiety. This helps control body weight and diet so that we get fewer calories but stay full longer, don’t experience acute hunger, and don’t binge on high-calorie foods ( 15, 16 ).
Eat more vegetables
This point follows from the previous one. Why vegetables are very important for health and figure, include several servings of vegetables with every main meal, either raw or cooked without oil. Vegetables, greens, and protein are the best way to control hunger throughout the day.
Eat more protein
To eat fewer calories, you need to eat more protein. Cottage cheese, eggs, fish, seafood, poultry, and meat – all fall into the “protein” group. Protein is the most “satisfying” nutrient that saturates for a long time and helps control hunger. It helps stabilize blood sugar levels, protecting against a sudden drop in blood sugar and extreme hunger and energy loss ( 17, 18 ).
On average, 2 grams per kg of body weight (or dry weight if overweight) is sufficient.
Marks “healthy lifestyle,” “For weight loss,” and “weight control” – do not mean anything.
Even if a food is labeled healthy, it can still be high in calories. Healthy and everything that claims to be it may have the best composition (although not always), but the calories do not disappear. Here’s a comparison between a health food chain roll and a McDonald’s cheeseburger:
Healthy foods can lead to unconscious overeating. “Low fat” labels do not mean that a product is low in calories, although that is what we perceive it to be.
Participants in one study were given muesli labeled “low fat.” They ate 49% more than those who ate regular unlabeled muesli, knowing it was high in calories and better not get carried away ( 19Trusted Source ). A study also showed that people in a conventionally healthy fast food chain eat 34% more calories than they thought. While at McDonald’s, it is +25% (20). They considered the same food in “healthy” fast food to be less high-calorie. What’s more, “healthy” fast food customers tended to reward themselves for their healthy lifestyle by ordering extra chips or cookies.
This tendency to unconsciously overeat healthier foods is known as the “health halo effect.” It is well known to marketers who increase sales by simply labeling gluten-free, low-fat, and organic. Etc. So choose products based on their ingredients, not the promise of health on the label.
Less likely to eat in restaurants and cafes
Restaurant food often contains a lot of fat that is not visible. Even healthy-looking salads can have up to 500 calories per serving due to the oil or fatty sauce. And coffee latte with syrup is 200-300 calories. That’s how easy “eat salad and drink coffee” turns into half the daily calorie intake.
If you often have to eat out, ask to prepare and serve dishes without oil and fatty sauce; choose fresh vegetables and meat, poultry, and grilled fish.
Natural sweets do not become dietary.
A well-known mistake is to consider natural – dietary and low-calorie. There is nothing wrong with natural sweets, but this is not permission to eat them uncontrollably.
Honey. A person refuses sugar but adds “healthy and natural” honey to morning porridge, three times more in quantity. Sugar has 380 calories; honey has 320. Nut mixes are considered a “healthy snack,” and they are. But if you look at the label, they turn out to be just as high-calorie: 100 grams of nuts contain 500 calories. And this is a very compact handful, usually not limited to.Muesli bars and loose muesli. Thanks to marketers, high-calorie food is now called “energy .”Who doesn’t want energy? “Energize for the day” sounds much better than “eat half your calories right in the morning.” Dried fruits are healthy but incredibly high-calorie. Dates have about 300 calories per 100 grams, a very small handful.
There is a lot of water in fresh fruits, and it isn’t easy to eat a kilogram of apricots, but nothing in the form of dried apricots. Dried fruit is just candy with a small amount of fiber and vitamins. This brings us back to the issue of energy density: the volume is small, and the calories are high.PP cakes, where all the usual ingredients are replaced with natural ones: instead of buttercream – peanut butter, dates, coconut oil, bananas.
Instead of white flour – any other: with bran, gluten-free, from almonds or buckwheat. It’s much healthier than refined sugar and margarine, but the calories are the same. A natural product does not mean that it is “dietary .”Even though that’s exactly what it looks like. Therefore, it is important to separate calories from naturalness and benefits. These are different planes.
Snacking is under control.
There is nothing wrong with snacking, per se. But, having heard that for weight loss, you need to eat often ( by the way, this is not true ), some start eating something endlessly, smoothly moving from one snack to another. A lot of calories accumulate in a day because a person “accelerates metabolism” with frequent snacks to lose weight,” and eventually gets fat.
Dinner can be hearty.
In the minds of many, there is still the idea that breakfast energizes for the day and should be the most high-calorie. They say that this is a marketing ploy of the producers of cereals or corn flakes of the 40s of the last century. In any case, even the most hearty breakfast energizes for 3-4 hours. If most of the food is transferred to the first half of the day, it will be difficult to deal with evening hunger. And it will come, because it is impossible to eat once and for the whole day, no matter how much you eat.
The “no eating after X hours” diet may not be suitable for everyone because everyone has their lifestyle, daily routine, and level of activity. It would be best if you chose how often you eat and where you eat throughout the day based on what is realistic and easy for you. For some, it may be more effective for weight loss to transfer most calories to the evening.
- First, it’s a complete dinner with the family.
- Secondly, many people work during the day and forget/do not have time to eat normally, so hunger is easier to tolerate. It is easier for them to distract themselves from thoughts about food while there is something to do. In the evening, when things end and a person is left to himself, it is very difficult to refuse food – the refrigerator beckons, and nothing distracts from thoughts of hunger. Many go in circles like this: an ideal healthy lifestyle in the first half of the day and hungry breakdowns for junk food before bedtime.
- Thirdly, a sufficient amount of carbohydrates at the last meal helps to fall asleep faster (and falling asleep on a diet is often difficult due to hunger).