The Easiest Way to Make Your Weight-Loss Diet Work
The Easiest Way to Make Your Weight-Loss Diet Work
Dieting is simple, but not always easy – otherwise we’d see far more fit, healthy people walking around. We’re here to help though which is why we have compiled this in depth article – The Easiest Way to Make Your Weight-Loss Diet Work.
Diets often fail, and over my career I’ve spent a lot of time talking about how you can improve yours. Today we’re going to teach you one of the most important tips on how to make your diet work that we’ve not seen discussed often.
There’s no top-secret methods or dodgy rituals – just real, actionable advice, so stick with us!
Diets: What They Need and Why They Fail
What Does a Diet Need?
A good diet needs a few things:
- Energy Balance: It has to provide the right number of calories for your goal, whether that’s fat loss or muscle gain.
- Protein Requirements: It has to hit your necessary protein requirements for health and recovery – this might even mean hitting a set amount to push maximum performance.
- Fat-Carb Balance: This one depends on your needs, but there’s going to be an optimal balance of fats and carbs. Your diet has to provide the right amount of both, in the right types, to keep you healthy.
- Micronutrients: Vitamins, minerals and other small nutrients like phytochemicals. They’re called micro nutrients, but they’re crucial. A diet without these is a bad diet.
So, this is the scientific model of what’s going on with a good diet. Have you noticed anything that’s missing?
All will be revealed, just stick with us a little longer!
Why Diets Don’t Work Every Time
It’s been estimated that around 90% of diets fail in people who need them most. This isn’t because diets don’t work, but because as humans we’re not very good at resisting the call of food.
It’s no surprise that this happens: we’re wired to chase high-calorie foods and we simply don’t have perfect willpower. That cream cake or quadruple-cheeseburger might hit you in a time of weakness, and you might end up treating yourself.
The missing piece we mentioned above, and the reason that so many people fail their diet, is hunger.
The problem is that the model of dieting above is purely scientific. It describes what a diet should do in a mechanical sense. That’s the foundation for every diet (as it should be), but it doesn’t include what you need from a diet.
It doesn’t provide an effective discussion of how you experience diet, or the importance of behavioural change – the cornerstone of making effective, long-term change.
So, how do we address all the mechanical and scientific needs of your diet with one quick tip? We’ve set ourselves quite the challenge!
Food Volume: The Key to Smashing Your Diet Goals
Food volume refers to the physical amount of food that you eat.
It’s the physical amount of space that food takes up. This is intimately linked to how hungry you feel and how satiated you are. It’s a bit more complicated than this though because we’re not going to suggest eating a huge volume of ice cream.
The way that we use food volume in a diet is to create satiety. This is simply how full you feel and how satisfied you are with the amount of food you’ve eaten. It’s a key factor in the way that you feel, and satiety has been shown to improve dietary-adherence!
‘Satiety from the right foods’ can quite easily be the new tag-line for diets. They provide the right nutrients and squash that hunger-pain that develops when you’re dieting incorrectly or too hard.
Calorie-Density and Volume
This one should come as no surprise, but when you’re going to eat high-volume, you need to reduce the calorie-density of foods. This means that you’re going to be eating more food for the same calories – one of the easiest ways to boost satiety and keep your diet clean.
This works the other way around too: unsure if a food is going to help your diet? If you can only eat a low volume of it for a certain number of calories (say, 300), you probably won’t want to eat it on a weight-loss diet. This is a good way of deciding between different foods and their role in your overall diet.
Example: if you have 50g of carbohydrates left in your day and you’re concerned that you’re feeling a little hungry, a mixture of fruit and vegetables will provide huge food volume. Alternatively, 50g of white bread is approximately 3 slices – not enough to keep you from raiding the cupboards later!
This calorie-density is one way we figure out if a food is healthy or not. Foods that have low volume tend to have low satiety (with some exceptions, like protein-rich foods). This makes it easy to over-eat with them.
This is why we avoid certain types of bread and other carbs – not because they’re directly unhealthy! It seems obvious but it really does contribute to the easiest way to make your weight-loss diet work
In many ways this sounds like it should be the opposite of calorie-density, but the two overlap heavily.
When we look at foods that are low in calories, they also tend to be very nutrient-dense: fruit, vegetables, and high-quality animal products (like eggs and fish).
Nutrient-density is about how many nutrients you get per gram of food, or even per calorie. This is a great companion to calorie-density, as it allows you to get optimal levels of key vitamins and minerals without having to eat huge amounts of high-calorie foods.
A nutrient-dense, low-calorie diet is exactly what you want for effective weight loss. It means lots of food without over-eating, as well as plenty of satiety and key nutrients. This is the best possible outcome!
An important factor in ensuring you find the easiest way to make your weight-loss diet work.
How Does Volume Work?
There are a few ways that volume improves your diet adherence. You don’t need to know all the science but understanding how and why it works can help you diet more effectively.
Stuffed: Taking Up Space
To start with, when you’re eating more volume, you’re physically more filled.
The additional space taken up in your stomach and beyond will signal that you’re no longer hungry and help you to keep calories low.
When consuming high-volume fruit and veg, this is even more effective.
These foods contain high quantities of dietary fiber, so they’re going to move slowly through your digestive system and keep you fuller for longer. This also contributes to slower emptying of the stomach itself – another reduction in hunger pangs.
Dragging it Out: Time and Hunger
How long does it take you to eat 100 calories of fried chicken? Whether you eat it or not, the answer is less than 1 minute. On the other hand, 100 calories of broccoli takes (approximately) the rest of time.
In all seriousness, the effect of high-volume foods is both spatial and temporal: it fills more space and time. This is important because your body’s feedback system for communicating that you’ve satisfied your hunger takes time – as does feeling full.
Spending more time eating – which happens when you have to chew and swallow all those veggies – gives you far more time to signal your hunger-completion.
This means less desire for second servings or even sugary, fatty, high-calorie deserts. If you’re looking to stay lean and burn bodyfat, this is a good practice and you’ll find yourself losing lbs of weight over a year with this single change.
Getting Aired – a Key to Satiety?
One of the less-discussed aspects of feeling fuller is how much air or other gas you consume in food. It’s a bit of a touchy area since feeling bloated, gassy and uncomfortable isn’t much fun.
Nobody wants to fill up with air and let it out at inconvenient times – especially if you plan on ever being attractive!
However, the effect of gasses on satiety is important. It’s one of the reasons why we recommend switching to diet sodas for some people as, aside from quenching sugar cravings, it can also fight off hunger.
Sure, water is better for your health, but there are times when it’s all about finding the right tool for the job – and sometimes that’s a lot of air!
This isn’t just for sodas, of course: mousse, air-rich smoothies and other foods have this effect. Healthy shakes that are rich in veg and contain plenty of air are a relatively effective way of managing the appetite if you need that extra support. Normal volume should be enough, but if you need more then you can literally eat more air.
Hacking Your Diet: Deploying Satiety and Volume
So, how can you make this new information on food volume count in your diet? How can you make it work for you?
1. Accept That You Need Low-Volume Foods
Some foods simply can’t be high-volume, but you need them.
We’re talking about protein-rich foods and healthy fats. They provide a lot of calories without that much volume, but you need them to keep your hormones healthy and build muscle.
How do you deal with this? It’s actually easy: plan these into your diet first and put everything else after them. We always recommend putting protein and other lower-volume foods first, so you know how much “wiggle room” you have for the rest of your diet.
Focus on using high-volume foods to replace the bits in your diet that aren’t absolutely essential. This means dropping out the unnecessary simple carbs and replacing them with veggies – rather than replacing essential healthy fats with more lettuce!
You don’t want proteins to take up a lot of space on your plate or in your stomach. This would make it tough to meet optimal levels of protein intake: you’d be too full to get all those precious muscle-building nutrients into your body. You know, the exact opposite of what we want from a good diet!
2. Eat Plenty of Protein
We mentioned this above, but protein doesn’t conform to the volume equation quite like other foods. Protein skips volume entirely, but still has great satiety values. A chicken breast isn’t a high-volume food, but you can bet your ass it’ll fill you up.
The same applies to many plant foods, which are high in protein (such as certain types of bean), or plant foods that provide carbs and proteins (also beans). Basically, eat your beans and make sure that you’re getting enough protein!
3. High Volume Belongs to Carbs
This is a general rule of thumb that you should consider. You can’t really find nutrient-dense, low-calorie fats simply because they’re always high-calorie.
This doesn’t mean you should avoid them, however: what you should be doing is getting your proteins and fats in first, then applying a high-volume approach to the carbohydrates in your meals.
Vegetables are primarily carbohydrate sources when you look at the macros, but they provide huge amounts of vitamins and minerals with almost no calorie-density.
Simply put, replacing low-quality carbs with plant foods (such as root veg) can rapidly improve your dietary success.
You don’t even need to cut out these low-quality carbs entirely. Just reduce them and increase the high-volume plant foods you eat them with.
If you halve your intake from high-calorie sources and double your intake from low-calorie, high-volume veg, you’ll be fuller and with the same calorie intake.
4. Plants on Plants
This one is simple, and everyone already knows it, even if they don’t want to admit it: Plant foods are the best way to improve your diet.
Whether you eat meat or not, the best way to improve your dietary quality is to eat more plants. This has been shown to improve everything from metabolism to heart health, as well as reducing cancer risk and a host of other common killers.
5. Experiment and Find What Works
This is advice on how to live with a diet: find some staple high-volume plant foods and learn how to cook them so that you don’t hate them.
We’ve raised a very fussy generation that doesn’t eat their veggies, so it’s hard to undo these habits sometimes.
If you struggle with this problem and the hard part of dieting is swapping out hyper-palatable foods for veggies, you need staple foods. This means learning how to cook foods you’re not really interested in so that you can eat them routinely.
This can be anything from a good stir fry recipe (a low-sugar teriyaki with carrots, green beans and Pak choi is amazing) to a certain brand of mixed veg. The important part is that you have go-to food choices when you’re not sure what to eat and the snack craving is deep in your soul.
Reduce the unpredictability in your diet, as this means you’re going to have less times when you don’t know what to eat so you end up getting pizza. We’ve all used that excuse, and it sucks, so you need to prepare beforehand!
Experimenting is key for finding the easiest way to make your weight-loss diet work
The Best Diet for You: One You can Stick With
We’ve mentioned this before, but it’s important to remember that the best diet for you is the one that is realistic.
It’s not meant to be an extreme, quick fix, but a lifelong change to your lifestyle that will keep you healthy from now on.
With this kind of success mentality, it’s important to make sure that your diet is something that you can keep up with in the long-term.
Dietary adherence is the #1 factor in success or failure, and this approach to staying full and satisfied is the best way to make sure you stick with it. Nothing ruins your well thought-out extreme diet plan quite like hunger pangs.
Improving the volume of food you eat has been shown to improve adherence to dieting already. As discussed above: studies show that being fuller is an easy way to make cutting that weight easier. This is because, when you’re left to your own devices, you’ll naturally eat less food in the form of snacks and junk food.
Consistency and Persistence
These are the essential ingredients for a lifetime of better health and wellbeing.
You might have time-limited fitness goals, but it’s important to remember that the big picture here is key. The failure of 90%+ of diets is tied to yo-yoing: dropping off the diet and eating too much and reverting to your original state.
This is because the diets discussed are simply too extreme – they push the physiological and psychological bounds of health. More important than any of the factors in your diet is the time they affect: consider just how much you might be able to achieve if you stuck with it for a year.
This is the type of approach that makes for healthy, sustainable weight loss without yo-yo-ing!
The Easiest Way to Make Your Weight-Loss Diet Work: Closing Remarks
There’s a lot of effort involved in the nutritional science that underpins an effective diet – and even more for one that is optimal for sports performance. This is the very foundation of what we know about how to diet and the principles you should follow.
However, it’s important to remember that you’re not an equation and that the experience of dieting can be a tough one. You need to stick to the principles of great nutrition, but it’s time that we all talk a little more about how to do that.
If you focus on food volume and the tips we’ve provided in this article, you’re going to be a single step closer to navigating the weird world of dieting.
Now that you understand why and how weight loss happens, you can combine this knowledge with the use of a natural and safe fat burning supplement, like one of the Top 5 Fat Burners we’ve reviewed, to really speed up your sustainable fat loss.
But without first understanding the above principles, an extreme diet or even taking the best fat burner may result in you yo-yoing and gaining the weight back afterwards.
So hopefully, now you’ve read The Easiest Way to Make Your Weight-Loss Diet Work, you understand how to master these simple (although difficult) habits of food volume to have an easier time dieting, losing weight and keeping it off!
If you found this article useful, please share it with someone else who might benefit and drop us a comment below with your thoughts or any questions…
Professional sport/fitness writer at ApexContent.org, weightlifter and S&C enthusiast. Liam has over 5 years experience in coaching positions, learning under the best mentors and sport coaches in Britain. At the same time developed a love for relentlessly researching and writing scientifically backed content in health, fitness and sport performance.
Liam wears many hats, but they’re unified by a love for competition, performance, and engaging writing. You can throw abuse (and questions) his way in the comments and he’ll be happy to help you!