Losing weight is hard. Changing your eating habits is oftentimes even harder. Part of this is due to the psychology behind a diet. The way we often think about diets, as a short-term deprivation that can eventually be left behind, may poison the well before a diet begins. Unfortunately, a 2013 survey found that 40% of diets don’t even last a week.
More people are learning that you don't have to overhaul your entire diet to get a big health boost. Making lifestyle changes and tweaking your diet are healthier ways to do it. Portion control is one of the best methods if you can cut down the amount of food you are eating, but what if these smaller portions have your stomach grumbling minutes after you finish? Instead of going back for seconds, try filling and healthy foods that leave you satisfied with fewer calories.
If you’re ready to begin a healthy weight loss journey that yields long-term results, come see the team of Ranjit S. Grewal, MD, and his family practice in Houston, Texas. Dr. Grewal offers evaluations, weight-loss plans, and long-term support, so you eventually maintain a weight that supports good health and self-esteem.
In the meantime, you can start now by choosing filling foods to eat during weight loss. Here’s how.
Calorie density, or energy density, is a measure of the number of calories, or energy, in a specific amount of food. Basically, it’s the calorie content of food relative to its weight or volume. To put this into perspective, think about going to a restaurant and asking a waiter to bring you the same caloric amount of two related foods: grapes and raisins. When the waiter fulfills your request, you’ll be served a cup of grapes but only a quarter cup of raisins. Which one do you think will make you feel fuller?
As described above, you want to focus on foods that make you full while still being low in calories. High-calorie density means that there are a lot of calories in a small amount of food. Low-calorie density means the opposite: that there are few calories in a lot of food. To feel full, you want to consume more low-density food than high-density food.
The food pyramid of density doesn’t stray far from the normal food pyramid. Vegetables are the bedrock of a low-density diet. A big part of this is that most vegetables are high in water content, which adds weight but not calories. The average veggie contains about 30 calories per 100 grams of weight. White chocolate, on the other hand, contains 550 calories per 100 grams.
Fruits are also a good low-density option, but you need to be careful when it comes to juice and syrup. Stick to fresh fruit, frozen options, and canned fruit without syrup.
Whole grains, which are high in fiber, are best when you want to splurge on pasta, bread, or cereal.
If you’ve been eating cereal every morning for decades, you don’t have to give up your morning bowl. Instead of a bowl of only cereal, cut your portion in half and fill in the rest with fresh berries. Similarly, if you can’t live without Tex-Mex, make every chip count by loading it with vegetable-heavy salsa.
Achieving a healthy weight can be hard. However, having an expert on your side makes things easier. Contact Ranjit S. Grewal, MD, to book an appointment by phone or using the online link.