Are you strugglin’ to stay full when you start a weight loss program?
One of the biggest pitfalls I hear from my clients about losing weight is they’re hungry all.the.time! It’s true, you’re probably going to eat a little less than you’re accustomed to when you first start a weight loss program.
You should not be soooo hungry you feel like eating your arm or you feel like your stomach is eating itself. I bet you know what I’m talking about.
So, I’m going to share with you 2 foods you should consider if you’ve struggled with staying full with past experiences and want to stay full(er) longer so you can be more successful with your weight loss goals.
#1 Food to Help You Stay Full–Protein
First up is protein & it is considered by some to be the #1 weight loss food to help you stay full.
Because it has a high thermic effect. (The thermic effect of food (TEF) is the number of calories you burn just digesting the food you eat.) Protein has a TEF of about 20%, where carbs and fat have about 14-15%. Protein TEF doesn’t seem to be affected by the body composition of an individual, but the TEF of carbs and fat ARE impacted by body composition. So, if you’re not very lean, to begin with, carbs and fat will have a lower TEF when you eat them, but protein will have the same TEF no matter how lean you are.
So, when you’re looking at the thermic effect of foods, you should know this just means it takes more calories for your body to digest proteins than it does fat and carbs. This, in turn, may help you lose weight because it increases your body’s ability to burn calories, but don’t think more is better!
Protein Foods for Fullness
There are so many different protein foods that can promote fullness. It’s not quite clear though if some food sources trump others. Research is being done to see if plant-based, animal-based and protein powders all promote the same fullness.
One thing you can do is experiment yourself. Think about the basics of biology lab and don’t change too many variables at once. E.g. Try a protein smoothie made with protein powder for breakfast for a week. Then the next week try an egg/whites omelet with extra chicken for breakfast next week.
If you want to stick with whole foods, I recommend lean, organic/pastured/wild-caught beef, poultry, seafood, dairy products (if you’re tolerant), or legumes (if you’re vegetarian).
You can choose to add protein powder to your regimen (like I do in my morning smoothie), I recommend an organic pea protein like the one below. (Pea protein is one of the easiest digestible and low allergen proteins. Whey, on the other hand, causes a lot of tummy trouble and sometimes acne with my female clients.)
Something to consider if you are going to increase your protein intake is do so slowly. If you increase your intake overnight you may experience gas, bloating and constipation.
#2 Food to Help You Stay Full–Fiber
Fiber is a nutrient you should choose to help you stay full. The thing about fiber is it takes longer to digest. Also, foods high in fiber are low energy density, which means there are few calories in a lot of food. So, you are able to eat greater quantities of fibrous foods with fewer calories. E.g. You can eat 1 Fiber One bar (90 cal/ 4g fiber) or you could eat 3 cups Broccoli (90 cal/ 6 g fiber).
Something else you may not know about high-fiber foods is they will make you feel full soon after eating them. Plus, because high-fiber foods provide volume and take longer to digest, they make you feel full longer…on fewer calories.
FUN FACT: Fiber feeds your good gut bacteria, which play important roles in weight management, blood sugar control, immunity, and even brain function.
Fibrous Foods for Fullness
When you opt for foods high in fiber you want to reach for whole foods, not processed foods that have fiber added (like the Fiber One bar mentioned above). The closer a food is to its original state, the longer it takes to digest, the gentler effect it has on blood sugar, and the more nutrients it contains. Also, it’s uncertain the fiber added to foods actually promote satiety and weight loss.
Plant foods are going to be your best bet when it comes to filling you up. Just remember when switching from a diet low in fiber to one high in fiber, you want to make a slow transition to avoid gas and bloating.
Some foods you’ll want to consider are things like beans/legumes, asparagus, brussel sprouts, flax seeds, steel cut oats, berries, etc. Plus, any non-starchy veg will rock this category!
Don’t think going on a “diet” means you have to starve! Instead, choose foods to help you stay full. Your top 2 will be foods to keep hunger at bay are foods high in fiber and protein. Opt for whole foods over processed foods. And remember, slowly adjust your diet to avoid negative side effects.