Eating more to lose weight doesn’t seem like a plausible method on the surface, because you must be in a calorie deficit for you to lose weight. It is important that you understand that less calories doesn’t necessarily mean less meals.
All food and drinks contain calories, but some have more than others so they can be eaten in high volumes. There’s some food that can aid in slowing digestion, which will help you feel full for longer.
When you want to be in a calorie deficit, your first priority must be consuming less calories than you burn. You can also look at burning more through exercise and moving more in general.
Focusing on a calorie deficit can be detrimental to your weight loss journey too. There are methods that can help you do it more healthily and routinely which makes it more sustainable.
Macronutrients are your carbohydrates, protein and fats that you find in most food and drinks. Fat carries nine calories per gram, while carbs and protein carry four calories per gram each. This is important when you’re choosing the food that you will be eating more to lose weight.
This article will explain these ways that will help you achieve this goal, because let’s be honest, you’d rather eat more food to lose weight, than less.
1. Eat More Fruit and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables contain micronutrients which are known as vitamins and minerals that assist in strengthening and maintaining your immune system. They are necessary in your diet because other than vitamin D, your body doesn’t produce them.
They are generally low in calories so they can be eaten in high volumes. You mustn’t worry about the sugar in fruit some people say is a threat to your weight loss journey. This sugar is good for you and doesn’t have a significant effect on your calories unless you eat extraordinary portions.
Fruits and vegetables are healthy alternatives when you want to snack. You must look to eat 3-5 portions of them and ensure that you have a variety for your body to receive a variety of vitamins and minerals. My favorite fruits are apples, bananas, grapes, mangos and peaches.
2. Move Your Body More
Moving your body is important when you want to lose weight because you burn more calories through every movement that you make. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should exercise more, which is what many people may think.
There is something called Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) which is the energy that you use beyond eating, sleeping and exercising. This will include what you do when you’re at work and at home, the activities that may seem trivial, but the more you do them, the more energy you burn.
What is nice about the activities that are considered NEAT, they usually can be done every day. When you’re burning more calories every day, the higher the chances of weight loss. The more freedom that this gives you every day for eating more to lose weight.
You must look to exercise at least three times per week to burn more calories. Aim to walk at least 10 000 steps per day as a start to your NEAT tracking. I personally exercise four times a week and walk and type a lot at work as part of my NEAT.
3. Eat More Whole Grains
Whole grains are grains that have not been refined and processed to lose their three parts (endosperm, germ and bran). These ensure that the grains maintain most of their nutrients such as dietary fiber, vitamin B and iron and more.
Whole grains aid in digestion in that they help in the smooth flow of food through your body. They also help you feel full for longer which will help you eat less calories to lose weight. Most whole grains are low in calories, so with the ability to help you stay satiated and being low in calories, your calorie count can be significantly lower.
All of your big meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) should contain whole grains for you to reap the benefits of them. Your breakfast can be oats, your lunch including some whole wheat bread and dinner with brown rice are simple options for starters.
4. Avoid Liquid Calories
Liquid calories are drinks that contain a significant amount of calories as a result of how they are processed. These are soft drinks, fruit juices and any other drink that is made with a lot of extras added into its original source.
The calories usually increase as a result of the sugar and/or salt added to the drink. The more you drink, the more calories you consume. The problem with liquid calories is that most of them don’t make you full and cause your body to retain more water.
These added calories will increase your chances of being in a calorie surplus because you’ll get hungry soon after consuming them.
You must minimize your intake of liquid calories and if you do consume them, look more to homemade fruit smoothies and protein smoothies which have more nutritional value. Stick to water if this is not possible as it contains little to no calories at all.
5. Drink More Water
Water is natural, odorless and has a slight taste difference depending on where you get it from. It is a great alternative to drinking anything else, especially the liquid calories above.
It can act as an appetite suppressant when you’re hungry or help you get full faster if you sip on it while you’re eating. Drink a glass before and after you eat and you will find your appetite quickly decreasing in the process.
You must look to drink two to three liters of water per day to reduce the drinking of liquid calories. The best way to manage this is to have a water bottle that you constantly sip on during the day. The more water you drink will increase the chances of your body feeling full, like it’s eaten a lot.
6. Eat More Lean Protein Sources
Lean protein comes from food and drink sources that have little to no fat in their composition. It helps them reduce their fat count which reduces their total calorie count. Fat has more calories per gram (nine) than carbs and fat (four each).
You must include lean protein sources to each meal that you have because other than them being low in calories, they can help you feel full for longer. This is why protein is considered a good source in suppressing your appetite.
Try eating your protein before anything else on your plate and you’ll find that your appetite is significantly reduced for the rest of your meal.
Lean protein is generally low in calories so you can get away with eating more to lose weight. It also helps you maintain muscle and lose more fat when you’re trying to lose weight because protein is the building blocks of your muscles.
You must start experimenting with chicken breasts, moving onto lean beef mince (ground beef) and seafood sources like tuna. These are my top 3 favorites to eat that are high in protein and low in fat.
7. Avoid Skipping Meals
Food is an important fuel for your body to function every day. Your body requires nutrients that strengthen and maintain it. When you want to lose weight you will find diets that encourage the skipping of meals. Unless you’re doing intermittent fasting, there should be no reason to skip a meal for weight loss.
Skipping meals can hinder weight loss because it can cause you to be more hungry and lose energy. When you’re low on energy you tend to crave high sugar or calorie products, because they boost your energy and even help you feel better and comfortable.
You must rather look to eating more to lose weight through the above examples. Try to eat three to five meals per day, they don’t all have to be meals, as some can be snacks that just keep you going.
8. Understanding How To Count Your Calories
Calories are the energy units that are found in all food and drinks that we consume. They are the biggest difference on whether you gain or lose weight, so it is important that you understand them and how to count your required calorie count to lose weight while eating more.
Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) = Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) x Activity Factor: :
- Calculate Basal Metabolic Rate (The amount of energy consumed at rest)
Women BMR = 655 + (9.6 X weight in kg) + (1.8 x height in cm) – (4.7 x age in years)
Men BMR = 66 + (13.7 X weight in kg) + (5 x height in cm) – (6.8 x age in years)
- Activity Factor (weekly activity)
|Level of Activity||Activity Value||TDEE Calculation|
|Sedentary||Little or 0 exercise/desk job||TDEE = 1.2 x BMR|
|Lightly active||Light exercise/ sports 1–3 days/ week||TDEE = 1.375 x BMR|
|Moderately active||Moderate exercise, sports 3–5 days/week||TDEE = 1.55 x BMR|
|Very active||Heavy exercise/ sports 6–7 days/week||TDEE = 1.725 x BMR|
|Extremely active||Very heavy exercise/physical job/training 2x/day||TDEE = 1.9 x BMR|
The TDEE value you get is the amount of calories that you burn on average considering your age, height, weight and activity levels using the table above. When you want to lose weight you must look to consume 300 – 500 calories less of this value.
For example: I am a 25 year-old man, standing at a height of 173 cm and a weight of 82 kg. I work a desk job that keeps me quite sedentary for most of the day and I don’t exercise at the moment. My calculation would look like this:
BMR = 66 + (13.7 X 82) + (5 x 173) – (6.8 x 25)
BMR = 1884
TDEE = 1.2 x BMR
TDEE = 1.2 x 1884
TDEE = 2 261 calories
If I want to lose weight, I should look to eat between 1700 – 2000 calories to be in a calorie deficit. There is progress that would need to be tracked for a certain period of time, which will mean that this calculation will need to be revisited with every significant reduction in weight like three to five kg.
How To Track If You’re Losing Weight By Eating More
All techniques you use to help you lose weight must be measurable because you will not know if you make progress or not without measuring it and these tips are no different.
Your weight is very unstable due to your body’s water content, muscle and fat composition which constantly changes based on your activity levels and what you consume.
You must measure your weight loss in four-week intervals to see if it is sustainable. It can be measured in the following ways:
- A scale: Using a scale that measures your weight is probably the most easiest and common measurement for weight loss. Due to your weight constantly fluctuating, it can be difficult to get a true reflection of your progress but it gives you an idea of what your base weight is and can be a good starting point for measuring your weight loss progress
- Before and after pictures: Take a picture of yourself before you start using these tips, using a mirror or get someone to take it for you. Get a picture of all four sides of your body from head to toe with as little clothing as possible.
- Mirror Checks: The mirror is easy to use and very helpful for the changes only you will see. Veins becoming more visible, decrease in stomach size or reduction in fat where most of your fat is stored. These are things to look out for with your mirror checks.
- Tape Measure: A tape measure can be used to measure the circumference of different areas of your body. Areas to measure can be the neck, upper arm, forearm, wrist, shoulders, chest, waist, hips, quad and calves. Compare these after each interval to see if you’re losing weight.
- How Your Clothes Fit: When you want to lose weight, there’s always clothing that you wish you could fit in again. This can be a measure of your weight loss, the more you fit in them or baggy they get, the more likely you have lost weight.
- Body Fat Percentage: You should look to lose more fat than muscle with weight loss because fat can cause more health issues and the loss of fat is also more aesthetically pleasing. You measure your body fat percentage with body fat calipers and give you an idea of your weight loss progress with regards to fat lost.
- How Your Body Feels: Your body’s a great indicator of your health without having to do anything. When you are trying to lose weight, your body will make you aware when you’ve slowed down in your progress through weight/fat gain, reduced fitness levels or other health issues may arise. You must listen to your body at all times, because it will let you know when something isn’t right
Weight loss doesn’t require you to eat less, but rather eat less calories. You mustn’t focus on the quantity of meals that you eat but rather the quality of the meals that you eat. A good indicator is consuming food that is low in fat because fat contains high calories per gram vs protein and carbs.
Low calorie food that you can eat in high volumes is best, this includes the liquids that you consume. You must drink liquids that are low in calories, water being the safest option in this regard.
You must avoid skipping meals because your body requires this fuel to function. It burns more calories with movement, so other than exercising for a certain period of time or skipping meals, be more active on a daily basis. The 7 ways you can be eating more to lose weight:
- Eat more fruit and vegetables
- Move your body more
- Eat more whole grains
- Avoid liquid calories
- Drink more water
- Eat more lean protein sources
- Avoid skipping meals
- Understanding how to count your calories
It is important to measure your weight loss progress to ensure that the method you are using is working. Your body takes time to make significant changes in weight depending on what your starting point is.
Every four weeks is a good measuring period of progress. There are various ways to measure your progress, but at least one of the following is a good tool to use:
- A scale
- Before and after pictures
- Mirror checks
- Tape measure
- How your clothes fit
- Body fat percentage
- How your body feels
Oyisa Hackula was born in East London, South Africa where he currently resides working as an Industrial Engineer. He started strength and conditioning training in 2014 for high school rugby. He went on to play professional rugby from 2016 until 2018, but his passion for training continued while he still plays amateur rugby. He started with a lack of knowledge in health and fitness besides what he heard from his rugby peers, coaches and society. This had lead to him developing a physique that wasn’t efficient or effective for his rugby playing in 2014. He decided to dive deeper into it through research, having one of his best rugby seasons in 2015. Oyisa is currently an HFPA Qualified Personal Trainer (REPSSA) specializing in strength training, fat loss and supplementation. He has ambitions of reaching the world in showing how strength training, muscle building and fat loss can be made simple, but not easy and this is what he writes about.