By Elliot Fisher MS, ATC, CSCS, PES
Shorten Eating Window
Intermittent fasting has gotten a lot of hype recently for being a great strategy to lose weight. Intermittent fasting uses a window of eating with the rest of the day being fasted. Popular fasting protocols for intermittent fasting are 16 hours fasting/8 hours eating, and 20 hours fasting/4 hours eating. It’s believed it plays a role in hormonal response (increased testosterone and growth hormone) leading to greater weight loss. However, research tends to show that transient changes in hormones have little effect on building muscle and losing fat. It typically takes a supraphysiological dose of hormones to have any noteworthy effect (for example exogenous hormones such as anabolic steroids, growth hormone, or insulin). This may be different if you have hormonal imbalances such as low testosterone or growth hormone. The biggest factor giving intermittent fasting a benefit is it does help decrease your appetite throughout the day helping you eat less. Also, it shortens the time to eat throughout the day because you only have a certain window to eat. This helps keep you focused on a caloric deficit which then helps you lose weight. You don’t have to follow a fasting time restraint to see the results. If you postpone your first meal at the beginning of the day or stop the time you eat at night it will have a similar effect by lowering your appetite and decreasing the total number of calories you eat per day.
Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
When trying to lose weight, it is often recommended to eat healthier foods. Fruit and vegetables are high on this list. The reason fruits and vegetables are great for losing weight are that they are more satiating than starchy carbohydrates per calorie. If you eat a large bag of salad you’ll find yourself as full as if you eat a big bowl of rice. This is great for reducing your total caloric intake while not feeling super hungry from the low calories.
Fruits and vegetables are also high in fiber which slows down digestion and keeps you feeling full for longer periods of time. Fiber has many other benefits as mentioned in our previous blog such as lowering cholesterol, blood sugar, and cancer prevention.
Eat More Protein
Increasing your protein intake while dieting is a great tool to lose weight as well. Protein has been shown to be highly satiating compared to fats and carbohydrates.1 By increasing your protein intake you will feel less hungry while dieting. A good target for protein consumption is 1 gram per pound of body weight. To experience the hunger reducing effect 1.1-1.3 grams per pound of bodyweight may be beneficial.2
Eat More Dairy
Dairy gets a bad rap in the health and fitness community. This is likely due to people being lactose intolerant and many people having sensitivities to dairy and lactose. However, dairy has a lot of health benefits and is an amazing source of calcium. Research shows more fat loss when dieting when more dairy is consumed.3 Just remember if you are trying to lose weight to eat low fat or non fat dairy rather than whole fat dairy. Whole fat dairy will have more calories which may make it harder to stay in a caloric deficit.
Weigle, D. S., Breen, P. A., Matthys, C. C., Callahan, H. S., Meeuws, K. E., Burden, V. R., & Purnell, J. Q. (2005). A high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight despite compensatory changes in diurnal plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations–. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 82(1), 41-48.
Helms E, Valdez A, Morgan A. (2018) The Muscle and Strength Nutrition Pyramid. Eric Helms.
Abargouei, A. S., Janghorbani, M., Salehi-Marzijarani, M., & Esmaillzadeh, A. (2012). Effect of dairy consumption on weight and body composition in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials. International journal of obesity, 36(12), 1485.