I am an advocate for "if it fits your macros"/ flexible dieting because it is sustainable and promotes a healthier relationship with food. There is no food that in isolation causes weight gain/loss. Learning to have a variety of foods in your diet is key to long-term success.
Sometimes, in order to hit your goals, you must follow a lower macro number to get there. However, this should never be permanent. The key to long-term success is short cuts and long periods of maintenance as it pertains to your goals.
When following lower macro targets, it is important that you maximize that amount of food that you eat in order to avoid being chronically hungry. Here are some ways to boost the volume of food you eat in a day without exceeding your macro numbers.
1. High volume/low calorie VEGGIES.
The most effective way to feel full is to eat a lot of food. When you're on a cut with your macros, you'll want to do whatever you can to avoid feeling hungry. Filling your meals with low calorie, high volume veggies is a great way to feel satiated. Foods like
2. Eat your fat.
When beginning flexible dieting, your fat target can easily run out early as a byproduct of the protein and carbs you are consuming. It is a good idea to "eat your fat" as opposed to just letting it run out from the protein/carbs you eat. Eating leaner meats, and being aware of the fat content in your carb-dense food will be key. Chicken, lean beef, lean turkey, egg whites are all excellent sources of low fat protein - this will make it possible to add more mono/poly unsaturated fats to your diet like nuts, seeds, nut butter etc. You will be more aware of the fat you are consuming and less likely to overeat this macro.
3. Be aware of sauces and dressing
During a lower macro cycle, boring and bland food may make a regular appearance in your diet. Dressings like BBQ sauce, ketchup, mayo, ranch sauce may be necessary in order to keep your excitement for your meals. Be sure that you are carefully measuring and tracking these if you choose to add them to your meal. Another option is to substitute things to dress up your food that are lower carb/calorie like mustard or hot sauce.
4. Don't drink your calories
Drinking high-calorie and/or high-sugar drinks usually does not lead to you feeling as full as eating them. Limit alcohol, fruit juice, coffee with added cream/sugar and replace them with water. Use this extra room to eat-up! You will be able to fit a lot more food volume in + feel much more full overall.
5. Get enough water!
Working with 100s of nutrition clients, I've noticed that many who complain of hunger simply are not drinking enough water. Since we're tracking our macronutrients, we should also be tracking another aspect of our overall health - our hydration. Invest in a large water bottle and fill it up - you'll know exactly how much you've consumed and how much you need to hit your water target.
Dr. Alli Cain