Successful dieters master the skill of eating a high-fiber diet with vegetables to keep their brains from craving.
Only vegetables can lessen cravings without excess calories by activating stretch receptors in the stomach and intestines. This tells the brain, “enough.”
Vegetables are also your main source of fiber that allows beneficial gut bacteria to thrive. This bacteria helps prevent inflammation in the entire body and increases a sense of well-being.
As the saying goes, “Happy gut, happy person.” A healthy gut sends a message of “don’t worry, be happy” to the brain.
Learn to love vegetables
Before you get turned off at the idea of eating vegetables, consider this…
Vegetables can be made tasty, as perceived by your brain. And they are the only food that can be eaten freely while pounds are being shed.
After eating well-prepared delicious vegetables for a while, you will find yourself starting to crave them. And at the same time, eating these vegetables in a high-fiber diet will lessen other cravings.
You may even have fun learning how to prepare vegetables in your own unique way based on your cultural preferences. For example, I happen to enjoy Mexican and Korean food and can now make it at home.
In this article, we’re going to discuss why vegetables are the critical element to your dieting success. You can learn to enjoy them, and employ them for your benefit.
Note that there are vast nutritional differences between various vegetables, which we discuss in another article. Keep in mind that here we are talking specifically about non-starchy vegetables.
First, let’s take a look at where vegetables factor into your overall diet…
A high-fiber diet leads to success
Successful dieters have vegetables front and center along with the protein — for a good reason.
There is a basic rule of thumb that for every pound of the ideal body weight you want to maintain, you can eat 10 calories per day. So, for example, my ideal body weight is 150 pounds, which means I can eat 1500 daily calories to maintain it.
Of course, this target number of calories varies by gender, genetics, activity level, etc. but it’s a place to start the game.
It takes a base of about 800 calories to get the minimum protein, fat, and fiber your body needs.
Fiber from 2 cups of vegetables at lunch and again at supper is typically enough.
A great place to start with any shift toward eating healthier is to aim for a high-fiber diet by ramping up your vegetable intake to these 4 cups a day.
Get other nutrients your body needs
Nutritionally we need only about 2 tablespoons per day of fat in the form of oil. It’s not much.
The trick is learning to use it together with stock when cooking or to make salad dressing, etc.
It’s not hard once you figure out how to do it, but it’s not necessarily easy either. Oil is a slippery slope.
Your daily protein intake should be about 6 ounces and up to 12 depending on your activity level, size, previous diet, etc.
Multi-vitamins with minerals complete your nutritional needs.
Energy from food is either used or stored
People can survive on fewer than 800 daily calories for a while but will lose muscle and not function very well.
There is no nutritional need for simple carbohydrates like those found in flour, sugar, fruits and starchy vegetables. The only thing these carbs provide is energy, which you can obtain from your fat stores instead.
Extra oil and protein — those that are not used for building things in the body — are turned into energy. Any energy not burned for immediate use is stored as fat. Mother Nature doesn’t waste energy, she stores it.
Fiber is the one food substance that goes through the body undigested in humans. Other animals, such as cows, sheep, deer, etc., have bacteria in their gut that can digest fiber, but this is not the case in humans.
This means you can eat as much fiber as you want without it packing on the pounds — because fiber is never absorbed by your body.
Shed pounds with nutritional ketosis
To shed pounds and reach our ideal body weight relatively quickly, we utilize a natural bodily process called nutritional ketosis.
This, in its essence, is the process of cutting back on sugars and starches enough to shift your body into burning fat.
This process is easiest when started after you are good at other healthy habits like getting sufficient sleep, staying hydrated, shunning processed foods, etc., as well as eating the ideal number of calories for your target weight.
After you employ ketosis to achieve the weight loss you want, you go back to consuming that target number of calories to maintain your ideal weight.
To get into ketosis, you temporarily cut back your calorie intake to around 800 per day. We’ll discuss how to do this in another article.
The thing to understand at this point is that around 800 calories per day is your baseline minimum diet, and 1500 calories (or whatever the math results in for your particular ideal body weight) is the level of calories you will ramp back up to after you are done with ketosis.
Wise decisions lead to success with a high-fiber diet
It’s important to make wise decisions about what food to eat for those additional 700 calories (or whatever the number is for your particular situation) when ramping back up to the 1500 maintenance calories from the 800 you’re eating during ketosis.
Use these additional calories to eat foods that satisfy you and make you happy — and more importantly, that don’t sabotage your ability to maintain a healthy diet and ideal body weight.
The crucial thing is to establish a daily habit of consuming foods that form a solid nutritional base. It’s fairly simple:
- 6-12 ounces of protein
- A couple of tablespoons of good oil
- 2 cups of vegetables twice a day
- Multi-vitamins with minerals