Most dieting attempts fail because they involve cutting foods or even whole food groups, and all that deprivation only makes our cravings worse. Instead of focusing on what you can't eat, why not fill up on satisfying low-calorie foods? Eat the right things, and you can feel full and still lose weight.
See also: Fast ways to a flat stomach
The big idea
Nutritionist Dr Barbara Rolls came up with the idea of the Volumetrics diet, believing that the satisfied feeling we get after a good meal has less to do with the number of calories, and grams of fat, protein or carbs, and more to do with how much we've eaten.
While no food is banned, make sure you reach for a treat only after you've eaten a healthy, filling meal. You can still eat energy-dense things like crisps, biscuits and chocolate, but you'll need to eat them in much smaller quantities if you want to lose weight.
Rules of the diet
Followers of the Volumetrics diet are encouraged to think about the energy density of foods, but unlike other diets, there's no need to count calories as such. Instead, you should aim to fill up on foods with a high water and fibre content. Think vegetables (leafy greens, carrots, peppers, broccoli, etc) – which you can enjoy in a soup, broth, stew or casserole. A good trick is to make sure your plate is half filled with vegetables before you add anything else. High-protein foods, such as pulses, beans, chicken, eggs, fish, and low-fat cottage cheese) should take up another good portion of your plate.
What you should eat
Foods that promote satiety, i.e., give you a feeling of lasting fullness, should be your priority. Here are some of the things you should stock up on and why...
Wholegrains maximize that feel-full factor, so opt for brown rice and oatmeal. The filling fibre in porridge oats helps balance blood-sugar levels and help keep you full until lunchtime.
Broccoli is filling, yet very low in calories. Not keen? Try asparagus, cauliflower, celery or courgettes (spiralize them to make low-calorie noodles or pasta) and enjoy with your normal sauce or topping.
Watermelon is great for satisfying a sweet tooth. Two cups contain less than 100 calories and nearly half the recommended daily value of vitamin C.
Beans are an excellent source of fibre and incredibly filling. Stock up on chickpeas, black beans, black-eyed peas, lentils, fava beans and red kidney beans, which you can add to soups and stews or salads and wraps if you prefer.
Greek yogurt is high in protein and can help you to feel full. Harvard researchers studied the diets of 120,000 people for 20 years and found those who ate yogurt did better at keeping the weight off. Top with strawberries and raspberries for a sweet treat.
Apples contain pectin, which naturally slows digestion and promotes a feeling of fullness. Add apple chunks to porridge, salads or wraps.
Three products that may help you to lose weight:
The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet, £10.91