I love it when I read things in my nutrition studies that actually apply directly to my experiences as a former chubster.
Something I read this week was about the concept of nutrient dense versus calorie dense foods. Sounds fascinating right? But as I broke it down in my mind it made so much sense to me.
You see, for the few years that I was obese it wasn’t because I was eating a LOT of food. In fact, everyone who knew me, including The Captain, would swear and declare that they almost never saw me eat. Part of that was that I was a terrible secret binge-eater. Years of disordered eating as I grew up makes it particularly easy for me to hide my habits around food from others. I’m like a self-destructive food Ninja.
But the main part was that I was whole-heartedly addicted to very calorie dense foods.
It means: A food with high calorie density provides a lot of calories in relation to the serving size. A food with low calorie density provides relatively low calories per serving size.
So it looks like this:
or terrifyingly like this:
When I first started losing weight, I was mortified by the AMOUNT of food that I was supposed to be eating. How could it be that I had only been eating a small volume of food once or twice a day (with some snacks) and gaining weight like a prize cow but NOW I was eating buckets of food and losing weight? It really seemed like black magic. Except it’s not. It’s simply caloric density.
A plan consisting of foods with a lower caloric density meant I get to eat a lot MORE food for the same or less calories than my previous high calorie/low volume habits.
Foods that REALLY helped me fill the void left by my crappy diet were things that made me feel full and happy. Things I could eat a GIANT BOWL OF and feel a bit piggy. Because I still needed that mentally. Things like insane amounts of vegie sticks, air-popped popcorn, frozen berries straight from the freezer, a big bowl of fresh green peas…
These days, because I’ve had a few years of training myself to eat more regularly, not skip meals and incorporate more protein into my diet, I don’t get so ravenously hungry any more. While I still love that crazy full-belly feeling sometimes, I don’t NEED it. But in case you do, I hope this helps.