The reason for fat accumulation is because of the daily storage of “extra calories” in the form of fat in various parts of your body. The term “extra calories” just refers to the calories that were obtained from the food you ate that were not used up by the body. On daily basis, the body expends energy for several internal functions and external activities, and it also uses energy to feed the body cells – the calories that remain after all these expenditures are “extra calories” and the body simply stores it up in the form fat for future use.
As your body fat increases, your body starts getting out of shape because fat tissues are not “compactly packed” and they expand in all directions erratically like a balloon filled with water, unlike muscle tissues which have a compact shape. The foods you eat play a major role in determining the fat storage of your body as does the amount physical work (or exercise) that you do. Eating a lot of fattening foods while leading a sedentary lifestyle is the major reason for becoming fat. When you take care of both these factors – food and exercise - you are well on your journey towards a fitter and trimmer body.
What you eat is as important as how much of it you eat
Some foods would give you way more calories than others in the same quantity. For example, the macro nutrient Fat contains double the calories of Carbohydrate or Protein. So a food like butter will give you way more calories than a piece of chicken breast, simply because fats provide 2 times the calories. This does not mean that you avoid fats, because healthy fats are highly essential for the harmonious functioning of the body. What’s required is a prudent and moderate intake, of wholesome, healthy foods that provide you with the necessary nutrition without unduly hiking your calorie intake. Ideally you want to eat filling foods that are not fattening in that they don’t hike your calorie intake too much.
Eating fruits and vegetables would give you way fewer calories than if you ate a king-size burger or drank a tall cup of chocolate milk shake. Moreover it’s quite tough to overeat fruits or veggies because your body can judge your calorie requirement more easily with natural foods than with processed foods (which confuse your body’s inherent calorie sense). Eating grilled/baked chicken, baked/smoked fish, nuts and lentils give you essential nutrition without clocking too many calories as compared to eating a large pizza laced with cheese or downing a large cherry pie loaded with refined sugar. Of course, no matter how healthy you eat, it also matters how much you eat - it’s possible to get fat on healthy foods also, if you are eating way above your calorie requirement.
Examples of filling foods that are healthy, wholesome and less fattening
By “less fattening” it’s implied that you won’t clock too much calories on these foods while getting ample amount of essential nutrition – which is basically the definition of “healthy foods”. Here are some food options you can try on regular basis.
1.) Grilled/smoked/baked Chicken
Not only is chicken a great source of protein but it also clocks way lower calories than meats like mutton, pork or beef. Avoid eating the skin of the chicken and use scissors, or paring knives, to cut off any excessive fat portions on the chicken cuts. A serving of smoked chicken breast is usually just 70 calories, while the same piece when deep-fried, with batter, can clock up to 160 calories. So how you cook the chicken contributes the calories you gain from it. Chicken by itself is not too high on calories at all, especially when scrapped off extra fat.
It’s an excellent food, not only because it’s so tasty in its creaminess, but also because it’s very filling and high on nutritional value. A medium sized banana (around 6 inches) would usually contain close to 70 calories, most of it being carbohydrates. So it’s a good source of easily digestible carbs and also provides essential minerals like potassium and manganese. You can make a breakfast of a banana and an apple (or some other fruit), to give a kick start to your body metabolism and also improve your body’s fat burning capacity owing to the presence of vitamin C in these fruits. They are also a great source of anti-oxidants that keep your body healthy and inflammation free.
You can easily purchase a pack of dried dates at any health food store (choosing for a variety of qualities) and eat them for your mid afternoon or evening snack, along with some nuts like walnut, pecans or almonds. Dates are very filling and are packed with essential minerals that help fat metabolism in the body. Eating 7 pieces of pitted dates would clock around 80-90 calories in the form of carbohydrates.
These are the only fruits that are rich in Fats. Avocados contain essential omega-3 fatty acids and a host of anti-oxidant that heal inflammation in the body. Use avocados as your source of getting healthy fats while keep your butter/cheese intake to a moderation. You can eat avocados raw or mixed in salad or sandwich. You can eat half an avocado and it will provide close to 100 calories in the form of healthy fats and it’s very filling when eaten in a sandwich.
It’s extremely healthy to eat sprouts of alfalfa, sesame seeds, kidney beans, soy beans and some lentils like moong beans. You can easily make the sprouts at home by soaking the seeds in water and allowing them to sprout in a wet cloth. Sprouts are “live foods” and rich in antioxidants, fiber and host of enzymes, minerals and vitamins, apart from being a good source of protein. These foods hardly disturb your calorie count while providing you with a great source of nutrition while also being filling when eaten in a salad.
6.) Smoked/Grilled/Baked Fish
Oily fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel, contain more calories than the same amount of chicken but they are extremely healthy for your body as they are excellent sources of protein and essential fatty acids like omega-3, vitamin A and vitamin D. You can also eat other sea-foods like clam, crab, shrimp, haddock and trout, which are all excellent sources of the above mentioned nutrients and EFAs. Using healthy cooking methods like smoking, grilling and baking keeps the calorie count to a lower level. You can easily make a meal of a whole fish like salmon and get close to 160-200 calories from it.
7.) Low-fat yogurt
A cup of low-fat yogurt is healthier, and lower calorie alternative, to processed desserts like ice-cream. Yogurt is a great source of calcium ensuring good bone health and also it provides your digestive tracts with essential probiotics (good bacteria) that improve your body’s immunity and maintain good stomach/intestinal/colon health. A 5 ounce cup of plain fat-free yogurt will clock somewhere around 80 calories while providing for essential nutrients and also acting as a satiating snack or dessert.
8.) Whole Eggs
You can consume one or two eggs on daily basis to obtain vitamin D, essential fatty acids, protein and a compound called choline that improve your brain and nerve health. Eggs are also good for your eyes and skin health. Boiled eggs, poached eggs, scrambled eggs and plain omelet (with a healthy oil) provides for a low calorie nutritious meal accompaniment. A whole chicken egg (large, 1.8 oz), hard boiled, mostly contains around 78 calories.
9.) Vegetable Salad
Eating a large plate of raw vegetable salad along with your meal ensures that you get essential minerals, dietary fiber and vitamins, while also reducing the helpings of your main course. Carrots, cabbage, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, brussel sprouts and radish can be inculcated in your salad with some lemon dressing to provide for a healthy side dish to your main course.
The more aware you are of the foods that you are eating the less likely you are to splurge on the calories. It’s possible to eating healthy filling foods that are not as fattening as processed/junk food alternatives, it’s also possible to eat the low-fat varieties of various food items to reduce your fat intake, and by makes these wise choices you will be on your way to lower your per-day calorie intake. If you add a daily dose of exercise, aerobic or resistance training, to this mix, you can start moving towards that fit, healthy and toned body you desire.