While eating fewer calories over time definitely leads to weight loss, can it also result in a smaller stomach? Some say it can be done. The theory behind it claims that, if you eat fewer foods, your super-stretchy stomach will shrink. As a result, you'll become fuller faster, feel less hungry, and lose weight. While this might seem like a good idea, you'd actually have to eat 600 calories or less per day over the course of a month to shrink your stomach by only 27 percent.
Even if your stomach does shrink, you'll still feel hungry
Bottom line: you might be able to slightly shrink your stomach through extreme dieting, but you probably won't be able to maintain any weight loss as a result.
How to reset your appetite thermostat
Weight loss is all about resetting your appetite thermostat. Chances are if your thermostat is set to high, you're probably indulging in the wrong types of foods. High glycemic index foods, such as white bread, donuts, and sugary drinks, actually intensify your cravings. This is because they rapidly spike your blood sugar levels and provide little nutritional value to fill you up.
On the other hand, low glycemic foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, reset your appetite thermostat. How? They stabilize your blood sugar levels so you feel fuller for longer. What's more, low glycemic index foods tend to be lower in calories than high glycemic index ones, and they're full of nutrients.
Low glycemic index foods include:
- Non-starchy vegetables, such as lettuce, broccoli, spinach, green beans, and bell peppers
- Nuts and seeds, such as chia seeds, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, and walnuts
- Beans and legumes, such as black beans, chickpeas, lentils, and kidney beans
- Yogurt and other fermented dairies, such as unsweetened yogurt and raw whole milk
- Whole grains and ancient grains, such as oats, brown rice, muesli, whole wheat pasta, and quinoa.
- Fresh fruits, such as apricots, apples, berries, cherries, and citrus fruits
- Healthy fats, such as coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, and avocados
- Lean proteins, such as salmon, eggs, tofu, and poultry
As you focus on eating low glycemic index foods, you'll notice you're not as hungry in between meals. You'll also notice that you have more energy.
Other helpful hints for eating less
In addition to following a low glycemic index diet, other helpful hints for eating less include:
- Use smaller plates. Most people are tempted to fill their plates up with food. But if you use smaller plates, then your portions will be smaller too. Similarly, you should drink from tall, skinny glasses, which will help you to consume fewer beverages. Using smaller plates and taller glasses create an optical illusion for your mind, tricking it into thinking you're actually eating or drinking more than you actually are.
- Divide the food on your plate. If you're eating out, restaurant portions tend to be super-sized. To prevent yourself from eating too much, you should first divide the food on your plate in half. Request a takeout box, and place half of the food into it to eat later on for a second meal. This technique will stop you from overindulging.
- Drink a large glass of water before each meal. Most people confuse hunger with thirst. But if you drink a large glass of water prior to eating, you'll feel fuller before eating, which will prevent overeating.
- Don't skip meals. Skipping meals only lead to overeating. Remember to always eat breakfast, and incorporate snacks into your day. You should end up eating something every two-to-three hours.
- Listen to your body. If you're used to eating based on a schedule, you might be eating when you're not even hungry. It's important to listen to your body -- if you're not actually hungry when mealtime rolls around, then you shouldn't eat. This will help prevent you from overeating out of habit.
- Skip drinking. Alcohol can increase your appetite, leading you to overeat. Instead of reaching for an alcoholic beverage, reach for water.
Follow these above helpful hints to reduce the number of calories you consume, leading to steady weight loss. Remember that with weight loss, the goal isn't to reduce the size of your stomach. Rather you should focus on eating healthy low glycemic index foods while preventing overeating.
- "7 Easy Tips to Curb Your Appetite," Shape, n.d.
- "9 Surprising Facts About Your Stomach," WebMD, n.d.
- "Does Eating Less Really Make Your Stomach Shrink?," Prevention, January 18, 2017.
- "Does the Size of Your Actual Stomach Shrink When You Eat Less?," Women's Health, October 19, 2015.
- "We Found Out If You Can Actually Shrink Your Stomach Through Diet," Huffington Post, July 22, 2016.