In fitness and nutrition world popular as ad libitum dieting, it is the most sustainable way of dieting since it does not require any calorie counting.
On the other side, calorie counting has become very popular in the past few years where you would use a mobile app like Myfitnesspal and log in everything you eat in a day.
I believe this is a great way to learn about food if you are new to fitness, as it teaches you how certain foods differ in calories and other nutrients, and how much food your body really needs.
I use this approach with all of my clients in the beginning as a stepping stone for their fitness journey. Once you understand basic principles of nutrition, you can proceed on to the next level which is ad libitum dieting.
Appetite is mostly genetically fixed, with differences between individuals. When we consume food, this triggers a satiety cascade which makes you feel full. This starts already in the mouth when you are chewing followed by pressure receptors in your stomach that trigger once there is enough pressure in the stomach. More complex reactions occur in your intestines, where nutrients receptors trigger several gut peptides like cholecystokinin, glucagon like peptide, peptide YY and ghrelin. This activates local sensory nerves to tell your brain what you consumed. Once your body is sufficiently nourished, it reduces the appetite.
How ad libitum dieting works?
Ad libitum dieting is a function of your appetite and satiety. It is a structured food selection which allows you to eat until full and follow your appetite. Once you feel full, you just stop eating.
This is where food selection is very important, as different foods have different satiety index. Wait, what is satiety index?
Different foods have different satiety index. For example, donuts have very small satiety index in comparison with potatoes. You can easily eat 1000 calories of donuts, which is around 3 large donuts. On the other side, try eating 1000 calories of potatoes. That would be 1.3 kg of potatoes!
By knowing satiety index of each food option, you can create a list of high satiety index food and make intelligent choices. Have a look at the chart below.
Examples of high and low satiating food:
Some of my personal favorites:
-Cottage cheese, yoghurt
-Strawberries, blackberries, grapefruit.
To create an ad libitum diet for yourself, you need to start with creating a list of foods you are allowed to eat based on satiety index. On average you will need to select foods with a satiety index above 200 to lose significant amount of fat.
Once you start your diet, you need to track your body weight every day and write it down. You then take the average of each week and compare it. If you did not lose more than 1% of your body weight, you need to recheck your list, or increase the satiety index even further.
Once you reach a plateau, you need to increase the satiety index of food, and eliminate lowest index food that you already have on your list. Eventually, you will realize that you eat more vegetables and less carbohydrate & fat sources as you lean down further and further.
Make sure you cover your recommended protein (1.8 g / kg), fiber (25-38 g) and fat (20%-40%) intake as that is essential to keep your health and hormones in check.
Great news! I have 1 more slot open for my flagship online coaching program Be Fit and Strong. If you want to take action today, and transform your body, schedule a free consultation call in the link below!