7 Simple Ways to Lose Weight with the Mediterranean Diet

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Many diets claim to lose weight fast.

However, most of them will make you hungry and unsatisfied.

Unless you have incredible willpower, hunger will cause you to give up on these plans quickly.

Even if you’re not fully committed to eating the Mediterranean just yet, there are some quick wins you can implement into your diet to lose weight.

These pointers can help you:

  • Reduce your appetite
  • Lose weight sustainably, without getting too hungry
  • Improve various health markers

Here are 7 simple ways to lose weight on the Mediterranean diet.

1. Replace Refined Carbs with Wholemeal Varieties

Refined carbs are carbs that have been stripped of almost all fiber, vitamins and minerals. The refining process leaves nothing but the endosperm of the wheat, a rapidly digested starch.

Because they are digested quickly and have lost all their fiber, these refined grains can cause large swings in blood sugar levels. This can contribute to overeating (1).

However, whole grains keep all their nutrients and fiber. Fiber in particular is important for weight loss as it makes you feel fuller, so you naturally consume fewer calories (2).

One review that looked at nearly 120,000 people found that 3 daily servings of whole grains were linked to a lower BMI and less belly fat (3).

Refined grains include white flour, white bread, white rice and white pasta, whereas whole grains include barley, bulgur, quinoa, brown bread, brown rice and oatmeal. 

It’s very simple to choose wholemeal variants instead, or a whole grain like oats as your main breakfast cereal.

2. Eat Whole, Single-Ingredient Foods

The term “whole foods” generally describes natural, unprocessed foods containing only one ingredient.

Most whole foods have high satiety indexes, meaning they are naturally very filling. They also tend to be nutrient-dense.

This makes it easier to keep within healthy calorie limits (4).

In contrast, many processed foods have little nutritional value and are often referred to as “empty” calories.

Processed foods are usually engineered to be addictive. This means it’s more likely you’ll overeat (5).

The Mediterranean diet generally encourages you to eat as much unprocessed food as possible.

3. Stock Up on Healthy Snacks

Snacks can be very beneficial for someone, particularly if you choose healthy kinds. They can prevent overeating at later meal times and maintain stable blood sugar levels throughout the day.

However, it’s important to choose the right kinds of snacks. Studies have shown that the food you keep at home greatly affects weight and eating behavior (67).

By always having healthy food available and keeping unhealthy foods out of sight, you reduce the chances of you or other family members reaching for the bad snacks.

Some good choices for snacks include:

  • A handful of nuts or seeds
  • A piece of fruit
  • Carrots or baby carrots
  • Berries or grapes

Even though foods like nuts and seeds do have more calories, several studies suggest that eating nuts in moderation (such as a snack) can help you lose weight (89).

4. Eat More Slowly

The Mediterranean diet advocates bonding and spending time over food.

Research supports this way of eating. Studies show that eating fast may cause you to eat too many calories before your body realizes you’re full (10).

One study found that faster eaters are much more likely to become obese, compared to those who eat more slowly (11).

Chewing more slowly may help you eat fewer calories and increase the production of hormones that are linked to weight loss (1213).

5. Eat More Fiber

Fiber-rich foods may help with weight loss.

They are found in abundance within the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes vegetables, legumes, fruits and whole grains.

Foods that contain water-soluble fiber may be especially helpful since this type of fiber can help increase the feeling of fullness.

Fiber may delay stomach emptying, make the stomach expand and promote the release of satiety hormones (1415).

Ultimately, this makes us eat less naturally, without having to think about it.

6. Add More Protein

Protein can reduce hunger and appetite via several different mechanisms (16).

This can automatically reduce the calories you consume, without counting calories or consciously controlling portions.

In one study, when people consumed 30% of calories via protein, the participants automatically dropped their calorie intake by 441 calories per day—a sizeable contribution (17).

Even something as simple as eating a high-protein breakfast can have a powerful effect (18). This could mean adding some oats or egg-based breakfasts.

7. Focus on Changing Your Lifestyle

Short-term, yo-yo diets have been proven to be ineffective long-term.

When most people use a short-term diet to lose weight, they will regain 30–65% of that lost weight within one year (19). Moreover, one in three dieters ends up heavier than before they dieted (20, 21).

This is because most diets are deprivation diets and are designed so that you can only sustain this type of eating for a short time. Most people that lose a lot of weight on a diet end up gaining it back whenever they “stop” the diet.

When you think of a diet as a quick fix, rather than a long-term solution to better your health, you will be more likely to give up and gain back the weight you lost.

Maintaining weight loss comes down to making sustainable changes to your lifestyle. This is why the Mediterranean diet is always one of the most studied and recommended diets – it isn’t a ‘diet’ per se, but rather a long-term, healthy way of eating.

Next Steps

Now you’ve got some easy ways to lose weight, here’s what we recommend next!

  1. Find more Mediterranean-style recipes on our website.
  2. Try our free 7 day Mediterranean diet plan with 20 recipes.
  3. Get our 4-week Mediterranean diet plan, Med in 28 plan, that makes following the Mediterranean diet a breeze!