The High Performance Journal

The 3 Secrets To Eating More Food To Get Leaner

get lean high performance journal Jun 25, 2024

Read time: 4 minutes

The High Performance Journal - June 25th, 2024

One of the biggest lies about weight loss is that you must eat less to lose weight.

While no one is above the laws of thermodynamics, we have a different philosophy in our private coaching practice:

To lose weight you must learn how to eat more.

Something you may not know about me is that I struggled with my weight throughout childhood into my 20's.

I tried every diet under the sun, from drinking protein shakes all day to fasting to flexible dieting, until one day, I found a fitness mentor who told me something that blew my mind,

"Dan, all the stuff you're doing works, but only in the short term. If you want to lose weight you must learn the art of eating more."

It sounded absurd but I was willing to try anything.

He taught me 3 keys to eating more while losing weight:

  1. Volumization
  2. TEF
  3. Circadian timing

I applied these 3 principles, and after a few weeks, I noticed changes. I felt more energetic, my clothes fit better, and the scale showed progress.

After 16 weeks of following these strategies, I got into my leanest shape ever:

Eating more to weigh less wasn't just some fad; it was a revelation. I realized that the solution to a problem is sometimes hidden in the most unexpected places.

In this article, I'll discuss the 3 pillars I used to eat more to get leaner.

The 3 Secrets To Eating More And Getting Lean

#1 - Volumization

Alright, here's the deal. We've been conditioned to think that losing weight means eating less, right? Starve yourself, suffer, rinse, wash, and repeat.

I'm here to tell you that's hogwash.

Enter volumizing your food.

An example would be comparing yogurt-covered raisins to Greek yogurt and fruits:

Photo cred @cheatdaydesign


As you can see from the image, you have a similar amount of calories, but it's obvious that the yogurt and grapes will leave you feeling more satisfied.

Volumizing emphasizes the consumption of low-calorie, high-volume foods that are high in water and fiber. The main idea is to enhance one's feelings of fullness and satiety while minimizing calorie intake.

Imagine your stomach as a gas tank:

If you fill-up the tank with junk (aka cheap gas), you will burn through the tank and damage your engine in the long term.

But if you fill it up with nutrient-dense, low-calorie foods (aka premium gas), guess what? You’ll be full, satisfied, and not constantly craving junk.

The best ways to volumize your food:

  1. Add high-volume foods to every meal
  2. Eat at least 30 grams (or more) of protein with each meal
  3. Avoid liquid calories
  4. Drink water before and after a meal

Foods that contain the most volume:

  • Leafy green vegetables (lettuce, spinach, kale, etc.)
  • Cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli, etc.)
  • Stem and other vegetables (peppers, onions, zucchini, celery, etc.)
  • Fruit (especially citrus fruits and berries)

Adding volume to your foods is great and should be used with every meal, but eating more to get lean would not be complete without the next pillar:

#2 - TEF aka. The Thermic Effect Of Food

If you want an example of how this works check out this article by 

The thermic effect of food is a hidden gem in the world of weight loss no one talks about.

Something you have to understand about the body is that it uses calories to digest what you eat.

Some foods take less calories to burn while others take more.

This is all to say that NOT all foods were created equal. There is a thermic effect to each food you eat.

Proteins, in particular, are the rockstars of TEF. They demand a lot of energy to break down with 20-30% of their calories going into digestion alone.

Compare that to fats, which only use up about 0-3%, and carbs, which use around 5-10%.

By loading up on protein, you’re making your body work harder and burning more calories even when you’re not doing anything. This is why we place a massive emphasis on a high-protein diet in our coaching programs and Lean Body 90 course.

When combined with volumization, food's thermic effect turns your body into a calorie-burning machine while keeping you stuffed.

You’re eating and enjoying your meals, and at the same time, you’re torching calories. It’s a win-win.

This leads to the final point that almost puts getting lean on autopilot:

#3 - The Circadian Timing Of Meals

The most underrated aspect of getting control of your eating is through timing.

Your body isn’t just some calorie-counting machine; it’s a complex, well-tuned organism that responds to natural rhythms.

Circadian rhythms are your body’s internal clock, regulating everything from sleep to metabolism.

When you align your eating patterns with these rhythms, you work with your body’s natural processes rather than against them.

There are 4 reasons why this can help you get lean:

  1. Metabolism Peaks: Your metabolism is naturally more efficient during the day, especially in the morning and early afternoon. Eating the bulk of your calories when your body is primed to burn them means less fat storage. It’s like fueling a fire when it’s burning the hottest.
  2. Insulin Sensitivity: Your body is more insulin-sensitive earlier in the day. Insulin helps manage blood sugar levels, and when your body is more responsive, it’s better at using food for energy rather than storing it as fat. Eating carbs earlier in the day when your insulin sensitivity is higher can lead to better weight management.
  3. Sleep Quality: Eating late at night can mess with your sleep, and poor sleep can screw up your hormones – particularly those that control hunger and satiety. When you’re sleep-deprived, you’re more likely to crave junk food and overeat. By timing your meals earlier, you improve your sleep, which in turn helps regulate your appetite.
  4. Digestive Efficiency: Your digestive system slows down at night. Eating late means food sits in your stomach longer, leading to discomfort and poor digestion. Aligning your eating with your body’s active hours improves digestion and the ability to absorb nutrients.

From my experience working with thousands of clients, I've found that everyone has a unique eating rhythm that works for them.

Once someone finds their natural eating rhythms, it makes sticking to a diet significantly easier.

I wrote an entire article on how to eat according to your circadian rhythms, which you can access here.

This Is How You Eat More To Lose Weight

Before closing this off, I need to mention that this is not a diet.

Think of these strategies as tools in your toolbox to get the most out of the foods you eat.

You will be surprised at how much easier eating to get lean becomes when you use some (or all) of these strategies in your nutrition toolbox.

Onwards and upwards 🚀

- Dan


When you're ready, here are 3 ways I can help:

1. The Lean Body 90 System: When you’re ready to get in great shape, Lean Body 90 is the obvious choice. You can get in great shape and reach your fitness goals in just 90 minutes a week. Lose weight and build muscle even without hours in the gym or highly restrictive diets. Join 1000+ students here.

2. Are you an entrepreneur who wants to get lean, boost energy, and get in your best shape? Apply for private one-on-one coaching here.

3. Promote yourself to 290,000+ subscribers by sponsoring this newsletter.


  1. Ello-Martin JA, Roe LS, Ledikwe JH, Beach AM, Rolls BJ. Dietary energy density in the treatment of obesity: a year-long trial comparing 2 weight-loss diets. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Jun;85(6):1465-77. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/85.6.1465. PMID: 17556681; PMCID: PMC2018610. 
  2. Reed GW, Hill JO. Measuring the thermic effect of food. Am J Clin Nutr. 1996 Feb;63(2):164-9. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/63.2.164. PMID: 8561055.
  3. Wehrens SMT, Christou S, Isherwood C, Middleton B, Gibbs MA, Archer SN, Skene DJ, Johnston JD. Meal Timing Regulates the Human Circadian System. Curr Biol. 2017 Jun 19;27(12):1768-1775.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.04.059. Epub 2017 Jun 1. PMID: 28578930; PMCID: PMC5483233.

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