Is protein the key to weight loss?

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When most people say they want to lose weight what they really mean is that they want to lose body fat. No one really wants to get to their goal weight and be jiggly all over. Most people are going for a “toned” look.

 

The weight you lose on diets that both promise and deliver quick and dramatic results is mostly water weight and not body fat. As your body starts to use the stored carbohydrates from your muscle for fuel (since you have most likely dramatically cut calories), water is also lost. For every gram of carbohydrates used ~3g of water follows. This also means once you decide to go back to your old way of eating all the weight comes right back on and sometimes more. As soon as you increase your intake,  the extra carbs are immediately brought back to your muscle bringing along with it water.  

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Fat loss takes time. It can not be lost overnight or over a matter of weeks regardless of how much we want it.

If you stick with a very low calorie or restrictive diet for any length of time, your body starts using your lean mass (a.k.a muscle) for fuel. So while you might want to do a happy dance as you see the scale move in the right direction, you don’t want to do this. The more muscle you have the more calories you burn even at rest. When you start using your muscle for daily fuel for your body, it means that you are inherently changing the amount of calories you will be able to consume without gaining weight.

 

I don’t know about you but I live to eat!! I want to keep as much muscle as I can at all times. I want to see how much I can eat without gaining weight not how little. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to hang out with friends or have a date night without incessantly worrying about how much ground you are going to lose trying to reach your goals because it is built into the plan.

 

If you lose a significant amount muscle in the process of dieting, this is one of the reasons that you will gain back the weight you lost plus more when you go back to eating the way you did before your “diet”.

 

So now you may be ultra confused. You know that to lose weight you must burn more calories than you consume but not too much and oh by the way just burn the fat and keep the muscle.

 

Well, how the hell do you do that? Well, the answer is to eat more protein.  

 

SO why is Protein important when you are trying to lose weight?

 

Eating protein when you are in a calorie deficit (burning more calories than you take in)  will help aid your body in maintaining your lean muscle mass which means you will lose more body fat.  As you start to lose the weight you also might notice that your body composition starts to change. Meaning even at the same weight you appear leaner and your clothes fit better. Who doesn’t want that?  This also means over the length of your diet that you may be able to see more results while eating more calories than you have on previous diets.

 

What does this mean for the scale? Well, it means that the scale may not move at all or less than you think it should. Does that matter if you look better, feel better and your clothes fit better?

 

Protein has a high thermic effect meaning your body burns more calories just digesting protein then it does carbs and fats. To be specific the thermic effect for protein is between 20 - 30% where as the thermic effect for carbs and fat is between 5% - 15% with fats being on the lower end of that. This means that for every 100 calories of protein you eat your body burns between 20 - 30 calories just digesting it. Again this means you get to eat more, lose more and look better. .

 

It keeps you feeling full and satisfied. Have you ever started on a diet and by noon you feel like you can’t continue because you feel like your insides are trying to crawl out because you are so hungry. Well, since protein keeps you feeling full you might not mind that calorie deficit quite as much.

 

 

It is more difficult to store Protein as body fat. Not to say this is impossible but it’s less likely than with carbs and fat.

 

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To be successful at dieting you must be able stick with the plan consistently over a period of time. Feeling full and satisfied is a big part of being able to do this.

 

 

    If you are a female start by adding a serving of protein to each meal and one snack. A serving can be estimated as the size of your palm. If you are a male aim for two servings at each meal. This is just a guideline and like everything else in nutrition it is unique to the person. Still not sure how to estimate a serving of protein or need ideas for protein.

 

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Email me and I will send you a visual guide on how to estimate a serving of protein along with a host of ideas on how to get your protein in!

 

Convinced that you need to add protein to your life but not sure how much or how to go about it. Ask me your questions at Theresa.Worley@icloud.com