Category: healthy weight

Understanding Why Protein is Important to Weight Loss

Understanding Why Protein is Important to Weight Loss

Protein, protein, protein.  It seems like so much advice out there tells us to eat more protein if we want to lose weight.  This is actually great advice, but some of the articles make my eyes glaze over with all the technical reasons for WHY.

 I recently read an article on Fitbie.com that explained the ins and outs of protein, and you don’t have to have a masters in nutrition to understand it. 

 At any given moment, even at rest, your body is breaking down and building up protein, says Jeff Volek, PhD, RD, nutrition and exercise researcher. Substitute the word “muscle” for “protein,” and you quickly understand just how dynamic your body is, and how your muscle content can change considerably in the course of just a few weeks.

 Muscle doesn’t come just from pumping iron.  Muscle buildup is triggered by eating protein. In fact, every time you eat at least 10 to 15 grams of protein, you trigger a burst of protein synthesis. And when you eat at least 20 grams, that period of synthesis lasts about 3 hours—and that means even more muscle growth.

 Here’s a quick look at what those numbers translate into when they actually hit your plate.

 20-30 Grams of Protein

1 4-ounce ground beef patty

1 large chicken breast

1 4-ounce sirloin steak

1 large egg vegetable omelet with 3 strips bacon

20 large peel-and-eat wild shrimp

1 haddock fillet

1 6-ounce pork chop

1 6-ounce serving tempeh

10 to 15 Grams of Protein

1 fruit-and-yogurt parfait with granola

2 medium carrots with 1/2 cup hummus

3/4 cup chili con carne

1 serving spaghetti with meat sauce (10 ounces)

1 pouch chunk light tuna

1/2 cup oatmeal with 1 cup 2% milk

12 ounces low fat chocolate milk

6 ounces Greek yogurt

2 Tbsp peanut butter on whole wheat

 Most people end up eating the majority of their protein at dinner. That means you might be fueling muscle growth for only a few hours a day, probably watching TV before you go to bed. The rest of the day, you’re breaking down muscle because you don’t have enough protein in your system.

The single most important diet upgrade for people who want to lose weight is to eat protein for breakfast.  More on that in my next post.

Your FIT Plan

Eat protein at all three meals, which can include meats and eggs or other options such as cheese and milk. If you can boost your protein intake to between 0.5 and 1.0 gram per pound of body weight, this will preserve your calorie burning muscle mass. That means aiming for approximately 20 grams of protein at your main meals, with options like a chicken breast, a hamburger, or a fillet of fish. For each snack, eat at least 10 to 15 grams of protein, such as two hard-boiled eggs, an order of rice and beans, or even a classic peanut butter sandwich on wheat bread. And when in doubt, reach for milk or cheese.

 When it comes to snacks, we don’t usually carry around a grilled chicken breast, and the best sources of protein—fish, meat, dairy, and beans—aren’t quick and convenient to eat. When you’re on the go or too busy to cook, reach for one of these great “grab and go” protein snacks: 

Jerky

Raw Almonds

Protein Powder

Hard Boiled Eggs

String Cheese

Yogurt

Cottage Cheese

 Make a commitment to include protein in EVERY SINGLE MEAL, and you will start to really preserve your calorie burning muscle mass.

HUGE MUSCLES ARE NOT AN OPTION

HUGE MUSCLES ARE NOT AN OPTION

One of my bodybuilder friends found this great article on myths surrounding women and weight training.

Women’s Weight Training Myth #1: Weight Training Makes You Bulky
Due to the fact that women DO NOT and CANNOT naturally produce as much testosterone (one of the main hormones responsible for increasing muscle size) as males do, it is impossible for a woman to gain huge amounts of muscle mass UNLESS anabolic steroids are used in conjunction with an extremely aggressive weight training program and bulking diet.

Women who weight train without the use of steroids get the firm and fit cellulite-free looking body that they’re looking for provided that they follow a good nutrition program and cardiovascular workout as well.

Women’s Weight Training Myth #2: Exercise Increases Your Chest Size.
Sorry girls. Women’s breasts are composed mostly of fatty tissue. Therefore, it is impossible to increase breast size through weight training. As a matter of fact, if you go below 12 percent body fat, your breast size will decrease.

Weight training does increase the size of the back, so this misconception probably comes from confusing an increase in back size with an increase in cup size. The only way to increase your breast size is by gaining fat or getting breast implants.

Women’s Weight Training Myth #3: Weight Training Makes You Stiff & Muscle-Bound.
If you perform all exercises through their full range of motion, flexibility will increase. Exercises like flyes, stiff-legged deadlifts, dumbbell presses, and chin-ups stretch the muscle in the bottom range of the movement. Therefore, by performing these exercises correctly, your stretching capabilities will increase.

Women’s Weight Training Myth #4: If You Stop Weight Training Your Muscles Turn Into Fat.
This is like saying that gold can turn into brass. Muscle and fat are two totally different types of tissue. What happens many times is that when people decide to go off their weight training programs they start losing muscle due to inactivity (use it or lose it) and they also usually drop the diet as well.

Therefore bad eating habits combined with the fact that their metabolism is lower due to inactivity, and lower degrees of muscle mass, give the impression that the subject’s muscle is being turned into fat while in reality what is happening is that muscle is being lost and fat is being accumulated.

Women’s Weight Training Myth #5: Weight Training Turns Fat Into Muscle.
More crazy chenistry… This is the equivalent of saying that you can turn any metal into gold. The way a body transformation occurs is by gaining muscle through weight training and losing fat through aerobics and diet simultaneously. Again, muscle and fat are very different types of tissue. We cannot turn one into the other….ever.

Women’s Weight Training Myth #6: As Long As You Exercise You Can Eat Anything.
I wish this were true! However, this could not be further from the truth. Our individual metabolism determines how many calories we burn at rest and while we exercise. If we eat more calories than we burn on a consistent basis, our bodies will accumulate these extra calories as fat regardless of the amount of exercise that we do.

Women’s Weight Training Myth #7: Women Only Need To Do Cardio & If They Decide To Lift Weights, They Should Be Very Light.
First of all, if you only did cardio then muscle and fat would be burned for fuel. A woman needs to do weights in order to get the muscle building machine going which prevents any loss of muscle tissue.

Keep in mind also that the muscle gained through weight training will ultimately be responsible for toning your physique.

Women that only concentrate on cardio will have a very hard time achieving the look that they want. As far as the lifting of very light weights, this is just more nonsense. Muscle responds to resistance and if the resistance is too light, then there will be no reason for the body to change.

Women Should Train Hard (This Is Not A Myth)
I have trained with girls that train as hard as I do and they look nothing but feminine. If you want to look great, don’t be afraid to pick up the weights and lift hard!

THE TRUTH IS: YOU ARE NOT DISCIPLINED ENOUGH

THE TRUTH IS: YOU ARE NOT DISCIPLINED ENOUGH

I recently read an article about being disciplined. It was geared toward weight loss, but it certainly can be applied to any situation. I am somewhat obsessive compulsive about health and nutrition which leads to being seriously disciplined… when it comes to eating healthy and exercising. However, I am not very disciplined in other areas of my life, so this article was a huge eye opener.

A lot of people really want to lose weight, but then they give in to temptation over and over again. Maybe you’re good for a week or two, and then you think it’s okay to “splurge a little because I’ve been so good and I deserve it” and you stop for Ben and Jerry’s on the way home. Then a couple days later it’s a few chocolate chip cookies, then a day later it’s pizza, and so on.

Then the scale doesn’t move quite as fast you’d like and your hope and enthusiasm begin to fizzle. Or perhaps you’re good for a month, but then you have a stressful week at work and you get completely derailed.

Regardless, the discipline necessary to overcome old, unproductive habits and build new ones may not be present yet. Before you know it you’ve lost the focus and excitement that got you really pumped up for the first couple weeks and you’re back where you started.

This happens to everyone. So, what are we to do?

How To Get More Disciplined:

The way to build discipline is by being disciplined. There is no magical formula anybody is going to say or give to you that is going to suddenly give you the discipline to eat healthier, exercise more, be more productive at work, have better control of your finances…whatever your situation. There is no substitute for taking action.

Building discipline doesn’t happen overnight. Building discipline is like building a muscle. When you first use it after a period of inactivity, it’s going to feel a bit sore. But that soreness is good. It means you’re getting into motion again. The more you use it- consistently- the stronger it gets.

It’s the same with your good habits. They may feel awkward or unnatural at first, but if you remain consistent it will become second nature. So start by focusing on simple, positive habits that you know you can execute consistently: healthy dinners, no snacking after dinner, taking a 5-minute walk every day, or giving up chocolate chip cookies(or whatever your ‘pitfall food’ is- you know what it is) for just 1 week.

Don’t overwhelm yourself by thinking about how you’re going to lose the full 30, 40 or 50 pounds, and just commit to doing the simple things and doing them consistently.

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