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So you’ve decided you want to lose some weight… for what seems like the hundredth time. But this time you are really serious. This time, you’ll do whatever it takes. No giving up. No giving in to temptation. You are desperate.
But what if you are already doing everything you can think to do? You’ve cut back your calories, you’re eating a balanced diet, and you’ve found ways to get plenty of exercise. You’ve been patient, disciplined and motivated but still find yourself coming up short. What else can you try?
The truth is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to weight loss. Nevertheless, if you’re following the basic rules of weight loss without successful results, you might have a few things working against you.
- Your gut health might be suffering.
- Your protein intake might be less than ideal.
- Your metabolism might have slowed down.
These three things can be major weight loss offenders. As such, taking steps to ensure they are not preventing you from reaching your desired weight is important. Last week we covered Step 1 – Boost Your Gut Health. Now it’s on to Step 2.
Step 2. Eat More Protein
When it comes to maintaining a healthy weight, we all know that eating a good diet is a must. Unfortunately, knowing what to eat to get the best results is anything but straightforward. Search the internet for suggestions and you’ll find an unlimited number of opinions. Though one view that seems to hold steady is that higher-protein diets are good for weight loss. And it’s true. Research shows that eating a little extra protein might go a long way when it comes to managing your waistline.
Protein & Weight Loss
Over the years, many studies have been done in an effort to determine the best diet for weight loss. Still, no magic weight loss diet exists. Nonetheless, certain dietary habits appear to provide better outcomes than others with a higher protein intake ranking at the top of the list.
Several studies comparing high-protein, low-carb diets with high-carb, low-protein diets found that the high-protein diets may be more beneficial than the high-carb diets. The reason being that despite similar weight loss results, those on the high-protein diet –
- lost more body fat,
- maintained more muscle mass, and
- had greater success with keeping the weight off long-term.
These benefits are the result of protein’s ability to regulate appetite and preserve lean body mass (muscle) during the weight loss process.
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A major part of weight loss is managing your calorie intake. Eat more calories than your body needs and the extra energy will be stored as fat. Eat fewer calories than your body needs and it will start using the energy that has been stored as fat, hence leading to weight loss.
To help prevent overeating, it’s important to eat foods that promote satiety – the feeling of being full. Out of the three macronutrients (carbs, protein, fat), protein keeps you feeling full the longest. This ability to suppress your appetite makes protein a good tool for weight loss.
During Weight Loss
High-protein diets have been shown to preserve lean body mass during weight loss. Here’s how –
When you are taking in fewer calories than your body needs, it must compensate for this lack of energy by tapping into its energy reserves. The body does so by breaking down glucose and proteins found in muscle tissue and fats from adipose tissue. It’s this breakdown of muscle proteins that leads to the loss of lean body mass.
In order to maintain muscle mass during the weight loss process, it’s important to get adequate protein in the diet. Dietary protein gets absorbed into the bloodstream and provides a more readily accessible source of energy than the proteins found in the muscle tissue. Thus, more protein coming in makes it less likely that muscle proteins will be used as an energy source.
After Weight Loss
High-protein diets can also be useful following weight loss. The reason is because once you’ve reached your goal weight, your next goal might be to start building muscle.
One way that protein triggers muscle building is through the regulation of gene expression. Certain amino acids that make up the protein you eat activate a gene which regulates mTOR, a special protein involved in muscle building. When activated, mTOR tells the cells to start building bigger, stronger muscles.
Amino acids that make up protein are also the building blocks of muscles. Without them, you wouldn’t be able to build, repair or maintain your muscles.
Ways to Up Your Protein Intake
Now that you know that protein and weight loss go hand-in-hand, finding ways to include more of it in your diet is important. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Include some protein in every meal and snack. Eggs and dairy products are good breakfast options, nuts and cheese are great snack options, and lean meats or beans are perfect for dinner.
- Keep protein-rich snacks on hand. Protein-packed snacks include – nuts, seeds, high-quality protein shakes and bars, jerky, hard-boiled eggs, and string cheese.
- Go Greek. When it comes to yogurt, Greek yogurt has the most protein per serving. One cup of plain Greek yogurt has over 20 grams of protein! Mix it with fruit and you’ve got a yummy breakfast or use it in place of sour cream and add a spoonful to your chili.
- Get creative with your protein powder. If you are getting tired of protein shakes, try mixing some of your protein powder into a baked oatmeal dish, sprinkle some in your pancakes, or add a scoop to your muffin batter. You can also try making your own protein bars that include protein powder or if you’ve got a sweet tooth, make some protein cookies.
- Diversify your protein sources. We all know meat is a good source of protein, but it’s definitely not the only source. Protein is found in nuts, seeds, legumes (like peas and lentils), beans, eggs, whole grains (like quinoa) and dairy products.
One last thing. There is such thing as too much protein… so don’t overdo it. If you want to know exactly how much you should be eating, shoot for around 1.2-1.5 grams of protein per kg of body weight. Going a lot higher than this for a long period of time can mean that you are missing out on other important nutrients that are only found in carbs and fats.
Also, very high protein diets can be difficult to adhere to long-term. Because adherence to diet is hugely important when it comes to successful weight loss, you’ll want to find a diet that you enjoy enough that you are willing to stick with it.
LifeVantage Can Help!
PhysIQ is a unique combination of products that, when used together, help to rebalance your body’s internal weight management system. The System works by providing a solution for each of the major weight loss offenders. PhysIQ Protein is a convenient way to get some extra protein in during the day.
Check out the article Not Losing Weight: These 3 Reasons are To Blame to learn more about PhysIQ PROTEIN.
If you haven’t already, check out the first article in this series – Step 1. Boost Your Gut Health.
Dying to know the third step to successful weight loss? Click the button below to find out.
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Weight Loss Step #3