What do you think of when you hear the word weight loss? Your mind may go to a time when you were restricting certain foods, experienced an increase in cravings, and felt ravenous.
If you don’t hire a professional, you may have drastically decreased your calories, swore you wouldn’t go through another drive-through and may have even skipped meals.
We’ve all heard about the importance of a calorie deficit, but what about making sure you are eating enough protein? Protein can make your weight loss journey much more pleasant and keep you feeling full and satisfied for longer.
Why am I Hangry?
When you are chasing a number on a scale, the likelihood of you having cravings is high. Why is it that the moment you say you aren’t going to eat something, you suddenly only desire that food?
Constantly telling your mind that you can’t have a particular food, will only make you want it more. Think about when you were a child and your parents told you not to do something, what would you typically do? Exactly.
Limiting yourself to 1,000 calories all week only to consume 2,000 calories or more on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Only puts you in a vicious cycle that will lead to weight gain and a poor relationship with food.
The key is to master balance and make sure you are properly fueling your body with key nutrients like protein. What if instead of the example above, you ate 1600 calories daily and allowed yourself to have the foods you enjoyed while pairing it with protein.
How Protein Can Help?
If you are looking for a tried and true solution for weight loss, look no further than a diet filled with high protein. Protein has been researched and proven as a beneficial method to manage weight to prevent and treat obesity for over 20 years(1).
Protein can impact your “hunger hormones” in a positive way that leaves you feeling satisfied and full. This can help prevent you from overeating throughout the day and is a great reason to start your day with a high-protein breakfast.
Fear the loss of your muscle while losing weight? Make sure you are eating sufficient protein while in a caloric deficit. If you find yourself saying “I want to be toned” you’ll also want to benefit from a higher protein diet.
Aside from weight loss, a higher protein diet can also potentially lead to improved health markers like blood pressure, blood sugar, and waistline(1).
How Much Protein to See Benefits?
Aren’t sure how much protein you need each day?
Aim for 30 grams of protein at meals to reap the benefits of a high protein-focused diet for weight loss. For quick reference, a piece of chicken or steak that is around 3-4 ounces is the size of your palm.
If you’ve never measured out protein before, don’t shy away from grabbing a food scale to become familiar with different portion sizes. Each ounce of protein provides around 7 grams of protein.
If you follow a vegetarian or vegan approach, you can also reach this higher protein goal. You can try foods high in protein like seitan, tofu, edamame, quinoa, chickpea pasta, lentils, beans, and many more!
Three Ways to Eat More Protein Daily
Eating a diet high in protein can seem a bit overwhelming at first, but like anything else all you need is a little practice. Here are three tips and tricks to get started on the right foot.
1. Start Your Day With a Protein Boosted Smoothie
Grab a high-quality protein like this chocolate protein shake powder from Naked Nutrition and blend it with 1 cup of raspberries that are packed with fiber and peanut butter for a source of fat. The fiber will also help to keep you full throughout the day!
2. Skip The Coffee and Donut Snack at Work
We know it’s easy and convenient, but try something like steamable edamame, crackers, and hummus for a balanced snack to keep you feeling satisfied and energized.
3. Prioritize Protein Post Workout
Prepare by grabbing some beef jerky, a protein shake, or chocolate milk for after you workout. This will prevent you from becoming a kitchen helicopter flying around feeling ravenous after a hard training session!
What You Need to Know
If you want to have successful weight loss you need to make sure you prioritize protein. Regardless of what kind of diet you follow, you can reach your protein goals on a daily basis through various sources of plant and animal-based protein.
You’ll need to be prepared and have a plan incorporating tricks such as the three shared above. You can start with one trick and implement the others in the following weeks. Slow and steady always wins the race!
Once you have reached your weight loss or body composition goals, the next step will be maintaining that new physique. Protein is just as important during maintenance as it is during weight loss.
Now it’s time to make sure your grocery list for the week and start planning for success. Make sure you have options like chicken, beef, fish, quinoa, edamame, tofu, and more for a diet packed with protein. Best of luck!
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