Meeting protein needs is one of the most common diet struggles I hear from all women. I cannot stress enough that protein is essential for anyone trying to lose weight, maintain their health or get to their ideal body composition. All life is built with protein! However, when it comes to practical everyday nutrition it can be a difficult dietary change.
Are You Meeting Your Protein Needs?
The struggle to meet protein needs is the most common diet hurdle I hear from women online, my girlfriends, and even my mother and sister. I thought sharing how I have made this a priority in my health might help anyone who finds this to be a very difficult lifestyle change.
The Struggle is Real
I remember when I first started training with Scott he asked me about my nutrition after a few sessions. This is back in the day where I mostly subsisted on pizza, cereal bars and cheese sandwiches. He told me that he recommended eating my bodyweight in protein every day. Seriously? I almost feel off my stability ball! I weighed around 120 pounds at the time and did not even get close to that much protein in a week. I was a vegetarian which naturally cut down on my options. So I totally recognize that it can be difficult to eat that much protein when you are doing away with meat sources or don’t want them to be a focal point in your diet. Since that time I have introduced meat back into my life, but I meet my protein needs from a variety of other foods too.
The Science of Protein
A little heavy, but it’s helpful to understand the science behind the bikini. This is just the basics.
Protein is worth 4 calories for one gram of protein. It is utilized differently in the body than either carbohydrates or fat (your other macronutrients). It is known to increase metabolic rate because it takes more energy to break apart the bonds of protein energy. So this is one of the first recommendations you would give to someone looking to lose weight.
All cells, enzymes, and tissue are compromised of protein. If you want a sexy looking body then you need a sexy functioning body. Eating protein is essential for good health.
Protein makes us your muscles grow and also provides the body with energy. Fat has dual function in that it provides energy and building blocks for hormones and cognitive function. Carbohydrates only provide energy thus making them less important. You can survive without carbs and you can survive a long time without fat. But you cannot survive long term without protein. When put in starvation or survival situations the person with the most muscle survives the longest.
Protein in your diet is also solely responsible for the progress you will make from lifting weights.
You lift the weights to stimulate the muscle to grow, to fill out the bottom of your swimsuit, make the abs and you feed it protein to make muscle.
A Power Macro
Protein is every bit the Power Macro. Why you ask? Here you go.
- Fat burning
- Muscle building
- Skin Health
- Supports Cognitive and Immune Function
- Normalizing blood sugar
- Interpretation of hunger signals
- Protein forms muscle. Muscle provides soul regulation of fat storage and fat burning.
- Muscle mass regulates insulin.
Practical Protein Sources
So all this is great and all, but how do you actually meet you protein needs on a daily basis? Let’s talk about some easy swaps you can make to get closer to your protein needs.
»»Lean Meat Protein
You want to make sure you are eating large enough servings of protein. At a lot of restaurants you order a salad with chicken. The chicken is actually very stingy because it’s the most expensive ingredient. Pay attention and order a double serving if it looks smaller than your palm. You should also be stick to lean protein sources to make sure you aren’t overdoing it on fat. Very lean beef and chicken breasts are two great examples.
Find a tasty one you like! Order a sample to make sure it is something you like and play around in the kitchen to come up with a protein shake you look forward to having.
»»Easy Food Swaps
- Greek Yogurt vs. Regular Yogurt
- Quinoa vs. Brown Rice
- Ezekiel Bread vs. Whole Wheat Bread
- Beans vs. Croutons (Salad Topping)
- Omelettes vs. Pancakes
- Protein Bars vs. Granola Bars
- Almonds vs. Pretzels or Crackers
Adding protein to my diet has been a huge game changer in terms of developing my strength, but also my overall health. It took me a while, but I got it. I need protein. And so do you.
How About You?
- Do you get enough protein in your diet?
- What are your top protein sources?