While I will admit there are many reasons why we ladies struggle to lose weight, I have found that many of those struggles share the same root issue- a lack of adequate protein in the diet. In almost every single consultation that I do, I find a variation of the same theme when it comes to nutrition… relatively low calorie intake, high carb intake, super low protein intake, and a woman STRUGGLING to stay low calorie and FRUSTRATED that the weight is not budging despite the fact that she is barely eating.
With every single lady when we begin to optimize protein intake… VOILA GOOD THINGS START HAPPENING.
So here are my top four reasons why my answer is an “ABSOLUTELY YES” to the question do you really need to eat protein for EFFORTLESS weight loss.
#1: Protein helps you stay fuller longer so that you don’t have to TRY to eat less- you just do.
Have you ever tried to stick to a specific number of calories or points each day and STRUGGLED because you were downright hungry? I have and let me just say that it is no fun. Here’s how I was finally able to remedy that issue- eat more protein. Although I initially kept my protein consumption low in an attempt to save calories and points, I realized that eating low calorie carbs like popcorn, pretzels, and cereals just made me more hungry. Protein takes longer to break down in the body and therefore keeps you fuller longer. So while you may “spend” more calories or points to get in your protein, the return is much better. I traded out my morning bowl of sugary oatmeal or toast for some of these protein rich breakfasts and it made a HUGE difference in my appetite for the rest of the day. I had more control and could eat less without trying at subsequent meals.
#2: Eating enough protein can help you avoid undereating and the lack of energy and eventual feeding frenzies that undereating can cause.
Every time you eat something, you are eating either protein, carbs, or fat. Considering that you are probably carb and fat conscious if you are trying to losing weight, undereating protein can often lead to undereating in general. Just think about it. If you are swearing off bread, pasta, crackers, and cereals, AND you are avoiding butter, nuts, avocados, and oils BUT you are also skimping on the meat, eggs, and high protein dairy, you are pretty much left with veggies AND AIR. While I highly recommend eating a ton of veggies, I don’t recommend that that is all you eat. If you are undereating, you won’t have much energy for your workouts or daily activity and when you no longer take being underfed, the feeding frenzy that will follow is likely to be HUGE and last for a long time. Both of these are counterproductive when it comes to effortless weight management.
#3: Eating enough protein can help you STOP overeating starchy snacks.
Before I get into this one, let’s clear up what qualifies as a starch because I get many women who tell me they don’t eat a lot of starch carbs. Then I get the food journal and I see goldfish, crackers, cereal, granola bars… you get it right? So if it is not a protein (meat, fish, eggs, high protein dairy), a fat (oils, nuts, avocado) or a vegetable, it is a starch. When we don’t eat enough protein, we are usually pretty hungry and that hunger (coupled with our effort to keep our calories low) is what drives us to graze on starchy snacks throughout the day. You know how it goes… a handful of popcorn between meetings, a few low fat cookies from the vending machine, a mouthful of your kid’s goldfish and voila you are packing in tons of starchy carbs AND sabotaging your results. No judgement because I have been there before. Here’s the funny thing that I have discovered. When I tell someone to eat more protein rather than telling them to cut out all of the starch snacks, the snacks seem to eliminate themselves and with that comes the effortless weight management that we are after anyhow.
#4: Eating enough protein can help you avoid accidentally taking in too many calories.
One of the questions I sometimes get when I talk about how protein helps keep you fuller longer is…Doesn’t fat make you full too? Of course it does. But let me ask a follow up question… have you ever tried to have a handful of nuts from a can? How did it work out? Did you stop after just a handful? Did you feel like you had eaten an adequate meal or snack? How long did it take for you to want something else to eat? If you are like myself, and many of the women I coach, adding fat to round out a meal with a moderate amount of protein and a ton of vegetables works way better than trying to use fat as a larger part of your meal. For most of us, although fat does slow down digestion, we don’t always feel satisfied when we try to get our nutrition from fat in the absence of adequate protein. So what happens next? We eat more. Not only do we consume more calories from eating again to satisfy our appetite BUT we inhale more calories initially because fat is very dense having MORE THAN TWICE THE CALORIES PER GRAM that protein has. When you optimize your protein intake, you can a little fat for increased satisfaction to feel full and satisfied without accidentally getting in a day’s worth of calories at one meal or snack.
Now that you know why you may want to eat protein for weight loss… how much is enough?
Watch the video below for the answer.
Everyone is different and there will always be someone who can do the exact opposite of what I mention here and get great results. If you are struggling to lose weight and keep it off without tracking every morsel and fighting fierce cravings, then just maybe the reasons I recommend eating protein for weight loss apply to you.
What did you think. Let me know in the comments below! And if you found this helpful or inspirational, be sure to share.