Posted by: jjiral | June 21, 2014

The Right Amount of Protein Can Increase Your Weight Loss Success

While researching how to design my weight loss program I learned that when you are cutting way down on carbs, it’s critical to eat enough protein so that your body will tend to burn fat instead of burning muscle.  On a low calorie diet which focuses on eating only low calorie vegetables, almost no fat and very little lean protein, your body has no fuel other than muscle.  You loose weight but the weight you loose comes from muscle.  That results in slower metabolism, which in turn will make it harder to keep weight off in the future unless you replace that muscle with strength exercises – lots of strength exercise.   And, ever notice that when you are eating a low calorie diet you tend to have very little energy?  That’s the vicious circle of ‘dieting’.

In addition, when your body creates energy it uses protein to produce new cells.  When you don’t eat enough protein, your body has to use the protein stored in your muscles for energy.  Eating protein increases blood levels of amino acids which also helps you feel more full, helps your body burn more calories and will help stabilize blood sugar levels (energy).  In fact, while not all nutritionists agree, significant research shows that higher protein diets are associated with retention of lean body mass during weight loss.  You want to loose flab not toned muscle – right?

And the best thing is that digesting and metabolizing protein consumes more than twice the energy as processing carbohydrate or fat.  So, you burn more calories when eating protein than you do when processing carbs or fats.  But since I’m trying to loose weight, I have to offset those protein calories by eating less carbs and starches.  And, since carbs and starches (potatoes, pasta, bread and chips) are so seemingly addictive for me, when I don’t eat them I don’t crave them.  So, I am eating some protein at every meal.

My basic meal plan is:
Breakfast – either a NuSkin TR90 protein shake, 2 scrambled eggs with spinach, picante sauce and a cube of cheese, an Atkins Day Break or Meal Bar, or an Atkins frozen breakfast meal.

Lunch – either an Atkins frozen meal or a salad (2 c. lettuce, 2 c. mixed veggies: chopped celery, bell peppers, radishes, green onions, mushrooms; 5 grape tomatoes, 3 oz. lean protein: tuna, shredded chicken, cheese; and 2 T salad dressing: with olive or canola oil and no sugar)

Dinner– 4-6 oz protein, 2 cups vegetables (not starchy: no corn, beans, potatoes, etc), and maybe a side salad

If I get hungry between meals or I know I’m going to eat really late, I have an Atkins snack bar or some vegetable sticks.  For now, I’m also eliminating nuts but I’ll add that back to my diet in a couple weeks.  And, since I’m also eliminating all added sugars, I’m careful of food labels, not eating fruit or any sweets, nor am I enjoying happy hour with alcohol (club soda with lime works for me most of the time).  But, I’ll add some of these items back on a limited basis in a few weeks.

I know this may sound pretty restrictive, but I’m not hungry.  And I’ve lost more than a pound a day so far.  I expect it will slow down some but I feel good and have more energy than I did before I started this journey.

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