The Importance of Protein for Your Weight Loss Goals
Protein is your magical secret weapon when it comes to weight loss. It is a key component that many people miss when they’re on a mission to lose weight.
1. PROTEIN PRESERVES MUSCLE MASS.
There is a difference between fat loss and muscle loss and how each will make your body look. If you’ve ever heard someone use the term “skinny fat” this is what we’re talking about. Fat loss will make your body smaller but will not preserve a tight, firm looking physique. Muscle is what creates your body's ideal, toned shape.
Protein’s key role in your diet is to preserve your body’s muscle mass. When you’re losing weight, your body is prone to losing muscle in ADDITION to fat.
If your protein intake is insufficient while you’re dieting down, you could be creating other issues for your body.
Your body uses protein for several other important purposes outside muscle preservation: it develops and repairs ALL tissues in the body, maintains pH balance, immune function, hormone regulation, and cell turnover. If your protein intake is too low while you’re dieting down, you could be hindering these processes.
2. IT INCREASES YOUR FEELINGS OF FULLNESS.
Protein also increases satiety by increasing appetite reducing hormones and reducing hunger hormone levels. In addition to this, it slows down your body’s digestion, leading to heightened feelings of fullness and, therefore, a lower daily caloric intake. That lower intake is what sparks weight loss.
3. IT TAKES MORE ENERGY TO DIGEST IT.
When we eat, our body actually burns calories in order to digest the food. Different food sources require different amounts of energy to complete digestion. Protein actually requires your body to use more energy than the other macronutrients (carbs and fats) to complete digestion.
This increases your overall daily energy burn (your energy out.) Weight loss happens when energy in < energy out so this improves your weight loss results.
WHAT TO GET
So now you know why you need protein in your diet to support your weight loss goals. The next step is understanding what your options are for protein sources. There are a number of foods you can add to your diet to increase your protein intake:
- Peanut butter
Just to name a few. If you would like a more comprehensive list of foods you can eat to fulfill different macronutrient targets (protein, carbs, and fats), I highly suggest you join the free 7 Day Jumpstart Challenge: Eat & Train to Build Your Dream Body. You will receive an extensive grocery list of macro rich foods and the nutrients they provide in addition to a week’s worth of workouts, an exercise database, and support via Facebook group.
In regards to protein powder, you have a couple of different options.
- Whey Concentrate: This is a great starting option if you’re new to the gym! However, it does contain lactose- this may make you feel bloated post consumption. Concentrate also provides a significant source of carbs and fats.
- Whey Isolate: This protein does not contain lactose, making it a great option for people who are lactose intolerant! It’s also great for people who are dieting down as it contains little to no fats and hardly any carbs. If weight loss is your current goal this is the best option for you.
I use this whey isolate for my own weight loss phases. It contains 24 g of protein per serving, 1 g fat, and 3 g carbs.
This is another great option for the coffee drinkers among us! I LOVE using this to make a protein rich frappuccino. It’s more fun than your everyday shake and allows me to get my caffeine and protein at the same time, killing two birds with one stone!
HOW MUCH PROTEIN SHOULD I CONSUME?
For my clients, I generally recommend 1g per pound body weight. This ensures that they get all the protein their body needs to support normal function while supporting their body’s muscle preservation throughout the weight loss phase.
If you’re looking for individualized help in reaching your personal weight loss goals this is a great place to start. Receive a plan that is entirely tailored to YOU - your likes, dislikes, time available to workout, etc. Together, we can get you to the body you’ve dreamed of having WITHOUT having to suffer through food restrictions and extreme dieting.