That's such a click-baity headline, I know. But I did it anyway because I suck at headlines and I'm experimenting, ok?
When clients want to make nutrition changes, I teach a habit based approach, something that I learned during my certification process with Precision Nutrition.
This means that rather overhauling your entire diet on day one, we choose one habit to focus on for each week. Usually, we start with keeping a food log. Often, just writing down everything you eat can help you find some of the hidden calories that it's easy to forget about at the end of the day. Unmeasured salad dressing, the croutons you pop in your mouth while cooking dinner or the handfuls of nuts you eat in the afternoon.
Then we reduce processed foods. (Your body has to work harder to break down a handful of peanuts than it does two tablespoons of peanut butter). From there we focus on chewing slowly and paying attention to hunger cues. Are you really hungry at 10:00 a.m. or are you tired of answering emails and eating a snack out of boredom?
Once we've worked on these habits we start looking harder at the macronutrient breakdown. If you're unsure what a macronutrient is, check out this post here.
One habit I encourage is to increase the overall protein intake for the day, and the recommended starting point is 100 grams. You’ll see many different recommendations on the interwebz when it comes to protein consumption, but if you’re just beginning to make dietary changes, 100 grams is a good starting point.
There are multiple reasons that a high protein diet can help with fat loss. Protein is satiating and helps you stay fuller longer. It helps build lean muscle, especially when consumed after a strength workout. And it has a thermogenic effect, meaning that your body has to work harder to process the foods and you burn more calories in the process. (This is what people mean when they talk about the meat sweats…no I've never had meat sweats...)
Many clients come in feeling as though they enough protein, but when we begin tracking their food, they quickly realize that they consuming much less than they originally thought. So to help get you started, here is a sample of what a 100 grams of protein in a day might look like.
Breakfast: Smoothie - 40 grams
In the image above, one scoop of protein powder is 23 grams, 1/2 cup of greek yogurt is 12.5 grams, and 2 tbsp. of PB Fit (not pictured) is 4 grams. One cup of almond milk, ice cubes, and some spinach or green powder and you've got almost half of your protein intake for the day. Total calories are under 300.
Lunch: Cottage cheese, chicken breast, spinach salad - 47 grams
1/2 cup cottage cheese - 15 grams
4 oz of chicken breast - 32 grams
Right now, you're almost to 100 grams of protein half-way through the day, and once again, you're around 300 calories.
Dinner: Salmon and steamed brocolli- 40 grams
If dinner is half of a salmon fillet, now you're at almost 120 grams of protein for the day. Boom.
Now there are a ton of different factors with this recommendation. One is assuming that you like seafood, and you may not. And another is assuming that you like and can eat dairy. The above suggestions are only scratching the surface of possibilities. You can also get protein from grains such as quinoa and spelt, nuts and soy products and chicken and turkey.
Questions? Thoughts? Stories?
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