The most healthy and sustainable way to lose weight requires a shift of body fat while maintaining and stimulating lean muscle mass. Why? It is your lean muscle that is the metabolically active part of you and will determine the rate at which you are able to fat burn when resting, while you’re sitting at your desk all day or sleeping in bed. It is important that we fuel the body so that we can retain a healthy level of muscle. One way to fuel your body is by increasing your intake of protein.
It is important to understand that having a high muscle density, does not mean you will get ‘big’ or ‘bulk up’, you’ll become a leaner, more compact version of yourself and far more toned!
There are many healthy benefits which come about with having lean muscle on your side; your bone density goes up, you become stronger, you have better blood sugar control, you look more attractive and have a healthier amount of energy.
There are three healthy and effective weight loss tips that anyone can do which includes increasing your daily intake of protein:
Tip #1 – The master regulator of weight loss is creating a negative energy balance i.e. you must burn more energy than you take in. 10% of a calorie deficit is about right so that you don’t feel hungry and still enjoy life and you’ll see some healthy weight loss. Do not ‘starve’ yourself and reduce your calories so low as it isn’t maintainable long term and you’ll only play havoc with your metabolism. Your body will down-regulate and become more efficient at working on fewer calories and when you up your calories to a maintainable amount / normal eating, you’ll put all the weight back on again and more.
Tip #2 – Ditch the scales. DON’T use them! Don’t use the scales to steer your weight loss success because muscle weighs more than fat so it’s a pointless method of measuring how well you are doing. Instead go by your measurements and how you look and feel! Scales do emotional damage, especially when you weigh yourself in the morning and the dial hasn’t gone down.
Tips #3 – Make sure you have enough protein in the day. Protein will help to preserve your lean mass while cutting calories and it keeps you full so you are less likely to over eat. It is also the most thermogenic (energy burning) of all the macro nutrients (proteins, fats and carbohydrates) to digest so you burn calories just digesting it. You can easily add more protein into your diet by adding a scoop of protein with your morning smoothie, spread almond butter onto a pear or enjoy a handful of nuts with an apple, and make sure to have protein with your lunch and dinner.
Protein plays an important role when trying to lose weight and has tons of other benefits. Some of these benefits being:
- Healthier appearance – a leaner look is a generally accepted as a more attractive shape.
- Higher bone density – low protein intake is associated with low bone mineral density and greater fracture risk.
- Immune system – your body uses amino acids found in dietary proteins to help build proteins that help make up your immune system. For example, immunoglobulins, also called antibodies, are proteins that circulate in your blood and make up key components of a strong immune system.
- Brain function – most neurotransmitters are made from amino acids obtained from the protein in food you consume. Neurotransmitters are the brain chemicals that motivate or sedate, focus or frustrate you.
- Major contributor to BMR (basic metabolic rate) – at rest your body will burn more calories for having a higher density of protein in the body.
- Endurance – amino acids help to build and repair muscle fibers to give you more power and stamina.
- Strength – higher muscle concentration is associated with increased strength.
- Blood glucose regulation/ insulin sensitivity – lean tissue mass acts as a sink for glucose so the more lean tissue and muscle mass you have the more glucose you can dispose of in the muscle so the better control of blood sugar levels and reduced risk of type II diabetes.
- Healthier fat levels – as you have more fat burning potential in you.
- Injury – you are less likely to fall and injure yourself if you have more muscle mass on you.
Add more protein to your daily diet and watch your weight loss increase. It is an easy way to help you reach your weight loss goals!