Fit For Change: The Power of Protein in Weight Loss

Protein is an important macro-nutrient for everyone as it has many functions in the body (making enzymes and hormones, structure, function and regulation of tissues and organs, etc). Here’s a link for more info http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov. Most importantly, when you are focusing on losing weight, adequate protein is needed to preserve muscle and bone mass. Muscle is your calorie burning furnace so you want to maintain as much as you can or even increase muscle mass while losing weight. This way the quality of weight loss will be better. In other words, you’ll lose more fat (especially around your mid-section) and less muscle. This will offset the drastic reductions in metabolism that can happen with some weight loss programs. It will help you keep the weight off once you reach your goal!

Adding resistance training at least 2 days a week such as body weight exercises: lunges, squats, wall push-ups or other push-ups as you get stronger), using weights, tubing and/or exercise bands is also paramount to preserving or even gaining muscle mass. I will do a future posts with ideas for some simple resistance exercises you can squeeze into your daily routine.

So how much protein do you need while losing weight? That’s highly dependent upon factors such as age, sex, weight and activity level. Once you get past 50,  your body composition changes to be lower in lean muscle and higher in fat. However, you can put a stop to this by changing your diet and following  a specific, customized exercise program as you go through peri-menopause and menopause. A general rule of thumb would be to have 15-20 grams divided into 4-6 meals per day. The current American diet bottom loads protein. To reverse the trend of storing fat in your belly and developing love handles, start your day off with a high protein breakfast that also contains a little healthy fat and whole grains. For example a veggie omelet with a slice of Dave’s Killer Bread (21 seeds and grains) and a smear of mashed avocado or almond butter.

For more specific, customized nutrition and exercise prescription please register for my new Fit For Change by kj Program

The chart below will provide some ideas for foods to include at each meal to help you meet your protein goal.

High Protein Choices:

Food Calories Protein Grams Comments
       
2 Hard cooked eggs 130-140 13  
4 or ½ Cup Egg whites 69 14  
5.3 oz. Nonfat plain Greek or Icelandic yogurt 100 17  
2 Mini Babybel cheese 100 12  
 ½ Cup LF cottage cheese 80 14  
1 Scoop vanilla whey protein isolate powder 100-115 25  
2 Light String Cheese sticks 100-120 12  
1 Can tuna 100 21 Water-packed albacore
3 oz. Grilled chicken breast 128 25  
3 oz. Turkey breast 125 26  
3 oz. Smoked salmon 99 16  
3 oz. Canned Salmon 110 17  
2 oz. Grilled salmon 117 13  
½ Cup Chick peas 110 7  
1/4 Cup Tree nuts 160-200 5-7  
¼ Unsalted shelled peanuts 214 9  
Small Joseph ‘s Wrap 70 7 Check package Nutrition Facts Panel
½ Cup Shelled Edamame 94 9  
3 Pieces Sashimi 105 16  

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