By far the question most asked about nutrition is “What is the secret ingredient to fat loss?” Most everyone claims they eat healthy most of the time and many do – but when it comes to having a solid understanding of what it takes for the body to shed fat many folks aren’t really sure. I hear answers like:
- restrict calories
- portion control
- cut out alcohol
- eat more veggies
- eat more times per day
- eat less sugar
And the list goes on. And on.
Although, many of those answers listed above can help accelerate fat loss, I never hear one of the most basic, fundamental pieces of the equation being talked about.
Eat MORE Protein. Or as Nick likes to say #PADLE (Protein All Day Long Every meal)
Why Protein Matters?
While protein surely is no secret, for some reason the importance of it’s role in fat loss gets forgotten.
When it comes to losing weight, what people really want is to lose body fat. In order to lose fat you’ll need to be in a caloric deficit, meaning consuming less calories than you burn. However, if you are not eating enough protein for your body’s daily needs, your body will break down your own muscle to get protein (amino acids) for use. So as you are using your own muscle for nutrients you will be losing weight, but not fat. And as you lose muscle you decrease your overall BMR (basal metabolic rate), which then means you need even less calories per day. Double Whammy :(.
Conversely if you keep your protein levels optimal, then your body will preserve and maintain your current muscle and instead shed fat. This is definitely what you want.
How Much Protein Do You Eat Per Day?
- A few eggs (2) at breakfast
- A few pieces of chopped chicken on your salad (3 ounces)
- Greek yogurt with berries (.6 cup)
- A handful of almonds (15)
This seems like a fair amount, right? You’d expect if you ate all of this protein in a day you’d be fulfilling your daily protein requirements?
Well, unless you weigh 100 lbs or less, likely, it’s NOT enough.
Eating everything I listed above would only give you about 50 grams of protein.
If fat loss is your goal, you’ll need adequate protein intake.
This is not only to help you shed fat instead of muscle tissue but also it does wonders on managing your hunger, cravings, and blood sugar.
What I’ve found coaching, especially with my female clients is that they are not consuming enough protein. Often times, they think they are. But when we write it all down and add it up – they’re simply not. They’re usually consuming less than half of what is adequate for their body weight. This can negate the efforts they’re putting in at the gym and in they’re diet to lose body fat.
How To Increase Your Protein Intake – #PADLE
The question that naturally comes up after we determine it’s time to increase protein consumption is “how do I fit more protein into my diet?”
I simply say, it’s time to start #PADLE
Protein All Day Long Every Meal.
Why? Because that is the only way you can actually get it all in. If you wait till dinner to try to squeeze it in you’ll need to eat a pound of chicken. Yes, a POUND. (I am not exaggerating). And who the heck wants to eat a pound of chicken?
Said no one ever. Except maybe this guy – Professional Competitive Eater Kobayashi. Ha!
For reference I like to eat between 30-35% of my total calorie intake in protein. That ranges to well over 100 grams per day. I eat about .75 grams per pound of body weight.
Just like with any new habit or sport, the more you practice the better and easier it comes. So start your #PADLE.
#PADLE – (Protein All Day Long Every Meal)
Your goal should be to get at least .5 grams or more per pound. So if you weigh 140 pounds, you should have at the very minimum 70 grams of protein. And if fat loss is your goal, maybe even more. So get to practice with #PADLE.
To help make this easier we’ve put together 5 ways Nick and I get in extra protein throughout the day.
1) Protein Shake: Our absolute favorite. (Here’s our go-to recipe). Find your favorite protein powder, this is ours – Whey Protein Isolate Natural French Vanilla Bluebonnet 2 lbs Powder. It’s a whey protein powder which has the most complete amino acid profile. If you can’t handle dairy you can try a protein powder that is plant based like pea or hemp. One scoop of powder can give you up to 20 grams of protein.
2) Protein Bar: This is a great way to have a more protein friendly snack while on the run. Most easy to transport snacks are heavy on the carbohydrates, with little protein. Ideally it’s best to get your protein in a clean form rather than in a processed bar. But sometimes you’ve go to just do your best. The Rise Protein Bar (RiseBar Protein Almond Honey, 2.1 oz. Bars, 12-Count) only has 3 ingredients while offering 20 grams of protein, a very good option. We also like the taste of the Quest Bar (Quest Nutrition Protein Bar Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Flavor, 12 Count, 25.4 Ounce) which has 20 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber.
3) Tuna Fish in a glass jar. I know, I know traditional canned tuna fish is gross. But I promise, today there is tuna that comes in glass jars soaked in olive oil that is absolutely delicious. Like this one – Tonnino Yellowfin Tuna Fillets in Olive Oil 6.7 Oz. Jar You have to take my word for it and try. There is something similar here in Costa Rica that we love. Up to 16 grams of protein per serving.
4) Beef or Turkey Jerky: Another on-the-go favorite. You can easily carry this in your purse or stashed in the car. Salty and can take the edge off when fighting cravings or hunger. Up to 9 grams of protein per serving. This looks tasty! Sweet & Spicy Beef Jerky, 5-Pack (100% Grass-Fed) – Grass Run Farms – Gluten-Free – No Antibiotics or Hormones (3-oz Pkgs)/
5) Deviled Eggs with Avocado: Dee-lissshhh. You’ll have to make these at home but you can keep them in the fridge for a quick and healthy snack. Protein (egg) + Healthy Fat (avocado)= Excellent Combo. Here’s a recipe. More than 6 grams of protein per egg.
So, are you up for the #PADLE challenge?
Let me know in the comments below if you’re in. What’s your go to protein snack? Also, how much protein are you eating per day? Are you eating enough? Do you have energy swings, hunger, or cravings throughout the day? Keep a journal on how eating more protein effects how you feel and keep me posted. I want to know where you protein sweet spot is :).
P.S. We only promote foods that we have tried ourselves and believe are quality, which is why we feel confident sharing them with you. For full disclosure, if you do purchase something from one of the amazon links included in this post we will receive a commission. It’s a small way you can support Saltwater Fit if you so desire:).