Do you have trouble getting to the body composition you want? Do you find yourself often hungry or overeating unless you count your macros… which then feels restrictive? What if I told you that one simple change could help you eat more moderately naturally, so you can easily keep muscle, and lose fat, without always thinking about food?
Well my friends, we have that solution. Protein. Protein is the most satiating macronutrient of all three macros (protein, fats, carbs). This means that when we eat and prioritize protein, it fills us up and keeps us full for longer. It also comes with a laundry list of benefits including:
- Helps balance blood sugar/ improves metabolism
- Builds, repairs and maintains muscle mass (which helps you get that “lean” look and be less sore)
- Improves energy
- Better mobility
- Better body composition
Now, what kinds of proteins are the best you ask?
Here is a basic list of our favorites (keep in mind to focus primarily on “complete protein” sources):
- Grassfed/pasture-raised beef
- Hunted meat of any kind
- Pasture-raised eggs or poultry
- Wild caught fish
- Raw or sprouted nuts and seeds (incomplete)
- Collagen from bone in meat or bone broth, or quality powder (incomplete)
If you find yourself hungry between meals, you’re likely not getting enough “complete”, or whole food/animal sources of protein. Most whole food sources of protein are paired with a fat. And if we are getting quality sourced, and mostly animal based protein, it’s going to satiate us even more. A little fat paired with the protein will hit the sweet spot with giving you the power to go 5-6 hours between meals with energy and satiety. Now where many get confused is the thought of – well if I eat that much protein, won’t I be eating too much fat and that will cause weight gain? This is where we have a shift in thinking that we need low fat, to lose weight (or even improve cholesterol for that matter). We talk about fat’s role in health and weight loss in this podcast episode.
Unless you are training over an hour a day at a high intensity level, you most likely don’t need a crazy amount of carbs, like most people tell you (we have another post on that). When you look at whole foods (what we are supposed to be eating), it’s naturally lowER carb and a bit highER fat than what most macro coaches or dieticians will tell you. And that is one way to do it, yet we find that not only is it harder to become satiated (aka you’re hungry all the time), but you’re also consuming way more refined foods when you’re trying to stay lower fat and higher carb, and this will often cause gut issues, which leads to a host of other symptoms and illnesses.
So where to start?
We recommend you start with 30g of protein at each meal as a minimum. And consume them within 30 minutes for your body to be most efficient with it (rather than sipping on a shake for an hour or 2). You may want to take a moment to google a typical meal you eat, or use a free app (MyFitness Pal) to calculate the amount of grams, to see where you’re at, and if you need to adjust. If you’re taller, workout more, and/or eat less than 3 meals/day, then that number will be higher than 30g. If you’re still feeling hungry with that number, then bump it up, see how it feels. It’s nearly impossible to to overeat when consuming enough protein.
“I just can’t eat that much protein.”
If this is you, I hear ya. I have tips to overcome the feeling of stuffing yourself with protein just to get it.
- Start slowly. Going from say 15g/meal to 40g is going to be really hard on your system. Try adding ONE more ounce of protein to each meal. Add an egg on top of your meal. Add a handful of seed crackers to your salad.
- Look at the rest of your meal – are you eating your carbs first, or do you have too many carbs or fats? Prioritize your protein first in your day, and in each meal.
- Get variety in your proteins. Instead of 1.5 chicken breasts for lunch, try half a chicken breast with a few eggs and a piece or 2 of bacon. Or a chicken sausage with some salmon. Add your favorite veggies, fats, and spices/salt to the mix and you’ll be much more likely to enjoy eating more protein.
- If you need to, you can try some protein “training wheels” such as a whey or beef protein shake to add on to meals or as a treat. Some seed crackers or greek yogurt are some others to add in.
Try focusing on protein for the next 30 days, and let us know how it goes for you! Try a pair of tight pants on now, then try them on again in 4 weeks. Take notes of the difference. I can almost guarantee that if you do this, you will lose unwanted fat, and it will feel almost effortless.
What to hear more on protein? Check out this episode on our podcast!