5 Ways Protein Helps You Lose Weight
Whether or not you are trying to lean up or simply see the scale budge, protein is going to be your B.F.F. If you are having trouble dropping pounds, chances are that you are not eating enough protein on a regular basis which can hinder your weightloss journey more than you might realize.
How much protein do you need? As a general rule of thumb, most women need about 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight although some ladies will need a bit more; especially if they are very active.
Protein has been crucial in my weightloss journey back when I lost 45lbs in 2010 and even after having both of my babies. Not only that, protein played a huge role during my pregnancy as I aimed to eat 1.5 grams per pound of body weight.
How does it help exactly? Read on!
Here are 5 ways that protein helps you to lose weight:
- Increased Thermogenesis. Did you know that simply eating food burns calories? Think about it-your body has to process and digest every bit of food that goes through your digestive system. This is called the Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) and it represents the energy required for the digestion, absorption, transport, metabolism and storage of all the foods you eat and accounts for approximately 10 per cent of daily caloric burn. Out of all macronutrients, protein has the highest TEF. This is due to the fact that protein is the most complex macronutrient and it demands a lot more energy because your hormones, enzymes, and other metabolites require it for processing. Simply put-if you eat more protein, you will burn more calories.
- Increased Satiety. Numerous studies have shown that when people increase their protein intake, they start eating fewer calories. While there is still much to be discovered on the topic, it could be due to the fact that protein activates satiety hormone release which helps you to stay fuller for a longer amount of time. This helps to stop those mindless cravings as well as managing your appetite. Now that I am postpartum and nursing a baby, I could really use all the appetite control that I can get! Nursing burns a lot of calories and it also makes you very hungry. At night, when I am craving something to snack on, I will grab a packet (or scoop) of protein and mix it with almond milk for a filling treat.
- Preservation of Lean Muscle Mass. Protein is the building block of muscle so it only makes sense to fuel and repair muscle tissue with just that: protein. By upping the protein in your diet, you will keep lean muscle mass on which, in turns, burns more calories. One important thing to keep in mind is that if you are cutting calories for a goal of weightloss, you will need to up your protein intake to prevent losing any muscle. During my pregnancy, I heavily relied on protein shakes to fuel my workouts because something that I noticed from my last pregnancy is that I lost a ton of muscle mass. This second time around, I kept my protein intake high and was able to build muscle even while expecting.
- Curbs Carb Cravings. Protein is super important when curving carbohydrate cravings. Most women do not realize that eating carbohydrates triggers the brain to crave more carbohydrates. Now, I am not saying that carbs are bad-I eat tons of carbs daily, but if you are wanting to transform your body or lose weight, protein is going to be the key player here. By consuming more protein, your body will stop craving as many carbs as it once did. This will lead to a greater feeling of fullness and you will see the scale start to budge. I am personally one HUGE carboholic! Eating protein filled snacks helps to keep me from constantly wanting to grab bread, cookies, pasta, etc. Don’t get me wrong-carbs are wonderful and essential, but protein is the true star for fat loss.
- Protein Changes Your Hormones. Remember how we discussed how protein keeps you feeling fuller for a longer period of time? This is all due to the fact that it affects the hormones in your body that signal hunger. Two important hormones that shape our appetite and hunger signals are leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is secreted primarily in fat cells, as well as the stomach, heart, placenta, and skeletal muscle. Leptin decreases hunger. Ghrelin is secreted primarily in the lining of the stomach. Ghrelin increases hunger. Eating a diet high in protein increases your Leptin levels while decreasing your Ghrelin levels and this is why protein makes you feel.
It is best to get your protein from whole food sources such as lean beef, poultry, and fish, but it is never a bad idea to keep a good protein powder on hand for when you need protein quickly. Another great thing about protein powders is that it delivers a large amount of protein at once so you do not have to go eat a huge steak in one sitting.. although I do love some steak! I use protein shakes 5 days a week right after finishing up my workout and I could not go without them in my daily diet.
I had the chance to try PrettyFit All Natural Whey Isolate. What I love about this protein powder is that it’s all natural and contains no artificial ingredients. This is important for weight loss since artificial sweeteners can negatively alter your natural gut flora. Also, zero grams of sugar? Yes, please!
This protein features:
- only 100 calories per serving.
- zero sugars
- <1g carbs
- no artificial ingredients
- gluten-free, non-gmo, lactose free
This protein is so convenient for moms on the go because they come in these little single serving packets that make it easy to stay on top of your fitness goals because you can take them anywhere you go! Want to try it for yourself? Use code FITMOM20 for 20% off any item at https://store.imprettyfit.com/collections/all.
Now, here’s a tasty dessert I have made using the Chocolate PrettyFit whey protein.
- 1 and 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips, separated into two different bowls (I used Hershey’s-nothing fancy)
- 1/2 cup coconut oil (I love LouAnna brand-plus it’s cheaper)
- 1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt (I love Fage brand)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar (brown sugar also works well since they have similar tastes)
- 1/4 cup PrettyFit Natural Chocolate Whey
- 1/2 cup oat flour (you can make your own oat flour by blending oats in a food processor or blender-make sure to measure after blending though**)
Optional Chocolate Glaze
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened vanilla almond milk (other types of milk work fine as well)
- 2 tablespoons vanilla Greek yogurt
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 9×9 pan with wax paper or grease with coconut oil.
- In a bowl place 1 cup of chocolate chips.
- Microwave the coconut oil and measure the coconut oil when it is melted.
- Pour the hot melted coconut oil over the dark chocolate and stir the chocolate until it is completely melted.
- Add in the Greek yogurt. Stir in the vanilla, salt, baking soda, and coconut sugar.
- Blend your oats, if needed. Add the flour into the chocolate mixture.
- Now add in the remaining chips and spread the thick batter into a 9×9 pan.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick or knife comes out clean. Be sure to check often during this time as protein powder recipes tend to become dry if over-baked.
- Remove from heat & let cool. I like to keep these in the fridge!
Optional Glaze (not so healthy, but better than most options)
- Combine 1/2 cup chocolate chips in a bowl with milk and microwave for 20 seconds at a time until completely melted. Be sure to stir the chocolate after each go around.
- Stir in the Greek yogurt and then whisk in the powdered sugar.
- Start with 3/4 a cup and add as needed, cover in an air tight container, and then refrigerate for an hour.
- Remove from the fridge and cover the brownies with the glaze.
- Cut into 9-12 pieces and enjoy.
Disclaimer: I was given PrettyFit whey to test, at no cost. All opinions are my own.
Your trainer and friend,