Saturday, April 9, 2011

Christmas in April & Protein 101

It looks like Christmas outside. I'm convinced that Mother Nature has decided that April Fools Day should be extended into April Fools month because this is a joke! Snow for the past few days...boooooo.

It is kinda like Christmas today in the fact that I get to announce the winner of the Springtime Mix Giveaway!
The winner will get this months mix...
AND...because I love circuits so much...
Some gear to help you get into your own circuit groove! Awesome for at home workouts or even some cross training to spruce up your routine. I also love having a timer for core work! No cheating when the seconds are counting in front of you!
And the winner is...
JEN from Why I Run!!!! Merry Christmas!
She is absolutely amazing! Her blog is so incredibly inspiring, and she is a minimalist runner which AMAZES me. Check it out if you haven't already!! :) Congrats Jen! Email me your info at megolina21 at gmail.com and I'll get your package sent over to you!

I've mentioned this week in my goals for the week and in my power up your protein post, that I am trying to get in about 100 grams of protein per day. Some of you asked why I am doing that. This is a GREAT question, so I thought I'd give you a little Protein 101. Here is why protein is so important...

- Protein is satiating. It will fill you up and help you to stay full. If you are looking to lose weight, eating a diet higher in protein can help you to consume less calories because you aren't as hungry. Fiber can do the same thing, so combining the two is MONEY.

- If you are creating a caloric deficit in the body by either working out a ton and burning lots of calories, or eating less so your body isn't receiving as many calories your body will have less carbohydrates to burn for fuel and will look to burn something. By eating less carbohydrates we are wanting the body to burn fat instead of lean muscle mass, however when we don't get enough protein in our diets the body will start using lean muscle mass for fuel. NO BEUNO. This can result in a decreased metabolism and stunted weight loss. Moral of the story here...eating enough protein will help the body to burn fat.

-Protein is the main component of all of the cells of your body. It is needed to rebuild muscle when it is broken down. This is why protein is SO important for those who are working out a lot. We have to have that source to properly rebuild our muscles. 

-Your body requires more energy to break down protein. Carbohydrates are quick sources of energy for the body. It is the bodies go to source for energy. It also will cause higher increases and drops in your blood sugar.

When you eat something high in carbohydrates it causes your blood sugar to rise. Your body likes to be at a state of homeostasis, or a "normal state," so your body will then release a surge of insulin to bring your blood sugar level back down. If your caloric intake was really high in carbs (Think candy, sugar, white flour) your body will release a LOT of insulin. Once the blood sugar level is regulated there may be too much insulin left and this causes you to feel lethargic and to crave something carbohydrate-ish to bring that blood sugar level back up. (Which is why eating a lot of sugar only causes you to crave more sugar. Makes sense, right?)
Because insulin is the main storage hormone of the body, excess insulin in the body can cause fat storage, and can trigger the body to stop breaking down fat for energy. Think about it if there is extra insulin in the body it WANTS you to have carbohydrates in the body because that will bring the body back to it's normal state, so instead of breaking down the carbohydrates it is going to store them as fat. I hope that made sense...

-When I eat the adequate amount of protein and cut down on sugar and high carbohydrate foods I notice my body is leaner and my muscles are more toned and defined.

******IMPORTANT TO KNOW******
So many people read that they need to eat more protein and so they add a protein shake into their day and maybe a protein bar, or whatever it may be, and then they are upset that they aren't losing weight. By just adding protein to what you are ALREADY eating you aren't doing yourself any favors. You are simply adding calories. Too many calories = weight gain. It doesn't matter if it's protein or 7,000 calories of green beans. Eating too much will cause you to gain weight. I am talking about a shift in the percentages of what you are eating now, changing your diet so you are eating more protein and less of all the other junk etc? Got it?

I also want to be sure you know that I am not trying to promote some sort of fat diet to you. There are so many good important nutrients out there. I am a firm believer in making sure to eat a variety of foods, so you get all of these nutrients, including whole grains and lots of fruits and veggies. I am still eating a lot of vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and fruit. I just happen to know my own eating tendencies. I don't tend to love foods high in protein, so it has to be a conscious effort for me. If I were to just eat whatever sounded good to me I'd probably only eat peanut butter and banana sandwiches, oatmeal, whole grain cold cereals, my heaping salads, whole wheat pita's and hummus, lots of veggies, and fruit. These are all great foods but you can see that there isn't a lot of protein to be found.

I really watch my percentages and try to eat
30-35% Protein
50-55% Carbs
around 15-20% Fat

I realize all those percentages don't add up perfectly, but those are my ball park areas. Many of you may already be eating enough protein in your diet because you like meat, so it isn't such a challenge for you. Remember that there is protein in beans, legumes, grains, fish, and dairy as well. Meat isn't the only protein option! 

Oh my goodness that was long...but hopefully helped out a little.


Do you have any more questions about protein in your diet? Please ask if you do, or if you feel like you need more clarification! Do you feel like you naturally eat enough protein, or is it something that you have to make an effort to do? I wish it was easier for me. It's a tough one, but I see the benefits when I do!

18 comments:

Rachelle Wardle said...

Thanks for this post Megan it is incredibly informitive. Yay for Jen she is great.

I really appreciate you sharing so much knowledge about healthy eating. I have learned a lot from you. I like you am not a big meat fan and when I added up my protein the other day I was well below 50 grams. I am working on it and it truly is just a matter of being conscious about it. Cottage cheese, black beens, tuna fish, and hard boiled eggs have been my recent go to proteins.

Thanks again you are just great! Have an amazing night.

Julia said...

AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! I AM SO EXCITED that Jen was the WINNER!! I am almost as excited if I had won myself. What a great person. She is SO amazing and I LOVE her blog. This really is like Christmas and I did not even win. haha.

Thanks for sharing about the protein. When I was injured I really tried to reorganize my percentages...meaning less carbs and more protein. I did not need the quick energy because I was not running as much but was working on toning (since it was the one thing I could do with a bum foot!) and figured the extra protein couldn't hurt...plus if I am not physically working my body why not force it to work by breaking down protein??? haha!

I have still not perfected this habit (as evidenced by the 3 lbs I gained this week probably due to the 3 bags of Easter m&ms I ate) but am DEFINITELY getting more protein than in the past.

I so appreciate your information...there was so much about protein that I did not know that motivates me EVEN more to work harder at getting my protein in. Have a great night fabulous friend :)

Mrs. JM said...

great post! i totally "get" the reasoning and the effort. i know for sure that i don't get enough grams of protein every day so i guess i'd say "no," it's not easy for me to get enough naturally. i have to think about it, like you. i'm excited to check out jen's blog. i finally feel like i found a great bunch of fitness/nutrition/running blogs to sift through everyday!

Mrs. JM said...

p.s. this weather is killing me too ..... i'm over it!

Lindsay and James Cotter said...

congrats JEN!! well deserved. And great protein post. my body handles fat/protein based meals better. I kinda do the same but with 25%protein, 30% fat.
:)

Heather Elliott @ the desire to run said...

Great post. I am new to reading your blog and this was a great first post to read. I now know that you have informative (and correct) posts. A lot of people will post info that they think is true, or they promote a new fad. As a student in a nutrition science class I know this information is spot on. If anyone ever doubted your validity, they are way wrong. Congrats on getting out a great message without sounding pushy.

Candi said...

You always have such good information you'e blog is very informative and motivating. I am trying to get more protien, and really have to think about it im a carb lover at heart !!! Thanks for the great nutricional tips !!!

runningonwords said...

I struggle to eat enough protein. It seems like a lot of good protein belongs in the refrigerator, which makes it hard to transport and a lot of protein enhanced foods contain soy, which I'm not allowed to eat.

Thanks for all the info. I need to be more mindful of my food choices and reading your blog is helping me to do that.

The Smith Clan said...

You do such a great job on your blog! Very imformative! Awesome give away! Just want you to know how much I love you! You truely are amazing!

marathonmaiden said...

thanks for all the info about why you're eating the way you are! i definitely eat a lot of carbs but i counted up my protein the other day and i was close to 100grams naturally. i guess i'm a true meat and potatoes girl :)

Jen said...

Yay! I'm SO excited! I'll email you my info today! I really need the music and am so excited about the timer. I'm going to have to hide it from my kids!
I loved what you said about adding in more protein but making sure that it wasn't just extra calories.
I get quite a bit of protein regularly, but there are days when I really have to focus on it. It seems if we have chicken or fish for dinner I'm great for the day because of everything else I eat. If we have french toast, I might be in trouble.
As always, great information!

Vanessa @ Gourmet Runner said...

Great information about the protein. My body definitely thanks me when I up the protein in my diet. I'm always looking for new ways to incorporate protein in my diet since I'm not a huge meat eater.

ashley & sundance said...

I think I'm going to hire you as my trainer/grocery shopper/nutritionist... you are like a bottomless pit of all healthy eating/exercise ideas/info...

Had so much fun at lunch today. Can't wait for summertime when we can veg by the pool (after our workouts of course) and spend all afternoon chatting away! :) so glad I met you! Love you! You are so freakin' awesome...

Natalie Cates said...

Love this post on protein! I feel like I talk about the benefits of protein all the time with my personal training clients and zumba family. You do such a wonderful job on your blog - I love it!

Getting the RDA of protein is pretty easy for me, but I try to get 80+ grams per day because of my workout schedule and activity level.

Much love!

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