A diet comprised of high levels of protein is one of the most common components of weight loss diets around the world, from fad diets to ketogenic diets. While there are numerous reasons for this, a cornerstone of the protein-heavy diet is that without enough of it, muscle growth will not happen, and without muscle growth, metabolism and functional strength doesn't increase.
A study examined by MASS (who we are huge fans of, check them out!) goes over the safety concerns of having a high protein diet, as it is something that is brought up to us by clients from time to time who have done a little reading on their own about diet plans and how to change their eating habits. The main concern with a high protein diet is creating a loss in bone strength along with extra work for the kidneys, as it has been shown in studies (done a long time ago) that this can potentially be a problem. According to the more modern research examined in the above linked overview, this is not a concern for healthy adults that don't have other contraindications. If you are a missing a kidney, or already have bone density loss problems, then you should speak with your doctor before greatly increasing protein intake. However, for the vast majority of clients and athletes, upping your intake to levels where you can increase your lean mass effectively does not pose a risk.
Once you realize it's not a concern, we reach the next roadblock; how do you get enough protein in your diet? With the vast majority of our clients, once we have them start logging their food, it's discovered that protein usually makes up about 10-15% of their diets. This is especially common in american diets as we rely so much on fast food, processed carbohydrates, and "salads" doused in dressings. We like to see our clients who are serious about gaining muscle shooting for a minimum of 30% of their diet consisting of protein. This is not an astronomically high number, but when looking at changes to the "typical" diet, it often turns everything upside down! Once you start tracking and thinking about it, your attitude towards food will begin to change as you see it as a means to an end, rather than just something you need to get through your day.
If you have questions concerning how to go about adjusting your diet to better suit your goals and intake needs, shoot us a message! We are happy to help.
It's well known that exercise and a controlled diet are the cornerstones to weight management and healthy living. You'll hear different sayings thrown around, such as "it's 20% exercise and 80% diet!" or "just start exercising and everything else will fall into place". I'm not here to agree or disagree with those kind of statements, however, it is worth nothing that exercise indisputably has an impact on weight management.
The traditional method of weight management is to ensure that your caloric intake is lower than your energy output, usually by about 500 calories a day if you are looking to lose 1 pound of body fat a week. This very basic way of monitoring your activity and food intake should hypothetically lead to a very straight forward path to weight loss or gain, but in reality it is never that simple.
The ratio of macro nutrients (proteins, fats, carbohydrates) that are taken is is also important for managing body development, along with high level of physical activity, the latter of which I will be touching on.
In an interesting post over at the MASS journal, some anecdotal research shows that physical activity has a great impact on weight management outside of just the traditional calories-in/calories-out mindset. When test subjects exhibited HIGH levels of physical activity, body self-regulation of satiety and hunger was much more accurate than with those at low levels of physical activity. In fact, for the individuals no to little regular activity, the accuracy of how "full" one would feel became very inaccurate when compared to how much food as actually needed to sustain function. This poor response to the feelings of hunger leads to general weight gain, which is then compounded by the effect of having extra body fat, which further decreases the accuracy of perceiving feelings of being full or hungry.
A great way to go about utilizing this information in your own program is to examine just how active you are. If you are serious about losing weight, to truly maximize your weight loss potential it is important you stay in the "high" physical activity range. This doesn't have to mean that you are hitting a cycling class for an hour every day, but can be as simple as getting out of your chair once an hour to walk around, get some strength training in a few days a week, or go for a short walk each morning and evening. The more active you are, the more accurate your body will be with self regulating weight management, to a point. There is evidence that suggests that at very high levels of physical activity the self regulation mechanisms flattens out it's curve of accuracy, but that is not likely a concern of most individuals.
Have further questions on how to manage weight or increase physical activity in your life? Shoot us a message and we'd be happy to help!
"One of the biggest misconceptions about weight loss is that you will begin to lose weight right away..."
Weight loss is a tough subject, no matter who you talk to. Most of our clientele reaches out to us for weight loss programming as a way to help them feel better physically, emotionally and mentally; three aspect of health that we feel strongly about! While the idea of "eat less, exercise more" to lose weight may *seem* straight forward and to the point, it is almost always much more work than it might seem to take. Nine2Fit is a constant reader of Stronger By Science, a service provided by experts in the field, and will be using one of their recent articles on how weight fluctuates depending on your activities, or lack thereof!
One of the most common misconceptions and frustrations about weight loss is that when you start dieting, you will begin to lose weight right away. This myth is perpetuated by numerous fad diets that come and go, with most promising to get you to lose X lbs within 30 days, or a similar time period. The reason that this time period is so popular is because as long as you begin changing your intake drastically, your water storage level will begin to change almost immediately, often within the first week. This is because most Americans have a carbohydrate dominant diet (many of our clients, when first starting, have as much as 85% of their diet consisting of carbohydrate) and when carbohydrates are stored, large amounts of water is stored with it when it converts to glycogen. When watching your weight change, use weekly check ins, rather than daily check ins, for this very reason.
The second most common problem with weight loss goals are food intakes and the logging of them. With great applications such as Fitbit and MyFitnessPal, it has never been easier to log your food intake and keep track of your calories coming in. However, many studies show (linked at the bottom) that participants will often under-report their food when attempting to lose weight, and over report when attempting to gain weight. This can be due to not understanding portion size, or simply a subconscious choice. In the end, make sure you are using a food scale, and do your best to log your food. In our experience, over-reporting your intake by about 10% will help you be more accurate and reach your goals in a healthy manner.
Our last note to be made is understanding that everybody is different, and will react to dietary changes in their own way. This is not to say that some people simply cannot gain/lose weight, but that different types of diets often work better for different kinds of people. Exercise and health is rarely a one size fits all. Because of this, it is important to to combine a unique strength training program (to increase muscle mass and calories burned at rest, especially important for female clients) and a unique diet program that results in the fitness goals of the client. General rules of thumb such as focusing on protein intake, high intensity training, and micro nutrient needs will almost always be a recurring theme. Keep in mind that changing your weight takes effort; your body will (usually) naturally curb your appetite or increase it depending on your daily energy expenditures. Be intentional with your actions and you will see that changes you want.
If you are interested in getting a unique program set up for your goals, give us a shout by hitting the button below!