Why Protein is Powerful For Losing Weight

When you look for dieting advice you tend to hear the same old thing about avoiding foods, counting calories, ditching carbs, eliminating fat.  But advice tends to avoid what is best, sure they might give you a few, boring, options but they don’t tell you why – and often they give wrong advice.

One of the worst pieces of advice that tends to get given is to try limit your protein intake.  This is wrong, pure and simple.  Not only is protein good for you but it can actually aid the weight loss.

Protein and Weight Loss

The problem many people giving weight loss advice have with protein is two fold

1)      it can increase muscle

2)      it is often associated with fatty foods

To address the second point first – yes protein is found in a lot of fatty foods.  But it is also found in a lot of healthy, lean foods.  Foods such as chicken breasts, turkey, mushrooms and more.  Protein is not unhealthy in itself and plenty of very healthy foods are packed with it.

Yes muscle can increase muscle, which if you are just trying to lose weight (rather than tone up at all) can be a slight hindrance, but also a blessing.  Muscle burns more calories than fat, even when you aren’t doing anything.  It also burns more calories than not having the mass (naturally), so having some muscle will burn more calories.

Don’t think this means you’ll end up looking  like a body builder.  It takes an enormous amount of time and effort to build that much muscle.  Cardio exercise and low weight, high repetition weight lifting will strip fat whilst developing lean muscle that will have you looking trim and toned rather than muscular.

Why You Shouldn’t Skip Breakfast

Some describe it as the most important meal of the day. To others it is something that is better left skipped in an effort to lose weight.  But which is the truth?  Is breakfast a must eat or something you can safely ignore? 

This may surprise you by fat loss studies have shown that eating breakfast will actually help you to lose weight!  Obviously we are not talking about a calorie and fat laden fry up here, but a healthy cereal or some yoghurt and fruit can set you up for the day, help stop you from feeling hungry. 

Why does this work? 

How a Breakfast Helps You Lose Weight 

1. When you sleep your body’s metabolism also sleeps.  Your calorie burning slows down.  To bump start it you need to eat, otherwise your body will be in permanent ‘starvation mode’ and you will be using less calories to do simple things.  This can add up to make a big difference.

2. By eating when you get up and before you are hungry you are less likely to eat a lot at lunch time – as your body will already have been provided with some of the fuel that it needs.  By having breakfast you stop yourself from needing to ‘pig out’ at lunch, which is often the hardest meal to do healthy – with eating out when in the office etc.

3. You stop yourself snacking.  Having an instant hit of energy that continues throughout the day you are far less likely to snack than if you skip and start feeling peckish.  Considering how unhealthy many snacks are that is an important difference.

4. A good size breakfast stops you thinking from about food.  You eat more when you think about food – that is why dieting can be so hard, it is always on your mind.  If you eat breakfast it is far less likely to be playing on your mind throughout the day.

The Importance of Goal Setting in Weight Loss

We are complicated creatures. We have a number of conflicting driving forces, from our natural, almost animal instincts to our often contradictory conscious decision making and wishes. It can be hard to motivate ourselves to keep going down one path – we tend to listen to different motivations at different times.

Sometimes the motivation to lose weight will be strong, and we won’t even be tempted by that tub of ice cream sitting in the freezer. Running out in the cold and rain will seem worth it. But then other times we wonder why we even care, we feel the call of chocolate or the sofa and it can be hard to resist.

Goal Setting and Weight Loss

With so much contradictory motivations causing us to act in certain ways how then do we keep ourselves focussed on trying to lose weight?

First of all let us say that you will slip up from any plan you put in place, it is human nature. Accept that it will happen and don’t give up on your weight loss plan when it does. Just get yourself back on track and accept that the slip up was part of the ‘journey’.

More important is goal setting. Goal setting falls into two different types.

1. Short term goals
2. Medium to long term goals

and both types are important to losing weight.

The long term goal is usually what makes us decide that we want to lose weight. The idea of losing 10lbs, 20lbs, 80lbs – whatever you may want, is what will trigger us to start in the first place… and so it is an important motivating factor.

From time to time, when you lose sight of why you are trying to lose weight, it is important to remember that long term goal. Remember what you wanted to look like, remember why you are doing this. Use it to keep yourself on track, to see the ‘bigger picture’, and remember it is the picture that is bigger – not you!

We are often motivated by the here and now though, which is why short term, achievable goals are so important in weight loss. A short term goal will help keep you from straying right now. Want to lose 2 or 3lbs this week? You know you won’t do it by reaching for the ice cream. So a short term goal is more likely to effect your decision making in the ‘here and now’.

What the goals are depends on you, what you are trying to achieve and how well you know your own mind and body. But 99% of the time goal setting is a powerful tool to help you stick to a weight loss regime, so don’t skip it out and decide on the general ‘I just want to lose weight’ idea instead – that won’t get you anywhere.