Losing weight and/or fat can be difficult if you are struggling with hunger, cravings, and losing muscle mass.
If you are reducing your food intake and/or increasing your movement & exercise – you will likely start to feel hungry more often. Intense hunger and cravings are often the downfall of weight loss attempts! There are certain tools and methods you can use to manage hunger and make healthy sustainable weight loss more achievable! Keep reading to learn how…
Protein Can Reduce Hunger & Cravings
How does protein reduce hunger?
If you are reducing your food intake while trying to lose weight it is common to be dealing with hunger and cravings. Getting hungry between meals or struggling to feel full after eating can make it very hard to stay on track with your healthy eating. Protein is a very filling macronutrient that can help increase satiety and fullness, resulting in less over-eating or snacking between meals. Incorporating more protein into your diet is a simple and effective way to reduce these feelings of hunger and prevent you from giving in to unhealthy cravings.
How can I increase my protein intake?
There are many foods that are high in protein that will help to increase your daily intake – legumes (beans, peas, lentils etc), meat, eggs, dairy, nuts & seeds, and even some grains and vegetables. You should be getting most of your daily protein from these whole food sources, each meal should contain a good serving of protein to help with satiation and fullness. Protein powder supplements are a convenient and effective tool to easily increase your protein intake without significantly increasing your calorie intake too. So if you are struggling to increase protein intake from your food – adding a serving of protein powder into your daily routine can be a great way to increase protein and decrease hunger.
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Protein To Maintain Lean Muscle & Boost Metabolism
When you are losing weight and decreasing your energy intake (and/or increasing your movement), the aim is usually to lose excess fat tissue. Unfortunately while you are losing fat mass, you may also be losing a significant amount of muscle mass. Losing muscle mass will make the number on the scale drop – but that doesn’t make it a good thing! Lean muscle mass is what makes our bodies strong, toned and functional, and it also increases our metabolism as muscle burns more energy than fat. When attempting to lose weight you should be aiming to maintain as much lean muscle as possible and maximising fat loss instead.
Maintaining muscle mass while losing weight comes down to eating enough protein, and also ensuring you are still using your muscles through exercise and physical activity. To maintain as much lean muscle as possible you should try to aim to consume 1.5-2 grams of protein per kg of your bodyweight each day. For example – a 80kg person who is losing weight but trying to maintain muscle should be aiming for between 120 – 160g of protein per day. This is quite a large amount of protein and some people may struggle to reach these amounts but don’t stress about it too much! These numbers are just a guideline for ‘optimal results’, and as long as you focus on getting a good source of protein in each meal & snack – you should be on the right track!
How To Best Use Protein Powder For Weight Loss
- Replace snacks with a protein shake
If you find yourself feeling hungry between meals and craving something not so healthy – try adding in a protein shake as a nutritious snack to keep you full and prevent you from going off track with your healthy eating. Having a high-protein snack will keep you feeling full for a long time, and will also fuel your lean muscle to keep you strong and toned! Protein shakes are the most convenient on-the-go snack, simply mix a serving of protein powder with water (or milk if you prefer) and shake, done! Delicious and nutritious – the perfect way to fight off hunger between meals.
- Add it into your breakfast or post-workout meal
Many people struggle to get enough protein at breakfast – and unfortunately this can leave us unsatisfied and likely to feel hungry again in only a few short hours. If you love having things like smoothies or oats/porridge for breakfast, you can easily add a serving of protein powder into these meals to boost the protein content and keep you feeling much fuller and more satisfied! You can do the same thing after you exercise. If you feel hungry after working out, having a high-protein snack or meal will tackle your hunger and also provide your muscles with the fuel they need to recover and grow stronger!