Is it possible that your body has a protein seeking mechanism?
A special reflex…
Something that makes you want to eat until protein requirements are met.
What if it is IMPOSSIBLE to override this mechanism long-term?
Maybe protein intake is the #1 key to weight loss?
Perhaps a diet with a high protein ratio automatically causes you to consume fewer calories.
…and a low protein ratio requires A LOT more calories to satisfy your protein seeking mechanism’s needs.
“It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear! And it absolutely will not stop, ever.”
I’m not saying this is 100% accurate.
These are theories that are still being researched.
I do think there is evidence to support this.
Maybe all our body really wants is protein…
…and all of the fancy diets out there are just a bunch of Foolish Games.
“And these foolish games are tearing me, you’re tearing me, you’re tearing me apart. And your thoughtless words are breaking my heart. You’re breaking my heart.” – Jewel
Sorry about the Jewel song.
I’m typing this on a Friday afternoon and just thinking about funny Karaoke songs to sing.
It makes me laugh to think that this now on a fitness blog.
So, your body wants protein.
(You’re always crazy like that.)
I’ve always focused on the minimum amount of protein to maintain muscle.
Maybe the focus should be on getting the amount of protein your body craves while keeping in a deficit (if fat loss is your goal).
What is interesting is that my go-to diet that I’ve written about for 10+ years is my 2 Shakes and Chicken Salad Diet.
No need to click that link.
Here’s a summary:
- Drink a 30-40 gram protein shake for breakfast.
- Drink a 30-40 gram protein shake for lunch.
- Eat a salad for dinner with 1-2 chicken breasts and vinegar based dressing (I like rice vinegar).
- If you are especially hungry, eat an apple after dinner.
- If you are still hungry, eat a cup of cottage cheese before bed.
It’s an old Facebook Note I wrote that went viral. This note has also ranked #1 in Google for “Chicken Salad Diet” for years.
Google always loves posts that take me 5 minutes to write, but not fans of the longer stuff (drives me nuts).
Note: I don’t want to get WAY off topic, but my first fitness blog ranked in top 5 in Google Images for the term “butt” for 7 years. Not sure if people searching for just the word “butt” is my target audience.
I think this diet works so well because it covers the protein requirement in very few calories (1,200-1,400).
There are a TON of ways to tame the protein-craving beast.
This is just an easy one that works well.
All of the foods I eat when dieting tend to be low-cal with a good amount of protein.
Here’s a series of blog post about my bland fat loss meals.
Here’s another Friday night Karaoke jam for ya.
Awww yeah… let’s slow it down a little.
“You can look at the menu, but you just can’t eat. You can feel the cushion, but you can’t have a seat.” – Howard Jones
I discuss how the less rewarding the food is… the less you will eat of it.
I didn’t discuss protein in great detail in this post.
I also don’t want to go too deep into the science of protein and signaling in this post.
(It’s Friday and my brain isn’t up to the task.)
Richard Nikoley has already written a detailed post on what I’m calling your “protein seeking mechanism”.
Unfortunately, over on his blog, Richard doesn’t have old-school slow jams that are awesome to sing Karaoke to…
…but I know someone who does 🙂
“A man can tell a thousand lies, I’ve learned my lesson well. Hope I live to tell the secret I have learned, Till thennnnn… It will burn inside of meeeee.” – Madonna
How much protein will tame the beast?
My chicken salad diet puts me at about 150-200 grams of protein per day, depending upon how much chicken.
You can maintain muscle on less than this.
…but the higher protein may simply reduce food cravings.
I’m rarely hungry when I follow this short-term diet.
I’m sure everyone is different.
I’d recommend trying that as a starting point.
150-200 grams of protein is 600-800 calories.
Then just figure out what mix of carbs and fats you want to hit your daily calorie total.
One final Karaoke jam… this one is only for the sexy people.
“But I will go down with this ship. And I won’t put my hands up and surrender. There will be no white flag above my door. I’m in love and always will be.” – Dido
Why do we stop eating when protein needs are met?
This is a really interesting theory: Perhaps the body does this to protect itself from consuming TOO MUCH protein.
The appetite is reduced as a protective mechanism.
UPDATE: I’m currently experimenting with a low protein diet. Results have been positive and surprising.
There is a lot more to learn here.
I don’t have all the answers yet.
…but I am not afraid to ask powerful questions.
“You toooook your coat off.”
“And stood in the rain.”
“You’re always crazy… like… that.”
As a former fitness coach to fashion models, I can teach you how to increase muscle definition without adding size.
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