Monday, July 25, 2011

The Power of Protein

I'm going to start off with saying that this is not the Atkins diet nor in MY OPINION should you follow the Atkins perscription. I believe a body in balance is more important. But protein is a powerful weapon in the fight against obesity! And in most of the cases, those who have had WLS are told that the key to your weight loss is PROTEIN! There's a reason one of the biggest rules to follow is: PROTEIN FIRST!

Top reasons you should be enjoying protein include:
  1. Protein provides greater satisfaction
  2. Less hunger after a protein rich meal
  3. Combined with exercise it will enhance fat loss & helps to maintain lean muscle tissue
  4. Diets in which 60% is lean protein show a reduction in Blood Pressure, LDL levels (bad cholesterol) and Triglycerides
So before you go out gnawing on a T-bone steak, remember that not all protein is created equal. You will still want to look for lean cuts of meats. Always chose nutrient rich foods that are lower in fats & calories.

So how many grams of protein should you be eating? Some experts recommend you should eat between 0.5-1.0 grams per body weight. And some of you just said *&%# I can't eat that much! Well, they (not me) say to eat toward the high end if you are heavily active and on the lower end if you are trying to lose weight. For me at my current weight and multiplying by the lower number, it is perfect. But most of you SHOULD have received guidelines from your surgeons on the optimal amount of protein to consume. My nutritionist gave me the guidelines of minimum 50-65 for women and 60-75 for men. Of course to lose weight you will need to consume a little more than the minimum requirements.

So where do we get our proteins from? And how do you take in that much? It really isn't as complicated as most think it is. PROMISE! What foods will help you whittle your waist while providing a high protein punch?
  1. Skinless white chicken breast (3oz-25g)
  2. Turkey (3oz-25g)
  3. Seafood (between 30-30g depending on your choice of fish)
  4. Low fat Dairy (8-22g depending on your choices)
  5. Lean Beef (3oz-25g)
  6. Lean Bison (3oz-40g)
  7. Lean Pork Tenderloin (3oz-24g)
Look for foods that provide 1-3 grams of fat per 50 calories when choosing your protein source.

So how should you break it down daily to maximize the benefits? Donald Layman, PhD, a professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois states that you should aim for at least 30 grams at breakfast. After fasting all night your body is running on empty and may start drawing on muscle tissue for fuel if you don't replenish it's protein stores first thing in the morning. Other studies have found that a protein rich breakfast can regulate your appetite for the remainder of the day! I'm hearing the groans from many of you and seeing the thought bubbles above your head! I know many of us can't eat first thing in the morning. I say to you-where there's a will, there's a way! Here is how I make is happen in the morning. I drink a 16oz cup of tea on the way to work and sometimes when I get to work I need another cup of it. Then I'm ready for breakfast. My choices range from scrambled eggs with cheese mixed with ground turkey w/taco seasoning (33g protein) or Greek yogurt w/ teaspoon of Peanut Butter (or 2 tbsp Peanut Flour 25g protein). Lunches run along the lines of salads w/ either chicken, salmon or shrimp in them. Or I make taco salad w/ ground turkey. My salads always have about 25-30 grams of protein. Other favorites are Chili or if I go out to lunch with friends it is a Chicken Burrito Bowl from Chipotle. Again all around 25-30 grams of protein. Dinner for me usually is FISH! I love fish and Barramundi is my favorite. Halibut is another favorite! I enjoy my fish with different salsas on top! Delicious! Or I make a mean stir fry with shrimp & scallops too! For sides I usually have quinoa or risotto and veggies. Eat your quinoa and you'll get even more protein.

So what about protein on the go or for snacking?  Most of us like veggies and dip right? How about making that dip with plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream? I mix Lipton Vegetable soup mix with plain Oikos Greek Yogurt and I'm satisfied and it's a protein boost! Friends of mine mix the dry ranch dressing mix with their Greek yogurt and enjoy it as a dip also. So what else is there?
  1. Turkey Jerky (most are 80 cals/11-13 protein)
  2. Light String cheese (60 cals/8 protein
  3. Turkey Sticks (45 cals/ 4 protein -eat two!)
  4. Roasted Soy Nuts (1/4 cup 17 grams of protein-nice change from almonds)
So basically you should break up your day into :
  • Breakfast 20-30 grams
  • Lunch 20-30 grams
  • Dinner 15-25
  • Snacks 5-10
And what about those protein bars and drinks? The advice given to me by my nutritionist was always to make sure that they are 200 calories or less, 15 grams of protein or more and less than 12 grams of sugar. She suggested we stay away from protein drinks (accept for post banding beginning stages and preop) unless you are having difficulty getting protein thru solid foods. I try to stick to this rule unless I need a drink to refuel me after a workout and I won't be having a meal for awhile or if Banderella is tight as can be and no solids are going down.

So remember, the moment you eat that protein it starts working on your waistline. It takes your body more time to digest, metabolize and use it which means your body burns more calories processing it! It also takes longer to leave your stomach (not pouch) so you feel fuller longer. So enjoy protein at every meal and watch the pounds drop off!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

What motivates you?

So many times I people say to me, "gosh I wish I had your motivation" or they ask where I get my motivation! Well my motivation comes from the strong desire to stay alive. Having been diagnosed with ovarian cancer 15 yrs ago and going thru many recurrences and struggling to stay alive. In 2007 my doctors told me that I only 12-18 months to live and right then and there I decided to choose life! Can I say to you that immediately I jumped on the bandwagon of weight loss. NO! But I started making small changes and finding out what I could do differently to impact my cancer journey. Not only my own health motivated me to get healthy but that of my family members. I watched my brother have numerous heart attacks and had watched my grandparents and parents suffer from all the comorbidities of being obese. Yet I followed their paths! Wake up call peeps! I didn't have to suffer the same fate as them! We all have choices!

So this weekend take a moment and sit with your thoughts and ask, why did I set our on this journey? What prompted me to make a change? Odds are it was more than simple poundage! Dig deep! Get in touch with the feelings that you are afraid to let see the light of day. Believe me, once they are out, they can no longer control you. Write a list of reasons you want to continue to get healthy. Then next to the same list, write the excuses you give yourself daily. Now which list do you think will help your goals come to fruition!? After that is said and done, write yourself a list of ways you are going to help yourself get to the end of the rainbow. Remember people, this is not a race but a journey of self discovery. It has been 27 months since I turned towards a more healthy lifestyle and on that journey I've discovered many things about myself. Some good, some not so good! But the fact is, I'm continuing to grow as an individual and I finally like who I am!

Enjoying a Jilly's Cupcake for my 15 yr cancerversary
 So you want to know what motivated my morning run? This...........

Now it's time for you to decide what's going to motivate you to move forward and grab your goals!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Are you journaling your food?

No matter what kind of diet or other form of weight loss you choose, statistics show that having and using a food journal is one of THE MOST important tools to success! Studies show that those who keep a record of what food goes into their mouth on a daily basis lose twice as much as those that do not! Twice as much! Things that make you go hmmmmmmm......................

So why is that?
  1. When tracking your food, you never underestimate the amount of food you are eating!
  2. It can help you to pinpoint a trigger food or if there is a time of day that you are most susceptible for snacking. This can help you to adjust your meal plans to ward off those times.
  3. Journaling can also help balance the nutrients you are taking in. Whether you are tracking your carbs, trying to stay under a certain gram of sugars or have to up your iron. If you are writing it down, you will be more successful in keeping track of those types of things.
  4. It can help you see where those added calories are creeping into your diet! Could it be the salad dressing you are eating? Those crackers you had with your tuna?
  5. Most importantly, it keeps your accountable for your choices!
So by journaling your food what do I mean? Journaling your food can be as simple as writing down what you eat on a post it daily; writing it in your day planner; carrying around an actual food journal or using one of the many online food journals available. What you use is a personal choice and one you must be comfortable with.

So what have I used? Or rather, what haven't I used. Being 2 1/2 yrs out almost, I've moved around and used many different things! In the beginning it was the post it or writing it in my actual journal. Then I started using What is nice about an online site is that you can meet new people who have a shared goal and compare notes! And boy does that keep you accountable!

So these days, I've started using I love this site. My nutrionist recommended we use it. My favorite part of this site is at the end of the day when you are finished you click a button and it says, "if everyday was like today, you would weigh XXX" Oh the joy in seeing a smaller number! And I've now got lots of support group friends and others to help me stay accountable!

So my questions isn't "what are you using?" but rather, "why are you not journaling?"