Written by: Kelley Poulk, Personal Trainer & Group Fitness Instructor, O2 Fuquay
As we dive into diets and restricting calories, we have to remember what food is to our bodies:
Women are the most vulnerable for the fast acting items and fad diets– we want the results, like yesterday!
Ladies, I'm speaking to you this time!
Being a personal trainer and group fitness instructor, I am asked daily, “What should I eat?” and “How can I drop these last 10 pounds?”
My response is:
- Start with what you are eating, because clearly something isn’t working.
- Then, see what you are missing.
One third of women between the ages of 20 and 40 do NOT get their required dietary amount of one of the major macronutrients…PROTEIN!
Why do we feel that eating 2 rice cakes and a diet coke is sufficient for lunch and enough to fuel us throughout the day? However, we shy away from a glass of chocolate milk (soy, almond, cow…whatever tickles your fancy) or a lean piece of meat.
Protein begins assisting your body as soon as it is ingested. High - protein foods take more work to digest, metabolize, and use, which means you burn more calories processing them. Protein also takes longer to leave your stomach, so you feel full sooner and for a longer amount of time. Further, protein assists your muscles in recovery and BUILDING additional lean muscle mass. And, we all want more muscle!
So, how much should women be eating?
Well, experts suggest between 0.5 grams and 1.0 grams of protein per pound of your body weight. That's 70 grams to 140 grams a day for a 140-pound woman. Whoa – to consume our requirement, takes some planning! Clearly, this has to be monitored if you are highly active, or trying to lose weight OR both!
In 2009, the American College of Sports Medicine made the following recommendations for highly ACTIVE individuals (and note this is in Kg – which is approximately 2.2lb):
- Endurance events (training or engaging in 10 hours or more of more vigorous weekly exercise): 1.2 – 1.4 g per kilogram of body weight
- Resistance training (training for muscle hypertrophy or strength): 1.4 – 1.8 grams per kilogram of body weight.
The point is that we (males AND females) need to keep a pulse on our protein intake and make sure that we are eating to fuel our bodies, and not feed our cravings. Protein comes in all shapes and forms – protein shakes, protein powder, cheeses, fish, peanut butter and beans (for my vegetarian friends). Select what works for you and eat up!