The Power of Protein

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Protein is one of the most important things we can feed our bodies. It’s known for it’s ability to burn fat and build muscle. Behind the scenes, protein is the building block of every cell in the body, ranging from your bones to your skin, and it keeps your body in top shape. Not only is it essential to our body’s functionality, it also has several awesome side effects that will have you looking and feeling healthier.

Let’s discuss some of the great things protein can do for us:

1. Lean Muscle Gain – Exercising purposefully damages our muscle tissue, only to be repaired and grow back stronger. Our muscles are a powerhouse for calorie burning; therefore, the more protein we fuel our bodies with, the more calories we can burn. When we begin replacing fat with muscle, our bodies burn calories to maintain healthy, lean muscle.

2. Speeds up your Metabolism – That’s right! Did you know that eating enough protein each day can actually aid in speeding up your metabolism, which will help us burn fat quicker? It takes a greater amount of energy to process protein than it does carbohydrates, so our metabolism increases when consuming higher amounts of protein.

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3. Weight loss and Weight Maintenance – Consuming higher amounts of protein will boost fat loss in your body while helping you maintain lean muscle. On the flip side, for those who just want to maintain their current weight, protein helps regulate our appetite. Unlike fat and carbohydrates, protein makes us feel more full for longer periods of time, resulting in reduced cravings.

4. Quick Recovery – Because of the breakdown our muscles experience when we exercise, we need to fuel our bodies with protein to help grow and repair our cells. Protein provides necessary energy to help speed up this process. Most people believe that protein will enhance athletic performance, but that isn’t the case. However, it can aid in increasing muscle recovery, which makes our muscles stronger, quicker.

5. Overall Health – Protein has been proven to help balance hormones and acts as a natural remedy for anxiety. Studies also show that it helps improve our response to stress. As I mentioned before, protein is a building block to our cells, including our skin, hair, and nails. Our hair and nails are actually made up of mostly protein.

A few things to consider when consuming large amounts of protein in your daily diet:

  • Be sure to eat protein throughout the day, not just at one meal. This helps your muscles rebuild throughout the day.
  • Having several sources of protein will make your goals much easier. Consuming protein shakes numerous times a day will get old, quick. So explore other options! There are many types of food that provide our bodies with important vitamins and nutrients.
  • Protein supplements are a great way to help us reach our protein goals. The key word being supplement. Drink protein powder as an addition to your diet as opposed to solely relying on it. Do not exceed more than 2-3 shakes a day. Drinking too many a day can lead to digestive issues and can cause bloating.
  • Women tend to skimp on food with large amounts of protein because of their caloric density, but eating a balanced diet with a significant amount of protein yields many great benefits, including weight loss.
  • The USDA recommends a daily intake of 56 grams for men and 46 grams for women at a minimum. This is just a starting point and is based on an average activity level and an average weight individual. For people that are doing more intense exercises or attempting to lose weight, a higher level of protein is recommended.

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Because protein is a macro-nutrient, our body needs a large amount of it. Our bodies don’t store protein like they do carbohydrates and fats; therefore, we need to consume large amounts of it daily. Now knowing the benefits of protein, it shouldn’t be hard for us to want to eat more of it. It’s just a matter of working it into our diets. There are tons of foods that you probably already eat that are packed full of protein. Start taking a closer look into labels and be sure you are getting enough protein to help aid in the achievement of your fitness goals!

If you liked today’s post, please take a second to share it on social media so others can learn about the great things protein has to offer our bodies!

 

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Forget It

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People that start hitting the gym or jump on a diet are often consumed with a number – their weight. Yes, losing weight might be a goal, but it doesn’t define us. Society tells us that based on our sex and height, we need to weigh a certain number. Well, I think that’s crazy!

You’ve probably heard it a million times, muscle weighs more than fat. Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s not true. A pound of fat weighs the same as a pound of muscle. A pound is a pound. The good news is that muscle is more dense, meaning it takes up less space than fat. For that reason, it’s possible for someone to weigh the same, or more than, someone with the same height and frame yet appear slimmer because of the difference in your body composition.

Why are you getting technical, Faith? Well, if I was solely focused on my weight, I’d be pretty disappointed in what I’ve achieved. I have recently begun reverse dieting in hopes of gaining muscle. I’m almost back up to my original starting weight. Even though my weight is similar to when I started, I don’t look or feel the same. My body has undergone serious reconstruction, and I’m happy with my results thus far. Now instead of jumping on a scale, I look in the mirror and at how my clothes fit me.

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The photo on the left was my starting photo; I weighed in at 124.

The one on the right was yesterday – a 4 pound difference at 120!

Every girl wants to feel pretty, so don’t let a number determine how you feel about yourself. When we remember that everyone carries their weight differently, we can accept ourselves and be happy with the progress we’re making. So let’s burn fat and sculpt muscle. Put on that old dress and own it! You’ve worked too hard to let the scale hold you back.

 

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This Isn’t Me

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After a phone call with my mom, I decided to share a struggle that many teens, as well as adults, face on a daily basis. When I was in high school, I never thought I was pretty, tall, skinny, or smart enough. I was never enough for anyone. My mom asked me today if I was eating enough because of a photo I posted. She said I looked too thin. At first, I was upset that she would even ask, but then I remembered who I used to be.

I believed all of my failed relationships were because of the way I looked. All of my friends were thin and gorgeous, and I felt like I could never compare. High school was a rough time for me, and in this time of figuring out who I was, I developed an eating disorder.

It started with my goal to lose weight. This quickly spiraled out of control. While I was losing weight, I was also losing who I was. I changed completely. I started to fish for the next complement, and after a while, losing a few pounds wasn’t enough. I began making a trip to the bathroom after every meal to purge the food I had eaten. Depriving my body of food gave me the sensation of control over my appearance.

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My sister quickly caught on and knew I wasn’t being myself. She tried talking to me about it, but I made excuses and wanted nothing to do with her advice. Then, our mother got involved. When a lady from Long Island tells you to do something, she means business. She provided me with a reality check that was long overdue.

She reminded me that God made me a beautiful, young woman and that searching for temporary praise from others wasn’t a fix for my underlying issues. She helped me address my past so that I could overcome my desire to become someone I wasn’t and accept who I already was. She reminded me that I was only 17 and had my whole life ahead of me.

In my attempts to lose weight, I was exercising too much and not eating nearly enough. I was constantly sick and at an all-time low. I can say without a doubt I will never go back to my old ways. It was never worth it, and it was only a temporary fix. After having Ella, the appearance of my stomach started to bother me. However, this time it was different. I wanted to make a change, but a positive one. I wanted to go about losing weight the right way, the healthy way.

I have since started a flex diet, and I have started working out again. I’ve lost inches in my waist and weight. (See results here.) I’ve honestly never felt this good, even when I was at my skinniest in high school. I have energy and have started to gain muscle.

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Reflecting on my past, I understand my mom’s concern because she was with me in my darkest days. While she knows I am not that same person, it’s her nature to worry about me. I can’t blame her. She was slowly watching me take my life until she put her foot down and wouldn’t allow it to progress any further. She saved me, and she doesn’t want to see me go down that road again.

Over the years, I’ve learned to love myself and the skin I’m in. I can have control over my appearance but in a positive way. My disorder was simply a cover for much deeper issues from my past. I was seeking help in all of the wrong ways. I have since dealt with those issues and its helped shape who I am today. I have confronted my past and allowed my future to be brighter than ever.

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In the United States alone, 20 million woman will develop an eating disorder at some point in their lives. If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, there is help. If talking isn’t working, get other loved ones involved. Talk to them about getting the help of a professional and encourage healthy alternative methods of weight loss. Most importantly, remind them that they are beautiful even when they can’t see it.

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