Did you just eat an hour ago and you are already hungry again? Are you plagued with cravings for sugary foods or highly refined salty-crunchy foods? Well, chances are you may not be getting enough protein.
As a hypnotherapist and cognitive weight expert, I will tell you one of the biggest nutritional Shifts that someone can make to take back their power from food is to make sure that they are eating enough protein on a daily basis. If you have worked with me either privately or with the Shift 30 Day Weight Mastery Process or Shift in a Box Process—you already know that I harp on a lot about the power of protein!!
PROTEIN TO THE RESCUE
If someone is complaining about being hungry, I will ask, “Are you eating enough protein?”
If someone is suffering from night eating, I will inquire, “Are you having a protein rich snack around 4pm?”
If someone has been binging or feeling really addicted to carbohydrates and sugar, I will advise, “make sure you cut the carbs and up your protein in order to break the sugar spell.”
At Shift, we don’t give you a diet. I really believe that you must individually create a way of eating that you have ownership of–one that works for you and your lifestyle. I believe you need to discover what works best for you and your body by becoming a loving scientist. You do this by observing what foods work at what times for you and what doesn’t work and then making changes and choices based on your findings. We don’t have an ‘expert” giving you a list of good foods and bad foods.
I will, however, harp on about your getting enough protein—about 72 grams per day, which is about three 4 oz. servings the size of your palm. If your daily calorie budget is more than 1600 calories a day, you may need even more.
PROTEIN AND THE BRAIN
Why would a hypnotherapist blather on so about getting enough protein?
Two reasons and both have to do with your brain—
1) Research shows that the lack of certain amino acids found in protein sets up the brain to crave sugar and carbohydrates. When you haven’t been eating enough protein, your brain is more prone to seek out the more sweet and refined carbohydrates in large quantities (binges). Also, the more refined carbohydrates you consume, the more hungry you feel.
2) Protein gives you the most bang for your caloric buck. If you are eating relatively few calories in order to stay within your body’s calorie needs for weight release for maintenance, a serving of protein is going to leave you feeling more satisfied and stable than a serving of carbohydrates.
Having said this, I am not advocating a no carb-diet plan here–nor am I saying all is lost if you are a vegetarian or vegan. I am just saying that upping your protein, no matter what the source, and lessening the starchy carbs usually helps my clients stay happy and satisfied within their caloric needs for weight release.
THE RIGHT TIME FOR PROTEIN
There are two times I especially suggest that the protein source be with you—breakfasts and afternoon snack time. If I have learned anything from my own weight struggles, as well as the hundreds of clients I have worked with over the years, it is this: Starting the day with a good protein source sets you on a good course for the rest of the day. And afternoon snack time is also key because if we stabilize our blood sugar at this time with some protein, then we head into dinner with a sane head and a belly that isn’t screaming to be fed with whatever we can put our hands on first (usually bread!)
Starting the Day Right: Breakfast
Eating morning meal that is right for your body allows you to head into your day with stable blood sugar levels—a must for weight management. Every body is different in the morning so you need to tune into yours and your special needs. Observe how your body responds to the breakfast that you currently feed it. How does it feel a few hours later? Are you hungry? Tired? Light headed? Or are you feeling good and focused on what you are doing?
My clients and I have observed the following about different types of breakfast foods.
Help! I just ate breakfast!! (after eating these breakfast foods, one feels hungry in about an hour or so):
-Sugary and sugar-free commercial yogurts (even fat-free ones)
-Most cold (non-bran) cereals even the “whole grain” ones (this depends on your system)
-Granola (very high in calories too)
-Bagels (also high in calories)
-Toast with jam (no protein)
-Quick-cooking oats or instant oats from envelopes
-Sugary coffee drinks
Wow! I’m feeling great! (these foods tend to keep one’s blood sugar levels stable and hunger satisfied through the morning):
-High fiber/High protein cereals
-Eggs/egg beaters/ egg whites
-Low fat cheeses
-High protein smoothies
-High protein 0% fat Greek yogurt
-Low-fat cottage cheese
-Whole fruit with some sort of protein
-Slow cooking oatmeal and whole grain cereals
-Lean bacon/ turkey sausage/ Canadian bacon
-High fiber muffins that have no sugar in them (Zen muffins and fibercakes)
-Whole grain or high fiber toast/ English muffins/ tortillas with protein on them
-Bean or vegetable soups
It is wise to not allow yourself to get super hungry—that is when many of us tend to overeat. Make snacks work for you—not against you. Many snacks out of a vending machine or grabbed on the go cause you to feel hungrier and more tired—the exact opposite of what a snack is intended for plus many processed snacks contain more calories than some meals.
Avoid: Stuff out of the vending machine, snacks that are primarily sugar, fat and salt, anything highly processed
Examples: Cookies, muffins, chocolate bars, sugary juice drinks, sugary coffee drinks, granola bars, chips etc.
Seek: Snacks that contain protein, snacks that contain fiber, snacks that have some protein and complex carbohydrate or fat and carbohydrate.
Fruit and peanut butter
Apple slices and a low fat cheese stick
0% fat Greek yogurt and fruit
Fruit and small amount of nuts
Fiber bar and yogurt
Cottage cheese and fruit
Lo fat ricotta cheese spread on a lo carb tortilla with a savory or sweet topping
Lo-carb tortilla and hummus,
Carrots and hummus etc
Veggie burger patty
Deli turkey slices
Hard-boiled egg with an apple (TJs sells hardboiled, shelled eggs in a bag)
Tuna in a pouch
I could go on and on and on about protein’s power, but don’t take my word for it! If you are struggling with hunger after meals or sugar and carb cravings, try upping your protein intake a few hundred calories a day and removing the same amount of calories of starchy food. See if this helps keep you more happily on your path to long term permanent weight release. And let me know what protein swaps work for you!
Have a Shifted Month and May the Protein Source be with You!