Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


January 24, 2013

Fitness column: Protein is answer to multiple questions

Question: Why do most people gain and lose weight and so few keep it off? How do we stop the cycle?

Answer: This is a very common problem. Part of the issue lies in the inability to see past the “diet” mentality and realize that proper nutrition is a lifestyle…forever.

The average dieter will follow a routine for a certain timeframe, perhaps achieve their goal and then go back to their old habits. They never truly get in a healthy pattern with long-lasting change. Instead, they rely on quick fixes.

Proper nutrition lasts a lifetime. You can stop the cycle by not seeing nutrition as a cycle at all. It is OK to have a cheat meal once in a while, but once that cheat meal is over, you must have the discipline to stay focused on long-term health.

Our society is loaded with temptations and the food industry itself is counting of the average person to become addicted to refined sugar. This keeps customers coming back and is great for profits. Sadly, it is not so good for our health.

Question: How do I “lean out”? How do I “bulk up”?

Answer: It is amazing how similar these two goals actually are. A typical adult client may come to us looking to lose 20 pounds of body fat. While an athlete hoping to play football may look for advice to bulk up. I advise them both to crank up the protein levels using the same formula. Here it is: Take your body weight and round it down to the nearest 25-pound increment. This number is equal to the number of grams of protein you should eat per day. This simple rules follows many of the guidelines found in the literature.

The first thing you will notice is the size of this number. That is a LOT of protein. The key difference between an individual looking to lose weight and the high school athlete looking to gain muscle mass is carbohydrate intake.

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