Are you at the beginning of your fat loss journey and wondering how to eat correctly to get the best results? Let's define first "best results": we chose a healthy way to achieve them; they are long-lasting and realized in a reasonable time. Our body mainly consists of fat, protein, and water and thus, what we want to achieve is the "right" distribution of fat and protein-based on how we would like to feel in our body.
Mistake #1 They don't eat enough protein
You may know that besides the brain, using around 25% of your daily calorie intake, your muscles are the main energy-burning "engines" of your body. Everyone has muscles, but their development depends on daily activity.
Protein builds muscle
The main building blocks of muscle mass are protein or the amino acids that proteins consist of. Someone who doesn't work out has different nutritional needs than someone who exercises regularly. One of the differences is the amount of protein needed to rebuild body tissue and recover from exercise. Protein is an essential building material of muscle mass, and thus a lack of it can lead to a reduced ability for recovery and a delay or mitigate performance improvement.
Protein helps to feel full longer.
Furthermore, protein helps the body slow down sugar intake when eaten together. The more sugar molecules enter the bloodstream after a meal, the faster blood sugar spikes. You may have heard that these spikes often result in quick drops in blood sugar and food cravings. The digestion of protein slows down the intake of sugar into the bloodstream and thus leads to a reduced increase in blood sugar and minimizes the risk for blood sugar peaks. This way, we can stay full longer and avoid food cravings!
The key here is to eat meals that contain decent amounts of protein. A woman of about 60kg should aim for about 1.5g to 2g protein per kg bodyweight. That's between 90g and 120g per day. For men, I suggest 2g to 3g protein per kg bodyweight as men have more muscle mass to maintain and thus need more building material. The amount mentioned above of total protein intake includes all protein, vegetable, and animal protein sources. Spread out on three meals and one snack; she ends up with around 23g to 30g of protein per day. To put this into relation, 100g of chicken meat contain about 22g of protein, whereas one egg contains about 6g of high-quality protein.
Mistake #2 They don't eat regularly
Several thousand years ago, when drought, snow, or other external factors impacted our lives regularly, our bodies had to figure out how to survive in times of reduced food availability. Imagine today a sudden snowstorm would lay 2 meters of fresh snow and drop it right onto your car, the streets, and footwalks. You will barely be able to leave the house. Imagine the snow won't melt for another four weeks. You got food reserves at home that last for three days. What are you going to do? You might consider spreading the food for three days over seven days, moving less, and reducing the amount of energy burned by your body. Your body will do the same when you don't eat over a more extended period. Your body will reduce the amount of energy needed to survive. Is that good or bad for fat loss? Considering that we need to burn 7000 calories to burn one kilogram of body fat, this is terrible news.
Burning calories during a fat-loss diet is the key to success. We now understand that we need to eat to let our body know it doesn't starve and keeps burning energy. Can this be achieved by eating less or more often during the day? You got it, eating more often is beneficial for fat loss AND? Not eating several meals per day can lead to reduced protein availability during the day! Exactly we talked about it before. By eating more often, you can ensure enough protein intake and constant in-flow of amino acids into the muscles. A continuous lack of energy can lead to muscle loss, metabolic slow-down and thus make it harder for you to lose body fat.
Store fat for bad days
Imagine the snow in the example above melted, and you are finally free to go out again to buy food at the supermarket. Will you buy the same amount as before the snowstorm or more? Yeah, you will buy much more and even store some for any future event! Your body will do the same. After it starved for half a day and you finally find time to eat, your body will happily eat more than usual AND store some for later! It will directly build up body fat from the excess calories you just ate.
These are two significant and common mistakes people make when they want to lose fat. Avoid them, and you will be on the right track to achieve your goal！
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