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Diet & Nutrition Message Board

Diet & Nutrition Board Index

How much protein are you getting in those foods? Not likely that much since fast foods tend to skimp on the most expensive ingredient - meat. If you are not getting adequate protein in your low calorie diet, you will likely lose significant amounts of muscle mass - not a good thing. While loss of muscle looks good on the scales, it doesn't look good on you and it sets you up for rebound weight (fat) gain.

Try to take in at least a minimum amount of protein and then adjust carbohydrates and fats to get your calorie requirements.

There are several theories on what minimum protein requirements are. Here is my take on it. If you are just trying to maintain existing muscle mass, then shoot for a minimum of 0.8 grams protein per pound of lean body mass. What is lean body mass? That is everything except fat. To figure this out you will need to know roughly what your body fat percentage is. There are some online calculators that will get close. These typically use your weight, waist measurement, wrist measurement, forearm measurement, etc. Anyway, as an example, assume you have 40% body fat. At 375 pounds, this equates to 225 pounds of lean body mass and 150 pounds of fat. 0.8 grams of protein times 225 pounds = 180 grams of protein per day. Even consuming this amount of protein, you will likely lose some muscle as you lose the fat. This is because your body needs quite a bit of muscle just to tote all that weight around. As the weight comes off, so will some of that weight carrying muscle. The key to long term weight management is to minimize loss of lean body mass. Muscle burns far more calories than fat. If you lose too much muscle, your bodies ability to burn calories drops significantly.

It is ok to eat more than just the minimum amount of protein discussed above. Say you eat a dinner consisting of a 16 oz steak and salad. 16 oz of meat contains approximately 112 grams of protein (7 grams protein/oz.). If you've eaten a decent breakfast of 50 or so grams of protein and 50 or so grams of protein at lunch, then you would have consumed about 212 grams of protein that day. Most body builders shoot for about 1 gram of protein per pound of total body weight, so you would be a long ways from consuming anywhere near that amount for your weight. And unlike carbs and fat, protein intake is pretty self limiting - it is difficult to overeat on high protein foods like meat and eggs.

Another advantage to getting plenty of high quality protein (meat, eggs, dairy) in your diet is that protein digests slower than carbs or fat and will help to keep you full longer. Protein also requires more energy to digest than carbs or fat; therefore, your net calorie gain from consuming protein is less than the stated 4 calories per gram.

And try to get some real vegetables in your diet. That iceburg lettuce on fast food sandwiches is about worthless nutritionally.

Wow thanks for the responses. I guess I should respond to them in order, and with my questions.

First off with Chelle:
I am trying to keep my calories just above a threshold of my body falling into a famine-like state. I am trying to strike a balance between my desire to get off my first 75 (from 375 to 300) as quickly as possible through discipline, and avoiding eating so few calories I destroy my metabolism and muscle that I will need to finish off my diet and keep myself maintained.

I think with your suggestion I will push up my calories up to around 1700-2000. As far as my water intake I have taken it to about 58-70 ounces a day. It varies depending on the intake of the one big vice I still allow myself, which is diet coke.

Thanks again for reponding so positivly. =)

Wow your post was really informative about stuff I was really unsure of, and that was mostly the lean muscle mass. I have actually done the atkins diet before, one time for a month (I lost 35 pounds) and another time just through induction.

The problem I run into trying to keep my protein that high is I have a problem just eating the meat of a sandwich, and not the bread and ketchup or other condiments. It isn't something I have really been able to maintain. I found that trying to stick with the Atkins diet was more difficult in the long run than restricting my calories to a crazy low level. I definatly can't argue with the results of my attempt on it though. I felt good and did lose a decent bit of weight.

The big problem I face is striking a balance of protein, carbs and fat on the road. Any suggestions on keeping my protein up and my calories down while frequenting fast food places, and places like Applebees, Chilis and even the Outback on the road?

Hope all of my babbling there made sense. Again thanks for your help already and suggestions I will definatly be adding more chicken breast and maybe a steak in when I can. I just have to find a way to strike the balance up while out here in the field.

I may actually go out and buy one of those styrofoam(sp) coolers for my hotel room since I am in a small town this stay and don't have a small fridge in the room.

Thanks for the suggestion.

Again thanks to all of you for your help, and for keeping it positive. =)


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