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Nutrition

The BEST Nutrition Hack for Improving Your Metabolism

metabolism nutrition hack
by megan dahlman
June 14, 2022

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What if I told you that there’s a nutrition hack that you can do to ramp up your metabolism and get your body feeling its best, and that it’s easy and safe and not a weird supplement? Whether you have weight loss goals, or you just want to make sure your metabolism is working really, really great as you get older, or you don’t have any goals at all but you just want to be as healthy as possible, then you’re gonna want to know what this nutrition hack is and immediately put this into practice.

Can you guess what it is? Let’s see if you got it and dive in...

First, a little background...

I want to start with a quick story about “Heather”, because this is really cool. Heather had been able to maintain a healthy weight for years, but always felt stuck at a very specific set point. She worked out consistently (5 days a week) for YEARS, but always carried a little extra weight in her thigh area.

She made just one change at the beginning of the year to her eating habits. As an Endomorph she knew that she needed to be careful with blood sugar management. She was looking for ways to do that, but in so doing, stumbled upon a breakthrough.

With this one nutrition tweak, she lost 10 pounds and 1 inch around each thigh in less than 3 months.

What one thing did she change with her eating habits? It wasn’t fish oil, or taking a turmeric supplement, or chugging caffeine and green tea.

She changed her protein consumption. She began tracking/logging the amount of protein she ate, and increased her consumption from 80g/day up to ~106g/day. She didn’t change anything else.

So, I’m going to teach you exactly why this worked for Heather and how you can do this for yourself. This is important if you feel like your metabolism is beginning to slow down (ahem...menopause?), if you’re stuck at a particular set point, and if you just want to be as healthy as you possibly can be.

Why does eating more protein work?

Nearly every single metabolic process in your body is made possible by protein.

  • More protein = more efficient metabolic processes
  • Protein takes the longest and requires the most energy to digest, meaning you stay fuller longer, burn more calories to simply digest your food, and have fewer room in your diet for junk food
  • It’s a win-win because it fuels your muscle mass growth and maintenance (which is the first and MOST effective metabolism booster)
  • Helps manage blood sugars

How much protein do women actually need?

  • For a woman at her healthiest, the ideal amount is about 1g/lb of bodyweight (~140g PRO/day for a 140lb woman)
  • Good target is about 120-150g PRO/day, or about 20-40g PRO/meal (this number is helpful for someone that may be currently overweight)
  • Minimum amount is around 100g PRO/day

Are there any downsides/dangers in consuming this much protein?

  • Short answer: NO
  • Very high protein content (~200g/day) for an extended period of time has been shown to be somewhat difficult on certain bodily systems, but not that much
  • You would have to eat SO MUCH PROTEIN for a very long time to experience negative health effects
  • However, some protein sources tend to also be high in fat
  • If you’re consuming a lot of protein but alos a lot of saturated fat, you could be consuming too much energy (too many calories) throughout the day and too much of that particular type of fat. Lean protein sources are best.

How can you eat enough protein?

Consuming enough protein to meet your needs as a strong and active woman is not as difficult as you might think, as long as you start each meal with the protein and make it the star of your dish.

To meet the protein needs for most women, aim for consuming 20-40g of protein at every meal.

  • Start each meal with the protein and make it the star of your dish.
  • 4 meals/day at ~30g protein is about 120g protein
  • If you skip a meal or undereat, you’re missing a major opportunity

Examples of foods with 20-40g of protein per serving:

  • Non-meat options
  • Cottage cheese
  • Greek yogurt
  • Eggs (3+ egg whites total)
  • Lentils
  • Beans + peas (2 types of legumes)
  • Protein supplement
  • Animal options (1 palm-sized amount, ~4-6 ounces)
  • Salmon or other fish
  • Beef or bison
  • Chicken (breast or thigh)
  • Turkey (breast or thigh)
  • Pork loin

Sample of a day that meets the protein requirements for most women

  • Breakfast: veggie scramble with 2 large whole eggs + chicken sausage (~30g PRO)
  • Lunch: Salad with peas, lentils & beans or 1 palm chicken breast (~25g PRO)
  • Afternoon Snack: protein shake with handful of mixed raw nuts and an apple (~38g PRO)
  • Dinner: Grilled salmon or steak (1 palm) with roasted vegetables and cupped handful quinoa (~45g PRO)

Total = 138g PRO

My story

I used to count calories

  • I believed the lie that eating less was better and it would lead to fat loss
  • By eating less calories, I believed I could lose body fat and achieve the lean and toned body I always desired
  • But I didn’t realize that this habit was ruining my metabolism (while simultaneously making me miserable - constantly hungry, socially challenging, lacking energy)
  • I should have been working WITH my body’s natural energy production systems, and especially focusing on the one thing I should have been eating MORE of

Keep it Simple

The big idea here is that regardless of your personal goals, or maybe you don’t even have any goals right now (and that’s ok, too!), you NEED to be eating a lot of protein.

Your action steps now are to:

  • If you like tracking, do what Heather did: Get a sense for how much protein you’re consuming right now by logging just your protein...nothing else.
  • See how far away you are from that goal of 1g/lb of weight or at least 100g/day
  • If you know that tracking and counting feels restrictive for you (that’s most of us!!), just start by making protein the star of every dish, choose lean sources, and make sure it’s at least a palm-sized amount.

More Resources

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Trainer, nutrition coach, and Christian mom — in a culture that’s obsessed with “gym-selfies” and a number on the scale, I’m passionate about helping moms discover what it feels like to actually love their bodies and thrive in them.
Read More About Megan
Hi! I’m Megan.
Self-Care Simplified is for Christian moms that want to be equipped and encouraged to take simple steps towards the healthy life you want for yourself and the people you love.
Be sure to subscribe to Self-Care Simplified wherever you listen to your favorite podcast.
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Hi! I’m Megan.
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Self-Care Simplified is for Christian moms that want to be equipped and encouraged to take simple steps towards the healthy life you want for yourself and the people you love.
Be sure to subscribe to Self-Care Simplified wherever you listen to your favorite podcast.
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