If you were to choose a diet that persuaded you to severely cut calorie intake, you would run the risk of loosing muscle mass. People are often encouraged by the quick results they see on the scale but unfortunately don’t know the negative effects of their plummeting numbers. If you restrict either calories, protein or carbs for too long, loss of muscle mass will result and inevitably will slow down your ability to lose the remaining fat. That is why so many people hit plateaus in their diets and put on more weight after. This stands to reason as they have less muscle mass than when they started their diet and therefore now have a slower metabolism.

So how do you lose fat, gain muscle, while at the same time eat enough protein while not consuming too many calories? A balancing act it can be! Your key to success is this: eat a balanced diet and incorporate weights or resistance training.

For a quick and easy way to determine your own portion size, just follow these three simple rules:

    1. Choose lean protein like chicken or turkey, approximately the size of your palm.

    2. Fill two-thirds of your plate with fresh fibrous vegetables as your carbohydrate portion. If you prefer a starchy food such as sweet potato, rice or beans, then only add a portion equivalent or slightly bigger than your protein portion.

    3. Use a half-palm measure of seeds or nuts as a fat source. Otherwise add one tablespoon of olive or flax oil over your salad or vegetables. Cut these portions in half if your protein choice is high in fat such as red meat or fish.

    Fat Wars

*These guidelines are based on a meal plan consisting of five meals a day.

If you do not like leaving things to chance and need to know exactly how much to eat, then reread my post entitled “The perfect balance!” and I will be glad to help you with your numbers.

I would recommend buying a food scale as it is the only sure way to know exactly what you are taking in. I am enjoying this model: Breville – Electronic Kitchen Scale.

All that being said, one can over complicate things which may lead to discouragement. This nicely leads us into the next subject…

*Photo provided by deviantART user: Tree-Enthusiast


8 Responses

  1. I do agree with you. If one do not take in enough nutrients like protein, carbs or calories, your body will use your muscles to compensate for the loss in your diet.
    This can also lead to the fact that your body will take protein from your heart or organs which can lead to a heart attack.
    Good piece.

    • There is no such thing as ‘not enough protein’. Have you ever met anyone with a protein deficiency? Ever heard of someone dying from lack of protein? Of course not.
      Plants provide the perfect amount of protein – we don’t even need meat in our diet to gain nutritional protein.
      On the other hand, too much protein causes an abundance of health issues, including cancer, bowel problems and yes, heart attacks.

      • Hello skinnyminnie,

        I appreciate your enthusiasm and high regard for a diet without meat. I would like to point out that in the comment above there was mention of protein, but no reference was made to “meat”.

        As vegetarian and vegan diets become more popular, it is obvious one needs to familiarize themselves with plant based foods that are high in protein. Whether someone is a vegetarian or not, the macronutrient ratio of 40% carbohydrates 30% protein and 30% fat is scientifically proven to be the optimum ratio for your body to lose fat and maintain muscle, not to mention for you to stay hormonally balanced as well.

        To be fair, there are many perfectly healthy vegetarians and just as many perfectly healthy meat eaters. The thing to keep in mind is, find a balance; as this post is entitled.

        It also depends greatly on ones goals or ideal body type. For example: If a women wants to look like a tall skinny runway model, she would have no need to depend on “meat” as that body type has very little muscle mass. However, if a man has the goal of building the perfect beach body, it’s obvious his protein requirements will be much higher. At this point it might be out of sheer convenience to eat “meat” in order to consume adequate amounts of protein, in an effort to support extra muscle mass. Goals greatly determine your needs!

        Yes, too much protein or “meat” can lead to health issues in the long run, but again, that is way this post was entitle balance. Thank you for taking the time to state your viewpoint, I hope you enjoy reading other posts. Cheers

        • Hey Stewy,
          Actually, the human body can thrive on a diet of 80% carbs, 10% protein, 10% fat. Hundreds of people live on this diet, many are athletes and all are extremely healthy – probably the healthiest people on Earth.
          But my point, anyway, wasn’t about eating meat or not, but that as long as you were eating (no matter what or how little), then a protein deficiancy would be the last of your worries. I just used words like ‘plant’ and ‘meat’ as examples, I didn’t intend for it to be taken as vegetarian preaching.
          Sorry if I sound like a condescending know it all (I hate the way I’m coming across!) but it’s been proven time and time again that body builders do not need to increase their protein requirements to gain muscle mass. Just google “protein myth” and “Storm Talifero” if you’re interested.
          Thanks, and sorry for hijacking your comments section 🙂

        • Absolutely no worries… I wouldn’t have approved your comment if I thought it didn’t have value. On the contrary, I’m glad you have spent the time to state your views. I most definitely will do some research on this subject.

          The ratio I provided is from Brad King. He is a well-respected nutritional researcher, performance nutritionist and fitness expert who holds a masters in nutritional science, and is certified by the International Sports Sciences Association as a master of fitness science. Brad has spent the last decade researching and developing leading-edge dietary supplements and exercise protocols designed to improve health, slow biological aging, boost athletic performance and aid in fat loss.

          After trying many popular fad diets, I am happy to have come across his book. Until now, it’s the healthiest and most balanced eating plan I have tried, one that easily fits into my lifestyle. There is ample information on hormones and fat cells.

          Thanks for sharing… I’m always open to new ideas!

    • Isn’t that good to lose muscles?…..that will look a little thinner…..

      • Hey xinyu,

        That would depend totally on your goals. It is important to know that the best fat fighter is muscle, so the key is to lose the fat and maintain your muscle. You can still look very thin and at the same time have enough muscle. Muscle makes you stronger, fights fat, tones and shapes your body, and enables you to eat more calories in a day. Trust me muscle is your best friend! Thx for asking.

    • To blackhuff,

      It’s true, severely restricting your overall calories, carbohydrates or protein for long periods of time will result in a catabolic effect on your muscles. The most extreme example of muscle waisting would be when people suffering from the disease anorexia. The side effects of starvation and not eating balanced meals are obvious, we must eat balanced to stay healthy.

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