Eat Smarter, Not Harder


I talked all about the virtues of carbohydrates in my post The Skinny on Carbs…but today it’s all about the protein. Because your muscles are your fat burning machinery, you’ve got to know how to take care of them if you want to see results from exercise and eating right. That’s where protein comes in.

The Skinny on Carbs referred to the importance of eating frequently, a practice that lovingly gives your metabolism the message that life is okay, and survival is looking good.  This understanding alone should assure us that food is, indeed, a friend.  Under such pleasant circumstances, your metabolism releases its anxious hold on the fat.  At least that’s the philosophy.  But you know, and I know, that a frequent and steady diet of your favorite pastries is not going to rev up your metabolism to a fat-burning state.  So what is the catch?

The Happy Gal Food Diagram

Your body requires the correct types and proportions of foods to support its overall health and your weight loss goals.  To be specific, when we eat and when we exercise, our focus is to build lean muscle.  This is because, as I mentioned earlier, muscles are your body’s fat burning machinery. In other words, your body will naturally achieve its ideal health and shape when you are feeding your muscles what they need.  In fact, healthy muscles are the only way you can transform your current physical state and maintain it with ease.

So that’s the big secret.  The cat is out of the bag.  Eating smarter starts with feeding your muscles what they need.  There are two easy and specific ways we can do this:

1.    Feed your body protein each time you eat (every 2-3 hours.)

Don’t freak out.  I assure you, I am no Atkins or Southbeach activist.  Remember, I am all about lifestyle.  Carbohydrates are important, too.  Carbs serve all sorts of noble purposes, both physiological and emotional .  But in order to build and sustain muscle, we must feed it a steady diet of protein. The key is to plan each meal and snack around a healthy protein source. If this sounds intimidating to you – relax. We’ve got you covered. Every Happy Gal recipe is based on this protein philosophy. The Happy Gal Recipes are a great place to start.

2.    Eat the right proportions.

Eating every 2-3 hours will prevent you from becoming so hungry that you want to eat everything in sight.  After a period of time with this new eating schedule, you’ll find that your body actually begins to get hungry when it is time to eat.  But because of the frequency of your meals and snacks, your portions can be moderate while still giving your metabolism the green light on burning fat.  The following diagram is a good guideline for proportions at mealtimes:

(insert photo of plate with lines for protein, carb, fruits and vegetables.)

The amount of protein needed at a meal varies from body to body.  Your protein needs at each meal are roughly the size of your own fist.  So in the example above, your plate would consist of a lean serving of protein and a serving of carbs. Top things off with fruits and veggies.

What does this look like in real life?  I’ll tell you, but you can’t hate me.  The truth is, I don’t count calories.  I don’t add up points.  And I don’t eliminate certain foods from my list just because some fad diet recently determined that it wasn’t good for me anymore.  I don’t even obsess over how many grams of protein I eat. I simply plan my meals and snacks around a protein source and pair it with a healthy carb.  It’s easy, it’s delicious and it’s a sure bet when it comes to seeing results.


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