Why am I the protein queen, loyal subjects?
What a perfect question for you to ask me.
That’s because I'm extremely passionate about how important protein is when it comes to health, weight control, weight maintenance, weight loss, weight gain...you name it.
I also remember almost a year ago my beautiful sister called me freaking out because her hair was falling out in chunks, she was constantly fatigued and she was struggling with her weight.
Of course, me being me, I told her to increase her...you guessed it.
Protein! You so smart...
And what do you know? She followed my advice and everything got almost instantly better with her health. Protein isn’t just for the muscleheads people. We need it for SO many of our body processes to keep us together.
The amount of protein you eat plays a vital role in changing your body composition for the better or for the worst. If you’re trying to lose weight, protein helps you control your hunger and get a faster metabolism. If you’re trying to gain weight you can lift weights until you’re comatose, but it’ll all be for naught if you’re not paying attention to your protein intake.
So how can you tell if you’re not getting in as much protein as your body really needs for these processes? Here are five signs:
1.) You work out like an Olympian, but you can’t seem to put on muscle
This one is simple.
It doesn’t matter how many calories you’re eating or how much you’ve gone up in weight. Your muscles are made of protein and, without putting enough protein in you, how can you expect your body to build you into a brick house of muscle with no bricks?
Another warning sign is that you’ll likely notice you’re weaker in the gym if this protein deficiency goes on too long.
2.) You get sick...a LOT
Here’s a little-known fact: the antibodies we have that fight disease are made up of proteins!
Even if you have gotten your flu shot this season, if you’re not eating enough protein, your immune system might not stand a chance against the colds trying to get into your sinuses.
So, keep up on your protein and your nose will thank you.
3.) You’re constantly tired.
This falls in line with you losing muscle mass which just naturally happens when you aren’t eating enough protein. When you aren’t eating enough protein, your body starts breaking down muscle for its protein needs.
And if you lose enough muscle, the weakness that follows from that muscle loss can show itself with you feeling just constantly worn down.
4.) You’re always grouchy
No, I’m not just talking about being hangry, but that sort of plays a role here.
If you aren’t eating enough protein, you’re probably eating too many carbs and sometimes those blood sugar crashes can leave you snapping one too many times at your girlfriend for no reason.
Another reason may be that protein makes up some neurotransmitters in the brain that put you in a good mood, so when your protein is going down, your popularity might follow.
5.) Your hair is coming out and your nails break often
This is a big one. Considering the things that give your hair, skin and nails integrity are all tiny little proteins, your body needs enough protein from your diet to keep your hair shiny, your nails strong and your skin soft and... supple (such a weird word).
Even if your hair isn’t falling out completely, if it isn’t growing as fast as normal, your protein intake is probably to blame.
The bottom line?
In my opinion, even if you’re not looking to bulk or cut (I can help you calculate those macros, if one or both of those are your goal) you should be getting in 0.8-1 gram of protein per pound of body weight for healthy muscle mass, normal appetite as well as body processes.
One final warning is that if you are a vegan or vegetarian (especially if you just adopted the diet within the past year) you are at a higher risk of protein deficiency. So, be extra careful.
Take it from the protein queen!