The High Protein Myth

Every other person, who starts hitting the gym, suddenly wants to go on an-all protein or a high protein diet! Now scientifically speaking – proteins are a fab part of our meals as they help us achieve that lean bod and burn fat. The scientific reason why most trainers insist on high protein is because during any form of intense exercise – where the body undergoes wear and tear, it leads to loss of muscle tissue. The amino acids (building blocks of protein) help repair our tissues and recover from the stress the exercise places on our body.

But most people instead of adopting a balanced, sensible approach towards protein intake, jump to consume excessive proteins. What they forget or rather not realize is that for proteins to really work to our advantage we need adequate supply of carbohydrates and fats in our diets too. If our diets do not include these – you just wasted those extra proteins and your money you spent on buying the expensive proteins.

So just because you are consuming a high protein does not mean that your body is reaping its benefits. Most people forget that our body is way too smart – when we feel we have done a smart thing by consuming higher protein and low carb, low fat meal – our body becomes extra shaana (smart 😉 ) – it does not store the protein for future use, it instead converts it to FAT by a process a deamination. This process takes place in the liver, where your protein just got broken down to glucose. There goes your plan of consuming High protein!

So when you consume your proteins, even if it is meat, it is always sensible to eat it as a part of the meal along with rice or roti and veggies and NEVER by itself. This way we ensure ideal absorption and assimilation of amino acids.

So, when it comes to eating – like I always insist, it is so much better to adopt a sensible plan instead of trying anything extreme 🙂

(Picture Courtesy – http://www.thebiosciences.com/cartoons/HighProteinDiet.png)

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What is your body or rather your excess weight trying to tell you?

To my all patients, I keep reiterating the fact, “Listen to your body. Listen to your gut.” I am strong believer of the fact that if something is there in our life – could be a person, a situation or anything and it bothers us in some way – then may be it is here to teach us something. Like Pema Chodron says – “nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know …nothing ever really attacks us except our own confusion. Perhaps there is no solid obstacle except our own need to protect ourselves from being touched. Maybe the only enemy is that we don’t like the way reality is now and therefore wish it would go away fast. But what we find as practitioners is that nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know. If we run a hundred miles an hour to the other end of the continent in order to get away from the obstacle, we find the very same problem waiting for us when we arrive. It just keeps returning with new names, forms, manifestations until we learn whatever it has to teach us about where we are separating ourselves from reality, how we are pulling back instead of opening up, closing down instead of allowing ourselves to experience fully whatever we encounter, without hesitating or retreating into ourselves.”

Is this not true about “losing weight” too? There so many fad diets, diet plans, diet foods and what not to make one “lose the extra weight”. We treat this excess weight in the body like an invader in our space, which we just want to get rid off. Did you once think where and how did you manage to pile on this extra weight? It definitely wasn’t injected in your system while you were sleeping – that you woke up next morning and you were twice your size! It was a gradual weight gain.

Can we once try and acknowledge that yes this extra weight is a part of me and if it comes back stubbornly no matter how many crazy diets I do, then may be its trying to tell me something? Our body is constantly talking to us, sending us messages, but the point is – are we listening? We keep ignoring what our body is trying tell us gently and thus we land up in a state where the body shouts out loud in the form of disease or weight gain!

Let me give you an example – busy watching the ‘game’ on tv late night with friends, you tank up on beer, pizza and chips. Next day morning being work day – you wake up tired, dehydrated, bloated, gassy, burpy and so on.. This was your body’s gentle way of letting you know of its discomfort. But what do you do when this happens – you now OD on coffee to feel kicked and silence the stomach by taking an antacid. Do you know what you just did? Imagine your child is coming to you crying because he hurt himself. Would you ask your child why he is crying or would you just stuff and tape his mouth to make him stop crying? Sounds cruel, doesn’t it? That is exactly what you put your stomach through.

WE abuse our system, WE eat mindlessly, WE put on the weight and now WE torture our body for being FAT! Silly, isn’t it? Just like in the previous example where we would ask the child – “tell me beta, what happened?” – can we ask our body that too? Can we really find out what is making us fat – despite our various attempts at “burning it”?

Excess weight here is trying to convey a message to you. If you kill the messenger – that is, if you actually do lose the weight but don’t understand why it was here in the first place – it returns. Don’t most people who do crash diets know this? There is no moral or personal failure here. It is not about eating less calories or switching to fat-free version instead of full-fat versions. We just didn’t listen deeply enough to what it was trying to tell us.

Trying to get rid of weight by “losing it” is like trying to get rid of paying a high electricity bill by shredding and throwing it out. Waah- phaado aur phekdo! Bill hi nahi toh pay kya karoge? The problem is though, when you throw out the bill, not only will you lose your electricity connection but also another one comes in the mail, and this time with a late fee. Throw that one away too and you just landed yourself in some serious mess.

Is it not just simple to pay the bill? The bill and the extra weight are here just to point to certain facts. The bill points to the fact that you use electricity in your house and you need to pay for it. Shredding and discarding it is of no use. Likewise, excess weight points to something else. To simply get rid of it for the sake of getting rid of it is of no use

So finally – coming to the core question –   “What is this extra weight trying to tell me?” Each one may have different answer to this question, and below are just a few common and obvious ones. Being overweight can point to:

  • Our poor nutritional choices
  • Eating out of Emotional hunger – (https://whosayshealthyfoodaintfun.wordpress.com/2014/05/12/my-relationship-status-to-my-food-its-complicated-really/)
  • Unsatisfied emotional wants or needs
  • Suppressed and repressed feelings
  • Low self-esteem leading to unclear identity about self
  • A big need to be loved and wanted (chocolate satisfies these cravings often)
  • A vicious cycle of guilt eating and self-hatred
  • Mindless eating leading to disconnection from the body/ stomach
  • Emotional hurts or wounds
  • Emptiness
  • Financial worries
  • Creative blocks or suppressed creativity
  • Being un-true and dishonest to our own inner self
  • Revenge
  • Fear, anxiety
  • Stress, etc

Each one of these is like a wounded child. It needs our attention. We cannot avoid these or shred it like the bill or just lose fat by crazy exercise and diet routine. It is time we sit with ourselves, look inside of us, see what we are running away from, look and examine what we are trying so hard to hide. It is time we love, accept, honour and listen to what our body is trying to tell us, otherwise we will continue this cycle of putting on weight-losing it and putting it back on. I agree it is not an easy process. Looking at our wounds may not be a beautiful sight, but the only way out is through it.

We have tried the fad diets, the quick fixes. Did it work? Then why not muster some courage and face ourselves. Things may not be as bad as we think they are.

So – WHAT IS YOUR BODY OR RATHER YOUR EXCESS WEIGHT TRYING TO TELL YOU?

 

A POTATO DOES NOT MAKE YOU A POTATO, BUT BEING A COUCH POTATO DEFINITELY DOES!

Though we love the batata or bateta or aloo or potato in our food, we also love to blame the poor tuber for our weight gain! Let’s face it – whether mashed, baked or roasted, people often consider potatoes as comfort food. Did You Know that potatoes are NOT inherently fattening? But if you choose to add butter or sour cream to potatoes or choose to fry it and eat it or eat chips you increase the numbers of calories and fat grams significantly and yes – that does make you fat!

For my technical – questioning – calculating minds –

Boiled potatoes are low in calories and fat, but high in fiber (responsible in making you feel full) and nutrients. They are naturally rich in vitamins and minerals, particularly potassium, phosphorus, B-complex vitamins and vitamin C. A large, unpeeled boiled potato is rich in B-complex vitamins, which help your body form blood cells and make energy from the protein, carbohydrates and fat from the food you eat.

A boiled potato provides more than half of the vitamin B-6 you need each day, as well as about 30 percent of your recommended daily intake for thiamin and niacin. It is also high in vitamin C, giving you one-half of your daily requirement for that nutrient.

Because the potato is a root vegetable, it is rich in essential minerals that help you build strong bones and benefit your nerve and muscle function. A large potato, boiled in its skin, provides 1.1 grams of potassium, one-fourth of the potassium you need daily. It also gives you about one-fifth of the magnesium and phosphorus you need each day. A potato has 5.4 grams of fiber, about the same amount as a bowl of bran flakes cereal – so bring back the poha with batata and other vegetables for breakfast instead!

And AGAIN – the most important thing here like any other food item or group is the concept of MODERATION. Anything less or anything in excess is not good. So yes eat the potato in your veggie, but eat other veggies too – in the right quantity.

Now coming to the couch potato bit! Exercise is an essential component of life, just like eating. I am not talking about fancy exercise or equipment. Take small steps. Just motivate yourself to exercise. Our body, our joints need exercise – not excess not less – Just RIGHT!! So if nothing just start with a walk for about 30-40 mins a day, 5 times a week! Regular exercise helps you gain muscle weight and shed fat weight (Remember Fat loss is important!). And most importantly focus wellness, reducing body fat and a sustainable healthy lifestyle.

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