Habit Transformation Challenge: Your third Habit
Prepared by: Dr. Kushairi Zuradi
We are using the slow change method to make a lifelong impact in your life. Follow this habit transformation basics first prior to starting your challenges.
This is our third habit challenge – to eat more protein!
Haven’t started your first challenge yet? Start here first then continue with the second challenge.
This habit challenge will show you the benefits of a higher protein diet, and how much you actually need.
Your challenge is to eat lean protein with every meal.
For the next 1-2 weeks, I challenge you to eat a source of lean protein with every main meal.
The word protein means ‘of prime importance’ – and protein is certainly important to health.
Its high thermic effect helps boost the metabolism, building lean muscle tissue and reducing body fat to make us look better.
Despite it being a key nutrient for optimal body composition, many people are drastically under-eating protein.
High protein diets have occasionally grabbed the headlines for being unhealthy, but the research never holds up.
This habit will show you the benefits of a higher protein diet, and how much you need.
Making it yours
Choose which sources of protein you would like to eat, and in what quantities. If you never eat protein with meals, then start with a small portion per meal. If you’re used to eating a higher protein diet, then focus on increasing your consistency to eating the recommended portion sizes each meal.
The first step is to scale the habit to something you are 90-100% confident you can do for 6 days of the week. Have one day off per week from completing the habit.
It’s likely the existing trigger to eat something will be the cue for this habit. It could also be linked to meal preparation if you like to bulk cook for days ahead. Just pick a pre-existing habit to use as your reminder.
TO DO: Create your personal version of the habit to commit to this challenge!
When considering what type of protein to eat, I encourage you to look at food quality by its ‘biological value’ (BV).
The biological value of a protein is based on its quantity of the essential amino acids. So a food with a high BV (also known as a complete protein) contains all nine essential aminos.
This is commonly seen in animal and dairy products.
A food with low to medium BV does not contain all of the essential amino acids.
This is commonly seen in plant-based protein sources. We need to combine these low BV foods to create a higher quality BV in meals.
This explains why animal proteins (meat and dairy) are so important in our diets, and why they top the list for highest protein content.
While following this habit, focus in the quality of the protein you are eating.
Buy the highest quality protein sources you can afford. Not only will you get better quality protein, but more protein as a result.
As the saying goes, you get what you pay for!
Proteins are an essential nutrient and can be broken down into 20 building blocks known as ‘amino acids’. Out of these 20 amino acids, nine are considered essential, as the body cannot synthesize its own, meaning we must obtain these from animal and plant sources.
The other 11 aminos are non-essential, as they can be synthesized by the body.
Within the 9 essential amino acids, there are three branch chain amino acids (BCAAs): leucine, isoleucine and valine. They do not require metabolizing by the liver, and are therefore taken up directly by the body. These three aminos are the most important for the manufacture, maintenance and repair of muscle tissue.
Of the three, leucine has shown to be the most effective amino at stimulating protein synthesis (the process of building muscle protein and therefore growth), yet the three work better together to provide a host of benefits and even boost energy during workouts.
Studies show that BCAA (Branch Chain Amino Acid) supplementation alone can blunt the catabolic hormone cortisol (think stress) and decrease delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
Essentially, these amino acids alone will add lean muscle to your body and aid recovery from your daily tasks and workouts.
I’ve mentioned that tissue growth and maintenance are primary functions of protein, as they provide the building materials (amino acids) for growth and repair. That makes them vital for forming skin, nails, hair, bones, organs, tendons and of course muscles.
But protein also plays a regulatory role in the body, managing enzymes, hormones, antibodies, fluid balance and nutrient transportation.
Lastly, if the body really needs to, it can use protein to provide the calories it requires to meet the body’s energy needs.
It’s clear that protein has a ton of important functions outside of just making your muscles look good.
You’re laying the foundations to incredible results.
If all went well for one week, and you didn’t struggle or skip the habit for more than a day, I recommend that you lengthen the habit this week. If you’ve struggled, keep it the same as last week or make it even easier.
For example, if you’ve just been focusing on eating a healthy breakfast that you would have previously skipped on a morning, then extend that to your lunch now too.
Or if you’ve been focusing on reducing your snacks between meals, try to focus on eating your main meals every 3-4 hours.
Or if you’ve noticed increased hunger between meals, then try making your meals bigger, or eating more frequently.
Never make too big an adjustment so that it becomes too difficult.
This slow change process of expanding the habit a little at a time helps overcome the resistance of the mind to change and discomfort.
Each step isn’t difficult, so your mind doesn’t rebel much. Gradually the habit becomes your new normal and you can expand a bit more, pushing your comfort zone a little at a time.
Keep on track for 1-2 weeks and we’ll see you in your next challenge soon!
We understand that it will be quite a challenge to achieve your daily protein requirement and make sure it is from a healthy source.
You can calculate your protein requirement above.
Here at Sihatologi, we have designed a healthy high protein recipe guide which provides more than 20 grams of protein per serving and you can prepare by yourself at home – easily.
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