When I started this program to lose weight at the end of May, I didn’t give much thought to my protein intake. I just gave up snacking and reduced my portion size to the point where I would lose some weight every week. Given that I was not exactly keeping track of what I had been eating, sometimes I missed the mark and ended up having to analyze what went wrong in order to correct it. But getting back on track has not really been a problem. I am in control of the diet and exercise I do, and I can change it as I need to.
A couple of years ago I had been walking 4.5 miles most days in the summer. This year I found my recovery slower than I would have liked. Some days I was tired. I attributed that to a calorie deficit from the day before, and just something I would have to live with. I’m sure that was an issue.
But then I started lifting weights. Within a couple of weeks I had a routine, and all of a sudden I started madly craving protein.
I wouldn’t have ordered extra protein at a restaurant, nor would I have thought to do so. But several times, when I was preparing food, I found myself unable to stop eating cooked meat. Well, it seemed that way. The last time it happened, I ended up eating almost twice as much as I had planned to that day. So I decided it was time to look up how much protein exercise experts thought I should be eating.
On this page I found a little chart which it appears came from Nancy Clark’s Sports Nutrition Guidebook. Or perhaps all the text of the page above it came from that book. It’s hard to tell.
But the key is the chart as follows, which gives a number by which you would multiply your bodyweight in order to determine how many grams of protein you should consume each day.
Since I am losing weight, it’s hard to say whether I should be using my target weight, my present weight, or some other number. I suspect it should be somewhere between. It’s hard to imagine that excess fat I am carrying requires protein to maintain it.
I made a spreadsheet reformatting it more like this to apply to adults:Since I actually created it in a spreadsheet program (open office), all I had to do was enter my present weight and my ideal weight, write formulas and drag them across to see all the options.
To calculate, just fill in your bodyweight and multiply by the factors above.
For this to be useful you will need to be keeping a food journal. You are, aren’t you? There are lots of sites online where food journals are linked to databases that calculate your day’s nutrition for you automatically. I have been using fatsecret.com. It’s free, and it’s a lot less hassle than the old-fashioned way of flipping through pages in a book.
Anyway, I found that I was consuming 35-55 grams of protein a day, and my likely target range is probably 75-120 grams. No wonder I have been craving protein madly and recovering slowly from my exercise!