First things first, most of my friends and clients who come to me for help are not athletes. They are just normal folks who want to be healthier and don’t have time for daily workouts. For that reason, I try to steer them away from extra carbs whenever I can. The truth is, you don’t really need exercise to burn fat, nutrition is 90% of the battle. That’s why these people are able to drop fat effortlessly once they adopt a proper nutrition plan.
What’s the Answer for Feeling Too Thin?
So, what’s causing them to feel “too skinny?” The answer is almost assuredly a lack of protein, not carbohydrates. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need carbohydrates to gain muscle mass. In fact, I once packed on 10 pounds of muscle and lost 1 pound of body fat inside of 30 days eating only about 150 grams of carbohydrates per day.
What to do: If you’ve switched to a Paleo-style diet and you think you’re getting too skinny, re-examine your protein intake.
Track your macronutrients for at least 3 days. Check nutrition facts on everything you eat. If the food doesn’t have a label, Google it. For example, Google “broccoli nutrition.”
Write down how many grams of protein you are consuming each day.
Where should your numbers be?
I recommend that everyone consume at least 0.6 grams of protein per pound of body weight. The calculation is simple enough. Simply weight yourself, hopefully on an accurate scale, and multiply that number by 0.6. That’s how much protein you should be getting each day. For example, a 150-pound person should consume no less than 90 grams of protein. Remember, that is the absolute minimum! I would much prefer you eat closer to 1 gram per pound, but I want to make things reasonable for everyone.
Many people (especially women) complete this exercise only to learn that they are eating as little as 1/3rd the amount of protein they need. That’s going to make it difficult to maintain healthy muscle mass. Especially if you’re not doing some form of resistance training.
How to Get the Extra Protein You Need In Your Diet
There are definitely some tricks to sneaking extra protein into your diet. For vegetarians, like my friend I mentioned earlier, it’s going to be a little more difficult. This difficulty comes from the fact that there are few low-carb, high protein options in the vegetarian world. It’s difficult to get complete proteins on a vegetarian diet without increasing carbohydrate intake. Really, your only Paleo-friendly options are chia seeds and hemp seeds. To make up the protein deficit you would have to eat a whole lot of seeds!
For all you Paleo folks out there, you have tons of options! I highly recommend free-range eggs for their excellent amino acid
profile. Cans of tuna, sardines and oysters are also convenient ways to add protein on the go. If you really feel like you just don’t have the time to sneak in extra protein, I recommend The Perfect Paleo Powder. Yes, I created it. Yes, it’s the best protein powder on the market. Period. 27 grams of protein per serving!
For those of you who are looking for full-blown meals and convenience, it doesn’t get much better than Paleo On The Go! Check out their menu and make sure the main part of the meal is meat! A couple of my favorites are the Elk Burger with Wild Mushrooms and the Mushroom Bacon Stuffed Dijon Chicken.