Welcome back for part 3 of the “How to Burn More Calories” series! So far we’ve discussed how to burn more calories through N.E.A.T. and your Activity Factor (aka, your AF, since we love to abbreviate everything…) lol.
And today we’re getting into how to burn more calories simply by choosing the right foods.
We’re not talking about getting more exercise or a dieting fad or choosing certain workouts over other ones… we’re simply talking about FOOD and how you can actually burn more calories than the person next to you depending on what you’re eating.
I think this is a VERYYY POWERFUL tool to understand and to use to your advantage on a daily basis. It’s something that I have learned to use as a secret tool for myself and when my clients start to truly understand the advantage of it, it’s magical haha.
So let’s get into it. Today we’re talking about T.E.F. better known as, the Thermic Effect of Food.
The thermic effect of food is essentially the increase in calories burned by your body by trying to break down and digest the nutrients you’ve given it.
This is where we learn that not all nutrients are created equal. Let’s look at the macronutrient of “fats” first. When we consume fats, our body will burn 0% – 3% of the calories simply by trying to break it down. Sounds ehhh, right? It gets better.
When we have carbs – our body only burns about 5% – 10% of the calories via the break down and digestion process. Still seems great right? UNTIL we move on to our winners… FIBER AND PROTEIN.
Fiber and Protein burn 20%-30% of the calories you consume simply by digesting them.
That means that if you eat 100 calories worth of protein, your body will automatically burn 20-30 of those calories on it’s own while you chill.
That doesn’t seem like a lot BUT it DEFINITELY adds up and could be working in your favor. Imagine if you ate 120 grams of protein a day. That means that you would be eating 480 calories worth of protein and that up to 144 of those calories would be burned without you having to do any extra work.
Over the course of a week – you could be burning 1,000 calories JUST BY eating protein.
Stick with that for a month and I think you see the point.
For a lot of people, this isn’t far off from being a reality. In my experience (from the girls I’ve coached online) most women are wanting to lose weight, and currently eat roughly 45-60g of protein a day. My goal is to at least double their protein intake over the course of a couple weeks so that not only are they burning more calories simply from what they are eating, but because protein keeps us full, they are also able to feel satisfied and stop snacking as much which results in eating fewer calories.
So for the girl that is averaging 60g of protein a day – she is burning roughly an extra 500 calories a week versus 1,000. Pretty insane right?! And like I mentioned, this is for protein AND fiber.
Most women only get 9-11 g of fiber in their daily diet when the recommended daily intake for women is 25g a day. Now imagine that you increase your fiber intake to 25 g AND you’re getting the proper amount of protein…GIRL you are going to be SO full and satisfied from every meal that you’re not going to understand how you’re eating more food, less calories and feeling better.
It’s like the famous male actors who always talk about how when they need to gain weight and it’s HARD…so they say. Meanwhile all of us are thinking “Fucking cry me a river that you are getting paid to eat 3,500 calories a day – we could do that in our sleep”. Haha BUT we have to realize that they’re not just eating 3,500 calories worth of in-n-out…they’re eating 3,500 calories worth of fiber, fat and protein so once you understand how FULL that makes you, I think you would also complain about needing to eat that much! (or maybe not lol).
Going back to this feeling like “my secret tool” let me fill you in on how I’m benefiting from TEF right now.
Currently: I am having to take a break from working out the way I normally do while I go to Physical Therapy for my back (I’ve had scoliosis since I was 14 and am finally deciding to do something about it hehe…) SO I’ve been REALLY focusing on my N.E.A.T as well as body weight and light weight exercises BUT I have also been making absolute sure that I keep my protein up. This is allowing me to stay full without going over my macros, maintain my lean muscle and it is helping me burn the extra calories.
An example of what a current day of eating looks like for me:
Almond milk capp. (40 cals, 1g protein) – 7:00am
Power Crunch Bar (200 cals, 13g protein) – 11:00am
4.5oz. Chicken, (180 cals, 39g protein) + 1/2 cup white rice (121 cals, 2g protein) – 1:00pm
Coffee with pea milk (70 cals, 8g protein) + 1 scoop Vanilla protein Powder (140 cals, 20g protein) – 2:00pm
Greek Yogurt (130 cals, 12g protein) – 5:00pm
4oz Ground Turkey with veggies and rice or in a salad (160 cals, 22g protein) – 8:00pm
This is obviously a rough estimate of overall calories but I’m just trying to show my main sources of protein throughout the day and how those foods add up to a substantial amount of protein with minimal calories.
So the break down would look something like this:
Calories: 1,041 —-> I aim for about 1,300
Protein: 117 grams.
When it comes to fiber, I dislike adding up a bunch of smaller numbers like 2g of fiber here and 4g of fiber there. Obviously at the end of the day, fiber is fiber and it all does help with adding up haha but just for my brain I personally like it to be as easy as possible so I gravitate towards 1-3 things that I know have a good amount of fiber in them and then attempt to keep the other smaller options in mind.
I know that theres 9g of fiber in a ONE Brand Birthday Bar.
There’s also 9g of fiber in one small 45 calorie tortilla.
So if I wanted to hit the remaining 7g for the day – I could easily do so with some jimica and broccoli in my salad or as a snack.
Although – other great options for fiber include:
and of course nuts, beans, and legumes.
If you are unsure how much protein and fiber you are currently consuming, spend one day logging your food into an app like My Fitness Pal. Chances are you’re getting roughly 40-60 grams of protein a day and 8-10g of fiber so first of all, DON’T WORRY.
Here’s what you need to do:
Try adding 20-25 grams of protein to your diet everyday for a week and see how you feel and if it’s pretty doable. After one week, see if you can easily add in another 20-25 grams and stick with that for a month!
Same with fiber, just work on upping it a little bit at a time. I think we get ourselves in trouble when we expect to completely change our habits over night. These things take time and that’s OKAY!
If you have any questions please leave them below, and if you want to have more help with allll of this, check out the next start date for the 10 WEEK PLAN!
(photo credit belongs to Alison Marras)