Many women have adopted a high-protein Mediterranean diet which advocates more protein and healthy fats. A caloric deficit, high protein diet is the key to weight loss. When combined with resistance exercise, the results will be amplified. You don’t have to be a skinny fat woman; with the right protein intake, a sensible diet, and a few sessions a week with resistance exercise, you will make those people eat their words.
THE SKINNY FAT TRANSFORMATION: GAIN MUSCLE AND LOSE FAT! SUMMARY
- Skinny fat is a term to describe someone who has a normal or even underweight BMI, but has a high percentage of body fat and low muscle mass.
Boosting protein intake to.8 grams per body weight led to a reduction in body fat without a change in exercise.
Diet alone can result in a decrease in body fat, but resistance exercise can preserve lean muscle mass while dieting.
Resistance training/strength training is essential if you are a woman to build lean muscle, improve strength, increase bone density, and burn calories. Many women prefer cardio over lifting weights, but if you want to transform your body, the weights are where it will happen. If you want to transform your body and lose weight (i.e., how to lose weight for beginners), three critical factors can affect your goals burn fat and build muscle.
- Make sure you are physically active and performing resistance exercises.
- Make sure you are eating fewer calories (i.e., calorie deficit) to lose excess body fat
- Make sure you are getting enough protein.
All three work synergistically to help your body gain muscle while burning fat.
DIET VS EXERCISE: WHICH WORKS BETTER FOR FAT LOSS?
Diet and exercise result in better changes in body composition than diet alone. You can lose weight if you diet, but you will also lose muscle! Increased metabolic rate due to exercise is helpful because it counteracts some of the negative consequences of low-calorie diets.
Losing muscle is not something that you want to happen. Your metabolism (i.e., how many calories you burn per day) is directly tied to your levels of muscle. There is what is called metabolic adaptation (i.e., a decrease in resting metabolic rate or calories burned at rest) in which you lose muscle, which results in more difficult weight loss.
700-CALORIE DIET REDUCTION VS 700-CALORIE REDUCTION BY BURNING CALORIES THRU EXERCISE
What happens if you exercise without dieting? Decreasing calories by exercising more or decreasing food intake will result in a fat reduction, but muscle mass loss is more prevalent with diet alone. You are on a long and arduous road if you want to lose weight just by exercise.
The go workout for weight loss mentality is not a smart way to lose body fat. Reducing calories by cutting back on food is much easier to achieve than by trying to exercise more. Exercise is good for weight maintenance but not weight loss without calorie restriction.
If you are wondering how exercise affects metabolism and weight loss, then I would like to refer to this study. A study took over men and broke them down into different groups. The relevant groups are a diet-only group and a cardio-only group. The study was 20 weeks, but the main difference was how the groups reduced their calories.
One group reduced their calories by 700 calories, and the other group burned 700 calories by exercise (no calorie restriction!) I don’t know if you realize how difficult it is to burn 700 calories, but it is not fun!
The subjects assigned to the exercise alone (100 % of calories burned by exercise alone) exercised 60 minutes a day with an exercise intensity of 80% of their maximum heart rate. So what happened at the end of 12 weeks?
Both groups lost an equal amount of weight and body fat (i.e., 16 pounds for diet only and 17 pounds for cardio only). Diet alone lost -3.4% of their body fat, and the exercise-only group lost -4.3% of body fat. However, the changes in muscle were different.
The diet-only group lost -4.8 pounds of muscle, while the exercise-only group lost -2.2 pounds of muscle. If the subjects were performing resistance exercise, many studies have found that you can completely preserve/gain muscle mass. If you do a ratio breakdown, the diet-only group lost 70% of their body fat and 30% of their muscle. The exercise-only group lost 85% of their body fat and only 15% muscle.
Remember, the amount of muscle you have is directly related to your metabolism. The diet-only group’s metabolism was reduced to burn -211 calories less per day. Still, the exercise-only group had less muscle loss and had a reduction in calories burned per day of -126 calories per day. (Ross et al., 2000)
THE SKINNY FAT STUDY
If you are eager to learn how to weight cut and don’t want to exercise or diet, one simple thing you can do to gain muscle and lose fat is to make sure you are getting enough protein. Using a high-protein diet to lose belly fat is backed by research! There was an interesting study published in 2020 in what I refer to as the protein body recomposition female fat loss study.
Researchers took 47 women (ages 30- 60) who were not exercising. The subjects were what we call skinny fat women (i.e., they had a high amount of body fat with a low amount of muscle). The women had body fat greater than 30%, which put the subjects in the normal-weight obesity category. They had no medical conditions, just high body fat and low muscle amounts.
The women were randomized into 2 groups:
High Protein Group: Subjects consumed.8 grams per pound of body weight
Standard Protein Group: .5 grams per pound of body weight.
DON’T CHANGE ANYTHING- JUST EAT MORE PROTEIN FOR 12 WEEKS!
The only thing subjects in the high protein group increased their daily protein intake. They were not exercising; they just did their daily activities. Calories were monitored but they were not on a diet.
They were told to eat enough calories to maintain weight and not exercise. If the subject did exercise, they were told to keep doing their normal routine.
The researchers tried to make everything they did in their normal routine similar, except for eating more protein. The subjects met with a dietician so that both groups would eat the same amount of calories, except that the high-protein group would get more protein. The researchers measured the amount of muscle and fat the subjects had before and after the 12-week study.
At the end of the study, despite women being told to eat maintenance calories to maintain body weight, the group following the high protein diet ate less. The high protein group consumed about 1,827 calories daily, and the normal protein group ate 1,955 calories. Reduced appetite is a fairly typical response as high protein diets are well documented.
The high protein group replaced calories from carbohydrates with protein. They ate about 199 grams of carbohydrates per day, whereas the standard protein group ate about 274 grams of carbohydrates per day.
High protein group ate about 115 grams daily, whereas the standard protein group ate about 69 grams. Look at the chart below and see the changes in lean mass and fat loss just by boosting their protein intake. (Haghighat et al., 2020)