My Story of How Protein is Beneficial for Moms

I have discovered protein is beneficial for moms!  

After having my third baby at age 37 I had gained a lot of weight despite feeling like I hadn’t really changed my eating habits from my previous pregnancies. 

Yes, I was exercising less with three girls ages 4 and under but it still didn’t explain my massive weight gain or the fact that I felt like a fat balloon.   I was left wondering why this postpartum was so different.  

Why did I feel like I was watching what I ate, yet still was carrying lots of extra flub?

I took action by journaling my food, drinking lots of water, and eliminating bakery sweets but the biggest discovery for me in this process was protein.  

Protein is one of the macronutrients that our body needs to function.   I learned that as women age it becomes even more important for our overall wellbeing.  

In this article I will share with you why protein is beneficial for moms, by explaining

1) What protein is.

2) The benefits of protein in a mom’s diet

3)  A plan to reach optimal protein intake.       


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What is Protein?

In simple terms proteins are vital molecules in our body taking care of the bulk of work in every cell.  

They provide structure, function, and regulation of our body’s tissues and organs.  

Proteins are needed to build every cell in the body unlike carbohydrates that simply provide energy.  

It is amazing all the jobs proteins do in our body!  Here are a few categories of proteins and their functions.


Protein is beneficial for moms: Functions in the Body
Antibodies- proteins that bind with invaders to the body. Important in our immune systems
Enzymes- carry out the majority of chemical reactions in our cells
Messengers- send and receive messages through the body like hormones
Transporters- control the doors to the cell membranes, carry nutrients, fats, and oxygen throughout our body.  
Structural- build the framework of our cells and keeps us together like glue.

In researching this I had flashbacks to my college chemistry class but stay with me because understanding some of these details will help you interpret the gobble-de-gook on labels and in nutritional ads.  


Amino acids are the little building blocks of the larger protein molecule.  There are 20 different types of amino acids that combine into different patterns to create different proteins.   


Our body can make 11 of them on its own but 9 of them we must get from our diet.  These ones are called essential.  They include


Histidine
Isoleucine
Leucine
Lysine
Methionine
Phenylalanine
Threonine
Tryptophan
Valine

While I don’t think you need to memorize them you can now begin to understand when a product or label says it provides all 9 essential amino acids and is a “complete protein.”  

Having all 9 amino acids present gives your cells the building blocks necessary to synthesize any protein it needs.

As you can see proteins are complex and need a chemistry degree to deeply understand.  However, the biggest thing to take away from this is that they play a critical role in our bodies as well the fact that we need it protein our diet.  


Let’s get to the good stuff!  Let find out why protein is beneficial for moms!


Why Protein is Beneficial for Moms

 What benefits do us mom’s get by having higher protein in our diet?  


1) Builds Lean Muscle

Muscle are built and repaired with proteins.   When you exercise you are causing little tears in your muscles that need to be repaired.  These repairs actually lend itself to increasing your strength in that muscle.  

Combining good protein intake after exercising can help you burn the fat but keep the lean muscle.  

Diets sometimes can cause you to lose both the muscle mass and fat which slows your metabolism.  Keeping protein high helps you burn the fat cells not the muscle and charges your metabolism.  

I have definitely noticed my body becoming more tone with moderate exercise since adding more protein in to my diet.  It is important though to add some resistance training to see these results.  


2) Weight Loss

 Protein has been shown to do several things that contributing to making it easier to lose weight.

Dawn Zurcher protein

1. Curb your cravings and reduces appetite

2.  Balances hormones that regulate your appetite 

3. Boosts metabolism and burns more calories throughout the day due to taking longer to digest.

3) Bone and Skin Health

Another reason why protein is beneficial for moms includes bones health. 

 Protein, particularly animal protein, has been shown to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures as women age. It feeds the structural proteins in your body so they can produce strong bones, skin, hair and nails.   

That is why I find as i just hit my (clear throat) 40th birthday it has become an even more important for me to focus on this.  

I am finally feeding my body what it needs to synthesize these structural elements.  

4) Healthy Aging

As we age our ability for protein to do its job and build new cells diminishes.  

Women in the menopause, post menopause phase really can struggle with keeping lean muscle.  

Recent research has started to show a correlation to high protein diets retain more muscle strength and function as we age.  

The amino acid Leucine has a shown to play an important role in this.  

 I know I want to be able to be mobile for as long as possible!  

So now that we know that protein is beneficial for moms let’s talk about putting it into practice!


The Plan for Moms and Protein

We understand what protein is, and why it is beneficial for toning a mom’s body. Now let’s  figure out good sources and goals for incorporating it into your diet.

Complete proteins can be found in both animal and plant sources. 

Animal sources are preferred because they are easier for us to digest and absorb but there are also good plant options as well. 

 As with anything, variety is the spice of life!  

Here is a chart of some good protein sources and the amount of protein in them.  

Protein is beneficial for moms sources

It is recommended for the average woman to get .8g per kilogram of your weight.  However this is going to vary based on your weight, lifestyle and age and if you want to lose weight should probably be higher. 

Also keep in mind this number is the least amount recommended.

Here is how to figure out your target.  


1) Convert your pounds into kilograms (I used an online converter.)

2) .8 X you weight in kilograms = daily grams of protein


 For example a 150 lbs women is about 68 kilograms.


.8 X  68 =  54g protein per day.  
 

Here is a chart with the recommended amounts figured out for you depending on your goals.  

Protein beneficial for moms intake

The plan I followed was focusing on having 20g of protein in every meal. 

Breakfast- 2 eggs with an occasional bowl of oatmeal or toast with peanut butter and collagen powder mixed into my coffee. 

 It is highly recommended to get high protein first thing in the morning so skip the bagel or cereal and opt for protein instead. 

Snack- pistachios, beef jerky or Greek yogurt with fruit.  

Lunch: protein shake with a salad or veggies.  

Dinner- fish, chicken, beef or pork, a vegetable and some carb like rice, potatoes or noodles.

 No counting calories or worrying about restriction of certain foods in this plan which makes it so doable.  


Conclusion

Finally you now understand the importance of protein, how protein is beneficial for moms, and a plan to implement.  

In following this simple plan of making each meal have 20g of protein I was able to drop my postpartum weight and start seeing big improvements in my body shape with a few regular strength training workouts a week. 

I also have felt more energetic which has been a bonus! 

 I still have some weight to lose and some of that baby flub to tone up in my middle but overall I am so happy with what focusing on protein has done for my wellbeing. 

More Resources for You

Women in the Wellness: Join my free private Facebook group for more tips, support, and encouragement with a community of likeminded women.


Personalized Supplement Assessment:  Whether it is energy you are looking for, to lose weight, or get more sleep this assessment will match up your health goals with the proper nutritional supplements to get you fueling your body the way it needs.  


Life Shake: Plant or Soy Protein Shakes I love with the amino acid Leucine added for building lean muscle and healthy aging!

  

Prove It Challenge Pack:  This package includes the Vitalizer Women supplements and a month’s supply of Life Shake and is a great way to start to improving your wellbeing.


Article Sources

Healthline: 10 Science-Backed Reasons to Eat more Protein, by Kris Gunnars, March 2019  https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-reasons-to-eat-more-protein


IdealFit: 5 Reasons Every Woman Needs Protein, by Lindsey Mathew’s, 2020 https://www.idealfit.com/blog/why-women-need-protein/


EUFIC: Food Facts for Healthy Choices: “What are Proteins and What Is Their Function in the Body?”  December 2019,  https://www.eufic.org/en/whats-in-food/article/what-are-proteins-and-what-is-their-function-in-the-body


Medline Plus: “What are proteins and what do they do?”  June, 2022, https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/understanding/howgeneswork/protein/

ASU for You: Ask a Biologist, by Meredith Turnbough and Marcella Martos, “What are Proteins?”  https://askabiologist.asu.edu/venom/what-are-proteins


VerywellFit: “A Complete Guid to Amino Acids” by Laura Dolson, Jan. 2022, https://www.verywellfit.com/what-are-amino-acids-2242021


What Protein: “Lean Muscle Mass; How Protein Can Help you Build”, January 2018,  https://whatprotein.co.uk/blog/nutrition/lean-muscle-mass-protein-can-help-build


Eat This Not That: “Ways Eating Protein Can Help You Lose Weight, Say Dietitians,” by Lindsay Tiger.  May 2021

https://www.eatthis.com/eating-protein-to-lose-weight/ 


The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: “Protein and Healthy Aging”  by Douglas Paddon-Jones, April 2015 https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/101/6/1339S/4564495?login=false


My Protein: “Protein Intake for Women: How much should you be Getting per Day?” By Claire Muszalski, 2021

https://www.myprotein.com/thezone/nutrition/daily-protein-intake-for-women/


Lily Nichols: “Protein Requirements in Pregnancy are Higher than Previously Thought” https://lilynicholsrdn.com/protein-requirements-pregnancy/





Dawn Zurcher
Dawn Zurcher

An experienced elementary music teacher turned homeschool mom to 3 adorable girls, Dawn loves sharing with other moms how to be healthy, happy and confident through the ups and downs of motherhood. She provides workshops to help mothers get started strong in homeschool, parenting and wellness. You will find her learning alongside her children or volunteering in their learning community.

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