Turn this thing around.

True story for you today.

For months now my PT / trainer, who you may know as Dr. Mike, has been trying to persuade me to eat more protein. Specifically, one gram of protein for every pound of lean body mass I have (that's muscle, bone, everything but fat and water). That would be over 110 grams of protein every day, but I've been shooting for an even 100.

We say "shooting for" but what's really been happening is that up until last week I found this impossible. I mean! That's a LOT of protein. That's 25 grams of protein at every meal and a nuthin-but-protein snack. I would "try to" serve myself that much protein, but I just could not gag it down.

Then I went to Miami for a few days and had to patronize the hotel gym. Everyone's old at my local. In Miami: fit young French Canadians. Muscular fellows. And I suddenly remembered what the point of all that protein actually was: not to make and keep my stomach full, but to make and keep me strong enough to get around on my own power. To stop me losing the muscle that wastes away on every person of advanced age who doesn't take serious measures to help herself.
What did Sherlock Holmes say? When you're done telling yourself it can't be done, you turn around and do the impossible - something like that?

No, he didn't say that. What he probably said was "My dear lady, take out your little notebook, which I can tell from a glance at your ink-stained fingers that youare never without, and write down all the foodstuffs containing 25 grams of protein that you are actually willing to eat."

So I did that.

Turns out, it is NOT technically impossible to get 25 grams of protein at every meal. It is merely inconvenient, especially for a carb hound like me. Mystery solved; I had been eating all the bread and french fries and sticky rice and granola first. I had been "trying" to get the protein in around the carbs. 

But if you make the list of ways to get 25 grams of protein, and you make that list double as a shopping list, and you go shopping for those things, and then you eat them first (making sure that of course you get your leafy greens in there as well), all very possible things, well here is the exciting conclusion: Youcan indeed get all the protein your trainer tells you to get.* 

Lots of you have reported similar impossibilities: 

  • there was a crunch at work, so you couldn't get to the store, and youhad to have takeout all week

  • there's a schedule conflict, so you can't take the class that would make all the difference

  • someone else's need was greater, so your plans got pushed back til next month

  • and etc.

To be sure, crunches and crises happen, and all of the things you've told me about are 1000x more legit than "I just don't have the CAPACITY to eat this protein!" 

If there's a crisis every week, though, maybe it's time to seize control, turn the thing around, and just do the heretofore impossible. If it's important, DO IT FIRST.

*Obviously, and as I've said before, I'm not a nutritionist and I'm not a physician. You should work out your own nutritional requirements, and get professional support with that if you need it. I certainly needed help.

Image: Wildeman op een eenhoorn, Meester van het Amsterdamse Kabinet, 1473-1477, Rijksmuseum. Used with permission.

Max Daniels