Protein Advice

Sageyoku
Sageyoku Posts: 72 Member
edited September 2018 in Goal: Maintaining Weight
Hi everyone!
I'm hoping someone can help me with a recent diet change. About a month or two ago I switched my macros from the MFP standard (50/30/20) to 40/30/30, after finding that I was often hungry and lacking energy at work. I thought upping the protein might help.

I work at a kennel, my job is to take dogs to and from their rooms, interact with guests, and do lots of cleaning. I am standing and moving for the entire eight hour day. My calorie intake is set at 1530 per day. I have myself set at "lightly active" because although my activity level at work is "active" I am also pretty inactive on my days off and I don't exercise either.

Now that you've got some background, here are my concerns.
1 - It seems like my meals are completely made up of protein in order to reach my macros. I can't even enjoy a real sandwich as I can't eat more than once slice of bread if I want to meet the 30% protein goal. It just seems ridiculous. I am concerned about how much I have to limit fruits and vegetables as well. Please have a look at my diary if you want to see what I typically eat in a day: https://myfitnesspal.com/food/diary?date=2018-08-21 (have a look at any of the entries, I just picked one that's close to "standard" for me)

2 - Since I upped the protein, I often feel TOO full, like, bloated or heavy in an uncomfortable way at work. I eat lunch, then several hours later at dinnertime I do feel hungry, but like there's no more room in my guts for more food (if that even makes sense). It's really weird and uncomfortable to know I'm still eating within my calorie goals, but to feel like a stuffed whale. I have tried to include more fiber-rich foods, vegetables especially, but that doesn't seem to make much difference in how I feel. I can get through work without being hungry, but now my guts feel awful instead. I don't know which is worse.

Is it possible that a 40/30/30 diet is not right for me?
Is it normal to feel excessively full with a higher protein diet?
Is there something else that I should try?

Any advice is appreciated, and if you need further info please don't hesitate to ask. Thanks!
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Replies

  • TavistockToad
    TavistockToad Posts: 35,741 Member
    So why did you increase protein in the first place?
  • deannalfisher
    deannalfisher Posts: 5,601 Member
    what are your overall calories compared to macros...IMHO if you areon the lower end (1200) - then a high protein split will be harder to accomplish without feeling deprived of carbs
  • kenyonhaff
    kenyonhaff Posts: 1,377 Member
    If you're basically constantly in motion for 8 hours a day, I don't think that's "lightly active". Also, assuming your work 5 hours a week, that's fairly active. My guess is that you aren't taking in enough calories total.
  • Sageyoku
    Sageyoku Posts: 72 Member
    edited September 2018
    kimny72 wrote: »
    ...there's a difference between "full" and "bloated". It's possible something specific you're eating isn't agreeing with you and making you bloated. If you added a new food when you switched your macros, it could be that. If you are eating protein supplements, like bars or shakes, it's possible they include an artificial sweetener or a fiber additive that are bloating you. For example, I can't eat most of the protein ice creams like Halo Top, and some protein bars as well because the sugar alcohols mess with my digestive system.

    Hope that helps a little. Just keep tweaking until you find your groove :smile:
    Thanks! I avoid additives/supplements as I believe if I can't naturally add more protein, I probably shouldn't. I'll keep what you've said in mind. Thanks!

    So why did you increase protein in the first place?
    I answered this in the very first sentence of my post, did you read it at all? Quote: "I switched my macros from the MFP standard (50/30/20) to 40/30/30, after finding that I was often hungry and lacking energy at work. I thought upping the protein might help."

    what are your overall calories compared to macros...IMHO if you areon the lower end (1200) - then a high protein split will be harder to accomplish without feeling deprived of carbs
    I provided this information already in my original post. You guys, come on. I appreciate the responses but please read the post! Quote: "I switched my macros from the MFP standard (50/30/20) to 40/30/30...My calorie intake is set at 1530 per day."

    kenyonhaff wrote: »
    If you're basically constantly in motion for 8 hours a day, I don't think that's "lightly active". Also, assuming your work 5 hours a week, that's fairly active. My guess is that you aren't taking in enough calories total.
    It's possible that you're right, but I don't always eat exactly 1530 calories...I typically bounce between 1500-1800, and have maintained my weight for years. I was just wondering about this weird feeling of being full after upping my protein. It's been over a month and I hoped my body would adjust, instead I just don't feel good with the diet change. Maybe I'll go back to how it was. Thanks!
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 24,857 Member
    If you're not comfortable, that's a reason to change.

    It's sometimes hard for me to make sure I'm understand what someone else is saying, so I'm going to try to rephrase what I think you were saying: That on your old macro split, you felt too hungry, so you increased protein to see if that would help, and now you feel too full.

    Under the assumption that I'm interpreting you right, some random thoughts:

    Would it make sense to split the difference, and try 25%?

    How big (height/weight) are you? What is your overall objective (your profile suggests it's weight maintenance, but your calorie level seems quite low unless you're pretty petite)? I'm asking these questions to figure out whether your protein intake seems sensibly in line with your goals, or not.

    People sometimes use the term "bloated" as a euphemism for varying things. They sometimes mean holding onto water weight, sometimes experiencing gassiness, sometimes they're politely referring to constipation, sometimes to feeling like they've overeaten, and more. Can you be more precise? (If it's really just feeling like you've overeaten, I think I'm spinning out all the ideas I've got. If it's potentially one of the others, there might be other ideas. If kimny's right, it could also be a food sensitivity of some sort, and it could make sense to switch up specific foods for a couple of days, and see which ones improve or dis-improve the situation.)

    Finally, it seems like you're packing most of your protein into lunch and dinner, on the day you point out as typical. Would putting more of it in breakfast make any difference? Personally, I'm happier with a pretty even split, but people vary.

    As far as activity level, I would've thought "active", too. Have you been doing your current calorie level for a month or more? If so, what has your body weight done over that time period?

    Best wishes!
  • Cassandraw3
    Cassandraw3 Posts: 1,214 Member
    Have you been drinking enough water? Sometimes, when I think I am hungry, it is really just my body telling me I need to drink more water. If you are feeling bloated or heavy, but still "hungry", it could be that you are not getting enough water throughout the day.
  • middlehaitch
    middlehaitch Posts: 8,381 Member
    I like annpt77's idea of splitting the difference, though your protein doesn't look too high, about 10g higher than what I aim for on a similar (1500-1600) calorie allowance.

    A couple of things from your diary.

    Start using a digital food scale, weigh in grams, and double check your entries.

    Your protein is coming from a lot of meat and this can leave one (well me) feeling full longer.

    Try using dairy more often so you are less full feeling. (I get that if I am meat heavy in a day) cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, and skyr type yogurt all have a good cal to protein ratio. A glass (250 ml) of 1% milk has 11g protein and 100cals.

    Fish is also low cals and high protein in general, and less filling (feeling full long term too) than meat.

    Tuna is 55g 50cal and 11g protein, that on a couple of slices of bread, or with a salad and a glass of milk would be a nutritious lighter lunch.

    I was going to say I tend to feel full if I am much over 35g protein at one meal, but you don't seem to be going higher than that form what I looked at.

    You may want to look at eating frequency.
    I am happiest on 3 meals a day with a couple of pieces of fruit thrown in inbetween if needed, otherwise I am just stuffed feeling all day and I prefer a neutral feel between meals.
    You may prefer 5-6 equally balanced smaller meals.

    Look at your protein goal as aiming for about .8g per lbs of your LBM, (or mid BMI weight if you are outside the 'normal' range) rather than 30% of your food intake.

    Cheers, h.
    PS: I am reading your full like how I feel full; food is still in the stomach.
  • PloddingTurtle
    PloddingTurtle Posts: 279 Member
    edited September 2018
    I had a hunger issue and an evening snack-attack problem. I'm seeing a registered dietitian and when I mentioned it to her, she recommended I experiment by increasing changing my carb-heavy breakfast to a higher protein count one instead. (I now aim for > 15 g protein) and also suggested I try adding a serving of whole grain or starchy vegetable to my lunch (which was predominantly vegetable, protein, fruit). I tried both those things, and that did the trick for me. No more hunger or munchie attacks, and I didn't need to change my ratios or alter my total calorie count - just shift my timing a little on when I consume some foods. I'm really quite impressed with the difference that made for me.
  • PAV8888
    PAV8888 Posts: 10,717 Member
    Like Ann I am a little bit confused.

    Based on your description and MFP's activity factor values, you are active or very active, not lightly active. And if your goal is maintenance I can think of only a few cases when your accurately counted calories would not be too low.

    If you were too hungry before and are too un-hungry after a macro tweak, then the solution appears obvious: split the difference.

    If bloated, however, refers to something other than being un-hungry in contrast to your previous hungry state, then further explanations and a description of the end-result you're seeking might be appropriate.

    Take care.
  • Lillymoo01
    Lillymoo01 Posts: 2,868 Member
    It seems that you now have 2 ratios that don't quite work for you. Part of this journey is trial and error in finding the right one because no one diet is best for everyone.

    I have two suggestions with moving forward. Either,

    1. Change ratios to 40% carbs, 25% protein and 35% fats or,
    2. Change ratios to 45% carbs, 25% protein and 30% fats

    Try one way and if it doesn't seem to work then try the other.

    Good luck xxx
  • Sageyoku
    Sageyoku Posts: 72 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    If you're not comfortable, that's a reason to change.

    It's sometimes hard for me to make sure I'm understand what someone else is saying, so I'm going to try to rephrase what I think you were saying: That on your old macro split, you felt too hungry, so you increased protein to see if that would help, and now you feel too full.
    Correct. I feel like even when I'm hungry, there's not enough room for more food, or like I'm having trouble digesting or something.

    How big (height/weight) are you? What is your overall objective (your profile suggests it's weight maintenance, but your calorie level seems quite low unless you're pretty petite)? I'm asking these questions to figure out whether your protein intake seems sensibly in line with your goals, or not.
    I'm 5'5", 126-128 lbs. I used MFP's calculator to determine what should be my calorie intake for "slightly active" and "maintain current weight" at my height/weight, and it gave me 1530.

    People sometimes use the term "bloated" as a euphemism for varying things. They sometimes mean holding onto water weight, sometimes experiencing gassiness, sometimes they're politely referring to constipation, sometimes to feeling like they've overeaten, and more. Can you be more precise?
    All of that. Literally all of that. I feel like I have water weight, I have excess gas (I had added more fiber to my diet in case the protein might cause constipation but it seems to have only made things worse), constipation happens frequently, and I constantly feel like I have no more room in my stomach despite feeling hungry at the same time. I will take your suggestion and change up what I'm eating to see if I can pinpoint any specific foods that might be causing it.

    Finally, it seems like you're packing most of your protein into lunch and dinner, on the day you point out as typical. Would putting more of it in breakfast make any difference? Personally, I'm happier with a pretty even split, but people vary.
    I can try that. Didn't think it would make a big difference, but it's worth a shot, why not!

    As far as activity level, I would've thought "active", too. Have you been doing your current calorie level for a month or more? If so, what has your body weight done over that time period?
    I realize that I might actually be active, but as previously stated, I often eat more than 1530 calories, usually between 1500-1800 on any given day. I just don't log the extra 200-300. I have been at that calorie level for a long time, like years. My weight has not changed/has gone down very slightly, I'm talking 1 pound per year.

    Thank you very much for the response. I'm going to try some of the things you suggested as far as removing a food at a time to see if it makes things better, then moving more protein to breakfast, and then switching back to 50/30/20 or 50/25/25. Thank you again!


  • TavistockToad
    TavistockToad Posts: 35,741 Member
    How much weight are you trying to lose?
  • Sageyoku
    Sageyoku Posts: 72 Member
    PAV8888 wrote: »
    Like Ann I am a little bit confused.

    Based on your description and MFP's activity factor values, you are active or very active, not lightly active. And if your goal is maintenance I can think of only a few cases when your accurately counted calories would not be too low.
    I understand and I'm sorry for the confusion. I'll try to explain a little more clearly.
    I have only been working at the kennel for about six months. I have used MFP for YEARS, always set at "lightly active" because in the past, I have not had such active jobs. And even now, despite having an active job, I do not exercise at any other time, and I am very inactive on my days off. Therefore, I chose to keep my profile at lightly active, and just consume 200-300 more calories per day when I felt hungry enough for it. The trouble is, when I added more protein, I felt like I didn't even have room for the 1530 calories I was supposed to be eating. I was trying to ask if anyone else has experienced this, or if it's normal to feel that way when adding more protein, or if anyone had suggestions that I could try in order to not feel awful every time I go to eat and afterward. Thank you.

    I will take your advice, which sounds like maybe just lowering the protein more or going back to the MFP generic settings. Thank you.

  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 24,857 Member
    Sageyoku wrote: »
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    If you're not comfortable, that's a reason to change.

    It's sometimes hard for me to make sure I'm understand what someone else is saying, so I'm going to try to rephrase what I think you were saying: That on your old macro split, you felt too hungry, so you increased protein to see if that would help, and now you feel too full.
    Correct. I. feel like even when I'm hungry, there's not enough room for more food, or like I'm having trouble digesting or something.

    How big (height/weight) are you? What is your overall objective (your profile suggests it's weight maintenance, but your calorie level seems quite low unless you're pretty petite)? I'm asking these questions to figure out whether your protein intake seems sensibly in line with your goals, or not.
    I'm 5'5", 126-128 lbs. I used MFP's calculator to determine what should be my calorie intake for "slightly active" and "maintain current weight" at my height/weight, and it gave me 1530.

    OK. I'm about your size, but 5-8 pounds heavier (low 130s).

    I'm an advocate for 0.6-0.8g protein per pound of a healthy body weight, for someone who's both active, and losing weight. Since you're maintaining weight, not losing, and not weight/strength training, it seems to me you could afford to be on the lower end of that (if it will let you be satiated - extra protein, within calories, won't hurt a healthy person, within reason).

    So, at 128, I would think that as low as 77-103g of protein could be fine, but you can certainly eat more if it's more satiating and you can still fit in other nutrients. (This is just my opinion about protein, but my opinion significantly exceeds the minimal levels set by organizations like USDA and WHO to avoid malnutrition - it's nearly twice what they have as minimums).

    One question: Have you actually been maintaining your weight on the calories MFP suggested? (Its "calculator", like all others, runs off statistical averages for whole populations, so for any individual it's an estimate, not gospel). Whether your weight behaves as expected, over at at least a 4-6 week period at a given calorie level, is the best indication of whether the estimate works for you or not.
    People sometimes use the term "bloated" as a euphemism for varying things. They sometimes mean holding onto water weight, sometimes experiencing gassiness, sometimes they're politely referring to constipation, sometimes to feeling like they've overeaten, and more. Can you be more precise?
    All of that. Literally all of that. I feel like I have water weight, I have excess gas (I had added more fiber to my diet in case the protein might cause constipation but it seems to have only made things worse), constipation happens frequently, and I constantly feel like I have no more room in my stomach despite feeling hungry at the same time. I will take your suggestion and change up what I'm eating to see if I can pinpoint any specific foods that might be causing it.

    Your constipation could be food sensitivities (you're going to be checking for that - you might want to look up "high FODMAP foods" to get some ideas of suspicious candidates, but don't fall for excess woo around high FODMAPs - stick to reputable sources).

    It could also be incomplete adaptation to the fiber - I'm not sure how long ago you increased fiber. Adaptation can take a few weeks, and it helps if you increase fiber gradually rather than all at once. Fiber is a clear requirement to minimize the risk of constipation, but so are adequate (not crazy excessive) fluids, and enough fats.

    Looking at a few days of your diary, it seems like fats are mostly adequate, but on the lower end of adequate. Personally, I like 0.35-0.45g fats per pound of healthy body weight as a goal range (again, opinion), with women maybe on the higher side. That would be around 45-58g fats daily, at your weight. (I have a tendency to IBS-C, and definitely do better at the higher end of that range, if not above). It can be good to spread the fats across the meals that have fiber, in my experience . . . and you want some fat with veggies to optimize absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, anyway.

    Are you drinking or otherwise consuming enough fluids (water, other beverages, water-dense fruit/veggies, soups, etc.)? If your urine is the color of pale straw or lighter, you're probably OK. Otherwise, consider drinking more water throughout the day (or getting other additional fluids). If you need to increase fluids, increasing water consumption gradually can minimize that "having to go all the time" feeling by allowing gradual adaptation, but it does tend to defer results (if you're going to have any) on the constipation front.

    You might want to check a couple typical days of your eating to make sure you're getting adequate magnesium and potassium. The MFP database isn't terribly complete WRT those micros, but you can use other sources (like USDA or the Self nutrition database) to try to get a general idea whether you're in the ballpark or not. Supplements are an option, but foods are more time-tested. As a generality, you probably don't want to use supplements unless you know you're on the low side, then they might be worth a try (my opinon, again).

    The magnesium can be relevant to constipation. The potassium can be relevant to sodium/potassium balance thus water retention. Your water intake can also affect water retention - you need enough in order to avoid unnecessarily retaining water, it's not that you retain more water if you consume more.

    Anecdotally, probiotic foods seem to help some people with constipation or who are trying to adapt to higher fiber. Live culture yogurt, kombucha, miso, raw/unpasteurized kim chi or sauerkraut, kefir, etc.: Those sorts of things might be worth eating, if you like them, just to see if it helps. It's not a universal, I think. Here again, I personally think time-tested foods are a better idea than pills.

    I'm just rambling on here about some things you can try. Some of it has better science around it than other bits, but I don't usually go way out on a limb. The probiotics are the most speculative part, I think.
    Finally, it seems like you're packing most of your protein into lunch and dinner, on the day you point out as typical. Would putting more of it in breakfast make any difference? Personally, I'm happier with a pretty even split, but people vary.
    I can try that. Didn't think it would make a big difference, but it's worth a shot, why not!

    As far as activity level, I would've thought "active", too. Have you been doing your current calorie level for a month or more? If so, what has your body weight done over that time period?
    I realize that I might actually be active, but as previously stated, I often eat more than 1530 calories, usually between 1500-1800 on any given day. I just don't log the extra 200-300. I have been at that calorie level for a long time, like years. My weight has not changed/has gone down very slightly, I'm talking 1 pound per year.

    Thank you very much for the response. I'm going to try some of the things you suggested as far as removing a food at a time to see if it makes things better, then moving more protein to breakfast, and then switching back to 50/30/20 or 50/25/25. Thank you again!

    Just a little more rambling about things you could consider, based on your answers to questions.

    If you have continuing problems, you might want to ask your doctor for a referral to a registred dietitician to help you out with assessing your eating, and trying out a more structured elimination diet to check for sensitivities, if you don't develop insights on your own quickly enough.

    I hope you find some solutions! :)
  • iowalinda
    iowalinda Posts: 353 Member
    I had a hunger issue and an evening snack-attack problem. I'm seeing a registered dietitian and when I mentioned it to her, she recommended I experiment by increasing changing my carb-heavy breakfast to a higher protein count one instead. (I now aim for > 15 g protein) and also suggested I try adding a serving of whole grain or starchy vegetable to my lunch (which was predominantly vegetable, protein, fruit). I tried both those things, and that did the trick for me. No more hunger or munchie attacks, and I didn't need to change my ratios or alter my total calorie count - just shift my timing a little on when I consume some foods. I'm really quite impressed with the difference that made for me.

    I am fascinated by this and would love to hear more about shifting nutrients around to prevent feeling hunger. Can you point me in the direction of more information?
  • Like you I have an active job. I use a step counter to adjust my calories or I would never eat enough (barn manager - 30,000 steps per day most of the time). I also found myself lacking energy. I kept the 50/30/20 but changed my breakfast a bit to include a high protein smoothie (usually power greens, high protein yogurt, milk, whey protein powder - I like full circle, and whatever fruit I want. Usually around 300 cals, so I can have a piece of toast if I want/need it. It takes the pressure off about protein the rest of the day, and usually keeps me full until noon (I start work at 7). Good luck finding a balance!
  • AudreyJDuke
    AudreyJDuke Posts: 1,093 Member
    What great ideas!
  • PloddingTurtle
    PloddingTurtle Posts: 279 Member
    iowalinda wrote: »
    I had a hunger issue and an evening snack-attack problem. I'm seeing a registered dietitian and when I mentioned it to her, she recommended I experiment by increasing changing my carb-heavy breakfast to a higher protein count one instead. (I now aim for > 15 g protein) and also suggested I try adding a serving of whole grain or starchy vegetable to my lunch (which was predominantly vegetable, protein, fruit). I tried both those things, and that did the trick for me. No more hunger or munchie attacks, and I didn't need to change my ratios or alter my total calorie count - just shift my timing a little on when I consume some foods. I'm really quite impressed with the difference that made for me.

    I am fascinated by this and would love to hear more about shifting nutrients around to prevent feeling hunger. Can you point me in the direction of more information?

    No resources to suggest. Sorry. I just kept logging my foods, and gave some print outs of my MFP food diary to my dietitian. My diary is public, so I also gave her my user name and she was able to just poke around my MFP diary. She made those few suggestions in response to my telling her I had hunger problems. I experimented and observed differences that I wrote down in my journal. I was pleased to report back at the next appointment that her suggestions worked for me. I tend to eat predominantly fresh foods and combine my ingredients in fairly simple home made combinations and recipes. The difference in a breakfast below 10 g of protein and one above 20 g of protein became obvious from trial and journaling through the experiment. I still like cereal for breakfast, but now I know to deliberate add protein as well on breakfast days. Sometimes it's a matter of increasing the milk by half a cup, or adding a boiled egg.
  • rsj7799
    rsj7799 Posts: 74 Member
    iowalinda wrote: »
    I had a hunger issue and an evening snack-attack problem. I'm seeing a registered dietitian and when I mentioned it to her, she recommended I experiment by increasing changing my carb-heavy breakfast to a higher protein count one instead. (I now aim for > 15 g protein) and also suggested I try adding a serving of whole grain or starchy vegetable to my lunch (which was predominantly vegetable, protein, fruit). I tried both those things, and that did the trick for me. No more hunger or munchie attacks, and I didn't need to change my ratios or alter my total calorie count - just shift my timing a little on when I consume some foods. I'm really quite impressed with the difference that made for me.

    I am fascinated by this and would love to hear more about shifting nutrients around to prevent feeling hunger. Can you point me in the direction of more information?

    Google Barbara Rolls, Penn State, Volumetrics.