You are what you eat...

If calories are the number one priority when trying to change your body (whether gaining muscle or losing fat), then protein is next in line.

If you think about it, it makes sense: 1) Muscle is predominantly protein. 2) A lean body is mostly muscle, therefore a diet that is based around protein is necessary to achieve a body that is lean.

The suggested starting point for protein intake is 1g per pound of body weight. Now, this will be a little high for people who are significantly overweight and a little low for people who are especially lean, but it's a good ballpark figure.

Lean protein sources and vegetables should form the major component in the diet. For example, chicken breast, fish, lean beef, egg whites and low fat dairy.

I myself am vegetarian so I use alternatives like Quorn and supermarket's own-brand vegetarian "meat".

You can make significant improvements in body composition simply by exchanging or reducing the "normal" components of a meal, such as pasta, potatoes and rice, and increasing the helping of vegetables and lean meat (or vegetarian alternative).

Finally, I think it's worthwhile pointing out that changing the diet should be 1) gradual and 2) permanent. Don't think that you can "diet" for a few months and then go back to whatever you were eating before. After all, you are what you eat...

(I'll be posting some thoughts on time and effort required in a future post)

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