Hi Hayley,

My question is for my husband.  My constant nagging him to exercise hasn’t been working, but a trip to the doctor who told him, again, that he needs to lose weight has motivated him to say we can start going for bike rides together.  Yay! So that’s starting small and hopefully a bit of exercise will motivate him (and me) to do more.

Sorry for the preamble, but my question is about his nutrition.  Specifically his protein needs.  He wants to start making protein shakes (we bought some powder) but should they be in place of a meal or in addition to his regular diet?  I feel like I have a basic understanding of nutrition (less calories in, or more calories burned + weight loss, fibre helps you feel full until the next meal, good carbs and protein help build/repair muscles, more veggies than fruits, etc) But is the protein somehow essential to his weight loss? I have read though your articles on Lainey, and I’ve noticed you suggesting the protein powder – but I’m no sure the “science” behind why.

Thanks for reading, and I really appreciate being able to pick your brain!


You are right that the exercise will motivate him and make him feel empowered; the endorphins he will feel from exercise will not only relieve stress but give him a feeling of accomplishment that he will not gain anywhere else.  But one piece of advice: try not to nag at him.  The more you push him to exercise the less inclined he will be to do it.  Instead, gentle nudges to get him outside riding his bike and provide him with lots of positive support and encouragement.  If he does not feel like exercising then you go do your own workout and be the positive example. Trust me, with a little positive encouragement he will be leading the bike rides before you know it. 

In regards to protein, in order to lose weight and use stored fat as an energy source you must get rid of all sugars from your diet.  It is not as simple as calories in and calories out; it really comes down to being able to balance your blood sugars.  In simple terms, if we keep putting sugars into our bodies our bodies are never required to break into the energy we already have stored and when those sugars are no longer floating around, instead of burning stored fat our bodies tell us we need more sugar and that is when we grab a cookie or a coffee or a soda and the negative cycle continues.

What your husband, and anyone who is trying to lose weight for that matter, needs to do is replace these sugary foods with foods that are high in fibre and protein (foods that are low on the glycemic index).  I am a believer in real food but for those of us who are busy and sometimes need things to be ready quickly, protein powders are easy and help us get the required amount of protein our bodies require in a day (0.7 – 1.2 gram of protein/kilogram of body weight). They are not to be used as an extra meal if you are looking to lose weight. 

Also, when we are no longer consuming these types of foods we must replace them with foods that are not readily available “on the go” and instead must be prepped ahead of time.  This means planning – making lunches the night before and having the desired foods ready to go.  I always recommend having vegetables chopped in the fridge (this makes it easy to add them to your lunch or steam or stir fry for dinner), lean proteins prepped (I keep organic chicken breast individually wrapped in the freezer) and a pantry full of healthy grains (quinoa being my favourite). 

Start creating a healthy lifestyle for you and your husband.  It takes time and it is hard work but stick to it for 3 weeks and after that you will wonder how you ever lived any other way.

Attached - Jason Segel after a workout the other day.