Postpartum Weight Loss Part 1 – Nutrition

Postpartum Weight Loss by Your Kirkland Personal Trainer

Ok, I have to admit, this topic isn’t something that I’m expert in, but many of my friends have been asking me about postpartum weight loss and the more research I do and the more postpartum clients I see, the more I want to put in my two cents. There are really 3 major factors that will make or break your weight loss attempts:

  1. Nutrition
  2. Exercise
  3. Time for yourself

If you follow the guidelines in each of these blog posts, you’ll reach your weight loss goals quickly and safely and be able to easily maintain it. Not to overwhelm you with a ton of information, I’ll break these topics into separate blog posts. I’ll start with nutrition and why a healthy, balanced diet is crucial for weight loss and the health of you and your baby. Now onto nutrition…

There’s really no secret nutrition plan to follow when losing the baby weight and/or breast feeding…it’s really the same diet you should always have. If you’re eating well then your baby will eat well too. A healthy diet for you and your baby should include:

  • Easing into a new diet – Because many of the physiologic and morphologic changes of pregnancy persist for 6 to 8 weeks postpartum, it’s important to ease back in to a new diet. Cutting out extra calories right away can be hard for the body to handle so soon after pregnancy.
  • Eating a balanced diet – that means a good balance of protein, carbs, and fat mostly from fruits and vegetables such as spinach, tomatoes, avocado, dark leafy greens, and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli and cauliflower). Depending on your body type these macronutrient ratios will vary.
  • Eating organic when possible – this helps decrease the likelihood of your baby (and you) consuming pesticides and other harmful chemicals.
  • Eating lean protein – If you eat meat, cut of excess fat or splurge a bit and pick up some quality, lean organic meats (it’s more than worth it). Other great sources of protein include nuts, seeds, beans, eggs, and many others.
  • Eating only the good fats – that’s the mono and polyunsaturated fats like those from avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and many others.
  • Eating complex carbs – Whole grains and cereals and fresh fruits and vegetables not only provide more nutrition than processed starches and sugars, they provide longer-lasting energy. Some good carbs include beans, quinoa, whole oats, bananas, and many others.
  • Eating every 2-4 hours (or 5-6 times per day) – this will help control energy levels and ensure you have enough nutrients in your body, especially if breast feeding.
  • Consuming extra calories if breast feeding – Your body requires extra energy to produce breast milk, so in general, if you’re breast feeding you should consume roughly an extra 200 – 500 calories per day. That could be as simple as consuming an extra meal during the day or adding an extra handful of nuts or a piece a fruit to each meal throughout the day.
  • Caving in now and then – Don’t sweat it if you cave, as long as you’re eating healthy the majority of the time, you should allow yourself a small bag of chips, pizza, cheese cake, or whatever your vice might be now and then. Maybe pick a day (e.g. Sunday) when you decided to splurge to keep sane and maintain a good balance.

These guidelines are just that…guidelines. I have a few clients following these guidelines right now and seeing tremendous results. They feel better, have more energy, and are losing the baby weight at a healthy rate. However, some moms and/or their baby’s will react differently to different foods (i.e. allergies or intolerances) so you should substitute foods that work for you. Make sure to talk with your doctor about any food concerns you may have.

Next up…the importance of regular exercise

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