So, you’ve just had a baby.
And you’ve decided, or the decision was made for you, that breastfeeding is not for you*.
And you wanna focus on losing that pregnancy weight.
Your little one is now earthside and everything in both of your worlds is different. During this time, it’s incredibly important to make sure mama is well nourished to optimize healing from birth and the transition into motherhood.
So, how do you balance healing from pregnancy and labor and delivery AND weight loss, all while “momming”? Great question.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, if you keep up the healthy eating habits you began during pregnancy, you'll be close to your pre-pregnancy weight within a few months of giving birth.
In reality, losing baby weight is really no different from losing weight at any other point in life. Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet is key. This means you need to be eating enough calories to ensure you get the nutrition necessary to promote weight loss and keep your body out of starvation mode (which does NOT bode well for weight loss). Plus it’s equally important to optimize your lifestyle, including some form of movement each and every day.
Food is so much more than just energy: It's nutrients. And nutrients are part of a bigger picture - they influence epigenetic changes, which can make it easier or harder to lose weight. Our bodies literally have the ability to turn on and off genes and influence our health by the food we consume.
By focusing on getting enough high-quality nutrients, we naturally meet the energy needs to support health and weight loss. It becomes more than calories in and calories out - focusing on NUTRIENTS IN should be the priority.
Instead of counting calories, it's important to learn how to fuel your body with nutrient-dense foods that support positive changes.
What does that look like in a postpartum diet?
You should be eating three solid, nutrient-dense meals each day, and NO SNACKS. If you’re hungry 2 hours after eating, you didn’t eat enough food at the previous meal and most likely need to add more healthy fats as well.
Including protein in every meal is essential to boost your metabolism, decrease appetite, and reduce calorie intake. Protein has a greater “thermic” effect than other nutrients, meaning that the body uses more energy to digest it than other types of foods, which results in more calories burned. Research has shown that protein is also able to suppress appetite by increasing the fullness hormones GLP and GLP-1, as well as reducing the hunger hormone ghrelin. Less hungry hormones mean less hangry-ness!
Eliminate all processed foods from your diet. Processed foods are often high in sugar, unhealthy fats, refined salt, and calories, all of which can counteract your weight loss efforts. You can reduce the amount of processed foods you eat by replacing them with fresh, whole, one ingredient, nutrient-dense foods.
Hydrate like your life depends on it because it kinda does. You should be drinking at least half your body weight in ounces of clean, filtered water every single day. Adequate hydration ensures that your body is able to efficiently eliminate toxins and excess waste. Not only that, but without water, the body cannot properly metabolize stored fat or carbohydrates.
Set realistic goals. Most women lose about 13 pounds during childbirth, including the weight of the baby, placenta, and amniotic fluid. During the first week after delivery, you'll lose additional weight as you shed retained fluids — but the fat stored during pregnancy won't disappear on its own.
Through diet and regular exercise, it might be reasonable to lose up to 1 pound per week. Remember that it took nine whole months to grow your baby, and it’s not unreasonable for it to take that long for your body to return to its new “normal”.
Looking for more nutritional direction to help transition to mamahood with the goal of weight loss?
Look no further.
I’ve joined forces with The Bloom Method to bring you a step-by-step guide to optimizing your postpartum journey with food! Over the last several months, I’ve researched and gathered all the knowledge and resources I could find to create, hands-down, the most comprehensive postpartum weight loss nutrition guide out there.
You’ll find tips for success, frequently asked questions, nutrition and lifestyle guidelines, a daily checklist, and how to make substitutions for those oh-so-yummy but not-so-great food choices. But most importantly – you’ll find a FOUR WEEK meal plan outlining what each and every day can look like, with recipes to match.
Women have been asking me to create something like this for years, and now it’s finally here!
* We are, and will always be, believers that fed is best. Your body, your choice. How you feed your babe is no one else's business but yours, and we support ALL mamas.