It’s been over a year since I popped my son, but the post-pregnancy weight – well, that’s just taken long term residence in my body :-). I wrote to the gorgeous Rashi Chowdhary, Dubai based nutritionist and an inch-loss expert, asking her thoughts on how to deal with postpartum weight and the humongous appetite increase thanks to nursing. Below is her awesome advice on how to move forward.
1.Healthy milk = Healthy baby
For the first 4 months, do not complicate your life by counting calories/ cutting down carbs or watching your fat intake.
Going very low on calories will lead to a nutritionally deficient diet as well, which could bring down your energy levels and reduce your milk supply. That’s the last thing you want for your newly born. Breast milk is the best for your baby, and the benefits extend well beyond basic nutrition.
2. Don't be in a rush
Give yourself a good 8-10 months to get back to your pre pregnancy weight. So take it easy and start only after about 3-4 months.
3. Be size wise
In fact, its the worst time to judge your progress by how much you weigh.Your aim should be to get back to your pre pregnancy size. Most women lose weight on the scale but feel unhappy about the way their jeans look on them. Now would be a good time to introduce yourself to weight training and build up some healthy muscle mass. This guarantees lesser stretch marks, a healthier fat to muscle ratio and a tighter ass!
4.A quick fix is never a good fix!
No matter how desperate you are, do not take up a plan that involves you to "give up" a certain food group. The key to healthy weight loss is a great balanced mix of all the nutrients, water, food supplements and occasional treats you love! So lose weight in the real world and not at the cost of your social life!!
Talking about appetite...
If you are complaining of not being able to bring back your pre-pregnancy appetite, you've got to snooze to lose! Now I know, with your baby constantly craving for your attention, this is easier said than done.
But when you don't sleep well, your body does not release the appetite hormone " leptin" in adequate amounts. Leptin is the satiety hormone, it gives your brain the signal to stop eating when your stomach is full.
But if you do not have enough of the hormone leptin then you are never full or satisfied and feel the need to constantly feed yourself.
If you're done with erratic baby timings and are now getting restful sleep but still have a bigger appetite then you are definitely doing something wrong.
And "NO" its not about will power, it's all about chemistry, it's about your hormones being out of whack.
Your appetite is regulated by a complex system and the real story is much more complicated than you think.
There are some easy steps you can take initially to bring your appetite back to normal.
1. A difficult birth or a cesarean puts you at risk of low iron levels so I recommend new moms to wake up to iron rich fruits or dry fruits. Four to five apricots and some blue berries would be ideal. The vitamin C from the berries will help better absorption of iron from the apricots. You'll get a whole lot of antioxidants and Vitamin A right at the start of your day. But the trick is to eat is within the 1st 20 minutes of waking up before your tea/ coffee or green tea.
2. You need to eat every 2-3 hours and this is no new news! But if you're going to keep biscuits or processed junk as your back up snack then eating like this will only work against your metabolism.
If you are looking to reduce your appetite and losing inches, then you need to get smart with your snack options!
You've gotta eat fat to burn it...so when I say fat, think avocados, nuts, washed olives, whole eggs and organic peanut butter. All of these have a very minimal effect on your glucose levels. When your glucose levels are in control, your body is more receptive to insulin. Keep your insulin levels in check and you've rid yourself of many lifestyle diseases.
3. Protein works as a great metabolic booster, you burn more calories while digesting them. Protein is a fabulous way to suppress your appetite naturally. In fact, most of my clients in Dubai have very low intake of protein through the day. So I recommend organic soy milk, sprouts or yoghurt with walnuts as mid meals.
4. Now, this is a complete cliché but if your body is dehydrated then your body cells cannot communicate with each other efficiently and your food nutrients are not well absorbed. Having three liters of water daily will ensure a better functioning liver and a quicker metabolism.
5. Refrain from processed packaged food as these will only rob your body off essential nutrients. Stick to foods close to their natural original form Always!
6.Start moving!! You cannot expect to see your body shape change if you don't make changes in your activity levels.
Depending on how fit you were pre pregnancy choose a fitness regime that works for you and STICK TO IT!
I'm sure all of these done together will make a big difference to the way you think and feel which will eventually lead to Healthy Inch loss.
P.S. I highly recommend Rashi’s Facebook page where she offers great advice on a variety of health and nutrition related topics.