Keep in mind that every body is different and unique. Listen to your body, the signs it sends you. The take home message for diet is to eat for nutrients, not to worry so much about calories. If you eat nutrient dense foods, you will be full and satiated for longer.
I'm not saying calories don't matter. They do. Calories in have to be less than calories out to lose weight. My point is that if you chose more nutrient-dense foods, your body will be more satiated and you won't have as many cravings or be as hungry.
Diet: what did I eat?
Here's what I do as far as eating goes. The proof is in the raw-pudding! Remember that when you're breastfeeding, you need to get at least 500 extra calories per day to support your milk production and the health of your baby. Don't worry, you burn it during breast feeding! (about 500 calories/day) The rule of thumb when you're eating is to think about NUTRIENTS not just energy/calories. Ask yourself what NUTRIENTS are in your meal, not just putting empty calories into your body. For example, when reaching for a snack, don't eat 5 rice crackers because they are low in calories, eat an apple and a handful of almonds because then you're getting vitamins, fiber, protein and good fats. (and you'll stay fuller longer!)
Some bullet points of what I've been doing in any given day:
*Every day I get some raw juice or smoothie. 4-5 days a week I get a green vegetable juice, and every single day I make a Super-Mommy-Power smoothie. I also have 1-2 coconut waters per day-I feel so dehydrated from breastfeeding that coconut water is really the only thing that quenches that thirst.
Here's a recipe I make variations of just about every day:
- 1 Cup Almond, Rice or Hemp Milk/Coconut Water
- 2 teaspoons maca (excellent for energy and to balance crazy mommy hormones!)
- 1 tablespoon cacao powder (chocolate in it's most raw form, super high in antioxidants!)
- 1 tablespoon coconut butter or almond butter (both have GOOD fats and are good for skin, nails, etc)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil (speeds up metabolism) or flax oil (omega-3)
- 1 scoop raw protein powder (keeps me full for longer, no soy or whey)
- 1 banana (tip: after bananas get ripe, put them in Tupperware or a Ziploc in the freezer for easy smoothie access!)
- 2 teaspoons spirulina (blue-green algae, great for iron and protein)
- 1 tablespoon agave or 2 drops of chocolate stevia
- 1 handful of ice
top with goji berries and granola! (this smoothie also satisfies my cravings for sugar and chocolate... only this is all the right stuff!)
*once or twice a week I get animal protein. Free range, Hormone-Free, Organic steak or fish. I'm not much of a chicken/turkey person but I learned to really like steak during my pregnancy. I've always loved fish. I add greens and veggies to every meal. Make sure you get double the veggies vs quantity of protein. We eat sushi A LOT, but make sure if you're going this route that you don't just get rolls-lots of white rice/empty calories. Try and get some sushi or sashimi so you get more protein and less rice. Use the green lid soy sauce (lower in sodium) and don't use a lot of that either! you only need a little bit, especially if the fish is fresh! I also always get a seaweed salad which is excellent for digestion, iron and calcium.
*I eat a huge spinach or mixed green salad for lunch almost every day-lots of sprouted seeds, nuts and beans to get as much protein as possible. I add a veggie burger to the salad also and use lots of flax oil and/or olive oil for the good fats. (tip: good fats get rid of bad fats, we NEED good fats for our brain and body functioning!)
*I always have snacks with me in the diaper bag or in my purse, I usually snack on 1 protein bar every day and some type of trail mix I make. My favorite blend is a trail mix with: cashews, goji berries, dark chocolate covered cacao nibs, soaked almonds, sprouted pumpkin seeds, sprouted sunflowers seeds.
I found during these months that I would get FAMISHED If i didn't eat every 2-3 hours. If I waited more than 3 I thought I would die. DON'T get to this point! You are exerting so much energy taking care of the baby, nursing, etc... never mind if you get an exercise in TOO! Besides, when you let your blood sugar drop this low it does crazy things to your metabolism and your body goes into starvation-fat-protection mode, aka something you don't want.
The first 2 weeks I was very gentle with my body and focused on bonding with my baby.I was eating very healthy and nourishing foods and was wiped out from the surgery.
The 3rd and 4th week I got to WORK! I worked with a friend of mine who's also a personal trainer twice a week to start building strength, but mostly to build my confidence. I was scared at first to do anything ab related (since I had a c-section) but he quickly and safely helped conquer this fear as well.
Each session I felt stronger and stronger. We mostly used resistance bands or exercises using my own body weight (like plank, pushups, yoga) so you don't need a gym to lose weight! Here's a great workout you can do at home in place of the training session I did.
Some people don't think exercise makes a difference. What I know is that I feel better when I exercise than when I don't, and I'm more mindful of the food I'm putting into my body when I do. Also, when you look at the calories in vs calories out rule, it means you have more wiggle room in the calories in. Works for me!
Here's what my work-out/exercise schedule basically looked like:
Monday-walk outside with baby/hubby/doggy for 30 minutes, baby squats and baby abs (see pics below) for 10 minutes
Tuesday-30-45 min with my trainer, Trent (resistance bands, kettlebells, light weights, light cardio, ab work)
Wednesday- Yoga class 60-90 minutes
Thursday- 30-45 min with my trainer, Trent (resistance bands, kettlebells, light weights, light cardio, ab work)
Friday- off day, maybe some baby exercises while holding him and/or some stretching/yoga while watching tv
Saturday-walk outside with baby/hubby/doggy for 30 minutes, baby squats and baby abs for 10 minutes -or- Yoga class
Sunday-walk outside with baby/hubby/doggy for 30 minutes, baby squats and baby abs for 10 minutes
On the days I'd walk outside with Kai in the stroller I usually took the dog too. Sometimes my hubby would join. But those were days I set out with an intention to be out for 30 minutes for exercise, so I'd walk a little faster than a normal walk. On other days I still would walk the dog but I didn't count it as exercise.
I also didn't count walking around in general, carrying the car seat everywhere, carrying 3 bags around plus baby, cleaning, standing, etc. I considered all of this stuff bonus, plus it speeds up your metabolism to be active.
It's been so much fun using Kai in my exercises, especially because he LOVES IT! (see pics and video to come!)
I've now lost ALL MY BABY WEIGHT, and it took 3 months! This
is definitely something I wanted to share with you, since many moms are nervous it will take them a whole year to lose their weight. Some people say "give it a year, they were in your body for 9 months it should take that long to lose it." I don't agree. I definitely worked hard, but in my opinion, if you worked half as hard as I did you should lose your baby weight in 6 months, tops. I think a huge factor in my ability to jump back into a workout routine was that I exercised up until the last possible second in pregnancy, so my "off time" was only about 4-5 weeks total, not 9 months. If you ARE pregnant, check out my article about pregnancy and exercise. Thanks for reading and GOOD LUCK! let me know how it goes, share your stories with me!