This article appeared for Paleo on the Go
You’ve probably heard that simply breastfeeding sheds pregnancy weight. It’s all about the calories your baby is consuming on your behalf. Perhaps you’ve then heard that stopping breast feeding sheds more weight: your body no longer has to store additional estrogen to ensure your milk supply, specifically in places like your breasts, upper back and upper arms. Then there’s that magic six week postpartum start (more if recovering from a c-section) to get to your rigorous exercise program following your doctor’s ok to start burning away those extra calories stored. After all that, shazam you’ll be back to your pre pregnancy weight, shape and body in a flash. Right? Not quite, for all three.
CALORIES IN VERSUS CALORIES OUT IS A MYTH
The reason? Calories in versus calories out simply makes no scientific sense, but, if you need an equation, nutrients in and hormones out does.
Calories in vs calories out is just a bad way to think and it’s wrong. For example, there’s no way a plate of ice cream with the equivalent amount of carrots in calories can have the same nutritional value for your body. Nor can that many carrots be good for you either. It’s all about things being in balance and that starts with each meal. Another myth is that consuming more fat calories makes us fat, which is again simply untrue. Body fat is just not the same as macronutrient fat (that you eat). In fact, the truth is that consuming more sugar makes you fat. Eating sugar in excess causes insulin to be released lowering our blood sugar. I’ve written more about this in It’s All About Nutrients In vs Hormones Out.
WHERE YOUR FOCUS SHOULD BE IN ORDER TO LOSE THE BABY WEIGHT
What you put in your mouth is key to dropping your baby weight and it can be as simple as keeping sugar off your plate and focusing on nutrient-dense, whole foods. If there’s a need to count something then it should include counting the nutrients found in our food. Our focus should be getting the very best quality, and the most efficiently digested and absorbed for our body. Each meal should include each macronutrient – carbs (veggies), proteins and fats. Start planning each meal with your veggies cooked in a healthy fat like butter, olive or coconut oil. Why? Because veggies provide us with fat soluble vitamins, so they need fats to be soluble in. They will also provide your main portion of carbs – so nothing rigorous like trying to go carb-free at a time when you’re trying to get this new life and new body into gear. Next up, choose a healthy source of protein. Look for terms like pasture raised, organic where possible, grass fed and finished, or sustainably caught. The benefit of these protein-filled animal products is that they come with the essential fats we need and their easily digestible. Yes, eat the skin, the whole egg and the marrow in your bones. Cook on low-medium heat (to preserve the quality of the amino acids that make up the proteins) in healthy fats like butter, lard, ghee or coconut oil. Then perhaps serve with a gravy, pesto, tartare or sauce made from healthy fats like egg yolks, olive or sesame or another oil. This helps get in the final essential macronutrient, fats, which is not surprisingly still our hardest one to get enough of having spent nearly thirty years on a low fat diet.
So, why the focus on digestion and that of healthy fats particularly? Our equation is all about the best quality nutrients in and then (used) hormones out. Digestion is the way we get the best quality nutrients in. Healthy fats are what makes up our hormones. And the final piece of the puzzle which we discussed above is adding our proper macronutrient portioning at each meal. This helps us to keep sugars off our plate so your liver doesn’t take a hit and can process your used hormones. Processing used hormones is perhaps the biggest key to getting our body back after pregnancy.
SIMPLE TIPS FOR HELPING YOUR BODY WITH DIGESTION
Start your re-nourishment as a mom with digestion. Simple tips everyone can adhere to include:
- Slow down to eat. Take the time to enjoy your food and don’t eat on the go or in your car
- Drink enough water (1/2 your body weight in ounces a day). It’s a good practice to only sip water with meals since it dilutes your natural stomach acid.
- Enhance the stomach acidity required for digestion with 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar 15 minutes before each meal
- Eat more beets for better betaine, which is crucial in fat digestion.
We’ve all been on a low fat diet for nearly thirty years and we need to bring it back to normality. Rather than on burning off your pregnancy weight, instead focus on building your body back from the hormones up! Getting your body back is surely about just that.