5 eating rules for healthy postpartum weightloss
Women’s heath & wellness expert, Josie Bouchier, shares tips on how to safely lose weight and balance hormones in the postpartum period.
As an acupuncturist specializing in women’s health and nutrition, I would never advise a woman to lose weight if she felt wonderful in her body, no matter what her size. I think big, curvy, postpartum bodies are beautiful. But if you are feeling exhausted, bloated, depressed, with no sex drive, then there are things you can do to balance your hormones (aka your ‘yin and yang energies’) and as a result, you will most likely begin to release weight.
My best hormone balancing, weightloss tip for a postpartum mama, or anyone, for that matter, is to eat a healthy, low glycemic diet. If you follow these five simple eating rules, you won’t need to count calories, you won’t feel hungry, and you will release weight in a natural, healthy way. You will have higher energy, clearer focus, improved mood, glowing skin, deeper sleep (when you get the opportunity), a slimmer waistline, and far less sugar cravings.
- Eat breakfast within an hour of waking. Eating breakfast within an hour of waking will prevent your blood sugar from getting too low, thus preventing you from the vicious cycle of craving high glycemic foods for the rest of the day.
- Eat a combination of a healthful carb, clean protein, and good fat every 2-3 hours, stopping at 7pm. (See examples below.) If you’re nursing, have only light snacks after 7pm.
- Replace high glycemic carbs with low glycemic (See examples below.)
- Stay hydrated. Make sure you drink at least 64 oz. of filtered water every day. The hunger signal in your brain is the same as the thirst signal. Staying hydrated will make you feel less hungry throughout the day.
- Take a high quality multivitamin. A high quality multivitamin will help keep your blood sugar balanced, replenish vital nutrients that your body needs to regain strength and optimal health, and will help with detoxifying your cells and reducing inflammation, which are both key in releasing extra weight.
To give you an idea of what foods are considered high glycemic and what foods are considered low glycemic, here’s a brief overview that will help you decide how to stock your kitchen and what to toss.
High Glycemic foods include:
- Sugar, candy, ice cream, cookies
- White flour, white rice, white tortillas
- Most breads and cereals
- Highly processed foods
- “Instant” foods
- Fruit juices
Low Glycemic foods include:
- Whole grains like brown rice, wild rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, steel cut oats
- Sprouted grains
- Protein like legumes, lentils, chicken, fish, beef, eggs
- All raw vegetables
- Sweet potato (cooked)
- Fats like avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, ghee, nuts, and seeds
- Berries and stone fruits like nectarines and cherries
You can lose weight without depriving yourself. Hungry isn’t healthy. Especially if you are feeding another human being and recovering from giving birth—your body needs plenty of nutrients now more than ever. Here are some examples of healthful, low glycemic snacks and meals that will support you in reaching your weightloss goal while making you feel completely satisfied.
- Option 1: Steel cut oats (low glycemic carb) with coconut oil (healthful fat), walnuts (good protein), blueberries (low glycemic fruit for flavor), and cinnamon (helps to balance blood sugar).
- Option 2: An egg (good protein and fat) with sprouted grain toast (low glycemic carb) or a veggie (low glycemic carb) omelette.
- Option 1: Apple (low glycemic carb) with cottage cheese (healthful fat and protein).
- Option 2: Celery (low glycemic carb) with almond butter (healthful fat and protein).
- Lentil soup (good protein) with avocado (healthful fat), and sprouted grain toast (low glycemic carb) or side salad (low glycemic carb).
- Option 1: Sardines (healthful protein and fat) with whole grain crackers (low glycemic carb).
- Option 2: Hummus (healthful protein and fat if made with olive oil) with veggies (low glycemic carb).
- Chicken (good protein) with wild rice (low glycemic carb) or sweet potato (low glycemic carb), and drizzle of olive oil (healthful fat).
Be extra kind to yourself as you recover from giving birth, which can take up to two years! Start making small changes in your diet to keep your blood sugar balanced. Not only will you fit into your skinny jeans, you will reclaim your power, your confidence, and your health.