4 Tips to Lose Weight When Breastfeeding
To do something different in your life, like losing weight when breastfeeding, you have to make a change, right? And, the reason why you want to make a change has to be personal to you. So before we get into the tips, let’s talk about why you want to lose weight when breastfeeding. This will help you stay accountable to yourself and motivated too! You’ll understand why you want to do it.
Like many of us, when we get pregnant, we think it may be a time to eat more because we are “eating for two.” But what I’ve learned, is that it means you need to be twice as careful about what you eat. When we know better, we can do better. So, fast forward to having my son, I wanted to lose the unwanted, unplanned weight I put on when I was pregnant with my son. For me, my “why” is because I want to live as long as possible! I want to live a healthy life, eat the right foods so that my body is adequately nourished.
I battled with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) in my early 20s. Ever since then, after discovering a healthy approach to overcoming it, I’ve been on a health journey of my own. I don’t want to relive all those terrible symptoms like hormone imbalances and infertility. Changing my lifestyle is what enabled me to get pregnant with my son. So why would I want to go back to living an unhealthy lifestyle again? I value my body, just as you should. You want to fuel it with proper food, real food so you CAN lose weight when breastfeeding and feel great!
1. Start with small changes.
Small changes over time, really lead to significant results. Read the book, The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy; you won’t regret it. He talks about small changes over time, yielding significant results in ANYTHING in life. So, create habits that help you build up those healthy choice muscles. You will have to practice it over and over again so that it just becomes a habit. It takes approximately 21 days of doing something consistently for it to become a habit. So again, small changes over time, and it’s a muscle that you have to grow.
Just like breastfeeding took practice in the beginning, this will too. And if you are consistent and follow-through, you’ll see the results.
Start by making small substitutions in your diet. Instead of applesauce, if that’s what you usually go for, for a snack, eat a fresh apple instead because it has far more fiber and the nutrients in the apple are considerably higher and far better for your body than the applesauce, especially if they add sugar to the apple sauce. Your body will be able to absorb the nutrients in the apple much easier.
Take a closer look at anything you buy that comes in a package. Look at the ingredient label, which is typically located on the back of the box. Disregard any of the marketing claims on the front of the package, that’s where food manufacturers get sneaky. When was the last time you checked out the ingredient label on the crackers or the apple sauce that you get? That’s a great place to start because you’ll be able to see what’s actually in what you’re eating, and just because we see a picture on the front of a cracker box or the front of your applesauce, for instance, that doesn’t mean that that’s the only thing in it, unfortunately. Check for added sugar, preservatives, food dyes, just different things that they like to sneak in there to make things taste better if you’re used to eating that kind of stuff (spoiler alert: your taste will change the less often you eat junk food).
Additional examples of making small substitutions that can help you lose weight when breastfeeding include:
- Remove one soda a day. If you’re a big soda drinker, then replace one soda with sparkling water. Buy sparkling water with ONLY the fruit essence, no added sugar or sweetener. Any added sugar or sweetener will defeat the whole purpose because any of those still trigger your brain into thinking it needs more “sweet.”
- Substitute white bread for whole-grain bread. If you typically eat white bread for your sandwiches, then substitute that for whole-grain bread. Go to the bread aisle or go to the bakery and check the ingredients. Many times, the freezer section will have healthier alternatives too. My family eats Ezekiel bread or Dave’s Killer Bread. It also made with whole grains.
2. Shop Smart.
In my group health coaching program, I hear from a lot of mamas that they can’t afford to eat healthily. Shop sales! Check out your local grocery store sale ads online. You can view them online before you even step foot in the grocery store and make your list before you even go to the store so that you can stay goal-oriented on why you’re there. Write down your shopping list, and stick to that mission. You can also check out local bent and dent stores where they sell food for less, farmer’s markets, and local farms. You can always get produce cheaper when you can get it from the source, like a family farm.
More tips for shopping smart and eating healthy:
- Don’t go to the grocery store hungry.
- Shop the perimeter of the store. Save yourself from processed temptations, typically in the middle of the store like crackers, chips, and cookies.
- Buy organic produce when it’s in season.
- Wash your conventional produce in vinegar and water when you bring it home to get rid of pesticides, fertilizers, and the wax coating.
- Invest in grocery delivery if you can afford it.
3. Make it Easy on Yourself.
When you’re breastfeeding your baby, and you have a family to take care of, you want the most accessible foods possible so that you can maintain this kind of lifestyle and lose weight when breastfeeding.
Smoothies are a great quick meal that you can either eat as a meal or as a snack. And they can be nutrient-dense because you can add protein, carbs, and fats, including green vegetables, get those extra veggies in. You can make them in the morning for breakfast or a snack. They are great if you are on the go too. Make one for breakfast before you leave the house, and sip on it on the way to work or school.
You can add almond milk, flaxseed, flax oil, hemp seeds, protein powder if that works for you, and then you can put in some kale or some spinach. My favorite green to add is spinach. If I add half a banana and spinach, the banana always masks any “green” flavor. I usually put in two handfuls, but start small if you need to, and work your way up.
There are lots of different options with smoothies, which makes it an excellent choice for breastfeeding mothers to get their nutrients in quickly. It’s super versatile and quick and easy.
Check out my post for other breastfeeding snacks for nursing mothers here- Breastfeeding Snacks That Give You Energy
Focus on the quality of foods and not as much on the quantity, because when you add more nutrient-dense foods to your diet, you’ll see an increase in your energy. You’ll feel better, you’ll sleep better, and you’ll just feel fuller and more satisfied for longer.
Try not to think of eating healthy to lose weight when breastfeeding as depriving yourself.
You can eliminate 90% of the junk food in your diet or the processed foods in your diet just by avoiding the following three ingredients:
- High fructose corn syrup.
- Hydrogenated oils
- Anything with a number, any ingredient with a number such as color dyes.
All of these will be on the ingredient label on the package. So I highly suggest you take a look at all of the ingredient labels of things that you’re eating currently and just do an inventory and see if any of those three ingredients are present. If so- eliminate them! All of these alter our brain chemistry. Of course, you want the healthiest brain possible, for yourself and your baby.
Treat yourself occasionally. Don’t deprive yourself because if you do, you’ll likely end up wanting more of it in the long-term. There’s a reason why we call them treats! There’s a reason why we only get a birthday cake for our birthday.
When you have a treat, try to make them at home when possible, and turn it into a fun, healthier option. Get creative with it! There are a lot of healthy treat recipes online too. For example, instead of using white sugar, use honey or maple syrup.
Remember, you’re setting examples for your children. When you eat junk food, remember that’s setting your children up to eat junk food too. They learn from you, especially as babies and toddlers. You want to shape their palates. The flavors of the food you eat also pass through your breastmilk to your baby, so why not expose them to the best, nutrient-dense foods possible?
4. Invest in Yourself
Sometimes we need a coach to help us in our journey. Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself. You can not put a price tag on the long-term benefits of a healthy lifestyle. The results won’t just benefit you either—think about the impacts on your relationships with your kids, your spouse/partner, and your life with your friends. Ever been embarrassed to put on a swimsuit after having your baby? You don’t have to feel that way, mama! Take some time to reflect on what you want. If you’re ready to take action and invest in yourself, so you can have more energy, get better sleep, and lose weight when breastfeeding without losing your milk supply, you need a partner to help you!
That’s where I come in. This is what I do! I help mamas get real results so they can be the best versions of themselves! Maybe you’ve downloaded a diet plan from somewhere, you’ve been exercising every day, but you’re still not getting the results you want. That’s because you haven’t been shown HOW to get the results. You need guidance, support, accountability, and a community of other like-minded mamas.
It feels good to feel good, right?
Schedule a call with me today to see if you’d be a good fit for my Healthy Mama Protocol, where I help mamas lose weight when breastfeeding.