& WEIGHT LOSS
SLIM & STRONG MOMS
Ariane Hundt, Clinical Nutritionist (M.S.) & Fitness Expert + Mom of Two
THERE'S A COMMON BELIEF...
...Breastfeeding helps you lose the pregnancy weight faster.
But, that’s actually not true.
Yes, breastfeeding burns a lot of calories and from a caloric perspective you should lose weight faster, but the hormonal changes work against burning body fat while breastfeeding.
Moms who breastfeed have lower
estrogen and testosterone levels.
Both hormones boost fat burning. Their progesterone and prolactin (the milk production hormone) levels are higher - both block the ability to burn fat.
Additionally, breastfeeding moms who eat a diet high in dairy, grains and sugar will find it very hard to lose fat. Here’s why: Starches, sugar and dairy trigger an insulin response by the body. Insulin signals the body to store fat. Dairy contains high levels of progesterone, estrogen and prolactin (among other hormones), so the combination of the mom’s own hormones paired with the external hormones of an insulin-stimulating diet puts her into fat storage mode, regardless of how little she may eat and how much she may exercise.
The key to boosting fat loss during this hormonally more challenging period is to focus your carbohydrate intake on fibrous carbs from veggies and to reduce or eliminate dairy. Regular protein intake quiets the appetite. It is also important to exercise regularly as that keeps the body sensitive to insulin, meaning that it can actually burn the carbs that are coming in and not shuttle them into fat storage.
The good news is that studies have shown that fat loss while breastfeeding may not be as fast as you want, but once you’re done breastfeeding, it is actually faster compared to women who never breastfed. Women who bottle-fed their babies lose weight faster initially, but after 3 months are surpassed by the women who breastfeed their babies. Even better, women who breastfeed have less belly fat, leaner thighs and are able to maintain that effect on their bodies, when compared to bottle-feeding moms.
DO YOU HAVE DIASTASIS RECTI?
If you’re a new mom, assess if you have diastasis recti as that determines which ab routine you want to follow. This video will help you assess if you have it. You will see my diastasis and stretched belly right after delivery, so you have an idea what I’m talking about
Did You know that pregnancy is actually
an amazing reset for a woman's metabolism?
During pregnancy you become gradually more and more insulin resistant. That means that when you eat carbs, your body makes insulin and this hormones helps shuttle the carbs to the cells to make energy. As you progress during pregnancy, your cells no longer respond as well to insulin and you become more and more insulin resistant. That means there is more sugar staying in the blood stream instead of getting sent to your cells. This process ensures that your growing baby gets enough food.
Once you deliver, these effects disappear again and during lactation, your giving your metabolism a chance to reset. In other words, this lactation period is actually healing to your metabolism and allowing your body to return to normal more quickly. However, as mentioned above, you have to be patient and willing to breastfeed for at least 6 months to see this effect.
You can boost this effect by keeping stress levels low and keeping your food intake balanced. I hope you understand why you may be losing body fat a little slower while breastfeeding.
WHAT TO DO...
BREASTFEEDING & NUTRITION
If you’re currently breastfeeding, we want to make sure you’re also maintaining your milk supply. A change too drastic can affect your milk production because it can
create a stress effect and dehydration - two main issues that can
cause a drop in breast milk volume.