Postpartum Dietary Guidelines

Losing weight after delivering your bundle of joy is possible if you learn to change the way you eat.

The first way to do this is to eliminate the word diet temporarily from your vocabulary. This is particularly important if you are breastfeeding. You should consider yourself on a journey toward healthy eating not dieting. Some women . will be able to breastfeed successfully without adding any extra calories to their diet. Be sure that you ask your physician before attempting this, as you don’t want to affect your milk supply.

So we are going to talk about creating a healthy eating plan to help you lose weight instead of a diet. Your motto from here on out should be to eat healthily. You can and you will lose weight if you adopt this strategy!

Let’s talk about some simple yet effective strategies for losing weight via a healthy eating plan.

Portion Size

Portions are out of control everywhere! People have simply gotten into the habit of eating larger than normal sizes. Most restaurants now offer servings that are more well suited for three people than they are for one.

What can you do? If you eat out frequently the first thing you should consider doing is having your waiter box up half of your meal. This will prevent you from overeating and allow you to enjoy your meal without having to worry about packing on extra pounds.

If you are cooking for yourself, keep this in mind: a proper portion of protein should be about the size and depth of the palm of your hand. So, if you want to cook a steak, consider a steak that is about the size of your palm. Likewise, a serving of starchy carbohydrate should be about 1 cup, or about the amount of your fist. Not very much when you think about it is it?

Fortunately you can be a little more liberal when it comes to vegetables. Eat all the salad you want, BUT don’t pile on the fatty dressing. Did you know just a tablespoon of your favorite dressing can pack on more than a hundred extra calories? Try asking for your dressing on the side, this way you can control the amount of dressing you will be adding to your salad. You can even dip a forkful of your salad into your dressing rather than pour it on top.

Other additions to the traditional ‘salad’ that make it fattening include bacon bits, cheese and guacamole. Your traditional taco salad is typically loaded with fatty extras including sour cream. If you are a fan of the taco salad, avoid eating the shell at all costs and consider using salsa instead of ranch dressing, you’ll save several hundred calories.

Consume Enough Water

Many people believe that they are hungry when in reality they are thirsty. The body sometimes mistakes these two signals. If you think you might be hungry but have just recently eaten, consider having a large glass of water and waiting a few minutes.

Did you know that most people walk around in a state of dehydration? It is true. The best thing you can do to avoid this problem is drink at least eight large glasses of water per day (that is 8 to 10 oz of water per glass for all you that are counting!). If you feel thirsty, chances are you are already dehydrated to some extent.

Nursing women actually require more water than the average woman. Triple this if you plan on working out and perspiring. What does this mean? You should basically plan on having a water bottle at your side at all times.

Not a fan of plain water? No problem! Consider spicing up your water with a squeeze of lemon, lime or even orange. There are also many sparkling waters that are available on the market today.

Water can also help you lose weight when you drink water with your meals, which will help you feel fuller and help you eat less if you are trying to lose weight.

Add Fiber

Fiber is an important part of any diet. Most people aren’t eating enough fiber. Fiber is not only important for maintaining proper elimination, it helps keep your colon healthy and can help you lose weight!

Ok so fiber is important. What exactly is it? Fiber is basically roughage, or the indigestible materials that are found in plants. It has no calories and your body doesn’t have the ability to absorb it. High fiber foods can be either soluble or insoluble, meaning it can either be broken down and dissolved in water or not.

Both forms of fiber are actually very important to your health and digestive system. Fiber can help bulk up your bowel movements so that waste materials move through your body quickly and efficiently. This helps maintain your colon health and prevent constipation.

Fiber can also help regulate blood sugar and may help regulate blood cholesterol levels. An even better bonus? Fiber can help slow the absorption of sugar after a meal, and help you feel fuller longer.

Generally high fiber foods are low in calories. They make you feel full faster. Here is a list of some excellent high fiber selections that you should consider adding to your diet:

High Fiber Foods

* Fruits
* Vegetables
* Beans
* Popcorn
* Brown Rice
* Whole Grains
* Wheat Bran
* Psyllium
* Barley
* Oatmeal
* Prunes

How can you tell if you are consuming enough fiber on a day to day basis? You should try to eat at least 20-35 grams of fiber per day. Most people don’t get even half of this amount in their daily diet.

One important thing to note here… if you drastically increase the amount of fiber in your diet overnight, you will experience some discomfort, primarily in the form of bloating, diarrhea and gas. Be sure to add fiber to your diet, but do so gradually and you will avoid these unpleasant symptoms.

Tips for Adding Fiber to Your Diet

* Eat fresh fruits and vegetables rather than juices.
* Keep the skin on fruit and be sure to eat it.
* Choose unprocessed foods over processed ones.
* Select whole grain foods when possible.

One additional note here… it is important to increase the amount of water you are drinking as you increase the amount of fiber in your diet, again to ensure proper digestion and to avoid uncomfortable symptoms.

Sugar and Sugar Substitutes

Is sugar really bad for you? In a word, yes! Sugar isn’t really bad, but it certainly doesn’t provide you with any nutrients or high quality vitamins and minerals. Most people have trouble losing weight because their diets are jam packed full of sugar.

Sugar is in everything, particularly foods that have been overly processed. Think sugar isn’t in the Chinese take out you ordered the other night? Think again! Sugar serves one purpose when you are trying to lose weight… it packs on calories!

Eating too much sugar will also help disrupt your blood sugar levels, causing your blood sugar to rapidly rise and fall again, which (you guessed it) will help contribute to weight gain by making you hungry more of the time.

So what can you do to reduce your intake of sugar? First and foremost you should work to eliminate the amount of processed food that you eat. Whenever possible you should be consuming foods that are in their natural state. This includes plenty of lean meats, fruits and vegetables. Anything that comes in a box that is microwaveable is a processed food item.

Even pre-made pancakes are processed! Have you ever looked at the ingredients on the side of the box? You will undoubtedly run into ‘sugar’ at some point or another. Many cereals also contain large amounts of sugar.

Make your own pancakes if you can with flour, milk and eggs. Another thing you can to do help facilitate your weight loss is start reading labels. If you read before you buy you are less likely to add things to your cart that are high in calories due to added sugar.

If you have a sweet tooth, you might consider sugar substitutes. Some popular selections include Splenda and NutraSweet. Some people also substitute honey for sugar. Honey is actually a better choice than sugar because people tend to use less and It is low in calories.

Eat Slowly and Thoughtfully

Far too many people eat while they are on the go. Even more eat while they are watching television.

This is actually one of the number one things you can do that will sabotage your diet. Time and time again studies have shown that people tend to eat more when they eat in front of the TV. Why? Well for one you are eating absentmindedly.

So what can you do to avoid mindless eating? First and foremost turn off the television. If at all possible you should strive to sit down and enjoy your meal whenever possible.

Now, we certainly understand that you have a new baby, and are very busy. Baby’s needs usually get addressed before mommy’s. However, EVERYONE has ten minutes in the day where they can slow down long enough to eat. When you eat it is important that you do so thoughtfully.

The first thing you should do is actually inhale your food. Smell it. Simply smelling your food sends signals to your brain that you are fulfilling your biological need to eat, and will help trigger your satiety signals when you are full, helping prevent overeating.

The next thing you need to do is actually chew your food. Take a bite and chew your food thoroughly. In the hub to get things done most people don’t actually chew there food, they inhale it. Chewing your food thoroughly will help saliva break down the food you are eating and help you feel full faster. People who actually chew there food tend to fill up much faster than those that don’t.

You should also learn to enjoy your food. Savor every taste. Take note of the texture of the food you are eating. This is what is known as mindful eating, and like chewing your food, it will help you avoid over-eating because you are paying more attention to what you are eating rather than simply gorging yourself.

Pre-Cook Meals

Any experienced mom will tell you the value of pre-cooked meals. Meals you cook ahead of time are meals that are readily available when chaos breaks lose and you no longer have the time to cook a proper meal for you and your family.

Consider taking one day of the week to prep a bunch of meals for that week. If you pre-plan you meals, you have time to ensure that everything you are preparing is cooked in a healthy, low fat and high nutrient manner.

If you have never been much of a cook in the past, consider purchasing a low fat cookbook and trying out a few recipes. There are many versions out there that offering easy cooking recipes for people on the go.

Any meals you prepare ahead of time you can break down into single serving or multiple serving sizes and place in the freezer for later consumption.

How does pre-cooking help you lose weight? If you have meals prepared ahead of time, you are less likely to order a pizza or some other unhealthy food on the spur of the moment because you don’t have a lot of time to prepare a full meal.

Pre-cooking meals will also enable you to better control portion sizes. You can decide ahead of time how much food is the right amount, and keep track of the caloric content of the foods you are preparing.