How did you lose your pregnancy weight? Hands down, one of the most frequently asked questions I have been getting post delivery. Honestly, while it is so flattering to hear these words – I wish there was some secret diet or workout regime I could share. It is a combination of many things. Keep reading …
Spoiler Alert : don’t expect any magic pills to be revealed =))
Let me share will you all about my diet, fitness routine and everything else that I have followed so far.
I am going to break it down into two parts : first three months post-partum and months after that :
Indian culture gives tremendous emphasis on post-partum healing, resting and diet. It is geared towards regaining strength and energy with the simple idea behind it – a happy and healthy mom can take care of the baby better. A big part of the post-partum care is the diet. The diet constitutes of items that help with milk supply, digestion and recovery.
During the first three months, my mom was very particular about making sure that I ate everything that is traditionally known to be part of the post-partum diet. And I ate everything – absolutely everything that is recommended.
Also for some reason, I was ( still am ) obsessed with boosting milk supply. Like so obsessed that if someone told me that eating soil will boost supply, I am sure I would have tried that as well. The reason I am sharing this – well, read on. You’ll know why =))
Diet for the first 3 months post partum + Food that helps with boosting milk supply
Note : I have mentioned the names of the food items below are as they are known in the Indian culture. However, upon reading and talking to friends, I understand that there are similar foods in almost every culture around the world that focus on helping the mother heal faster and help with lactation.
- Ghee ( clarified butter ) is known to help with recovery of the muscles and rebuilding strength. I ate that with rice, lentils, chapatis, parathas, savory laddoos ( balls made with flour, herbs and Indian spices) loaded with ghee. The laddoos are made with ingredients that help with recovery, digestion, regaining strength – lots of benefits.
- Oats : Breakfast and mid afternoon snacks usually consisted for oats with almond milk, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, cranberries, almonds and any other nuts
- I ate a lot of broken wheat ( known as dalia in Hindi), Khichdi ( rice mixed with lentils and dollops of ghee )
- Lots of nuts. Munched on bags of nuts every night after a feeding session.
- Fenugreek ( Methi leaves ) – added to everything. In the dough for making parathas, in soups, in lentils, Indian curries
- Garlic : Garlic helps with lactation and boosting immunity.
- Fennel soaked water : Instead of drinking regular water, I was drinking this throughout the day. boiled water with Fennel seeds.
- Also, I would add asafoetida and caraway seeds in the water as they help with digestion. It also indirectly helps with the baby’s digestion.
- Wheat bread and peanut butter sandwiches
- Cereal bars
Now if you pay attention to the diet, you will see that I observed no specific restrictions in my diet in the first three months. My mom was particular ( read strict ) about my intake and I obediently followed. Well most of the time – some of the Indian spice concoctions were gross so I had to forcefully gulp those down with water. But because I was focussing on recovery and boosting milk supply – I was automatically eating the good stuff. The stuff with good fat, the ingredients that help metabolism, digestion – so all the goodness. It is true – paying attention to what you put in your body has benefits that go just beyond taste and losing weight.
When you are pumping and nursing, it literally starves you right after that session. I did not hold back from eating because I would be famished literally every 2-3 hours. However, every time I was hungry, I would eat oats or fruits or nuts instead of a dessert or a cookie. It wasn’t moreso for watching my weight but rather eating right because – again – milk supply. A good obsession.
Diet and Workout Routine after the first three-month of post partum.
Here’s an example of what my diet on an regular day looks like –
- Breakfast : Overnight soaked oats with Almond milk, chia seeds, cranberries, nuts, seeds. Here’s the recipe . With wheat bread and peanut butter.
- Mid morning snack : fruit, cereal bar, nuts, smoothie
- Lunch : Loaded salad ( lettuce, spinach, nuts, cheese, cranberries, strawberries, avocados) with a good amount of dressing . Salad needs to taste good, else I can’t eat it. So I don’t skimp on adding the stuff that I like.
- Mid afternoon snack : sandwich ( with veggies and brown bread or peanut butter or just plain wheat toast ) , fruit, smoothie or thepla ( thepla is an Indian bread made out of flour and spices )
- Pre dinner snack : This is the meal that is where I really eat whatever – it is the time when you are hungry after work and have yet to prepare dinner. So this is usually cookies, biscuits, chips, junk food basically.
- Dinner : I don’t skimp on dinner. I know many nutrition experts will recommend the opposite of this, i.e to have a heavy lunch instead of dinner – but this is the meal that we eat together as a family so I like it to go on longer. And then I tend to eat more. Dinner options include – Indian bread and curry, lentils, rice, broken wheat, pasta, lasagna, tacos, fajitas, pizza, etc.
- Pre bed-time snack : Like I mentioned before, I need to eat after every nursing or pumping session. This snack could be bread and peanut butter, nutella sandwich, nuts, cereal bar, etc.
Also, I use a lot of garlic, fenugreek leaves and ghee in my food to help with milk supply. As you can see, I don’t really starve myself at any point, but my focus is to eat everything that is known to help with lactation.
Another important thing – drinking a lot of water. I use an app to track my water intake to keep me on track. I love drinking fennel seeds soaked and boiled water .
One of the things that really helps is eating frequently. Small but frequent meals – help with increasing metabolism. It also indirectly helps with portion control, which is a good habit if you are looking to lose weight.
Workout Routine Post-Partum:
I am being extremely honest here guys – I havent been able to workout as well as I would like to, since my delivery. One reason being not having yet figured out managing time efficiently such that to make time for the gym on a regular basis. But also I am still very much unfit – my knees hurt almost every evening ( patellofemoral pain syndrome ) and both my wrists have de quervain’s tenosynovitis. So that pretty much limits my time on the elliptical and lifting weights.
I am however, easing back slowly. Here is what my typical workout routine in a week looks like :
- a couple group classes during the week – such as Zumba, Barre. I atleast try to attend 1 -2 group classes in a week.
- Atleast 1 day in the gym doing cardio and strength training. 20 min of each.
- If I am able to go to the gym 3 times in a week – I give myslef a pat on the back. Never beat yourself up if you arent not able to make it to the gym some days. Let’s be realistic. Life gets busy.
- If I cant go to the gym – I do a few workout routines at home. Even if it is for 15 minutes. Stretch, squats, pushups. Lifting light weights to exercise the arms. A stability ball and some abs/crunches.
Post Pregnancy Belly Band
Wearing belly bands post delivery has been something that is prevalent in the Indian culture since generations. It is known to help the muscles in the stomach section to move back in place quicker. Also it helps with back support. * (*This is not medical advise. Always, please consult your doctor before using anything.) So I petty much was wearing it two weeks after my delivery and wore it up until 3 months. I love this one – one because the velcro helps in adjusting the size and how tight you’d like it. Also, it doesn’t protrude out from your clothes. While I don’t attribute any belly reduction to this belt, but it did provide good abdomen and back support during the initial days.
These were all my tips and what my diet and workout routine looks like right now. It took me a long time to draft this post, but I wanted to include all the details. Hope they help you even the slightest bit. Most importantly, I dont stress a lot about losing the weight. The belly may be like jelly right now – but we can work on these things slowly and as our health and bodies allow. It is more important to eat right and feel good about yourself. xo Neha