Now unless you are on a specific cleanse (which unless you are under the care of a practitioner, is not recommended postpartum), counting calories and skipping meals can affect your long-term success.
We all know (or at least I hope some of you do) that once you begin to wait too long in between meals, your body goes into a semi-starvation mode. In other words, when your body doesn't know when it's going to get its next meal, it holds onto more fat as a protective mechanism.
The same affect can happen if you eat too few calories at breakfast and lunch and then ever so slowly begin to snack while making dinner, eat a large meal and THEN have a "treat" because you've worked so hard. Sound familiar?? This happens because you NEED a certain number of calories to keep you going so if you sacrifice them during the day, you can bet your bottom dollar, they'll find a way to get in. And then you crash in bed. Lovely.
Now we've all done it but the more you do this the more you negatively you affect your metabolism. Especially yo-yo dieting. This is the body's enemy when it comes to controlling or losing weight. Someone told me (many moons ago) that it takes 30 days to increase your metabolism and only 48 hours to ruin it. Great. Then add the fact that you are getting older (each day - sorry!), AND you've had 1,2,3 or more children AND you're losing muscle the more you don't move. Now you find yourself caught up in a vicious cycle!
Your body is a machine and needs fuel ( just like a beautiful car ) to keep your engine working at maximal efficiency. Each time you eat, you rev up your metabolism as you actually burn calories during digestion. However, do you fill your car up with a bucket of liquid grease or is it filled with gas made for the car itself? It seems like the nicer the car, the better the gas, right? I would think you are much better than a nice car so why do so many people treat their cars better than themselves? Putting in half-assed fuel will leave you feeling exactly that. We are animals and are meant to eat food the way it was created - not deep fried, wrapped, boxed and delivered.
So for all of you new and seasoned moms working your 24 hour shift, try your best not to make the mistake of starting your day on 2 cups of java and a piece of toast. Throw some cheese on it and an apple and you've got a more well rounded meal that can keep you going ( until the next “feed” ). Add at least 2 more snacks and meals and you will be less likely to be starving at the end of the day.
Just like you do with your children, planning is key. Enlist the help of your spouse and do it together because once you’re in a rut, it’s much harder to dig yourself out.
Samantha Montpetit-Huynh, CPTN-CPT, PFS, NWS, RAB, TTDR
CORE EXPECTATIONS Pre & Postnatal Exercise Specialist