During my second pregnancy, I gained about 30 pounds. After having my son in the winter, the majority of the weight came off naturally. Yet, two months later, eight stubborn pounds still remained. I was exclusively breastfeeding. Thus, I didn’t want to diet because I knew I needed plenty of nutrients and calories for both of us. However, through clean eating, I was able to shed 15 pounds in three months. By the time my son was five months of age, I was seven pounds slimmer than I was before getting pregnant.
Changing my Diet
A few years back, I had switched to a mostly organic, whole foods diet. However, while I was pregnant, I gave into some cravings. After having my son, sleepless nights caused me to want to eat fatty foods. However, when I realized the last of the extra weight wasn’t coming off, I started eating clean. According to cookinglight.com, clean eating is consuming “healthy, whole, unprocessed foods.”
Eating Outside of the Box
One of my biggest rules for eating clean is to stay away from food in a box, bag or canister. Many cereals, granola bars and frozen foods are loaded with extra sugar, salt and preservatives. Not all packaged items are created equal. After all, frozen veggies or plain oatmeal are pretty good for you. Likewise, as an indulgence, I also would occasionally eat fruit and nut bars with dark chocolate. When you don’t eat processed foods, it helps you cut out refined sugars and sodium too. This is an important part of clean eating.
Drinking Mostly Water
One of the “principles of clean eating” is to avoid drinking “your calories.” Thus, I mostly drank water. From time to time, I had some raw kale and apple juice or a caffeine-free iced tea. Staying away from sugary drinks helped me shed some pounds.
Eating five or six times a day is recommended for the clean eating philosophy. However, eating a five-course meal doesn’t count. The small meals or big snacks need to be spaced throughout the day. This keeps your energy up and also prevents late night binges. For instance, for breakfast, I might eat one hard boiled egg, some fruit and multigrain toast. For snacks, I would have a handful of raw almonds, a clementine or string cheese. Salad with grilled chicken is an example of a healthy lunch. Fish or quinoa and baked sweet potato fries would often be on the menu for dinner. Kale chips are a yummy, healthy snack.
Of course, I also exercised. Since I was taking care of my kids most of the day, I walked for about a half and hour, once or twice a day. I had a little bit of trouble recovering from my delivery, so walking was all the exercise I could do for the first five months.
“Dieting” While Nursing
As with any new eating program, it’s important to be smart. To build up a “healthy milk supply,” kellymom.com advises against dieting until after your baby has turned two months of age. Nursing mothers should also “eat at least 1500-1800 calories per day,” avoid “fad diets” and not lose more than “six pounds per month.” Again, this advice is for most moms but it’s a good idea to seek professional advice before dieting.
Clean eating helped me lose my extra baby weight and then some. Although I have an occasional indulgence, I continue to eat a diet rich in whole foods. My son is over two years old and I have been able to keep almost all of the weight off. For me, clean eating was part of a successful weight loss story!
More from Melissa:
Eating Clean: Feeling Good from the Inside Out
Tips for Cleaning While Pregnant
Ouch! Dealing with Granulation Tissue After Childbirth