Best food for losing weight post-partum
Dr. Debmita Dutta MBBS, MD
Dr Debmita Dutta MBBS, MD is a practising doctor, a Parenting Consultant and the founder of the website www.whatparentsask.com – a video based website that provides expert answers to parenting questions. She is based in Bangalore and conducts Parenting workshops and prenatal classes for pregnant parents in addition to her medical practice. She believes that parenting stress can be relieved significantly when parents are well informed about their children’s growing brains and bodies.
Almost every new mom wants two things. She wants her baby to grow up healthy and strong. And she wants to lose the weight she has gained during her pregnancy.
The health and growth of a breastfeeding newborn baby depends on the health of the mother and so it is very important to lose weight without damaging your health.
The most important things to remember about losing weight post-partum:
- You cannot lose weight by going on a crash diet – Crash diets increase craving and make you eat sugary fatty food. They also cause stress, which makes the body store more and more fat.
- You will be hungry all the time while breastfeeding – so plan to eat healthy snacks.
- If you eat small frequent healthy meals you will lose weight. Eat 4 meals and 4 snacks.
- Never miss breakfast.
Foods that will help you lose weight post-partum:
- Whole grains – The carbohydrates at every meal must come from whole grains like brown rice, whole wheat, ragi, bajra or other millets in various preparations. Whole grains are rich in fibre and make you feel full faster. You will also feel hungry less often. In addition they will energise you and are loaded with vitamins and minerals.
2. Pulses or dal – Include pulses in all meals and snacks. Whole pulses are better than polished pulses because they have a lot of fibre that fills you up faster. They are also rich in protein that ensures that you get hungry less often. Pulses can be eaten as dal at meals and in salads and hummus when you are snacking.
3. High fibre vegetables – Eat chewy vegetables with high fibre content like Bhindi (Ladies finger), Palak (Spinach) and Drumsticks (Moringa). Chewing slows down your speed of eating and makes you feel full without eating too much. High fibre vegetables also keep the gut functioning smoothly by preventing constipation.
4. Nuts and seeds – When you snack – eat Til (Sesame) laddoos and almond halwa or just roasted nuts and seeds instead of chocolates and chips. Nuts and seeds are rich sources of vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids that keep you glowing while you lose weight.
5. Sweet fruits, Dry fruits and Jaggery – The intense physical strain of breastfeeding is sure to make you want to eat something sweet. Eat dates, raisins and nuts combined with jaggery in combinations like chikki to satisfy your sweet craving. Or eat sweet fruits like mango, chikkoo and banana. Always eat in moderation otherwise these will cause weight gain.
6. Citrus fruits – Eat oranges and sweet limes for vitamin C. Eat them whole rather than as juice because juices cause weight gain.
7. Milk, Curd and Cheese – Dairy sources of protein replenish the calcium lost during pregnancy and breastfeeding and also repair the muscles that have been damaged at childbirth. Healthy muscles are important before you go back to high intensity exercise.
8. Water – It is easy to get dehydrated during breastfeeding. And thirst can be interpreted by the brain as hunger making you binge on unhealthy food. Drink half a glass of water every hour.
9. Cucumber and green apple – Snack on these when you are bored. They can be eaten with a healthy curd based dip.
10. Saunf, Ajwain and Jeera – Temper and season vegetables and other food with these spices to aid digestion and prevent gas formation.
What to avoid eating to lose weight post-partum?
- Avoid binging on deep fried food.
- Avoid pasta and noodles.
- Avoid carbonated drinks and juices.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
Do not panic and get into frenzy over weight loss. Your body will slowly let go of the excess weight if you follow a sensible eating plan. Focus on becoming strong and healthy not thin and frail.