It’s been a crazy 4 years for me. I have been either pregnant or breast feeding the ENTIRE 4 years. I have three kids ages 3 1/2, 2, and 5 months. I love my life and I love my kids. I am in awe of my body and what it has produced. Seriously, amazing.
But after having my third (and gaining 50lbs during pregnancy) I was just ready for a break and really REALLY ready to stop feeling tired all the time and huge. However, being a big advocate of breastfeeding and having gone a year with each of my babies so far, I was really concerned with trying anything that included a drastic diet (paleo, no carbs, etc.) and how that would affect my milk supply.
I searched around online, but didn’t find too much. I guess most women either just lose the weight through breastfeeding (which happened with my first two, but not with number three!) or just kept the weight on and didn’t get serious until after a year. Or lost weight while breastfeeding but didn’t have time to blog the details, which I can TOTALLY understand.
So, I set out on my own. After researching several options I settled on a program from Beach Body called The 21 Day Fix. It was a combination of (1) work out DVD’s (which was really my only option for working out as a stay at home mom with three babies and a husband who works TONS of hours and is getting his Master’s at the same time), (2) a meal plan which allowed me to eat complex carbs, TONS of greens (which helps milk production), lots of protein, healthy fats and oils, through an easy system of color coded containers that help me see how big of portions I should have of each type of food. The fitness program also included (3) a month supply of a dense super food enriched shake called Shakeology, which was a game changer for me and so delicious.
I did my calculations for the meal plan and then added 500 calories to what I should be eating because I am breastfeeding. That gave me 1800 calories a day! I was skeptical if I would actually lose weight eating that much. I was also worried about my supply. To my surprise, my supply seemed even richer than before (more dense nutrition going in, better milk coming out!), AND I trimmed down in just 5 weeks back to my pre-pregnancy size clothing and lost 15lbs.
I was hoping these results would happen in the next 5 months, NOT 5 weeks!
Here’s a sample of what I might eat on a typical day, I try to have something every 2 hrs.
Breakfast (8am): 2 Eggs, 1 serving of Oatmeal, grapefruit
Snack (10am): Apple
Lunch (12pm): Large salad full of greens with grilled chicken breast and 1 small serving of whole wheat crackers
Snack (2pm): 12 Almonds
Snack (4pm): Chocolate Shakeology with almond milk, 1/2 banana and 1 tsp of almond butter
Dinner (6pm): Roasted Chicken with herbs, sweet potatoes and large serving of green beans
I think drinking TONS of water helped. Also I began drinking Mother’s Milk tea, maybe twice a week. I try to use my complex carb allotment for oatmeal once a day (a good food for milk production), and just kept nursing on demand.
I’m so thrilled with my results and thankful I was able to do them without sacrificing my baby’s health and nutrition. If anything, I think he might be getting much better milk than ever before.
It’s not easy taking time to put your health first when you are constantly being pulled in different directions. Trust me, I KNOW! But I am so thankful that I have started on this journey. Getting back to feeling strong and feeling like myself again – after four years of exhaustion, pregnancy, and all that goes with it has been priceless.
Hope this is helpful to other moms who are breastfeeding. It CAN be done, and you will benefit so much! If you have any other questions or are interested in going through a program like this I’d love to hear from you.