Fo­cus on nour­ish­ment, not weight loss

The Horowhenua Mail - - CONVERSATIONS -

Q: I’m breast­feed­ing my 6-month-old daugh­ter and would like to lose some of the baby weight, but I amjust so hun­gry all the time. Do you have any tips? Many thanks, Jo

Hi Jo. Please don’t worry about your weight – this is such a pre­cious time and a fo­cus on weight will only take away from it. Now is a time when your body is pri­mar­ily fo­cused on nour­ish­ing a lit­tle hu­man and it’s still go­ing to be read­just­ing af­ter months of preg­nancy.

Hor­mon­ally, nu­tri­tion­ally and emo­tion­ally, things can take time to re­store it­self.

In my ex­pe­ri­ence, you have to be healthy to lose weight, not the other way around, so fo­cus on tak­ing care of your­self and know that in time, by pro­vid­ing your body with the nour­ish­ment and sup­port it needs for great health, your body will nat­u­rally set­tle at the right weight for you.

As you men­tioned, breast­feed­ing is a time where we can ex­pe­ri­ence ex­tra sig­nals from our body to seek out more en­ergy.

A: Ask Dr Libby

Email your ques­tions for Dr Libby to ask.dr­libby@fair­fax­me­ Please note, only a se­lec­tion of ques­tions can be an­swered.

It’s nor­mal to be feel­ing hun­grier, as our own nour­ish­ment needs in­crease when we’re also nour­ish­ing an­other. In fact, your en­ergy (calo­rie) needs will typ­i­cally be higher than they were while you were preg­nant.

It’s im­por­tant to hon­our your body’s hunger sig­nals as they are a mes­sage that your body needs more fuel. Af­ter preg­nancy, women can be de­pleted nu­tri­tion­ally, and if you are try­ing to lose weight by eat­ing less, you will es­sen­tially be lim­it­ing how many nu­tri­ents are go­ing in. This can have an enor­mous im­pact on how you look, feel and func­tion.

Di­et­ing isn’t the best ap­proach for long-term sus­tain­able weight loss. Cut­ting calo­ries is only go­ing to lead you to feel even hun­grier, which, for many peo­ple, can lead to a vi­cious cy­cle of re­stric­tion and binge­ing. And when they are un­able to stick to their ‘‘healthy’’ plan the guilt sets in, and the added stress of this re­ally isn’t healthy at all.

In say­ing all of this, sleep de­pri­va­tion and ex­haus­tion can send us search­ing for more en­ergy, and of­ten we reach for sweet foods and caf­feine to try to fill this gap. The rea­son we crave sug­ary foods is be­cause they pro­vide a fast hit of glu­cose, giv­ing your en­ergy lev­els a rapid boost. The prob­lem is, the en­ergy is short-lived, so you end up on an en­ergy roller­coaster, con­stantly search­ing for more en­ergy, crav­ing more poor-qual­ity foods. And when these foods be­come a part of our ev­ery­day lives, they end up dis­plac­ing real, whole foods that ac­tu­ally pro­vide the nour­ish­ment we need.

I en­cour­age you to fo­cus on choos­ing whole, real foods. They don’t have to be fancy – easy, prac­ti­cal meals that in­clude plenty of colour­ful veg­eta­bles are a great place to start. Slow-cooked meals are great. It can also be help­ful to make a batch of whole food snacks, such as mini frit­tata muffins to keep in the fridge, or bliss balls made from nuts, seeds and a few fresh dates to keep in the freezer, so that you have nour­ish­ing snacks on hand for when hunger strikes. The fat con­tent in these snacks will help to keep your en­ergy lev­els sta­ble and feel­ing sat­is­fied for longer.

Dr Libby is a nu­tri­tional bio­chemist, best-sell­ing au­thor and speaker. The ad­vice con­tained in this col­umn is not in­tended to be a sub­sti­tute for di­rect, per­son­alised ad­vice from a health pro­fes­sional. Dr Libby is bring­ing her sig­na­ture event, the Beau­ti­ful You Week­end, to Christchurch in Novem­ber. For more in­for­ma­tion or to book, visit www.dr­


Af­ter giv­ing birth your body is pri­mar­ily fo­cused on nour­ish­ing a lit­tle hu­man and read­just­ing af­ter months of preg­nancy.

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