A Fit Pregnancy- Postpartum nutrition plan
I know I'm not alone in being eager to get back to feeling like my old self postpartum! While I will be taking a 6 week break, until I have clearance from my doctor, on workouts, nutrition is something that I can dive into right away! So, this post is going to be 100% food focused BUT just know that a post-baby fitness post is coming too!
First, I just want to say that postpartum healing takes time. Expecting to "bounce back" even if you've been active and eaten well is a bit unrealistic. I'm not saying it doesn't happen because we've all see it (Chontel Duncan I envy you!) but for most of us mama's it takes some times and effort! Go easy on yourself, I plan to, and remember to give yourself space to ease into this new life and adapt your fitness and nutrition as you go!
A little back story: I danced, ballet, from 3-19. I graduated high school and immediately moved out and enrolled at the University of Utah with an undeclared major. My plan was to take that first semester to settle in, take all the advanced non-major dance classes I could, and just get ready for auditions the following semester. At this time, I was hardly eating. I was convinced that my success as a dancer, and really in life, was 100% tied to how skinny I could get. I'd also been taking a drug called phentermine, prescribed only to obese patients to help them lose and maintain weight loss, not intended for me for a few months to help me lose more. Maybe I was young and naive or maybe I just wanted to be skinny that bad, but I never thought twice about side-effects of taking something I knew hardly anything about. This drug definitely made me drop weight, but it also wrecked my body. My heart constantly raced, I didn't sleep well if at all, I had constant dry mouth, and my skin became thin and fragile to the point that if I bumped into anything it would tear. My husband and I were dating at this time and he was unaware of the measures I was taking or my desperate desire to be skinnier. After seeing the state of my skin worsen with time though, he began to ask questions and I came clean. Obviously, he was concerned and asked me if I was happy, if living like this to dance really made me happy, and if it did, what were my future goals. Did I see myself dancing professionally? Did I think this was maintainable. I took about a day to think about it and realized I was miserable chasing goals that didn't make sense, so I quit. I quit dancing, I quit taking the phentermine, and I quit avoiding food.
Following this period of my life I started focusing more on my mental and physical health. I started eating more, got into yoga and running, and started living a more balanced life. However, I still had demons left over from a life of restrictive eating. I refused to let myself eat more than 1200 calories/day and tracked constantly. If I gained I reduced my calories, but was constantly frustrated I never felt toned and as skinny as I wanted to be.
Eventually, the mister and I decided we wanted to start a family. I was TERRIFIED to get pregnant and gain weight. I was fully convinced my body would be destroyed. I struggled with that throughout pregnancy but kept telling myself I'd work so so hard during and after pregnancy to get back in shape. Once that baby arrived I was so thrilled and in love, but I was also kind of lost. I found myself standing in front of the mirror looking at a body I didn't recognize not quite sure where to go. I felt totally overwhelmed being a new mom and figuring out how to find my own identity and confidence in all of it and this squishy body wasn't helping.
While I quickly fell into a fitness routine I loved that delivered great results I wanted to see more progress and see it faster. I tried a bunch of different styles of eating and dieting and none of them really changed my body composition. During this process I really started to learn more about how damaging my restrictive eating had been for my body. My focus shifted more toward self-love and finding confidence where you are. General healthy eating and training hard and consistently did get me results, and I did get to a place where I was comfortable, happy, and confident, but it also taught me how amazing our bodies are! It made me want to push myself and my capabilities! That's when I found macro counting. Now...I won't go into those deep details because I've done that in this macro series you can read about here: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV but it created a balanced platform I have full confidence in that I know works for me and my body.
So...after that loooooong winded background, my nutrition plan for post-baby is all about MACROS! I stopped tracking while pregnant because I wanted to be able to eat intuitively, but I plan to start a new macro based program as soon as I'm home and settled with baby. I've found that Avatar Nutrition's targets and online coaching work really well for me in terms of my lifestyle and goals so I'll be using their service again (not sponsored, I pay the monthly rate just like everyone else!). I plan to use the least aggressive fat loss goal setting and then add 300-500 calories/day into my macro targets in order to account for the additional nutritional requirements of breastfeeding. Aaron plans to dive into a moderate fat loss program at the same time. We're always much more successful when we're both tracking, prepping, and holding each other accountable.
I'm not really an IIFYM (if it fits your macros) type. While it might work for some to give up carbs/fat to fit in a candy bar, I prefer that all my food be clean, fresh, and high quality. It just makes my body feel and function better. That being said, I do need to maintain sanity and enjoy my life! So...when I macro counting I always allow myself two cheats/week. These are either meals or snacks that go fully untracked. It gives the mister and I to go out for date night, or take kiddo for ice cream, and not stress while still keeping us accountable.
While pregnant I've been putting together macro friendly, tasty, recipes and snacks that I'll definitely be sharing with you here to keep an eye out for them! I think it's really helped me mentally cope with the body changes that come with pregnancy knowing what my plan is for after. I'm really excited to once again see how much my body is capable of.
I hope it's helpful hearing about my experience and plans. If you have questions feel free to leave them here, on insta, or e-mail me!