Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Three Meals a Day and Postpartum Weight Loss

With my first four babies, the pregnancy weight came off every time. More than six years passed between the end of my fourth pregnancy and the beginning of my fifth. We graduated college and moved to a new place. My children got older. And I gained weight. It was only about fifteen to twenty pounds, but it refused to acknowledge my attempts to exercise or eat differently.
Oh, well. We weren't starving college students anymore. That's what I told myself, but it was still annoying to me.
A few days after Baby Q was born, I stepped on the scale. In the whole messy process of giving birth to a nice sized baby, I had only lost about 10 pounds. The total weight of the fluid, placenta and baby was surely closer to 15-20 pounds. Yet there we were. That weight did come off, and it was somewhat faster than a thawing glacier, but when I got to the pre-pregnancy range, it leveled off. That had never happened before. 
Oh, well. I was older. They say these things happen.
Around this time I read Lessons from Madame Chic, by Jennifer L. Scott. In her first few chapters, she describes the eating habits of her French host family. It was refreshing to read about eating habits without the negative baggage and scare tactics that so often go along with the topic. It allowed me to be less neurotic about what I was eating, and reminded me of the importance of sitting down to eat three meals a day. 
I had been skipping lunch in an attempt to keep getting things done, but would pull things out of the cupboard and munch on them as I went to keep the edge off my hunger. I committed to eating three proper meals a day, plus sometimes one small snack. 
I lost 15 pounds in the next three months.
I lost it without cutting carbs or butter, without exercising more, and without counting calories. I just stopped skipping meals, stopped snacking, and avoided overly generous portion sizes.
Now, when I weaned the baby, I did bounce back up a few pounds, but I was okay with that.

Tips on Eating Three Meals a Day
  • Eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Don't skip meals.
  • Meals only happen sitting down. Don't eat while standing, walking, or driving.
  • If you can't see a fruit or vegetable, it isn't a meal.
  • Use moderate portions: not too big, not too small.
  • A moderate-size treat is fine immediately following either lunch or dinner. For example, a single brownie slice, small to medium slice of cake, or a single truffle. If you've just eaten a proper meal, it's less tempting to overeat treats.
  • Don't graze on foods in the cupboard. If you must snack, think of it as a fourth mini-meal and sit down for it. If I offered my children an after-school snack, I allowed myself a moderate-sized serving along with them, as long as I was sitting down.
  • Pause and think twice before seconds. There seems to be a delay between when you are full and when you realize you are full. Are you really still hungry? If so, go ahead. 
You don't need to eat tiny, 300 calorie meals to maintain a healthy weight, or even to lose weight. That's unhealthy and unsustainable. You'll probably end up snacking several times a day on "healthy" granola bars, handfuls of nuts, etc. to make up for how hungry you feel. If you are eating three more moderate size meals that average 500-600 calories each, you will feel more satisfied. You will be more fun on dates. Your kitchen will stay cleaner. You'll probably save on grocery bills (snacks tend to be more expensive per ounce than meals). You might even slip into a healthy weight range without even trying.

No comments:

Post a Comment