Fatigue is the hardest thing to deal with when you are coping with the demands of a newborn, making it all too easy to grab the nearest snack just to keep you going. Whether you are breastfeeding or not, regular snacking is a great strategy but a great snack has to deliver on a number of levels. It has to look good, taste good, be easy to prepare, be easy to transport and pack a real nutritional punch. Iron deficiency is common in women post pregnancy leading to further fatigue which can be brutal and it has been recently discovered that low levels of iron also turn on genes in the liver and muscles that promote fat storage and cause abnormal blood sugar elevation so concentrating on iron-rich snacks can be your saviour. Legumes (beans, lentils and peas), leafy green vegetables and herbs are our best source of iron from the plant kingdom and from the animal kingdom, lamb, sardines and grass-fed beef are tops.
A Few Diet Secrets
Control Cortisol. Pregnancy and childbirth involve a great deal of hormonal change. If you are breastfeeding, the hormonal upheaval continues and even if you are not, it takes time for hormones to settle back into their pre-pregnancy pattern of behaviour. Stress can be a hard one to deal with in the aftermath of childbirth. Not just the emotional stress caused by the demands of the newborn but also the physiological stress caused by lack of sleep and mind-bending fatigue. Any stress on the body prompts an increased production of the stress hormones and one in particular, cortisol can make post baby weight loss difficult to achieve. The mineral, magnesium calms the nervous system and tempers the action of excessive cortisol release. Seeds, beans and greens are tops for magnesium and soaking in a bath rich in mineral salts allows the magnesium content to be absorbed through the skin.
Eat Fat to Lose Fat. Deficiency of Omega 3 fatty acids is common in Western diets but their fat busting properties should be shouted from the rooftops. Not only are they filling but they also stimulate the action of the fat burning enzymes that encourage healthy weight loss. They are also essential for the development of the newborn’s brain so if you are breastfeeding, keep your levels up by eating plenty of oily fish and snacking on seeds as your levels can quickly diminish and both you and the baby will benefit from optimal levels.
Say Yes to Snacks. Blood sugar swings are not unusual for new mums and your mood and energy levels can plummet fast. Shop online and ensure that you have a good selection of healthy foods within reach to avoid the overwhelming need for a sugary snack. Fresh fruits and vegetables, bean and lentil salads, fresh soups, eggs, tinned fish, cheese portions, nuts and seeds and small bars of dark chocolate all help to keep you sharp and satisfied while helping you to burn off excess, stored fat.