This post probably contains affiliate links, to items I am in love with, and I am confident you will too! For any health advice I give on nutrition and wieghtloss, make sure you check with your doctor, as I am not a health professional. I am just a mama with lots of health and fitness knowledge and experience.
A diet high in protein for post-pregnancy weight loss is super effective for breastfeeding moms. If you are breastfeeding, your body requires extra nutrients and protein to help sustain milk production. This is a large topic on my blog because mamas like you are coming back to me time and again for new smoothie recipes, information on choosing protein powders, and which ones are the best for breastfeeding, workouts and more. There are thousands of readers a day coming here for this information, and the one thing I haven’t gone into detail about is why a high-protein diet is perfect for post-pregnancy weight loss.
Now, I don’t focus on weight loss as fast as possible. For me, I was able to lose it all by 6 weeks postpartum, but that is because my body was used to shedding the weight. I felt great, and had an over abundance of milk (including getting mastitis from engorgement), all because I really focus on nutrients. That is what your body is craving. Macro and micro nutrients as the building blocks for your body and the milk you are producing.
First, let’s talk about why protein is super helpful for weight loss, and why I prefer a protein powder:
Protein is a macronutrient that is used to build muscle and promote growth and strength for hair, skin, nails, cells and more. When you eat something that is purely protein, not much of that can get stored as fat. If you don’t eat any carbs or fat, you will have to eat a lot of protein for any of the excess calories to get stored. Your body has a lot of places to put protein before it gets stored. After it is used for building and repairing your body, it gets stored as glycogen in your muscles. As humans, we are meant to eat both protein and carbs, with a little fat. When you eat carbs (healthy like vegetables or fruit), your brain get’s glucose to function and your body gets the vitamins and antioxidants so many carbs have, as well as protein. The amount of fat found in proteins naturally is usually just perfect. A little fat goes a long way. Protein also takes more energy to digest, so you are burning more calories when you digest it.
Now, you may be wondering about the keto diet. Protein is a major player in that diet too. Obviously with lots of meat as the main food source, you are giving your body a lot of protein too. With the ketogenic diet, you are taking out the glucose as a fuel source, so your body is forced to use fat as fuel. You still have to eat with in your caloric needs whether you do a high fat or high protein diet. Either way, you are giving your body protein,. I am a fan of lower fat diets with healthy carbs and high protein. That is how our body was designed to function, but if the keto diet works well for you, and you feel awesome, keep it up. Everyone is different and function differently off of different food sources. I wrote all about how the ketogenic diet is safe for breastfeeding here.
Why I prefer protein powder for post-pregnancy weight loss:
Protein powder has come a long way in the past few years, and it is such a realistic, simple way to consume very clean and healthy protein as a busy mom. I just don’t always have the time to cook healthy during the day. I can get dinner together with something healthy like chicken, ground turkey spaghetti, or turkey burgers etc. But during the day? I survive off of crackers, PB&Js, string cheese and whatever I can grab in between running little ones to preschool and back, doctors appointments, T-ball practice etc. Protein shakes are such an easy, one-handed option to really have a healthy snack or meal. I LOVE this protein powder.
It has super clean ingredients, is chalk full of a fruit and veggie super blend, and tastes really good. You can even bake with it, which I made some of these recipes, and you’ll be so happy. High protein, low carb desserts with protein powder. Some people are just way to genius in the kitchen. Anyways, as a breastfeeding mom, you want it to be full of clean, organic ingredients that will also benefit baby. These ingredients promote milk supply, and I explain that all in detail in this post.
Protein shakes with frozen fruit and spinach is so good for you! So many nutrients in one quick shake, and they are filling! That’s why I love having one mid morning or mid afternoon. At that time when I am busy and i want to just grab kids stuff. This will fill you up, give your body a boost of energy from all the good ingredients, and help you stay in the lower carb range.
Let’s get into high protein and low carb for post-pregnancy weight loss:
With any weight loss plan, you want to stay with in a certain caloric intake. From there, you fill your plate with protein and light carbs like fruits and vegetables. If you are doing long and hard cardio like running, you can add in sweet potatoes and oatmeal. This is if you are running over an hour at a time. Your glycogen stores will need to be replenished with extra carbs.
I know I am definitely not running an hour post-pregnancy until I’m at least 9 month postpartum, and I am going to assume you are similar to me and not that heavy of a runner.
So, if you are doing your workouts, whether it is HIIT, or a cardio machine, walking, Pilates etc. you want to focus on eating natural protein sources, fruits and vegetables. This is while you are working to lose the weight. As the weight comes off, you can add in some extra carbs for fat, whatever you are wanting most. Because you are eating carbs with your protein, you don’t want to add in a lot of fat. When you have fat and carbs together, you are giving your body two fuel sources. It only needs one, so the other is going to get stored as fat. The glucose from the carbs will be used first, and the fat will get stored for later. If you don’t eat much fat, there won’t be much to store. Or, if you don’t eat any glucose, then your body will burn the fat you ate in addition to fat you stored. Either way, protein is involved and completely necessary for the post-pregnancy weight loss diet.
Don’t do much of anything in a box. If you want to pursue grains or oats, or healthy breads you can, but those all are going to bring in more carbs and calories, which will slow the process. Fill yourself up with things that are from the earth and eat as clean as possible. Fish, turkey, chicken, tuna, seafood, lean beef and a great protein powder are the main items you want to eat.
I hope all that helps give you a run down of protein for a post-pregnancy weight loss diet, and why it is a great way to go!
I will be launching a very specialized program for postpartum mamas looking to heal, nourish and regain their strength. I really struggled healing after my first child, and even went through pelvic floor physical therapy for weeks to manage scar tissue that developed from tearing. I have experience studying nutrition, physical therapy and I taught Pilates, so I’ve put together a program I wish I would’ve followed from the beginning.
A program that first heals your body through specialized movements and nourishing foods. Foods are so essential to your body finding the nutrients it needs to put itself back together again. Your postpartum body needs special care in the first 4-6 weeks where you focus on regaining strength and properly fueling your body for breastfeeding.
This program then moves you into gaining physical fitness back. I will never forget the first time I tried to go for a run around 12 weeks postpartum after my first baby. I didn’t do any strength work, so I was literally jelly. I had lost all my extra fat and my previous muscle. So depressing. I was barely able to start gaining it back before I got pregnant and sick again with my second. I’ve learned so much on maintaining muscle postpartum through a unique diet and Pilates routines. I walk you through all of this too!
Lastly, I take you into a fitness and nutrition program to get your body back. This amps up your fitness routine into HIIT workouts, strength workouts and cardio to help you melt off those last pounds. I also walk you through proper food intake to encourage a healthy milk supply, while still burning extra fat as fuel. There is a very fine line to do this, but don’t worry, I’ve done it three times!!
I’m working on my edits to launch this program as soon as possible. I want it to be affordable, so all moms can heal there bodies and skip all the trouble I experienced. I didn’t realize, even with all my knowledge and training, how non-negotiable healing your postpartum body is before working on losing the weight.
Please sign up, so I can let you know as soon as the The Postpartum Cure is launched and ready!