How to bounce back in shape after having a baby — by eating fat
By Aimee Heckel
You’re supposed to gain weight during pregnancy. In fact, doctors report the average woman gains 18.5 and 24.9 pounds while cooking a baby. But after giving birth, losing that weight isn’t always (read: ever) easy.
The key may be in eating fat.
Yes, eating fat. Not cutting it.
“If there is one thing that I could tell people that want to lose the baby weight, it would be this: Do not cut calories from fat,” she says.
You may want to cut calories from carbs, sweets, processed foods and breads. But the last thing you should cut is fat calories, Farrar says. In fact, research shows you should actually increase the percentage of calories you get from healthy fats to help you lose weight, while decreasing the percentage of calories from less nutrient-dense carbs.
If you are trying to lose weight, she says don’t necessarily increase your daily total calorie intake; just increase the amount of fat calories, if you are currently eating less than 50 percent of your daily calorie intake from fat.
Yes, fat is higher in calories per gram than carbs or protein. But it makes you feel twice as full, if you eat fat and protein, so it’s less likely you’ll put on pounds from it, Farrar says.
“Most people find that they naturally begin to eat less carbohydrates when they are eating more fat, too,” she says.
In addition, when you eat less bulk, your stomach will become smaller.
“Fats are more bank for your buck,” Farrar says. “You will feel satisfied and you will get a ton of essential nutrients in you for less volume of food.”
In addition, fat-soluble vitamins need fat, in order to be assimilated. Certain vitamins (A,D,E and K) can only be transported via fat, Farrar says. These vitamins contribute to healthy vision, skin and hair, calcium uptake and blood clotting. The body of a new mom needs special nurturing with these vitamins, and fat will help you do that, Farrar says.
One more thing: Fat boosts testosterone, and testosterone is your powerhouse route to building muscle, Farrar says.
“Eating fat will help you lose fat, because your body will learn that it has a consistent and reliable income of fat,” she says. “That means it will be less likely to store fat in the body. By not limiting your fat intake you are telling your body that there is no famine and that it is OK to shed the energy reserves that it has.”
Avoid low-fat products. Fat is an essential macronutrient. If you eat low-fat, your body sends out hunger signals, telling you to eat more. Consume some healthy fat, and those signals stop. This is where you need the essential fatty acids Omega 3 and 6, Farrar says.
If you’re breastfeeding, you especially need to consume healthy fats. Breast milk is high in fat, because babies need this density of calories to grow and build. Babies need both saturated and unsaturated fats, Farrar says — and especially those essential fatty acids.
What do I eat for healthy fats?
- Omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids: Seeds, nuts and fish.
- Saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats: full-fat dairy, meats (preferably organically raised), avocados, coconuts, nut butters and oils.
- Organic and non-processed sources (in order to perform all of the functions that it needs to perform).
- Note the key word “healthy” fats. No one’s advocating for stuffing your face with greasy, processed, fast-food French fries.
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