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How To Boost Your Metabolism And Beat Post-Nursing Weight Gain

Written by Katie Hintz-Zambrano

Photography by llustrated by ALESSANDRA OLANOW

Nursing can bring several benefits to mothers, one of them (for the majority of moms) includes aiding in shedding those extra post-pregnancy pounds. Thanks to your body’s new role as a milk-making machine, nursing women are also burning calories at a rapid pace, leading some mothers to even dip below their pre-pregnancy weight.

For folks looking for a slimmer physique, this can be great…until, of course, you ween your child and can no longer eat a pint of ice cream without consequences. But as Rachel Berman, RD, author of Boosting Your Metabolism For Dummies and head of content at Verywell.com, explains, going on a crash diet after breastfeeding isn’t necessarily going to halt the inevitable weight gain.

“During breastfeeding, women need 300-500 calories more per day for a good supply of milk to nourish you and your baby,” she says. “Post-pregnancy, women tend to restrict the calories they eat too much in order to lose the weight, which can negatively impact metabolism. Our bodies are very smart and if you are not eating enough, your body will be more likely to hold onto calories instead of efficiently converting them to fuel.”

Instead, Berman suggests these six quick tips to boost your metabolism and avoid excessive weight gain after breastfeeding or any other time, really!

Don’t go too long between meals. “Even grabbing a handful of nuts or a piece of fruit is better than waiting more than 4 hours between meals. You’re more likely to overeat and make poor judgements if you go too long and succumb to food cravings.”

Exercise. “Just because you don’t have an hour to go to the gym, doesn’t mean you can’t fit in some extra activity. Take a 10 minute walk or do squats in your kitchen while you’re washing baby bottles, every little bit counts.”

Watch what you drink. “Make sure to drink enough water to hydrate and not more than one alcoholic beverage per day if you do drink. Alcohol impacts your metabolic rate because it distracts your liver for a while instead of breaking down nutrients as efficiently as possible.”

Try to get sleep. “Not sleeping enough impacts your hunger hormones, making it more difficult to recognize when you are hungry and when you are full. This is tough with a new baby! Even just being mindful of the fact that you may not actually be hungry but eating for other reasons can help you keep this under control.”

Eat more fiber. “Foods high in fiber keep you feeling fuller longer and have loads of other health benefits. Always keep high-fiber snacks on hand, like fruits and berries or frozen grapes, cut-up veggies, and popcorn that you can pop in your mouth when you’re feeling hungry and need something to hold you over.”

Don’t beat yourself up. “Studies show that negative self talk about anything—from feeling inadequate as a new mom to being ashamed about your weight—can actually cause you to reach for food as a means to ease the pain. Whenever you are thinking negatively about yourself, remind yourself about the positive things in your life: the love that you have, the roof over your head, the fact that you have awesome nail beds, whatever works!”

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