Mama’s Macros: Tips for Pre & Post-Natal Success
Written by Kayla Weiler
Eating for two is a common misconception. Most momma’s are worried that they will go overboard or lose all of their hard-earned muscles and strengths, so switching from a lifestyle that is often in a calorie deficit to one that is promoting a nourishing environment for baby can be a challenge. Here are some quick tips on how you can transition your macro management to pre- and post-natal success.
Pre-Pregnancy Maintenance Mode
If you’ve decided you’re ready to start trying to finally start cooking that bun in the oven, you should really start to adjust your caloric intake out of a deficit now. There are many obstacles women can face while trying to conceive, and undereating is one variable you can control. Carbs are not your enemy. Slower digesting carbs can actually help to stabilize your insulin levels and improve ovulation and your chances of getting pregnant. Now is not the time to confuse your body with lots of stress and change, but to promote stability and decrease the amount of stressors you must endure.
Take it Easy – It’s Only 300 Calories
“Eating for two” during your pregnancy is not an excuse to eat every donut in sight. Generally speaking, if you are already maintaining a healthy and stable weight pre-pregnancy, eating through the first trimester will not require extra calories. As your pregnancy progresses, so will your energy requirements. But the jump isn’t as big as you think. Always consult with your health practitioner, but keep in mind that your energy requirement will only increase about 300 total calories through the remainder of your pregnancy.
Change Your Targets
You just got into the swing of hitting your macros everyday. Changing to a lifestyle that isn’t numbers oriented sounds way too overwhelming. Relax! Just re-adjust your milestones. Instead of hitting the magic numbers for your fats and carbs, consider changing your goals to something more in line with sustaining you and baby through your pregnancy. For starters, try goals like, “five meals a day”, “liters of water”, “45 minutes of exercise”, or “grams of veggies per meal.”
The Power of Proteins
If you’re going to pay close attention to anything you’re weighing or measuring, keep it to your proteins. Lean protein choices will help you in a number of ways. They will keep you full, sustain those muscles you worked so hard for, promote stable blood sugar levels, and provide you with building blocks to help grow that tiny little body inside of you. Not only will baby start developing, but momma will also benefit from healthy tissue growth to promote a safe and healthy pregnancy, as well as the added benefits from Iron found in some of your protein sources to keep up with the increased blood volume.
Intuitive Eating isn’t a Thing of the Past
Now is a perfect time to start practicing all of the wonderful skills you’ve learned while you were strict on weighing and measuring your foods. While your meals don’t need to be specific in macro nutrients, they should provide you with the essential nutrients you need. Comprise your meals of your proteins and vegetables, healthy fats and slow digesting carbs, and eat until you are full. Think of pregnancy like this: You are about to complete the hardest workout of your life – labor. And you have 9 months to build strength and fuel the body for it. What you’re about to build inside your belly will inherently also build you between the ears. You got this.
Pump the breaks, Momma. Just because you’ve made through training and the big game, doesn’t mean it’s time to work on that summer bod. For the next few months, and potentially longer depending on how long you breastfeed, new moms need to focus on recovery. Going straight back into a calorie deficit in the early months will only delay the healing process. The good news is all of those great nutrients will make for an equally nutritious meal for baby. Protein will help to promote cellular growth and repair, one to two cups of veggies per meal to help boost your immune system and keep your energy levels high, and fuel with healthy carbs to help support the 500 extra calories a day you’ll be burning while breastfeeding. Let your weight loss come slowly and naturally. Ideal weight loss tracks at a steady one to two pounds per week. So enjoy that sushi you’ve been missing for nine months and your new bundle of joy. Your body is a resilient machine that will be back in no time.