Oh pregnancy! It changes your body in ways you never thought it could.
You may now have a saggier stomach, droopier breasts and a weaker bladder – but there are also some less obvious changes as well after giving birth.
One of which is the change in your metabolism…
How your metabolism changes during pregnancy and after birth
Your metabolism is the process in which your body trust food into energy.
What you eat, your age, how much you sleep and how much you exercise can change the speed at which your metabolism works.
One study has found that maternal metabolism doesn’t end with delivery, it ends with weaning.
After delivery, many women will find they are carrying extra weight.
Researchers studied pregnant women who were between 32-34 weeks of gestation and then followed up with them at four to six months postpartum the again at 12-13 months.
At the visits, women had their blood samples taken and their baseline metabolic measurements were taken.
Plus, at the postpartum visits, they also completed the same surveys along with a sleep and breastfeeding survey.
Experts found that a woman’s absolute resting metabolic rate (RMR) was significantly higher during pregnancy than at 4-6 months postpartum and 12-13 months postpartum.
With regard to sleep, women deemed to be ‘good sleepers’ had a significantly higher relative RMR than those who were deemed ‘poor sleepers’. With regard to breastfeeding, women who breastfed had a relative RMR than the women who did not breastfeed
“There are hypermetabolic changes that take place during pregnancy. These values seem to decrease into the postpartum period,” the study notes read.
“Women who demonstrate an improved sleep quality and who opt to breastfeed tend to have improved metabolic responses.”
“This could help combat the struggle with postpartum weight retention that some women face.”
How to boost your metabolism after having kids
Your metabolic rate increases during pregnancy and may stay elevated as you breastfeed. However, it tends to slow down when you start weaning.
It’s also affected by how much sleep you are getting and how often you are eating (not easy when you are a tired new mum!)
One of the best ways to boost your metabolism following birth is to balanced diet and stay active.
We already know that our metabolism affects everything from our weight to our energy levels, but did you know you can take some simple steps to make it work even faster for you?
Besides just eating well there are loads of ways that you can boost your metabolism so that your body goes into fat-burning mode, even when you are just sitting down, or sleeping.
It’s not just genetics that determines our metabolism (though they do play a role). Try making these changes to push your results into top gear.
1. Don’t skip meals and snacks
At The Healthy Mummy, we do not advocate skipping meals. We don’t even recommend skipping snacks! As part of the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge we recommend 3 main meals and 3 snacks per day, depending on your calorie needs.
You need to use food as fuel, and when you skip meals, you send your body all the wrong signals.
Breakfast, especially, is super important as your metabolism has slowed right down while you sleep. Get things firing on all cylinders with a healthy start to the day, such as a Healthy Mummy Smoothie, which will take about 2 minutes to make.
2. Pop some protein in
Ensuring there is a protein in your meals is going to keep you fuller for longer, meaning you’ll be less likely to reach for unhealthy snacks to ‘fill the gap’ – think meat, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, and legumes such as chickpeas or lentils.
Why not try making a big batch of soup such as our Ginger Soba Noodle Soup (with protein from the cannellini beans and bok choy) to enjoy as a healthy protein-rich lunch throughout the week.
3. Keep snacks on hand
Between main meals, your metabolism slows down. Keep your blood sugar levels stable by ensuring you have healthy snacks to hand to eat for morning and afternoon tea.
Give the high fat and high sugar snacks a miss (these are usually the ones in the glass cabinet at a café!). These will make you feel sluggish and sometimes squeamish as your body struggles to process the fat and sugar. Go for natural ‘real’ foods as much as you can.
If you’re breastfeeding, you need to take in around 500 extra calories per day to support your milk supply. An extra snack or some healthy dessert can be a great way to do this, or add some extra side dishes to your main meals.
4. Add these to your shopping list
Some foods are thought to help boost your metabolism, so why not go for recipes that include the following:
- Add baby spinach to your Healthy Mummy Smoothie
- Cook with olive oil or use it for your dressings and marinades
- Add blueberries to yoghurt for a healthy snack
- Snack on almonds when you feel like something crunchy
- Enjoy oily fish such as salmon or tuna in your dinners or in a sandwich
- Boil a few eggs to use as a quick hunger blocker.
5. Go for the wholegrain option
You might be eating foods that help fill you up, such as bread, rice or pasta – but are you choosing the wholegrain option?
White carbs are going to make your metabolism slow down and become sluggish, so always go for the grainy/wholemeal option.
You don’t have to cut carbohydrates out in order to lose weight, but choose quality carbs rather than refined white ones when you can. For something different, try the Honey Lemon Ginger Chicken Stir Fry with Brown Rice.
6. Water water everywhere
It’s easy to get into the habit of drinking juice, soft drink or sports drinks. But all that sugar wreaks havoc on your metabolism. The sugary drinks actually make you more dehydrated.
To properly quench your thirst, water is all you need. Keep your water bottle on hand at all times, or get into the habit of having a drink every time you’re near the sink.
7. Healthy Mummy Metabolism Support Tablets
The Healthy Mummy’s Metabolism Support is a two-a-day formulation to help in the metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats in the body.
It is formulated to work with four key foundations mind – thyroid care, metabolism (fat and carbohydrate), glucose handling (uptake and transportation to cells) and energy production. These are key foundations to help you succeed and achieve your goals.
8. Get a move on
Did you know that the more muscle you have, the harder your metabolism works? That’s why we encourage cardio and strength training as part of the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge.
You don’t need to join the gym to do exercise, and you can involve the kids while you lift weights (cans of tomatoes work well) or do some planks in the lounge room.
Or get into the habit of doing squats while you hang out the washing, or lunges while you wait for the kettle to boil.
Fit exercise in wherever you can, you don’t need to do it all at once. It all adds up over the day.
Have you tried DanceFit? 10-minute bursts of fun dancing that are actually a great way to exercise (with or without the kids).
28 DAY WEIGHT LOSS CHALLENGE STARTS SOON!
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