Tag Archives: weight gain

Pregnancy and post-pregnancy weight

The day I went to the hospital to have my daughter.  Not a moment for skinny thoughts.

The day I went to the hospital to have my daughter. Not a moment for skinny thoughts.

In the last few months, at least 10 people I know have announced a new pregnancy. My social media is crammed with their announcements, ultrasounds, and puking reports. I also recently read a somewhat disturbing statistic. In a recent study, 75% of women followed were heavier one year after giving birth than before their pregnancy. The women studied gained an average of 32 pounds while pregnant, which is within the range of recommended weight gain for normal weight women. With this in mind, here are a few pointers on pregnancy weight gain and losing that weight once baby arrives.

-Embrace a healthy amount of weight gain. If you begin pregnancy at a normal weight, 25-35 pounds is considered a healthy amount of weight to gain. If you are overweight, aim for 15-25 pounds. But remember: the more you gain, the more you will have to lose postpartum.

-You are eating for two, but one of you has a pretty small appetite. Even during the third trimester, you only need an extra 300 or so calories a day. Adding a couple healthy snacks during the day will easily meet those needs.

-Breastfeed! Breastfeeding mothers may need up to 500 extra calories a day, which is more than during pregnancy. However, don’t use this as an excuse to overeat. Maintaining healthy snacks from pregnancy will keep up your intake while still managing a slight deficit to help with weight loss.

-Exercise. Exercising while pregnant can help prevent excess weight gain. Exercising after baby can help you shed pounds.

-Be patient. I have heard many mothers say “9 months on, 9 months off.” Even if you only gain 25 pounds with a healthy pregnancy, you will likely give birth to a 7-10 pound baby. That is 15+ pounds of other tissues that will take time to adjust back. Also realize your calorie needs may change as baby grows and your breastfeeding changes.

On a personal note, I gained close to 35 pounds with my pregnancy. My weight gain was on track for the first 7-8 months, but I kind of overdid it in the end. I was fortunate that I actually lost all my baby weight very quickly, within a month. However, when my baby was about 5 months, I was starting to gain some of that weight back. As she started eating more food and breastfeeding less, I needed to cut back on my intake and exercise more. It was a constant challenge, but worth it.

Good luck to all mothers-to-be!

Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will answer them in upcoming posts!

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Artificial Sweeteners

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In the midst of moving, my husband sent me this article about artificial sweeteners, a topic loaded with confusion and mixed information.  My brother-in-law and I debate consumption of artificial sweeteners occasionally.  Last week at a girls night, I listened in pain while several diabetic women discussed how they don’t want cancer from artificial sweeteners and drink regular soda rather than diet.

Why is there so much confusion?  Artificial sweeteners are relatively new ingredients in our diets.  Humans have been eating grain, meats, fruits, vegetables, and many seasonings for hundreds of years.  Artificial sweeteners have only been studied for the last 40 years or so, and new sweeteners are being developed all the time.  It takes time to study the long-term effects of these items and to determine actual consumption rates.  As the linked article points out, these ingredients were developed to replace sugar, but some people are consuming these in larger amounts than if they just were consuming sugar, adding to the confusion.

So should you consume artificial sweeteners?  The best answer I can give is maybe.  Here are the facts as I understand them.  We do know that consuming too much sugar can lead to weight gain, diabetes, and a host of medical problems.  Current data suggests that consuming artificial sweeteners as a replacement for sugars in moderate amounts is safe.

Bottom line:  I don’t suggest taking up drinking diet soda or consuming large amounts of artificial sweeteners.  But if you have the choice between diet and regular, I would choose diet.  Either way, drinking lots of diet soda is a bad idea for many reasons, beyond the sweetener.

I hope that helps.  Happy eating!

Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will answer them in upcoming posts!

 

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Q&A: Underweight

Q: My husband is underweight, and he’d like to gain weight in a healthy way. What steps can he take to do this? Besides larger portions for him, is there a way to help him gain (and me not to gain) without making separate meals?

A: Well, if you have to have a weight problem, needing to gain some is the one to have!

Eating more fat is the easiest way to add more calories, but too much fat isn’t great for the body. Trying to just do “more” of your balanced diet is the key, but here are some tips that may help:

-Try snacking. It can be overwhelming to eat a ton at meals. Eating normal meals and squeezing some snacks in between will boost intake.

-Look for easy additions to make: extra salad dressing, cheese on vegetables, some peanut butter with apples or bananas, adding chocolate syrup to milk, extra cheese or meat on a sandwich, etc.

-Nonfat dry milk powder is a cheap protein powder that easily dissolves into soups, sauces, and drinks. You can even mix up to ⅓ cup into a glass of regular milk to boost the protein and calories. Adding chocolate syrup can help disguise any taste change from the powder.

-Exercise. I know this seems counter-intuitive. Focus on muscle building and strengthening. Muscle is dense, so more muscle means more weight. You do have to balance for calories burnt, though.

-Focus on protein foods. Meat, fish, dairy, eggs, and nuts all provide the protein to help build that muscle we gained through exercise. These foods are also calorie rich.

Remember, excess calories from any source – including carbs and protein – are stored as fat.

Hope that helps. Thanks for the question and happy eating!

Have any nutrition questions? Need help with meal planning or a special dietary need? Send your questions to me at kimberlykmarsh(at)gmail(dot)com, and I will answer them in upcoming posts!

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