An Interview with registered dietitian, Samantha Lynch.
Please tell us a little about yourself (profession, kids, city in which you live, etc.).
I’m a registered Dietitian with a nutrition counseling and consulting practice located in the heart of the Flatiron District. I live in Union Square in NYC with my husband Roger, my daughter Lucy just turned 3 years old, and we are expecting another girl in July.
When can you start exercising after giving birth?
It is best to consult with your OBGYN on this one. The amount of time will differ whether you had a vaginal birth or c-section. Healthcare providers usually recommend 3 weeks for a vaginal birth and 6 weeks for a c-section.
Breastfeeding is said to help new moms lose the baby weight but it doesn't necessarily work for all women. What is your take on it and how would you kick start a woman's metabolism?
Yes, for many moms it can help take off some of the pregnancy weight, but it really depends on how much breastmilk you are making. The body uses 20 calories to make 1 ounce of breast milk. After your baby is born and your milk comes in, the baby only needs a small amount of milk. At 6 months babies start solids and their breast milk consumption goes down.
Therefore, I tell my clients not to rely on breast-feeding to take off their extra “eating for 2” weight. Unfortunately, I didn’t make enough breast milk to exclusively feed my daughter. I hired a well known lactation consultant and went to weekly breast-feeding support classes. I was determined to breastfeed no matter the cost, bleeding nipples included (because the latch was not correct at the beginning), choked down fenugreek, drank tons and tons of water, and increased my calorie intake.
With that said, a healthy nutrition program will take off those extra pounds. It took 9 months to create the baby, therefore don’t expect everything to go back in a couple weeks. To kick start your metabolism, I recommend eating every 3-4 hours small meals that contain lean protein, healthy fats, and fiber. This will keep blood sugar levels stable and optimize your metabolism. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water. When dehydrated, we slow out metabolism. When it comes to water recommendations there is no specific number of cups. Check your urine…it should be pale yellow and drink accordingly.
Do you have any tips for how to lose the post-baby weight for good?
Who doesn’t want the post-baby weight to come off fast? However, research suggests people who take weight off slower are more likely to keep it off. Also, keep in mind, after giving birth our bodies are depleted especially if breastfeeding. Don’t deplete and starve your body further by restricting calories and vital nutrients. If you do this, you will compromise the amount of breast milk you will make, however, the quality of the milk will remain unchanged.
The first two to three months you will be so sleep deprived, the focus should be on feeding you and your body, resting when the baby rests, and doing some exercise such as walking or yoga/Pilates with your baby. Once you and your baby are sleeping more, you may feel more comfortable to take your exercise routine up a notch.
- Make sure you like the foods you are eating. If you don’t it won’t last long term. I say to each of my clients you can have 1 Tbsp of your favorite food every single day and still lose weight. The key is portion sizes.
- Fill up on fiber, lean protein, and healthy fats.
- I would recommend looking at your post baby weight loss as a marathon, not a short race.
- Set short term, midterm and long-term goals. It should be quantitative like a certain amount of weight or fitting back into a certain size. Realistically for us women it is 1lb/week. Weigh yourself 1x/week.
- Log your food using an online food log or in a notebook will do just fine.
- Measure your portions. It is very easy to underestimate.
- Join a mom’s group where you are bound to meet another mom with similar goals as you. Perhaps go for walks together and discuss your biggest challenged and swap successful food ideas.
- Prepare, prepare, prepare…have a plan A and a Plan B, just in case like a frozen meal or a bar.
And lastly, trust the process. You will lose the weight and your stomach will be flat again. I wasn’t sure after I had my 1st but I proved to myself that it was possible. I was happier with my post baby body than I was with my pre-baby body and I am not alone. With consistency, patience, and persistence I have no doubt you will get there. If you need help along the way, don’t hesitate to contact a registered dietitian in your area http://www.eatright.org/programs/rdnfinder/.
Samantha Lynch is a registered dietitian who holds a Master's Degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. Since 2009, she started her own nutrition counseling practice to fulfill her dream of helping people live longer, happier and more energetic lives without compromising their social schedule. Samantha is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Greater New York Dietetic Association.