Avoiding the Diet Trap after Pregnancy

Thursday, 12.05.2016

Staying in control of your weight contributes to good health, increase energy levels, physical mobility, improves general mood, and self-confidence. Something that most mothers today will need; juggling between career and family.

However, achieving a healthy weight balance isn't about a "diet" or "programme" or short-term dietary changes. We learn more from Sarah Shamila, Manager, Nutrition and Dietetics Services, Mount Alvernia Hospital to avoid falling into the diet trap.

1) Diet trap: You feel you have to lose weight since giving birth, so you go on a diet.

It is not recommended that new mums who are breastfeeding go on any calorie restriction diet. The energy and nutrient requirements of breastfeeding mum are higher. According to Health Promotion Board, energy requirements for lactating women may be as high as an additional 500 Calories.

Another point to note is that whatever nutrients that a new breastfeeding mother consumes will be consumed by her baby too.

The good news is that because of the increased energy requirements during breastfeeding, most new mums will experience some weight loss during this period.

Focus on providing good nutrition in the form of healthy foods to your child and yourself instead. You can start to lose the postnatal weight once you have weaned your baby off breastmilk.

2) Diet trap: You multi-task during mealtimes - instead of focusing on your food you also have to focus on Baby... So you end up eating mindlessly and feel hungry again later.

To eat mindfully is to eat with intention and attention. This would mean eliminating or minimising distractions. For a new mum to be tuned in to her meal; it’s flavour, smell, temperature, texture and taste. This would then enable her to listen to her body’s cues of hunger and feelings of fullness.

In order to have such luxury of time, a new mum can either plan her meals around her baby’s nap times or ask someone to tend to her baby while she is having meals.

3) Diet trap: You avoid certain foods, thinking that they are bad for you... But you could actually be missing out on key nutrients.

The key to healthy eating is to have meals that are balanced i.e. having food from the four food groups i.e. rice and alternatives, vegetables, fruits, meat and alternatives. If you only eat a certain type of food, you will be missing on the nutrients that other foods can provide.

Practice moderation when consuming “not so healthy” foods e.g. limiting deep fried foods to twice a week.

Did You Know ?

Cholesterol is found in foods from animal sources, such as meat, poultry, fish and full-fat dairy products. You DON'T get high cholesterol from consuming coconut in nasi lemak rice or durians. 

Special thanks to Sarah Shamila, Manager, Nutrition and Dietetics Services, Mount Alvernia Hospital for contributing this article.

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