I have received a couple of emails asking for advice/tips for following Trim Healthy Mama while nursing a baby, especially from those who want to try THM but are nervous to start while breastfeeding. And I totally get that! We want our bodies back, but we don’t want to sacrifice milk supply to do so. Both of those are excellent goals to strive for. So, is it possible to start Trim Healthy Mama while breastfeeding? I think it is! (I will also say, I am not a health professional by any stretch of the imagination, just a Mama who’s followed THM for the better part of two years. The following is based on my experience with Trim Healthy Mama while breastfeeding. Always listen to your doctor or midwife!)
1. Protein, Protein, Protein!
Keeping plenty of snacks and ingredients for quick meals is absolutely essential for me to stay on plan. I am always hungry while nursing, but without enough protein I am ravenous and grumpy. Haha. Blocks of cheese, eggs, pistachios & almonds, canned tuna, canned wild-caught salmon, greek yogurt, protein powder for smoothies, and individual portions of cooked chicken breast are my go-to’s. This is my favorite method for preparing chopped chicken breasts, but if I’m hurried or feeling a little bit lazy, I’ll just throw them in the crockpot and shred it once it’s cooked. Use plastic baggies and store the smaller portions in the freezer, and you’ll always know you have something healthy to fall back on when you’re hangry. 😉
2. Do not fear the Crossover.
Seriously. Go for it. Now, I am not a Trim Healthy Mama Facebook approved admin or anything, but my advice is this: it’s better to eat a combination of good protein, healthy carbs, and good-for-you fats (a “crossover” in THM terms) than to find yourself starving an hour or two later and fall prey to the kids’ Teddy Grahams because you’re too hungry to make an on-plan decision.
So, for example, say you want to have an “S” breakfast of eggs cooked in coconut oil + half an avocado + berries + coffee with cream. That’s an awesome breakfast with tons of good fats for you and baby. But if you’re still hungry, or feel hungry again an hour later, or you just feel totally drained, eat something “E”, like half a banana + yogurt, or a piece or two of Ezekiel toast, etc. You will still be eating foods that are good for you and on-plan, but you also won’t be sacrificing your milk supply for a “diet”, if you can call it that.
That being said, if you want to continue to alternate between S & E meals every three hours as Serene & Pearl recommend, there are more options to make your meals more filling if you find yourself with plenty of milk for baby and you have more weight to lose. Increase your protein in your meals and make sure you are drinking plenty of hydrating fluids. You may find yourself able to alternate S & E meals, lose weight, and keep putting pounds on your nursling just fine! That wasn’t the case for me (as I wrote here), but if you can, more power to you! Go girl! The bottom line is, I’d rather eat more on-plan foods and fudge the three-hour rule a little bit, than sacrifice milk supply or feel super hungry all the time.
3. Keep healthy desserts on hand at all times.
I have a major sweet tooth. I can’t hide it. If anyone even mentions cinnamon rolls, I can’t turn them down. I always do better at staying on track when I have a sweet option for myself in the house. I love these chocolate chip cheesecake bars, this pumpkin chia pudding (topped with homemade whipped cream, it tastes like pumpkin pie!), the choco pudding recipe from the book, or just a simple bowl of greek yogurt + blueberries. Also, keeping in tune with Tip #2, making a couple pieces of cinnamon toast with butter or coconut oil, stevia, and cinnamon is a comfort food for me and always satisfies my cinnamon-sugar craving!
4. Stay Hydrated – fill your fridge with plenty to drink!
If you want to have success at Trim Healthy Mama while nursing, drinking plenty of fluids is essential. I like to keep a half-gallon mason jar of Good Girl Moonshine (tweaked to how I like it) in the fridge, and sometimes another container of Celestial Seasonings Raspberry Zinger, sweetened with stevia. I like those because they are quick and simple to make. If I’m feeling more adventurous I’ll make a batch of The Shrinker or the Singing Canary. I am a coffee lover, and sometimes I can forget to drink enough hydrating fluids. I get bored with water, so having an alternative when I’m tempted to want something sweet is super helpful. Other options are Zevia soda, Vitamin Water (sweetened with Erythritol), or La Croix.
5. Listen to your body.
All in all, it is so important for each of us to realize that we are likely very different from the next woman in how our bodies react to certain foods. What works for one person might do the opposite for another. If you are trying to pursue Trim Healthy Mama while breastfeeding and your milk supply is taking a hit, or you just feel like it’s “not working”, consider what other ways the plan might work for you. More Crossovers? Less Crossovers? More E meals in your week? More S? Are you dehydrated? Does a particular sweetener hurt your stomach, but you find you like a suitable alternative? That’s okay! Figure out how to make it work for you.
I recently read on someone’s Instagram that “Your best weight is whatever weight you reach when you’re living the healthiest life you actually enjoy.” Walk in freedom, dear friend!
On a personal note, I didn’t lose all the weight I wanted to until Samuel weaned. I lost a good bit of it, to the point where I at least felt more comfortable in my own skin, but it took my hormones calming down for the rest of it to come off. So if your goal is to make healthier choices and keep up your milk supply, I think THM is an excellent way to do that! If it feels like it’s “not working”, it may just be from hormones. Over time and change of seasons it will prove itself to work. I am confident in that, because choosing whole foods always works. THM just provides new information and recipes to keep a healthy lifestyle interesting!
Did I answer your question? Do you have more? Keep the emails coming, it makes me so happy to hear from you!