I have a question to throw your way for you to answer if you wish and time permits.
My beautiful wife is breastfeeding our wonderful daughter. She’s currently coming up on the 1 year mark, but decided to shoot for 18 months around month 9, rather than settling for 1 year. However, her milk supply is starting to dwindle to about 3/4ths of what it was before. With that in mind, we both recently decided (about a month) to start the journey to becoming healthier people, until we reach Super Human status. Although I’m doing fine, I’m thinking she isn’t getting enough food to fuel her body, which is constantly working to produce nourishment for our daughter, on a measly 1200-1500 calorie diet.
Which brings me to my questions:
1) How many calories should a breastfeeding mother be taking in while still allowing her to lose weight?
2) What macro nutrients should she be focusing on?
3) Is it possible to lose weight at a pace that would be similar to a regular woman while breastfeeding?
4) If the answer to number 3 is ‘no’, and it comes down to her having to make a choice between losing weight and working out, or continuing to breastfeed until the 18 month mark, which is more beneficial for mother and daughter?
I’d greatly appreciate it if you can find the time in your busy schedule to either reply to this, or possibly touch on it in a future episode of the BluePrint Power Hour on Super Human Radio.
– Legionnaire Sheevah
The short answer Alex is that she should focus on nourishing her child and not losing weight for as long as she’s breastfeeding. It’s best if your wife is drinking a LOT of water, doesn’t wear super tight bras (the lymphs need to be able to flow in that whole area), eating enough calories in order to keep her milk production up, eating enough carbohydrates to do the same, and eating enough fat to balance things out. Now is NOT the time for a super high protein diet or for her to be restricting calories, despite the urge to do so. Breast feeding in and of itself is going to help her lose weight, and so is being on a Paleo diet.
As such, she should be eating lean AND fatty (pasture-raised) meats, coconut milk, coconut oil, plenty of fruit, sweet potatoes, and lots of veggies. The baby needs lots of fat and carbohydrates – and that’s precisely what breast milk is mostly made of. With that in mind, I’d recommend the following:
- A Paleo diet with lots of good fats and carbohydrates, to keep milk production up.
- She needs to increase calories. 1,000 calories a day or thereabouts will ultimately shut her metabolism down.
- Her goal should be to eat 2,000K/day or so, with at least 175 g carbs.
- She is burning at least 500 more calories’day by feeding and the fact that it’s ending is a sign of chronic stress.
- This unfortunately can lead to cortisol production which will damage her health and cause disease over time.
- In some instances, it leads to a grouchy Mommy as her hormones tank and sex drive along with it.
Having been through this, I can tell you men are pretty useless while Mom is doing her thing. However, it would be wonderful if you could shop, prepare or otherwise have Paleo foods on hand to help her. Www.paleoplan.com is a great resource to compile your shopping list, recipes and meal plans to support your wife.
What’s the scoop on Quinoa?
Meet Amaranth, the “King of All Grains” and Monsanto’s sworn enemy. Pigweed, a common variety of amaranth is the very plant which has become a resistant “superweed” that is now somewhat immune to Monsanto’s Round Up; it also happens to be actually MORE nutrient rich than the beloved quinoa and super easy to grow. How do you think Monsanto would feel if all of a sudden everyone started farming plants that are strong enough to naturally be “Round Up Ready”, essentially making their #1 herbicide useless?
– Scott Tavener
Both Amaranth and Quinoa are “super grains” I’ve spoken about prior. With respect to Monsatan and their toxic herbicides, I hope they get what’s coming to them. It’ll take time, but posts like your help spread awareness and ultimately, they’re sitting inside a house of cards. Destined to fall one day – it can’t happen soon enough IMO.
Quinoa in particular, has held my interest for some time. Not only is this grain one of the very few with a complete amino acid profile, its chock full of ecdysteroids. As a compliment to any Ecdy product or even as a standalone, it’s a fantastic source of complex carbs, fiber and protein.
A great way to get Amaranth, Quinoa and other super grains is to visit your local Costco. They sell a product called “Ancient Grains” under their Kirkland brand that contains the following:
1) Rolled oats
3) Khorasan wheat
A 3/4 cup serving contains 250 calories, 39 g of carbs of which just 9g are sugars, 6 grams of fiber, 9g of fat (only 1.5g of which are saturated) and 5g of complete protein. At a little north of $7, this is a fantastic buy. It tastes so good you can eat it out of the bag, as a cereal or sprinkled into soups/stews. Personally, here’s how I make Ancient Grains part of a portable, healthy diet:
I mix one sleeve of Ancient Grains (there are 2 in every box), 3 scoops of Ultra Peptide 2.0 triple chocolate, and enough water to thin to my liking. That gives me an on the go option of the highest quality protein, complex carbs and good fats (found in Ultra-Peptide 2.0) that’s hard to beat. When you take into consideration the cost of eating out, I think you’ll find it an ideal solution….
I have been feeling strong and making some progress in my workouts, which are including some high rep squats right now, but have a little issue. My lower back, right where the spine hits my pelvis…the muscles over those two little bony knots on either side of the lower spine, has been getting fatigued to the point that it feels like it wants to cramp up quickly. I assume it is an imbalance problem that has been brought to light by some front squats and military pressing. I was doing yard work earlier and noticed that any sort of front loading…i.e. holding a pile of limbs out in front of me…really brought on that tightness quickly. My question i guess is: would this be a lower back weakness and so i should do something to bring up the lower back? Or would this be a tightness and flexibility issue that would be better tackled with some sort of stretching or maybe light band movement. Thx in advance Rob. You are the bomb…
– Jason LeLeux
Very insightful question here from Jason. Reason I say that is he correctly diagnosed that it could be either a lower back weakness or a mobility/flexibility issue. I think as people that train, many assume right off the bat it’s a weakness of some sort and requires more. In reality, many of these issues improve dramatically once mobility and flexibility work are incorporated. Having said that, we’re going to tackle the issue from both ends. First up, a diagnostic check.
Stand on two scales, one foot on each. Observe the differential in how much weight you’re carrying on each leg. If it’s more than 5%, you’ll likely benefit from a chiropractic adjustment. The usualy culprit is a subluxation of the L5 vertabrae or sacrum, meaning it’s rotated a few degrees clockwise or counter clockwise and gotten “stuck”. That in turn puts pressure on the nerve running to the muscle, which causes it to stay in a state of contraction – which is the body’s way of protecting itself. So first thing to do is the scale diagnostic, then get adjusted if you’re carrying more than 5% of your total weight on each leg.
Next comes strengthening the area, in the event it truly is a weak point. Here I favor the 45degree hyper extension and reverse hyper, if you’re lucky enough to have access to one. You can spice up your 45degree hyper work with bands, which amplifies (not reverses) the strength curve.
Finally, mobility work should absolutely be performed before even touching a weight. I’m real big on this now, in the form of foam rolling. . I “discovered” this recently, after incurring a lower back injury, which was a subluxation of L5. I absolutely love and recommend a good chiropractor, but was looking for things I could do between adjustments to speed healing. I can’t tell you how many times I walked past these foam rollers in my gym, scofffing at them as a waste of time. BIG mistake on my part, here’s why… Foam rolling is fantastic for working the “kinks” out of your back, self-myofascial release and deep tissue massage. What is “self-myofascial release”? It sounds like a new way of satisfying yourself…
SMR on a foam roller is possible due to a principle known as “autogenic inhibition”. You’ve likely heard of the Golgi Tendon (GT) at some point. The GT is a mechano-receptor found at the muscle-tendon junction. It’s highly sensitive to changes in muscle tension. Muscle contraction that precedes a passive stretch stimulates the GT, which then causes relaxation and allows for a greater range of motion. With foam rolling then, you simulate this muscle tension which causes the GT to relax the muscle. In English, you get all of the benefits of boring stretching – and then some. “Typical” stretching routines cause transient increases in muscle length. SMR performed on a foam roller offers the same but with one BIG bonus: Breakdown of soft tissue adhesions and scar tissue.
Best video tutorial to visualize this is on YouTube. You’re searching for, “Foam Roller Stretching of the Spine”. Demonstrating is Dr. Greg Carb, a chiropractor who’s been working on these techniques for 25 years. – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Axb6LhmolrM
Perform your own diagnostic check by using the two bathroom scales. If necessary, see a good chiro for an adjustment. Perform at least 10 minutes of foam rolling prior to every workout and work the lower back on either the 45degree hyper or reverse hyper. It’s important to do this (and ab work, for that matter) at the END of every workout. This, given fatiguing the lower back/abs prior to training (especially squats and deadlifts) is going to be a train wreck.
Can you discuss hyper-hydration, and whether or not its helpful above and beyond being adequately hydrated?
– Patrick Patterson
This is something I’ve been looking into recently, and I’m glad you asked the question Patrick…
It’s a well established truth that if you’re going to make a macro change in your physiology or performance, you usually have to modulate a macro-nutrient. More often than not, this is limited to re-arranging carbs, fat and protein. If you look closer though, you’ll notice another macro-nutrient that most trainees over-look – good ole’ water. This always struck me as odd, given water is much more prolific than the other macro-nutrients. Most athletes limit their experimentation to creatine and “muscle cell voluming”, with creatine and like compounds. That’s only the tip of the iceburg, IMO…
There is evidence that hyper-hydration DOES improve performance, vs. just being adequately hydrated (so called, “euhydration” in the literature). A 2008 Canadian study showed that pre-exercise hyperhydration significantly increased time to exhaustion and peak power output. These performance improvements are futher magnified when athlete are dehydrated, even by small amounts. For example, being dehydrated just 3% causes a 10% loss in strength, and 8% drop in speed. In many sports, that’s the difference between taking home the gold and not even qualifying.
Suffice it to say our old friend glycerol is useful here, but so are electrolytes like sodium and potassium, as well as various other odds and ends. Take my advice on this: These ingredients aren’t “sexy” in the realm of sports nutrition, but they do stand to make a profound difference – both in your appearance and performance.
A tablespoon diluted in grapefruit juice works best. Glycerine is sickeningly sweet, so much so it’ll upset your stomach/give you the runs if you’re not careful. Combining it with grapefruit juice is particularly effective, as grapefruit is a mild diuretic and will remove more than its weight in extracellular water from beneath the skin. Glycerine will pull that water into the muscle, hyper-hydrating it.