Overweight and Pregnant

There is really a lot to losing weight, and it’s not just in how much you eat. I’ve been learning a lot about this recently, and what has come through loud and clear is that dieting (the way we traditionally think of it) is really antithetical to weight loss. Interestingly enough, the Brewer diet is very much like the high-protein/low carb way to better health, making it excellent for anyone who wants to build a healthy baby AND be generally healthy. As for losing weight, pregnancy is definitely not the time to diet or try to lose weight, but, being overweight in the first place, the Brewer diet may actually mean some weight loss as your baby grows. The Brewer diet is the right amount of food for an average sized woman growing a baby. It may be less than you normally eat, if you are an overeater. If you are a dieter, it may be more than you normally eat. The point is not to watch the scale, but to eat well. And the Brewer diet is the MINIMUM needed to grow a healthy baby, so you must not eat any less than that, no matter how much you’d like to lose weight.

Babies take a tremendous amount of calories to grow, and even more to nurse afterward. But if you don’t eat enough, they don’t draw nutrients from your body. Your baby only gets nourished by what’s floating around in your blood, available for absorption, not by what’s stored in your cells as fat…babies are what you eat! So your main goal is to eat right for your baby, and you may enjoy the benefits of the diet in other ways as well.

If you do gain some weight on the Brewer diet, don’t fret about it…an average size woman on the Brewer diet during pregnancy will often gain upwards of 50 pounds, then lose it rather quickly after the birth, because it is mainly due to her expanded blood volume and the weight of baby, placenta, amniotic fluid, etc. A woman who gains that amount on junk food, however, will be gaining excess weight that her baby cannot use for nourishment, so it will be stored as fat rather than used for expanding the blood volume and growing her baby. After birth, that weight is not lost automatically because it’s been stored as fat.

One more related note: you need a certain amount of body fat to produce adequate milk for your baby. That is why most women retain a few extra pounds after birth - so they can nurse their babies. Women who feed artificially find this frustrating, because they aren’t using the extra calories to nurse, and often hold even more weight for longer. As mentioned earlier, breastfeeding requires even more calories than being pregnant. So you may find your appetite increasing after birth, but again, that is for a good reason. Continue to follow the Brewer Diet, and eat to appetite, but not beyond, healthy whole foods with at least 3 servings (tablespoons) of good fats per day (olive oil, butter, etc.); drink to thirst pure water and real juices, not sodas and sugared drinks. Be sure to get plenty of rest! And as in pregnancy, don’t work to lose weight…make your milk supply your first priority, and enjoy what weight loss may come from eating only the good foods that you really need.

What’s great about the Brewer diet is you are eating not just healthy food, but enjoyable food. Foods that might be forbidden on a weight-loss diet. This relates directly to what I mentioned earlier about dieting being antithetical to weight loss….when we starve ourselves dieting, our bodies go into conservation mode, and we don’t lose fat. When I compare the Brewer diet to what I’ve been learning, it is very encouraging to see that the high-protein, low-carb, fat-inclusive diet is actually what most Americans and Europeans actually NEED to lose weight, not the “rabbit food” we’ve been taught is “good for you”. :) (you can see how much I like dieting……;-)) Of course we need fruits and vegetables…but when they become our staples in an attempt to lose weight, we are defeating our bodies.

There is an inherent danger in being overweight and pregnant that has nothing to do with your actual health. The problem here is that many care providers will take one look at you and label you “high risk” for hypertension. And to the majority of the medical community, hypertension equates to toxemiaAs-defined-by-the-1997-Merriam-Webster-M..., so you are assumed to need a cesarean before you even get started! The good news is that no one on this diet gets true toxemia…oh there may be similar symptoms, even hypertension, but these are always traceable to other factors, not to toxemia itself. In fact, I have one wonderful article about a woman who developed high BP during pregnancy in spite of her “perfect” attention to the Brewer diet, yet she never developed any signs of toxemia whatsoever. All of the other symptoms never occurred, and she had a perfectly normal vaginal birth, with a healthy baby at term, attended by midwives at home…they monitored her with extreme care, but not a single hint of a problem occurred.

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