As a Nutrition Coach for many years, I have worked with clients from all walks of life across the country. My goal for all of my clients is to educate them about how their body works and to provide them with the tools, and motivation they need to achieve their goals permanently. Throughout my years of coaching I have noticed that some of my most successful clients have one thing in common: a support system they can count on.
What is support and how does it affect your results? Support is a person or resource that you can turn to for motivation, will power, and a pat on the back when you need it. Support can keep you moving forward on your journey even when times are tough and your feeling down. For me, the support I have received throughout the years, no matter what I have faced in my life, has been invaluable. Getting fit and healthy, overcoming a disease or just trying to improve your quality of life are no exception. We all need support, especially when it comes to something as important as changing our lives for the better.
Ideally you have surrounded yourself with a network of supportive people; a spouse who understands your goals and needs to be healthy, a family who encourages you along the way, friends or co-workers who are willing to take a walk with you or listen when you need it. For those of you that need something more, or maybe don’t have the most supportive team of people on your side, the Venice Nutrition Team (myself included!) wants you to know that we are here for you!
One of our most important goals when creating the Venice Nutrition system was to provide several avenues of support to our members. Places where you can go to reach out, ask a question, gain knowledge, tools and the support you need to keep going. As a member of Venice Nutrition, we encourage you to reach out to us in any of the ways below. After all, that’s what we’re here for!
1. Take advantage of our 24 hour support team. When you email us (find your personal support email under your Help/Support Tab), a certified Venice Nutrition Coach will get in touch with you to answer your questions and keep you progressing.
2. Visit your Member Forum. Your forum is a way for you to reach out to members across the country just like you to post your questions, concerns, tips for success and more. As a Venice Nutrition Coach, and Head Chef, I am also on the Forum daily to answer questions and provide support.
3. Utilize all of the resources that come with your membership. This Blog, the E-Newsletters, and the Education Tab are full of real life tips, tricks, motivational articles and support to help you to achieve your goals. We invite you to explore these resources.
4. Work with a Certified Venice Nutrition coach. If you’re in need of personal support and motivation, then working with one of our coaches is the way to go. Don’t live near one of our Nutrition Centers? No problem. We offer Phone Coaching as well. Our consultative approach is truly unlike any other program available today. To learn more, check out Nutrition Consulting Packages under your Products/Services Tab.
We look forward to helping you achieve your goals. Please feel free to reach out to us anytime!
Valerie Cogswell and the Venice Nutrition Team
If your struggling with sweet cravings mid-day or at night and can't understand why, the first place to start is examining what you ate earlier in the day! When you physically crave sugar, it's because your blood sugar is low. If blood sugar has dropped and cravings are kicking in, what you ate (or didn't eat) earlier in the day is typically to blame. So the next time you feel an intense craving coming on, go through this checklist. By eliminating the cause of the cravings, you can kick your sugar habit for good!
1. Did I eat breakfast one hour within waking? Was it balanced with the right amount of protein, carbohydrates and fat? Eating a balanced breakfast no more than one hour within waking will help to prevent cravings later on.
2. Are my meals no longer than 4 hours apart. Ideally you should aim for your meals to be 3 hours apart because going too long between meals can lead to cravings.
3. Are all of my meals based upon my nutritional parameters? Missing even one of the macronutrients (protein, carbohydrate or fat) in any meal can cause blood sugar levels to fluctuate
4. Am I weighing my foods to make sure that I'm getting the right amount of each macronutrient (protein, carbohydrate, and fat). Unless you are extremely comfortable with your portion sizes, it's a good idea to measure your food items.
5. Did I have any "off" meals yesterday or more often than usual? Though we all indulge in the occasional "off" meal, it's important to understand that going off track can lead to fluctuations in blood sugar down the road.
6. Am I drinking enough water? Even mild dehydration can cause cravings.
7. Am I getting restul and consistent sleep? Lack of sleep can cause major fatigue, cravings and increased stress hormones.
8. How's my stress level?
9. Am I fueling my body properly before and after exercise? Remember, exercise uses fuel and it's important to eat a balanced meal or snack to prepare your body and keep blood sugar stable.
10. Am I eating enough? If you have been stabilizing your blood sugar for a long time or exercise has dramatically increased, it may be time to work with a Venice Nutrition Coach to re-evaluate your meal plan and overall structure.
For many, good nutrition and regular exercise are a way of life, habits so ingrained, they are as necessary as brushing one’s teeth in the morning. For others, living a healthy lifestyle is an emotional rollercoaster, where they are riding high and having the time of their life one moment, only to fall off frustrated seconds later. So how can we learn to break the “dieting” cycle, and form these healthy daily habits like the so called fitness buffs? It’s all about learning to make your health a priority, and anyone (even you) can do it!
The truth is, even the fittest, most dedicated health nut has their moments of weakness when they indulge in a delicious piece of pie or skip a training session on a rainy day in favor of their favorite tv show. But then something wonderful happens to these health nuts. They scrape their butts up off the coach and pick right up where they left off as soon as they can. They don’t tell themselves, they’ll get back on track “tomorrow” or on “Monday”, or “after the holidays”. Instead they jump back on their routine when life allows them too, quickly falling back in stride with their trusty nutrition and fitness geared lifestyle. See, one of the main barriers that separate those who are consistent with their nutrition and exercise, from those who are stuck on the yo-yo roller coaster is a realistic, forgiven mentality. The “committed” understand that good health is not black and white. They are never all or “nothing”. They understand that they are humans with weaknesses, busy lives, families, stress and worries and they do what they can, when they can. They don’t dwell or feel immense guilt when they do fall off track; it only motivates and excites them to try harder tomorrow. They are never “on” their health plan, or “off”. They are just simply “healthy” people that choose to live a healthy lifestyle. My goal is to teach everyone, including you, how to do the same!
In all my years as a Nutrition Coach, I’ve worked with every kind of client and my number one goal is to give everyone the understanding that this stuff isn’t rocket science! Sure you need to understand blood sugar stabilization and correct exercise and have the tools and a plan, but your most powerful weapon is your mind! Every “health nut” out there has had to start somewhere, and consciously or subconsciously the successful ones decided early on that good health is NOT black and white, and to roll with the punches.
If you are reading this particular blog and thinking to yourself, “I’m always on the diet and exercise rollercoaster and I want to get off!”, it may be time for you to start thinking differently too. Try reminding yourself that you are human with faults like the rest of us, and you will have struggles. Understand that in order to be successful permanently, you must possess a realistic attitude. Life will always throw us curve balls and we’ll always be tempted to give in to chocolate cake, and the key is finding the balance. Give yourself credit when you do something right and forgive yourself and move on when you don’t. And remember, that with practice, patience and consistency, you will be successful!
If your still struggling and need the encouragement, support and motivation of a professional, try giving Phone Coaching with Venice Nutrition a try. Our certified nutrition and fitness coaches will work with you at your pace, helping you to develop a healthy attitude and healthy habits to last you a lifetime. For more information about Phone Coaching, please visit the STORE tab on www.venicenutrition.com. We look forward to working with you!
Lead Venice Nutrition Coach and Head Chef
So you’re on a roll! You’ve been eating balanced meals every few hours and even kept your cheat meals to a minimum. You’ve been exercising consistently and you’ve never looked or felt better. You know your “this close” to your goal weight, if only you could lose those last stubborn pounds! As Nutrition and Fitness Experts we know how frustrating getting the last few pounds to budge can be. Fortunately we have a few tricks to share to help you break through any plateaus and take your body to the next level!
Expert Tip #1- Forget the “pounds” and focus on your body!
Perhaps in your mind, you have the perfect “goal weight” you’d like to be and to hit that number you must lose exactly 10 pounds. Want our opinion? Don’t worry about the number. The truth is when your stabilizing blood sugar and working out correctly, you may lose pounds, while gaining a few pounds of fat burning lean muscle and look even better than you ever imagined. Focus on how you feel, the way your clothes fit and the changes you see in your body like more defined shoulders or leaner thighs. These are the true indicators of success. Remember, the number on the scale is just that; only a number! Your weight can fluctuate between 5 and 8 lbs a day so focusing on the scale is never a solid approach to measuring your success.
Expert Tip #2- Eat cleaner.
If your already stabilizing your blood sugar by eating balanced meals, then you’re more than half way there! The next step is to focus on eating clean, high quality, un-processed foods as often as possible. These “clean”, natural foods stabilize blood sugar longer and help you to burn fat faster while allowing you to keep your calories up where they should be. What exactly is a “high quality food”? Think natural food items like chicken breast instead of processed deli meat, nuts as a source of fat in place of bottled salad dressing, or sweet potatoes as a carbohydrate instead of processed bread. For a complete chart on the highest quality proteins, carbohydrates and fats, please see your Quality of Food Chart in your Member Handbook under your Help/Support Tab. This chart is an invaluable tool for your success!
Expert Tip #3- Add intervals.
Did you know that your muscle is made up of 2 different types of muscle fibers; red (slow twitch) and white (fast twitch)? Because we all have these different muscle fibers, it’s critical to learn how to train both properly. If you’ve already mastered red fiber training (which is the basis of any great cardio program to burn fat), it’s time to add interval training. Interval training, when performed correctly, taxes your fast twitch muscle fibers, boosts your metabolism and can truly take your physique to a whole new level. For correct exercise protocol, please see your Exercise Tips in your Member Handbook under your Help/Support Tab.
Expert Tip #4- Switch up your weight training routine.
Because your muscles adapt relatively quickly to exercise, it’s important to constantly challenge them with new moves and training techniques. Whether you try free weights, cables, resistance band training, functional training moves, group classes or a new sport, switching up your routine every 4-6 weeks will shock your muscles enough to respond and change accordingly.
Expert Tip #5- Work on the basics.
Remember that adequate water intake, high quality and consistent sleep and good supplementation are critical to keep you body balanced and take your body from one phase to the next. So often, we neglect the “basics” and can’t understand why our results have come to a stop. Take a moment to review your customized plan and sleep, supplement and water parameters to ensure you have all your bases covered. Your body will thank you for it!
To take your body to the next level, and burn that last bit of body fat, consistency, patience and a few go-to-tricks like the ones above are all you need. Bathing suit season, here we come!
The Venice Nutrition Team
Your metabolism refers to how fast your body burns calories or “fuel”. Your metabolism is your “engine”, and if fueled properly, will “run” faster and faster. So how can you manipulate your metabolism to turn your body into a faster-fat-burning engine? First, you have to understand the basics.
There are four main factors that come into play when dealing with metabolism; Genetics, Gender, your Diet and Exercise History and most importantly, your Compliance or the choices you make today. Genetically some people are born with faster metabolisms and have their parents to thank. Males naturally have more lean muscle mass than women and burn fat at a faster pace. And the more yo-yo dieting or weight loss up and downs you’ve experienced throughout your life, the slower your metabolism will be today. Aside from those factors you can’t control like the ones mentioned above it’s important to know that you do have direct control over your level of Compliance, which is the most important factor of all!
The truth is anyone, despite whether they are male or female, their dieting past and their genetics, has the ability to create a healthy body with a faster metabolism by stabilizing their blood sugar. And incorporating a few other tricks! Here’s how.
1. Let go of the past. All too often, we hold on to excuses relating to our past that prevent us from achieving our goals today. If you are constantly accusing your body of having a slow metabolism, an underactive thyroid, etc., you’ll never be able to move forward. Remember, anyone can stabilize their blood sugar to burn fat and increase their metabolism.
2. Eat every few hours. Think of your body as an engine that needs small frequent doses of fuel to run effectively. Whenever you overeat (even if it’s healthy stuff), your blood sugar spikes and your body automatically starts laying down fat cells. The better option is to eat every few hours to prevent hunger and increase metabolism. Just remember to eat until satisfied, never until full. You should feel ready to eat every 3 hours.
3. Balance every meal. In order to stabilize blood sugar and increase metabolism, your body needs a balance of protein, carbohydrate and fat in every single meal. Each of these macronutrients release different hormones that are responsible for keeping blood sugar levels steady. If you are missing any one of these, your blood sugar can’t stabilize, and metabolism slows down.
4. Know your nutritional parameters. If you are already a member of Venice Nutrition, then you know you should be getting a certain amount of protein, carbohydrate and fat per meal depending on your goals, health and body composition. If you are not yet a member of Venice Nutrition, we recommend that you take the Free Assessment on the homepage to discover if the program is right for you. With Venice Nutrition, you receive customized meal plans based upon your unique nutritional parameters (how much protein, carb and fat YOU need per meal to get the results you desire!)
5. Never skip breakfast. Remember, while sleeping your body is in “fasting mode” and your engine isn’t being fueled. It’s critical to kick start your metabolism in the morning with a balanced breakfast. Eating breakfast will also help prevent you from overeating later in the day.
6. Get your zzzzz’s. Why is sleep so important? Each night your body uses sleep to recharge. If sleep has been neglected, your body will function at a lower level. Remember, you are what you metabolize; lack of sleep prevents proper metabolizing of nutrients and slows fat loss.
7. Increase your water intake. Water is critical to every function of the body. Aim for a minimum of 8 oz of H20 per meal and another 8 oz in between meals.
8. Add resistance training. It’s important to note that every pound of lean muscle mass you build burns approximately 50 fat calories a day! The more lean muscle you have, the faster your metabolism will be.
9. Add "white fiber" or interval training. This type of training includes sudden bursts of energy which have a profound effect on your metabolism. The key is performing this type of cardio correctly (doing it incorrectly can cause a loss of lean muscle mass and a slower metabolism.) Please see your Help/Support Tab inside your program for correct exercise protocol.
10. Add Green tea. Research suggests that drinking green tea at least twice a day may help to boost your metabolism.
11. Move whenever, wherever. Some of the fittest people are those that aren’t sedentary. Even if you have a “desk job”, moving consistently throughout the day can help you to burn more calories. Think outside the box. Some suggestions; try using a large ball as your office chair to stimulate your core muscles, take the stairs instead of the elevator, take a lap around the office or your home every 20-30 minutes. Remember, these small activities do add up!
12. Stress less. Stress produces cortisol which causes an increase in appetite which leads to fat storage which leads to a slower metabolism. Break the cycle by reducing your stress.
Whether it’s due to work, family, health or the economy, we all struggle at one point or another with stress. Though stress can be just a “part of life”, it’s critical to learn how to manage your stress effectively. Why? Because your mental and physical health depend on it!
According to research, unmanaged and chronic stress can lead a range of serious physical problems such as heart disease and high blood pressure. Furthermore, researchers believe that chronicly stressed individuals (you know who you are!), have elevated levels of unhealthy stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. Another stress related down fall? Chronic stress typicall leads to over-eating, increased alcohol intake and reduced sleep. This disastrous recipe can only lead to one thing: weight gain!
So what can you do to ease stress and find a better piece of mind? We asked our members and coaches the best kept de-stress secrets below. Read on and learn more....
“I make my nutrition a priority and I eat balanced meals. Sure, eating a half a box of cookies makes me feel better, but only for a minute or two. The aftermath of overeating always causes me stress so I try my best to avoid it.” Kelly, VN member, 30 years old
“Working out is my stress relief. My job includes long hours- even weekends. When I’m at the gym, I’ll lift weights or run and focus on just that. On the days I work out I’m more prepared and less stressed.” Jonathan, VN member 44 years old
“I see a physical therapist that specializes in myofascial release therapy and for me that session each week is my de-stress time. I’m recovering from an injury, but any kind of body work (including massage) is proven to reduce stress. Human touch and shutting your mind off for an hour can do wonders. I’m always encouraging my clients to invest in massage- aside from the physical benefits, it’s great for the mind too.” Valerie Cogswell, VN Coach
“I learned to put things in perspective. The sky isn’t going to fall if I don’t get to the laundry or clean every one of my kid’s dishes before bed. I’ve learned that if I look at every task objectively, I can ask myself if it’s worth stressing over.” Laurie, VN member, 38 years old
“I get my 7 hours of sleep every night. I’ve learned from my nutrition coach that I need 7 hours and i’ve found that if I don’t get it, I’m tired, more stressed, groggy, hungrier, all the things I don’t need! Sometimes I have to miss my favorite tv shows or stop working or doing “chores” a little earlier in the night than I want to, but I always remind myself it’s worth it.” Ashley, VN member ,26 years old
“Acceptance. If I can’t fix it myself then there’s no point in getting stressed out. There’s things I can’t change in life and I’m okay with that.” Jimmy 33, VN member, 33 years old.
“I’m learning to weed out what causes me stress each day and I try to avoid those things. For example, arguing with my co-workers and being stuck in traffic on the way home were major stressors in my life. I now come up with a gameplan to avoid arguments at work and I found a faster route home. I’m a problem solver by nature so I’m always looking for a solution.” Christine, 38 years old
You may have heard that yogurt is the perfect option for a healthy breakfast or snack. After all, yogurt contains an abundance of calcium, Vitamin A and Vitamin B12 and even probiotics to improve digestion. The challenge is, as “healthy” as yogurt is, it’s also loaded with sugar! For those of you that are trying to stabilize your blood sugar to lose body fat and increase your lean muscle and metabolism, traditional yogurt may not be the way to go. The average 8 oz cup of fruit flavored, low-fat yogurt contains a whopping 42 grams of sugar and is very low in protein and fat. That amount of sugar and carbohydrates alone is too much for the average female. Add a piece of fruit on top of the yogurt and you now have an unbalanced snack with enough carbohydrates to rapidly spike your blood sugar only to crash again a few hours later! So what is the solution for people who love the taste and convenience of yogurt and also want to keep their blood sugar stable? Aim for Greek Yogurt!
If you’ve never tried Greek Yogurt, then you’re really in for a delicious surprise. Greek Yogurt is thicker and creamier in texture than traditional yogurt, similar to sour cream. Best of all, one 7 ounce container of Greek Yogurt naturally contains approximately 17 grams of protein and only 8 grams of sugar! Because Greek Yogurt doesn’t contain all of the calcium that traditional yogurt does, it’s important to supplement your diet with other calcium –rich foods like milk and low fat cottage cheese. We recommend that you try the plain, unflavored version of Greek Yogurt so your in control of the type of carbohydrates. A few drops of artificial vanilla or almond extract is the perfect flavoring for this creamy yogurt. Add some berries or sliced fruit of your choice and mash slightly for a sweet, fruit-flavored version. A sprinkle of nuts mixed in (or even a drizzle of flax seed oil if your allergic to nuts) is a delicious and heart healthy source of fat. Lastly, if your looking for a little extra sweetness, stir in some Stevia or Splenda to taste.
So where can you find Greek Yogurt? The brand that we prefer is Fage, and we recommend that you try the Fat Free or Low Fat version of the yogurt (so your in control of the type and amount of fat added). You can typically find Fage Greek Yogurt at your local specialty market like Whole Foods or Trader Joes, and occasionally at your regular grocery store. The key is to stock up on this yogurt (the individual serving sizes are great for this) so you always have it on hand. For delicious and healthy recipe ideas using Greek Yogurt such as Greek Yogurt Parfait or Greek Chicken Pita with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce, see your Recipes tab inside your Venice Nutrition program today.
I began working out as a teenager, around the age of 15. I joined my local health club and over time became so comfortable in a gym that it felt like my second home. I tried anything I could to get in great shape; weights, cardio machines, and group classes. I listened to every bit of advice any passing personal trainer would offer and read every fitness magazine I could get my hands on. My desire to learn about the human body and mold mine into my dream physique even motivated me to become certified as a personal trainer. Though I was thin and looked okay, I always had a sneaking suspicion that I wasn’t doing something right. The hours upon hours of time and effort I put into training didn’t really make sense considering I had made only minor gains in my physique. Years later, when becoming a part of Venice Nutrition, I got my answer. It was here I learned how to train smarter, not harder.
Despite my background and years in the gym, I was still following a very “old school” way of training, “No pain, No gain.” When I performed cardio, I was huffing and puffing my way through it and couldn’t have held a conversation if I tried. I was convinced that if I was going to do cardio, I was going to do it with as much power, effort and strength that I could muster. When I lifted weights, I gravitated towards the “fancy” machines with the thought that they have to be the most effective. With the help of Venice Nutrition I learned that not only was I drastically slowing my results, I was sacrificing lean muscle mass (the one thing I was trying to put on to shape my physique!) and slowing my metabolism. Not exactly what I was going for. I knew it was time for a change.
After my Venice Nutrition “education” I learned that if I learned to train smarter, not harder, I could see much better results in a lot less time. I learned that I (like you!) have two different types of muscle fibers- red and white, and they both needed to be trained correctly and consistently for optimal results. I learned that a treadmill, walking out doors, or a big step mill was twice as effective as a bike or elliptical due to the natural impact of the exercise. I learned that interval training must be done no longer than 30 minutes and in the right way, or else I risked sacrificing lean muscle mass and slowing my metabolism. I learned that an old-fashioned push up or squatting even without weights is twice as effective as a fancy machine. Most importantly I learned that without the right nutrition, I was setting myself up for failure. Walking into a gym without stable blood sugar can only lead to a loss of lean muscle mass.
I clearly remember a particular woman who used to come to my gym when I was a teenager. Like myself, she worked out diligently every day of the week. She took group classes consistently and would leave the room sweating and out of breath. The one thing I remember is that year after year, her body never changed despite all of her efforts. She reminded me of myself. It’s been almost 10 years since I have seen her, but If I ever run into her, I would love to show her how to work smarter, not harder. I would share with her all that I have learned.
As a nutrition coach, my goal is to educate my clients on how to work out correctly. Time is precious and if your spending even a few hours in the gym or working out each week, it’s important to make it count! I invite all of you to learn how your body really works so you don’t have to struggle like I did. For more information on the best way to maximize your workouts and achieve all of your goals, see your Venice Nutrition Handbook, located under your Help/ Support Tab. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish with the right tools and knowledge. Good luck!
Valerie Cogswell, Venice Nutrition Coach
Chances are, you know someone who has already suffered from the awful and tell-tale signs of the flu; the body aches, sniffling, headaches, vomiting and overall discomfort are nothing to sneeze at! One of the many benefits of living a healthy lifestyle is the natural prevention against the infectious flu. How? Living a healthy lifestyle helps to boost your immune system, thus making it less likely that you catch what’s going around. Ever wonder how some people just never get sick? Chances are they have a higher immune system and probably have a few tricks up their sleeves like the ones below.
- Keep moving! Regular exercise naturally boosts your immune system. In general, the more you do (just don’t overdo it!), the more you raise your defenses.
- Bulk up on fruits and veggies. These power-house foods are naturally loaded with antioxidants and the vitamins you need to keep you protected.
- Don’t forget your supplements. At the very least, a daily multi-vitamin will act as a safe-guard and filling in any voids in your diet.
- Make sure your getting enough sleep. Ever notice that you are more likely to get sick when your lacking sleep and overly-stressed? Lack of sleep and an overload of stress taxes your system and weakens your immunity.
- Wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face, particularly your eyes, nose and mouth. Remember that every time you touch a surface like a door knob or hand-rail you are exposed to a host of germs. It’s best to avoid touching your face and wash hands as often as possible to prevent the spread of viruses. Make sure to scrub up with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds. It’s also a good idea to keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer handy when you are out and about.
- Pay special attention to washing your hands and avoiding touching your face, particularly after visiting public places like the gym or mall.
- If a family member is sick, encourage them to sneeze into a tissue instead of the air and ask them to wash their hands frequently. Wiping down hard surfaces such as door knobs, the telephone and even the fridge handle with Lysol is also good prevention when someone close to you is ill.
Remember, staying active, getting enough sleep, eating a varied diet and practicing a few flu-proof habits will help to keep you healthy this season. Be well!
Recently, one of our members asked us for some help. She was wondering how she should adjust her meal plan while breastfeeding and the best way to eat and get fit again after breastfeeding. As a nutrition and fitness expert who has worked with clients through pregnancies and nursing, I know how eager new moms can be to quickly regain their pre-baby bodies. The best thing you can do is be patient with your body and remember that the most important factor is fueling your body correctly, for your health and the health of your new child.
I always recommend that you speak to your doctor regarding any personal nutritional recommendations or restrictions she has depending on your health issues, pregnancy and goals. There are however general guidelines that most nursing women can use to feed themselves and their baby the healthy way.
Though calorie level depends on you as an individual, the key is eating balanced meals of protein, carbohydrate and fat every few hours to stabilize blood sugar, keep up your energy, and protect your lean muscle mass. While breastfeeding, the average woman needs approximately 500 additional calories per day. The best way to add these additional 500 calories per day is to add a small amount of protein, carbohydrate and fat on to each meal every 3 hours (you can easily regenerate new meal plans that have a higher calorie count per meal by visiting the Regenerate Meals button under your Meals Tab in your online program) or start eating every 2 or 2 ½ hours to take in an additional meal or two throughout the day. You may need to experiment with both methods to see which works best for you. And remember to listen to your body as some babies nurse more than others hunger levels may vary from mother to mother. If you find yourself getting too hungry or you are worried about not getting enough food ask yourself:
1. Do all of my meals contain the right amount of protein, carbohydrate and fat? Balanced meals stick with you longest and keep blood sugar stable.
2. Am I skipping meals or waiting too long to eat? Going too long without eating causes a drop in blood sugar and cravings later on.
3. Am I eating a balanced meal one hour within waking? While you are sleeping you are in “fasting mode” and it’s important to kick start your day with a balanced meal.
4. Am I eating every few hours until I go to sleep? (ie. if you don't go to bed until midnight and dinner was at 7 pm, you have to make sure to get one more meal in around 10-11 pm. If not hungry, go for 1/2 meal (cut each ingredient in the meal in half equally)
5. Am I getting enough water? Dehydration can cause fatigue and hunger.
6. Am I getting enough sleep? I know with a new baby that can be very hard, but it's good to keep in mind that a lack of sleep causes cravings, hunger and hormones to be more out of whack.
7. Are my meals made up of mostly high quality foods? See your Quality of Food chart in your help/ support tab (in the handbook). This step is very important. Low quality foods like protein bars or crackers for example are rapidly digested (even when the meal has the correct balance of protein, carb and fat) and will make you hungry sooner. High quality, natural foods have more staying power. You should also check with your doctor about which foods to avoid while nursing (for example , many protein bars have unnatural ingredients and artificial sweeteners that may not be safe for your baby).
8. Am I getting a good variety of foods? Make sure that your daily intake includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, calcium rich products like low fat milk, cheese and cottage cheese, along with heart healthy fats.
9. Remember also that nursing mothers require more fluids, so make sure you are getting plenty of water throughout the day.
After breastfeeding while under your doctor’s care, you should be able to return to your normal eating schedule and calorie amount per meal that you followed before becoming pregnant. Though we see celebrities lose weight rapidly after giving birth, remember that many of them have incredible means such as personal trainers, nannies and chefs that the majority of us don’t. Give yourself time and be patient. With proper nutrition, exercise and using your Venice Nutrition plan as a guide, your body will get back into shape on its own time!