Keto pregnancy breastfeeding and weight loss is a super-hot topic. So many arguments for and against.
Lear from Natusha Joy’s experience as a mum with pregnancy, weight gain and loss while following a keto diet. Natusha’s story is so inspiring.
Many of our “mum’s” reading this will relate to Tush’s challenges, I am sure. She gives us a little insight to following the keto diet while pregnant and breastfeeding.
How did you find the Keto Diet?
I’m a positive, happy and strong woman who is always learning and trying to improve myself. I am also a working mother. My two energetic boys are 2 and 4 and I love spending time with my family and friends.
I decided to try Keto a year after my first child was born as I hadn’t lost any weight since I gave birth to him. I had tried hard to eat “healthy” and exercise. I was seeing a dietitian, as nothing that worked before was working this time, and he put me on the keto path.
I’ve not looked back since going Keto. I have maintained a 36kg loss for over 3 years now.
Keto and Pregnancy
I found out I was pregnant with my second when I had been Keto for a few weeks.
I asked my dietician if a keto pregnancy is safe as I was feeling so much better about myself. He consulted with a pediatrician and they gave me good guidance on how I could maintain good nutrition for bub and myself during this period.
I followed their guidance, and I had an easy keto pregnancy. It was far better than my first non-keto pregnancy (where I gained 40kg).
A great health bonus also was not being a “high-risk” pregnancy because I was no longer obese.
I found that following keto while breastfeeding increased my milk quality and supply. Which is so great for bubs.
If I am to fall pregnant again it will be another keto pregnancy for sure. Based on my experiences and how much better, it was for myself and my second baby a low carb pregnancy will be easy to maintain.
Keto and Raising a family
I have found that food and kids is very hard in general.
To make my keto lifestyle work for me and my family I will cook and prepare meals in bulk. I will plan for the week and freeze other meals for other days or weeks.
It is important to me to allow a variety of fruits, vegetables and carbohydrates to my children as their bodies haven’t shown the need to strictly follow Keto the way mine has shown me.
What I have found though is that I eat a lot of whole foods and less sugar and fillers on the keto diet. By sharing the same wholesome low carb meals with my family and adding corn, rice, bread or pasta for the children they are eating a good variety of wholefoods. I am not doubling up on my cooking time by making something for me and something for them. So, it’s a win-win.
Keto and Exercise
Exercise is now a passion of mine. As a person who was an overweight child, an overweight teen and yo-yo dieted for the 15 or so years that followed that I am so proud of the fact that I enjoy exercise.
I like long walks and hikes. I even like to run! It’s not easy because sometimes life gets busy and it’s hard to find time for yourself with the kids, family and work. But I have found that’s ok and I don’t regain the weight if my exercise isn’t happening as much as I like because I’m still eating well.
I had a goal this year to run the Melbourne Marathon with a friend- Unfortunately, this didn’t happen because of the fun 2020 brought with it. But it’s still going to be a goal of mine in the future. I like to exercise, especially when I run, after a black coffee on an empty stomach.
I find I am less sluggish if I’m not digesting when I’m pushing myself physically. Then I listen to my body when it’s hungry. If I want breakfast when I get home, then I’ll have it. If I’m not hungry then I’ll wait till lunch and have a bigger lunch.
A typical day/week meals. Do you eat three meals per day on Keto?
I have adapted and changed to my body’s needs these days.
In the beginning I was 3 meals, then two, then one meal some days. Now I don’t follow rules and just eat keto foods.
If I want breakfast, I’ll eat it. If I want morning tea or an afternoon snack then I’ll have a few bites of something. I know my body likes two meals a day the most and this is when I get my best results.
What I have found is that Keto challenges the social norms of “time we should be eating”.
These days I just eat when I’m hungry because I have broken the pattern of eating habitually and now eat in relation to hunger.
What motivates you to continue with this lifestyle? Do you have Cheat Days?
I maintain the keto diet because it’s easy for me.
I have tried restrictive weight loss programs and they have not given me what keto has. Keto is easy in comparison to the other things I have tried.
If the family goes out for burgers, then I’ll get one without the bun and chips.
If I know there’s an event coming up, I’ll bring a dish I can eat and share, or I’ll find something there I can eat. Yes, I do have to be more prepared, but over time I have found my “go to” snacks and meals and it’s not a hard process anymore.
Because I have been keto for so long, I have found that non-keto food generally does not agree with me. The times I have said “oh it’s a special occasion I’ll have some bread/ chips/ cake” have all reminded me that non-keto food hates my body. I get bloated, retain water, get stomach cramps and need to go to the bathroom fast.
In the last few months, I have had a “cheat” item of food not a cheat day- for example at Christmas I had a piece of my Russian Nana’s potato pancake. I ate keto the rest of the day. That’s a cheat for me and I might do that twice a year. But I don’t like cheat days because I’m just cheating myself.
If you could impart some words of wisdom on anyone starting the keto diet today what would it be?
Do your research. There are ways that you can be in ketosis while meeting your daily nutrient goals and there are ways of being in ketosis that are less ideal.
Then commit to at least 2 weeks of eating to your macros, jump in and decide if it’s for you.
You will get a lot of judgement from people who don’t know or understand it (I didn’t understand it in the beginning either but it worked for me, so I continued) but just be consistent with it for at least 2 weeks.
Reach out to the Mad Creations Facebook group if you are confused or need help, they are super supportive there and have many people happy to share their own knowledge and experiences.
Also remember it is a personal journey and everyone makes mistakes and it’s never going to be a smooth road.
You can follow Natusha’s keto journey on Instagram @njoy_keto