So here is what my typical day looked like at 2400 calories:
- Breakfast – 2 scrambled eggs with spinach and onions, 1 sprouted grain english muffin with a tablespoon of cream cheese and a little raw organic honey
- Snack 1 – Larabar
- Lunch – chicken breast, spinach, red peppers, cucumber slices, and homemade guacamole on 2 pieces of toasted sprouted grain bread, 2 clementines
- Snack 2 – Smoothie with greek yogurt, spinach, 1 cup of mixed frozen fruit (cherries, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, etc), and ground flaxseed
- Dinner – Beef and Broccoli over cauliflower “rice”, fruit
- Snack 3 – sliced banana, raw organic honey, greek yogurt, and walnuts mixed together
- plus 1 teaspoon of cod liver oil daily
I eat the same thing for breakfast, lunch, and snacks every day, so I know what my base calorie intake will be. Depending on the calories of my dinner, which varies each night, I may or may not have a few hundred calories left over that I will then fill with my fun foods. I plan this out at the beginning of the day using LoseIt, then decide what to add in, like tater tots with my lunch or even a couple of tablespoons of Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter in my greek yogurt snack.
Typically I hit a macronutrient ratio of 25% protein (about 130g), 45% carbohydrates, and 30% fat.
When I hit a plateau, I drop 50 calories per day, one week at a time. Yes, this is a much slower way than the typical recommendation of 500 calorie deficits, but with the milk supply at risk, it’s better to take it slow. This will also help your metabolism to adjust so that it’s not adapting to the lower calorie range.
Measuring Body Composition
If you’re going to weigh yourself, do yourself a huge favor and take your body fat composition reading as well (builtdaily.com/body-fat-percentage-calculator/). This is especially true if you are strength training. I have been 135 pounds and a size 8, and I’ve also been 135 pounds and a size 2 – the first I was a much higher body fat, the second I was very lean with more muscle. Personally, if I’m not trying to reach a specific body fat % goal, I just go by how my clothes are fitting. For me, I want to increase my muscle mass and decrease my body fat. More muscle means more strength, higher metabolism (muscle requires more calories for upkeep than fat), and a more athletic look.
Creating a Plan
If you have no idea where to start with your calories, first try this calculator Ultimate Weight Loss Calorie Calculator (coachcalorie.com/calorie-calculator/). First find your maintenance calories, then put in the recommended calorie deficit of 15%. Next, add 500 to this number if you are breastfeeding. You can also just use our very helpful breastfeeding calorie calculator and subtract 15% (fittobepregnant.com/pregnancy-breastfeeding-calorie-calculator/). This is the average daily calories you want to consume. Give this number 2 weeks before you make any adjustments. Remember fat loss takes time and you have to be very patient if you want to do it right!
If calorie counting seems like a big pain, don’t do it! Just plan your meals out once and get a feeling for how many calories you’re eating, then just eat and don’t worry about it. As long as you’re dropping fat and keeping up your milk supply, don’t make a big hassle of it.
And finally, if the number this calculation puts out seems shockingly high (I have never been on a “diet” that involved me eating more than 2000 calories a day, so I was certainly shocked too!) don’t worry. If your weight starts creeping up, just lower the number a little. It won’t be anything you can’t undo quickly. Don’t underestimate the adaptability of your metabolism, and use it to yours and your baby’s advantage!