Interview with Kim on Nutrition
Kim and I initially had a video interview on the books to talk through postpartum nutrition tips, but with sick kiddos in the mix, these things often don’t work out as planned. Instead, she graciously agreed to answer some of my questions via a blog post. Hopefully one day we can get in the full interview!
I’ll let Kim take it away now.
Hi! I’m Kim! I’m a Registered Dietitian and specialize in family nutrition as well as nutrition focused specifically on women. I also have 2 kids (2 + 2 months) and have had physical therapy from pelvic discomfort after both deliveries. You can find me at @kimmcdevittrd or www.kimmcdevittrd.com
I’m excited to talk to you today about some of my nutrition philosophies.
Q: How do you feel about the calories in – calories out method for weight loss?
Kim: I really believe that while tempting to count it’s an antiquated way to look at your health and control your weight. I really don’t advocate it with my clients and don’t because in simplest terms most are counting calories in attempt to lose weight and there are some really high calorie foods (like healthy fats) and meals that actually do a better job of helping you lose weight than a lower calorie option but when we get wrapped up in counting we fear those higher number choices.
I am truly of the belief that not all calories are created equal. Your body is really smart and knows what to do with calories from different foods (i’m talking about carbohydrates v protein v fats for example) and if you are constantly trying to stay in a calorie range you’re likely setting yourself up for maybe initial success but likely long term failure.
You can read more about my thoughts around this topic here.
Q: Do you have an opinion about sugar consumption postpartum?
Kim: I’ll tell you this, I’m 10 weeks postpartum and my sugar cravings have been through the roof, which is not uncommon. We crave sugar when our body needs fast, easy calories and our blood sugar is unstable / imbalanced. It makes sense right? We’re getting very little and very disruptive sleep, usually in ‘survival mode’ when it comes to our meal and food choices – “…whatever i can grab from the fridge!” and amongst the chaos sweets make us feel good (in the moment).
I’m not about depriving, and if someone told me I couldn’t eat sugar at this stage in my life I wouldn’t make it. My goal is instead to try and reach for the ‘best’ option (which I define as least processed) to satisfy your sweet tooth, such as a homemade energy bite made with honey or a piece of high quality dark chocolate versus something highly processed like a store bought cookie or ‘low calorie’ “ice cream”. If you’re going to reach for something sweet make sure you’ve already had a substantial meal (and are not compensating) that include healthy fats and protein and that you’re choosing something made with ingredients you know and understand. Finally, remember everything in moderation.
Q I’d like to talk a little about being a vegan and intense exercise. What tips do you have for others that want to pursue this route?
Kim: You can absolutely be vegan and build muscle or be an endurance athlete. And, despite some old ways of thinking, you can be vegan and get all the nutrients you need. But you have to be smart about it. You have to work a little harder (maybe only initially) to make sure you’re getting enough protein from good quality sources like beans and legumes, nuts and soy. I’m also a big advocate of adding in a plant protein powder to your daily diet if you’re vegan and exercising daily. You also need to make sure you’re getting adequate micronutrients that are often found in lower amounts or not at all in a vegan diet, especially important if breastfeeding. You’ll want to pay specific attention to iron and B12 and be sure you’re continuing to take a prenatal.
Q: Will you let us in on some of your pre and post-exercise meals?
Pre – I like to workout in the morning on an empty stomach. Exercising upon wake (black coffee or tea is allowed and recommended:) ) gives your body a huge surge of human growth hormone, which holds onto lean muscle mass and tells your body to continue to burn fat as you were overnight. So, if you’re on a quest to lose weight this is your best option.
If evening exercise is your jam it will depend on the timing of your last meal. Most people who exercise after work need a snack to help take them from lunch to dinner. If you’re headed to the gym I would recommend something like an RX Bar or even just a simple banana or apple.
Post – You’ll hear lots of advice and different schools of thought around when and what to eat post workout but you don’t have to make things more complicated than they need to be. Ideally you’re eating within an hour after you finish and you’re having a meal that includes both protein + fat. Simple grab options are 2 hard boiled eggs + apple or a quick smoothie of milk of your choice + protein powder + almond butter + ½ cup strawberries. The max I would say you should wait to eat is 2 hours, and this is mostly because by that point your body will be starving and it will be very easy to make a ‘bad’ decision and likely overcompensate on volume of food.
Q: What are some signs of overtraining and how do you recommend recovering?
Kim: As new moms it’s really easy to be eager to get back our ‘old’ lifestyle while trying to juggle the new territory that comes with a baby. And, oftentimes when we’ve got many of the buckets in order (childcare, sleep routine, fitness regimen, back to work, etc.), we more quickly overlook self care, such as signs our body is trying to tell us that we’re pushing to hard, specifically in our fitness routine. I’ve got an entire blog post that speaks to what these signs look like, and encourage you to check in with yourself daily, or weekly, to “take inventory” on how you’re feeling. Easier said than done but remind yourself that NOW is the time more than ever to give yourself permission to take days off, to choose sleep over the gym, and to practice self care so that you can push harder and become stronger the next time you do chose to workout.
Q: What are some of the natural performance enhancers that you use to help with training?
Kim: I’m all about a good training boost and often times i’ll reach for coffee because it’s easy and convenient and it’s just delicious and cozy in those early morning hours before I sneak off to workout. That said, the caffeine you get from tea such as matcha or yerba mate helps with more than just energy, providing less jitters and more mental clarity for your workout. If you are a tea drinker or are up for a change I would encourage these options. There’s a lot out of the market these days using these ingredients too!
When it comes to recover there is 1 main thing that immediately come to mind, protein. Without adequate protein, especially post workout, you recover slower, your muscles are more sore and you end up craving sugar and sweets! I like a high quality protein powder as a convenient option, such as Vega and always incorporate collagen peptides into my day as well. In terms of other foods known to help with recovery, both turmeric & tart cherry have recently gotten a lot of attention. Both have science backed evidence proving their help in reducing inflammation in the body and helping with post-workout body fatigue and recovery.
If you resonated with any of these topics or want to work in a one-on-one structure you can reach me through my website.
Thanks Kim for joining us for a quick interview. I love your sound advice for nutrition postpartum!