Well, as some of you may know my weight loss journey has been anything but pleasant. Infact, it's been downright awful.. to the point of the scale going up instead of down, despite exercising and staying true to plan.
This got me to thinking. I lost weight while I was pregnant following a strict gestational diabetes diet. Once she was born I didn't stick to that plan and I didn't lose any more either. Then, I started to lose again, steadily, while eating anything I wanted to. I didn't pig out, but I didn't deprive myself of anything either. So, I was sitting here wracking my brain and wondering what exactly it was that was different in those couple of months.
I was trying to breast feed, which itself burns tons of extra calories, however, I wasn't producing much milk at all and had to supplement with formula. A lactation consultant told me to try an herb called fenugreek. She said it would usually up the milk production in lactating women. I tried it, it worked to an extent, but not enough for me to continue breastfeeding my baby. I guess I just have milk-duds
Anyway, I continued taking the fenugreek even after I stopped feeding. I figured I may as well finish out the bottles just to get rid of them. I continued dropping weight until I was in the low 260's.. the lowest point I've been in my adult life. Around the same time I was out of fenugreek I joined WW. I felt fantastic and wanted to continue losing. That didn't happen. I followed my little points guide and sure enough, I gained a little each week rather than losing. Back into the vicious diet cycle I went.
I don't know why I didn't put this together back then, maybe I could have saved myself 2 long agonizing years of self loathing. I really believe (for me) fenugreek is the key. It's been used for centuries in other countries, for many things other than milk production. One of the things it does is increase sweat production.. this makes me believe it raises metabolism. It also helps lower blood sugar and cholesterol. I'm not one who believes in all kinds of pills and supplements.. but I *DO* believe this one works.
I am going to pick some up at GNC tomorrow and try it again. I will let you know what happens. Fingers crossed it will again bring me some success.
I found the article below on a lactating website incase you wanted to know more about it.
From: breastfeeding online.com
What is it?
Fenugreek, Trigonella foenum-graecum L., is an erect annual herb native to southern Europe and Asia. Undoubtedly one of the oldest cultivated medicinal plants, fenugreek is widely grown today in the Mediterranean countries, Argentina, France, India, North Africa, and the United States as a food, condiment, medicinal, dye, and forage plant (11.1-128). The plant reaches a height of 0.3 to 0.8 meters and has trifoliate leaves. White flowers appear in early summer and develop into long, slender, yellow-brown pods containing the brown seeds of fenugreek commerce.
Fenugreek and Breastfeeding
Fenugreek seeds contain hormone precursors that increase milk supply. Scientists do not know for sure how this happens. Some believe it is possible because breasts are modified sweat glands, and fenugreek stimulates sweat production. It has been found that fenugreek can increase a nursing mother's milk supply within 24 to 72 hours after first taking the herb. Once an adequate level of milk production is reached, most women can discontinue the fenugreek and maintain the milk supply with adequate breast stimulation. Many women today take fenugreek in a pill form (ground seeds placed in capsules). The pills can be found at most vitamin and nutrition stores and at many supermarkets and natural foods stores. Fenugreek can also be taken in tea form, although tea is believed to be less potent than the pills and the tea comes with a bitter taste that can be hard to stomach. Fenugreek is not right for everyone. The herb has caused aggravated asthma symptoms in some women and has lowered blood glucose levels in some women with diabetes.
How Much do I Need to Take?
Suggested dosage - capsules: 2-4 capsules, 3 times a day. Most capsules are 580 mg - 610mg each. German Commission E monograph recommends a daily intake of 6 grams.
Potential Side Effects
Sweat and urine smells like maple syrup (this is common and often a sign that you have reached the right dose)
Loose stools in some women, which go away when fenugreek is discontinued
Hypoglycemia in some mothers
Can cause uterine contractions - do NOT use if you're pregnant
Diabetic mothers should use caution with fenugreek since it can cause lowering of blood glucose levels.
Little Known Uses
Fenugreek has an age old reputation as a breast enlarger and contains diosgenin which is used to make synthetic estrogen and has been shown to promote the growth of breast cells. You can drink fenugreek as a tea, use it in yogurt, applesauce or soups, or make a light mixture with any lotion and massage it directly into the breasts. It may also aid in increasing sexual desire in women as well as increasing breast beauty and health. Fenugreek contains choline which may aid the thinking process, and antioxidants that slow aging and help prevent disease. It is also helpful in calming PMS and symptoms of menopause. Fenugreek is also considered to be an aphrodiasiac and rejuvenator.
Active Constituents and Proposed Mechanism of Action
The steroidal saponins account for many of the beneficial effects of fenugreek, particularly the inhibition of cholesterol absorption and synthesis.2 The seeds are rich in dietary fiber, which may be the main reason they can lower blood sugar levels in diabetes.3 One human study found that fenugreek can help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels in persons with moderate atherosclerosis and non-insulin-dependent diabetes.4 Randomized and uncontrolled studies have confirmed fenugreek helps stabilize blood sugar control in patients with insulin-dependent and non-insulin-dependent diabetes.5 6 7 It helps lower elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood,8 including in those with diabetes,9 according to several controlled studies. Generally fenugreek does not lower high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels. This type of cholesterol is believed to be beneficial.