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Baby Weight & Breastfeeding

Posted Feb 21 2012 10:05am

Last weekend I decided to attempt to fit into a pair of jeans that caused a major postpartum meltdown a  few months after Ella was born.

These said jeans were not even my “pre-pregnancy” jeans.

Michael surprised me with these for Valentine’s Day many years ago. I was in the midst of losing some weight and didn’t get a ton of use out of them. He was annoyed when they got so baggy and ridiculous looking that I couldn’t wear them anymore. I hung onto them, tried selling them, thought about taking them in—but never did. About 8 weeks after I had the baby I thought maybe they would fit my new figure– but I couldn’t even get these “big” jeans up my thighs [and then I cried].

I made another attempt several weeks later and they still wouldn’t fit. It was horrifying but I came to terms with the fact that my body had changed. My hips were wider and I put on baby weight.

SevenJeans

This past weekend I was going through my closet and decided to try the “big jeans” on again. I zipped them up and was so excited how great my ass looked in them! Yey! I ran out front to show Michael and he was thrilled that the expensive jeans he bought me finally would get some use again! He raved about how great they looked I went back into my closet to see if I could find something to wear with them that night….

and guess what?

I was mistaken.

The “big” jeans were not what I had on.

Zipped up perfectly were my pre-pregnancy jeans {same brand two sizes smaller}!!!! The jeans I NEVER thought would fit me ever again!

Surprise, surprise!

I started a party in my bedroom closet and it looked like a tornado hit as I went through all of my old clothes to see what else would fit. Since flinging clothing is Ella’s new favorite game she had a blast with me.

I was very mindful throughout my pregnancy of my nutrition, I exercised and listened to my body, but hadn’t put much thought into how I would feel or how much weight I would lose after the baby was born. I just hadn’t. I also didn’t anticipate how demanding, challenging and time consuming breastfeeding would be. Once I finally felt good enough to start working out again, it was a struggle to fit it in between hourly feedings/constant pumping, but I did it.

WorkoutPostBabyProgress

^left 4 months postpartum, right 8 months postpartum 3 sizes smaller

Looking back, as I said in my body image posts , I wish I had just relaxed mentally and let me body do it’s thing.

Despite my eating clean, working out—nothing was budging. Nothing. I took my initial progress photos at 2 weeks then again at 7 then again at 12. When there were no changes in my body from weeks 7-12 , and I’d noticed that my measurements  actually went up(!) I was done. I told myself that it was depressing me too much; I was not going to take photos/measurements again for a while.

It wasn’t until Ella turned 6 months old and wasn’t solely relying on me for food {even though she was still getting 90% of her nutrition from my milk} that I noticed my body finally beginning to change.

PostBabyProgress2to9M

^Left, my 30th birthday 2 months postpartum. Right, 9 months postpartum-bringing sexy back

I started doing a lot of tabata style HIIT workouts from the beginning. I was so weak the first couple of months back in the gym. It was quite humbling. As time went on, I stuck with it, kept switching up my workouts and I got my strength back. I now feel stronger than ever and more confident with my workouts than I did when I was 10 years younger! It is critical to fuel properly before and after your training—for milk supply, energy and weight loss!

yogamat JumpRope undulationrope

HIIT, power yoga and strength training are my favorite postpartum workouts

Your body is an amazing machine. As hard as it is to deal with the extra fat, just know how beautiful it is that YOU have that fat there to feed your baby. Our society makes us feel ashamed of our bodies, when it truly is unnatural to be super thin or super muscular. When you are pregnant and when you are breastfeeding it is essential that your body has fat on it. Bottom line.

Tips & thoughts on weight loss while breastfeeding:

-The first 6 months are the toughest all around! Physically and emotionally.

-Your body is the sole provider of food for your baby those first 6 months. The extra layer of fat sticks around to ensure your baby is getting the enough nourishment. Own it.

-Be patient! stick with it if possibleyou will be better off in the long run!

-EAT! Make sure you are getting enough calories! I recommend eating a lean protein, carb and healthy fat at each meal to optimally fuel your body.

-Lots of {healthy} fats! I can’t get enough coconut oil and avocado!

-Protein-whether it’s from tempeh, seeds, powders and beans or eggs, fish, or lean meats—you need to make sure you are getting enough. Especially if you work out!

- HIIT training . As a new breastfeeding mom you will find that you don’t have hours to spend in the gym. Higher intensity, shorter workouts were the key for me. Find things you enjoy and push yourself to the max! {ETA-the first few months in the gym you need to ease into it!}

-Find a ratio of protein, carbs and fat that work for your body. My sole purpose for counting initially was to make sure I was getting enough protein since I limit many animal products and don’t eat tons of soy or beans.{I think in the very beginning I should have been getting about 2,400+ calories on days I exercised and probably wasn’t coming close. }<—I’m confident that is part of why my body held onto so much fat. Once I began getting enough of everything, things started to fit!

-As the baby grows and starts eating solids adjust adjust your portion sizes slightly, make sure it doesn’t affect supply. The idea is to wean down so you are not overeating once you are through breastfeeding. All this means is start maybe eat half an avocado a day instead of a whole—simple, small things like that each month. I played more with my macros than I did my calories, my calories naturally went down by about 300 as of the 9 month mark. {ETA-I didn’t do this until the 7 1/2 month mark}

-Everyone is different. Try to not compare yourself to other mothers—this was my biggest downfall.

In the long run, sticking with BF exclusively was best for my metabolism. Once Ella started solid food my metabolism was still booming—and it finally started letting go of the extra pounds! Now, even in the past month when I was pretty much done losing weight—it keeps falling off. And I am EATING-trust me I’m loving food and still loving my dessert! Breastfeeding is still my extra calorie burner! Now with visual results!

WeezyFoamRoller

A happy, healthy, perfect baby is the ultimate reward!

Again, every woman is different. I just wanted to share my experience because I wish I had someone who went through what I did tell to me they weren’t alone. I was surrounded by the urban legends of women walking out of the hospital in size zero jeans, not putting on any extra fat on their hips or arms, and losing all their baby weight in like 3 weeks. I’m just going to say that it’s not the norm. It got me down, as a fitness professional especially–and I shouldn’t have let it! It take about 10 months to grow a baby- and if you are working at it- plan for it to take 10 months to a year to feel “yourself” again. In my opinion, that’s 22 months of feeling a little off about your body for a lifetime of the best damn reward you could ever ask for. My heart just melts every second I spend with my little girl. I would go through it all again in a heartbeat!

It was hard writing this post and it not being 2,000 words. I am sure I will think of points I wanted to include—in the meantime any other questions or things you would have liked to hear me talk about let me know! I can get a follow-up post out ASAP if you like! Many of the things I left out or was unclear about are be open for discussion in the comments section too!

tell me….

I’d love to hear your thoughts, questions, experiences on postpartum weight loss and nursing!?

What workouts and eating habits do you find work best for your body?

Talk soon!

Also read:

Body image after baby part 1 and part II

How I Eat

xo

 

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