Over the past two years since I had my little one, I’ve written quite a few times about my efforts to lose and keep off the baby weight. (The struggle is real!!) Throughout my journey, I’ve read quite a few weight loss tips for breastfeeding moms. Some are legit, some are a joke, so I wanted to share the ones that really made a difference for me.
You’ve probably heard that if you breastfeed that the weight will “just fall right off” and perhaps one of your friends or relatives has done a little humble-bragging about how they are skinnier than even before they were pregnant. Lies! All of them!
Ok, well it might work for some mamas. (Lucky!) But it won’t work for all of us.
Breastfeeding does burn calories, but the amount varies from person to person. Breastfeeding, however, also produces hormones that can have the opposite effect: making your body cling to that last little bit of baby weight. Sort of like your body is worried it will “run out” of nutrition for the both of you and is keeping those fat stores as an insurance policy.
That seems to have been the case for me anyway. I worked out (and still do) daily. I don’t eat dairy or gluten. I feel like I’m doing just about everything right (without being obsessive about it). I did get back to my pre-baby size pants (aka “mom jeans“) within a year. (I thought it would take about 11 months less than that, but I was pretty naive!)
While we can’t control our hormones, there are things we can control that might be unintentionally sabotaging your weight loss efforts.
1. Eat breakfast
I know so many people that skip this meal, but breakfast is crucial! Think of your metabolism as being like a car engine sitting in idle after you’ve been asleep all night. If you don’t put some fuel in the engine to kick start your metabolism, it will continue to sit in idle until you do! When your metabolism isn’t running at full speed, then you’re not burning as many calories as you could be.
Think you’re too busy for breakfast? Think again! Check out this amazing collection of 18 Healthy Recipes for Busy Moms! (There’s even one for breastfeeding cookies!)
2. Drink LOTS of water
I say this often, but I can’t say it enough! Breastfeeding moms need more water that normal, and dehydration can be easily mistaken for hunger. (Plus it just makes you feel all-around crappy!) Drink water, feel full longer, and feel better all day long!
3. Squeeze in Exercise…wherever you can!
When I say squeeze, I mean that literally! Stuck under a newborn who wants to be latched to your boob all day? Do some simple glute squeezes while you sit! (These are one of the most effective booty-toning exercises if you do them daily! Just squeeze your cheeks together, hold for 5 seconds, and release. Repeat as many times as you can.)
When the weather is nice, pop the baby in the stroller and start walking — it’s good for the both of you! (Read: 10 Awesome Benefits to Walking) Finding time to exercise can be hard with a newborn, and especially if you have other children too, but if you get creative you can make a work out happen just about anytime, anywhere.
If you do better with a structured workout routine, I’d highly encourage you to try P90X3. My husband and I decided to give it a try because he loved an earlier version of the program and this one is only 30 minutes a day. Ya’ll this whipped my booty into shape! The “after” photo of me below is after I’d done about 2 months of the program and NO dieting!
4. Don’t eat after dinner
Late night snacking (even if it’s healthy-ish) can majorly undermine your weight-loss efforts. Remember that engine? Well it’s winding down in the evening, getting ready to go into idle for the night. Your body doesn’t burn calories as quickly or as effectively during this time, so it’s best to wait until breakfast. If you pass on nighttime snacking, you’ll be hungry in the morning and less likely to skip breakfast — a win-win! (See #1)
5. Evaluate WHAT you’re eating
Sometimes it’s not how much we’re eating, but it’s what we’re eating. Even if you’re watching the amount of food you’re taking in, if it’s not the right kind of food, it can still stick around.
I never count calories or diet while breastfeeding — the baby is my number one priority and I don’t want to negatively affect milk supply. However, I make an effort to choose foods that provide nutrition: fruits, veggies, lean proteins, and complex carbs (quinoa is my favorite).
If you’re filling up on good things, you won’t be as hungry for the “bad” stuff. Plus, once you get it out of your system, you might be surprised how much you don’t miss it!
The most important thing to remember…
Keep at it and keep your head up!! Don’t get discouraged if the weight doesn’t fall off as quickly as you expected! Remember, it took an entire year for me to lose it, and I was in really good shape before I got pregnant. (And it’s still a daily battle to keep it off!) Losing weight is hard and trying to lose 20, 30, 40, or more pregnancy pounds is going to be work! But you CAN do it!
To prove it, here are two photos of me, less than a year apart. I lost the baby weight with hard work, time, and without crazy diets. I’m just a normal mom, who’s not even super comfortable posting a photo of myself in a bathing suit, but I want to show the real results! You CAN do this too!
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: The Best Breastfeeding Products & Pumping Gear – my comprehensive guide to all of the things that helped me reach my nursing goals. Full of great gift ideas for the new mamas in your life!
Read more of my own post-baby weight loss journey and tips here.
Looking for heathy inspiration? See what’s cooking in the Soccer Mom Blog Kitchen! (The majority of our recipes are good-for-you and any “splurge” dishes are clearly noted.)
Disclaimer: This post is based on my own personal experience; I am not a medical professional. Your results might be different than mine. Always consult your physician before starting a new diet or exercise routine.
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