I’m going to start right out by saying this piece is NOT meant to make you feel discouraged! Quite the opposite! I actually documented my journey in losing the baby weight before my sister’s destination wedding (one year after Annabelle was born) and it is still a daily battle (both physical and mental) to keep the weight off and love my new “mommy body.”
Since Annabelle is going on two now, I wanted to revisit the baby weight subject and share what has worked for me in the long term, what I have come to accept, and what I still work on every single day.
5 Reasons Why You Might Not be Losing the Baby Weight:
1- You’re Breastfeeding
I’d always heard breastfeeding incinerated that baby belly! I’ve known women who swore that they were doing nothing special, but the weight just fell off because they were exclusively breastfeeding. Lucky them! It was not the case for me.
Breastfeeding technically does burn calories (up to 500 per day, but it differs for everyone). However, feeding another human takes a lot out of you and might make you hungrier than you’ve ever felt before! You might be eating more to compensate, and not even realize it. While you want to make healthy choices, you definitely don’t want to go on a restrictive diet while breastfeeding which could deprive you and your baby of vital nutrition.
Breastfeeding also produces hormones, one of them being prolactin, which can actually inhibit weight loss. Your body is essentially holding on to a few extra pounds to make sure you’re able to keep feeding your baby. I know how frustrating this can be, but remember, you are providing vital nutrition for your baby! It’s a miracle that is SO worth a little extra fluff.
2- You’re Not Breastfeeding
On the other side, if you’re not breastfeeding, your body goes “back to normal” quickly and does not require any more calories than before.
3- You’re Not Drinking Enough Water
I get so busy sometimes that I don’t realize I’m starting to get dehydrated until I feel that dry scratch in my throat or a headache coming on. Water is crucial to our bodies and minds functioning properly, and dehydration can cause many ill effects. Plus, thirst signals can often be confused for hunger pangs, so you might be eating when you’re really just thirsty! Keep a reusable bottle of water on hand at all times so you’re never without. Another idea is to make it a habit to take a big drink every hour on the hour. This will get you in the routine of monitoring your water intake and making time fore regular water breaks.
4- You’re Not Getting Enough Sleep
I know, I know, this can feel like an impossible task! (And I still don’t think I ever really get enough sleep!) When you don’t get enough sleep, your body releases cortisol, (a hormone also caused by stress) that makes your body cling to fat, especially in the belly area.
5- You’re Not Exercising Efficiently
It can be tough finding time to work out every day with a new baby, or even with older kids! Add in a job, household chores, after school activities, and there’s barely enough time in the day to get all of that done. Personally, I have 30 minutes to exercise every day, so I better make sure I’m getting the most out of it! (This is not always easy, but I am committed to making my workout happen!)
Weight training has been key in losing the baby weight and keeping it off. I was struggling with those “last 10 pounds” when my husband suggested I join him in an intense weight lifting program (that was only 30 minutes a day!) I was skeptical and worried that I would bulk up and look bigger. I couldn’t have been more wrong! I toned up, slimmed down, and felt stronger. I even was able to do full pull-ups by the end of the first three months!
Make sure you’ve got the ok from your doctor before starting an intense workout routine, and listen to your body. If you’re still in the recovery stage, don’t push it– wait until you’re ready. Remember, it took ten months to put the weight on, so it’s not going to disappear in a couple weeks!
Essentials for Losing the Baby Weight
These are all things that have helped me tremendously on my journey to losing the baby weight (and keeping it off!)
- Body Beast Workout Program — Don’t be intimidated by the huge bodybuilder on the cover, or the fact that there are no women in the videos. This workout is awesome! After three months of following the routine (I didn’t even do the diet plan since I was still breastfeeding), I was getting comments on my new muscles and the fact that I was back in my skinny jeans. Plus I felt so strong!
- Reusable Tumbler — Keeping water on hand at all times is crucial to staying hydrated, fighting false hunger signals, and keeping your body running smoothly. I carry this cup everywhere I go because I love that it has a straw and is double-layered to prevent condensation. If you prefer not to have plastic, this glass bottle has gotten great reviews!
- Daily Multivitamin — It’s so important to make sure your body is getting all the nutrients it needs (especially if you’re breastfeeding!) A daily multivitamin can help fill in the gaps you might have missed in your diet. I love these gummy vitamins because they taste amazing and are easy to eat!
If you’re still not back to where you once were, don’t beat yourself up! My body will probably never look exactly the same as before, but over time I’m learning to love my “mommy body.” I did an amazing thing carrying a tiny human and so did you!
I also don’t weight myself, because focusing on numbers can make you miss the big picture. Plus, muscle weighs more than fat, so you might not see the scale move even if you’re dropping inches. What let me know that I had reached my goal was being able to put on jeans I wore before my pregnancy.
Finally, remember that this is a journey, and it is an ongoing one. Almost two years after bringing Annabelle into this world, I still make conscious choices every day to eat healthy, exercise, and love myself for how I look now. Life is too short to do otherwise!
I’d love to hear from you mama! Share your weight loss journey and tips below!