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Having the ability to breastfeed your baby is a blessing. It’s not all peaches and cream for everyone. Some of us lose the weight quickly while breastfeeding, then it slowly creeps back when our little one isn’t sucking up all those calories anymore. Others of us slowly lose the weight, but don’t get to where we want to be by the time we’re done nursing. this post contains affiliate links
Breastfeeding burns calories. That’s a fact. It’s easy to get used to eating a lot while breastfeeding, then have a bit of a reality check when our little one is an independent eater, and we are still gorging ourselves to “keep up the milk supply.” Habits are hard to break. Whether you’re done nursing and you still have pounds left to go, or you are noticing some extra fluff after you’ve stopped breastfeeding, here are some things you need to know to continue on your path to losing weight.
First, your calorie bank account just lost a client.
You can either replace the breastfeeding burn by hopping on the treadmill or eat less. That’s a basic math equation. As I’m sure you’ve read, your calories are like your bank account. You need to create a budget and stick to it. When you’re nursing, your basically getting an extra spending account. Once that spending account runs out, you can’t keep spending like you were. So, the sad reality of a smaller budget sets in. Its not fun to realize, but if you don’t, you will constantly be in denial.
So, I recommend a good balance. Find something you can do each day that will burn around 200 calories. Walking for about 45 minutes should get you there. Jogging for 20 minutes. Find a workout video that’s high in cardio to burn those calories. I talk lots about this stuff in my free ebook. Check it out if you need more help. It’s totally free 🙂 That’s somewhere close to what you were burning nursing. Then, decrease your diet around 200 calories. That’s not much. Skip whole eggs and do egg whites. Get a light salad dressing. Eat an apple rather than a protein bar. Small swaps like that will really help you.
Second, your Estrogen friend is back.
When you are nursing, your personal Estrogen levels are lower than usual. That’s how your body makes milk. Estrogen drops. So, when your Estrogen starts going back to normal, you body can start changing again!
The weaning process can also cause significant shifts in estrogen levels, so you might experience a host of symptoms and emotions. Yet when your normal menstrual cycle returns, your estrogen levels are back to normal. Balleck recommended taking a mineral supplement with calcium lactate, magnesium, and c-kelp at night which can help to balance your hormones, your mood, and help with fatigue. Fox News
Estrogen tends to put your curves back. Depending on how you feel about that, you may already have enough curves. One way to combat this is to cut back on sugar and carbs. I believe everyone is different, so you’ll have to feel your body out on this. I personally do great with fruit. It satisfies my sweet tooth, while offering lots of vitamins and minerals. You may be more sensitive and need to watch your fruit intake as well. Sugar also promotes the production of Estrogen. While your Estrogen levels are going back up, you may not want to push it up higher because Estrogen promotes fat storage. Depending on where you are at, that might be the last thing you want to hear! You can also combat the Estrogen spikes with cardio. Cardio is going to slim you down. Weights will build your muscle, but you must do cardio to burn the fat on top of that muscle. Us women, especially after we’ve had children, and we are getting older, have an uphill battle. So start running up hills 🙂
Here are some quick bullet points on Estrogen to support my points from Metabolic Effect:
- Estrogen increases the number of alpha-adrenergic receptors in the lower body of women. These receptors slow fat release. This is one reason why many women have a gynoid or pear shape fat distribution.
- Some evidence hints that when estrogen levels are higher, the activity of the alpha-receptors are greater suggesting that training in low estrogen states may speed fat release from more stubborn estrogen impacted areas (like the lower body).
- Estrogen also makes women store fat more in the subcutaneous areas (fat just under the skin and in the arms and legs), versus the deep belly fat in the middle of the body.
- Estrogen may have a different impact on deep abdominal fat, either not impacting it at all or speeding its release. This may be one reason why menopausal women who have lost the influence of estrogen see their fat distribution switch to the belly.
- Women have about 9 times more alpha-adrenergic receptors in the lower body than do men.
Third, your sweet cravings won’t necessarily go away.
I talk about why you crave sweets while breastfeeding in this post. There are some important minerals you may be needing. But, even when you stop breastfeeding, your cravings can be just habits or addiction to sugar. Addiction is a strong word, but in reality your body is giving your the craving single because its used to functioning with the sugar, and it doesn’t want to function with out it. I am for sure addicted to coffee. The mean headache I get late in the day if I miss my fix is nasty. Same idea for sugar. So, be very aware of your body. Are you taking any supplements to get in minerals, and still having sugar cravings. Then you might just need to detox for a few days to get yourself past the hump. Once you do, you won’t be battling the extra sugar calories that pile up fast.
Lastly, be patient and gentle with your body. You just carried, birthed and fed a baby. Its amazing! A rest period after to re-evaluate your fitness goals is totally reasonable! Experiencing a set back after you nursing days come to an end is totally normal, so don’t worry about it!