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Losing the baby weight, I personally believe, is one of the most difficult things to do. I have had three babies now, and each time, I’ve lost the baby weight faster, rather than just never losing it because I feel like I’ve figured out a strategy. I get a lot of comments and questions on what I do, and how I lost the weight. I put together a little book that outlines the most important things I do. The way I start my day, the foods I like, and my overall thoughts on food and nutrition.
I originally wrote this post after I lost the baby weight quickly after my third baby. I was able to lose all the extra weight by my 6-week check up, all because I’ve learned the strategy on how to do it. After the third baby, it just becomes a habit now. And, I use protein shakes as a meal replacement, which helps tremendously in my weight loss and breastfeeding journey.
A lot of losing weight is in your mind. More than what most want to admit. When you’ve just had a baby, your tired and emotions are all over the place, putting yourself on a strict diet program probably isn’t the best idea. At least, I know it wasn’t for me, so I developed my own tricks, that I hope will help you too.
My Six Skinny Secrets To Losing The Baby Weight While Breastfeeding:
Secret 1: Do not eat if you aren’t hungry
Well that doesn’t sound like a secret does it? But, here’s the thing. Many people wake up in the morning, and they aren’t hungry, but they hear all this hype about breakfast being the most important meal of the day. Did you know that they are referring to breakfast being at least 12 hours from your last meal? Your body actually needs that time to fast and rest. Many of us eat late, around 8 or 9, then the kids and babies have us up early, so we eat before our bodies are ready. Fasting is good for your body. It allows your body to actually repair, detox and eat the damaged cells!
Because I’ve worked at coffee shops for many years, I naturally learned to wake up super early and wait to eat breakfast until I was hungry later. Usually after my early shift around noon. These habits have continued into motherhood, and I like to drink my “breakfast” smoothie later in the morning as my first meal. Fasting is safe while breastfeeding as long as you are filling your eating window with nutrient-dense foods. The key is nutrients, not calories.
If you aren’t sure how to eat nutrient-dense, grab this FREE 14-day, clean eating challenge and you will be well on your way to losing weight, eating nutrient-dense and still producing lots of milk.
Many people try to follow some sort of rigid plan, that doesn’t allow them to listen to their bodies. If you aren’t hungry, don’t eat! In the morning, I’m not hungry because I usually don’t get a chance to eat a dinner until late at night. Focus on liquids in the morning and planning your day, rather than eating. You’ll find that if you don’t force yourself to eat, give your body the liquid (water, tea, coffee is okay if you’re doing caffeine) it needs to replenish itself from the fast. Remember, if you give your body enough liquid, it won’t tell you you’re “hungry” when you’re actually thirsty.
You know when you start getting hungry, that’s when your body is telling you that your blood sugar is getting low. Don’t let yourself get too hungry, which leads to the next secret!
Secret 2: Use Protein Shakes
This is obviously what worked really well for me. I waited until I was hungry, which on some mornings was within an hour of having coffee, while other mornings it was later in the day. It really depended on how late I ate the night before. I never set a time frame on when I would have my protein shake. I would drink it when I was hungry as my first meal.
The reason I like protein shakes is because they are quick, easy, yummy and FULL OF NUTRIENTS! The protein powder itself is made with amazing nutrients for postpartum healing, herbs to boost lactation and specific ingredients to fight those darn sugar cravings. I really struggled with craving sugar, so these protein shakes REALLY HELPED! They were sweet, but still low in sugar and high in protein. I felt like I was getting something sweet, without shooting my blood sugar through the roof. These are my 3 favorite protein powders to use in my shakes – Milk Dust, Ora Organic, and Majka!
I always blend my protein shakes with frozen fruit, fresh spinach and a little almond milk. That was my go-to, but I have TONS of FREE recipe ideas on the blog here.
Protein shakes offer your body a fast way to absorb the nutrients as well because everything is blended. It takes some of the work out of digestion, and enables absorption! If you KNOW you won’t like smoothies in the morning, I also really enjoyed them as a dessert, in place of ice cream!
Secret 3: Eat All The Time
Yep, eat small meals throughout the whole day. When you start actually feeling hungry, eat. Don’t force yourself to fast past the point of a tiny bit of hunger. You’ll binge on your kids peanut butter and jellies and eat all their gold fish.
As soon as you start thinking about food, or feeling a little hungry, grab a small snack of a fruit and some trail mix. Fruit is fabulous because it has the sugar you need to bring your blood sugar back up, but it actually doesn’t shoot it up like a piece of candy. Fruit is comprised of water and fiber, which slows the sugar digestion down in a perfect blend water, nutrients and energy. Don’t forget that things from the earth are made in a perfect way, and your body knows how to digest them.
So, grab an apple, orange, grapefruit, grapes – fruits with more water, as well as some munchies. It can even be some goldfish crackers, some trail mix – just a small snack. Drink at least one glass of water. Then, move on. See how you feel going on to something you want to accomplish. Laundry? Organizing Toys? Emails? Whatever is on your list. The key here is to see how you feel in about half an hour to an hour. Are you still hungry? Did that snack give you enough energy to keep going for a while, so all your body needed was a quick pick me up, or does it need more?
Are you seeing the trend here? We are learning to listen to our bodies, rather than find an eating plan that we have to stick to. Our bodies know what it needs, and what it wants. Don’t be afraid of snacking. Sometimes your body just needs a bit of food here and there, but you’re not ready for a full meal.
Secret 4: Devour Fruits and Vegetables
Please, I beg you. Eat as much nutrient-rich foods as you can. You just had a baby, and many of you are breastfeeding. Give your body the vitamins and minerals it wants to produce the liquid gold. If you give your body the nutrients it needs, it will feel comfortable letting go of stored fat. Stored fat is stored nutrients. If there is a lack of vitamins and the appropriate fuel, your body will store fuel because we are animals wanting to survive in a modern world. You need your fruits and vegetables, and so does your baby. You want to give your baby the most vitamins you can as well.
In order to eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible, you have to like them. Take your time to find things that you like. What’s your favorite fruit? Buy a ton. Any vegetables you can handle? I know some people don’t like vegetables, but it is worth your time to explore new ways to cook and eat them. Your body will be so happy you did, and before you know it, the weight will be falling off!
Big Tip! Now, one thing that is super important to mention is digestion of fruits and vegetables. If you aren’t used to eating that much fiber, your body will have a hard time, and you will find yourself gassy and bloated. Not fun, but these digestion enzymes are your savior! You can grab them at your local naturopath office, or order them on Amazon for cheaper. I grab these whenever I am feeling off for whatever reason. Your body loses digestion enzymes for all sorts of reasons. I in particular have gotten Mastitis while nursing, so I had to take an antibiotic. This kills the good bacteria in your gut. I grab these enzymes to help replenish my body from bouts of no sleep, stress or antibiotics to ensure I have the proper little helpers to get the most nutrients from my food without being gassy and bloated!
Secret 5: Don’t Work Out Too Much:
Yep, if you work out too much and too hard while you’re breastfeeding, you can develop an insatiable appetite that is hard to manage. Your body is already burning extra calories from breastfeeding, so essentially you are working out in a different way. When you start pushing your body to build muscle, run miles and push yourself to sweat, while still producing breast milk, the nutrient needs become greater. Its difficult to eat that many vitamins and minerals in your foods, so you will be constantly hungry. Your body will be asking for more and more vitamins and minerals, and even supplements don’t do it. Your body is made to digest real food. A lot of the vitamins in your supplements pass through unnoticed by your body because a pill or powder isn’t real food.
Let your body focus on creating breast milk and healing from delivering a child. To keep yourself from losing too much muscle, body weight work like Pilates is the best way to go! You will keep the important muscles for when you are ready to work out, while not putting a lot of strain on your body in a time where it needs to focus on feeding another human.
What if you aren’t breastfeeding? The extra burden on your body isn’t there, but you still need to heal. You also aren’t getting the extra calorie burn from breast feeding, so your body can easily handle longer or harder workouts. In one sense, you don’t have to worry about reducing your breast milk while trying to lose weight, but on the other hand, you don’t get the extra calorie burn, so you’ll have to work harder on your own through some form of calorie-burning exercising that you like. Weight lifting and pilates do not burn many calories at all. When you are wanting to lose weight, you must burn calories. Walking, jogging, running, rowing, cycling. Cardio activities burn calories. Pilates, weights, squats…those maintain muscle, but they won’t burn fat.
Secret 6: The 10-Minute Rest
It’s no surprise you’ve just had a baby and you’re craving all the sugar. That’s normal when you are extremely tired. Your body just accomplished a milestone in birthing a baby, and it needs to recover. Your baby doesn’t know how to sleep, so neither do you. You are exhausted, whether you realize it or not. This plays games with your appetite. You crave sugar because when you are low on sleep, your body makes you think you’re hungry when you’re not. Just check out this article for more information on that.
How I battle the extreme fatigue, is I lay down and just check out for ten or fifteen minutes when I can.
It is not realistic for me to take naps. If I do, I get nothing done at all. My house looks like a disaster all the time, but if I nap, it looks like a war zone meets hurricane Sandy. But, allowing myself to just rest my mind and body for a bit, really helps me stay out of the kitchen when I think I’m “hungry,” and I know I’m just tired. This goes back to knowing your body. Is the feeling of hunger really there, or are you just in a zombie daze thinking some sugar or food will snap you out of it? Lay down, scroll through Pinterest or Instagram and let your mind rest a minute. If you have multiple little ones running around like I do, the ability to just lay down and rest doesn’t really exist, so I make it happen. I tell them to either lay quietly with me in my bed, read a book next to me or I let them watch a show. Its up to you how to get your ten to fifteen minutes of “check out” time in, but it’s really helpful because you learn to just relax, rather than shove food in your mouth.
These are my six secrets. They’ve worked for me three times now.
Each time I was pregnant I gained around 25-35 pounds, and I lost it all in about 4 months. We traveled, I didn’t work out much, but I did listen to my body and focus on putting good foods in. I have chunky, full babies, who are healthy because I make an effort to consume foods that promote breast milk production, while still telling my body it’s okay to lose weight.
One of the most important things you can take away from this small book is that you are in charge of your body, what you tell it and whether you listen to it. Your body is unique, and has different needs than anyone else’s, so one plan that works for someone else, may not work for you. If you learn to listen to your body, you will start naturally knowing how much to eat, when to eat and what your body needs to be at the weight you want. Attempting to listen to yourself alleviates all the pressure of staying on a plan or regimen. No breaking any rules, just listening and eating in a way that is true to yourself.
Now, you may be so desensitized to your body’s needs because you’ve had a few too many french fries daily during pregnancy. That’s okay. It is worth your struggle and investment to re calibrate yourself. To start, count your calories. Get used to eating less, then you’ll start being able to understand what your body needs again. Eating is also a habitual process. You have some habits from pregnancy that will be uncomfortable to change now that you are not pregnant anymore. Expect to feel uncomfortable as you make changes. That is normal, and it means you are doing it right!
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