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Shall I just give up - weight loss whilst breastfeeding

(22 Posts)
Noconceptofnormal Tue 19-May-20 19:47:09

Feeling quite despondent. I'm nearly 8 months post partum, 2 stone over weight but I'm only 5'1" so it really shows. Throw in diastasis recti and I still look 5 months pregnant. Absolutely detest how I look at the moment, I feel like I'm wearing a fat suit. As per title I'm breastfeeding dc3.

So 2 weeks ago I decided to do something about it. Cut out the crap from my diet, cut out most snacks full stop (so I am very hungry by lunch and dinner) and am eating healthily (not huge calorie deficit but compared to what I was eating it's at least 30% less).

Also started 30 day shred dvd which I have been doing every day, as well as 30 minutes of other exercise on most days.

You'd think with the above effort I would have shifted a couple of lbs at least, or at least look a bit more toned?

But no, not one iota.

This was my third pregnancy so I know breastfeeding is a barrier to weight loss but I didn't have so much to lose the last couple of times, plus I'm sure I did shift some with exercise and diet changes.

So I'm just wondering whether it's worth all the effort and what the point is of depriving myself of an ice cream when everyone else is having one or having a snack when I'm hungry at 4/5pm.

Should I give up now or do you think if I keep this up I will start to see results eventually?

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userabcname Tue 19-May-20 19:52:33

I am similar - I really struggle to lose weight when breastfeeding, am 2 stone over weight and currently bf-ing a 7mo! I reckon carry on. I remember with my first I got into a good diet and exercise routine but then gave it up in frustration, which meant I actually gained weight. This time, I'm persevering with healthy eating and exercise so that, if nothing else, I won't add to the amount I have to lose! Plus I've noticed the weight is coming off, just very very slowly so you may yet see results. Good luck!

Noconceptofnormal Tue 19-May-20 20:06:28

Thanks Katniss it's useful to know it's not just me! It did occur to me that maybe all I'm doing is preventing further weight gain. I need to improve my fitness as well and I have seen a difference.

I want to find whoever spread the myth that breastfeeding melts the weight off and literally punch them in the face. I know it does for some but it doesn't help that society expects women to have gone back to normal by now (the 9 months on 9 months off saying doesn't help either). I know that if I wasn't breastfeeding I would have shed a few lbs by doing the above by now.

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Babdoc Tue 19-May-20 21:11:52

It’s much easier to not put excess weight on during pregnancy in the first place, than to try and lose it afterwards.
I realise that’s too late for your own case, but I’d urge other readers to eat healthily when pregnant - there is no need to “eat for two”. You only require the calorie equivalent of about 2 extra slices of bread a day, and only during the final trimester.
I was back to my pre pregnant weight five days after delivery by doing that (8 stone 5 lbs).
When you are sleep deprived and breast feeding, your body will crave stodge. The lack of sleep affects the hormones that control appetite and hunger. It’s a tough time to try either calorie restriction or to exercise, when you’re tired and busy with the baby.
I’d take a longer term view. Plan to eat a sensible healthy diet for the rest of your life, rather than try to crash weight off now, then revert to snacks and ice cream.
Aim initially to just stop getting bigger, then when you know where your balance point is, start healthy substitutes for calorie dense snacks.
Your food should be a good mix of veg, fruit, lean meat and fish, dairy, and unprocessed carbs - avoid highly refined or processed foods, full of sugar, salt and fat. And nobody needs snacks except as an occasional treat - 3 balanced meals a day are plenty.

Neighneigh Tue 19-May-20 21:22:57

@babdoc I'm sure you mean well but that's not exactly helpful. Everyone is different and some people can eat like a horse while breastfeeding and lose the weight, others can't.

I would actually say to op that your diastis recti is the first thing to look at. I've got it too, couldn't be bothered to do much about it initially but those muscles and your core strength will need work first or you could possibly make it worse with some exercises. Luckily the remedy is gentle and easy-ish, you just have to keep at it. There's lots of you tubes on diastis recti. Cutting out snacks & stuff is good too (and obviously longer run you need to be using more calories than you're taking in, if you want to lose weight) but your core is the thing to work on first. Good luck, it's a pain & boring but I have been doing exercises for it since lock down and have noticed a difference

sqirrelfriends Tue 19-May-20 21:29:19

Hi OP, I breastfed for almost two years and really struggled to lose any weight during that time, once I stopped the weight finally started to come off. Apparently this isn't all that uncommon and sometimes the body will hold onto fat stores so there's something to feed baby.

It's massively unfair, I know someone who had the weight fall off while breastfeeding. She did no exercise and didn't diet but was smaller at 6month pp than she was before she fell pregnant.

sqirrelfriends Tue 19-May-20 21:30:19

@Babdoc hmm

LivingThatLockdownLife Tue 19-May-20 21:33:45

The weight gradually came off by itself as DC1 moved onto food and had fewer feeds.

DC2 I'm back feeling like a blimp but keeping the faith I'll be losing it again once they're weaned.

I disagree about not gaining weight in pregnancy. It's normal and healthy to gain weight, it feeds you (and baby if bf) during those early months when you barely have time to eat!

Nothing wrong with having your body do what it's meant to do

Moo678 Tue 19-May-20 21:38:28

Feel your pain OP I’ve fed three and struggled to lose weight with all of them. I did have some success with baby 2. Did weight watchers - I got loads of extra points for breastfeeding and ate a crunchie every night - got back to pre baby weight although didn’t manage to maintain there. With number 3 I just couldn’t be bothered. I was too tired. She’s about to turn two and I’m only just getting back into my healthy eating and fitness regime now!

Noconceptofnormal Tue 19-May-20 22:29:14

babdoc doesn't mean well I'm afraid, she obviously believes she has some sort of moral superiority because she had a 'better' pregnancy than others. I could give very valid reasons why my weight gain was higher this time round, but I don't need to, it's not relevant.

Thanks for everyone else's helpful comments.

neighneigh Agree the diastasis recti is a big issue and I'm substituting the abs exercises in the 30 day shred for some of the Mutu system ones so I don't make it worse by doing crunches. If I had time I'd do both dvds. I do know I have to work on this as well but even if I was 7lbs lighter I think I'd feel psychologically a lot better as it would feel like less of a mountain to overcome and more like what I had to lose after my last pregnancy. So that's what I hoped I'd achieve through doing what I'm doing now first before tackling the DR.

moo678 I have also had success with WW and did try that a couple of months ago but I don't have time to fill it out every day so cancelled it. But I remember how many points I was allocated and what I was eating on the days I stayed within the points and what I am eating now is better than then if anything,and that slao doesn't take into account doing more exe

OP’s posts: |
Endorphins Tue 19-May-20 22:32:31

I am still feeding my 2 year old, who feeds like a new born still multiple times per day and night 🙈 and there’s no way I can loose weight it’s soooo frustrating !

Noconceptofnormal Tue 19-May-20 22:36:59

Premature post, sorry.

That last sentence should say - and that doesn't take in to account doing more exercise.

I think I will just have to keep going, and hope at least I can improve my fitness so when I stop breastfeeding my baseline for being able to lose weight is higher than having to start from scratch. I'm just not sure I can stay motivated for that long without seeing some sort of benefit. I would accept the scales not moving if I looked better than before but I don't yet!

OP’s posts: |
Neighneigh Tue 19-May-20 22:53:58

Ha I was trying to be diplomatic about babdoc but sod it, it's not a kind thing to write. Did you say op that you've been exercising two weeks? It's possible that it's just not long enough yet to make a difference, your hormones may affect weight through the month so I'd honestly give it longer before you change tack. It's good to hear you're conscious of the exercises that make DR worse, I had no idea for a while and probably made mine worse. I do wish you lots of luck, don't be too hard on yourself to make drastic changes really quickly

OwlinaTree Tue 19-May-20 23:27:22

I gained a lot of weight when I had my third, and it wasn't shifting. I joined SW and lost over 3st in the end. I found with both my pregnancies when I breast fed that I couldn't lose the last stone while I was feeding, one I stopped then it came off. It's definitely a thing that some people hang on to the weight.

Babdoc not ever so helpful in this context really.

Babyg1995 Wed 20-May-20 08:17:35

I've been losing around 3lb a week I'm bf DC 3 I am walking alot with the pram as well as eating really healthy .DC is 7 weeks so hopefully it continues until I'm at my pre pregnancy weight .

Babdoc Wed 20-May-20 09:57:56

My interest is purely as a doctor, not to claim moral superiority!
I quoted my own weight merely as an illustrative example.
You really need to leave emotion out of it and deal with it as a straightforward medical issue.
Obesity is a major health problem in the UK, and one of the reasons for our high death rate from Covid 19.
Women who are seriously obese before pregnancy are advised not to gain weight during it at all, but merely to maintain their existing weight.
Nobody should be aiming to load on two stone of excess fat during a pregnancy, above the weight of the baby, placenta and fluid - it’s unnecessary, unhealthy, and as OP is finding, is hard to lose afterwards for the reasons I mentioned in my previous post.
I have every sympathy with patients trying to lose weight - I know how tough it is, which is why I was advising other women to try and avoid it in the first place.
My advice to OP still stands - take it gradually, and change her whole lifetime approach to food, rather than struggle to crash diet when coping with sleep deprivation and breast feeding.

Noconceptofnormal Wed 20-May-20 10:49:18

babdoc you're definitely not a medical doctor (I'm not saying you may have a PhD in some such subject) - I know several doctors / medical professionals and not one of them would ever construct an argument around 'well I only gained a little bit of weight in my pregnancy, so that means everyone can' and understand the complexity and nuance in why some individuals may gain more weight than others.

I'm going to politely ask you to leave the thread I've started, but I can't force you, so I'll just ignore any further posts from you.

owlina thanks, yes I found that in my first two pregnancies. I'd not have much of an issue if it was just the last stone I couldn't shift, it's not being able to shift any of it!

squirrel endorphins and livingthelockdownlife I think we are in the same boat, it is frustrating, I don't feel in a hurry to wean (especially as this is my last baby) but I fear that the weight loss factor will influence when I decide to, which is a shame.

babyg it sounds like you're doing really well! But this is what is frustrating me! I am doing high intensity exercise every day plus half an hour of other exercise (like a brisk walk) and I'm eating very healthily (normal portions as well) and there's no shift in weight!

OP’s posts: |
userabcname Wed 20-May-20 10:58:59

@babdoc sorry but i totally disagree. I had HG with dc1 and gained 3 and a half stone despite losing weight in the first 20 weeks! All I could eat was toast or crackers or very bland noodles after that if I wanted to avoid vomiting. I don't think I ate excessive amounts but obviously the carbs caused me to balloon! I only gained 20lbs with my second, non-HG pregnancy, yet I ate much more and treated myself to cake/takeaway here and there throughout. I lost it all in the first few weeks after delivery. I'm still trying to shift the weight from dc1 currently. Saying women should just eat healthily and not "eat for two" is patronising bollocks. Not once did I ever eat for two!

LivingThatLockdownLife Thu 21-May-20 08:25:24

Love the idea that someone would *aim to load on 2 stone of excess fat*hmm

Clearly just a nasty troll.

helpmum2003 Thu 21-May-20 08:35:32

I don't think there's an easy answer OP. I took quite a while to lose weight with 1st dc but in the second went very skinny while bf. In neither case did i count calories. I had to put it down to the fact that with number 1 i could chill out more, with running around after toddler 2nd time i must've burnt more calories...

I think all you can do is eat healthily and exercise and you will feel better for it and probably lose weight slowly. It is hard though if you are knackered looking after 3 kids in lockdown.

Personally I've put on weight in lockdown and have had to cut back so i would say miss the 5pm ice cream! Can u give yourself another treat like a child free bath?

BuffaloCauliflower Thu 21-May-20 08:44:21

Hey OP. You say you’re eating healthily and have cut snacks/crap, but what are you actually eating? Are you tracking calories or content at all? As a fellow small person we really don’t need very many calories to run our bodies so getting a deficit on top of that can really feel like a big cut to food. Depending on how much baby is eating breastfeeding is likely burning 200-500 cals a day, a fair amount but depends what this is as part of your diet. I’d say as a rough estimate you probably need 1500-1600 calories a day max all that considered.

High fat and protein and lower carb works well for me, the SW/WW type plans tend to be high in carbs which is fine for many people (and tasty!) but not great for weightloss for most people. Exercise is great for fitness and do keep it up, but weightloss is roughly 85% diet so what you’re eating matters most.

It is worth it though and you can do it smile

Noconceptofnormal Thu 21-May-20 10:44:48

Thanks everyone, yes I am keeping going despite the lack of results.

buffalo yes being small definitely makes it harder. I'm not calorie counting but having done WW before I'm familiar with what I need to eat (and not eat) to stay within daily points.

This is my day -

Breakfast - porridge
Lunch - alternate between omelette with veg (no cheese etc) or salad with eg mackerel.
Dinner - not diet food but healthy food, eg slimmers version of chicken fajitas or a veg curry (not with cream etc).
Snacks - one or two fruits.
Drinks - one or two weak cordials when I'm flagging a bit.

I'm not saying it's perfect, but before I started this I'd be eating the above but with a less healthy lunch, an ice cream in there, and snacking on yoghurt, crisps and biscuits as well.

Obviously I could cut out the fruit and the Cordial and maybe in time I will, but it's already hard enough as it is.

I'm also doing the shred workout which is meant to burn 200-300 calories and another exercise which is meant to burn 200 calories. So with breastfeeding as well I should be burning an additional 600-900 calories... So I you can see why I am expecting some results, I really should be in a calorie deficit. It's just the breastfeeding that's mucking it all up.

helpmum yes I am OK with not having the treats, I've got used to it, it's more about energy levels for me, as I find it very difficult to get from one meal to the next without having something as I am just awake and up for more hours. I think because of baby and toddler waking patterns I'm awake between 5.30am and about 11-11.30pm with one feed in the night so I am just awake for a lot of hours at the moment. If I was asleep between 11-7 like I was prekids I would just need less food.

OP’s posts: |

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