Postpartum Weight Loss on Paleo while Breastfeeding

by 25 · May 08, 2014 at 03:44 PM

I wanted to lose 15-20 pounds before pregnancy, and I have 20 MORE pounds that I can't lose from my pregnancy (I didn't lose any weight after leaving the hospital... I'm not one of those lucky ladies whose baby weight took care of itself). So I want to lose 40 pounds. Now I'm 12 wks postpartum and I've been on a pretty strict Paleo diet for about a month now. The only exception I have made to the Whole30 (no substitutions, even Paleo-friendly foods) is having cream & sugar in my coffee, and this week I switched to cream & stevia, and I make "Paleo pancakes" out of banana, eggs, and coconut-- but again, that's just a substitute, not non-Paleo food. I also use regular butter to cook with (2-4 tablespoons/day).

My average daily diet looks something like this (keep in mind I am breastfeeding):

breakfast: pork, bacon, or steak with 2 eggs and a bunch of veggies snack: green apple w/ 2 tablespoons almond or cashew butter lunch: meat (chicken, beef, pork) or fish w/ more veggies and a whole skin-on sweet potato snack: banana w/nut butter or some almonds or a whole avocado with some chicken dinner: meat or fish with more veggies.

Included in veggies is a lot of lettuce and fresh spinach and I top them every day with olive oil, balsamic, and some salt & pepper.

Normally before bed I get REALLY hungry (probably because that's when the baby cluster feeds and I lose a lot of calories because of him?) and I have 2 banana pancakes (2 eggs, one banana, some coconut, coconut milk, and sometimes almond flour).

I'm wondering what I can do to lose weight on this diet that I am not already doing. The first week I dropped five pounds, and then since then I've basically plateaued, or worse, gained a couple of pounds back. I'm REALLY discouraged. PLEASE advise. I am willing to cut calories, stop eating fruit, whatever I need to do to keep the weight loss going. I want to have another child soon, but I would love to get down to my ideal weight before being pregnant again.

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15 Replies

914 · September 19, 2012 at 05:21 PM

Please be patient with yourself! You just had a baby! Congrats, by the way.:) And great job on breastfeeding...you're giving your child a great start.

I would concentrate on eating whole, healthy, unprocessed food, and enjoy your baby. These are very, very, precious months that will be gone in the blink of an eye. Some women can lose weight easily while nursing; others seem to hold on to it a bit. Make sure you start getting some physical activity - walking is great, post-natal yoga is great, etc. Before you know it your baby will be a toddler and you'll burn a ton of calories running after him non-stop.

If you eat good wholesome food and non-processed junk, and try to eat mindfully (meaning try to eat when you're hungry, stop when you're full), then you should be able to lose weight more easily when your baby is weaned, or even when he starts getting nourishment from other foods as an older baby.

And, forgive me if this is out of place, as I certainly don't know your personal circumstances, but getting pregnant so soon after having a baby is pretty hard on your body, as well as your hormonal and emotional status.

20 · October 18, 2012 at 02:29 PM

I've had 5 children in the last 7 years and 5.5 months pregnant with my 6th, 15 months apart between each child. I just started paleo after my fifth, lost 15 lbs right before I got pregnant again. Yes it can be hard on the body but with regular moderate exercise and eating mostly paleo, I have never felt better. People can't even believe that I have 5 kids under 7. Keep up with what you are doing, don't compare your body to others, there will always be someone more toned, skinnier, more athletic, just be happy with you.

715 · September 19, 2012 at 10:18 PM

Need enough calories, enough water, enough sleep.

10 · December 02, 2012 at 11:23 PM

Gah. I feel ur pain!!! I gained a pound to two pounds each month after my son was born and I had to listen to all these moms going on and on about their weightloss. Number one remember that A LOT of moms lie. Not to be mean, but they do it to feel better about themselves lol I've busted a handful that I considered friends lying about weight loss and stretch marks.so don't hold much stock in what they say. Just smile and say good for u lol Second remember that A LOT of moms don't exclusively breastfeed. A lot of them will do half bm and half formula or exclusive formula. If bf EXCLUSIVELY some women's body's hoard the fat to ensure milk production. "U don't eat for two when prego because body won't let baby starve, but u ARE eating for two when bf bc baby CAN starve". When I heard that quote it made total sense. Anyhow after starting paleo when my son was 13 months old and still bf, I lost 30 pounds but it took about 10 months or 11 months. BE PATIENT!!!!!! it will come off I promise! Maybe add in a walk daily if feasible, but it takes a bit for ur body to adjust and ur milk, plus if u lost tons of weight All if a sudden then ur body would go into oh shit mode and lose ur milk. U got this mama. Up ur fats, keep the fruits because u need the carbs, and stay strong on ur resolve!!! U can do it and it may come off slow but that's actually GOOD.

13928 · September 20, 2012 at 08:15 PM

  1. Your diet sounds great. Maybe cut the fruit and up your fat. Otherwise, just let go and wait until after baby #2 to lose the weight you want to.

  2. Some women lose weight while BF; some women don't. I'm at 5 months postpartum and I'm still about 10-15 lbs above my prepreggie weight.

  3. Also consider that some of the fat stored may include toxins. Your body may be holding onto that fat so that you don't release toxins into your breast milk. Maybe... That's a theory of mine.

297 · September 20, 2012 at 08:08 PM

Taking into consideration the fact that your two pregnancies happened back to back, the bad news is that you DO have a lot of repairing to do, and since you didn't have time to replenish between pregnancies, your fat cells are (let's say) a little more "obsessed" with storing fat than before.

The good news is that, if you increase your intake of healthy fats and proteins, and gradually reduce the amount of carbs you eat -- possibly by starting with the carbs you eat in the morning and gradually phasing them out from the afternoon, keeping them at night (you actually NEED glucose to heal from birth in certain ways) -- you should be able to convince your fat cells there is abundant energy, put yourself in a very fat-burning state for half of the day, without endangering breastfeeding at all.

In fact, most women find that the greater the fat content of their diet, the fattier their milk becomes. Which of course puts great emphasis on increasing the QUALITY of the foods you eat... which I hope on a Paleo site I shouldn't need to convince anyone of. :)

By the way, I hope you have taken the time to rehabilitate the transverse abdominus and pelvic floor. Exercises for this region take only 10 minutes a day (at most) and make a HUGE difference your ability to take on weight-bearing exercises, not to mention prevent back pain and allow you to play with your kids whenever you like!

(Source: a LOT of research for my upcoming book on postpartum rehabilitation and diet while breastfeeding...!)

24412 · September 19, 2012 at 08:39 PM

Holy smokes! 12 weeks, you should not have lost a lot of weight by now, and anyone who tells you otherwise deserves a quick and decisive smack to the face. The people who lose a lot right after birth are just peeing away extra fluid from the IV, or were retaining a lot of fluid near the end of their pregnancy.

Most likely your body will let go of it very slowly at about the same rate it took you to put it on. It should ideally take about 8-10 months. There are some who also have a paradoxical reaction to breastfeeding, and their body holds onto the weight until they wean, and then it comes off quickly when the hormones shift.

In the meantime, be patient, eat to satiety, and by all means eat when you are hungry, it is completely normal to raid the fridge after the baby cluster feeds in the evening.

4956 · September 19, 2012 at 04:46 PM

I would visit Chris Kresser's website for all things baby related.


20469 · May 08, 2014 at 03:44 PM

Cutting back on carbs and upping healthy fat intake often helps. Other dangers are too much cheese/milk just seems to cause the pounds to stick on for some people. I don't know if you are consuming any dairy but I just thought I'd mention it. Mother milk for baby's=good,cow's milk for mother's, not so good!

0 · May 08, 2014 at 10:24 AM

While it might seem like you’ve spent much of your adult life avoiding getting knocked up, once you’re ready for a baby, most women want it to happen, like, yesterday. We checked in with an OB/GYN, a midwife, and a reproductive endocrinologist to learn about the best ways to get pregnant ASAP

0 · May 08, 2014 at 10:22 AM

While it might seem like you’ve spent much of your adult life avoiding getting knocked up, once you’re ready for a baby, most women want it to happen, like, yesterday. We checked in with an OB/GYN, a midwife, and a reproductive endocrinologist to learn about the best ways to get pregnant ASAP

3224 · March 24, 2013 at 01:52 PM

I always heard "nine months on, nine months off." So, if you're only 12 weeks post-partum, you've got a way to go. Your body is focused on nourishing your little one. Stay at it, eat nutrient-dense foods, and keep nursing that wee baby. Love your baby, and LOVE YOURSELF! Be patient. It's a marathon, not a sprint.

(I know it's hard--one of the suckiest things about post-pregnancy is coming home and putting maternity clothes right back on. If you can afford it, buy yourself some cute outfits that are not maternity and fit your body now, and not the way you plan for it to be.)

I was 175 (at 5'6) when I got pregnant with my second. By the time she was 18 months old, I was about 150 and a size 10, and that's where I am now 3 years after her birth.

Oh, and maybe you want to be less strict and not more. I lost most of my weight being pretty much primal, a la Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint, not strict Whole30-style paleo. That definitely included dairy and wine. :)

0 · March 24, 2013 at 04:03 AM

Well done for being so disciplined an eating high nutrient while Bf! Your body will thank you long term. I takes ages to lose weight while breastfeeding. I gain about 20 kg (40 pounds) while pregnant and lose about 10-14 kg water weight straight away. Then after that the other 20 pounds takes until 10-12 months to come off. Having a well nourished body will certainly make it easier to recover and keep producing quality milk though which makes for a happier baby. This time I had anxiety issues ( hormones again) and lost my appetite and got down to only a kg from my pre- pregnant weight at about 4 months. However my milk suffered and my baby's sleep went downhill as a consequence. I was not paelo at the time so it was possibly some muscle as I was not toned. I ended up having to eat lots and lots and pump and all that hassle to get it back. Now having just started tentative paelo at 10 month pp I am back there again but toned and healthier. Still even if my nutrients and water and exercise are good and calories moderate I do not lose fast. Metabolism, hormones etc will not allow it. It's annoying is 't it!

0 · January 02, 2013 at 08:48 PM

From your description of your daily diet I would say you need to cut out some of your nut intake and limit to one small serving a day. When trying to lose weight with paleo it is better to limit extremely calorie dense foods and eat much more veggies. Fill up on veggies and eat fruit but not too much to maximize weight loss, and of course exercise. I'm 5 weeks post partum and about to start back on paleo again and understand the frustration of not losing quickly while breast feeding!

-2 · September 19, 2012 at 09:15 PM

Every exercise instrument has it own role in turning out the body shape to a attractive look and is possible with proper guidance................


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