weight loss help scales

Q

I am still breastfeeding my 10 month old and have changed my diet to a low carb, no sugar (unless natural sugars like honey etc) no dairy and herbal tea instead of coffee and I manage to exercise 4 times a week to a fitness DVD. I don’t seem to be losing ANY weight at all even though this is probably the healthiest I’ve ever been. I keep seeing amazing results from friends doing the same thing and wonder if it’s because I’m breastfeeding still. I feed my daughter morning and nighttimes on the breast and I don’t want this to be the reason I give up but it’s really getting me down.

A

New mothers are often told they will shift the baby weight if they breastfeed, in fact at an event for pregnant women I attended recently I heard an obstetrician say that the breastfeeding was far better than exercise and a personal trainer to get back into shape.  It’s actually quite a misconception as many women find they struggle to lose weight when breastfeeding and whilst touted by celebrities who claim it’s how they get their figures back it’s the opposite for some women. This is down to a few factors.  Breastfeeding means sitting down and being inactive and in the early days when the baby may be feeding more frequently that may mean you may sit down for about 5 hours a day. Some women feel really ravenous when breastfeeding or get dehydrated which means the body thinks it’s hungry rather than knowing it’s thirsty. There are also hormonal changes going on which means the body clings to the maternal fat stores that it lays down during pregnancy in preparation for breastfeeding.  Whilst there is some information out there that claims breastfeeding burns 750 calories, this can be inaccurate as it depends on the size of the woman, her metabolic rate and also what she is eating; women may think they need more calories than they actually do and combined with the new responsibility and anxiety of having a new baby not only end up eating more but reach out unconsciously for biscuits and poorer food choices.

You’ve made some really positive changes to your nutrition and set your baby up for a great start in life so please do not get frustrated! What may be happening is your metabolism has slowed down. If you don’t meet the energy demands your body requires or drop a food group from your diet, the body in fact goes into ‘protection’ mode, especially during times when you need more energy. This ‘protection’ mode means the body holds onto the maternal fat stores gained during pregnancy and releases them far more slowly, even if you are exercising regularly, because it thinks it is going to be ‘starved’ of food. If your metabolism slows down, it makes it more difficult to lose weight.

Be sure to continue to eat regulary, every 3 hours, with balanced meals including protein of lean fish or meat, grains like quinoa or brown rice with plenty of vegetables and healthy snacks. This will help improve muscle tone which leads to improving your metabolism. Also drink 10 glasses of water a day, breast milk is 50% water, to also make sure you are not dehydrated.

Try changing the type of exercise you are doing; your focus should be a combination of low impact but high intensity cardio and strength training with the focus on post natal specific core exercises to not only improve metabolism but to ensure you tone your tummy rather than cause a ‘domed’ appearance.

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Consult your doctor or health professional and follow all safety instructions before beginning any exercise program. Results may vary. Exercise and the correct nutrition are necessary to achieve and maintain muscle tone and weight loss. Bump and Beyond by Vicky Warr is a registered trademark of Bump and Beyond by Vicky Warr Ltd., ©2022 Bump and Beyond by Vicky Warr. All rights reserved.

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