Would you consider early weaning for weight loss? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 89 Old 12-31-2007, 05:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hypothetically speaking, if you were obese, and had started to manifest physical problems (high blood pressure, muscle and joint pain), extreme depression and low self esteem because of your weight, would you consider early (after 1 year) weaning to lose weight, or just "deal with" your physical and mental health problems until your LO self-weaned?

(Assuming you could not lose weight while breastfeeding)

I am curious. I have not lost one ounce of weight (I have, in fact, gained) in the nearly 7 months PP EBF. Neither diet nor exercise has seemed to make any difference so far.

I can and will definitely make it one year for my sweet child, but I don't know how much longer I can last, trapped in this body so alien to my usual self (at least 80-100lbs heavier than usual). I am also concerned for my physical health -- I now have high blood pressure, joint pain, muscle pain, insomnia and fatigue which I do attribute to this "excess" -- even if I lost 80lbs, I would be over the "ideal" according to the stupid BMI chart -- weight).

On the other hand, I AM willing to sacrifice everything for my child's health. I wonder though when he will be able to pick up on my mental issues about myself.
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#2 of 89 Old 12-31-2007, 05:36 AM
 
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If it were me, I would be happy to have given my LO a year of my milk, and then weaned to make my health better.

HUGS to you mama, I too haven't lost all the weight, and I'm 19 months post partum. Oh how I wished I was one of those mom's who lost weight with breastfeeding, but not for me.
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#3 of 89 Old 12-31-2007, 06:52 AM
 
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I would not wean early.
I didn't lose a pound until my daughter was well over a year old--more like 18 months. And I just returned to my pre-pregnancy weight--DD is now 2. To me, it felt like my body was just hanging on to all of that weight until my daughter was older, and now it's actually coming off. It was very frustrating at the time.
Also, breastfeeding greatly reduces a child's chances of struggling with obesity later in life, and that would be an important consideration for me.
Have you seen The Shape of a Mother? That is something that has really helped me with my own self-esteem issues regarding weight and body image.
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#4 of 89 Old 12-31-2007, 07:00 AM
 
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why couldn't you loose while nursing?

Why not wait till one year and then change your diet/excersize what have you and give solids to baby but still let her nurse as she wanted. Or nightwean (as sleep=easier weight loss, so perhaps you are not sleeping enough uninterrupted?)

Good luck and hugs mama. Of course YOUR health is PARAMOUNT. If mama ain't happy/healthy ain't NOBODY happy/healty!

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#5 of 89 Old 12-31-2007, 07:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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It breaks my heart to even consider weaning at all... I don't know why I can't lose. Maybe I should see a doctor or a naturopath about this.

That website is very emotional for me. Thanks for the link. I deeply appreciate it. This is a hard journey for someone who has had body dysmorphia in the past and now an actual weight problem.
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#6 of 89 Old 12-31-2007, 10:08 AM
 
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Sorry that you are going through this. I probably wouldn't wean early but start a diet and exercise program while nursing (under a doctor's supervision, if needed). I think that there is no problem with working out and eating healthier while nursing. The better diet may even be great for your milk. Good luck and

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#7 of 89 Old 12-31-2007, 10:53 AM
 
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I would exhaust EVER OTHER OPTION before even considering weaning. I also don't understand why you need to wean to lose weight? Usually nursing makes it easier. It would have to be a dire situation for me to entertain the thought honestly. Good luck!

~Marie : Mom to DS(11), DS(10), DD(8), DD(4), DD(2), & Happily Married to DH 12 yrs.!
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#8 of 89 Old 12-31-2007, 11:09 AM
 
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I also was one of those mamas who couldn't lose weight while nursing. And it was extremely frustrating to hear all about how *easy* it is to lose weight while breastfeeding. My FP told me it's pretty common, actually, to struggle with weight loss while breastfeeding. I think it might help for you to see your doctor and have your thyroid checked.

DD1 weaned at 18 mos. A couple months after that the weight started falling off.

DD2 weaned at 24 mos. I tried everything. I've always walked 4-5x/week for exercise, but I started running since walking wasn't helping. My weight didn't budge. I joined the Y and started lifting weights, kickboxing, spin, as well as continuing to run 1-2x/week. Again, nothing happened. That's when I saw my doctor and she told me my body just might not want to drop the weight until after weaning. She also ran some bloodwork in case my thyroid was off.

In the past six months since DD2 weaned I've lost about 20 lbs. I'm still exercising and eating well. The weight loss is easy, and I feel a lot better in general.
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#9 of 89 Old 12-31-2007, 11:31 AM
 
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I never really lost weight before my kids were 9mo or so- except for the first month or so when it was just my uterus shrinking.

What weight loss techniques have you tried so far? One diet may work where another one didn't. Also, have your thyroid checked- underactive thyroid will keep you from being able to lose weight whether you're BF or not, and synthroid is perfectly safe while nursing.

If you truly can't lose weight while BF, then you'd need to balance out the baby's need for milk with your own health needs. But I think the best thing to do is try and get your health under control before then- and then re-evaluate the situation when your baby is a year old. If you're able to start losing weight slowly, then there will be no reason to wean. And if you can't, I'd suggest that you START the weaning process at 12mo rather than try to have it finished by then.

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#10 of 89 Old 12-31-2007, 11:41 AM
 
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I would be worried that you would go through the trouble of weaning, and then find that you still would not be able to lose weight.
I would go to a medical professional and see if something is up with your health. Thyroid possibly?
I lost weight while breastfeeding at first, very quickly, and got down to ten pounds below my prepregnancy weight, and then as DD started to wean at six months (with the intro to solid foods) I started to gain again. I am now 20 pounds heavier than I was when she started solids, and she is still nursing a few times a day. I have been trying to eat healthy and excercise, but I am planning to get my thyroid checked since thyroid problems run in my family and I have a few other symptoms.
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#11 of 89 Old 12-31-2007, 11:42 AM
 
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I can't lose weight while BFing either. I can totally relate to feeling like an alien in your body. For me though, early weaning isn't an option, and neither is dieting (which doesn't work, it just doesn't).

For me, I choose to excercise and eat healthy for my health, not my size, and that makes me feel about 100 times better about myself and my body. If I am thinking about losing weight, I hate exercising. I threw away the scale. I accept the fact that I may never be a size 12 or 10 or 8 again. I just keep working on accepting that, and myself. Its the hardest thing I've ever done, but I am happier now, with myself, and my life, with my plus-size body that I ever, ever was with a smaller one. Its not easy - I fight hating my body every day, and now that I am pregnant, I battle a lingering despair that I will never been thinnish again. But I keep trying, because at the end of the day, accepting my body keeps my self esteem up and keeps me focused on what is more important.

Don't buy into the myth that you cannot be healthy at a bigger size. Its just not true. Dieting will just make it harder for your body weight to stabilize.

Just a couple links. Google health at any size...

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/25384.php
http://www.pearlsong.com/haes.htm
http://naafa.org/
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#12 of 89 Old 12-31-2007, 12:16 PM
 
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I didn't lose weight while nursing until after a year. When I did lose weight it was pretty quickly and sudden. I wouldn't wean early.

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#13 of 89 Old 12-31-2007, 01:53 PM
 
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No way would I wean early. There has to be other options that do not adversely affect my children.
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#14 of 89 Old 12-31-2007, 01:56 PM
 
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At a year? No. I would consider it at 2 if the weight was having serious effects on my health.

-Angela
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#15 of 89 Old 12-31-2007, 02:05 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MilkTrance View Post
I can and will definitely make it one year for my sweet child, but I don't know how much longer I can last, trapped in this body so alien to my usual self (at least 80-100lbs heavier than usual). I am also concerned for my physical health -- I now have high blood pressure, joint pain, muscle pain, insomnia and fatigue which I do attribute to this "excess" -- even if I lost 80lbs, I would be over the "ideal" according to the stupid BMI chart -- weight).

On the other hand, I AM willing to sacrifice everything for my child's health. I wonder though when he will be able to pick up on my mental issues about myself.
I bolded that part myself. Be careful of the BMI charts. They say someone is obese when they might not necessarily be so.

I'm tall (5'11") and weigh 225 (size 18) right now. It's more than I should weigh, but I'm not obese. When I joined the Y in early 2006 a trainer did a whole workup on me. My body fat was within the ideal range. She made a plan for me to get into the lean range, and told me I was very muscular and athletically built. I will always weigh more than the charts say I should. But I still would like to lose 30-40lbs and be a size 14-16. High blood pressure is something I'll have to watch as I get older. Diabetes runs in our family, too. Getting my weight down now is a priority to me for being around as my kids grow up. But I'm doing it slowly, and not going to extreme measures. In fact, I've got a batch of homemade cinnamon rolls in the oven right now! Gotta go check on them!

I just wanted to encourage you again to not be impatient. It felt like forever to me when I was nursing a 7 mo old and not losing any weight. At 24 mos she was already nursing sporadically. I just quit offering and we were done painlessly. Since she weaned in March I've lost about 15 lbs. It took a few months before the weight loss started.
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#16 of 89 Old 12-31-2007, 02:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MilkTrance View Post
It breaks my heart to even consider weaning at all... I don't know why I can't lose. Maybe I should see a doctor or a naturopath about this.

That website is very emotional for me. Thanks for the link. I deeply appreciate it. This is a hard journey for someone who has had body dysmorphia in the past and now an actual weight problem.
I felt the same way...everyone told me that if I didn't lose the weight before 1 yr it wouldn't come off, then I came on here and realized that keeping weight IS normal too! I lost about 15 lbs right away then didn't lose anything else until just a couple of weeks ago. But it really makes sense that our bodies want to make sure they will be able to nourish our children even if a famine comes and we can't eat enough. This thought has made me feel better, as I used to have a rockin bod, and now I have a mama bod If I get it back one day great, and if not that's ok too, my baby is getting the best she can get and that's what matters to me!

Christian mama to one dear girl, and wife to a Jesus - loving husband smile.gif  

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#17 of 89 Old 12-31-2007, 02:55 PM
 
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I would go to a doctor and have them do some tests on your thyroid and all of that. It isn't uncommon to experience thyroid and endocrine problems after having a baby. Breastfeeding normally helps some women lose at least a little bit of weight, and I don't think its normal at all that you've actually gained while nursing. Don't wean-I don't think its necessary. I think there is an underlying physical problem causing you not to be able to lose the weight. Additionally, weaning can further slow your already sluggish metabolism, it might even make it harder for the weight to come off.
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#18 of 89 Old 12-31-2007, 03:20 PM
 
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I was struggling with this problem a few months ago. I'm not overweight but I did gain more weight during my pregnancy than I was used to and was having a hard time dealing with it. In the end I just thought about what mattered more to me, feeling good about myself right away or making sure my daughter was breastfed. My daughter being breastfed won.

Although my case isn't the same as yours, as your having medical problems it was still a decision I had to think about.

If you really want to lose weight and continue to breastfeed you can do it. I think the biggest problem when people are trying to lose weight is that they are eating more junk than they actually think they are. Start writing down everything you eat and I bet you'll see that half of the stuff you write down, you don't even need to eat or is probably not very healthy for you. Add more whole grains, fruit, vegetables, dairy, and try and stick to chicken or fish. Go for a walk in the morning and evening if you have the time. I took my daughter on these walks and she loved them.

There shouldn't be a reason why you have to stop breast feeding to get healthy. I was running 2 miles twice a day 5xweek over the summer and not once did I ever have a problem with my supply going down. I just made sure to stop eating junk foods and added in good healthy stuff.

It's hard, so I can appreciate what you're going through. I've had months where I was good and went to the gym 7xweek for at least 2 hours and didn't see a difference! It was horrible and I felt so defeated. Right now I'm dealing with that problem and I can tell you it's hard. I feel like giving up but I know if I do all those months of work will be for nothing.

Good luck!
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#19 of 89 Old 12-31-2007, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post

What weight loss techniques have you tried so far? One diet may work where another one didn't.

I have only tried the "eat less, move more" diet. I have not tried any formal diets -- I'm too scared. All of the diet books I have say XYZ diet is not for nursing or pregnant mothers.

I admit my exercise is not hard core. It is just walking. My pelvis still feels like it is going to crack in half (even though I had a C -- weird hey?)

I would never consider weaning before 12 months!
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#20 of 89 Old 12-31-2007, 06:34 PM
 
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Yes I would, 1 year is very good, especially under this condition
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#21 of 89 Old 01-01-2008, 12:04 AM
 
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weight watchers is pretty sane and has a program for nursing mamas.
I'm starting that on thursday and getting my thyroid checked. I'm at the heaviest I've ever been and have been nursing a very frequent nursling for over 2 years.
It's hard!
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#22 of 89 Old 01-01-2008, 12:11 AM
 
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I'm in the same rock-and-hard-place situation. I'm literally double the weight I should be. My boy is almost 20 months, and I have been seriously thinking about weaning him at 2 years. My weight problem is psychological, which I am getting help for, but the obesity-related health issues don't get put on hold while I sort my mental issues out. The only thing that has ever worked for me was amphetamines (which I know are bad but at least to shift a bit of weight to get me healthy, wouldn't it be worth it?) so I have to wean if I want to go on those.

OP - hugs to you, I know what you're going through. I haven't made a final decision yet, but I think it's definitely OK to wean once your baby can do without it nutritionally; ie if he's eating 3 good meals per day and happy to snack on fruit etc in between, and if he's sleeping well at night and can be settled back to sleep with water instead of milk. I wouldn't want to be in the situation where I felt I needed to give bottles of cows milk or toddler formula, because he wasn't eating or settling.

{{{hugs}}}
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#23 of 89 Old 01-01-2008, 02:45 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MilkTrance View Post
I have only tried the "eat less, move more" diet. I have not tried any formal diets -- I'm too scared. All of the diet books I have say XYZ diet is not for nursing or pregnant mothers.

I admit my exercise is not hard core. It is just walking. My pelvis still feels like it is going to crack in half (even though I had a C -- weird hey?)

I would never consider weaning before 12 months!
Weight Watchers has a program for breastfeeding mothers. I was a member for a while. They gave you more points to work with and our "coach" we had actually discussed different foods that were better for us.
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#24 of 89 Old 01-01-2008, 03:46 AM
 
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I'm also in the situation were I'm obese and it is affecting my health.
While i did lose 35 lbs by the time Anna was 3 mths old(only gained 20lbs) I've since gained back almost 50 lbs in 1.5 yrs. i weigh more now than when i was 9 mths pregnant.

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#25 of 89 Old 01-01-2008, 10:58 AM
 
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I'm concerned that the desire to wean in order to lose weight indicates the intention to do something fairly drastic (sudden large changes to diet, pills, etc) rather than gradual lifestyle changes in a healthy direction. As a PP said, diets don't work--at least not long term. There's also a good bit of research showing that overall activity level is more related to health than is size. In addition to making healthy food choices, I'd up my exercise regime and wouldn't worry about weaning. I don't know what your childcare situation is like, but it can be nice to have exercise options that can include your child (like walking or biking) as well as ones that can't (weight lifting, swimming). But by all means, find a way to exercise that doesn't cause you pain!
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#26 of 89 Old 01-01-2008, 11:23 AM
 
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I guess as I continue to read the responses here I feel like I need to reiterate, as a few of the other mamas here have said, not everyone can lose weight while nursing no matter what they do.

When I couldn't lose any weight while I was nursing my DD2 I would read threads like this where many of the posters would say to just increase the exercise and eat better. I did both and still didn't lose weight. Within a few months of my DD weaning at 24 mos, with no changes to my diet or exercise, I began to lose weight. Nursing was telling my body to keep the fat on. It just was. And it was very discouraging to me to read/hear about how it must be something I needed to do like eat better or exercise more.

When DD was about 20mos old I saw my doctor about it. She confirmed that some women *can't* lose weight while nursing. After examining me she concluded that, for me, the extra weight I was carrying was not as detrimental to my health as nursing was beneficial to my DD. I was about 55 lbs overweight at the time, exercising 5x/week (running, spin, weights, kickboxing, walking), and eating healthy. The "rules" of weight loss (healthy food/exercise) weren't working for me.

OP - I would encourage you to see your doctor before making any decisions. Your thyroid may very well be to blame.
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#27 of 89 Old 01-01-2008, 11:26 AM
 
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No, I would not wean. I really do not believe it is necessary to improve health, or lose weight if that is your goal. Start eating more healthfully, only whole grains, no sugar, lots and lots of veggies, some fruit, protein with every meal. Eat every 2 hours or so, especially at first. Eat when you are hungry for sure! But eat well. That won't compromise your milk supply and may well improve it.
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#28 of 89 Old 01-01-2008, 11:30 AM
 
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When I couldn't lose any weight while I was nursing my DD2 I would read threads like this where many of the posters would say to just increase the exercise and eat better. I did both and still didn't lose weight. Within a few months of my DD weaning at 24 mos, with no changes to my diet or exercise, I began to lose weight. Nursing was telling my body to keep the fat on. It just was. And it was very discouraging to me to read/hear about how it must be something I needed to do like eat better or exercise more.
This is one of many reasons why, to me, this focus on 'fat' is really a dangerous red herring. If you have high blood pressure or other negative health symptoms, treat those. Many many health issues can be corrected by proper diet. Ignore the fat, eat healthfully for health reasons, not size reasons. Weight your body does not want or need will come off naturally as a side effect. Eating well has a direct effect on your health.

Despite what the diet industry teaches, the cycle goes: Good eating -> Improved health -> Possible weight loss. NOT Good eating -> Weight loss -> Improved health.
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#29 of 89 Old 01-01-2008, 11:51 AM
 
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This is one of many reasons why, to me, this focus on 'fat' is really a dangerous red herring. If you have high blood pressure or other negative health symptoms, treat those. Many many health issues can be corrected by proper diet. Ignore the fat, eat healthfully for health reasons, not size reasons. Weight your body does not want or need will come off naturally as a side effect. Eating well has a direct effect on your health.

Despite what the diet industry teaches, the cycle goes: Good eating -> Improved health -> Possible weight loss. NOT Good eating -> Weight loss -> Improved health.
This is such a good point, and why I appreciated my very pro-breastfeeding doctor who told me the same thing. My blood pressure was elevated due to the increased weight. But the exercise I was doing seemed to be keeping it from creeping higher. And I was in pretty good cardio shape otherwise with all the spin classes and running I was doing. I was healthy enough to keep nursing, and my DD who suffered from repeat ear infections needed to keep nursing more than I needed to lose weight. However, it would have been bad for me to sustain that extra weight indefinitely, esp as I get older.

I am thrilled, with how easy the weight loss has been in the past six months since my DD stopped nursing. I'm still exercising and eating well (except for those cinnamon rolls I mentioned yesterday! : ). And the weight is just dropping off, ever so slowly. I'm losing about 3 lbs/month. I'm sure I could lose it more quickly if I stopped eating those rolls! But I feel like this is a healthier way to get to where my body wants to be.

I think if the OP was talking about 20-30lbs I wouldn't be chiming in so much with my experience. But she says it's 80-100 lbs. That's a lot of extra weight. I think she should get a doctor's opinion -- esp if her doctor supports her nursing, which some, like mine, do.
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#30 of 89 Old 01-01-2008, 12:06 PM
 
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I'm 80-100 lbs 'overweight' myself. Used to be 100-150 lbs overweight. I changed how I eat dramatically at the start of 2006, while nursing my then... uh, I guess 2 year old. No effect on milk supply, no need to wean to do it. And I have had dramatic positive health effects, as well as a weight loss of about 50-60 lbs. I am now as 'overweight' as the OP but my health is much improved. I was not ovulating regularly and had to take Metformin to conceive my daughter; this pregnancy I conceived naturally as I began ovulating regularly on my own. My blood pressure used to be chronically high (at least 130/90); now it is usually 110/70 or so. My fasting glucose/insulin ratios also dropped from very high into well within the normal range. I credit all of that to dietary change, which also caused weight loss. The fact I am still large and have none of the health issues I used to have when I ate more poorly is very significant to me.

I really believe it is not weight that 'causes' anything (well maybe except joint strain, that type of thing). But there is no need to wean a child to eat more healthfully, and healthful eating IMO cures many health issues regardless of your weight.
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