postpartum weight loss and body image - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 28 Old 01-23-2010, 03:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was hoping for "9 months to put it on---9 months to take it off" regarding pregnancy weight. But here I am 9 months PP and still 15 lbs over my pre pregnancy weight. I can't understand it. I thought that BF'ding helped PP weight loss but nothing is budging. I'm 5' 5" and PPW was 133-135 lbs which I thought was an ideal weight for me. Now I am 145-148 lbs.

My diet is the same as pre-pregnancy (I ate more dairy when I was pregnant) and that is that I eat a completely organic, whole foods diet. I'm gluten free and eat very low dairy in my diet usually just organic pasture butter or possibly a spoonful or two of yogurt (my body doesn't like dairy, I feel ill if I eat too much). I eat mostly meat, chicken, fish, eggs, veggies, nuts, seeds, and fruits. If I eat any grains it would be quinoa or sprouted brown rice, very occasionally GF oatmeal. I don't eat any cane sugar and have a low sugar diet. When I use sugar in baking I use small amounts of maple syrup, coconut palm sugar, date sugar, or raw honey. I eat a high oil/fat diet, lots of coconut oil and nut butters. But I've always eaten this way, at least for the last few years.

So I don't know if it is the sheer amount of food I am eating? I am hungry ALL the time. I eat 4 huge meals a day and feel like I am starving if I don't. I understand the body craves more calories when BF'ding but I think my body is craving too many calories?

Oh, I also exercise for at least a hour each day. Usually walking with baby in the ergo, minimum 1.5 miles per day. It's not a huge amount, but at least it's regular...

What is going on here? I'd love advice. I'm feeling really, really miserable about my body image and it's affecting my whole life.

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#2 of 28 Old 01-23-2010, 03:47 PM
 
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This sounds like a calories in, calories out problem to me. I too am breast-feeding (plus pumping an extra 10-12oz a day to donate) and I don't eat 4 large meals a day. There are calculators online that will tell you how many calories you need to eat per day to get to your goal weight. EI if you want to weigh 133lb you'll need to start eating the amount of calories that it takes to sustain that weight (plus bf calories). I have found them very helpful.

I'm 5'7", my pregnancy weight was 122lbs. I gained 52lbs while I was pregnant. My baby is 5.5mo and I currently weigh 129lbs.. I have been consistently losing weight. I would guess that I eat around 2200-2300 calories per day. I walk 2-3 miles 4-5 days per week (with my baby in a carrier). Here's what I eat in a normal day..

Breakfast:
Bagel w/cream cheese, banana, coffee w/creamer and whipped cream.

Lunch:
Meat and veggie curry w/rice

Snacks:
Small ice-cream sandwich
1-2 pieces of fruit

Dinner:
4-6oz of chicken, huge pile of salad, one baked potato.

Desert:
A glass of wine
A few bites of ice-cream

Abra, Married to George, Mother to DS 12/03 & DD1 08/09 & DD2 12/11 + Someone New in May 2015! After years of planning, we are finally living our dream in South America!!
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#3 of 28 Old 01-23-2010, 05:57 PM
 
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I also gained weight and was always hungry when I was nursing DD1. With DD2, I am slowly losing weight and not overly hungry. I am 10 lbs below my pre-pregnancy weight already. I am eating more saturated fat this time, which I think helps a lot. Also, I am taking a really good cod liver oil and getting a lot more vit. D, A, and C. In fact since my DH and I have started taking the cod liver oil we are both steadily losing weight. We use the "green pastures" brand which is fermented and endorsed by the Weston Price foundation. There does seem to be a link because vit. D and weight, so for us I think it is our magic bullet.

I really think that being overly hungry could indicate a deficiency in some nutrient. That certainly seems to be my experience. I hope this helps!

, , , , , to DD1 (4.5 years old) and DD2 (7 months) and 2
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#4 of 28 Old 01-23-2010, 06:04 PM
 
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You are almost definitely eating too much.

With my first, it wasn't until I started watching portion sizes and putting up with being hungry (which is how most diets make me feel) that I lost weight. And I was hungry. But the weight came off fast.

A general rule of thumb for losing weight while breastfeeding is that your body uses an extra 50 cal/pound of baby if all the baby's getting is breastmilk.

Your post seems to indicate that you're maintaining your weight when listening to your body's hunger signals. That's entirely normal. Your body doesn't want to lose the extra weight. It wants to save it for a lean time.

I have a new baby now, and I already notice it. I was eating 1 sandwich for lunch when pregnant. Now, I eat one and really want another. I find that I eat a "normal for me" portion of food and then feel drawn towards a second helping.
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#5 of 28 Old 01-23-2010, 06:10 PM
 
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Not sure if this will help but, are you drinking a lot of water? I know ever since i started bf'ing I am always thirsty! Sometimes our bodies are confused and we eat when really we are just thirsty... I know on days I don't drink as much water I eat more, and vice versa... Also I don't eat 'meals', I just graze all day. This has helped me a lot! I lost all the baby weight by 3 mo pp, and now am about 5-8 pounds less than pre-prego. Good luck finding a solution mama!!

Mother to C 6/5/09 and wife to wonderful hubby!
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#6 of 28 Old 01-23-2010, 06:47 PM
 
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I think you are probably eating too much, too, but I hear you on how hungry breastfeeding makes you--I feel the same way!

I think maybe upping your exercise would help--if you are walking for an hour and only going 1.5 miles, that seems pretty slow. I walk at least 3.5 miles in an hour, with my 3-year-old and my baby in a double jogging stroller. I have also started doing my Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred DVD and it is making a major difference for me--maybe try something like that? This DVD is just a 20 minute workout of intervals--3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio, and 1 minute of abs, 3 circuits of that that adds up to 20 minutes. I have done this workout 9 times already (there are 3 levels--ideally you would spend 10 days on each level, and I don't do it every day, more like every other day so it will take me longer than 30 days to complete 30 workouts) and I am seeing major results already.

Mama to 2 sweet gorgeous children, a 4-year-old DS and a 1-year-old DD.
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#7 of 28 Old 01-23-2010, 06:55 PM
 
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Honestly if you're hungry and breastfeeding I would eat. Not eating compromises your milk supply and it's hard to imagine it not compromising the nutritive value of the milk (although I'm pretty sure research says that women produce nutritionally perfect milk even in famine conditions).

Are you sure the hunger is physical hunger? Or do you just feel peckish? Maybe you could try adding some more exercise a few days a week and see if you feel better, (something that will really make you sweat) or speak to a health professional. It sounds risky and dangerous to cut calories while breastfeeding without speaking to a professional.

Just my $.02. Good luck!

Sarah. Married to my Mirus, raising my DD1 (Aug. '09) and my DD2 (March '11) and waiting for my newest (April '14)!
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#8 of 28 Old 01-23-2010, 08:24 PM
 
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It is a MYTH that breastfeeding is a magic weightloss tool - for some of it is no extra help at all.

For some women it seems their body holds onto some weight until they finish breastfeeding.

Surviving sleep deprivation one day at a time with dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08).

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#9 of 28 Old 01-23-2010, 09:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, and to clarify, I wanted to add that I am not gaining weight. It's just that I have stopped losing the pregnancy weight at this point. I gained 43 lbs this pregnancy and lost 28-30 relatively quickly. It is just the last 13-15 that will not come off. And it is driving me crazy.

I agree it might be too many calories in but what do I do? I am so hungry that sometimes I feel angry because I feel like I am starving. It's a crazy feeling that I haven't had before. I liked the idea of upping my water intake, I will try that for sure to see if maybe my body is giving me hunger signals because it is thirsty.

I also wanted to clarify the exercise thing. I walk 7 days a week, rain or shine, wearing the baby. My minimum is 1 hour, I try for more usually. Today we did a trail that was 3 miles in that time. But sometimes when it is raining and I have my slow old dog we only average 1.5 or so. On weekends I bike a trail that is 10 miles while DH walks with DD. But during the weekdays I have to wear her while I get exercise (SAHM right now) so I can't go to a gym or anything...

The thing is that I crave (healthy) fats. Coconut oil, Hemp oil, Pumpkin seed butter, Almond butter, nuts....It's all I want to eat. And I want lots of them. This is so hard to try to deal with having a nutritious and ample milk supply and being happy mentall because I feel full and restricting my intake (which I used to do pre-pregnancy and feeling like I am going to freak out because I am so hungry. I turn into a beast and am mean to DH when I get hungry since I had the baby.


PS...Thanks for the post about Vit D and weight. Is there anything D can't do? I do take supplemental D---4000IU per day. Perhaps that is not enough? I also take cod liver oil. I use Nordic Naturals.

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#10 of 28 Old 01-23-2010, 10:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by nukuspot View Post
Oh, and to clarify, I wanted to add that I am not gaining weight. It's just that I have stopped losing the pregnancy weight at this point. I gained 43 lbs this pregnancy and lost 28-30 relatively quickly. It is just the last 13-15 that will not come off. And it is driving me crazy.

I agree it might be too many calories in but what do I do? I am so hungry that sometimes I feel angry because I feel like I am starving. It's a crazy feeling that I haven't had before. I liked the idea of upping my water intake, I will try that for sure to see if maybe my body is giving me hunger signals because it is thirsty.

I also wanted to clarify the exercise thing. I walk 7 days a week, rain or shine, wearing the baby. My minimum is 1 hour, I try for more usually. Today we did a trail that was 3 miles in that time. But sometimes when it is raining and I have my slow old dog we only average 1.5 or so. On weekends I bike a trail that is 10 miles while DH walks with DD. But during the weekdays I have to wear her while I get exercise (SAHM right now) so I can't go to a gym or anything...

The thing is that I crave (healthy) fats. Coconut oil, Hemp oil, Pumpkin seed butter, Almond butter, nuts....It's all I want to eat. And I want lots of them. This is so hard to try to deal with having a nutritious and ample milk supply and being happy mentall because I feel full and restricting my intake (which I used to do pre-pregnancy and feeling like I am going to freak out because I am so hungry. I turn into a beast and am mean to DH when I get hungry since I had the baby.


PS...Thanks for the post about Vit D and weight. Is there anything D can't do? I do take supplemental D---4000IU per day. Perhaps that is not enough? I also take cod liver oil. I use Nordic Naturals.
I would say keep loading up on those healthy fats--they are so good for you and for your milk. Like I said, try a DVD like the one I mentioned, some strength training in with your walking and biking could make a world of difference. When I was just walking everyday for 1 to 1-1/2 hours, I was more starving than ever and certainly wasn't losing any weight. Now that I have added in the strength training circuit workout DVD I am feeling much better and not SO ravenous all the time. I either take a shorter walk on the days I do the DVD or I don't walk at all. I understand what it is like to have to go on a shorter/slower walk because of a dog or what have you, but something like that is basically extra and doesn't really count as a workout, KWIM? What about putting baby in a stroller for some of the walks, even 3x a week, so that you can step up the pace or even start running? That could make a world of difference, too. I'm a SAHM too, and when I tried walking wearing my baby (and pushing my 3-year-old in the stroller) I couldn't go as far as I wanted to or as fast, so I had to get a double stroller because I need that outdoor exercise and have to have the kids with me. My baby watches me and laughs the whole time I do my DVD (which is only 20 minutes but after I'm done I feel like I ran 5 miles).

Mama to 2 sweet gorgeous children, a 4-year-old DS and a 1-year-old DD.
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#11 of 28 Old 01-24-2010, 01:28 AM
 
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Originally Posted by nukuspot View Post
The thing is that I crave (healthy) fats. Coconut oil, Hemp oil, Pumpkin seed butter, Almond butter, nuts....It's all I want to eat. And I want lots of them. This is so hard to try to deal with having a nutritious and ample milk supply and being happy mentall because I feel full and restricting my intake (which I used to do pre-pregnancy and feeling like I am going to freak out because I am so hungry. I turn into a beast and am mean to DH when I get hungry since I had the baby.
I definitely find that the more healthy fats I eat, the less crazy hungry I am and the more weight comes off. As an example I eat a few scrambled eggs, cooked in A LOT (on the order of 3 tablespoons) of butter, coconut/palm oil, or organic bacon grease for breakfast and I don't feel munch-y at all during the day.

If you are having that panic of I must eat now feeling (I know it all too well), you are probably not getting enough of something - could be water, fat, vit. D or A, a mineral, etc. My guess is fats, since you say you are craving them.

, , , , , to DD1 (4.5 years old) and DD2 (7 months) and 2
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#12 of 28 Old 01-24-2010, 02:53 AM
 
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I know how you feel! I'm EBF'ing my 10 month old, and I'm constantly hungry. I can eat a full meal and then be hungry again in an hour. Hang in there though . I think it'll just take time. I was talking with my sister about this awhile ago, and she read somewhere (sorry I don't have a reference!) about the benefits of extended breastfeeding, and that breastfeeding for more than 2 years reaps serious weightloss benefits. Don't be too hard on yourself! As long as you're being careful about what you're eating (but also not seriously denying yourself) and exercising regularly, you'll hit your ideal weight in time.
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#13 of 28 Old 01-24-2010, 04:25 AM
 
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I have heard that some women don't lose the last bit of babyweight until breastfeeding finishes. Its just like their body needs that extra roundness to do its thing. Then once breastfeeding ceases the last bit drops off.
I would continue eating if you're hungry. You're obviously good at listening to your body, so just go with it for now. You're probably still very close to a healthy weight range for your height, and I bet you look beautiful!
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#14 of 28 Old 01-24-2010, 11:01 AM
 
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Just wanted to add that with my first three there's been a sudden and natural weight loss at 12 months postpartum. I'm looking forward to it this time around!!
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#15 of 28 Old 01-24-2010, 06:24 PM
 
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I lost the most weight when baby was between 9 and 11 months old - even over the holidays!
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#16 of 28 Old 01-29-2010, 02:27 PM
 
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Hi nukuspot,

You might be able to eat as much as you are eating and lose some weight if you add more protein and reduce some more natural sugars and starches. I had to go on a high protein low sugar diet because of blood sugar issues, and I have lost too much weight. I eat a ton of food all the time - meat, low-starch veggies, and fruit. But no starches. I'm adding some things in to try to gain some weight back now. I would suspect fruit juices or starchy vegetables might be the issue since you aren't eating many grains. Good luck!

-Kathy First time Mom to Son F, born April 30, 2009.
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#17 of 28 Old 01-29-2010, 02:45 PM
 
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It's occurred to me lately that the increased appetite is really more of a habit. You amp up your caloric intake while pregnant (because you need to) and then it still stays above "normal" while breastfeeding. It's become a habit to have that mid morning snack,a little bigger lunch and again an afternoon snack. What's it take, 4 weeks to break a habit?
Ditto on increasing water intake. There's so many ways to sneak it in: drink an whole glass when taking vitamins, drink a whole glass just before a meal or every time you're nursing (or pumping) take down one glass.
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#18 of 28 Old 01-29-2010, 03:43 PM
 
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I'm sorry if I'm missing something, but I don't see the slightest problem in any of this.

Running the figures you gave through a BMI calculator gives a BMI of 24.5 (at your heavy "now") which is at the top end of the healthy range- but, crucially, still within a healthy range. You're eating well, sensibly, to your hunger levels and making good food choices. You're breastfeeding and you had a baby recently. None of this sounds in the slightest bit abnormal or wrong, apart from the fact that it's bringing you down to this extent.

Honey, you brought a child into the world. It's a life-altering year, and you're never going to be the same again- physically, as well as emotionally. Your hips are probably going to stay slightly wider, whatever your weight- your daughter nestled there for nine months before her birth, and your ligaments loosened to accommodate her. Your breasts- well, they're probably doomed- but none of this is bad. It's just different. A new normal. Those few pounds (and seriously- you've done really well, and it really is just a very few pounds) will go when the time is right. They aren't going to pose a risk to your health in the meantime.

Can I get you to go and take a look at www.theshapeofamother.com? And maybe- to think about how you'd feel if your daughter said these words to you? What would your response to her be?

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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#19 of 28 Old 01-29-2010, 04:01 PM
 
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I never lost those last 15 pounds until I stopped BFing so much. Once ds weened down to just night and once a day naptime nursing, my appetite dropped to almost nothing and I lost those last 15 and an extra 10 to boot.

Everyone is different, but you don't have to starve yourself.

Have you tried keeping a food diary at babyfit.sparkpeople.com? I found I wasn't eating ENOUGH calories, which was causing my body to hold onto fat reserves. I really love this site, because it helps me balance fat, protein and carbs in a sensible way, and it offers suggestions for yummy meals.

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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#20 of 28 Old 01-29-2010, 04:15 PM
 
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I would also suggest weaning yourself off the big meals and trying to switch to a grazing system. if your LO is nursing all day, you'll be making milk all day, so it stands to reason you'll be hungry all day. Storing that hunger up for mealtimes may mean you are over doing it when the meal time comes.

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#21 of 28 Old 01-29-2010, 05:07 PM
 
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I've noticed in alot of my EBF friends that were a healthy weight or kind of on the skinny side pre-baby didn't lose the weight until after breastfeeding; while women like me who are above, if not well above, where they "should" be lose the weight fairly easily by breastfeeding. I think for the more slender moms, their body is trying to hold onto the extra fat stores for a "lean" time. where as for those of us who are already above the "ideal" weight, our bodies seem to reckognize that there is plenty of fat stores and we can afford to lose some of that. That is just my observation

I gained about 25 lbs while pregnant - from 225 to almost 250. I have lost all but the last 4-5 - and my LO is 10 weeks old today. I think if I cut back the Hagen Daas (I am a sucker for their ice cream) and start really excersizing, I'll continue to lose and do well. I would love to be under 200 by summer . . . (but that's another story)

as far as body image, I've just not really liked how my boobs have gone all weird shaped with breastfeeding. It's bad enough I was a DD pre pregnancy and I'm like an F or G now . . .(not that DH is complaining, but he is not lugging the things around is he - with a baby attached no less!)

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#22 of 28 Old 01-29-2010, 06:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for all the new responses, and whoever brought this thread back up. I am beginning to agree with those of you who are suggesting this extra weight storage is due to breastfeeding. I don't drink any fruit juice ever, and eat a very low grain/starch diet with a high emphasis on organic meat/fish/egg/nut/seed protein and veggies with lots of oils (olive, coconut, sesame, hemp, pumpkin seed).

The thing is that this is how I have eaten for the last few years, so it's not like I made a huge diet change recently. I had hyperemesis during my pregnancy and was severely nauseous the whole time. Perhaps I am just so excited to start eating food again and am eating too much, or it's breastfeeding stores, or it's lack of enough water.

Many of your responses are very informative and I am definitely trying to drink more water, walk longer each day, graze rather than eat meals, and cut back on nuts and nut butter. However, I do take heart in those of your responses that think this extra weight will go away after I am done breastfeeding. I am sure that will be a long time from now, but it is my hope if nothing else I do changes it. I know it's not the best thing to be so focused on body image for a new mother. As a midwife I counseled many women about this same issue and used the words that many of you use for me. I have a history of negative body image and and eating disorder in my teens, and this postpartum period has brought many of those issues up for me again. I do not want my DD to ever have these issues, so I am trying to write them down here instead of discussing them aloud. Thank you for listening!

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#23 of 28 Old 01-29-2010, 08:39 PM
 
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I didn't get down to my pre-preg weight/old clothes until I stopped nursing (12mo for DD1). When I did, it was like I shed the weight overnight.

Be gentle with yourself, mama. You're craving those fats to feed your baby. I'm going to be much more realistic this time around...I too expected it to fall off the first time but I heard sometimes our bodies hold onto fat when nursing to help protect the baby. Maybe your body works the same as mine?
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#24 of 28 Old 01-29-2010, 08:46 PM
 
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Thank you for all the new responses, and whoever brought this thread back up. I am beginning to agree with those of you who are suggesting this extra weight storage is due to breastfeeding. I don't drink any fruit juice ever, and eat a very low grain/starch diet with a high emphasis on organic meat/fish/egg/nut/seed protein and veggies with lots of oils (olive, coconut, sesame, hemp, pumpkin seed).

The thing is that this is how I have eaten for the last few years, so it's not like I made a huge diet change recently. I had hyperemesis during my pregnancy and was severely nauseous the whole time. Perhaps I am just so excited to start eating food again and am eating too much, or it's breastfeeding stores, or it's lack of enough water.

Many of your responses are very informative and I am definitely trying to drink more water, walk longer each day, graze rather than eat meals, and cut back on nuts and nut butter. However, I do take heart in those of your responses that think this extra weight will go away after I am done breastfeeding. I am sure that will be a long time from now, but it is my hope if nothing else I do changes it. I know it's not the best thing to be so focused on body image for a new mother. As a midwife I counseled many women about this same issue and used the words that many of you use for me. I have a history of negative body image and and eating disorder in my teens, and this postpartum period has brought many of those issues up for me again. I do not want my DD to ever have these issues, so I am trying to write them down here instead of discussing them aloud. Thank you for listening!
I just read this thread but I wanted to say that my "numbers" before/after my first were almost exactly the same as yours. And I lost all the first 20 lbs in like 2 weeks after birth--then...nothing. I did start to lose the last 10 pounds as DS cut back on nursing. I think my body just likes to keep that last bit of weight as insurance. It sounds like you're doing really well. Keep up the good work!
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#25 of 28 Old 01-29-2010, 10:51 PM
 
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I had exactly the same scenario with my second... same foods, same hunger, etc. I couldn't drop the last 20 lbs even when I cut calories. I was craving raw milk like mad too, so I finally gave in and decided that I was just stuck with the weight and would drink as much milk as I wanted.

I upped to about four large glasses of raw, whole milk a day and the two weeks following that decision I dropped 12 lbs. I thought maybe it was a fat intake issue, so I upped the raw butter consumption and added cream to my smoothies and I dropped another 15 in the 3 weeks following! I was below my pre-preg weight and the weightloss just stopped. It's like my body knew the right weight and dumped down to it as soon as it felt like it could count on an acceptable level of fats. Despite the rapid loss my milk supply never diminished.

Aimee CageFreeFamily
Mama to Quinn 7, Nichola 3, & Simone 5wk
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#26 of 28 Old 01-30-2010, 12:21 AM
 
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I am so glad you have gotten more of the "it's probably the breastfeeding" type responses because I was really shocked at some of your first round of answers -- especially here on MDC. It sounds to me like your body is hungry and, since your weight doesn't look problematic or prediabetic from before your pregnancy, I don't see any reason not to trust your body when it is asking for healthy foods. Anyway, weight doesn't mean anywhere near as much to individual health as modern americans think it does. You're a new mother, not a little girl and I am sure you look lovely.

Beth, SAHM to the little french goose, 6/17/09 and my little panda bear 2/6/12. I nursed with low supply, domperidone and a lact-aid for 18 months!
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#27 of 28 Old 01-30-2010, 01:32 AM
 
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I just wanted to add: if your hungry, eat. I graze all day because I'm hungry all day! If I waited until a meal I would be starving!!!! Your body is craving what it needs, so eat it! You're eating heathy and walking, and taking care of you lo, that takes a lot of energy and you need food for that! I am still eating much more than I did before I was pregnant, bf'ing makes you hungry!!!

Mother to C 6/5/09 and wife to wonderful hubby!
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#28 of 28 Old 01-30-2010, 02:09 PM
 
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I'm glad to find this thread, as I have been thinking about this a lot lately. It turns out, I am not one of those women who loses a lot of weight breastfeeding either. DD is 8 months old, and I still have about 15 lbs to go until I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight. I eat healthy and work out, though recently have amped up my workouts and have seen a little weight come off from that. I walk with DD in the kelty backpack and the dog twice a day, about 2.5 - 3 miles total. I have also started the ea active, which is kicking my butt! So I just have to stay focused on that and eat healthy, and I think the weight will come off once I'm finished breastfeeding.

ETA: I have also increased my water intake. I think this will help with feeling hungry, as long as I remember to do it!

~Erin~ totally in with Olivia! 5/31/09
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