The Real Deal: How to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding!

Nancy Anderson is a certified fitness trainer, nutrition consultant, pre and post natal specialist and one of the most sought after celebrity trainers in Orange County CA. She is a Trainer for the Pear Sports fitness app and a Master Trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp. Nancy was named one of the top 10 Trainers to follow by Self Magazine and recently just published her first ebook on her nutritional plan ‘Nancy’s bible diet’.

Nancy’s extensive education in health and fitness, combined with her passion for working with people to help them live their best and healthiest lives, continues to take her career to new heights.  Most recently, after experiencing pregnancy and motherhood firsthand, Nancy has found a deep passion for working with fellow fit moms who also do-it-all.  In addition to being a certified pre- and post-natal trainer, Nancy also created a full pregnancy workout program (for all trimesters) that is featured on the Pear Sports App. Nancy is here today to talk about why you’re struggling to lose that extra baby weight while breastfeeding. You can find Nancy on her website, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook

 You know what’s crazy? Having a baby and everyone under the sun telling you “ohh all the baby will melt right off as long as you breastfeed.” and then it well, it doesn’t at all happen for you. I gained just about 30 lbs with my first baby; nine pounds of which was him, another 10 dropped off that first week and then BAM as soon as my milk came in that weight loss halted and wouldn’t budge.  It stayed like this just about the whole time I was breastfeeding (almost a year!) until I made a few very important changes.

3 reasons why you’re not losing weight while Breastfeeding:

  1. Hormones: In general so many people dismiss the role that hormones play in, well everything, including weight loss.  When you’re breastfeeding (and not ovulating yet) your estrogen and progesterone are typically low. This causes problems for those who want to lose weight because low estrogen can slow down our metabolism making it harder for us to drop lbs. The combination of low estrogen and progesterone makes us a lot more sensitive to sugar and carbohydrates not only making us crave them more but making our insulin more sensitive when we do eat them.  Which of course is going to make it harder for us to lose weight, especially belly fat.
  2. Adrenal Function: Late night, mid-night and early morning feedings are far too familiar for breastfeeding moms during that newborn phase. The lack of sleep paired with the estrogen/progesterone state during a highly stressful time can really jack up or cortisol levels (stress hormone) and send our adrenals into working in overdrive which can cause weight loss resistance.
  3. Not Eating Enough or Nutrition Deficiencies: While you’re breast feeding your body needs fat. Keep in mind that most of your milk is made up of fat.  So if your body is not getting enough fuel, or the right fuel from what you’re eating your body will hold on to fat stores.  You have to fuel properly to get your body to relax, trust you and starting letting those fat stores go (shrink). In your bodies defense, this is it’s way of protecting you and your baby from starvation.

3 ways to jump start weight loss without losing your milk supply:

  1. Ditch some sugar and carbs out of your diet and replace it with healthy fats: High sugar causes high insulin and high insulin doesn’t help us lose weight or support our adrenals. Of course you want to still have carbs in your diet still, but try to choose healthy carbs like sweet potatoes, fruits, beans, quinoa, brown rice.  Start adding in healthy fats into every meal (just a serving or so would be great). Healthy fats will assist with milk supply, energy, insulin control, hunger control, not to mention better brain function and mood while decreasing your risk of depression.  Any Mama who has been deep in that newborn phase can appreciate those last few benefits! Good sources of healthy fats would include: nuts, seeds, grassed butter, fatty fish, nut butters and oils such as coconut or flax oil.
  2. Control your stress: This is easier said than done when you’re a new Mom but try to find some time for yourself.  If it’s just 30 minutes to workout or go for a walk or get your nails done.  It’s amazing what just a few minutes alone can do to help calm your nerves, recharge and rejuvenate.  Try to get a family member, babysitter or your spouse to help make this happen for you.  People are always willing to help with a newborn- take advantage of it and take a few minutes for you.
  3. Get some rest: Again this can be hard when you have a new baby.  As a Mom the biggest suggestion I can give new Mom’s is to get your baby on a routine and schedule as soon as possible. This is hard work at first, but I would do it ten times over because of how much freedom and rest it gave me in the long run.  When you get your infant on a set schedule you get a happier baby with more consistent sleep schedule and longer stretches of sleep throughout the night. The sooner you can do this the sooner you’re going to start reducing your stress, relieving your adrenals and losing weight.  Not to mention start feeling like a human being again!  If the sleep training thing isn’t something that you’re conformable doing then at least try to sleep when the baby sleeps.  Forget about cleaning up, checking emails, or laundry, just take the rest while you can.

In closing, be kind to yourself. Being pregnant is hard,  having a baby is hard, taking care of an infant is hard.  Remember this is temporary.  If you’re holding weight because you’re breastfeeding it will eventually drop when you wean. Hang in there Mama!