Hey mama friend! If you’ve found yourself on this post you’re most likely a lot like me.
Postpartum, pretty hormonal and trying to lose weight while breastfeeding. But also, not trying to lose your milk supply or sanity. Both walk a fine line.
Well, I genuinely think I can help you find some answers. You know why?!
Because I don’t lose weight easily. I never have. So, it would make sense that my postpartum self would struggle with losing weight while breastfeeding, taking care of a newborn and a toddler.
But, I did it! And it was NOT horrible. For the first time in my life (I’m not exaggerating) I lost weight in a very healthy way and I can’t wait to tell you about it.
Before I tell you what I did and am honestly still doing. Let me give you a little back story about me.
Because it always helps to know more about someone who is telling you how to do something. That way you can decide if you want to trust them (me) or not.
If you don’t want to hear about me or my back story, skip down the the title “How I Lost Weight While Breastfeeding.” Before and after pictures are also at the end of the post.
Ok, onto my back story…
I became a chubby girl around middle school. Perfect timing, right?!
Since then weight has always been a challenge for me. I never learned the right ways to eat and instead I made up different “plans” to help me lose weight fast.
Fast was the key. I always wanted it fast and guess what?! That never happened.
I would do things like eliminate a lot of foods and only eat fruit. Or, take ex lax if I felt like I ate too much which I know now was so unhealthy and unhelpful. Also, I tried not to eat at all. Oh, and there were all the cleanses and detoxes.
You can guess that none of these worked and if they did help me lose weight, it was always very short lived.
For most of my life I have felt uncomfortable in my own skin or fearful of gaining weight or frustrated that I couldn’t lose weight.
I would mentally go through all I ate in a day and decide weather I had been “good” or “bad.”
So, it was all a very warped way of viewing food, my weight and ultimately my body.
This cycle continued into my teens, young adulthood, married life and then I got pregnant.
I was always worried about how I would view my body when I was pregnant since I had these pre-existing body issues.
But surprisingly, I did pretty good. I focused more on appreciating my body for what it was doing.
Plus, I didn’t show a ton so I’m sure that helped out the way I was viewing myself.
After our first son was born I lost the baby weight pretty quickly by doing Whole 30 but again the weight loss never lasted long. Once the 30 days were over I would go back to my old way of eating and put on whatever pounds I may have lost.
I never wanted to weight myself or track what I was eating. I guess ignorance was bliss. But not really bliss when you’re critiquing yourself at every turn.
Then I found out that I had Hoshimotos. Basically it’s a disease where your antibodies attack you’re thyroid. This can make it easy to gain weight and hard to lose weight.
Soon after I got my thyroid regulated I became pregnant with our second son. Which was an absolute blessing!
Hoshimotos was actually what was causing me not to be able to become pregnant for a year.
So, we were relieved and incredibly thankful when we found out what was going on and then able to find a solution to that problem.
But, during this pregnancy I showed more and got more of the “you’re huge” or “you’re so big.” My neighbor even proudly exclaimed once, “you’re getting fat.” Just the thing a pregnant lady wants to hear.
So, it’s safe to say I had more body image issues this time around. I was still very grateful and appreciative of what God enabled my body to do. But, I struggled more with my size.
Fast forward to our second son being born! Of course we were elated! Our family of four felt complete.
But, I did not love my postpartum body. I was having a harder time losing weight this go around.
I kept asking myself why can’t I lost weight while breastfeeding this time around? And I found my answer.
Why Can’t I Lose Weight While Breastfeeding?
There are two camps of belief when it comes to losing weight while breastfeeding.
The first camp believes that if you breastfeed all of your postpartum weight will just melt away like butter on bread.
The second camp believes that it’s dangerous to lose weight while breastfeeding. And in fact, you’re body will not let go of the extra fat until you are finished breastfeeding all together.
I come from a place of the two camps colliding. For me breastfeeding did ramp up my metabolism. But, my body was holding onto more fat.
So, I became determined to find a healthy answers. Then one faithful day I stumbled upon some fitness ladies on Instagram and I felt like I struck gold!
How to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding
They were talking about Macros.
And let me just break the suspense here.
Counting Macros and being in a deficit is how I lost 16 pounds while breastfeeding(and still going).
All while keeping my milk supply and gaining more energy!
And that’s the 100% truth!
Exactly What I did to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding
1. Tracked Macros and Nothing Else
At first all I did was track macros to lose weight while breastfeeding. I’ll show you exactly bow I figured out what my macros should be in just a bit.
I didn’t work out much at all. Random walks was the most exercise I got because still recovering from labor is no joke!
I never knew what macros were or how to count them.
All I knew is that it sounded intimidating and over my head. But, I was so wrong!!
Let me break macro counting down for you in case you are feeling like I was.
What is Macro Counting?
I’m going to explain macro counting in my lingo which is not professional at all, but it’s how I understand it and guess you probably will too.
Macro stands for macronutrient, which is what our food is made up of.
So, when you are counting Macros you are keeping up with specific macronutrients that you are eating.
Most specifically Protein, Fat and Carbohydrates.
Your specific body needs a certain amount of these to stay the weight you are currently (maintaining), lose weight (cutting), or gain weight and muscle (bulking).
You and I want to cut. So, I knew I needed to figure out my Macros, but I didn’t know how.
Figuring out what my macros should be was so much easier than I expected (I’m not good at Math).
So, If I can do it, you most definitely can! Here’s how I got started with macro counting.
How to Calculate Your Macros to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding
Like I have mentioned, I am not a fitness professional (maybe one day). But, for now, I had no clue how to calculate my Macros.
So, I looked to the pros for help!
I quickly found Biceps after Babies and she has a free guide telling you exactly how to calculate your Macros.
You can find it here: How to Set Macros
This is a link to her show notes but you’ll see an image that looks like the one I have attached below.
And you’ll click “free download” on the first option. Later I plan to use the second button when I’m happy with my weight.
Reversing means you can eat more again! Which is so exciting to me.
So many of us stay in a constant state of diet. I’ve learned that this is not healthy or needed.
For the cut or diet phase, you should get in and out. Don’t stay there forever!
That’s so liberating to me!
But, for now you want to set your macros in a deficit.
Set Your Macros in a Deficit
Once I figured out what my macros should be using the guide I linked above and again I want to stress that Math is not my gift. So, don’t be intimidated by figuring out your macros.
If I can do it, you can do it!
When I figured out what my Macros should be I put myself in a deficit. Again, using the equations from the guide above.
It’s important to note that when you are breastfeeding you should add an extra 200-500 calories to your deficit number so you don’t lose your milk supply.
Your body is burning that amount of calories to produce milk for your baby. So, you don’t want to take those away.
Once I had my deficit number (but still an extra 300 calories). I started tracking my macros.
This was all very new to me. I hadn’t ever tracked my food or the servings. I tried to just listen to my body in that past and obviously that didn’t go very well.
Thankfully, it was way easier to track my macros than I thought.
Where to Track Your Macros
I used and still use My Fitness Pal to track my macros.
You can use the free version of this app. There is no need to pay for the premium version unless you just want to.
Once you download the app it will prompt you to set up your profile.
You can customize your macros by going to the section under Goals that is labeled Calories, Carbs, Protein and Fat Goals.
Then you can set these numbers for your specific macro numbers. Or, you can leave them at zero and just know what your numbers should be for carbs, protein and fat.
Then you would aim to hit those numbers each day.
That is what I did. I left my numbers at zero because it was tricky to put in my specific macros without My Fitness Pal altering them to fit their percentage.
At the beginning I would pre-track my food.
Meaning, the day before I would put all my food in to make sure it fit my macros for the next day. This way I had a plan and knew exactly what to eat.
Be sure to give yourself lots of grace at the beginning. It takes a while to get used to tracking your macros.
Just know you do not have to be perfect to see progress!
Related: Free At Home Workouts
How Serious You want to Get
Then depending on how serious you want to get you can weigh or portion out your food.
In the beginning I used measuring cups for everything and it worked for a long time.
A lot of macro people were talking about using a scale but that just seemed too tedious for me.
So, I stuck to my measuring cups.
My tablespoon was my best friend because I love me some peanut butter!
After a couple months my progress stalled. So, I reversed for a month or so. Meaning, I added some more calories back in.
I thought my body might need a break from being at a deficit. I was able to maintain my weight for those couple months. Which was all new to me!
Being able to add more calories into your day and not gain weight. That was another break through moment for me.
Then when I went back to a deficit I decided it was time to use a scale.
And let me just tell you it made ALL THE DIFFERENCE!
I pretty quickly lost an additional four pounds!
Plus, I figured out that using a scale was way more accurate and easier than using measuring cups.
This is the super cheap one I use but it works very well. And I love that it’s small and doesn’t take up much room in our kitchen.
Now that I’ve been using a scale for a while I’m totally hooked and it somehow feels freeing.
The next step seems so easy but somehow it’s harder than it sounds.
2. Drink so Much Water
Drink all the water! This is good to help you lose weight while breastfeeding and just good while breastfeeding regardless!
It helps you feel full and aids in your bodies ability to produce more milk.
One easy way I get a head start on my water in take it to drink 32oz as soon as I wake up.
This way I already have a good chunk of my water down the hatch.
And also, TMI if you do this before drinking your coffee it helps you have a great morning bathroom visit. And all the mamas know how important that is!
Breastfeeding moms should drink about 128 ounces of water a day.
3. Slowly Move Your Body
Once I had the macro tracking part down and I was drinking all the water. I knew it was time to move my body!
Good for the Swole specializes in pregnancy and postpartum workouts. So, I did her workouts at first and I loved them!!
She’s so good at teaching you have to repair and restore your body since it’s just done so much.
Once I felt like my body was strong enough I moved onto Madeline Moves workouts and they are the ones I still do today.
Her workouts are done via app and they’re also easily done at home. So, super easy and convenient.
With Madeline Moves I know my workout is ready for me every day. It takes the guess work out of things. Which I totally needed!
Through her workouts I have gained muscle that I’ve never seen before! And again, If I can do it, I know you can!!
It does take time, so be patient with yourself. But, it is possible!!
When you see muscles developing that you’ve never seen before it’s such an amazing feeling.
And just so you know…neither of these are affiliate links. I just greatly benefited from them and believe you could too!
Also, I’m going to go ahead and put my before and after photos here. I feel like this is so awkward to post but it’s always what I look for when reading about health and weight loss.
So, here you go….
4. Set Big Goals
Set big goals!
Once you have been macro tracking, started working out and feel comfortable with it. You’re now ready to move onto setting bigger goals for yourself
I have found that challenging your body in new ways helps me view my body as more of an instrument instead of an ornament.
The goal is not to get smaller. It’s to get stronger, faster, healthier or whatever your individual goal may be.
But, the point it, you can do hard things!!!
I’m 38, breastfeeding and a stay at home mom but I’m in the best shape of my life!
I have the best relationship with food than I’ve ever had and the healthiest outlook on my body.
I share this because I want this for you!!!
Once you start meeting the physical goals for yourself and meeting them. You start to believe in yourself.
That’s when what once were purely physical goals transcend into other parts of your life.
You start believing in yourself and your abilities and now you are a force to be reckoned with!
You can do anything mama!! I truly believe that!!
Thank you for reading and I hope and pray this helps you transform your life in so many ways!
If you have any more questions or feel unsure about anything feel free to email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, my big goal right now is to do unassisted pull-ups!! If you want to follow along or laugh along. You can find me at ProjectPullups on Instagram!
I would love to talk to you and help in any way I can.