Most new moms want to know exactly how to lose the postpartum weight, even while they are still pregnant. I know I did! Towards the end of every pregnancy I felt so large and heavy, and I coudln't wait to get back to feeling normal, in shape and active again! There are definitely some tips and tricks to know when wanting to lose the postpartum weight. These are the tips and tricks I've learned as a mom of 4, and also as a Pre/Post Natal Fitness Specialist and Certified Nutrition coach.
There are specific nutrition choices you want to make, to help your body burn fat without losing milk supply, and get back to your pre-pregnancy weight. There are also certain workouts and activities you can do to help your body recover and speed up metabolism! If you don't have a good plan, it is so easy to get caught up in all the cravings and hunger, while also completely losing your milk supply at the same time! This is a recipe for disaster, and I don't want any mama falling into this! So, I have all my best tips and tricks to help you lose the postpartum weight safely, without suffering any drop in your milk supply!
Remember, before starting any weight loss plan, consult with your healthcare provider. They can assess your individual needs, health status, and provide personalized guidance, and I am not a healthcare provider or doctor.
Let's get into everything I did to lose the extra pounds after pregnancy, and the best way to slowly get back to a healthy weight without affecting your breast milk supply. I've gained too much weight during pregnancy, so I know exactly how it feels to be heavier than you want to be! Here are my best teps to ensure your weight loss efforts work!
Focus on Clean, Nutrient-Dense Foods:
I can not express a healthy diet enough. Nutrient-dense foods are going to give your body the nutrients it needs to support lactation, while also using encouraging your body to use fat as fuel. When your body is fully nourished, your blood sugar levels and hormone levels remain balanced, which allows your body to maintain energy levels from stored nutrients and energy in the fat cells. If your body is in need of nutrients, it will signal for nutrients in cravings and hunger, which usually results in wanting processed carbs and sweets. Crash diets often cause these cravings too because you are eating fewer calories and nutrients, which can push cravings to be even worse. Calorie intake is important, and you want to eat enough calories, but it is more important to focus on healthy eating for nutrient consumption. If you eat enough calories, but none of those calories come frome healthy food, then you can still have cravings because you are missing nutrients. You can also eat too many calories, and milk production will still suffer if those calories aren't coming from good nutrition.
I know how difficult getting in all the nutrients is, and sometimes it feels like you can't eat another egg or salad, which is why I created Milk Dust. The lactation protein powder is full of the essential nutrients needed during postpartum and lactation, so those nutrient-needs are filled on one delicious shake! You can make some amazing recipes, so you will actually look forward to your Milk Dust shakes, and it is formulated to stop those hunger and sugar cravings because it is full of protein! I'll get more into the power of protein for postpartum weight loss, but nutrients and eating clean needs to be your top priority.
If you want a meal plan, I have a great, 28-Day Breastfeeding Diet Plan for weight loss, that won't let your milk supply drop at all! All the great, clean, nutrient-dense recipes you need to lose weight and keep milk supply up!
Avoid Processed Carbs:
This is a hard one while breastfeeding because of the cravings, and not getting enough sleep is correlated to blood sugar issues and cravings. But, if you fill yourself up with the nutrient-dense foods, it will help you feel too full to keep snacking on cookies, crackers, chips and other foods you might crave. Crackers, chips, bread, even wraps offer a lot of extra calories and carbohyrdates without nutrients. When you add in these extra calories and carbs, it just causes more blood sugar issues, and extra calories that don't give your body what it needs. In doing this, you end up eating more because your body is looking for nutrients, and your milk supply still suffers because you need the to eat more of these foods to get the nutrients you need for lactation. Healthy snacks and small meals are a great way to get in nutrients and keep your blood sugar stable, without binging on pizza, or pasta or cookies later.
By completely avoiding these foods, you can also get your macros on track for more protein. If you add in more protein, vegetables and fruit, you won't have room for these other foods!
By taking these foods out completely, I was able to help my body produce enough milk, but also burn stored fat as fuel because I wasn't giving it extra fuel to use through the higher calorie foods!
Get All The Protein:
Protein is directly linked to milk volume in breastfeeding women in specific studies. Protein is an essential macro nutrient that is harder to get enough of. Our bodies naturally want fat and carbs for energy, but protein is essential for metabolism, lean muscle mass, hormone levels and many other functions in the body. Unfortunately proteins often don't taste as good as crackers, bread, pasta and even fruit. This is why I created Milk Dust, a delicious protein shake for breastfeeding specifically, because I never craved chicken while I was breastfeeding. I did well at eating fruit, veggies and things like oatmeal and sweet potatoes, but I wasn't a huge fan of chicken, eggs or other proteins.
By consuming a delicious plant-based protein shake, I actually looked forward to getting my protein in! I made some delicious proffee (protein coffee) recipes too, so it was like I was having a yummy dessert coffee milk shake, rather than a grilled chicken breast.
Protein powders also can help get in extra nutrients. By choosing a protein powder, I was able to consume extra nutrients like Vitamin B12, L-Methylfolate, Zinc, Superfoods and lactation herbs all in one shake. I found this to be so helpful when getting through a busy day of kids! I didn't have to cook an extra meal for myself, which was also extra to clean up! I could make a quick shake, and drink it as I was getting the kids ready. It also helped me stop snacking so much on their food!
Fill You Plate With Fruits, Veggies + Proteins:
Fill your plate at least 75% with fruit, vegies and proteins. This will help you ensure you fill up on nutrient-dense foods first. The other tiny bit can be complex carbs like sweet potatoes, brown rice or quinoa. Portion sizes are also very important. Use smaller plates and bowls, and you won't even realize that you have decreased your food intake. The key is to fill your tummy with the good stuff, so there isn't much room for the extra calories you don't really need. I have done this for years, and it works really well! Small changes like just putting your plate together in a healthy way can really help you develop the healthy habits necessary to help you on your weight loss journey. I know that I was able to fall back on these habits after each pregnancy, and the good news is that it does get easier!
Drinking enough water is essential for breastfeeding in general, and it will help you make sure you aren't thirsty, rather than hungry. You can also add a little sea salt and lemon to your water to help your body balance hydration, or add in zero calorie hydration drinks to encourage more essential minerals. This has always helped me when trying to lose weight. If I have something to sip on, it keeps me from munching as much!
Breastfeed A Lot:
This may seem super obvious, but the more you breastfeed, the more calories you are going to burn, and the more milk you are going to produce! So, just don't forget this as a tool to help you lose weight too! The most improtant thing is that you are able to feed your baby and lose weight at the same time, and feeding your baby through breastfeeding is a great tool to help with weight loss. Breastfeeding, according to the American College of Obstetricians, can burn an extra 450 - 500 calories a day.
Add more activity to your day:
In the beginning, you won't be able to do as much physical activity, but as you heal after birth, start tracking your steps! This always helps me to stay active. I can see the days I am more active, verses the days I'm not, and just adding more steps to your day in general can be just as efficient as adding in a walk or jog for a couple miles. Try walking around your house a few times every 15 minutes just to get more activity in! When early postpartum, I made sure to wear baby as much as I could, so I could walk around and do chores to count as my regular exercise. The most important thing is that you get in as much activity as you can throughout the day because it all adds up.
Include Strength Training:
When you are cleared for strength training, start as soon as possible. Adding in resistance will build muscle and help balance blood sugar. Bodyweight Pilates work is a great start to build a foundation. I always start with a healing core routine, that helps my tummy go back flat first, then progress to more and more strength work. Healing your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles is really important for the initial stages of increasing activity.
Once you build a foundation and heal your core, you can add in dumbells and extra weight, or progress to more reps to build your muscle and increase your metabolism overall. Just make sure you don't start eating extra! Your body should be efficient at using stored fat as fuel, so you won't need extra calories at this point. Once you are at a weight you are happy at, then you can look into increasing calories. This is often a pitfall for many when they first start working out.
Losing weight takes time, especially after pregnancy. Be patient with yourself and set realistic goals. There will be days where it will be harder, and days it will be easier. The key is to stay on track the best you can, and expect it to take your body a while because you have extra stress with a new baby. It takes time to build new habits and adjust!
If you prefer to follow a plan, and have more guidance for weight loss, I have some great nutrition guides and recipe books. I'll link them below, and Milk Dust is a great tool to help you stay on track and lose the postpartum weight.
I have had to lose the postpartum weight 4 times, and each time is a little different. There are always different challenges with each baby, but the one thing that always worked well was sticking to clean, nutrient-dense foods, and prioritizing my protein shakes. That is the foundation of what has worked well for me every time, and it will give you the base of what you need to ensure you are on the right track to getting back in shape!