How to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding (& keep it off)
Inside: Is it really possible to lose weight while breastfeeding? All I can tell you is my own story – how I combined Trim Healthy Mama and MommaStrong to lose forty pounds over the course of a year after giving birth. And I did it while breastfeeding, too.
I’ve avoided sharing my story about how I lost the baby weight for months now.
Dieting, exercise and losing the baby weight are some of my least favorite things to talk about because of how sensitive these topics can be.
But so many have asked me how I lost the baby weight (while breastfeeding), that I knew it was time to share my postpartum weight loss journey.
How did I lose almost 40 pounds after my first pregnancy? More importantly, how have I kept that weight off?
So How Do I Lose Weight While Breastfeeding? (Me: 4 Weeks Postpartum)
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I’m 4 weeks postpartum, sitting on the couch with my sweet husband watching TV. All I can think about is how big my legs look, how flabby my tummy is under HIS shirt because mine are still too small, and how badly I want to “get my body back.”
So, I started searching on Pinterest, “lose baby weight”. The search results devastated me.
The before and after pictures that I saw showed women that had lost all of their baby weight by 2 weeks postpartum, some had abs just weeks after birth, some had sculpted bods just a couple of months postpartum.
And, there I was. The biggest I had ever been in my life.
Knowing that I darn well wasn’t going to be like them and shed the weight quickly.
But, I decided to focus on what I could do. What would be sustainable for me? I wanted to be healthy overall – not just skinny with a flat tummy.
Maybe that’s where you are right now, too.
If I could go back in time, I’d tell myself to be gentle on my new body. Speak about it with love.
Enjoy the softness while it’s there to envelop my tiny newborn in love. Take time to heal.
2 Major Things I Did to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding
I accredit my weight loss (and maintenance) to two main things. Trim Healthy Mama and MommaStrong.
I talk about the MommaStrong membership to any new mom who will listen. ‘Cus it rocks.
And every mom deserves to care for her body in a way that is healing and empowering.
Secondly, following the Trim Healthy Mama plan helped me tremendously. It’s reasonable, doable and just makes sense.
Oh, and you actually get to eat tasty things while slimming down safely during pregnancy/breastfeeding/postpartum and onward.
Both of these programs have shaped my thinking about my body, food, and intentional movement in the best way possible.
Now, I love my body… most days. I love to eat well. And I love to fit in daily intentional movement (which some people call exercise, but that word makes me cringe).
How I Used Trim Healthy Mama to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding
Trim Healthy Mama is a weight loss plan that focuses on separating fats and carbs in each meal while eliminating foods that spike blood sugar.
I truly hate calling it a weight loss plan though because for me it is so much more.
Here is my own definition:
Trim Healthy Mama is a way of eating that allows you to focus on the deliciousness of many different food groups while losing weight.Kenzie Wright
This plan is safe during all seasons of life and specifically supports healthy pregnancies, milk supply and postpartum recovery.
When you stay on plan, you can say goodbye to sugar spikes and crashes, weight gain and low energy.
1) I put together quick, healthy meals using the Trim Healthy Mama method.
This section contains a lot of Trim Healthy Mama shorthand notation, which is Greek to you if you haven’t read the book.
Here are the THM basics if you’re new to Trim Healthy Mama:
(S) – “Satisfying” = These meals are made up largely of proteins and fats, with next to no carbs.
(E) – “Energizing” = These meals are made up of lean protein and healthy carbs, with next to no fats.
(FP) – “Fuel & Pull” = These meals are largely made up of lean proteins, with not a lot of fats or carbs. You can also add “freebies” like berries or spices or certain vegetables to these meals.
(XO) – “Crossover” = These meals combine proteins, carbs, and fats together. They’re healthy, but don’t help as much with losing weight.
Reading the Trim Healthy Mama book is pretty essential for properly implementing this diet. You can find the book HERE.
I did my best to keep my meals simple. Because when you’re breastfeeding a baby around the clock, who has time for complicated?
Chicken + Rice + Veggie = BAM, You’ve got an “E” meal.
Pork Chops + Side Salad + Buttered Green Beans = WHAM, You’ve got an “S” meal.
Giant Taco Salad + Beans + Cheese + All the Fixin’s = A Yummy “XO” Meal.
2. I found my family’s staple meals and stuck to them.
You gotta get off the meal planning hamster wheel, sister. Minimalist meal planning is where it’s AT.
Pick 5 quick meals, 5 slow cooker/pressure cooker meals, 5 favorites-but-not-so-quick meals and write them out on a note card.
Rotate through these same meals for a while so that you don’t get overwhelmed by meal planning and learning a new way of eating.
3. I found on-plan sweets I loved so that I could have something to delight in on the daily.
This tip saved me many times!
For example, when my husband would stop at Chick-Fil-A for a chocolate milkshake (my weakness), I could resist because I knew at home I could make an amazing on-plan chocolate shake.
Have a go-to healthy sweet or two stocked at home. Trust me.
4. I boosted my milk supply with Trim Healthy Mama.
Keeping regular eating times and eating healthy foods will boost milk supply naturally.
Eating every 3-4 hours revs your metabolism, stabilizes blood sugar levels and gives your body the nutrition it needs to produce milk.
And choosing something nutritious to eat while you’re at it? That can only mean good things for your milk supply.
FAQ: What Do I Do with Gifted Meals?
Alright, so everybody and their aunt know that the kind souls that bring you meals after having a baby are not focused on Trim Healthy Mama ideals like you are.
They’re gonna be bringing pasta dishes, bread, more pasta, and things made with cheese. With nary a vegetable in sight… unless you count pre-made salad kits that you’ll get tired of eating after the first few meals (true story).
My advice? Accept the meals and just be glad about it. This is such a short time that you’ll be needing these meals – enjoy them!
Do your best to eat well when you can control it and have the capacity to make that choice. Please, do not beat yourself up about eating “off plan” foods when you’ve *just* had a baby. Okay?
Why I Chose MommaStrong to Lose Weight While Breastfeeding
At my 6-week postpartum checkup, my midwife told me two things. “You have diastasis recti and your pelvic floor is really weak.” Then, she basically told me that there are great resources online to help with both of those things.
But uhhh, she didn’t give me any links or anything to look into. Not so helpful.
I had to ask around in several mommy Facebook groups before I came across MommaStrong.
MommaStrong is the #1 at-home postpartum workout plan for diastasi recti and pelvic floor strengthening exercises.
Here’s what I love about this program:
1. They focus on strength, not skinnyness.
So, she’s not yelling at you the whole time about ‘imagining yourself in a small pair of skinny jeans’.
Or, to ‘think about how you deserve to feel pain during exercise to pay for holiday overeating’.
Or, that ‘you need to get your pre-baby body back’.
(Girl: your grew a baby, you birthed a baby – anyone who tries to sell you on getting your body back to EXACTLY the way it was is lying to you.)
The message of MommaStrong is very much so “you can do hard things”, “working out is hard as a mom but it’s worth it for self care”, “you’re doing the best you can and that is enough”.
2. MommaStrong addresses pelvic floor issues.
Courtney works to help you correct (in a safe and educational way) your pelvic floor issues and develop a plan for daily pelvic floor care.
In a nutshell, MommaStrong helps you stop peeing yourself. That alone is worth it!
3. MommaStrong founder Courtney Wyckoff is experienced and relatable.
She is a mom. She goes through stuff. She doesn’t have time to exercise just like the rest of us. She just gets us new moms.
Courtney is a Corrective Exercise Specialist and Certified Personal Trainer, with 16 years of experience in fitness, nutrition, and injury prevention/treatment.
For the last 9 years, she has worked exclusively with pre- and postnatal women. Her focus: help women to truly re-integrate their core, nervous system, and biomechanical performance after childbirth.
Additional MommaStrong Perks
You can actually ask Courtney (or other MommaStrongers) questions or address issues online. The great news is that she will reply!! And more than that, she cares about your specific needs.
Daily emails that are written by other MommaStrong members to encourage you in your daily motherhood and strive towards self care and health.
The workouts are a maximum of 15 minutes long.
There are a collection of 5 minute hacks so that real life doesn’t stand in the way of your strength. A few 5 Min Hack titles: “I don’t wanna”, “Tummy troubles”, “Babywearing #1”, and “Sleep deprived.”
Finally, it only costs $5 a month. You can’t argue with that price!
Losing Weight While Breastfeeding: Common FAQs
How do I lose the postpartum baby belly?
First, hop back up to read more about how Trim Healthy Mama and MommaStrong helped me to find my trim and gain total body strength (yup, even down below).
Secondly, well, right now you shouldn’t lose your postpartum belly.
My two cents? I think our squishy and soft postpartum bodies are perfect for snuggling our tiny newborns.
Think of it like this; if you were seeking comfort and wanting to be held close, which would you prefer? Hugging someone with hard muscles and bumpy bones or someone with a body that envelopes you with love and coziness.
You won’t always be this way – and your baby won’t always be this small so truly, what’s the rush?
I totally get not liking how you look and feel. Like, 100% get you there.
Which, of course, is the whole reason I found Trim Healthy Mama and MommaStrong.
Wouldn’t the Keto Diet be faster for weight loss?
But overall sustainable and life-giving for years on end? I don’t think so.
I’m not interested in any diet that removes entire food groups. Additionally, I won’t do diets that limit fruits and veggies.
Most Keto people say to limit which vegetables you eat and how much you can have per day. Fruits other than berries are also a big no-no on a ketogenic diet.
That just doesn’t seem right to me.
Scientifically speaking, fruits and vegetables are where we get most of our vitamin C. If you’re not getting enough fruits and veggies, you won’t have enough vitamin C to shed weight.
So, long-term you’re going to slow your metabolism and start running into other health issues that come from inadequate levels of vitamin C.
Keto’s main objective is to remove any and all carbs at all times to stay in a fat burning zone. For any individual (pregnant/nursing/postpartum or not), that is detrimental to maintaining a healthy metabolism.
When I look through the list of limited foods on the Keto diet, I see many of the foods that are encouraged for a healthy milk supply.
Number one best food for boosting milk supply? Oats.
Guess what’s not allowed on the Keto diet? Oats.
If you are wanting to maintain a decent milk supply and lose weight while breastfeeding, the Keto diet is not going to help you with either of those goals long-term.
My Personal Postpartum Weight Loss Journey (with pictures)
During my postpartum weight loss journey, I would often remind myself that it took 9 months to make my baby and so I will give my body at least 9 months to lose baby weight.
That way of thinking was crucial to loving myself during my long and slow weight loss journey.
Weighing myself on a scale wasn’t a healthy option for me to keep track of my progress. I found myself stressing about numbers, rather than noticing how strong I was getting or how I was feeling.
Walk with me through each picture “weigh-in” below.
(This post originally appeared on A Sip of Truth and has since been moved to a new site! Hence the old URL on the images.)
Don’t Let Postpartum Weight Loss Goals Take Over Your Life
Love your body now. Your baby does. Don’t wait until you are x amount of pounds – I promise you, it is a choice to love your body at any weight/size.
Don’t rush postpartum weight loss, and don’t let it interfere with your most important job right now – breastfeeding your baby.
Don’t let it steal all of those precious moments that are happening right NOW, while you are overweight.
Do your best to follow Trim Healthy Mama to nourish your body and allow it the time to drop the weight (9 Months On/9 Months Off).
Do get stronger everyday with MommaStrong.
And, most of all, enjoy the journey to health while you mother your newborn.
Read Next: 11 Easy Late Night Breastfeeding Snacks
Kenzie lives with her husband and daughter in beautiful Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. She’s wrestled with infertility, survived a miscarriage, and is overjoyed to finally be a mama to her sweet baby girl she thought she’d never have. She loves helping moms who have had miscarriages find hope after loss at Miscarriage Mom.