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Calorie Count Blog

Battle of the (Baby) Bulge


By Mary_RD on Nov 11, 2010 09:00 AM in Dieting & You
Edited By +Rachel Berman

By Alexis Webster

The Aftermath

Having a baby changes everything. Literally. From your swollen fingers to your expanded feet, pregnancy leaves its mark. And while it’s nice to think that what took nine months to pack on should take nine months to come off, some of us can’t bear wearing elastic pants any longer than we have to. But how fast can you really hope to shed the weight?

The Pressure

Real Housewife Bethenny Frankel donned a bathing suit a mere three weeks after her baby was born. Heidi Klum strutted down a runway in a thong (!) two months after having one of her babies. It’s enough pressure to drive the happiest of new moms straight for the cookie aisle. But since few of us were likely baring our derrieres in public before we got pregnant, we should start by eliminating the comparisons and setting more reasonable standards.

The Reality

No matter how well intentioned you are (“I’ll be back on the treadmill in a week”), be prepared to instead become that sweatpants-wearing, hygiene-challenged cliché of a new mom you used to scorn. This won’t bother you during the bleary-eyed early days, but when you come out of the fog and catch sight of yourself, you’ll know it’s time to tackle that baby bulge.
 
The Plan

Unless you really do have to get ready for a runway show, set a gradual goal for yourself. (And breastfeeding women shouldn’t even think about trying to lose weight for at least two months.) If you gained the average 30 pounds during your pregnancy, you can lose it safely in four to five months. Here’s how:

  1. Start Early—You shouldn’t hit the road running right after delivery, but most women don’t need to wait until the first postpartum checkup to take a walk. Start out small (and slow), and add 10-15 minutes of exercise a day. Even walking to the changing table counts as exercise in the beginning!
         
  2. Breastfeed with Caution—Women who breastfeed just naturally lose weight, but don’t rely on breastfeeding alone to get you back in your skinny jeans. It’s easy to consume more calories than your body needs for the job. According to Mary Hartley, RD, “women are always advised to add 500 calories to their non-pregnancy needs, but research now shows that 500 calories could be too much for some women and not enough for others.” Listen to your body, and to fuel your milk supply and energy level, eat lots of smaller meals and healthy snacks throughout the day.
      
  3. Make Your Calories Count—Breastfeeding moms need to consume at least 1500-1800 calories a day from a variety of healthy foods. Eating lean meats, low-fat dairy, whole grains and veggies will help you slim down faster than, say, donuts, so choose your calories wisely. Don’t eliminate any food groups, but focus on protein-rich foods and those with calcium (think dark, leafy greens in addition to dairy).
     
  4. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise—You may need to break up your daily exercise into smaller chunks of time, especially in the beginning. Pop in a yoga video for 15 minutes here; lift weights for 10 minutes there. If you are dying for a longer workout but don’t have a home gym or childcare, join a gym that offers babysitting. For free workouts, stroll with other moms (Meetup.com can help you connect) in your neighborhood.
      
  5. Get Creative—Some moms portion out their snacks for the day or stop eating at 7PM each night, but there’s no one method that will work for everyone. Devise your own motivation or reward system; having a plan will help you stick to it.

Lastly, remember to go easy on yourself—the weight will come off eventually. In the meantime, be glad you don’t have to wear thongs in public!


Your thoughts....

How did you deal with baby weight?



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Comments


With regards to breast feeding, I would like to observe that I breast fed both my daughters and with the first one within 6 months of her being born all my weight came off and more. With the second one it didn't shift at all until i stopped breast feeding so I guess everyone is different. And no of course this wasn't the reason I decide to breast feed my daughters!



I gained 35 pounds during my pregnancy and lost it all off and more by month 4 ... i breastfeed him for 1 year ,  i joined a group of fit mommys online and got a whole lot of awesome tips to melt that muffin top, i used to workout with my baby and it was soooo muuuuchhhh fun!!! also i gave away all of my pregnancy clothes and started using jeans and tight shirts ( bigger clothes hide the fat :) jeje) and at last i combined healthy eating habits, daily workouts and a bodyshaper to keep my tummy tight and flat :D



i have either been pregnant and or breastfeeding for the last 3 years... that is what happens when you have 2 babies within 2 years ;)    i ended up gaining a lot of weight (40lbs post 2nd baby) and have successfully taken off 52 lbs since march!  i have about 30 more i would like to lose.  CC has been a staple for my weight loss journey...   i did find that 1500-1800 cals is what i have needed while breastfeeding, sometimes more if i exercise a lot that day.  i am also a stayathome mom so i was able to take my girls in a double stroller for walks between 4 & 7 miles a day all summer. 



I'm just now working on getting my baby weight off, and my baby is in 7th grade!Embarassed Oh well, better late than never!



Well, I wouldn't consider myself a new mom anymore - my little girl is 19 months now. I lost about 20lbs of 35lbs that I gained during pregnancy, but it took me more than 5 months, actually it took me more than a year! So ladies, don't be discuraged. I'm still on CC b/c I have a specific goal in weight loss, but also to tone up! Wink



Being active during the pregnancy & after is key.  As the article says, the littlest walks count - even if you're only 1/2 awake for them. 

I was fortunate enough that my 1st child was born in late May so I could get outside.   The walks gave me more energy &  eased me back into the real world.   My second child was a winter baby, so it wasn't as easy.  However, exercise greatly impacted my moods, so I knew I needed to do it - for myself; physically & emotionally.  Not to mention my family!

 



@ebtbmom- my mom always struggled with her weight while we were growing up.  Now that we're all out of the house she looks better than ever!  She's a super-hot Grandma and skinnier than ever!  I think it's mostly because of the kind of foods she had to make for us; now that're we're all gone, she can eat the healthy foods that she needs to and enjoys :)



Wow.  My baby is 4 weeks old.  I exercised right up until the day I delivered, and I told myself I'd be back to walking on the treadmill within 2 weeks, but I just don't have the energy.  When I get an "extra" 15 minutes (if and when my 2 year old naps), I hold baby so he'll go to sleep, and I catch some z's.  Breastfeeding is so worth it, but it takes a lot of time out of your day.  Are there any other very tired, non-exercising, breastfeeding moms reading this and suddenly feeling the pressure spoken of? 

I did lose 10 lbs while pregnant, though, and I'm more than 35 lbs under my pre-pregnancy weight, so I think taking a little more time to get back to feeling "normal" before I hit the diet/exercise regimen hard is okay for me. 

Winters here are VERY cold and long, and we can't ever raise enough money to get a rec center built here, so there's nowhere to walk with other moms for 8 months of the year :(   

I do have a 4 year old and a 2 year old in addition to baby, so I think taking care of them and the household chores should count as exercise!  However, I still feel guilty because I haven't been on that darn treadmill yet! 



I just had a baby 4 weeks ago tomorrow.....What about those of us who aren't breast feeding???? Alot of this is geared towards  breast feeders and is there any hope for us that decided not to????



my sons who is now 18 months, i can't lose me tummy i only breast fed him for 4 months THATS IT. I couldn't do it, plus my older son who is now 3 1/2.  HAd so much energy that i couldn't breast feed my younger one.  plus i don't get time to exercise with them.  my only concern is that i have a sister-in-law and her son is now 7 months and she lost all i mean ALL of her prepregancy weight.  I just cant get me tummy and my legs to lose fat.  what is so scary is that TOday i was just thinking about this topic i would look up on cc and i found it.  PLS someone help ME.



i put on a staggering 120 lbs during my pregnancy it ruined me but seeing my baby was worth it i already have lost 60lbs but it is way harder to take it off than to put it on, i have stayed this weight for 3 months i have a plateua and i hate it!



I recently had my 4th baby 9 weeks ago--  I stayed very active throughout this last pregnancy- ran up to 7 miles a day until week 32, then I walked 6 miles a day....

3 weeks post partum I was running on my treadmill- I am now up to 6-8 miles 6 days a week. I am also doing p90x (extreme weight lifting). I TOLD you I was active, lol! BUT I am having trouble dropping the last 5 lbs. I also breastfeed and just started counting my calories this week. My goal is to stay under 2,000 a day- preferably around 1700-1800.

Diet is 80% of your success. You can exercise all you want, but if you are eating MORE than you are burning you will NOT lose weight!!!



I take issue with the wording of #2 on "The Plan" list.  It says to "Breastfeed with Caution."  By the content in the paragraph, the concern isn't breastfeeding itself, but rather assuming breastfeeding means you can eat as many calories as you want.  Don't we have enough deterrents to the normalization of breastfeeding in this world (or at least parts of this world)?  If you are nursing your baby, please don't "breastfeed with caution!!!"  Please breastfeed your baby as often as he or she wants (in order to teach them how to trust their own hunger/satiation cues and not end up with weight issues later on in life).  How disappointing to see this type of wording from an RD!  Wording seems like such a small thing, but it influences our decisions as marketing experts know. 



I gained 70 pounds when I was pregnant (which was a few years back now) It took me 2 years to loose it, I was back to pre baby weight in 07. And I am still struggling to get rid of the weight I gained from turning 21 and going to the bars... OOPS. I have 13 more pounds to go, and i can't seem to shed them... 5 years of trying to loose weight (my daughter is 5 now) and I am still fighting the battle. I feel like this is going to be the rest of my life struggling to keep it down and keep it off. Oh well.



Wowww wonderful I  love your story and it is very encouraging to me .Laughing



In last two years I've got two times pregnant and my newborn is 6 weeks. I put 40 pounds. I breastfeed and hopefully within next 10 months I loos those weight by having a good diet and swimming.Tongue out



I have three kids.  My son will be three in less than a month, and my twin daughters just turned 16 months.  I gained 60 lbs. with the first pregnancy and 50 with the second.  I have finally managed to lose all the 50 lbs plus another 14 from the first pregnancy.  I am motivated to lose the remaining 30lbs I need to be to my goal weight, but it is hard.  I am constantly chasing after the kids and taking care of them.  You would think I would be a stick, but I just never have time for me.  It is frustrating.  I am a stay at home mom, but time gets away from me.  I am going from 6 am til 7-8pm when the kids are all finally in bed.  Then I just want to curl up on the couch and relax, plus I would never get any sleep if I worked out that late.  What can I do? I had joined a gym, but my husband works two jobs, so I am pretty much on my own where the kids are concerned.  I have always been heavier, and now that I am done being pregnant, I want to take care of myself and be happy with me.  Do I really have to wait til my kids are out of the house to accomplish this????  Any tricks to making time, plz share. 



I just got started and some of your stories are very inspiring...Thanks and Kudos to all the rocking mums!!!



My son is 6 and a half months old. I gained about 45 pounds and have lost 39 of it. But seriously I don't feel like it because I am not EVEN close to my preprego size. I have a huge pouch tummy still and I feel like I still look prego. I am working hard to get more weight off but I fear I will never have a normal shape again. But all in all... my son is totally worth it he is the best little guy in the world. :)



I read all your comments, and feel so like you in many ways!

I am 33 years old, and I have two children, my daughter is 4 years old and my son is 2 years old.  I gained a lot of pounds in each pregnancy, first got me in 130 pounds (180 at the end of pregnancy), and second in 145 pounds (185 at the end of pregnancy)... so...

My doctor is very unusual in their instructions: he told me that I should be very fit before getting pregnant, then during pregnancy I should eat a lot, but a lot of calories (the more calories, the better), always a high-in-calories breakfast before 8 a.m.  And I shouldn't worry, as the fat we accumulate in pregnancy is different from the one we "store" when we are not.  He also told me to do very low exercise activity to keep all my energies in baby building...

...but at the moment I would give birth, I should eat very light, I mean, more protein, less carbohydrates, a LOT of water (like 4 to 5 liters per day) to allow good breastfeeding, and all my meals made in the healthiest way possible (no deep fries, all roasted, grilled, broiled or baked)...  

Well, I did followed his instructions.  The problem was that I was more hungry when I was breastfeeding than when I was pregnant (obviously!).

And then, I was not able to control my appetite after I finished breastfeeding, and kept eating a lot of extra calories per day.  I felt so disappointed with my self, and my husband kept telling me how fat I was, or gave me that "shame on you" look when I ate at the restaurant (as if he knows what it feels like to have a baby!)... it was a dark period for me... feeling so depressed...

Thanks God a friend of mine started to work as personal trainer, so, I asked her to take me as customer, now I do a lot of exercise and healthy dieting (keeping my calories in 1500 per day, only healthy food), and here I am, with my best effort and commitment, in four months I have lost 9 points in body fat (I started with 36% and now I am 27%, trying to reach 24%), 11 pounds less in weight (I was size 12 in pants, now I am size 6), now I reached 26 years old in metabolic age (I started in 44 years), and I look better than ever, I have muscles!  I FEEL BETTER THAN EVER! and my husband won't be able to look at me like he did before, because my body and my mind are stronger than EVER also!  My self-confidence is so high now, that my friend kept telling me:  "I have created a monster..." jajajaja...  

Well, what I like to tell you all mommies: do not worry, your time will come, when you are more organized... JUST do not forget that you will be able to do it someday, you will find the opportunity to start, and when you do, you will feel just GREAT!, besides, you will be giving your kids a great lesson: you can reach your goals, if you work hard and you commit with yourself to do things just RIGHT!



Original Post by: malonsom

I read all your comments, and feel so like you in many ways!

I am 33 years old, and I have two children, my daughter is 4 years old and my son is 2 years old.  I gained a lot of pounds in each pregnancy, first got me in 130 pounds (180 at the end of pregnancy), and second in 145 pounds (185 at the end of pregnancy)... so...

My doctor is very unusual in their instructions: he told me that I should be very fit before getting pregnant, then during pregnancy I should eat a lot, but a lot of calories (the more calories, the better), always a high-in-calories breakfast before 8 a.m.  And I shouldn't worry, as the fat we accumulate in pregnancy is different from the one we "store" when we are not.  He also told me to do very low exercise activity to keep all my energies in baby building...

...but at the moment I would give birth, I should eat very light, I mean, more protein, less carbohydrates, a LOT of water (like 4 to 5 liters per day) to allow good breastfeeding, and all my meals made in the healthiest way possible (no deep fries, all roasted, grilled, broiled or baked)...  

Well, I did followed his instructions.  The problem was that I was more hungry when I was breastfeeding than when I was pregnant (obviously!).

And then, I was not able to control my appetite after I finished breastfeeding, and kept eating a lot of extra calories per day.  I felt so disappointed with my self, and my husband kept telling me how fat I was, or gave me that "shame on you" look when I ate at the restaurant (as if he knows what it feels like to have a baby!)... it was a dark period for me... feeling so depressed...

Thanks God a friend of mine started to work as personal trainer, so, I asked her to take me as customer, now I do a lot of exercise and healthy dieting (keeping my calories in 1500 per day, only healthy food), and here I am, with my best effort and commitment, in four months I have lost 9 points in body fat (I started with 36% and now I am 27%, trying to reach 24%), 11 pounds less in weight (I was size 12 in pants, now I am size 6), now I reached 26 years old in metabolic age (I started in 44 years), and I look better than ever, I have muscles!  I FEEL BETTER THAN EVER! and my husband won't be able to look at me like he did before, because my body and my mind are stronger than EVER also!  My self-confidence is so high now, that my friend kept telling me:  "I have created a monster..." jajajaja...  

Well, what I like to tell you all mommies: do not worry, your time will come, when you are more organized... JUST do not forget that you will be able to do it someday, you will find the opportunity to start, and when you do, you will feel just GREAT!, besides, you will be giving your kids a great lesson: you can reach your goals, if you work hard and you commit with yourself to do things just RIGHT!


hey, and other advise: let's forget to look like top models, come on... we are regular mommies, not "popular Hollywoods stars" that need to go through the cosmetic surgery to keep their careers going on...  they can inspire us, but shouldn't make us feel inferior...  what we need to keep in mind is to feel healthy, have energy to play with our kids, look healthy, and if you need any extra help, use corset!



I love reading these stories they are very encouraging! i am a mom of a very active 2 year old and i know as moms we often feel like there is not enought "me time" i knew this was true when i just recently got "me time" by going to the dentist! let us not forget we do not have to venture far from the home to burn calories ie...laundry, cleaning (toys all day long:)), running errands and keeping up with the kiddos! I am certainly happy to go out to the gym but for the most part playing tag with my son will have us both wiped out! even little things like putting on some fun music and just dance/clean (lol) is great exercise! After being blessed with the best thing in my life i have a greater appreciation for my body...i lost all my baby weight (38lbs) by month 5 post baby but even the areas that are not so perfect i am ok with!



So I think I gained a total of 40 lbs during pregnancy.  I was very active prior to pregnancy running, spinning and doing the elliptical trainer.  During pregnancy, first trimester, I used to run on treadmill and spin often.  Then, during the end of second trimester, while trying to run on the treadmill, I did something to a pelvic ligament, that caused tons of pain.  So no more running, just spinning and walks on the treadmill.  After pregnancy, after 2 weeks, I started back on the elliptical trainer, and spinning within a month, however, when you have a new born, it's very hard to workout.  And my husband is an avid runner.  I breast fed also for 9 months, went back to work after 6 weeks.  That REALLY killed any chances of working out.  After I stopped breast feeding at 9 months, my weight came back on me, but I was never at my pre-pregnancy weight.

I finally got down to 3-5 lbs of my pre-pregnancy weight when my son was 2.5 years, he's currently 3 years old.  We have a jogging stroller, I ran a 10 miler this summer, and was training for a half marathon, which couldn't do at the last minute due to work responsibilities (I'm a physician, just finished training).

My point is breast feeding helps, however,  it also depends on the person, age (I'm 37), and other responsibilities and stuff.  I finally dropped my goal of trying to get 10 lbs less than my pre-pregnancy weight, understanding that I am also busy with a very demanding job, wife, and raising an adorable and smart boy.

I work out because it's good for my health, I now look good in my clothes, and we eat as healthy as possible with both of our demanding schedules.

So make realistic goals, that are compatible with your lifestyle and genetics.



I'm 14 wks post partum and MISERABLE! I can't get rid of this kangaroo pooch! (I even joke that when my son gets tired, he craws up and takes a nap in it!) Before my pregnancy, I dropped 85 lbs in 10 months and was able to keep it off for 2 years! I gained 45 lbs during pregnancy and have only been able to drop 7 lbs in the 14 wks since my son was born. I HATE exercise more than anything in the world, but I've been trying to take him on daily walks. He is a very LOW maintenance baby, so I have no excuse for not getting up off my newly large butt! I DID NOT DROP AN OUNCE WHEN I DELIVERED HIM! My doctor kept telling me I would lose 15 lbs immediatly when I delivered him. BOLOGNA! Dieting is SO much harder now. I'm eating 1200-1400 calories a day which is miserable! I just want my old pre-baby body back! I'm sick of everyone asking me why I'm so fat (can you believe how ignorant people can be) and how far I am (um, hello! I delivered my child over 3 months ago!). I just want this nightmare to end!!!



I was very lucky way back when, I had a wonderful mentor that eventhough I was working, the exercise program was on TV early in the ams, some I taped and some I learned to make up for myself to work on selected areas.  This exercise started from as young as I can remember, with recess in grammer (K-6) school.  I lived in an apartment, and loved every time I could get out with my mom for a walk to the school playground.  Swings, rollerskates, running, playing were all part of the activity that kept the brain working for scholastics.  My first child I gained 40 lbs., but because I was still on the TV work outs it was easy for me to rev up the numbers of repetitions and kept with it.  I came home in a dress that I wore before I was pregnant, holding my baby boy.  The lbs seemed to melt off over a 6 month time.  My seconed son, I had gained 25 lbs. and that too came off easily with the same TV personality leading the ams.  By the time my daughter was born, I gained only 16 lbs., I lost all but 5 lbs. from birth weight and went to a picnic in my slim pants 6 weeks later.  But it took constant maintenance, and consentrating on myself for both of our benefits was very rewarding for us.  I was always cooking and baking from scratch, and enjoyed my husbands BBQ.  Through all the years of scouts and growing up, it was fun to keep up with the youngsters and still maintain activities outside of the home (lucky to have stopped work after the second son, to provide a more stable family life for us.)  At that time my husband was working two jobs to provide for the family.  Keep up the good work gals, it will come off and your reward will be great!!  My husband told me that the gift that was given to us, made my stretch marks, our love marks.  The pooch goes, but remember to hold that tummy in when and where ever you walk (grocery shopping, bathroom scrubbing,  hands and knees mopping and waxing the floors, etc.)  Keep reminding yourself, you are worth it!!! aea



Original Post by: wendy7719493

i put on a staggering 120 lbs during my pregnancy it ruined me but seeing my baby was worth it i already have lost 60lbs but it is way harder to take it off than to put it on, i have stayed this weight for 3 months i have a plateua and i hate it!


Wendy I'm right there with ya!  During my pregnancy, I gained about 125lbs as well.  Post pregnancy- I've now lost 100lbs, and I can't seem to shed off the last 25lbs.  For the past few weeks I've been the same weight.  I think if I keep moving and watching what I eat the rest of the weight will come off, keep hanging in there!!!



When I held the same weight for 6-8mos. I said, Wow, I can do it.  I have lost weight, maybe not enough, but at least I am not loosing ground.  I needed the break I guess - then it hit me, reread all my materials, recompare where I am and what I have done.  Check out what I have been a little lax about as I reached that level.  What did I change, ever so slightly?  Enough!  It is time to get back to the basics, I feel I can be very strict again and add the compliment of what I have gained to fortify me through, to another level, lower than this.  I am ready, I can do it, just like before, but this time I know the pathway to success:)  aea



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Hey, how do you do to kick off spam like 

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I am not interested in receiving this kind of notifications at all... in fact, it really bothers me a lot!



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