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  • Nursing and not losing weight ... Help!

    So here it is.

    I started the 21 day challenge with my father about a month and a half ago. He has done really well and has lost 20lbs or so (down from 285lbs). I on the other hand went up 5lbs and back down to where I was when I began (265lbs). We both eat pretty much the same thing, but I eat more fats such as avocado and coconut oil. He doesn't do any of the recommended exercises, instead he putters around. I go for walks, get in the PEM's and also do yoga a few times a week. (I know that men lose weight faster than women as a rule, so I expected he'd go down faster than me, what I didn't expect is that I'd stay the same)

    I was talking about it with him and he seems to think that I am keeping the weight on because I am nursing (I have a 9 month old who I plan to wean around the 1 year mark). I was 245lbs when I became pregnant and I am still the same weight as I was at my highest during pregnancy. My son still doesn't sleep well at night and wakes up several times, I am not getting as much sleep as I'd like and I really hope he outgrows that quickly!

    I am wondering, could nursing be the cause of my body resisting weight loss? I am a bit frustrated because I have stuck with this better than I have any other way of eating and continue to do so even though I am seeing no results. It is important to me that as my son grows and gets more active that I am able to keep up with his pace and be actively and physically involved in his play life.

    Any advice would be helpful.

  • #2
    I don't know how helpful this is but be patient, don't rush into weaning or giving up on paleo. Your hormones have been through a lot and even though you may not see the weight loss you want right away you are nourishing yourself and your baby, give your body time to adjust. My son nursed at night for a long time. I decided to sleep with him and took naps during the day. Remember there is more to health than achieving a certain weight. I really wish I'd known about paleo when my DS was a baby, I think we both would have benefited from it. It might be a good idea to take a break from weighing yourself and pay attention to other aspects of your health. You also are probably building muscle with the the exercise you are doing. Hang in there!
    Life is death. We all take turns. It's sacred to eat during our turn and be eaten when our turn is over. RichMahogany.

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    • #3
      Your body does naturally want to keep the calories coming in to feed your little one. Not losing during nursing is much more common that many women will admit!

      I suggest that you track your calories. I use MyFitnessPal.com to track for me, and it has helped me get out of my stall. You may want to find out how many extra calories are needed for nursing a 9 month old, and add that on to your count. Then, just track what you are eating - you may find that you are just eating way more calories than you need. I found that I was eating out of habit, and out of habit, having seconds and thirds. Which really added up and was why even though my body was saying full, when I kept eating, I did not loose weight.

      My second stopped nursing around 9 months due to muscle issues. He also got a series of colds and was up at night. It was SO much more difficult to get back to sleep when I was no longer lactating. Oh, and another dirty little lie is that all babies should be sleeping through the night at 4 months....the majority do not. None of mine slept regularly through the night until they were 2 or over! I did figure out a way to have my babies in bed with me so I could nurse laying down and mostly fall asleep. I understand if you are not comfortable with this, you may want to try a co-sleeper bed that pushes against your bed so that baby has his own space but is near enough to get an nurse without getting up.

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      • #4
        Here was my nursing experience -- I'm an active woman with good understanding/listening to body skills, and expected to just "have the weight fall off" like so many proponents of nursing say happens. I nursed exclusively, even -- no supplementing, no bottles.

        I did baby-lead weaning, and so my son was getting all of his nutrition from breastmilk until 14 months. He was eating food from 8 months onward, but it was mostly experiential rather than nutritional for him. Which meant he was relying on me.

        At about 8-9 months, my lower body had dropped back to "basically normal" as I call it. I was still "puffy" in a lot of random areas but otherwise back into my pre-pregnancy (size 4) jeans, but I was carrying A LOT of body fat on my arms, upper back, and chest.

        It was truly annoying, because my diet was healthy, I was exercising like always (plus doing a lot of it whiel baby-wearing, so . . .), and it just was not budging. I was like WTF?

        Well, it turns out that it really was just to support breastfeeding. After many months of digging for informaiton, I found ONE small article on Kellymom that talked about fat distribution and breastfeeding. It turns out that a minority of women carry a lot of excess fat on arms, chest, and back to support breastfeeding -- and that it doesn't go away until the nursing relationship does.

        This article was simple "anecdotal" -- that women were reporting good diets, lots of exercise and sleep, normal hormonal levels (all things considered) -- yet still weren't able to loose the fat in certain areas of their bodies (most usually up around the breasts).

        So, I was, like, ok. I can live with that. I knew that I would let DS self wean (as it was, I weaned him completely at age 3), and I figured that I could carry that fat for that time if I had to.

        As it was, it was when DS started using food for primary nutrition -- when he was 14 months old -- that my body was willing to let go of the excess fat.

        within 6 weeks, I was back to my normal size in those areas, and I'd lost all the weight from pregnancy and breastfeeding, and then a little bit besides.

        then i moved to nz, became paleo, and got a leaner still.

        So, yes, breastfeeding could be why you aren't loosing weight -- and lots of my friends didn't just have it on their backs/etc, they chouldn't loose weight at all when breastfeeding, but when their children weaned, they started to loose weight no problem.

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        • #5
          1 year old, still nursing, crap sleeper, 4 year old, crap sleeper till recently = stress = weight hard to lose. That's my experiance being the other side of the bed from the nursing mum, so I imagine it's even worse for mum, on the one hand you do have hormones that kick in to help with the sleeplessness, but those hormones don't help with weight loss

          Right now your health and the little ones health is the most important thing to your body and your hormones are going to do everything they can to make that happen, even if it means making you hold on to body fat.

          You may also find you are going through a period of healing health wise, once this has happened the weight might start falling off - seems to be quite common anecdotally from this forum.

          As an aside, you don't want to lose weight too fast while BFing as most of the toxins you have been exsposed too in your life are fat soluable and will come out into your system as you burn body fat, there is concern that these toxins may enter the milk. My mrs ate like mad when we started primal 10 months ago to keep weight loss at under 2lbs a week.
          You know all those pictures of Adam and Eve where they have belly button? Think about it..................... take as long as you need........................

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          • #6
            I've actually heard that breast feeding is supposed to help you lose the pregnancy weight, have you been tracking your calories?
            F 28/5'4/100 lbs

            "I'm not a psychopath, I'm a high-functioning sociopath; do your research."

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            • #7
              I can agree with the stories from others that breastfeeding does not mean the weight will fall off. With my first the weight loss was pretty easy, but I retained 5-10lbs and nursed her until she was 18m. I get pregnant with my second when DD was 15m, so I never had a period to lose that extra weight. I nursed DS until about 25 months, at which point he stopped asking so we were done. My body clung to the extra weight, about 10lbs more than when I got pregnant with him until he was nursing very infrequently - once a day or less. Hormones were fine and I got my period back at 8-10 weeks with both children. My body simply wanted to be sure that I had enough to feed the babies, whom nursed frequently. I can tell you the good news that DS is just shy of 2.5yo and I am now 5lbs under what I was before DD without counting calories. My elderly next door neighbor commented the other day even!

              So be patient, it will happen. You appear to simply be one of the ones whose body clings to the weight to ensure your baby has enough. Sometimes it seems cruel as the people that have the weight fall off seem to be the skinny ones to begin with. I was up to 230lbs at my highest pregnancy weight with both children, but am down to 173lbs now. Be patient and eat as healthy as you can. Give your body the nutrients it needs to provide nutrition for your baby AND you.

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              • #8
                I would also track calories. Most books I have read say we need 300 extra calories for your nursling. I have nursed for over 5 years and my goal was to only lose a little at a time while nursing because of the toxin factor. And I gained a whopping 90 pounds while pregnant going from a size 8 to an xxl! I really did not want to be an xxl for long but not feeding my baby toxins in my breastmilk was more important. Some things cannot and should not be rushed.

                I agree with the poster who said you are putting on muscle weight. Stay away from the scale and look at how you are feeling. Nursing is such a critical aspect of life for your baby both emotionally and physically, the benefits from an immune perspective cannot be gained elsewhere. And terrible two's were non existent when you have the "great equilizer" the ability to nurse and sooth away all those big feelings some kids experience. My 7 year old nursed through the night until way after she turned two.
                At one point I mentioned to my husband that she was no longer nursing at night back then and he informed me that she was indeed nursing I was just asleep. Which was a lifesaver, sleep nursing, a win for everyone.

                I guess the best advice is keep eating healthy and exercising and the weight loss will happen when it's supposed to. Congratulations on nursing longer than most Americans. It's a great gift to your baby.

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                • #9
                  I nursed 3 children for a year each. I didn't lose anything while I was breastfeeding.

                  Give it time. Your body is doing a great job nourishing your baby.its what it was designed for. Keep eating healthy and it will hopefully fall off easier later.

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                  • #10
                    Thank you all for your advice and sharing your experiences.

                    I want to clear up any misunderstanding that I am obsessed with weighing myself and losing weight. I have only been frustrated because my Dad and I set a challenge for ourselves and it's been working wonders for him. I am very glad to see that he is on the downward slope and I'm positive his knees are thanking him for it. I have only been concerned about it because I know after you turn 30 it's said it's harder to lose weight, and the same after you have children. At my heaviest I was 310lbs and I got down to 210lbs, but that was exercising like a fool and eating food that I didn't enjoy and I just couldn't see living my life in a gym and not getting any pleasure out of food. I had gained back 35lbs and stayed there for about 2 years, which I was fine with but my biggest fear is making it back up to that 310lb mark again, I'm not that far away. I am more comfortable with my body than a lot of thinner people I know and I carry a lot of muscle as is (people have said I look like I'm around 200lbs even though I am 260). I am not in a huge hurry for it to come off, just wondering why I haven't budged in 6 weeks. I had never even thought that nursing could be the reason for this until my father mentioned it to me.

                    Counting calories is something that I really wanted to shy away from only because it turns me right off of eating a certain way. It makes me feel like my life is a science project when I have to do that and it takes away the pleasure of eating. This is important to me because of several reasons ... one is because I used to eat for the sake of eating, I thought I got pleasure from it, but it was more because of boredom or stress or any other trigger and that is what got me up to my heaviest weight. Also, my mother is obsessed and I mean OBSESSED with her weight and counting calories, she can tell me how many calories are in a serving of anything she buys at the grocery store without looking at it. She has tried to control me with that my whole life and I see her doing it with her husband and it drives me insane. I get mad to think about it and I don't want to be that. This is why when I started reading MDA I was so impressed that as long as you eat according to plan you should eat when you're hungry, no points, no calories no adding this and subtracting that. It's not a way to live, for me at least. And anyway, I sucked at science!

                    I just want to be healthy for my son and myself. As long as I have started on this path, when the nursing is all said and done I will already be in the habit.

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                    • #11
                      I'm sure the weight will come off if you just stick to eating good clean primal foods. I totally get where you are coming from with counting calories - it's something I do not want to do either as it just takes over your life IME.

                      Also something I forgot to add is I wouldn't go to low carb when BFing, I'm not sure on the science, but I know Breast milk has high lactose content - so baby gets nice and chubby, that sugar has got to come from somewhere, and I would think you will need plenty of primal carbs to make it.
                      You know all those pictures of Adam and Eve where they have belly button? Think about it..................... take as long as you need........................

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                      • #12
                        Yes, I wouldn't worry about it overmuch.

                        And to answer the question about counting calories, I did it for several weeks while nursing, eating no more than about 2100 calories per day (which was 300 more than normal for me at the time). This was *at most* which meant that I was technically sub-caloric. Even so, my body still held onto fat in certain areas, and it took a long time to 'recover' from the pregnancy overall.

                        Every woman is different. I was shocked that my body didn't just "bounce back" like a model's considering how active I am, my body type, how free of chemicals and processed foods I was, and how I was breastfeeding exclusively. It should have worked like magic in less than 3 months like all of the ladies in magazines! But it didn't.

                        C'est la vie.

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                        • #13
                          Hi! I am currently nursing my fourth child who turned 2 two days ago. This has been my experience (and I lknow that every woman is different, but many women I know personally has agreed that this was their experience too)... After my first child, the weight melted away almost literally within 16 weeks, at which point I stopped losing weight which turned out to be because I was pregnant! With my second child the weight didn't begin to come off until he was four months old (and I discovered he was suffering from indigestion and constipation when I ate oats). With my third, he was nearly 18 months before any weight began to shift. Each time it seemed as though I woke up one morning and my body had decided it didn't need the extra weight. I should add also that I had a fair bit to lose each time, around 30 or 40 pounds. With my last child, I still have not started to lose weight and in fact have put on about 15 pounds since she was born, so I am nearly the weight I was just before she was born. I started eating "primally" about a month ago, and lost about 7lbs initially but am now struggling to lose any more. I am not in a hurry because I think it is very likely that my metabolism was changed a lot in her pregnancy (I was nauseous the whole pregnancy and gained only 21lbs, with the others I gained around 40lbs with each). After she was first born, I didn't gain anything for the first few months (or lose any more) but I also still didn't have much of an appetite. Suddenly my appetite came back when she was 3 months old, and I gained 15lbs. :P But my milk supply has always been plentiful, she is beautiful and healthy, and that matters much more than what I weigh (even though I can't wear most of my clothes!). I know you aren't complaining, but I would urge you to consider what someone else suggested, which is to stop weighing yourself for awhile and enjoy your baby, your new way of eating, and hopefully things will begin to sort themselves out over time. Also, it sounds like you have been overweight for some time and your body will need time to heal from the metabolic and hormonal imbalances, which are affected by pregnancy and birth as well. I'd also suggest that you consider breastfeeding longer than a year, because it is really really good for babies! That is up to you of course, but don't be in a hurry because you can't go back and change it later. Babies that nurse for an extended period (2 year+) reap huge benefits including the formation of the oral palette and their teeth positioning as well as lots of other things. Just sayin', we're all concerned on this forum about nutrition, and breastmilk is tremendously superior to any other food (it is a living food) that we can give our babies/toddlers, so why quit so early? Hope you experience some more positive results as you go on. I've noticed that although I haven't lost much so far, my fat has been redistributed in a way that makes me think I look thinner than I did! lol Wishing you all the best. x x Sarah

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                          • #14
                            After I quit nursing the weight started to fall off. However, I do warn you that if you are consuming more calories than usual
                            because you are nursing it can be difficult to break the habit of snacking and eating larger than normal amounts of food.
                            Just something to be aware of.
                            My advice in the mean time is to just keep moving and drink lots of water so you aren't retaining water weight and so the milk
                            keeps flowing.

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                            • #15
                              Another interesting thing I noticed, I had to be away from my baby for 3 days for my brother's wedding and in that time my appetite disappeared! I imagine it will be easier to lose weight once I'm not nursing... I wouldn't know yet as I've been breastfeeding and/or pregnant for 7.5 years running.

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