Breastfeeding help, please explain this to me!!!

So I am 5'3" and weigh 136 lbs as of today. I have successfully lost weight on 1700 calories since having my baby in may, 5 months ago (i reached 180 lbs right before delivery) . I breastfeed on demand, but if I ever increase my calories, even to maintenance I gain weight like crazy, and it takes me a good two weeks to lose that weight on a strict 1700 calorie diet. So my question is, why are all of these women that are ebf eating 2000 calories at my height or shorter and still losing weight? Can you make your body get used to a certain amount of calories to lose weight? I don't know if I believe in the strict calories in calories out explanation, with no other factors...
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Replies

  • marshageroli
    marshageroli Posts: 41 Member
    Btw, I do run 6 days a week and eat all of those calories back, if that makes any difference...
  • counting_kilojoules
    counting_kilojoules Posts: 170 Member
    Maybe what you think is your maintenance is actually above. MFP only gives you guidelines. You usually have to tweak things according to your results. If I ate 2000 calories a day I'd gain weight and I'm 5'7". In fact, my maintenance calories are about 1700 calories. (I also eat back my exercise calories .)
  • Lillymoo01
    Lillymoo01 Posts: 2,865 Member
    How are you logging your food? Unless you weigh all solids (including prepackaged food which can be up to 20% more than indicated on the packet) with kitchen scales and use measuring cups for liquids then you are probably eating more than you realise. You should also check your entries against the USDA database or package information as some entries here are very inaccurate.
  • Aarjono
    Aarjono Posts: 228 Member
    If 1700 works for your weight loss, and doesn't jeopardize your milk supply, go with that. As you introduce other foods into your baby's diet, though, you will burn less calories.
  • heybales
    heybales Posts: 18,842 Member
    Fat is not fast, gained or lost.

    You have water weight changes.

    Always do the math if you think it was fat.

    lbs difference x 3500 / days between weighing = daily deficit or surplus to maintenance that must have been there to cause it.

    I'll bet with your math you'll find the increase is more than you are eating - therefore making it impossible that it is fat.

    Running that much is training your body to just scream to store more carbs, with attached water, in the muscles.

    When you finally eat more, you are finally giving it what it wants.
    If you don't want the improvements from exercise, all of them - then don't.

    Otherwise, realize there is a whole lot more to your body than a number on a scale I doubt you invite anyone in to see when you weigh in the morning.
    You doing measurements of many spots during that time?

    I'll ditto above - you may be logging 1700, but doubtful you are eating that much in reality.

    Or - you've done a real number on your body and it's totally stressed out, which causes water retention too.
    Or - when you eat more sodium really jumps up compared to normal.
  • CynthiasChoice
    CynthiasChoice Posts: 1,047 Member
    edited October 2017
    http://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/comment/40608861#Comment_40608861

    I found this ^^ really interesting. I think hormones can affect how we process calories.

    I've always thought I was very precise in counting and logging my calories until just recently when I decided to do maintenance for two weeks to try to correct any hormonal imbalances that might affect my metabolism.

    I'm terrified to gain weight during maintenance, so I'm counting EVERYTHING so I don't go over my TDEE. And I want to be certain I reach my TDEE every day so I get the benefit of the maintenance weeks. It has really sharpened up my motivation to log accurately.

    I now count sugar free gum, celery, mustard, garlic, pickles and that single strand of linguini that I check to see if it's al dente, the tablespoon of mashed potatoes I taste to correct for salt. If you're the family cook like I am, it's easy to forget or dismiss the little things, but they do add up.

    I'm even more picky with which data base entry I use now too. I always search for the USDA entries, and weigh food in grams. (28.35 grams in an ounce - use your calculator when necessary!)

    Best of luck to you and blessings to your little one!
  • counting_kilojoules
    counting_kilojoules Posts: 170 Member
    Also, whilst you may see people posting about how they're losing weight on 2000 calories you don't necessarily know their activity level, their weight, their age, their rate of loss etc. It all makes a difference.
  • owsmith
    owsmith Posts: 3 Member
    Thanks for asking this! I'm 5'3.5 and exclusively breastfeeding my 2.5 month old. I was 172 when I delivered and 139 now. I have noticed the same thing - when I log carefully and stay at 1700 calories, I'm able to lose 2 pounds a week. When I go over that, I gain very quickly. I am so jealous when I read about women who eat over 2,000 calories and have weight drop off of them.
  • suzievv
    suzievv Posts: 410 Member
    I am also 5'3"; I've breastfed 4 babies. I'm 40; goal weight is about 120-125. I'm one of those who eats a lot during breastfeeding... I am just so hungry. Right now I'm eating about 2200 calories a day and losing, but then again I have more to lose-- I'm at about 148 pounds right now. I will say this.... I don't have any scientific explanation for you, but I do think that you have lost a lot of weight since Baby was born, and Baby is only 5 months old. You are at a very good weight for just 5 months post partum and breastfeeding. I would think about maintaining for a while. Pregnancy and birth is a really really big deal... our bodies go through so much to support that baby. Hormones are a big deal. Sometimes you need to take it slow. If you had a lot of weight loss during the first few months post partum, perhaps you need to take it slow for a bit.
  • marshageroli
    marshageroli Posts: 41 Member
    Lillymoo01 wrote: »
    How are you logging your food? Unless you weigh all solids (including prepackaged food which can be up to 20% more than indicated on the packet) with kitchen scales and use measuring cups for liquids then you are probably eating more than you realise. You should also check your entries against the USDA database or package information as some entries here are very inaccurate.

    I measure all of my food before I eat it, on a food scale
  • marshageroli
    marshageroli Posts: 41 Member
    owsmith wrote: »
    Thanks for asking this! I'm 5'3.5 and exclusively breastfeeding my 2.5 month old. I was 172 when I delivered and 139 now. I have noticed the same thing - when I log carefully and stay at 1700 calories, I'm able to lose 2 pounds a week. When I go over that, I gain very quickly. I am so jealous when I read about women who eat over 2,000 calories and have weight drop off of them.

    Yes! I am definitely not complaining, since 1700 calories is a ton for me, since I was so used to 1200 calories before I got pregnant, but I'm just curious how that works. Everyone says, " oh you must be eating more than you realize, or exercise is different, or it's just water weight" but I know exactly what I'm eating and how precise I am with measurements, and if I am not gaining while eating back my exercise calories, I must not be overestimating. Also, when I was dieting previously, water weight came off in less than a week, not several weeks. Despite all of that, when I eat above 1700 I gain weight and it takes a long time to get it off (like normal time for weight loss). There has to be an explanation for this..... Unless I'm missing something
  • SezxyStef
    SezxyStef Posts: 15,268 Member
    owsmith wrote: »
    Thanks for asking this! I'm 5'3.5 and exclusively breastfeeding my 2.5 month old. I was 172 when I delivered and 139 now. I have noticed the same thing - when I log carefully and stay at 1700 calories, I'm able to lose 2 pounds a week. When I go over that, I gain very quickly. I am so jealous when I read about women who eat over 2,000 calories and have weight drop off of them.

    k so why are you aiming for a loss of 2lbs a week...your child is still too young for you to worry about that as you are probably impacting your milk quality...not quantity...but quality...

    and as for the 2nd...1700 and you lose 2lbs...but at 1800 you gain...not possible...

    If you are gaining it is water weight only not fat.

    and stop comparing yourself to other woman...you don't know how much they move in a day either...

    my sister is 5 ft 3 and can eat 2500 a day and not gain...but she is really really active and pretty muscular...and by active I mean karate, swimming, running 10k doing exercise videos working cooking cleaning taking care of a family etc.
  • counting_kilojoules
    counting_kilojoules Posts: 170 Member
    edited October 2017
    What is your activity level set to? Maybe you're not as active as you think you are? I just popped your height and weight into MFP with an activity level of lightly active and got a daily calorie allowance of 1590. If that's accurate, adding on a couple of hundred for the breastfeeding would have you losing at 1700.
  • marshageroli
    marshageroli Posts: 41 Member
    What is your activity level set to? Maybe you're not as active as you think you are? I just popped your height and weight into MFP with an activity level of lightly active and got a daily calorie allowance of 1590. If that's accurate, adding on a couple of hundred for the breastfeeding would have you losing at 1700.

    I'm set to lightly active. Therefore, I am losing at 1700. My question isn't regarding me losing at 1700. My question is, why is it that when I up my calorie intake to maintenance, or not even, why am I gaining like crazy? I've experimented for a few days in a row at 1900 and I gained 3 pounds (initially even more, but that was water weight that dropped off after a week) but the rest of the three pounds took me a month to get off, and that was extremely precise measuring of everything I ate and the same exercise routine. At 1900 Im not even at maintenance for ebf. I just don't buy the whole cut and dry calories in calories out, and if it varies, you must be doing something wrong. There has to be another explanation...
  • suzievv
    suzievv Posts: 410 Member
    What is your activity level set to? Maybe you're not as active as you think you are? I just popped your height and weight into MFP with an activity level of lightly active and got a daily calorie allowance of 1590. If that's accurate, adding on a couple of hundred for the breastfeeding would have you losing at 1700.

    I'm set to lightly active. Therefore, I am losing at 1700. My question isn't regarding me losing at 1700. My question is, why is it that when I up my calorie intake to maintenance, or not even, why am I gaining like crazy? I've experimented for a few days in a row at 1900 and I gained 3 pounds (initially even more, but that was water weight that dropped off after a week) but the rest of the three pounds took me a month to get off, and that was extremely precise measuring of everything I ate and the same exercise routine. At 1900 Im not even at maintenance for ebf. I just don't buy the whole cut and dry calories in calories out, and if it varies, you must be doing something wrong. There has to be another explanation...

    Are you hungry every day? Is that why you have experimented with increasing to 1900? I'm asking because 1700 calories per day is pretty aggressive, considering that with the bf you're probably netting close to 1200, possibly less if Baby isn't eating much solids.

    I would like to tell you my experience, which is that I've successfully lost pregnancy weight five times and sometimes my body just isn't ready to even start losing weight until about 5-6 months. Many times right after birth I get this idea into my head that I need to be in a rush to get back to my pre-pregnancy body, and I push too hard to lose the weight. When I am hungry, that is a warning sign that I NEED more food to support the breastmilk production. Many times I've had to just slow down and enjoy that postpartum state, and not worry too much about losing the weight. In the long run, that tends to be the healthiest thing for my body. Maybe, for whatever reasons that have to do with supporting the baby, your body needs to be at this weight for a while (or 3 pounds heavier). Embrace the mommy body and consider the belly flop as a badge of honor. The mommy body really is a beautiful thing. And it doesn't mean that you won't slim down to your pre-pregnancy state. It just may take a little more time than you originally thought it would. I think to reach goal weight around 12-18 months after birth is a very reasonable goal to shoot for.

    Ditto what a pp said... it is NOT possible to lose 2 pounds per week at 1700 but then suddenly gain 3 pounds per week at 1900. I just don't think it's possible, even considering hormones or whatever else might be going on in our body. This may have happened to you once, for a very brief period of time-- but it cannot be a reflection of what's going on over the long term with CICO. If you are really hungry and feel like you need to increase to 1900 per day, I'd go for it and see what happens over the LONG term (like maybe a month).
  • ashliedelgado
    ashliedelgado Posts: 814 Member
    I think that it IS water weight, and the hormones that are needed to sustain breastfeeding make it difficult to shed the water weight.

    At least you're losing. I'm just about a year into breastfeeding, and if I dropped my calories at all my supply suffered greatly. It wasn't until my babes was eating more food than milk and I had a decent freezer stash built up that I was able to start losing again.
  • marshageroli
    marshageroli Posts: 41 Member
    Thanks for the replies! I do have days where I'm ravenous and can't seem to get enough to eat, yet other days where I'm satisfied under my 1700. That is why I was curious about the 1900, for those days when I need some extra calories. My milk supply has not had any problems, a blessing I think I sometimes take for granted because I know so many moms who do have them. I'm super aggressive with weight loss now because this is my last child of four and I have been overweight almost my whole teenage and adult life. I want to take advantage of the extra calories from breastfeeding, but would stop in a heart beat if it started to affect my baby at all. I know it seems extremely shallow... ): however, I think I may try going to 1900 for a month and seeing what happens.
  • CynthiasChoice
    CynthiasChoice Posts: 1,047 Member
    It's pretty common to have water weight gain when returning to a higher calorie and carb diet. Try not to let that deter you from doing what you think is right. If you continue to increase in weight over a few weeks, then you can assume you're eating too many calories or not exercising enough. Also, be careful about how many calories you assume you're burning while exercising. There's a pretty broad range between individuals.
  • suzievv
    suzievv Posts: 410 Member
    Thanks for the replies! I do have days where I'm ravenous and can't seem to get enough to eat, yet other days where I'm satisfied under my 1700. That is why I was curious about the 1900, for those days when I need some extra calories. My milk supply has not had any problems, a blessing I think I sometimes take for granted because I know so many moms who do have them. I'm super aggressive with weight loss now because this is my last child of four and I have been overweight almost my whole teenage and adult life. I want to take advantage of the extra calories from breastfeeding, but would stop in a heart beat if it started to affect my baby at all. I know it seems extremely shallow... ): however, I think I may try going to 1900 for a month and seeing what happens.

    I don't think it's shallow. It sounds like you've got a good perspective. I think counting calories while breastfeeding can be really tough sometimes, because we don't know how much we're burning through bf. The textbooks estimate 500, but I know it's more sometimes, and sometimes less. When you have a day where you're just really hungry, then eat some extra calories and try not to worry about a temporary gain. I've definitely experienced days like that, and I don't know-- maybe the baby is having a little growth spurt and the body ramps up milk production way above normal. You've made excellent progress and you're already at a healthy weight for your height, not even considering having a baby and bf. Keep on going forward... you'll get there!