Breastfeeding, Counting Everything, and Scale Isn't Budging

I was a MFP regular a few years back and lost about 50 lbs. My progress was slow and steady over a year and I had very distinct patterns.

I'm currently nursing my 8 month old and need to lose the 40 lbs I gained while pregnant. I'm 5'7", 212 lbs, and work a desk job with little to no exercise. I got serious over 2 weeks ago and started counting every gram of food that entered my mouth, weighing every portion with my food scale. I'm not ready to add exercise in the mix. I'm eating 1850 calories a day. On average I pump about 20 oz of milk a day, which should make my daily calorie count about 1450.

I've lost nothing. Not even the "whoosh" 2+ lbs of water weight I ALWAYS lose when beginning to watch calories and drinking more water. In the past, I easily lost 1-2 lbs a week on 1650 calories a day, so I'm confused why nothing is happening this time around.

I know weight loss is fluid and I'm not getting discouraged yet, but any ideas or tips too help jump start this?
«1

Replies

  • amtyrell
    amtyrell Posts: 1,449 Member
    Then you are either
    1. Eating more than you think get a scale weigh everything
    2. Burning leas than you think perhaps stick baby in one of those baby slings and take an extra walk a day
  • sapphire1166
    sapphire1166 Posts: 114 Member
    I'm weighing literally everything I eat except for my apple at lunch (because I don't have a food scale at work to weigh exactly how much I ate once I only have the core left). Breastmilk Burns about 20 calories per oz produced, and my average of 20 oz a day was actually rounded down. I mostly exclusively pump so I have a fairly good idea of how much a day I produce.

    I'm doing the exact same things I did during my last weight-loss venture and my lifestyle has pretty much stayed the same (except now I'm chatting around a baby and a 3 year old) and am even eating 300 net calories less a day compared to that time, so I don't think not keeping track of my calories or not burning as much are the issues.
  • SafioraLinnea
    SafioraLinnea Posts: 628 Member
    I've lost very close to 60 pounds using breastfeeding to create my deficit.

    Weight loss has slowed substantially for me in the last couple weeks because of a lot of days eating at maintenance instead of deficit. My daughter is also 8 months and nursing. I am also about 40 pounds from my goal. It might be that the closer you are to a normal weight the harder it is to use only breastfeeding as your calorie deficit.

    My suggestion is to ensure you have figured out your activity level accurately, and I strongly encourage you to up your activity level. It sucks to have to be active when you really don't want to be but I personally find that it's better than fussing about at a lower calorie level and it helps me feel better too!

    There are a ton of activities you can do with your little one that only cost a time commitment, or very small amount. Discover walking paths, parks, playgrounds, swimming pools, etc. Even half an hour a day can make a difference.
  • marlies_NL
    marlies_NL Posts: 10 Member
    I breastfed all my three kids for over a year and my body would just retain the extra weight until they weaned. Lived on oatmeal and other healthy choices. Just whacky chemistry I guess.
  • sapphire1166
    sapphire1166 Posts: 114 Member
    I've lost very close to 60 pounds using breastfeeding to create my deficit.

    Weight loss has slowed substantially for me in the last couple weeks because of a lot of days eating at maintenance instead of deficit. My daughter is also 8 months and nursing. I am also about 40 pounds from my goal. It might be that the closer you are to a normal weight the harder it is to use only breastfeeding as your calorie deficit.

    My suggestion is to ensure you have figured out your activity level accurately, and I strongly encourage you to up your activity level. It sucks to have to be active when you really don't want to be but I personally find that it's better than fussing about at a lower calorie level and it helps me feel better too!

    There are a ton of activities you can do with your little one that only cost a time commitment, or very small amount. Discover walking paths, parks, playgrounds, swimming pools, etc. Even half an hour a day can make a difference.

    I also have a 3 year old, and work full-time so finding that extra time is super hard during weekdays. I pick up the kids from daycare at 4, and they go to bed around 6:45, so that only leaves less than 3 hours for baths, dinner preparation, errands, eating, etc. After that I'm doing laundry and meal prep and going to bed by 8:30 myself (I get up at 4:30). It's also BLAZING hot in NC in the summer so there's not much walking going on after work.

    But on the weekends we always do something! We've gone swimming every Saturday morning for the last 5 weeks, hit up playgrounds/splaygrounds, and I usually do a few hours of whole-house cleaning on Sundays. My activity level is low for sure, but it's not zilch. I usually underestimate on everything (activity level and amount of milk produced) so it's even more flummoxing that I'm not losing!
  • SezxyStef
    SezxyStef Posts: 15,270 Member
    I would say give it a bit more time...there are a few reasons that this can be happening.

    1. you may or may not be burning that many calories by creating breast milk..at best that is an estimate.
    2. stress could be causing cortisol levels to be high and cause water retention...
    3. or high sodium water retention
    4. hormones

    just be patient and just ensure the milk is nutritious.
  • ashliedelgado
    ashliedelgado Posts: 815 Member
    I'm nursing a 9 month old, and I didn't start losing until I stopped counting for breastfeeding at all. At that, it's been slow, like 1/2 lb a week. Now that Lil'Bit is eating 3 solid meals a day, I felt more comfortable messing with my deficit. I know it's frustrating, but I remind myself that I'm not going to be nursing forever. If you're not seeing results, you can try shaving another 100 calories.
  • nickiphillips1
    nickiphillips1 Posts: 114 Member
    edited July 2017
    SezxyStef wrote: »
    I would say give it a bit more time...there are a few reasons that this can be happening.

    1. you may or may not be burning that many calories by creating breast milk..at best that is an estimate.
    2. stress could be causing cortisol levels to be high and cause water retention...
    3. or high sodium water retention
    4. hormones

    just be patient and just ensure the milk is nutritious.

    I have to agree with this. Sleep deprivation and stress can take its toll.

    You are doing the most important thing you can right now for your baby. I know it sucks to not be able to lose weight, but you will have time after you stop breast feeding.

    If you are still concerned, I would talk to your doctor and see if you can see a dietitian.

    I had more trouble losing weight after my second child (even though I gained less, it took a lot longer and didn't come off as easily and I exercised as well) and for both children I hung onto at least 10 lbs until I finished breast feeding.

    When I hit menopause, I gained 50 lbs and couldn't lose any until I got out of menopause and then I had to completely change how I ate. I am still in my 40's. Hormones do mess with your body.

    Every person is different and some lose it right away, some take a long time, and some have to make complete changes. I know how frustrating it is. Please hang in there and enjoy your time with your baby!

    Good luck!
  • Mummytofitmummy
    Mummytofitmummy Posts: 83 Member
    I read something recently that at first you'll get loss but then the body will hold onto the rest as a reserve for Baba. You already know you're doing good so just relax with it and see once you've stopped breastfeeding.
  • noirelb
    noirelb Posts: 216 Member
    marlies_NL wrote: »
    I breastfed all my three kids for over a year and my body would just retain the extra weight until they weaned. Lived on oatmeal and other healthy choices. Just whacky chemistry I guess.

    I had a baby a year ago but was not lucky enough to produce enough milk to breastfeed... BUT I know so many women barely able to lose weight when they are breastfeeding or complete opposite where they lose a bunch without even trying. It has to do with hormones and how you body retains all of your resources to make the milk. But if you keep at it and in the coming few months your baby will be eating more food and drinking less breast milk, you will adopt a healthy calorie deficit and it will become easier to lose weight. I would not give up. But if breastfeeding is super important to you (not sure how long you plan to breastfeed) than do not lower your calories tooo much.
  • trjjoy
    trjjoy Posts: 666 Member
    I'm with @amtyrell on this. Weigh everything you put into your mouth and create enough of a caloric deficit. The weight WILL drop off when there's a caloric deficit.
  • zjpq
    zjpq Posts: 198 Member
    I'm another mum unable to lose weight while breastfeeding (and if I cut cals too much my supply suffers) so I tried to focus on fitness and healthy choices and the weight started to shift after my kids stopped bfing
  • TavistockToad
    TavistockToad Posts: 35,731 Member
    I was a MFP regular a few years back and lost about 50 lbs. My progress was slow and steady over a year and I had very distinct patterns.

    I'm currently nursing my 8 month old and need to lose the 40 lbs I gained while pregnant. I'm 5'7", 212 lbs, and work a desk job with little to no exercise. I got serious over 2 weeks ago and started counting every gram of food that entered my mouth, weighing every portion with my food scale. I'm not ready to add exercise in the mix. I'm eating 1850 calories a day. On average I pump about 20 oz of milk a day, which should make my daily calorie count about 1450.

    I've lost nothing. Not even the "whoosh" 2+ lbs of water weight I ALWAYS lose when beginning to watch calories and drinking more water. In the past, I easily lost 1-2 lbs a week on 1650 calories a day, so I'm confused why nothing is happening this time around.

    I know weight loss is fluid and I'm not getting discouraged yet, but any ideas or tips too help jump start this?

    some people don't lose weight while breast feeding.
  • trjjoy
    trjjoy Posts: 666 Member
    I read something recently that at first you'll get loss but then the body will hold onto the rest as a reserve for Baba. You already know you're doing good so just relax with it and see once you've stopped breastfeeding.

    This is bro science/woo.
  • bendyourkneekatie
    bendyourkneekatie Posts: 696 Member
    There's nothing magic about breastfeeding that makes the body defy physics and produce energy out of nowhere. A caloric deficit will lead to weight loss. No matter if you appear to be hitting the numbers, if it's not working you're not at a deficit.
    If your weight is not moving then there's no harm in dropping your calories. I know people worry about milk production dropping, but that's only going to happen if you're at too high a deficit which would mean you'd be losing weight.
    When I started losing weight I was breastfeeding, and dropped weight too quickly and had to dial it back as I became exhausted and bubby was cranky and I'm pretty sure my production slowed a little. But I managed to both drop my weight and continue breastfeeding (to a 20 bmi and age 2.5 respectively)
  • Silentpadna
    Silentpadna Posts: 1,305 Member
    amtyrell wrote: »
    Then you are either
    1. Eating more than you think get a scale weigh everything
    2. Burning leas than you think perhaps stick baby in one of those baby slings and take an extra walk a day

    Those aren't the only two options, even as the OP pointed out.

    She could very well be losing fat and retaining fluid. Whooshes happen when they happen. If they are "jumpstarted", then there is decent chance of removing the benefit of retention, which the body does for specific reasons. If it is fluid retention, it just is.

    Yes, she could be eating more than she thinks. Yes, she could be burning less than she thinks.

    But, she could be doing exactly as she thinks.
  • nancy939393
    nancy939393 Posts: 12 Member
    I stopped breastfeeding in June and have lost 17 pounds since, and couldn't get the scale to budge while breastfeeding without plummeting my milk supply. Now I am loosing weight when I am barely trying. Like husband and I went out of town to a conference last weekend and I knew I wouldn't be able to count calories perfectly, but I still lost. For me and for some other women it is very difficult if not impossible to loose while breastfeeding.
  • laurabadams
    laurabadams Posts: 201 Member
    edited August 2017
    I started a weight loss program when my youngest was 6 mo old & had just started solids. I am 5'8" & was 38 & close to 200# when I started. I ate at a pretty high deficit for a nursing mother, but my breastfeeding was not adversely affected. I lost close to 50# in 4 months with very little deliberate exercise (occasionally walking with my kids).

    Edited to add - I'm not naturally thin or one of those lucky women who seem capable of melting the pounds away by nursing. I lost nothing while nursing my older child for 2 years (actually gained weight nursing her) & lost only 2 pounds in the six months of breastfeeding between my youngest's birth & when I started my weight loss program. It was all about finding the right deficit for me.

    You might try slowly increasing your deficit while keeping a close eye on your milk production, & if you notice a decline, raise your calories back up. Otherwise, maybe just keep tracking foods & walking when you can, getting some good habits established, & wait until your baby is a bit older & eating more solids before dramatically shifting your calories.
  • LonniJay
    LonniJay Posts: 3,740 Member
    I couldn't lose anything until my son weened off the boob. I tried eating at a deficit and nothing. Created a larger deficit and milk production dropped. I gained more weight breastfeeding than when pregnant. As soon as my son weened and I didn't have to worry about milk production I was able to start losing. My son weened in March and I've lost about 35 lbs already. Give it time and don't stress too much. If you start to stress or lose milk maybe just eat at maintenance until you are done breastfeeding. Good luck with everything!
  • JackieMarie1989jgw
    JackieMarie1989jgw Posts: 230 Member
    With my oldest, once he was on solids around 6 months I started only adding an additional 250 cal (instead of 500) for breastfeeding. When he was closer to a year I stopped giving myself extra calories for it at all. I think exactly how many calories you need for milk production may vary based on how much your baby eats (milk vs solids). I would try gradually decreasing your calories, just a little bit at a time, see what happens. But I would think if you aren't losing weight then you could probably decrease them without hurting your milk