How to Lose Weight while Breastfeeding
I am not a dietitian, only a wellness coach in the making. Please use my information in conjunction with your own research.
Frustrated that you are not losing weight while breastfeeding?
When you are a breastfeeding mom, you need to take into account the amount of calories your body needs to feed your baby, before you can work out a breastfeeding weight loss plan for yourself.
How to Start
First find out what your basal metabolic rate is (the amount of calories your body needs every day for basic functions) Work this out here... An accurate BMR calculator.
Then go over to breastfeeding-problems.com’s calorie calculator, this will tell you how many calories you need extra per day for breastfeeding (specific to each individual).
Once you have that amount, you can add your basal metabolic rate amount to the extra amount needed for breastfeeding, and then minus 500 (needed to lose weight). The amount you are left with will be the amount of calories you need to eat every day to lose weight while breastfeeding healthily.
- My basal metabolic rate is 1700 (that's how many calories I use per day to live)
I produce 24 ounces of milk per day and my baby is 4 months old, therefore I need an extra 225 calories per day. (work it out here)
- 1700 + 225 = 1925
- 1925 - 500 (needed for weight loss) = 1425
- 1425 is the amount in calories that I need to eat daily to lose weight while breastfeeding.
Now that you have this amount, you can plan ahead. Download the app “fat secret" or “spark people". With this app you can calculate exactly how much you are eating daily to monitor your food intake. Now, you might be thinking that this is too much work, but after a few days you kinda remember the calories in foods and it might not be necessary to use it everyday. I use mine every day though, just because I like to be in control ;-)
What Foods to Eat
New research suggests that all breastfeeding mothers should stop avoiding certain food groups while pregnant and breastfeeding. The avoidance of certain foods can actually cause an allergy later on. The only time you need to avoid something is when your baby has tested positive (allergic) towards a food group. Read more about this here.
Weight loss tips
The first and most important aspect of breastfeeding and weight loss is hydration. If you do not drink enough water, you will not lose as much as possible. You might even notice an increase in milk supply when you drink enough water.
How much water to drink?
For every 10kg of body weight, you need to drink 1cup of water (250ml) plus 1 extra. For example: If you weigh 80kg, you will need to drink 9 cups of water daily. Thats 2,6L.
This is especially important for lactating women, make sure you are hydrated!
Secondly, you should aim for 40% carbs 30% fats and 30% protein daily. Fat secret shows you these amounts as you add them to the app.
You should try to take in at least 1g of protein for every 1kg of body weight. For example: If you weigh 80kg you need to eat 80g of protein daily. The more, the better. This ensures that when you do lose weight, it's fat weight and not muscle weight lost.
- Keep up blood sugar levels.
Try to divide your calories up into 250cal meals. Your meals should not be more than 3 hours apart from each other. This is important, and ensures that your blood sugar stays constant throughout the day.
Replace at least two of those meals with a smoothie. Ideas for smoothies:
My Meal Replacement Smoothie
- 20 to 40g of protein powder (I use Herbalife shakes. They are safe while breastfeeding. They taste amazing and I see better results with them. This is because they are a proper meal replacement comprised of all the nutrients and vitamins needed in a meal as well as the correct macro nutrients ratio - Great for a milk supply boost too)
- 1 frozen fruit (I love to add strawberries, grapes, banana to my shakes)
- 1 large date for those with a sweet tooth.
- 1 tbsp of raw cocoa nibs (for added antioxidants)
- 1 cup of almond milk. (Make your own almond milk - 20 almonds in 3 cups water, blend in Nutribullet, strain with nut or cheesecloth) Store in fridge.
This shake is approximately 250 calories
Good foods for weight loss
- Chicken breasts
- Tuna in water
- Low fat cottage cheese
- All vegetables (except for potato and sweet potato)
- Chick peas and beans
- Lean biltong (dried meat)
- Coconut oil for cooking, olive oil for salads
- Nuts and seeds
Limit the following foods for weight loss
- Rice and bread.
- Potato and sweet potato.
- All processed foods.
- Vegetable oils.
- Milk and cheddar cheese
- Try to eat less red meat.
Coffee (Even though coffee while breastfeeding is okay in moderation, I left coffee cold turkey. Coffee is a diuretic and will dehydrate you, which will sabotage weight loss while breastfeeding. It is also full of chemicals. You do get wonderful caffeine alternatives. Again herbalife has a tea powder that tastes really good and gives you loads of energy) What I drink instead of coffee: 2 cups boiling water with Earl Grey tea, the juice of one orange, a squirt of lemon juice and ½ tbsp of honey.
Yes, it is safe to exercise while breastfeeding.
When I started my weight loss journey I lost some muscle because I was exercising every day. As soon as I started alternating with days off in between, I started losing more fat. I would recommend (from my own experience) 30 minutes interval training every second day for the best results. During those 30 minutes I run as fast as I can for 1 minute and then walk for one minute.
A Day in My Life
- Wake up (drink water)
- 30 minutes after waking - have a smoothie (drink water)
- 3 hours later have a snack (250 cal) something like a tin of tuna with salad. (drink water)
- 3 hours later have a smoothie (drink water)
- 3 hours later have another snack. Something like 100g of biltong (drink water)
- 3 hours later have my main meal, which is usually about 100g white meat and lots of vegetables. (drink water)
- If I have enough calories left over for the day I’ll have another smoothie or an orange
- (drink water)
One of the reasons why I feel I have been successful during my weightloss journey, is because I have a support system and somebody that keeps me accountable. If you would like someone to talk to or if you need advice, I am more than willing to help...leave your message below.
I am still in the process of my weight loss journey. Have lost 7kg in 9 weeks. Will be adding my before and after pictures soon!!
Does breastfeeding help you lose weight? Well, you get to eat more while losing weight ;-) If you stick to my plan above. And recent research suggests that mothers who breastfeed lose more weight around their tummy and hip areas than their non breastfeeding counterparts. So you can in-fact lose weight by breastfeeding alone ;-)
Gaining weight while breastfeeding?
If you work out your calories allowed per day as mentioned above, you will quickly see how many calories you are eating above your calorie allowance.
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