A quick search on Pinterest of “How to lose baby weight” reveals article after article promising to teach you how to lose the baby weight just six weeks postpartum, to lose weight by drinking lots of protein shakes, or empty promises that the weight will fall right off if you breastfeed.
Let it be known that this post is none of those things.
I found that my body did not return to ‘normal’ from breastfeeding – if anything, breastfeeding may actually teach your body to hold on to fat because it thinks you may need it later.
I also sort of despise all of the bloggers who say you can lose the baby weight within the first six weeks. First of all, this is not healthy; your body just went through a traumatic medical event and needs time to heal. Your belly took a long 9 months to stretch out, so we should expect that it will take a while to go back to normal! Trying to lose the baby weight in six weeks creates unrealistic expectations, and teaches mothers to obsess over their own weight rather than enjoy the beginning of their child’s life.
So, though I tried a variety of methods from various blogs and advertisements, they all left me with broken promises and an unchanged number on the scale.
It took me a long 10 months to get my confidence back. Read on to discover why I had so much trouble initially, the different methods I tried, and my review of the program that finally worked, The Faster Way to Fat Loss.
Where Did the Weight Come From?
This is a tricky question.
Short answer? The baby. Duh. But my story is a little more complicated than that.
Three days after having my baby, I remember looking in the mirror and thinking “wow, I look pretty good, all things considered!”. I was actually happy with the way I looked, despite that the scale said I still had an extra 8 pounds or so before pre-baby weight.
Unfortunately, due to some health conditions and a medication I was taking (you can read more about this part of my story here), those last few pounds never went away. In fact, I gained about ten more while taking prednisone.
This is the part where I have to say I am not weight-obsessed (I realize how ironic that sounds coming from someone who is dedicating an entire blog post to their weight). I have actually always had a positive outlook on my body. It was never supermodel perfect or stick-thin, but I didn’t care. I loved eating whatever I wanted, and I loved holding an F-you posture towards the industries that make women think they need to be thin.
However, after gaining all of the weight from the Prednisone, on top of what I had left from the baby, I just didn’t feel like myself.
Large doses of Prednisone can cause you to gain weight in your abdomen and face (just what you want after having a baby, right?). It has this funny side effect called Moon Face. Basically, it’s when you gain weight and swell up in your face so that it’s round like the moon. Such a blast!
So, as I looked in the mirror at my Moon Face, and my entire wardrobe of clothes that no longer fit, and my tiger-striped midsection, I realized I had lost my confidence. I wanted to feel like me again, even if it was a new, slightly differently shaped version of me.
My Failed Attempts at Losing the Baby Weight
I set out on my mission to get my body back (or what could be salvaged of it). With everything that I tried, I had to consider not only my own wellbeing, but also my daughter’s. When breastfeeding, you have to be careful not to go to any extremes or limit food intake drastically, or your supply could suffer. This automatically eliminated half of the weight loss possibilities out there.
First, I tried simply calorie counting. I figured as long as I was consuming fewer calories than I was expending, then I would lose the baby weight eventually. This became exhausting. I was generally confused about how to correctly calculate calories, because it is nearly impossible to know exactly how many calories you are burning during breastfeeding and exercise.
Next, I participated in the Every Mother program for Diastasis Recti. I highly recommend it if you have Diastasis Recti, but it didn’t exactly help me slim down. I think this is because the workouts are geared towards restoring your abs, not fat loss.
Third, I tried drinking one protein shake per day (this one is delish) paired with daily workouts to give my body the essential nutrients it needed in an attempt to convince my body to let go of the baby weight (I didn’t make this strategy up, I read about it on a blog. One of the first ones that comes up on Pinterest actually). While I don’t think this did any harm at all, it didn’t really help.
Fourth, I tested out the LadyBoss program. I must have lingered on a Facebook ad a little too long one day, because then it popped up every five seconds on my feed. I caved and decided to do the free trial. They promised meal plans, workouts, personalized coaches, the whole nine yards! Sadly, the meal plans consisted of rice cakes, salmon or chicken breast cooked with Mrs. Dash, and steamed microwave veggies. I took one look at the meal plan and canceled the program. I was not willing to sacrifice yummy food to lose weight; a program like that would just make me mad.
At this point, 8 months postpartum, I didn’t feel any closer to getting my confidence back. Luckily my Moon Face was gone thanks to stopping the medication 5 months earlier, but I still lacked the body positivity I had before.
The Faster Way to Fat Loss
A friend from church told me about a program she had been doing called the Faster Way to Fat Loss.She said she lost about 10 pounds in six weeks. To quickly summarize, here are all of the aspects of the program that convinced me to join:
- The founder of the program created it while breastfeeding, so I felt confident that it was safe.
- The program focused on nutrition, but there was still room for the foods I truly enjoyed.
- The program took six weeks, but taught you everything you needed to know to make it a continual lifestyle.
This is not sponsored, this is just my story!
The program consists of a few basic components that all come together in the perfect combination for fat loss:
- Carb Cycling
- Tracking Macronutrients
- Whole Food Nutrition
- Intermittent Fasting
The program as a whole was created by Amanda Tress, a former fitness instructor. But, as the program has grown, she no longer coaches each person that joins. Instead, she trains and certifies coaches to instruct people in the FWTFL lifestyle.
It is hard to become a coach for this program – they have to pass rigorous tests on biology, the human body, fitness, and nutrition. There is also a scientific advisory board that continually monitors the FWTFL for safe and scientifically sound principals.
I think the coach alone makes this program worth pursuing. She checked in with each and every one of her clients every single day to make sure they were meeting their nutrition goals and to ask them how they were feeling.
Coaches are, in my opinion, the reason why the program is safe for breastfeeding women. Despite following the modifications for breastfeeding, I still suffered from a drop in supply. I told my coach immediately, and she was able to adjust my nutrition so that my supply was restored.
Carb cycling is when you eat low-carb for two days, then regular carbs the rest of the week. The calories missing from carbs are made up in healthy fats (avocados, nut butters, etc). The idea behind carb cycling is that it depletes all of your glycogen stores, which then kicks your body into fat-burning mode. Limiting carbs is the reason why the Keto diet works so well for some people.
However, it is actually not safe for women to omit carbs from their diet for more than two days in a row, because it puts stress on the adrenal glands. So, by carb cycling, you get the benefit of eating low carb without putting stress on your body that can actually cause weight loss to plateau.
Macronutrients are probably the most confusing part of the program. Essentially, the goal is to eat the correct amount of grams of each macronutrient (carbs, fats, and proteins), and the right percentages.
I won’t go into detail here, because you will need to purchase the program to be sure that you are eating the right amount of food. But, nailing your grams and percentages means that you are fueling your body properly, which is what leads to results.
Whole Food Nutrition
Whole food nutrition is a pretty simple concept. Essentially, the goal is to eat as little processed food as possible. The program also recommends that you cut out dairy and gluten, but honestly I was not strict about gluten and dairy and it worked just fine!
Intermittent Fasting is kind of a buzzword in the health industry. This program practiced fasting for 16 hours every day. In other words, you have an 8-hour eating window. While this may sound extreme, if you think of it in terms of eating from 12pm to 8pm, all this means is that you skip breakfast and you don’t eat your typical late-night-on-the-couch snack.
Intermittent Fasting has been researched quite heavily, and has been shown to have a variety of positive health effects. The reason it works so well for fat loss is that it allows your body to enter into a resting phase during the fasting period, rather constantly be in digestion mode.
I found that I didn’t miss breakfast at all, because when I ate enough food during my eating window, I actually wasn’t hungry for breakfast. The fasting also broke some of my late-night eating that was purely out of habit, not even hunger or enjoyment.
Fitness is only 20% of the program, and many people are successful just by changing their nutrition. But, the fitness aspect can really boost your results if paired with proper nutrition. The FWTFL focuses on high-intensity workouts during low-carb days to further deplete glycogen stores, and strength training workouts on regular carb days to fuel your muscles and burn fat.
Why I loved the FWTFL
Phew, that was a lot of information to spew out, but it’s time to get personal.
I didn’t feel guilty or like I ruined all my progress if I had a day where I went out to eat, or didn’t meet my nutrition goals. The program gives so much grace, and I feel like this is why so many people are successful. Is it your anniversary? Eat the piece of cake! Are you at a wedding with zero control over what you’re eating? It’s fine! This program doesn’t demonize foods and separate them into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ categories.
There was no calorie counting, and I didn’t feel like I was limiting food. Yes, you limit the time frame in which you are eating, but not the amount. In fact, there were several days I had trouble eating enough food in the eight hours.
I loved that the program was safe for me and my baby (clearly this was very important to me as I’ve mentioned it three times!).
Food didn’t begin to consume my life. After a less-than-positive experience with Whole30, I was wary of any type of eating plan because I felt that though I had a very positive view of food, having to focus on food all of the time would cause me to become obsessed with my food in a negative way. Luckily, because the program is not restrictive as to what type of food you consume, this was not the case; I was able to eat meals I already knew how to cook, and then fill in my nutrition with healthy snacks to make sure I met my goals.
I was able to be successful during one of the busiest and most stressful seasons of my life; because of this, I know that I will be able to do it again in the future should I need to. I completed my six-week program over the course of two weddings, several holidays, and while traveling to the Poconos, California, and an unusually stressful move. The program gave me the tools necessary for a healthy relationship with food even during busy seasons.
The program gave me the tools to better myself in the future. They taught me so much about nutrition and the female body, and I feel empowered to treat my body as a holy temple, rather than mindlessly following a plan that requires me to pay more money to truly understand what I’m doing.
So, what were my results exactly?
In the end, I lost about 14 pounds and 12 inches overall. I am finally back to the size I was before I got pregnant.
The program actually encourages you not to step on a scale, but instead to focus on non-scale victories.
- I feel like my face looks like me again, and I actually recognize myself in the mirror.
- I am in better physical shape.
- My clothes fit me better, and I am happy with my closet again.
- I have my confidence back.
Would I do this program again? Absolutely. It helped me get my confidence back, and that is priceless.
Ask Me Questions!
If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment or reach out via my contact me page. I’d love to talk with you about the FWTFL program, or just about postpartum weight in general.