How I lost the after baby weight.
Actually I almost didn't.
Not until 15 years later!!!
This is another story of futility really.
Before I had children I weighted 125lbs, after both babies, my weight settled at 155lbs despite no change in my diet.
I ate a whole foods vegetarian diet before I had babies, while I was pregnant and after that too.
Despite eating healthy, I gained an astronomical amount of weight.
Two months before I gave birth to my daughter, I was already 185lbs (I am barely 5'4). I have no idea what my weight was just before I gave birth, but I can only suppose that it was more than that.
I just couldn't understand how nothing had changed in my diet after having my son, and yet my body did not return to my pre-pregnancy weight.
So I did the only thing I knew how at the time, I did the master cleanse (I was desperate and I didn't know what else to do!).
I drank nothing but water with lemon juice, cayenne pepper and maple syrup. There are 52 calories in 1 Tbps of maple syrup. I was having about 5 glasses of this concoction per day for a grand total of 260 calories per day.
I did it for 11 days.
Guess how many pounds I lost?
Zero. Zilch. Nothing. Nadda.
I was devasted and what a waste of time, energy and lost pleasure!
So eating healthy couldn't make me thin.
Eating next to no calories couldn't do it.
The only thing left in the conventional model was exercise.
So I decided "I guess I am going to have to stay overweight and accept my new mommy body".
I was just being honest with myself.
It made zero sense to me to use a strategy to lose weight that I had no intention of doing forever to maintain my weight.
Working out wasn't for me. I didn't DO "exercise".
And so I settled for my new body.
It turned out to be pretty easy to do at the time. I had so many passions and interests that it was natural to put my preference for a smaller pant size on the shelf to collect dust.
I didn't need a perfect body to be happy.
The question still remains though, why did I gain so much weight in my pregnancies despite eating healthy? Why did the same food and activity level result in an extra 20lbs?
Why did restricting calories NOT work?
The answer is easy and plain obvious to me now.
What I am about to share with you will make it completely obvious why women fail to lose weight after having babies, despite eating the same diet.
And no it's not an excess of food or a lack of exercise.
The answer is ......
It's stress and trauma.
In a society that doesn't highly value motherhood or the sanctity of childbirth, women experience extreme stress during the childbearing years that leads to chronically elevated cortisol levels that eventually lead to endocrine dysfunction.
Let's take a look at just some of the common universal stressors that make new mom's resistant to weight loss:
1) The physical stress of growing a baby, breastfeeding and caring for the baby. And even more stressful when the mother doesn't have adequate nutrition, her body will literally break down to provide nourishment for the baby - she literally sacrifices her body and her brain.
2) The emotional stress of the baby not being planned or overtly not wanted by herself or the father or the family who thinks she's too young and wrecking her life.
3) The other chronic stressors that she had before pregnancy that are exponentially more stressful with the baby - her relationship with the father, meddling inlaws, finances, career stress etc.
4) The stress of giving up her freedom and postponing her dreams.
5) Feeling totally abandoned by her friends and family who tell her to let them know if she needs anything, but she doesn't know how to ask for help. She doesn't feel worthy and she thinks that if they really wanted to help, they would just see what needs to be done and do it.
6) Feeling totally isolated and alone at home and with nowhere to go since there are so few baby and child-friendly public places she enjoys.
7) One day, she's a 9-5 working woman, the next she's a 24 hour mother, wet nurse, maid, butler and personal chef to her husband and kids - and depending on who her husband is, it may all be undervalued and thankless tasks that go unnoticed......he may criticize her cooking, her ability to 'keep house' or inability to generate money simultaneously.
These are the common ones, but certainly, it's a short list when it comes to the specifics.
Then there is the birth trauma....
1) All of the above mentioned are traumatic too.
2) Childbirth speed - her birth went on too long or happened so fast that either way she too was certain she was going to die.
3) Physical Violations - she told the doctor or nurse to stop and they didn't ...or they just went ahead and did something the felt violating to her.
4) Emotional abuse - she felt be-littled by her caregivers for daring to ask questions that threatened their authority and she shrank inside herself afraid to ask any more questions.
5) Her partner didn't show up for the birth - literally or emotionally he's wasn't there for her - he was just trying to make himself comfortable. He didn't protect her and she felt abandoned.
6) Unexpected events - C-section, excessive bleeding, birth defects, disabilities, home to hospital transfer etc.
7) Things she knew she signed up for but didn't expect to traumatize her - vaginal exams, induction, C-section etc.
8) Her family or inlaws came over after the birth and instead of taking care of her, they expected her to take care of them and she end up bleeding excessively, sick and fevering with mastitis after.
And then there is the depression and anxiety that follows all of it leading to emotional eating of junk food and sugar or no eating at all, both of which make the depression and anxiety exponentially worse.
Becoming a mother is probably the most chronically stressful thing a woman could ever experience in a culture that doesn't value it.
And how does that make her fat?
Chronically high levels of cortisol cause surges of insulin that block fat burning and cause fat storage.
Insulin makes you fat, not calories.
This is why I am adamant that women 'get thin from within' by using their weight loss journey as a catalyst for life transformation.
No amount of eating right or exercising is going to make a difference when it comes to addressing the root cause of weight loss resistance after childbirth.
Want to find out what will? Click here to read the Delish Diet e-book for FREE.
p.s. Do you work with pregnant women or new moms and want to help them prevent excess pregnancy weight gain and let go of the postpartum weight? Click here to learn how the Delish Diet supports and optimally healthy pregnancy and sign up here to learn more about the Delish Diet Certified Practitioner training.