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MeGill

Not losing weight

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Hi I’ve done whole30 many times over the past couple years and lost a ton of weight after my second baby while nursing (started it when my baby was 6mths).  I just had my third (and final!) baby and kept paleo 80/20 for most of the pregnancy, but still managed to gain a lot of weight again (I have had issues that retain weight during pregnancy).  I started whole30 when the baby was two weeks old and I’ve been on it consistently for 50 days.  I first lost 9 lbs, but it seems to go up and down and as of today I’m actually up 2 lbs from the 9 I originally lost! I’m very frustrated. I nurse exclusively and I know this diet isn’t just for weight loss, but obviously it’s a big motivator for many people, definitely for me.  I have about 45lbs to lose and with my first two babies I lost it in 9mths.  I’m depressed and embarrassed about the way I look, despite valid efforts I still managed to gain a ton of weight during pregnancy again!  Any tips would be greatly appreciated- I don’t want my milk supply to plummet, but I’m desperate to at the very least see the scale go down not up! Thanks very much

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Hi there. I'm sorry you're feeling a little frustrated right now.

First, I want to remind you that you are amazing -- you've given birth to three little ones, you're still breastfeeding the youngest one, and you've taken steps to be the healthiest you can be during and after pregnancy. This is something to celebrate! 

It's possible your body is still recovering from giving birth, and of course it is focusing on producing food for your little one. It is going to take more than a couple of months to recover from the changes that nine months of pregnancy bring.  Every pregnancy is also different, so while recovery from your previous pregnancies may have been relatively quick, that's no guarantee that the same will be true for this one. Your body is going to operate at its own pace, and while there are definitely things you can do to improve this process -- like eating well, getting some exercise -- ultimately, you cannot control how long it takes to heal, and it may not happen on the timeline you'd like it to.  

For now, put the scale away. It sounds like you're about two months post-partum -- you're going to drive yourself crazy if you keep looking at the scale for the next seven months trying to will it to show 45 lbs gone as quickly as possible. For right now focus on eating healthy foods, in sufficient quantities to let you do the things that are important to you.  If you're feeling good, your little one is thriving, and you're eating healthy foods, you're on the right track, and the weight loss will happen. If you want specific feedback on your meals, list a day or two of what you typically eat, including approximate portion sizes, and we can take a look and see if anything stands out. 

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Thank you for all your kind words and much needed positive reminders!  

Just a little more info- yes my baby is 2mths old, I gained 70lbs with this pregnancy and lost 25 of it so far.  With my other pregnancies I gained 90 and 80 so 70 is a bit of a win believe it or not! I do not pregnant well and have a lot of issues, which is partly why I gain so much weight, but again I’ve lost it quickly with the other two (my last baby I lost an extra 8lbs just because I wanted to prove to myself I could). 

A typical day of eating would be:

breakfast: 2eggs, spinach and potatoes, snack: apple and almonds (about a handful), lunch: grilled chicken, mescaline lettuce, tomatoes and avocado with oil and vinegar, snack: Lara bar (compliant ingredients) and coconut water, dinner: salmon, broccoli and carrots, an orange.  Sometimes I eat more snacks during the day, I’m trying to limit this but again I’m nursing a 2mth old exclusively so I’m trying to keep my supply in tact.  I had a c sect (my 3rd) so I only just got the ok from dr to exercise, but I’m fairly active because of the 5 and 2 year olds I have!  I’d really appreciate any and all suggestions- I’m very uncomfortable being overweight and obviously extremely unpatient!  I’m worried that I won’t lose weight on whole30 because I’ve done it so many times already and maybe my body is too used to it(?).  I don’t know I’m trying my best and it doesn’t seem to be enough.  Thank you

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Every person who has weight to lose wants it to happen yesterday, I get that. But that's not how it works, and any plan that tells you you can lose a ton of weight in a short period of time is probably not a healthy, sustainable way to eat. Weight loss will still happen on Whole30 even though you've done it before because you're not tricking your body into losing weight and you're not starving yourself in a way that ultimately makes your body hold on to all the nutrients it gets because it's not sure when it'll get more -- you're consistently giving your body the fuel it needs to perform at its best, and when it is performing at its best, it will reach the weight it needs to be at. It may not happen as quickly as you'd like, but it will happen, as long as you're consistent. 

Here's what I would suggest based one what you've listed here:

Breakfast -- try adding another egg, or some other protein -- maybe some sausage, maybe some leftovers, maybe some smoked salmon if you want to get fancy. A serving size for eggs when they're your only protein is as many whole eggs as you can hold in one hand, so probably 3-4 -- if you don't want that many eggs, add some other protein to make up the difference. 

Snacks -- I understand you will need to snack for now to keep your supply up, but fruit and nuts or larabars are not your best options. Try to have something more like a mini-meal, with protein, fat, and vegetables, or at least two of the three. You could keep hard boiled eggs on hand and have them with mayo or avocado or a handful of olives, or you could do leftovers, or if you can find compliant deli meat or hot dogs or pre-cooked sausages (like the chicken apple sausages from Aidells), those would work, with some cut up vegetables and mayo or guacamole. 

Do you feel like your lunch is filling and keeps you satisfied for several hours? Salads are healthy, but sometimes piles of lettuce don't really have a lot of staying power -- you could try adding other vegetables as well -- jicama, radishes, zucchini or summer squash, bell peppers if you like them, even leftover roasted root vegetables can be a great addition to a salad. 

Dinner looks okay, but you could add a little fat -- make a pesto to go over your vegetables (recipes: http://meljoulwan.com/2009/08/05/presto-pesto/), for instance, or just dip them in mayo, or have a handful of olives. 

 

Again, as long as you're nursing, you're going to need snacks -- we actually tell nursing moms to have four full meals, or three full meals and divide the fourth one into a couple of mini meals, and you can add extra fat too in addition to that -- sip on canned coconut milk, eat olives or avocadoes. 

I realize I'm saying eat more, and you're saying you want to lose weight, but you have to provide your body with all the nutrients and energy it needs to heal itself, to feed your little one, and to give you the energy you need to keep up with your older kids. Trust that having some extra starchy vegetables and adding plenty of fat is not going to make you gain a bunch of weight, it's going to help you do the things you need to do and get healthy, and that will ultimately help you get your weight down to where it needs to be. 

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Thank you so much for these very helpful suggestions!  I’ve done whole30 10xs in the span of 3 years and I think I may have gotten stuck in my ways a bit, these ideas are great!  I especially never tried it this soon after having a baby so I don’t know exactly how to adjust for nursing a newborn.  Thank you for taking the time to teach me, I really appreciate it and I will definitely try these tips right away.  Ultimately I want to lose weight, but it’s hard to deny how great this way of eating makes most people feel, so for now I’ll focus on that.  Thank you again

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