Postpartum Weight Loss: A Continued Struggle


My oldest is seven-and-a-half years old, and I’m still struggling with postpartum weight loss.

I breastfed both my children, which resulted in almost immediate weight loss in the period after birth. This made complete sense, because I was burning a lot of calories feeding my babies. However, with both kids, I kept eating like I was still breastfeeding around the clock – even when the frequency of the feedings decreased.

Continuing Bad Habits Postpartum

When I stopped nursing, I continued eating a higher calorie diet. I found myself indulging in sweets when my kids did, and snacking whenever they did too (which is, of course, all the time!). I noticed that I was also using food as a coping mechanism and reward for dealing with the stress of motherhood. If I managed to get the kids down for a nap, it was time for a cookie. If the kids weren’t napping, I needed chocolate to get me through the rest of the day. Once I’d got the kids ready for bed and they were finally asleep, it was time for ice cream!

Then came the Covid-19 pandemic, which had many positives and negatives. One real negative was the Quarantine 15, with many people gaining weight due to the stress of the shutdown and the lack of things to do except order takeout, drink, and bake cookies.

Ups and Downs of Weight Loss

Over the past few years, I’ve been able to recognize these bad habits in myself, and take steps to try to reduce them. I have tried to develop healthier habits like exercising regularly, meal planning, and making healthier meals, carefully reviewing nutrition labels, and cutting down on sweets. I’m doing great – then we go to a birthday party, I see cake… and I want it!

I’ve worked with some amazing health coaches and nutritionists in the past few years, all of whom have given me great resources and ideas. I just need to follow through with their advice. It’s not that I don’t know how to exercise or prepare healthy meals for myself; it’s that my time is limited with my children and their schedules. And, if I have to choose between exercising and sleeping, I’m absolutely choosing sleeping.

At one point, I lost about 15 pounds, and was close to my pre-pregnancy weight. Then the holidays came, and I slipped back into my old habits. It’s hard not to indulge in the cold of winter! About a year later, I was on a good roll with healthier habits when I got a horrible stomach bug. I couldn’t keep anything down for a few days and I ended up losing five pounds, which I don’t recommend. However, once I got better, I regained the five pounds and then some. A few months later, I had a bad fall and couldn’t exercise for a while. Life has thrown me a series of curveballs, and my progress with losing weight has not been linear.

Trying to Stay Positive

I recently had my annual physical and the provider I saw was really encouraging with me about my ongoing weight loss journey. She reminded me that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Since that visit, I have been reminding myself that I can’t keep doing what is not working and expect to see results: I need to make changes to see the results I want. This mentality has helped me stay positive and slowly get back to healthier habits.

Whether you are a mom who recently had a baby, or a mom whose baby was born a good number of years ago, the postpartum weight loss struggle is real. Like anything in life and motherhood, it takes time! So, let’s be patient with ourselves and stay positive – we can get back to healthy habits, and we will! 

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I have a bachelor's degree in Journalism/Mass Communications from Saint Michael's College in Vermont. While at Saint Michael’s, I served as an editor for the college’s online news magazine, the echo. I also have a master’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation Administration from the University of New Hampshire. I am currently serving as Vice-President of the Seacoast Mothers Association, a non-profit, volunteer-run social organization for mothers and their children in the Greater New Hampshire Seacoast and Southern Maine area. I'm the Donor Communications Coordinator at Greater Seacoast Community Health with locations in Portsmouth and Somersworth. I reside in Somersworth with my husband and two children, ages 3 and 6.


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