Overcoming The Postpartum Weight Loss Plateau: Focusing On Your Body, Not The Number on a Scale
When I got pregnant I was around 117 pound, at 5.1 and 38 I could stand to lose a few pounds, but overall I was happy with my body and felt comfortable in my own skin.
During my pregnancy I continued to work out, I ate fairly healthy and in part because of getting gestational diabetes didn’t gain a ton of weight. The day before giving birth I was at 145 which meant a total of 28 pounds.
For my age (39), I was pretty proud of myself.
Within a month of birth, I had dropped down to around 122 pounds. I thought I was set and would easily lose the remaining baby weight. Then postpartum weight loss reality hit – which sucks!
Postpartum bodies just don’t act the same way and before long I was gradually creeping back up to 127.
Hitting that high point shocked me back into action and in the last few weeks, I’ve dropped back down to 123.
I’ve reached a postpartum weight loss plateau and can’t seem to drop below 123 pounds.
I know that I still look great. My husband still thinks I’m hot and although I’ve got a bit extra around the waist and hips I look good.
I don’t feel good, though. I just haven’t felt like I’m in shape.
On a side note – I do know that a big chunk of the problem is a lack of sleep. Sleep training hasn’t gone well around our house.
***Editors note: You can check out my post on the most important step to baby sleep training, for tips on what finally worked.
In early December (8 months after giving birth) I decided to do something about my poor out of shape body and hopefully overcome the dreaded postpartum weight loss plateau.
I set three simple postpartum exercise goals to lose the baby weight:
- 5-15 minutes of daily stretches and minor strength training
- I focus mainly on resistance training.
- 3 days a week of moderate exercise (20-30 minutes). Some days that meant going all out on the elliptical or hitting the gym, other days it meant a 30-minute walk with Ella
- I didn’t focus on the exercise so much as just being active.
- If you are looking for some amazing 20-minute workouts that will make you sweat, check out these workout videos through Amazon Prime. They are seriously awesome and my latest exercise tool.
- At least once a week doing a hike of at least 2 miles. I should mention that these hikes would be with Ella in her pack. That little girl gets pretty heavy after a few miles. Carrying a 30+ pound pack is a lot of work.
- I like to joke that she got me out of shape, so she might as well help me get back into shape.
- On a side note, if you want to hike with your baby check out this post – How to Hike With Your Baby.
I’ve missed a few of the daily goals, but I’ve done the weekly goals for the past six weeks.
I know it sounds stupid, but one of the best things I did for myself was to purchase one of these. Being able to track my activity was so motivating for me. The graphs and the charts really helped me keep on track.
One of the other changes I made was in my eating. I’m not a cook and have always struggled with creating meal plans. My dislike of cooking combined with a new baby meant I was eating a whole lot of grilled cheese sandwiches and quesadillas. I love them – but they aren’t the most nutritous foods in the world. I finally broke down and started to do meal prepping for the first time in my life.
It is still very much a work in process for me, but this meal prepping book really helped me get started and I attribute a lot of my weight loss to having plenty of healthy food around. I’ve noticed that if I have healthy stuff around I’ll make the right choice. If I don’t have healthy stuff around, then I’m going to grab my all time favorite food in the whole world – Chocolate!
It is amazing the difference this minimal exercise has made in my life.
I set reasonable exercise goals that worked well with my stay at home mom schedule. The goals were realistic, defined and articulated. I knew I needed to start small to get myself back into shape.
Post-baby exercise is critical to your health but must be done in a reasonable fashion.
I accomplished something with my 8-month postpartum body. Here is my post on Instagram that says it all:
Last weekend, I carried Ella to the top of Carney Springs in the Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix, AZ.
The Carney Spring Trail is a tough hike and to be honest, I wasn’t expecting to make it to the top. My friends had plans to take turns carrying my pack or I was going to stop at the first saddle.
I made it to the top. I didn’t set speed records, but I did it.
There is no better feeling in the world than setting an exercise goal with your postpartum body and achieving it.
The funny thing is that the number on the scale hasn’t changed. My postpartum weight is still hovering at around 123 pounds.
However, I know that I’m close to breaking through the postpartum weight loss plateau.
- I can feel the tone of my body changing.
- I’m stronger, I feel more energetic and alive.
- The lack of sleep isn’t affecting me as deeply.
Do I still want to lose the postpartum baby weight? Of course. But I’ve stopped focusing on the number on the scale and gotten back to focusing on the needs of my body, which changed after having a baby.
I finally learned to accept the fact that my postpartum body is different. I’m different. Having a baby changes everything about you and the sooner you adjust your life to your new reality, the sooner you’ll be able to lose the baby weight and breakthrough the postpartum weight loss plateau.
Losing weight after pregnancy isn’t about a number on a scale. It is about the healthier lifestyle you cultivate as you work towards breaking through the postpartum weight loss plateau.
It is about listening to your body and being in tune with the inner strength you develop as you work on toning and strengthening your muscles.
More than anything being in shape is about being comfortable in your own skin and happy with the person you see in the mirror every day.
It is about embracing your outer imperfections and loving the character they give you.
Editors Note: It took me an additional 4 weeks of working out to finally break through the postpartum weight loss plateau and start to see the needle move on my scale. I finally dropped back to my pre-pregnancy weight almost a year after having my baby.
I realized later that my success finally came when I stopped focusing on the numbers on my scale and focused on eating healthy, exercising regularly and having a positive attitude. When I did those three things, I was finally able to overcome the postpartum weight loss plateau.
To lose weight after having a baby top focusing on the scale and get out and live life.