It might be that large vanilla latte, not the baby, causing the extra weight

Ok, Ok, I know it is Saturday, not Friday, but cut a busy mom some slack!

I received this question from a fitness friend of mine who has a few clients who told her they want to lose the “baby weight”.  She wanted to know if;

“…there such a thing as “baby weight” vs. just “weight” to get off?
Weight, regardless is hard to lose, but does “baby weight” have more issues? “

GREAT question.  I think “baby weight” is all in the definition.  Are we talking about weight that was gained during pregnancy or weight that was gained from the demanding first few months of motherhood when mom is sleep deprived, stressed out, not exercising and doing a lot of ‘convenience’ eating?  Sometimes these two overlap and get confusing.

Here is my answer back to her:

Baby Age:

How old are the babies (that caused this baby weight)?  If they are under a year (or more so under 6 months) and especially if the moms are still breastfeeding, then I would consider that ‘pregnancy weight.’ The average mom gains around 30 lbs during pregnancy and it  is made up of the weight of the baby, placenta, increased cellular fluid, increase breast tissue, increased blood column, and some increase fat.  In fact, increase in blood volume alone accounts for about 4 pounds and increase breast tissue is 2 pounds!

Breast Feeding:

Also, breast feeding is a big contributor to weight loss.  Although very calorically expensive (some say breast feeding is the best weight loss system…never the case for me), your body tends to store between 5-10 lbs of weight (read: fat) while you are feeding a baby to make sure that if there is a famine or your tribe is not able to kill a buffalo, you will still be able to feed your child. No one has told our bodies about Whole Foods, and that, really, its ok to ditch that security weight.

Hormones:

Also, weight around pregnancy is very hormonally driven, just like gaining weight at puberty and menopause is common. When hormones start to regulate, the weight some times does too.  Experts say hormones after pregnancy can stay out of balance for 6-18months.  *If you are doing EVERYTHING right and still not able to lose weight, you should have your hormone levels checked.

Too Much Take-out:

Now if your clients are, like me, a year or more out, no longer breastfeeding and survived on too much take-out, and vanilla lattes in those early months, the extra weight is probably just that, extra weight.

For most of your group, its probably the latter.  What tends to happen is in the few weeks following birth, the ‘extra’ weight IS pregnancy weight, extra fluid, blood volume etc.  But as those factors start to regulate (and come down), mom’s habits are taking over.  She is probably sleep deprived and eating extra carbs, sugar and caffeine  for that energy boost.  She is also probably eating that creamy noodle casserole the neighbor brought over, or asks her husband to pick up something on his way home, since the baby cries from 4pm to 10pm straight and there is no way to make a healthy dinner during the witching hours (that wasn’t just me, right??)

Bone Structure: 

One more thing. Remember that bone structure can actually change during pregnancy. And sometimes the expanded hips or rib cage don’t go all they way back to pre-pregnancy size. So if you have ladies that are back or close to back to pre pregnancy weight *number* but not fitting in their old clothes, this could be the culprit. They may need to adjust what size clothes they wear or what style jeans they buy to accommodate their new “mommy” bodies.

A year after my first son was born, I was totally confused why my old jeans were too tight, but the size up were too big.  A lovely sales lady brought me some different styles to try and low and behold…they fit!  Shocker, that I no longer wore the style jeans I had worn since college, right??

Be Realistic:

The best suggestion for either group is common sense eating and realistic, appropriate  exercise.

I think the biggest thing for moms is helping them make realistic choices that fit with their new, crazy, lifestyle. And for those under a year (or heck for all moms) cutting themselves some slack.  Being healthy and taking care of that new little life is the most important thing and the weight will follow.  But maybe I should get that latte habit in check?

So if you find you are still struggling with “baby weight”, take these things in to consideration.  And I’d love to hear what YOUR struggles are, fitness or otherwise, and I’ll feature my answers in an upcoming post.

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