How do I get my body back?
That statement, or some version of it, is the #1 thing I hear from postpartum clients seeking fat loss. I get it. After the birth of my son I remember being pretty annoyed that everyone had neglected to inform me that I’d be leaving the hospital, looking like I still hadn’t popped that baby out yet. And I remember a few days after we got home, staring in the mirror naked before my shower, pushing on my soft belly, pulling at my sagging skin, and crying as I stared at a body I didn’t recognize.
While postpartum fat loss is totally obtainable for some postpartum women, especially those who didn’t really scrutinize their nutrition during pregnancy, or those who can lose fat while breastfeeding, it’s just doesn’t come easy for others. A lot of women actually can’t seem to lose fat at all while breastfeeding (it’s me, I’m women) and it becomes frustrating when you thought that was the key to “bouncing back” after birth.
If knowledge is power, than let’s try to shed some light on some of the main reasons you may not be successful with postpartum fat loss:
??Much like a thermostat, sometimes our bodies like its set point and don’t want to move away from it. This is especially true during times of stress (enter newborn, sleepless nights, nutrient depletion and lifestyle changes).
??You’re not in a true caloric deficit, and you might not want to be. Postpartum is all about healing and recovering, and if you’re breastfeeding, it’s all about ensuring you have enough calories and nutrients coming in for you and baby. It’s totally okay (and encouraged) to NOT be in a deficit during this time.
??Hormones continue to fluctuate after the delivery of the placenta. These fluctuations can be further complicated if breastfeeding and can impact fat loss.
??Not all women lose weight while breastfeeding, despite the common myth that they do. Every body is different, every pregnancy is different, and every postpartum period is different.
??Sleep deprivation (partial or total) may impact fat loss. The broken sleep you’re getting while settling into life with a newborn? It may be making fat loss difficult during this time.
I know you’re ready to get your body back. Want the best news? It never left you. It’s shown up for you every day for 9 months. Your body has been through tremendous change. I mean, it single-handedly created, developed, and delivered another human being. Oh, and if you’re breastfeeding, you’re still exclusively responsible for your little one’s ongoing growth and development. You’re a miracle maker. But sometimes even miracle makers need to give their body time. Time for hormones to balance. Time to recover. Time to heal. Time to be present and focused on this season of your life.
If you continue to struggle with your inability to lose fat when you’re newly postpartum, It may be time to dig into your mindset to better understand why fat loss is so important to you. It’s possible that the cognitive work may offer you more benefit then achieving rapid fat loss.