4 Moms try to lose the baby weight

Happy Thursday, and welcome back.  Today we’re talking about baby weight.  No, not the weight of our babies.  We’re talking about the fat on our own cute chubby thighs.

Some of the moms I know drop all their baby weight with seemingly little or no effort, while others agonize to no avail.  I won’t claim to have all the answers, but there are a few factors that I think can make a difference in how readily we lose that weight.

Heredity is a big one.  I don’t take credit for losing my baby weight with relative ease.  If my mom can raise 14 children and still look like this, I have a fair chance at maintaining some semblance of my figure over the upcoming years too.

This is the part where I confess that I’m still carrying about 5 lbs. from each of my last 2 pregnancies – or is just 1 lb./year since I turned 30?  I can’t complain, though, because I have managed to maintain something very close to my 19 year old wedding weight through 11 pregnancies.

Exercise early in life is another big factor, in my opinion.  I worked hard, hard as a child and teen, and I loved it.  We believe that establishing a baseline of physical fitness early in life makes it easier to maintain that level of physical fitness later on.  That doesn’t mean that fit teens can spend the rest of their lives on the couch eating ice cream with impunity, but it does mean that they may have an advantage later in life over those who spent their teen years on the couch eating ice cream.

While I’m sure heredity and childhood activity levels play a part in how easily we lose weight now, I think there are many things we can still do as moms to help the process along.

  1. Exercise later in life. I don’t exercise faithfully, but overall I have lived an active life.  As a mom, I have done far more than tote a toddler.  I mowed more than my share of lawns, took karate lessons, lifted weights, walked and jogged, helped clear our land, hauled rocks for landscaping, etc.  I don’t enjoy exercise, but I do not shy away from physical labor when the opportunity presents itself.
  2. Breastfeed. Some women say that breastfeeding causes their body to cling fiercely to those last 5 lbs and they may be right, but it also helps to shed the first 20 or 30 much more quickly.  Isn’t it nice to know that moms benefit along with babies when we are able and willing to use our bodies as God intended?
  3. Sleep. This is a well documented diet aid, and may be a key shortcoming for new moms.  It’s so hard to get enough sleep, and so easy to overeat when we’re tired!  All of my babies but one have slept through the night at a very early age, and in the past I never had trouble losing baby weight.  Now, at nearly 12 months, Parker still wakes to eat almost every night and I strongly suspect this is why I’m having more than the usual amount of trouble losing that last bit of weight.
  4. Share. My treats may not get divided into 12 equal portions, but I think my children would agree that I often share them.  The presence of children certainly makes me think twice before I pull out the ice cream carton and a spoon:  Do I want everyone to have ice cream right now?  Is there enough for everyone?  If not, am I prepared to be the mean mom and face down 10 pairs of puppy dog eyes?  Or can I easily hide? All these questions slow down the ice cream consumption considerably.
  5. Be realistic. I have come to grips with the fact that I am no longer 17, and my 17 year old body is gone as well.  I think a husband’s attitude has a tremendous influence on a woman’s self-image, and it reflects well on my husband that I only recently realized how much my body must have changed over the years.  He makes me feel like I’m still 17.  🙂
  6. Be courteous. Of your husband, that is.  If you feel unmotivated to diet and exercise, do it for him.  Of course a loving husband loves you the way you are, but he will enjoy and appreciate you all the more if you do your best to stay fit.
  7. Put down the fork. Did anyone count how many times I used the words ice cream so far?  Know your weaknesses, and be aware.  I don’t count calories or adhere to a rigid diet, but I try to watch my carb intake.  This doesn’t mean I never eat ice cream, but it does mean I go easy on the bread, rice and potatoes so I can focus on what is really important: ice cream.

What would you add to the list?  Where do you think I’m wrong?

The other moms are talking about it too:

Upcoming topics:

  • May 26: Q & A – leave your questions in the comments on my last Q&A.

Recent topics:

  • May 12 – 4 Moms practice hospitality, and YOU are invited!
  • May 5 – 4 Moms talk about you-know-what
  • April 28 – 4 Moms Q&A: sleep, exercise, and making do with one bathroom
  • April 21 – Large families & church, part 2: keeping them quiet
  • April 14 – Eating inexpensively on the road
  • April 7 – 4 Moms teach history
  • March 24 – Large families & church, part 1: getting there on time
  • March 17 – Bread baking linky
  • March 10 – Spring cleaning
  • March 3 – Books for early readers
  • February 24 – 4 Moms Q&A: my first audio blog on potty training and more
  • February 17 – Individual time with children: scary stuff here.  Just kidding.  Let go of the guilt.
  • February 10Cooking with little ones without losing your sanity
  • February 3 –Teaching reading, because it’s so much easier than teaching them to use the toilet.  Do not request a 4 Moms post about potty training, do you hear me?
  • January 27 – Q&A: Must-have baby equipment and other nitty gritty stuff
  • January 20 – Top 10 Books for Preschoolers
  • January 13 – Soups and Stews
  • January 6 – Teaching Bible


    1. I have a question for you Kim. I don’t have a hard time losing the baby weight (although this time it has taken me several months), but the thing that bothers me is my saggy belly. How are you able to whittle your middle after so many pregnancies? Having a belly makes me look bigger than I really am (size 6), which does a real number on my vanity. LOL

    2. I’m Jen McBride’s sister (of Noblewomanhood.com) and I’ve been a silent fan of yours for ahwile. 😉 I just recently started a blog of my own, and I was chuckling reading your “basement and a spoon” story! It went right along with the post I wrote last night on my own blog! (RememberShammah.blogspot.com) Hmm… it might have something to do with why I have trouble losing my baby weight. *realization dawning* Anyhow, I really enjoy your writings, keep it up! 🙂

    3. Great point, Eve! I am one who longs to hurry up and lose the weight after I have a baby (we just had #7) and I so long to look as I did at 21, but what is more important? I like what you said about the relationship with our children being more important and how you would rather take a walk WITH your children than run by yourself. God has been teaching me this same thing recently as I find myself caught up in the fight to lose the last pounds of baby weight (I am 6 weeks post partum) and realizing how much it can consume me if I am not careful. Thanks for sharing this!

    4. My favorite tip you listed?

      #5: BE REALISTIC!!!! {{Hit a nerve for me…long comment!}}

      How much weight do I need to lose to feel good or be attractive? I think that answer is different for everyone, but for me, reading what you wrote makes me feel better about my “mominess”. Complete with curves and a little ‘padding’ here and there.

      I am a Mommy, and I think my kids like my hugs because I am nice and soft and not all angles! My husband would rather a gentle embrace from me than brag to all his friends how “hot” I look in something. **Priorities change when kids come along** and I think, while staying healthy and fit is important, it is so helpful to accept a new reality and embrace the changes that come along with that new life! Besides, looking 21 for the rest of your life is overrated. When I am 65, I want to look like a Grandma, not like a 30 year old. Age is earned, dang it and I want to enjoy ALL the fruits of my labors, even aging!!! LOL

      Of course, media and popular culture are no help to parents adjusting to their roles and finding satisfaction in themselves. (How many headlines focus on the star who just had the baby and wow, how did she manage to lose all that baby weight in 2 weeks?? *unrealistic!*) No voices saying it’s absolutely normal to lose weight slowly over the course of a year or two after giving birth. I’d love to see more of that!

      It’s common to see many parents nowadays who are obsessed with ‘keeping up with the…..” physically, or finding ‘themselves’ thru expensive sports hobbies or training, than how their body/time impacts their kids or spouse. If you spend all your time at the gym and focused on fitting into that size 6 dress, is it really worth it? What does that model for our daughters? I’d rather go on a walk with my little ones, even if it burns less calories than a run by myself, because I want that relationship more than I want what the world dangles before me. I am not saying I am better than someone else who choose differently, and some people may have goals to be more fit so they CAN spend time with their kids being active, but I am saying choosing relationships as a priority and being comfortable with our less-than perfect selves has merit, too. We just don’t hear that enough!

      So, thank you for that little mention of being realistic. It is a bit of sanity in a crazy world where we women, and sometimes men, feel guilty if we don’t do triathlons and wear skin tight clothes that show off our rippling physiques. It’s fantastic to be alive and feel good and be with the ones we love! Let’s embrace that! What better things could there be?

    5. I am one of the lucky ones that the pounds just drop off after birth, I guess. Of course, it helps to be deathly sick for the whole 9 months! Still, giving birth was the best after-Christmas diet I ever went on! I would still like to lose another 20+ lbs to get back to my wedding weight, but won’t be trying that till this little one is done nursing.

    6. This topic is relevant to me as well! I lost 50lbs about 3 years ago, and haven’t found it again (yay), but I do still have about the same amount to still lose. For me it’s a matter of eating what I know I should eat, and exercising *on purpose*, every single day. It was only when I fell back into bad habits that I stopped losing, but ironically as I said, haven’t gained it back either.

      As for weight during pregnancy – my first pregnancy (of 7) I gained 80lbs and when I went back for my 6 week checkup I’d gained 10 more! UGH! With the remaining pregnancies though I didn’t gain more than 10-15 pounds and it came off rather quickly. I do tend to eat better and exercise when I’m pregnant, so I’m sure that contributed. I don’t lose weight when I’m breastfeeding either, but I also don’t gain more and I eat like a starving horse! LOL

    7. Ok well I lose weight while I am pregnant or gain very little. Then after birth I lose any (if there was any) weight I put on plus. I generally end up being 35-40 lbs lighter. But I don’t really think I lose weight during breastfeeding…maybe some. I was quite thin as a child, until my sophomore year at school. I have stayed fairly close to the clothing size I was before I had our oldest. In my case I take after my Daddy’s side of the family and not my mom’s side. My mom has always been thin, my sister is so thin she is underweight but she can’t gain a pound no matter what. So genetics certainly plays a huge part.

    8. One’s metabolism and thyroid function has everything to do with gaining and losing weight. I can eat almost nothing and still not lose weight…….or lose it painfully slow.

      I was v.e.r.y. active as a child walking 2 miles a day to and from bus stops, working 4-H livestock, riding horses, playing volleyball. BUT my family is one with low thyroid function and easy weight gain in spite of eating little and exercising.

      I was one of those moms who could *NOT* lose weight while breastfeeding….at….all….. I only started to lose weight once I stopped nursing…..and then I never had long enough to actually lose all of the weight before I was pregnant again! A vicious circle, that’s for sure!

      And………as one ages……..especially if one’s thyroid function is already low………losing the weight is even harder, if that can be imagined!

      You know my recent discovery of high insulin and blood sugar levels in prediabetic zones. Cutting out ALL carbs was the only way I have been able to lose weight in the past 7 years of trying………and then the 25# came off v.e.r.y. slowly………and now I’m at a plateau that I just can’t break through……because I’m eating a very little bit of carbs. I’m convinced that I need to go back to NO carbs to break through this plateau.

      Metabolism, thyroid function and blood sugar issues are all players when it comes to losing………or not losing weight………for those of us who do not lose weight with diet and exercise.

      Them’s my .02cents ; )


    9. Courtney says:

      What a great topic!! I guess the one thing I try to be conscious of is late night snacking. I never was a late night eater until I married my husband, who eats 24/7 and never gains a pound. Lol! I try to make an effort to stop snacking at least 2 or 3 hours before I go to bed. I also make sure I drink at least 64 oz of water a day. And exercise is SO important too!

    10. I love #4! So true.

      I am a “lucky” one who looses a lot of weight when breast feeding, but I just discovered with my last pregnancy that I loose the most weight when I am weening my babies. And it has everything to do with the fact that I am so busy making sure they get their food (whether spoon feeding or just cutting it up in small pieces), that I don’t get a chance to eat much myself. Everyone is done eating by the time I get to eat and by then I’m not very hungry.

    11. Jessica says:

      I’m another that can’t lose when breast feeding and I have a good 20-30 I could lose before I’d be in a healthy BMI range. Nursing makes me hungry and when I add exercise to nursing it makes me EXTREMELY hungry which makes me GAIN weight….it’s SO not fair. At least I have a very cute healthy happy baby boy (26lbs at 8 months) who’s healthy and happy. That makes it worth it. 🙂

    12. I would add having a fitness goal helps as well. I was fortunate to drop 20 of my 30 gained pounds within 2 weeks of giving birth. The last 10 pounds were hard, but it helped to sign up for a half marathon, forcing me to keep working hard. (The Insanity work out series is great as well…Kim I believe you think your family is insane for doing Insanity.)

      Now I am just fighting with skin that isn’t as taut as it was pre-pregnancy. Hoping it “snaps” back and I don’t have to face the fact I am not in my teens anymore. Then again, I too have an amazing husband that helps me embrace this new body…hooray for these amazing men!

    13. This is a very relevant topic to me right now; I am one of those nursing mommies who’s body clings mercilessly to fat while breastfeeding. Except for me it’s 25 lbs. and not 5. I am not exaggerating and I have been extremely tempted to wean because of this. When I had my first (I’m on my second) I was chunky until he weaned and it was HARD. Some women really do lose weight breastfeeding or have an easier time because of their body composition, hormones, genetics etc… and I feel like some women can be really hard on those of us who need to be fat to make milk. I’m not unhealthy and this is just the way it is. I have learned so much mercy for the overweight that I never had before and if nothing else that’s been a good thing.

    14. Right on, Kim. Ones husband does have a lot to do with ones weight loss goals. Having children, keeping hearth and home functioning, caring for the occupants therein, all of those activities should produce physical activity suited to each person. All things in moderation: a woman might not want to eat a carton of icecream every day if she would like to lose some of her pregnancy weight. Maybe a carton a week.
      Well said.

    15. Catherine Hochschild says:

      I have to respectfully disagree with the idea that early exercise helps maintain fitness later in life, and that exercise per se helps you lose weight. I recently read Gary Taubes’ book Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It, and I think you would be very interested, too. I applaud the restriction of carbs, but you are definitely one of the metabolically gifted ones if carb restriction for you means a little less ice cream. Fir me, it means NONE. And no grains or sugar. And even limited cheese and nuts. I’m finally figuring this out after three pregnancies, so believe me when I say that I wish ten pounds were all I had to lose.

      • Catherine, I have heard of Taube’s book and would love to read it. I think he’s right on about fats, and I generally don’t eat a lot of carbs besides a few bites of ice cream now and then so I think you and I are pretty much on the same page.
        I’m curious about why you take exception to exercise early in life. I certainly don’t think it’s the magic answer to lifelong health, but I do think it helps to set one’s thermostat so that a healthy weight is easier to maintain.
        I think it’s also well established that muscles have memory, and once you have built them up it becomes easier to regain lost muscle mass and tone than it was to build them initially.

    16. My four oldest daughters (ages 15-27) just began a weight loss accountability last week with one another. Our motto (which is hanging on the fridge, concealing our weights on the other side) is EAT LESS. MOVE MORE! So far, everyone has been able to lose the 1-2 lbs that is required to meet their goal at the end of 4 months. This article is perfect timing for us!

    Don't just think it: say it!

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