I got a very interesting email today:
Thanks for your emails.
I'm wondering if you could focus a tip of the day on my issue: 5 months
ago I had my second child. I'm breastfeeding and working full time. My
baby doesn't sleep well at nights for a number of reasons so I've had on
average 3 - 4 hours of sleep each night since the day he was born. I'm
shattered - I need ideas on foods to eat that will help me stay awake as I
tend to go for the sugar knowing full well the crash I'll feel later.
I know exercising will help give me energy but I'm just not getting enough
sleep at night to allow my body to recover from exercise - that and I've
got to sacrifice time with my baby to do it and I'm not willing to do that
as I hardly see him as it is. You may say 'exercise at lunch'. But my
lunch break is spent dropping off and picking up my children from school
so I have to work through lunch every day. I'm sure I'm not the only one
in the situation, but at the moment I feel this way.
I read this email and it seems like I'm crying 'poor me', but please be
assured that I don't feel that way. I can make choices like everyone else
and right now I'm choosing the health of my baby (both by breastfeeding
and by spending as much time with him as I can whilst he's and infant).
Unfortunately, my waist line and overall health is suffering this year.
Thanks so much,
I remember this like it was yesterday: the frustration, the overwhelm and the lack
of a clear and defined path to get back to pre-pregnancy weight. This was my
response and I thought it might be helpful to others.
I remember this well. I know that you are not crying "poor me" because I
was EXACTLY where you were, with both my first child and my second. Of
course I have to say this, I am not a physician and it's always prudent to
seek medical advice from your physician. I can give
you my personal experience because this time in my life was SO hard.
First, I'm going to tell you something that you probably already know, but
it's not necessarily something you want to hear. It is very challenging
to lose weight when you are in a sleep deficit. Even when that deficit is
only a couple of hours, sometimes you think you're hungry but you actually
need sleep. Imagine what happens when you're at a 4 - 5 hour deficit.
The feelings are doubled and tripled. It also makes it that much harder
to workout because you simply are sleep deprived.
You also still have the hormones raging through you. I know that you're probably
looking around and seeing all the really skinny women breastfeeding or
you're talking to your friends that tell you it just "melted off" because
breastfeeding burns so many extra calories but this is minority of the
population. It took me a long time to accept that I wasn't in this
coveted minority but when I accepted it, I was ready to deal with it.
However, even though I accepted it, I was still very upset with all the
extra weight. I didn't want to socialize and I made excuses to stay home.
I always dressed in sweatpants as much as possible when I wasn't working
and I was extremely self conscious.
So are you breastfeeding for a year? Over a year? If so, you're reaching
the "height" of the frustration. It's a middle point. For me and most of
my friends, the weight started to come off just a tiny bit faster after
the 5 - 6 month mark. The 2nd becomes a bit more manageable, they usually
start to sleep a tiny bit more and things start to moderate themselves
just a bit more.
There is nothing clinical I'm referring to for "scientific evidence" but
for many of my friends, it's a 9 months on, 9 months off process. It takes about a nine
month period for your body to regain it's chemical balance, and if
you're still breastfeeding, that process gets prolonged where you still
have that extra 5 - 10 pounds still, after the 9 months.
Many people I know (I am included) lost an extra 5 - 10 pounds about a
month after the breastfeeding stopped.
It took me an entire year and a 1/2 to get back to my original
pre-pregnancy weight. Now I'm even a bit lighter in pounds, but it took
an entire 18 months!! It was beyond frustrating. But I can tell you the
last 6 months were more or less struggling with 10 - 12 pounds, not much
more than that.
None of what I'm saying is going to make you feel that much better since
the essence is that you have to be patient. It's hard when you just want
the weight off. But when you're facing a 2nd child, sleep deprivation and
breastfeeding, you're asking your body to take on a lot physically and it
might be a lot to demand. Of course, you can start off very slowly.
Maybe give up one thing this week that you know you can do, that you don't
need to indulge. Maybe it's the latte, or a donut, whatever it is, you
can give that up for 7 days, then once you've mastered that, move on to
the next thing you can deal with.
The most important thing for you to know is that you've reached a pinnacle
of sorts. The 5 month mark is very profound and for me, it got easier from there.
I would highly suggest figuring out the one thing you can do this week,
that you can truly deal with that you KNOW will make a change, no matter
Let me know what you do.