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If you’ve clicked on this post you are probably having issues with weight loss. In fact, I can guarantee that the majority of women in the world have struggled with some form of weight loss at some point in their lives.
Heck, I can even vouch on that part! As a mom of two amazing kiddos, I have struggled with weight loss many times. Who would have known that hormones and weight loss worked so closely together?
Essentially it just doesn’t seem like a fair deal for women anyway. I mean women have to deal with pregnancy and skin issues and bloating etc. Now weight gain. UGH!
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Table of contents
- Hormone Imbalance After Pregnancy
- How Hormones Effect Weight loss after Pregnancy
- What Role does Thyroid Play in Weight loss
- Prolactin Effects Weightloss
- Losing Weight After Pregnancy
- Common Questions About Weight loss after Pregnancy
- Last Thing You Should Know About Losing Weight After Pregnancy
Hormone Imbalance After Pregnancy
During pregnancy our bodies change, our metabolism changes, generally in a nutshell everything changes. Shortly after the birth of both of my kids, I began to try to lose weight. You all can relate to this. I say try because seriously it has been the hardest thing for me to do.
I would spend countless hours searching the web for the “right” weight loss program for me. After a month or so I would spiral back into my old habits.
Now, this is a story I have told before and you can read more on that here. I didn’t realize that hormone imbalances after pregnancy would cause an issue with weight loss.
What are Hormones?
It goes without saying, hormones are naturally occurring and are your body’s chemical messengers. Hormones come from your endocrine glands and play a vital role in the health of your body.
From estrogen, progesterone, to HCG growth hormone, HPL, Oxytocin, Prolactin, Relaxin, LH (luteinizing hormone), and finally Follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH). WHEW. No wonder we are tired after pregnancy.
Why Do Hormones Affect Weight Loss?
Hormones in pregnancy are essential for many reasons. After having a baby there are many things that are thrown off in your body. Hormones in pregnancy include many things but the main hormones at play here are Estrogen and progesterone.
Essentially, a woman will produce more estrogen during pregnancy than at any other time in her life. That being said, it is no wonder that we have all these crazy issues after pregnancy. Hair loss, weight gain, sleep loss, etc.
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How Hormones Effect Weight loss after Pregnancy
Clearly when you are pregnant the majority of the is of course the little bundle growing inside of you. With a full term pregnancy, the average weight gain is around 30 pounds, this includes baby, uterus tissue, blood volume, placenta, breast tissue, amniotic fluid and the rest are nutrient stores!
Wow, that is crazy! After having a baby, there are a number of factors that come into play that trigger weight gain. After making it terribly hard on yourself. These include; Stress, not sleeping well, and diet. Combined, these three items wreak havoc on your weight loss potential.
I get it you’ve had a baby, you are gonna be tired. So why is it so hard to just get that baby weight a kick to the curb? Hormones! And yes they do affect weight loss after pregnancy. Thus Hormones and weight loss!
Hormones you Need to Know
- Cortisol: The dreaded weight gain hormone that is simply put, not fun to have. Being up all night with the baby is a great way to end up stressed and tired. Clearly not getting enough rest. Cortisol is basically a stress-induced hormone. It accounts for weight gain.
- Cortisol likes to play with insulin. When insulin levels rise it is harder for weight to come off. Cortisol stores fat and make it more prominent in other parts of the body like around the waist, thighs, and butt.
- Insulin: Insulin is produced by the pancreas. Its main function is to regulate blood sugar levels. When insulin is off-balance, blood sugars rise. Foods that are high in sugar or carbohydrate foods such as refined flours can raise insulin levels making it harder to lose weight.
- Glucagon: Glucagon is the opposite of insulin. In other words, when insulin is raised glucagon is low and vice versa. As a result, Glucagon is a fat fighter/burner and is generally secreted by taking in proteins. Includes meats and other sources.
What Role does Thyroid Play in Weight loss
You may not realize how important your thyroid is after pregnancy. But in fact a 2 out of 25 women develop thyroid issues after pregnancy. As if we don’t have other things to worry about and now we have a thyroid issue! Come on!
The thyroid is a fibrous gland in the front of your neck and accounts for a numerous amount of mishaps and regulators in your body. This crazy little gland plays a major role in metabolism, growth, and development of the body, thermoregulation, and digestion.
Hyperthyroid and Weight loss
There is such a thing as an over active thyroid, which is hyperthyroid. In a normal person the thyroid releases the exact amount of hormones. In a person with hyperthyroid, to much thyroid is produced.
Usually, hyperthyroid does not happen after pregnancy and can occur in 2% of women after pregnancy. This is curable and is normally called thyroiditis. You can read more about that here! Signs and symptoms include:
- Increased sweating
Hypothyroid and Weight loss
Hypothyroid is the opposite of hyperthyroid. And is a hormone that effects weight loss also. In that respect, the thyroid is not producing enough hormones. This is more common after pregnancy and can cause
- Weight gain
- Excessive hair loss
- Feeling cold
- Hearing loss
- Mental Slow Down
- Dry skin
- Muscle Cramps/weakness
It is important to note the symptoms and notify your doctor if you experience any of the above symptoms. Although the most common factor after pregnancy is hypothyroidism which can account for weight gain. Getting on thyroid medication can improve your symptoms greatly.
Prolactin Effects Weightloss
Did you know that Prolactin is a major source of hanging on to baby weight? Surprisingly so, prolactin is produced when breastfeeding. Although you may spend several hours a day breastfeeding your new little one, prolactin is the precursor to saying “I need a cheeseburger.”
Essentially, Prolactin acts can cause you to hang on to weight gain even if you are consuming foods that are healthy, working out, and breastfeeding. As a result, when your breastfeeding you are eating more foods.
Eating more to produce more milk right! Well eating more doesn’t help when trying to lose weight. So we can blame prolactin for our weight loss blame game.
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Losing Weight After Pregnancy
Weight loss after pregnancy is definitely possible. In fact, many women get back to pre-pregnancy weight within a few months. A study done on weight gain after pregnancy With changes to your diet and implementing these tips you can lose weight after pregnancy.
8 Ways To Lost the Baby Weight Faster
- Try Breastfeeding– The pregnancy hormone oxytocin that we talked about earlier, stimulates uterine contractions. The growth of the uterus accounts for about 5 pounds and by breastfeeding it allows the uterus to shrink back to its normal size.
- Although it may not be a cure-all, breastfeeding can help some women shed a few pounds.
- Monitor sugar intake– Sugar is the culprit for weight gain. Decrease sugar intake by substituting sugars. IE; sweet n low, stevia, Truvia, no sugar added foods and beverages. Trust me you will acquire a taste for it in no time.
- Cut the Carbs- Carbs are crazy on the body and white flour is hard to break down in the gut, thus your body starts to think its sugar and stores fat. There are good carbs though and whole wheat, potatoes, brown rice, whole-grain foods. These are all healthy in moderation and can aid in weight loss after pregnancy.
- Exercise- Exercising is a must to lose weight. And although the doctor states, it is not good to exercise for 6 weeks following pregnancy, it is good to at least get moving. Go for a walk prior to six weeks and after that talk to your doctor. Get to the gym or pick a fun workout program like the ones here!
- Reduce portion sizes– portion sizes are a common problem for losing weight and many people don’t understand that you don’t need 2 lbs of lunch meat to feel full. Your body will adjust to what you put in it. You will be surprised at the amount of weight you will lose by just cutting back on portions.
- Get enough rest- although resting is few and far between when you have a baby, it is essential to reducing the hormone level cortisol. By getting some rest and not stressing so much, you will start to see weight loss. Because cortisol cranks up the appetite and causes you to eat more, relax take a load off and do some portion control!
- Change up your diet- by making minor adjustments to your diet, like eating a salad instead of fries, your body will start to notice the difference. Or substitute your cereal for eggs and bacon.
- Add a supplement- While most everything you eat or drink is secreted through breastmilk, there are supplements that are safe to ingest. Called the skinny set for a reason, these two put together are great for weight loss. Life and Mojo.
Common Questions About Weight loss after Pregnancy
- How long will it take to lose the baby weight– depending on the effort that you put into losing weight, will determine your weight loss potential. Set a goal and figure out how many pounds you want to lose. It is always best to follow a plan and stick to it. If you need more weight loss inspiration check out 80-day obsession!
- Should I avoid any type of food if I am breastfeeding– when breastfeeding it is best to implement a diet that is rich and balanced in proteins, fats, and leafy greens. Because babies require additional nutrients try to stick to a diet that is beneficial for the baby as well as for you. Ditch the cheeseburgers and fries, they are not something that you should reach for.
- Is it possible to lose all of my baby weight- YES! It is definitely possible. With a little perseverance and lifestyle changes, you will be on the road to a healthier you.
- Is there a timeline for when I will lose the baby weight– Short answer is no. Unfortunately, your body and metabolism is dependent on you momma! The harder you work at getting your body in check the easier it will be to melt away the baby weight.
Last Thing You Should Know About Losing Weight After Pregnancy
As a mom of two beautiful kiddo’s, I also struggled with weight loss after pregnancy. It was tougher after baby number two for various reasons. After ALOT of discipline, daily exercise and motivation, I lost all of my baby weight and than some 1 year later.
Lastly, it takes time because your body has to heal after the birth process. But you CAN do it! Follow a diet plan, stick to your workout routine, and get moving! Put baby down for a nap and work on you!