After I had my twins, I lost all of my baby weight within a couple of months. Granted, my body had a slightly different shape than pre-babies, but still. The scale read the same as before, and I had done nothing other than breastfeed. I was amazed, and assumed that after I had my third baby things would work the same way. Breastfeed, the weight melts away, and I feel great.
Not so much.
It turned out with my third baby, Sienna, that rather than lose weight while I was breastfeeding, I turned into a bear in the winter time. It seemed that I was the only mother whose body suddenly went into hibernation mode and held on to it’s softness like a long lost friend. I tried eating healthy and exercising, to no avail. The pounds wouldn’t budge. I wasn’t gaining weight (which I told myself was the bright side of it all), but it seemed like there was nothing I could do to slim down.
After Sienna, I didn’t have another baby for four years, in which time I worked out (fairly) regularly and tried to eat a healthy, whole-food diet. I never did return to my pre-baby weight, but more out of laziness than anything. When I found out I was pregnant with our fourth, Adele, I started eating healthier than ever, drinking lots of water, and making sure I felt great throughout my pregnancy. And I did.
However, after Adele’s birth, it was the same routine all over again. I lost an initial 15 pounds or so immediately after her birth, but after that, nothing. After about three months of this, I decided I needed to try something different. I knew I didn’t want to diet or do anything that may put our breastfeeding relationship in danger, so I thought I’d try a new angle that I hadn’t tried before.
No sugar. And no sugar meant no refined carbs, either.
And you know what? It worked. In about four months I lost 25 pounds, and I was eating an amazingly healthy diet of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, even dairy. I didn’t feel restricted or deprived in any way, yet I was losing extra weight that needed to be lost, and my baby was still receiving a ton of nutrients. It was a win-win, in my opinion.
So I know that most people will stop reading at this point, because very few people want (or believe they are able) to stop eating sugar. I had known for years the negative impacts of refined sugar on your body, but I was never brave enough to take the leap and cut it out for good. So when I did, I had put a lot of thought into it, making sure I was committed to a lifestyle change. I also wanted my motives to be living a more healthy life, not simply losing weight.
Whether you read just how bad sugar is for your body, or the process by which sugar is grown and refined, you will quickly and easily find reasons for not eating sugar. Raw sugar, organic sugar, brown sugar — all of it is detrimental to your health in more ways than one.
Nearly everyone who consumes any form of sugar will have withdrawal symptoms when they decide to cut it out of their diet. But if you push through those symptoms, which should only last for a few days, you will feel so. much. better. I had a headache and felt literally sick, like I had the flu, for about three days. Once I made it through the initial few days, though, I felt like a different person. It did take me about a month for the sugar cravings to leave, but once they did it was so much easier to say no to sugar filled treats. Fruit has never tasted better. And when I do want to bake something now, I just use xylitol or erythritol, and enjoy a small amount of something sweet without the harmful effects and consequences of white sugar.
I should add that I also avoid all refined carbs when possible, so we eat whole grain pasta and bread, brown rice, quinoa, whole grain pancakes and waffles, and so on. And I don’t miss our old way of eating one little bit.
I know that this isn’t for everyone, but I do wish I could fully express how much better people would feel without sugar and refined carbs in their life. Not to mention that this could be key in shedding a few (or more!) extra pounds of fat you have hanging on, even for a breastfeeding mama.
If you decide to give cutting out sugar a go, please let me know!
*I want to add that I am not a medical professional, and am not attempting to offer medical advice. I am simply sharing my personal experience to be an encouragement for others who may be struggling with their health and/or weight. Always talk to your doctor before making any major diet changes.