So after trying every diet I could think of, I still couldn’t lose any weight after my fourth baby. With my other three babies, the weight came off naturally in about six months. With the fourth, I tried strategy after strategy and the scale stuck fast. I couldn’t lose one pound.
Well to be honest, I could lose a pound but then I’d just gain it back. Once I lost four pounds in two weeks and gained them back in about three days. So I gave up. I accepted my new size, about twenty pounds heavier than my old self.
But then, through a strange set of circumstances, I found a miracle cure. Eighteen months into my fourth baby’s life, I suddenly lost about ten pounds in a month. It has unstuck my scale! Try it and see if it works for you. There are three simple rules:
1. No beef, no chicken.
2. No excess sugar (sweets, candy, dessert)
I know there has been a lot of talk in recent years about low-carb diets. But I really think the older wisdom of the low-fat diet is more effective for a postpartum mom. When you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, the body stores fat for the baby. So you usually end up with less muscle and more fat proportionally on your body. Do this over several years with a couple babies and the body changes more significantly. It adapts to the situation, seeming to manufacture flab! Even when you lose weight, it is easier to lose muscle rather than fat, especially in the waist and legs. Thus most people never return to pre-partum pants sizes even if they get skinnier. They retain enough fat in the waist and legs, more disproportately, to keep from dipping below size 8 (or size 14!). I think the key–at least at this time–is more low-fat than low-carb so the body takes in less fat and is therefore less likely to store it and more likely to burn the fat that is already there when it is fat-burning mode. (Perhaps not incidentally, I craved meat and dairy–fats–when I was pregnant, which I never had before).
Also, I know no beef/chicken is radical. I was definitely not into vegetarianism (although I admire the position). I just don’t like vegetables and vegetarian substitutions enough. But I had no idea that meat was affecting my metabolism until I stopped eating it regularly. As soon as I cut out beef and chicken (which almost every meal on a menu, even soup and salad, contains), I lost a couple pounds immediately. I didn’t cut out all meat because even with healthy options I felt loss of protein. But by cutting out beef and chicken on a daily basis, I cut out most of it out from my routine. Whenever I was faced with a non-vegetarian menu or a carnivorous moment, I had fish (and pork one time). It satisfied the craving, kicked my meat addiction (which I didn’t know I had), and worked magic. I assume it is because animal fat has a different effect on the body than non-animal fat.
Kicking the sugar habit was harder because sugar is in everything. I had tried No Sugar diets before but found myself relying on sweeteners which I have heard is possibly more dangerous than white sugar. Diet soda, coffee, and other staples of my diet seemed to be working against me even when I had victory over the chocolate habit. So I picked a rule I could live with, which was no EXCESS sugar. No desserts, no sweet tooth fixes, no cookies at Panera, etc. As soon as I did this, but left sugar in my coffee/tea, syrup for the pancakes I had on Mothers Day, and other reasonable sugar instances, I was able to eliminate a reasonable amount of sugar without craving it. I used organic pop-tarts for those moments when I was weak =) In conjunction with the less meat thing, I think my body got a major metabolic shake-up.
My third rule of Water was important, although I was not able to cut out all other drinks. I have done this at times before–drunk only water–but usually lapsed when I was at some function that only had coffee as a refreshment. Plus it is summer now and the prospect of lemonade or other refreshments loom large. I am not a good water drinker usually, so this time I just made a rule of adding water, not subtracting other things. And it really worked.
The rest of my diet I kept basically the same. I did not exercise a whole lot. I did not add in all kinds of foods I didn’t like. I didn’t cook things I should but didn’t want to eat. I did not add in supplements, skip meals, or use weight loss drugs. I did not join a gym or start regular walks (even though I want to). But my scale needle finally unstuck anyway. I finally got into some of my old pants after eighteen months in my new larger size. If it can work for me, it might work for you too!