26 answers

Frustrated by Lack of Weight Loss

My baby is almost 10 weeks old (my how time flies). During the first 2-3 weeks post-partum, I lost about 15-20 pounds pretty quickly and then plateaued. I have been going to the YMCA to work out since she was 6 weeks old. I am doing about an hour to an hour and a half of cardio (treadmill walk/run, cross trainer, etc--I rotate) 4-5 days/week on average, plus some weight training. I also limit my soda intake to 1 or 2 on saturday and/or sunday (my "treat") and stick with water and milk during the week. I have cut out my evening bowl of icecream (pregnancy craving!) and eat fairly healthy otherwise and have not replaced the ice cream with anything else. So you can imagine my frustration when I have only lost 1 or 2 pounds (and those seem to keep coming and going). I know that muscle weighs more than fat, and I'm sure I've built up muscle with all this working out; I also know there are 3600 calories in a pound. The machines I work out on calculate calories based on weight entered (and I tell the machine the truth!) and I'm sure they are not entirely accurate, but I figure I'm burning about 500-700 calories just on the cardio stuff I do, plus weight training and my regular activity during the day. So I figure with the excercies calories burned, plus the ice cream calories that have been eliminated(it was a very large bowl of ice cream each night), I should be losing about 2 to 3 pounds every week to 10 days. Anyone have any insight regarding the slow progress? I am certainly not giving up by any means and I definitely feel great after my workouts. But I go back to work in 2 1/2 weeks, work outs will have to get cut down to 45 minutes max (if I can get myself to the gym by 5:00 a.m.) and have NO pants that fit that are work appropriate (side note, maternity pants are falling off, but the pants that I wore before needing true maternity pants don't even come close to fitting--I probably have 50 pair of pants in my closet from my 2 pregnancies, so I really don't want to spend the last 2 weeks of maternity leave shopping for pants!) Thanks for any insight! Sorry for the extra info, but thanks for "listening"!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks for all the encouragement. Let me clarify, that the approximately 50 pair of pants (I will count later just for kicks!) are over the course of 5 years worth of accumulation through the ups and downs of weight gain/loss/redistribution during and after my 2 pregnancies. I have many "in between" pants from the first pregnancy, and they don't seem to fit either (I am short and wore larger sized petite pants with elastic waists until I really needed maternity pants--some of which never "fit" right during the second pregnancy either). I truly enjoy working out--if I skip the cardio portion I don't feel like I worked out--must be the "runner's high" (except it's not always running b/c that is just plain hard for me!). I have heard the "9 months to gain it, at least that long to lose it", I guess I just didn't realize that would be the case regardless of the amount of effort in terms of exercise. I don't really care what the scale says or the size of the pants, but it would be nice to have a "reward" for all of my effort, so for now the reward is that I feel GREAT after my workouts. I am actually sad that, if I manage to make it to the YMCA at 5 a.m.(am I crazy?!) when I go back to work, my workouts will likely only be 45-60 minutes. Thanks for all the encouragement--apparently mother nature trumps exercise physiology post-pregnancy! And I did have a small bowl of ice cream last night and a chocolate chip cookie from Fazoli's (YUM!) today. Happy Thanksgiving!

Featured Answers

I had the same problem, and the weight didn't start to come off until I started Weight Watchers. I was exercising like crazy before I joined, but still only losing a few pounds a month. I didn't realize how many fat grams I was eating a day, but once I started weight watchers counting system I lost 35 lbs in 16 weeks, and I feel great! I even exercised less but lost more weight. I wish you the best!

Sorry to hear. I know it's frustrating. I had the same problem with my first child. I worked out like a fiend, had a personal trainer, ate 1400 cal diet (nutritionist supervised), did all the right things. It still took 1 year before I looked like me. My doctor explained that some people's bodies have a fat storage mechanism that kicks in to protect them after the birth of a child. Which would be useful if we were living in caves and living off the land. Not so convenient for modern society.
With the second child I vowed to test the theory and not panic. I only work out a little, 20 minutes twice a week and eat whatever I like. Same exact weight loss as with the first one. I know, it's crazy! I thought it might make you feel better to know you weren't alone. Relax and have a bowl of ice cream if you like.
Good luck.

More Answers

You've gotten this a lot but...give yourself a break! You are doing lots of good things for yourself, eating well and exercising, and I think you need to realize that it takes some time. If you read what medical experts (not celebraties or others) say about baby wt. loss they will tell you that it is NOT uncommon to take at least 9mo (9 mo to gain it so just as long to loose it)if not closer to a year to loose the baby weight. I've ready many books in which women have said even w/faster wt loss, their body was still not at it's pre=pregnancy state until closer to the 9mo mark- think about all the things that stretch out, hip bones, and soon- they can't just magically go back into place. Realize that normal and SAFE wt. loss is only around 1-2 pounds a week. So I would suggest you keep doing what you are doing, go to a goodwill or thrift store and get a few pairs to get you through the transition, and spend some time giving yourself a break and some permission to not be Heidi Klum. Because a vast majority of people do not loose all their wt. while on maternity leave. ANd...finally if you still feel like you want to do more, consider keeping a food journal, we often eat far more (bites, tastes, licks,etc) then we realize until we write it down.
Also just something to think about other your wt.... are you sure you are not to obssessed with this goal. Really stop and think, is it for stress relief and enjoyment, or is it ONLY for wt. loss. SOmetimes when we do things for the wrong reasons, they don't work, exercise and diet included! But seriously your baby will not be 10wks, 4months, 6months, etc old forever and I just hope you are able to enjoy all that and not spend the whole time obsessing over your pants size...Just "food" for thought"- please don't be offfended but it's probably good for everyone to examine such thoughts.
Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

Like the other writer said, I think you're putting way too much pressure on yourself. I didn't lose all of my weight until a full year had passed since I gave birth. I think if you stop thinking about it so much, you may actually start losing the weight faster. I find that just chasing my little guy around helped to lose the weight. Also, think about eating lots of small, healthy meals throughout the day. THis helps to speed up your metabolism and helps to make the weight come off. But, again, I think, just relax and enjoy your little one. Oh, and I couldn't fit into my pants for a long long time. I bought one size up from my normal, and just waited until that extra weight came off. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

What really helped me is the simple rule of burning more calories than you are eating. I did not have great success until I started recording my food and exercise through sparkpeople.com It is a free site and there are also groups you can join and interact with people from all over the country, including Canada.

To help with calories burned while exercising I invested in a heart rate monitor, calibrated it with my height and weight and always wear it while I am exercising.

Using the method of tracking food and exercise I have lost 20 pounds since January. I am now at my goal weight and am currently in the maintain and encourage phase! Take a look at the site, check out some of the groups, it's great!

1 mom found this helpful

WoW, honestly, your baby is 10wks old, please give yourself a little credit--and a little time. My daughter is 17 months and I still have that 10 lbs of left-over that I just can't seem to shed...I think it is a combo of being older w/ a slower metabolism than I used to have--and the fact that I am EXTREMELY busy w/ my 17 month old daughter.

I hate to sound rude, but you sound a bit obsessed w/ this. Maybe if you took a deep breath, and just continue to work out but not obsessively it will just come. Sometimes I gain weight when I stress--even if I am counting calories and working out.

The body works in mysterious ways-- maybe this is your bodies way of saying something to you.

Good Luck and enjoy those babies! They don't stay that little for long!

1 mom found this helpful

I think you are being way too hard on yourself! You've had 2 children, for crying out loud. Reality check time: Go ask 10 mothers if they now wear the same size pants they wore before they had children. If you're patient enough to wait around while they laugh hysterically, 9 of them will eventually be able to utter "No." Even if a woman loses all the pregnancy weight, her body is often just "different": saggier stomach, etc.

I think that if you enjoy working out, by all means, continue to do so. It is great that you are finding time to do it and I'm sure it's some much needed "me" time. You may or may not resume your original weight or pants size, so accept your body for what it is: incredible, amazing, life-giving.

1 mom found this helpful


I always think it's best to remember that it takes us 10 months to put on the weight so it may take us awhile to lose it. Don't be so hard on yourself, it sounds like you are really trying. Some experts say we can actually excercise too much which does not help weight loss. I didn't lose any of my weight until my children were all over a year old. With my third I found it more difficult so I joined Weight Watchers. I started in July of '06 and had lost 35lbs by Feb of '07. I have kept that weight off so far which seems to be the hard part. I think they have a great program though and recommend it to lots of people. Good luck to you on your journey it just takes time =)

1 mom found this helpful

I hear ya. This is VERY common. My little girl is 9 months old (today!!!) I just lost all of the baby weight at around 8 months. I had gained a total of 38 lbs and like you I lost about 20 right away... the rest obviously took awhile. I would NOT be discouraged and I would also take the advice that I am sure you have heard before "it took 9 months to put it on, it will take 9 months to take it off".

try not to think about it so much. it will come off. im the same as you. the first month most of my weight came off. but for all them it took almost a year before the rest came off. with my last one being only 3 months old i haven't tried as hard to get it off (too busy with the 5 of them!) but haven't let myself go either and im only 7 lbs away from by weight before i got pregnant with my 17 mo. im not sure why its coming off so easily with out trying, im guessing all the running around i do with the other kids. give yourself some time, it will come off. in a couple of months im sure you will be looking back saying what was i so worried about? i would suggest a second hand store for some clothes in the mean time. i know it sucks having to buy more but at the cheaper prices it might make it a little easier and alot happier when you can donate them back to the store for the next mom! good luck.

That is very normal. Most women when trying to loose weight hit a plateua after an initial huge loss. If you stick with it or even up your workout to a more rigorous one you will start to see more results again soon. In the meantime, I would go by a couple inbetween size pants. I went to Savers and found some really cute pants, 6 pairs, for a total of twenty bucks! Yes they were used, but I only needed them for about a month before I needed to get the next size down anyway. Or hit the clearance rack at Target for a pair of new dress pants. You'll feel so much better having something that fits right and looks good on you, and it will help you to feel better about your weight. Be patient. This being your second child. I remember going home from the hospital in my old clothes after my first, but then after gaining so much and the excess water from labor after having my second, I could not even fit into my maternity clothes to go home in after my second! I have three, and even though I struggled with the slow weight loss after my third, I weigh less than I did in high school. I takes longer after the second and third babies to get back to normal. Keep at it! You're doing great!

I had the same problem, and the weight didn't start to come off until I started Weight Watchers. I was exercising like crazy before I joined, but still only losing a few pounds a month. I didn't realize how many fat grams I was eating a day, but once I started weight watchers counting system I lost 35 lbs in 16 weeks, and I feel great! I even exercised less but lost more weight. I wish you the best!

I understand your frustration. I have done weight watchers (lost 10 pounds then got stuck)I do cardio kickboxing 3-4 times a week and eat sensibly with a high protein diet and still no weight loss. I know my downfall is late night eating and alcohol once or twice a week. BTW-muscle does not weigh more than fat. A pound is a pound..think about it. Have you heard of body for life? It is based on 5-6 small protein packed meals combined with complex carbs. I have confidence in that diet but just had a hard time balancing # of meals with excercise. You can't eat that much if you are not working it off.

Hey M., I went through the same thing you did except it lasted 1 1/2 years after my second child. I started Herbalife products and within 4 weeks was able to fit into the jeans I wore before my FIRST child. I only had time for a walk on my lunch break at work so I didn't even get in the same excercise that you did....way to go! If you are interested in adding nutrition (naturally) to your diet that will help with the next part of your weight loss, please check out my website www.herbal-nutrition.net/dhs This is a protein regimen that helps to convert fat to lean muscle mass, you can contact me if you would like to find out more about it. My email address is ____@____.com I am a very skeptical person and can't believe how good the products really made me feel, I have more energy and and am still losing inches after 3 months. Just an option for you, good luck!

I hear you! And the only help I can offer is encouragement. I was the same way with all 3 of my kids--and the last five pounds didn't come off until they were around a year. And with my third I thought I'd fix the problem by gaining less during the pregnancy--I only gained 25 instead of the 35 I gained with my first two. Did it help? NO! When she turned 1 I got rid of all but 5 pounds and now I still can't get that off. I know you don't want to hear this, but your body is healthier even if it's not showing up on the scale. Hang in there and good luck!

Sorry to hear. I know it's frustrating. I had the same problem with my first child. I worked out like a fiend, had a personal trainer, ate 1400 cal diet (nutritionist supervised), did all the right things. It still took 1 year before I looked like me. My doctor explained that some people's bodies have a fat storage mechanism that kicks in to protect them after the birth of a child. Which would be useful if we were living in caves and living off the land. Not so convenient for modern society.
With the second child I vowed to test the theory and not panic. I only work out a little, 20 minutes twice a week and eat whatever I like. Same exact weight loss as with the first one. I know, it's crazy! I thought it might make you feel better to know you weren't alone. Relax and have a bowl of ice cream if you like.
Good luck.

girl, you need to chill out!! dont get into a frazzle over it! youve had babies before, and im sure the weight dropped off then too, especially if you've kept yourself healthy and fit all the while. its easier to bounce back when you've been healthy all along.

however, either way, after having 2 pregnancies, its going to get harder.. your skin and stuff will probably not get back to 'normal' - it shouldnt. thats normal. just do your best, dont stress about it, eat more fruits, legumes and vegetables and whole grains, LESS dairy, meat, etc.... thats a guaranteed healthy choice. more water. what else... more fiber! :D
what you need to do is not worry so much about fitting back into your old clothes. the best advice i was ever given after having my son was that i may never fit back into the clothes i wore before being pregnant, and THATS OK.
it gives you an excuse to go on a shopping spree (hopefully kid free) and buy new ones. nothing you have will fit you the same way even if you get back down and fit into them. they wont fit the same. your body has been through tremendous change. this is all normal, and OK! :D
you have toooo many pants anyway. my rule of thumb is to never have more pants than i can wear in a week, including a night out or something. ive NEVER had more than 7 pairs of pants, including sweatpants or workout pants. (however, this is NOT by choice. i just cant see the sense in having that many clothes to wash, and i cant afford to buy that many pairs of pants...)

the best thing you can do for yourself is go somewhere and get pants that fit you great NOW, not in the future, and donate the rest of the pants, or a majority of them, to someone else in need, or a thrift shop. when you lose more weight, go out and buy another pair or 2.... gradually you know? this isnt about completely replacing your wardrobe, cuz you dont want to buy 50 more pairs of pants and then not fit into THEM in a few months.
just accept that your body isnt the same, and get pants that fit your body now! :D not later.

ANOTHER GREAT THING TO NOTE: you dont say if you are nursing or not. i lost the initial weight breastfeeding, and around the 8 month mark, i lost 10 more pounds. around 14 months (i nursed for 19 months) i lost another 6 pounds. breastfeeding is a guaranteed way to lose weight.

anyway, the biggest thing is to NOT stress out, DONT eat lots of meat or dairy, drink lots of water, and allow yourself a treat now and then, whether its one piece of chocolate once a day, or a special dessert once a week, whatever. its ok to have ice cream, just have only one spoonful or one scoop!
good luck.

Hi M.! I totally understand your frustration! Let me tell you the thing that has totally made a difference for me, I have lost weight and gotten waayyyyyy healthier in doing it. You can even do it while nursing because it's not calorie restrictive. Eating the right combination of proteins and low glycemic foods for your body type is so good for you. It helps to control spikes and lows in your blood sugar so your body can burn fat. The book "The Low Glycemic Revolution" is a great resource. This is NOT a fad diet. It's so easy and soooo good for you. It sounds like you have reached a plateau with what you are doing now and this "diet" will help get you off of a plateau.
My friend teaches a class. I have had so much success with it I want everyone to have the same success! Let me know if you want more info! Otherwise just google "low glycemic" and see what you come up with.
Congratulations on your new little one and good luck!

Without repeating what everyone else has already said, I just have two things to add:

1) I just read in a Bally Fitness Tip of the Day that breathing and organ function account for 60% of calories burned throughout the day. Activity (including working out) accounts for 20-30%. The more muscle mass, the higher resting metabolic rate (RMR), which will burn more calories throughout the day just by sitting around! So spend 30-45 minutes on cardio, and with the extra time, hit the weights. Or alternate days, cardio one day, weights the next. I have found the gym extremely useful for that last 10-15 pounds, but not until about 6 months postpartum. (Everyone is different, though.)

2) Are you nursing? That burns a lot of calories too, but someone told me that when you nurse, your body keeps an extra layer of "maternal energy reserves" to support that. Once the nursing slows down, the fat melts off pretty quickly. If I were you, I'd just buy a couple of pairs of "fat pants" (I say that jokingly!) until you're back to your old self. With 50 pairs of pants, it sounds like you like to shop anyway! ;) And if your pants fit nicely no one will even notice that you're still carrying around a couple of extra pounds.

Good luck!

Hi M.,

Your body is still recovering - as everyone else said, don't be too hard on yourself. I actually was able to take off my post-baby weight very quickly - I am a personal wellness coach and help people every day lose weight and inches. My friend Mona lost 17 pounds and 25 inches in just 2 months - a new client that started 2 weeks ago has lost 8 pounds and 22.5 inches!! The stories go on and on - I would love to help you lose your weight and keep it off forever. Please either check out my website www.UCanFeelGood2.com or call me at ###-###-#### if you are interested. Happy Thanksgiving!!

I know how frustrating this can be. With my first, I think I honestly thought I'd have my old body back within weeks. I wish I had really understood how the postpartum body looks. I did eventually get back to my ideal weight with my first two and am still working on it after my 3rd...she's 8 mo. old. But it takes 9 months to get there and it SHOULD take at least that long to go back. With that being said... you'll never look exactly like to did prepregnancy. Your hips will be a litter wider and everything else will always be a little different. I consider it a motherhood badge. Just being honest and not trying to candy coat it. Most importantly you need to relax and not worry about your body... you have the rest of your life to get it into shape. Baby's grow up SO FAST. I would hate for you to miss enjoying any of it or regret missing it because you are focused on fitting into clothes and saving a few bucks. I would suggest hitting a few sales, or consignment shops and find some comfortable pieces. You'll find that the weight will come off even if you don't work as hard and you'll be happier. Good luck to you and congratulations!

Stress and lack of sleep will make it very difficult to lose weight. It's physiological. The stress hormone will not only make you crave foods you shouldnt be eating (which doesnt sound like you have trouble with) but it will also make you body hold on to every calorie it takes in. The body thinks that it's in need of all the energy it can get cause it's difficult times right now and will lead to you not being able to drop weight. As every mother especially to one so young will be somewhat sleep deprived and that will also lead to the body holding on to every calorie it can.

I can highly recommend Weight Watchers as it has really helped me lose weight in the past, but honestly dont expect too much right now.. Give your body some time to recover from carrying your baby and giving birth. Try to relax and exercise to enjoy yourself and energize yourself. Remember to get pleanty of rest when you can and de-stress when you can. I completely understand the frustration you can be going through (I've been there), you will get there eventually and even if you dont get exactly where you would like I hope you find peace with the body you have.

Hi- good for you for not giving up first of all!!
I think you're cutting too many calories.
I can explain more if you want to email me.
I am a wellness coach. I actually coach a nationwide online biggest loser weight loss challenge- one where you can win up to $600- fun, and we teach all people, programs and whatever how to lose weight with nutrition vs. dieting.
WE also do free profiling.
So if you email me- I can do that and send you a bunch of info online- in addition to personlizing things for you.
I just need your height, weight and your bone size- sm., med, large.
If you'd like to take some time to talk in person- I can do that too after the Thanksgiving holiday.
Think about colorful food Thursday- stay away from the processed starches- only one per day- 64 oz water.
It's really cal. in cal. out for your body needs without pushing it to feast or famine mode which it sounds like you might be doing.
You have the right mindset- I think it just needs some tweaking so way to go.
If you want to check out the challenge- go to challengevictor.com Our newest 12 week class started last Wed. - still time to hop on before the end of week 2 but no biggy - just thought I'd throw it out in case.
Hope to hear back from you and have a great Thanksgiving holiday.
cell ###-###-####

About me 48yo perfusionist, wellness coach as I said, and mom to 7yo twin girls.

B. J

Are you nursing? I found that it took at least 6 months before all of my "baby" weight was gone, I was told this is common if you're nursing. Hang in there... J.

For me when I changed how I was eating - by eating healthier (more fresh foods and less chocolate and sugar) and paying attention to when I was full that I was able to lose the weight. I realized that I was eating too much because my body was used to eating so much while I was pregnant. I had to re-train my body to accept normal portions. I did this (not realizing it at the time) by going on a whole juice fast. For 2 days I ate only fruits and vegetables (and coffee - I needed the coffee) then for the next 3 days I drank just juice. When I was done I couldn't eat as much and still don't eat as much as I used to - that was 2 years ago. It has taken me 3 years (which I know is a long time) to lose the weigh with a healthier diet and exercising more but I have changed my life style. I think that is key. Also my motivation changed: Instead of "I have to lose this weight" I changed my thought pattern to "I'm doing this because it is healthier for me" and I didn't focus so much on the weigh lose - although I did chart it for encouragement. LOL

Have you thought about the South Beach diet? I bought the diet book at Barnes and Noble for $12 I think--the original book in paperback--and have been on it for about three weeks, and have lost a little over ten pounds. Might be worth a shot! Also, I have found that after having two children myself, all of my old pants (I had about 45 pairs!!!) still don't fit the way they did. I am thinner now than I was before my children, but the pants no longer fit me the same way that they did before kids. They are tight in places they weren't before, and loose in places they weren't before. Pregnancy, nursing and age drastically change your shape, even if your physical weight is less than it was. So, donate those pants to a worthy cause, and get yourself a few quality pairs that really fit your new body beautifully. You'll be happier and less stressed! Keep up the workouts for energy and strength, and forget about the rest. Good luck!

You're not alone. It took me 9 months to lose the weight after my first one and I didn't go back to the same size because my waist and rib cage had expanded. With the 2nd it took me a couple of years. Are you nursing? I didn't lose all of the weight with the second one until I quit nursing. I knew it was temporary and just viewed it as my "nursing body." There's hope though--I lift weights too and now weigh less than I did before both pregnancies. It takes time and patience. Weight lost more gradually is likely to stay off better than weight lost too quickly anyhow. Hang in there--your baby is still really little. Good luck going back to work.

It can be so frustrating can't it! Have you tried interval training on the cardio machines? It is supposed to help jump start your metabolism and you should do it once or twice a week. After warming up, go at a moderate pace for two or three minutes and then sprint/go at a faster pace for one minute. Keep alternating like this until you are done. I usually only do interval training for 30-45 minutes max. It should help you break out of that plateau and you can do it on any machine. You could also do it with hills or resistance if you didn't want to do it with speed.

Hope that helps! Good luck!

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