Dealing with Low Energy - breastfeeding, Paleo and working out

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 25, 2013 at 7:44 PM

I need advice. I am a 28yr old female in great health. I recently had my first baby (March 26th) and am currntly 13 weeks post partum. I gained about 58lbs during my pregnancy and ended up with Pre-Enclampsia at the very end. Prior to getting pregnant I was in the best shape of my life, ate Paleo, If'd and worked out alot. I was probably around 136lbs and 16% body fat. I got very sick during most of my pregnancy and was not able to contiue to workout at all. I also could not stomache eating Paleo (vegetables caused me extreme nausea, etc), so although I tried very hard to keep my choices 'clean' my lifestyle did change considerably from before (i'm guessing that's why i gained all the weight).

I have gone back to eating 95% Paleo, and working out 4 x week (usually 2 cardio days and 2 weight-lifting days, and swimming on occasion) I was hoping the combination of eating Paleo and working out would help me lose the weight I gained. Keep in mind im also exlusively giving my little one milk that I pump. I very RAREly have a cheat meal or eat anything with sugar or junk in it.

At 2 weeks pp I weighed 179lbs and by 6 weeks post partum I was down to 170.2. SO that WAS encouraging. I think alot of this was water weight from the Pre-E. However I have not lost anything in the past 7 weeks!!! So discouraging! I'm trying to stay positive and consider the good things - like my new son and the fact my hair/skin/nails look the best now then they ever have!

But many days my legs feel like sand bags or I have little energy. I eat about 3 meals a day and 2 snacks or 1 snack and 1 post workout shake. I'm probably getting 50% or so of calories from healthy fat, and getting 25-30grams of protein at each meal, the rest is fruits and veggies. I would estimate that i'm maybe consuming 1500--1700 calories a day. I eat to satisfy hunger and nothing more. Days I lift weights, I"m more hungry. But my food is all from orgainc sources and very nutrient dense. Do I eat more calories, work out more per day? Cut back? or what. I'm also getting 7-8hrs of sleep per night, so sleep cant be it.

What am i doing wrong???? I'd really like to drop 1lb per week!!! Is that too much to ask for??? Seriously don't want to live/die by the scale but at 170lbs I Jsut don't feel comfortable in my own skin!!! I"ve never been this heavy in my whole life and cannot fit into any jeans, just my yoga/sweat pants!! A couple days I felt really energy depleted I had a bowl of gluten free oatmeal or a sandwich on sprouted grain bread. I felt good after that. I'm trying to stick to sweet potatoes, bananas after a workout and more paleo friendly non-grain options but it hasn't made me feel better.




on June 30, 2013
at 09:34 PM

Yes, ditch all the crazy exercise. Just let your body heal and focus on sleeping!

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4 Answers


on June 25, 2013
at 08:38 PM

It all sounds very exhausting to me. When I'd have my babies and was breastfeeding (I expressed at work and fed at other times and half the night - I worked full time) I certainly felt concentrating on getting sleep not exercising was best. Why not drop some of the exercise and just relax . Breastfeeding itself uses up about 500 calories a day so nature's way will be to lose you weight just through that alone. I put on 42 pounds (took twins to full term) last time round and got back to 130 pounds by the time they were about 7 months of age (with no exercise)

Perhaps you are not eating enough and exercising too much. It certainly does not seem many calories.

I would not worry about it too much. Just eat well and enjoy the baby.



on June 30, 2013
at 09:34 PM

Yes, ditch all the crazy exercise. Just let your body heal and focus on sleeping!



on June 30, 2013
at 09:38 PM

I found that I had a major hormone shift around 6-8 months post partum with both my kids, and the weight just started melting off. (No birth control, etc. Just natural.)

With my first, the last little bit didn't come off until I totally weaned her. I have an 11 month old now, and am still 2 lbs. heavier than my pre-baby weight.

Bottom line: it will happen. But now you need to eat good food, get some exercise and SLEEP. Trying to work out right now, with post partum hormone levels in your body, disrupted sleep from a baby and a recovering body is just not going to work - take walks and do a bit when you can, and don't stress out about the rest.

(For what it's worth, I just went to a secondhand store and bought a week's worth of new clothes at my bigger size. That way I didn't even have to get stressed about not being a size 4 anymore! And you know what? I donated them ALL back to the secondhand store once it came off. It will come off eventually!!)


on June 30, 2013
at 06:29 PM

Here is an article that I thought of when reading your post: http://gokaleo.com/2013/01/25/adrenal-fatigue-as-a-cover-for-starvation/

It sounds to me like you are consuming far too few calories, but if I am honest I don't consume any more than that. My third little one is almost a year old and I am still 10-15 lbs from pre-babe weight (but about at my pre-child, pre-paleo weight, so yay!). To me, the first year is all about making milk and staying sane. No joke. Having suffered postpartum depression and low milk supply before, I was ok to let my weight take a back burner for a while to ensure that babe and I were healthy.

Take care of yourself: your little one is only a baby once, and you have the rest of your life to lose weight :)



on June 26, 2013
at 01:10 PM

It sounds like you are putting a great deal of stress on your body. Like EnglishRose said, focus on your little one and eating right. Put the baby in a stroller and go for a walk before or after supper. I wear my little one when I'm at home and find that it forces me to use muscles that I haven't used in long time.

I am 9 weeks pp, have lost 16 lbs just breast feeding, using stairs instead of elevators, wearing the baby while doing things around the house, and eating to satiety. You can do it, but don't stress if it doesn't happen at a pound a week.

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