Losing the baby weight, and some more thoughts on postpartum body image


I ate nothing but salad last week.

Well, OK, almost nothing but salad.

There was that one day when I HAD to have pasta (No, really, I was literally FORCED to have pasta, true story…) because we got snowed in YET AGAIN, and it was the only thing left in the cupboard. There was also the glass of wine that night. Er, the glass and a half of wine. OK, OK, THE TWO GLASSES OF WINE, WHAT AM I, A MARTYR?

For the MOST part, though, I ate salad all week – and it wasn’t the hugely calorific kind, that’s laden with dressing, and just pretending to be healthy, either. No, this was your standard, no-frills, can’t-even-Instagram-it-because-that’s-how-boring-it-is salad. (Actually, it was mostly your standard pre-packaged, calories-clearly-stated-on-the-bag salad, might as well admit it.) I did not have chocolate. Well, not much chocolate, anyway. I did not go out for cake. I didn’t even have a fancy Starbucks coffee, complete with the requisite 5,876 calories, and, actually, you know what? I TOTALLY AM A MARTYR HERE. I mean, FFS, people, I’ve basically STARVED all week. I’m like a MONK or something!

But still.


On Friday morning, I stepped on the scales, exactly one week since my last encounter with them. I even removed my hair elastic, just in case it was adding some serious poundage to my weight. (Answer: it wasn’t. Because obviously.)

Want to know how much weight I’d lost in the course of that week, folks?

0.2 of a pound.


Big whoop, huh?

The next day, we went out for lunch, and I bought Pick n’ Mix on the way home, because who can resist Pick n’ Mix? Not this girl, for sure.

The day after that was my birthday (cake and champagne), and the one after that was Mother’s Day (out to lunch again). On Monday morning, I got back on the scale, and guess what? I’d gained back that 0.2 of a pound. Who’da thunk it, huh?

And that’s pretty much how it’s been for the almost 11 weeks since Max was born. As you’d expect, I lost a lot of weight in the first couple of weeks (SPOILER: IT WAS A BABY. And also a TON of fluid, apparently.), but since then? Nothing. It doesn’t seem to matter what I do or don’t do, my weight remains more-or-less the same, hovering at a point roughly 10 pounds over my pre-baby weight, give or take that 0.2 of a pound. And I’d kind of like to do something about that, really.

Now, quick pause here while I address the inevitable objections I know I’m going to get….

Weight is a very loaded subject, especially for women, and even MORE especially for women who’ve had babies. In my position, everyone is very quick to reassure me that it’s totally normal to still be carrying some extra weight right now: they’ll point out that I literally JUST had a baby (Well, I mean, 10 weeks ago I had a baby. Which isn’t, like, yesterday, obviously, but still…), and that I need to go easy on myself, not expect too much, and understand that if it took me 9 months to gain that weight, it’s probably not going to disappear overnight, is it? Especially with, you know, THE WINE.

More than that, though, weight is a loaded subject for ANY woman, because it JUST IS. Right now, we’re at a point in our social history where body acceptance has become all-important: people are slowly but surely starting to reject the idea that there’s only one “right” way for a woman to look, and to accept that all shapes and sizes can be beautiful. I can’t go onto Twitter these days without seeing someone talking about how we should all love ourselves, because we’re ALL beautiful, and that’s a wonderful thing, truly. I’m all for putting an end to body-shaming and embracing diversity: it’s been a long time coming, and anything that makes people feel even a little bit better about themselves is just fine by me.


(You could sense it coming, couldn’t you?)

I read all this stuff about body positivity, and how we’re ALL SO BEAUTIFUL, and I find myself thinking, well, it’s great if that helps people and all but what if you DON’T feel ‘beautiful’? What if you’re now 10 pounds heavier than you used to be, and you’ve literally worn the same outfit for three days in a row now, because it’s the only thing that still fits you? What if your face still looks oddly puffy to you, and no matter how many times your husband assures you that, no, really babe, it’s totally back to normal now, every time he shows you a “cute” photo he took of you and the baby, you’re just like, “Wait, what’s the Pilsbury Dough Boy doing with my child?” I’m honestly amazed that the facial recognition on my phone knows that this is still me right now, seriously. Stop letting me access my bank account, iPhone, FFS!

But I was saying.

What if all of this is true, and it makes you feel a big crappy, really, but everyone just keeps telling you to “go easy on yourself” because your feelings are invalid and you’ve “just got to love yourself!” anyway?

Also, just a thought, but what if, rather than continually insisting that “everyone is beautiful,” we tried insisting that it doesn’t actually matter? Maybe then I wouldn’t be writing this post because, rather than just trying to pretend I don’t care about those extra 10 pounds, I genuinely wouldn’t care.

Like I said, just a thought.

The truth is, though, I DO care. And now I’d like to do something about it.

The problem with that, though, is that I’ve never been good at losing weight – possibly because I’ve never really had to. I’ve been very fortunate in that I’ve been roughly the same weight my entire adult life: I’ll normally gain a few pounds over Christmas, and when I’m on holiday, but then I’ll lose them again without trying, just by going back to my usual routine. And I guess I’d just kind of assumed that was what would happen here: that I’d have the baby, and sure, I’d be a whole lot heavier for a while after, but that the weight would slowly but surely melt away, just because I was no longer pregnant (Once I was past the morning sickness stage, I spent my entire pregnancy feeling ravenously hungry all the time, so I figured that stopping would HAVE to make a difference, right?), and would be able to be more active.

Instead, after that first couple of weeks, when you really do lose weight pretty rapidly (Mostly fluid and, you know, ACTUAL BABY…), my weight has remained stubbornly the same – and it’s really not hard to see why, is it?

getting back in shapeI’m one of those people who tells herself she’s only eaten salad all week, neglecting to count the glass of wine she had afterwards. Who tells herself that ONE square of chocolate doesn’t really count – and a tiny handful of Pick n’ Mix, eaten while tidying up the kitchen (Well, it was RIGHT THERE, people! I AM NOT MADE OF STONE!) definitely doesn’t.

I’m also a person who’s currently suffering from severe cabin fever, and a huge amount of anxiety. (No, it doesn’t stop once the baby arrives – but that’s another post for another day…) Getting out of the house as much as possible is, of course, the best way to deal with the cabin fever, but we’ve had too much snow to be able to go for all of those long walks I’d planned, which means we end up going out for calorific coffees and non-healthy lunches instead: D’OH. The anxiety, meanwhile, makes me feel – wrongly, of course – like I “deserve” a treat: or that I could at least use one as a distraction technique, and finally, the presence of a small, demanding human in my life means I don’t have the time to work out at home, even if I wanted to. Which, honestly? I really, REALLY don’t: I absolutely hate home workouts, to a degree that means I can never motivate myself to do them more than once or twice before telling myself I can’t possibly find the time any more.

Oh, and I also have a serious addiction to Haribo MIX: HELP ME.

Of course, all of these things – the snow, the anxiety, the hatred of workout videos – are just excuses. I know that: it’s knowing how to stop making those excuses that’s the hard part – and I’ve not quite worked out a solution to that one yet.

Last night, though, I did that ridiculous, “I know I’m going to eat these sweets at SOME point, so I may as well eat them now, and get them out of the way, so tomorrow I can start afresh,” thing, which means that today I’m starting afresh.


I have no grand plan other than to eat less – or more healthily, at least – and move more. I’m not really into faddy diets or impractical exercise regimes, and I’m not under any illusion that I’m going to be able to lose the weight quickly – or, you know, AT ALL. If I can make even a small dent in those stubborn 10 pounds, though, it would at least let me get into my clothes a little more comfortably (Right now I can get into quite a lot of them, but as I said in this post, just because it zips up, it doesn’t necessarily mean it fits, and I’m very aware that although I can get some things on, they don’t exactly look great on me…), and that would be AWESOME, seriously. Spring is, after all, my favourite season, and I’d really rather not spend it in sweatpants, so I have to try SOMETHING, right?

Anyway. I’m hoping that by putting this intention out into the universe, it’ll inspire me to stick to my resolutions, and stay away from the Pick n’ Mix stand next time I’m out. This week will be a particularly difficult one in that respect – we’re going to be eating out at least twice, and, at the time of writing, the roads are clear, but there’s still snow blocking a lot of the footpaths around the village, making walking with the pram a bit tricky – but I’ll report back on how I get on, and you can all feel free to tell me off if you happen to catch me posting photos of chocolate on social media.

Wish me luck…


Hi, I'm Amber, and I'm a full-time parenting/lifestyle blogger, and author of My Blogging Secrets, now available from Amazon. I live in Scotland with my husband, Terry, and baby son, Max, and you can read more about me here.

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  1. I feel this. As much as I get the ‘beautiful’ movement and think it’s had some great consequences, sometimes I feel like all it’s doing is reinforcing that, in the eyes of the world, beauty is the most important thing. Beauty is fantastic, wonderful, valuable – but it isn’t the be all and end all.

  2. OK, two tips for you:
    1. Track everything you eat. Write it down, put it in your phone whatever, but track it. You don’t have to join a fancy diet club, the secret is tracking. Eat plenty of fruit, veg, healthy carbs (wholewheat pasta, brown rice), lean meat, fish and low fat dairy and you’ll be fine. But write it all down and then you’ll see just how much that little bit of chocolate/wine/whatever is over the week. A little bit is OK, but you’ll be able to see if you’re overdoing it.

    2. Take half an hour to yourself a couple of times a week to go out for a walk/run (weather permitting of course – the impending snow this weekend is impeding my exercise plans too!) – that’s why you have Terry to look after the baby. And if you can’t get out, try to do something in the house – there’s loads of free workout videos on You Tube, some of them only 10 minutes or so. And get your Fitbit back on your wrist and set a daily goal – even if you have to run on the spot in the front room to reach it, it all counts.

  3. So I am 8 months post baby almost, and I am still not happy with my body. However, I now weigh the same as I did pre-baby, and have done since she was 2 months old (and no, I have no idea how that happened, I really wasn’t dieting!). I need to lose 4 stone to get to a healthy weight granted (and did before I got pregnant), but what is bothering me mainly at the moment is how the shape of my body has changed. Mainly the fact I now have a stomach, with a very unpleasant tuck in it from my c-section. It ruins the look of every item of clothing I own, except for sack-like things. Which is what I have been living in. I naively assumed that once back to my pre-pregnancy weight I would have a similar body, but nope. I am now hoping that losing the 4 stone will fix the scar overhang but my GP says it may not as some layers of tissue were not correctly stitched (wahey, thanks doc, though I was losing loads of blood and he stopped me dying so there is that) so I may always have a lovely lump to show for my procreative efforts. And a baby of course! Ha! 🙂 I don’t know what the point of this is, just that the scales can’t really express the changes your body can go through post-baby. And I guess I just have to get used to that. She was worth it after all! xx

  4. Motivation really is the hardest thing! I totally understanding wanting to lose it, and when YOU want to lose it, it’s not anyone else’s business about concepts of beauty or otherwise or just not caring. I will be cheering for you!

  5. Besides the part about recently having a baby, it’s like you’ve read my mind in this post. I’m so frustrated with trying to lose an unexpected 15 ish pounds, and I refuse to believe it’s because ‘I’m just getting older’ (probably has something to do with the wine for me?). I’m not happy with more than half my wardrobe not fitting me, and I do think it’s fine to not be happy with my current body composition especially since my whole life it’s been about 15 pound less. I can so relate to everything about this. Nice to know I’m not alone. ?

  6. Hi Amber,
    Just stopping by to say I totally get it. I am 9 months post partum and still 12kg to loose. I feel so bad. None of my clothes fit. My husband reassures me but I still feel bad even though I know my body is sticking to these kilos because of breastfeeding (it was like that for my first baby even thought I gained less and had then less to loose and it was like this for my mom, too). Thanks for writing about this.

  7. I was back to pre pregnancy weight within a week – clearly more of it was water than I realised! But then gained weight when I went back to work……….. and i thought I would lose weight breastfeeding, but no, not an ounce, it just made me eat more I think.

    It’s a balance isn’t it – we shouldn’t go round telling people they need to lose weight, especially if they are a healthy weight already – but if you are not normal *for you*, then who has the right to say you shouldn’t aspire to what feels right for you? That’s equally bad.

  8. Here’s some encouragement – I’ve had lots of kids (7) and I found that I lost weight in “bunches”. I would plateau for a while, long enough to really be discouraged. Then all of a sudden, I would drop 5 pounds. There didn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. I quit weighing myself every week because it was upsetting but then, all of a sudden, I would lose! Also, breastfeeding usually makes it easier but I have heard of a few women who didn’t lose until they weaned. I feel your pain. I’m trying to lose 5 pounds right now and can’t get anywhere. I’m in 50’s and wow, is it hard! Hang in there!!

  9. You are all very lucky by the way – my partner has already said to me several times “you aren’t going to get fat are you” – I suppose he accepted it that I gained weight while pregnant but is worried that I have since (not a lot, about 3kg, but I’m small so it shows).

  10. Thank you for your honesty. I have the same issue..haven’t had to lose weight before in my adulthood. Now I do. Like the woman above I did lose baby weight “in bunches” by doing nothing. Now I have older lady weight to lose and just am NOT feeling it. Thank you again.

  11. I never lost the 3 stone I gained with the twins. I mean, I lost 2 of them, but the third just kinda stuck. Since having my latest, though, the weight is falling off me – to the point that I went to see the Dr last week because I am losing weight too fast without actually trying to… But that’s another story. Point is, hormones are a b – wish I could offer more helpful advice but that’s all I’ve got for ya!

    However, if it’s sticking to your diet that’s the issue there is one thing that works for me to an extent. Try to spend some time pampering yourself too. Have a bath, primp, preen, shine, deep-condition and moisturise to an inch of your life. Regularly. Sometimes I think we make it all about the diet, but if we make an effort to care for the outside too it is somehow easier to care about what we’re putting inside. Might not make a difference to you but always helped me along. x

  12. I’m with you on the don’t care approach, but I reckon it will take you abut twenty years to feel like that, and maybe not even then. My body shape change was permanent, but mostly other women succeeded where I didn’t.
    You have such beautiful clothes and are longing to wear them again comfortably. Take every day as it comes, and allow yourself a sweet treat once a week. Good luck, keep trying as I know it is for your own sake.

  13. Just to give you hope by the way – all my friends who have had children have eventually got back to normal (a couple of them did have to wait until they stopped breastfeeding – I think you will eventually.

    • I’m not actually breastfeeding, but I’ve tried this in the past and didn’t get on with it, so as I said, I’m just planning to eat less and move more!

      • You’ll lose it soon, especially if you’ve always been thin and had no weight issues. Once the weather is better you can take Max on walks and do way more in terms of leaving the house, if you have the time. As for eating less, poor you, with your boring salad ? as a new mummy you deserve all the chocolate in the world but we definitely need to make sacrifices. Important thing is for you to feel like yourself. You may be Max’s mother but you were your own person first and you need to feel great. ❤️

  14. The number one reason I am sure that you are not dropping weight is because you’re not eating enough.
    I do hope your main meal isn’t a salad, as it won’t work like that, that should be a side dish unless it’s filled with avocado, chicken, tuna et cetera, high protein foods. Munch on some cheese, not carrot sticks, although you can have those if you like them too obviously.

    Treat yourself with kindness and you will see a difference.
    I think you are getting plenty of exercise with the amount of steps you’re doing with baby Max every day.
    It’s just your body will be holding onto the weight if it’s not getting enough calories in.

    Ditch the diet talk and go back to your routine before Max came into your life, and I’m sure you’ll start to see a difference. ❤️

  15. I totally understand and feel you. I m
    Shortish too And i easily feel the changes in my body even if put just a pound or so.
    With my case getting a personal trainer looked like a great ideea and it
    Helped tremendously. It s just 2 h a week but i move very efficiently in those and helped decrease my food anxiety. Additionally i no longer have a scale. I have a measuring tape if i reaaly want
    To track. But since my motto is eat well move be happy and feel healthy ( i like that i can bike to work for example feels
    Very empowering for an ex couch potato like me) i really don t go and weight myself anymore.

  16. Being pregnant I am fearful of this issue too. However I did Slimming World pre pregnancy and lost 3 stone. Remained on plan and have not gained much at all – 7lbs in 5 months of my pregnancy to be precise. Of course this could change as I make my way to the last trimester but I am hopeful.

    It might not work for everyone but it’s pregnancy/ new mum friendly and it’s not counting points like weight watchers; you can eat like a normal human and even have Nandos on the regular and lose weight. If you can’t get to a group you can join online. I know I sound like I work for them! I don’t it’s just the plan has changed my life for the better and I want people to feel as elated and as in control of their weight as I do.

    Regardless-Try to remember your managing to keep a new baby happy and fed and for now (with what you’ve been through) that’s enough.

  17. With you on the cabin fever justifying you turning to chocolate thing. I decided to give up sugar (well: sweets, cake, ice cream, fizzy juice, all of my major food groups, basically…) for Lent, but I broke it back when I had to work from home for three days because I was sad and anxious and needed a distraction. Desperate times, etc.

    I gave the amount I spent to my charity fundraiser though, so I’ve justified it to myself. Apart from the bit where I’m still talking about it, obviously.


  18. I did lose a lot of my baby weight right away…. because I’m diabetic and figuring out my new insulin needs was a nightmare (not enough insulin=your body is starving even if you eat, so it burns the fat because it can’t process the sugar for energy). It was really uncomfortable to have people comment on “getting back to pre-pregnancy weight so fast” when my health was really suffering for it (no, for real, I once had someone say they wished they had a disease that meant they lost weight. No. You don’t.) . But to make it worse…. I gained back like 10 lbs. after getting the insulin situation figured out because it turns out getting back into old routines is hard with a baby and being as active is hard with a baby. Not sure what to say about this, because I too struggle with the motivation and balancing baby and life…. just that I really, really apperciate the honesty and candor you write about this topic with. Good luck figuring out things!

    Also, Max is like, the cutest thing!


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