The Myth of Losing The Baby Weight


I ran into an acquaintance the other day who had recently delivered a baby. She looked phenomenal, with no remnants whatsoever of the baby weight lingering around.

“How the hell do you look like that?” I asked, not even attempting to mask my utter annoyance.

“Oh, you know,” she explained. “Since I had a baby plus a toddler, I just spend all of my time running after them so the weight fell off. Plus, I just never seem to remember to eat!”

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That was not the response I wanted to hear.

I’ve seen countless celebrities singing the same tune and it always makes me crazy. I have three kids and I have never once found myself running after them. Maybe I’ll dash over if I hear a loud thud followed by silence, but certainly not often enough to break a sweat. Sure, I’m with them constantly, but my normal pace is more like a saunter. My heart rate is steady and you could never call gently pushing a kid on a swing an aerobic workout.

And, how does one forget how to eat? Like, ever? The only time I ever came remotely close to not eating three square meals plus snacks daily was when I was working in an office for ten hours a day, in a cubical all alone. But, babies eat regularly. Kids are constantly asking for snacks and meals and treats. Never mind, that their plated constantly need to be “cleaned.” As a mother you are surrounded by food– how on earth is it forgettable?!

If you’re rocking a post-baby body and I ask how you got it, please give me a response like:

“I’m starving and miserable, but I really wanted to get in these freaking jeans again”

“Breastfeeding. It’s the best diet ever.”

“I work my ass off at the gym 24/7.”

“Genetics. You should see my mom.”

“Honestly, I have no idea how the hell it came off so fast.”

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Or, even the dreaded, “I’m eating less and moving more.”

Those I can understand. I can’t relate to them, but I can live with them.

But, please don’t give me the running around and forgetting to eat bullshit.

I’ve been there. I know better.

About the writer


What started as an innocent on-line baby book to chronicle Jill Smokler’s stay-at-home days with her children, quickly transformed into a vibrant community of parents, brought together by a common theme: Parenting doesn’t have to be perfect. Welcome to Scary Mommy!


Autumn 1 year ago

This is my second baby and this baby weight is awful. With my first I had him naturally & the weight really did just fall off. With my second, she was a emergency c-section, and I was put on extended bed rest due to surgery complications. After spending 9 weeks in bed, I weighed more than when I was pregnant. 4 months later I am still trying to get the weight off. I feel like I have tried almost everything with no prevail. And to make matters worst… My sister has already had her baby 4weeks ago & is now in the best shape of her life.

Nolee 1 year ago

my eating disorder ”came back” after having my first kid. Yeah actually I’m not eating, that’s how I’m losing weight *friends laughing* haha yeah… it’s funny because it’s true

Penny A 2 years ago

Oh man…I am past the baby making years (not by much, but past) and what I can’t STAND are those Mom’s who are like, “OMG! I only gained like 6.2 pounds my whoooole pregnancy.” or the Mom’s (I have three of my very female family members who are like, “I absolutely hate the fact that I am 7 and a half months preggo and I can’t fit into my regular jeans. I mean, who wants to wear YOGA pants for a month and a half?” . I could just K I L L them! When I was preggo, I looked like a Heffalump – if that’s even a word?- just feet and head, the rest was just this huge beach ball sorta looking thing. And 6.2 pounds???? I gained that when I peed on the STICK for crying out loud! I’m not jealous of them or anything, but, HELLO, you are PREGNANT, you are supposed to gain weight!!!!

Candy 2 years ago

Does explaining why someone might forget to eat work with you as well? I know I’ve forgotten to eat when I’m consumed by a problem with any number of things.

Rachel 2 years ago

I HATE that BS too. I pump 4 to 5 times a day, and I work out 6 days a week and I am still struggling to lose the weight after having my 3rd baby. I get so tired of even hearing “Oh, breast feeding just melts the fat away.” That has never been true for me, nor have I ever been too busy to eat.

I feel like it’s just one more way that mommies try to outdo one another… Just be straight up and help a girl out!

Anna 2 years ago

Um, post-partum depression. Coupled with a history of anorexia. And then not sleeping killed any appetite I had left. You could say that in terms of losing the baby weight I came with a special set of skills. My 30 lbs of baby weight melted off within 3 months, followed by another 10 over the next few months. That’s when people started asking both me and my husband if I was all right. I wasn’t, really. Which is why I started therapy.

    Nolee 1 year ago

    thank you so much for this comment. Best wishes and positive vibes for you :)

Cara Kronen 2 years ago

I'm right there with you.

Tasha Segura 2 years ago

All of my baby weight just came off within the first 5 months… then I gained most of it back because somehow, breastfeeding gave me an uncontrollable sweet tooth!

Lex Genevieve 2 years ago

Well I am not recently expecting #2 so we will see how all that goes.. But after baby #1, who is 3 now, I ran ten minutes every day mon-fri, did some weight training and took apply cider vinegar shots(look them up). I think that was my big trick to getting back into a "bikini" yes I said it!! I only breast fed for 2 or so months too so I had to figure something out!

Kimberly Furnell 2 years ago

The truth: Honestly, I have no idea how the hell it came off so fast.Also, I think some people are just "weight losers" and some "weight gainers" and some just stay the samers. ;-). All I know, personally, is if I am not careful to eat ENOUGH, I will lose weight: post-pregnancy or otherwise. And I after my first child was born I didn't so much "forget to eat" as much as I wasn't prepared for how much MORE I needed to eat. That said: losing 35 pounds in ONE month was shocking. I think it was the stress of breastfeeding. The physical my body going "what the fuck is this?" stress. It took much longer to lose the weight after my second. It was like my body was saying: "oh. I'm all pro now. You need some fat reserves to feed that little sucker. I got this."

hillary clark 2 years ago

My honest answer is “I Worked My Ass Off”. Joining a gym may be the last thing on your list of Fun Sh*t to Do, but once you realize it’s a guaranteed 45 minutes all to yourself, you’ll never miss a workout.

Susanne Newman Cash 2 years ago

I'm the only woman alive (or at least I felt that way) who gained weight while breastfeeding/pumping. So frankly, when those bitches say "breastfeeding is just flying the pounds off me" I want to throw my frozen breast milk at them. :)

Lauz Coupland 2 years ago

i put on 7 stone with my little un and after i started boxing and i shed alot but im still stuck at 12 stone i have a home gym running machine weights and an ab cruncher and ive been doing it for 6 months 6 days a week although im seeing a little improvement my belly mainly isnt going anywhere 29 years old which could be it but its proving hard to shift the belly

Jamie m 3 years ago

I can personally say that every woman is different but I lost my baby weight with both of my kids in a week in a half after leaving the hospital . I didn’t exercise or hire a trainer , nor did I diet . I have 3 kids one step and two of my own and all boys.I can say there were times that I did break a sweat . I clean and take care of kids non stop and there comes times where I’m just not hungry cause I’m so exhausted. I know for a fact that all kids are different not all kids are hiaper and not all kids can sit still .I’m constantly running after my kids . Most of mothers that I know it’s the same with them.

Monica 3 years ago

Mom of 1 over here. He was born 6.22.12 and is 14.5 months old now!

I struggled with my weight – even before I had the baby. I was real sick for weeks 6-9 in pregnancy. Lost 20 pounds when this occurred. Spent the remained of my pregnancy gaining that 20 pounds back. So on the day I delivered I was only 30-40 pounds bigger than before I got pregnant! That may not seem like a big deal but for someone like me who has weight issues that was a good range. Without that nausea from weeks 6-9 I probably would have gained 50-60 pounds.

After delivery – I did not focus on weight. I was too busy trying to survive a newborn! Then I got really busy and ate lotssssssss of junk food. Got fatter! Plus I had a very stressful full-time job in which I indulged in carbs all day to “get through” my day!!

After careful planning, preparation and prayer my hubby allowed me to quit to follow my dream of entrepreneurship. I am now a stay at home mommy who works from home in the online based business I created! I am happy with my career. I stopped relying on carbs to get me through my day. I only eat when hungry (most times- with an occasional over indulgement – like when hubby insists on going to a buffet for dinner and all of the food looks sooo yummy!!)

I digress – So I am with my baby all the time, running my own business from home and I am very happy. I get to sleep in (although I work late into the nite) but it works for me! I rarely have a desire to over-eat and my son is now 14.5 months and very active. So I chase him around all day. His diapering calls for me to walk up and down 2 big flights of stairs all day – so I do that on purpose to burn calories. I also work out 45 minutes in the morning when I can. If cant work out in the morning then I will find another way to “move my body” So I did the fewer calories and more movement thing too and is working! Lost all my baby weight and I’m confident I can get the remaining pounds off.

I am officially diagnosed with an eating disorder (compulsive overeating) in which I spent some years in eating disorder therapy to overcome this. The biggest/most useful piece of advice I got from my therapist was this: Listen to your body and enjoy the foods you want. Don’t get too hungry or else you will over eat. Think of a scale from 1-8. 1 is starving and 8 is over stuffed. Eat when at a 3 and stop eating at the 5! Make healthy choices but don’t deprive yourself. Eat cake if you want! After decades of diets this is the only approach that has worked for me. My eating is “normalized” and now I can enjoy food and life as God intended!

Mandy 3 years ago

I went through the first 6 months of my pregnancy throwing up daily. When I was finally able to eat. I ate, and I mean I was the girl buying 4 Mc Doanld’s sandwiches, fries and shakes for myself. Then deciding to drive to the grocery store to an entire cheesecake. I gained 65 pounds in three months. My OB was not happy I wasn’t happy. I didn’t even look pregnant and then I looked like a walrus was trying to burst from me belly as I waddled around. I gave birth and was surprised that the 65 pounds didn’t come off. I breastfeed, another lie my mother told me how to lose weight. Eventually with better eating habits I was able to lose the 65 pounds. (Without Exercise) But I obviously had the “mom” body my boobs sagged, my belly had the pouch and my hips were wider. Now I have bony skeleton type hips looking like I’m malnourished and yet they’re bigger. So obviously none of my pre-baby clothes fit. Eventually after 2 years I sold 55 gallons totes filled with designer jeans that I could not get over my butt. I think I cried inside each time I sold another pair on eBay. Then my husband passed away in a tragic accident. No one knew how to handle the situation so they did the next best thing they took me out to eat, everyone took me out to eat multiple times a day. I gained 20 pounds that summer. Booze, restaurant food, and depression. Four years post-baby I became pregnant I got myself together started swimming daily and walking, cleaned up my eating habits and lost 20 pound in the first 2 months of pregnancy. I wasn’t on a diet I just cut out fast food, and obviously no soda or booze. I only gained 40 pounds this pregnancy. Three months after baby #2 I took a kick boxing class with a friend. It was extremely out of my comfort zone but she just had a baby too so we were the 30 something hippos in class, out of shape and always talking about getting some margaritas after class. (Yeah I know counterproductive.) But we gained muscle, learned how to exercise with weighs, which was cool by the way. I’m still at 140 which is 20 pounds pre-baby weight from #1. But I’m happy being me for the first time in years. We cut back on fast food; I walk everywhere I can go. Especially if it’s a trip to the gas station to grab a snack, I figure if I want to eat a kitkat bar I better be prepared to walk my butt the half mile to get it. I walk my kids to school. Amazingly it saves gas just walking here and there. I actually run every other night now 1.5 miles. I run faster now in my 30’s then I ever did in high school. That I’m proud of. Of course I have those delusions of what it would be like to lose the last 20 pounds, but I stopped obsessing over it. If I don’t want to eat like I’m training to win a title, and I don’t want to exercise like a body builder clearly those extra 20 pounds don’t bug me enough.

Kathryn Lettich Ipock 3 years ago

I could not agree more! With each of mine, I had to breastfeed and exercise 4-7 days a week, plus eat healthy and it took me 6 to 8 months to shed the weight. And even though I am back at my pre-prego weight, my body looks far from the 'same as' it did before. Some women do bounce back more quickly than others but are probably fighting another battle somewhere else in their life. Nobody has everything. For me, staying fit takes work. And, a lot of it. I have two boys and want to be active with them as they grow. I love to exercise but the diet part is never fun or easy and remains an ongoing challenge.

Sarah Short 3 years ago

I told people I was on the "too broke to afford food" diet.

Kelsie Keleher 3 years ago

I'm guilty of forgetting to eat. Sorry. I get nauseous and some days I eat solely because I'm exclusively breastfeeding, then I end up feeling like crap because I have food in a stomach that doesn't want it. I do have a fat baby to show for it, though :)

Corri Cole 3 years ago

Especially with your third.
My first – I can totally say I lost the baby weight through breastfeeding.
My second – breastfeeding + exercise.
My third – she's almost 14 months old, and I'm still 15 pounds away from fitting into my pre-baby pants /while/ exercising and working out.
This might have something to do with me now being over 30, though… >_>

Ruchi Arora 3 years ago

After my pregnancy I couldn’t think of wearing my old clothes. I got to know about Adira slimming tights through net, so I shipped one asap. Now I have lost some inches in comparison to the old me. It’s anti-cellulite and healthy to wear them on a daily basis.

Sof 3 years ago

I was one of those people who had the “effortless” body pre-pregnancy. And I got it back (kind of) not all too long after birth too, but that was not due to rigid dieting and most certainly no work-out – because who even wants to do that when they’re running on fumes after a month on the “three hours sleep (if you’re lucky) – three (six) hours awake”? Getting out of bed, that was my sit-up of the day, and even that was more work-out than I wanted.

But I did lose every semblance of the crazy appetite I had while pregnant, had no energy to force-feed myself and ended up running on half a slice of toast and a ton of coffee (which I mystically started loving after birth). As an addendum there, I nursed for about two weeks before I realised that I didn’t care how good it was for my bundle of “joy”, my bleeding nipples, far too large breasts and the revulsion I felt at the whole “milk in my boobs” deal wasn’t worth it and in this day and age formula is certainly good enough. Then again I had nightmares about the Alien facehuggers and expected the parasite inside of me to burst out the last 2 months of my pregnancy too, so I guess my sanity -can- be questioned.

On another note, and because I’m commenting anyway: I really like this blog. I was the first in my group of friends to reproduce, and the rose-tinted stories they started delivering roughly a year after I had been through the Year 1 hell (and “knew better”), along with commercial pressure when it comes to parenting perfection and idyllic family life has had me thinking someone should burst some bubbles and dare say it’s not all it’s cracked up to be in that regard. The planet-aligning-moments happens every day, but not in the same brutal measures as insanity-inducing-moments. I’m glad there’s someone who manages to not only go out and say it (you, that is), but also says it in a ‘cold hard facts of life’ mingling with redeeming humour.

This may be a ramble, pretty sure it is, but as it happens my 3-year old decided 4 am is a brilliant time to get non-sleepy, hungry, cuddly and artistic, so now I’m stuck with a girl who trades sleep for me drawing hearts on a post it note so she can colour them.

The irony of stumbling over a blog like this at a moment like that…

Jenni 3 years ago

When I got out of the hospital (emergency c-section), I looked like a deflated balloon. The “padding” still clung to my hips and lower back above my ass, and I was kinda proud. I hadn’t gained much pregnancy weight and my husband assured me that once we brought the baby home and I got back to work, I could resume using the fitness center there at work… YEAH, RIGHT! Breastfeeding didn’t help me lose weight, and I felt as ravenous as I did during my 3rd trimester. Husband doesn’t like watching the baby while I’m at work (baby is 5 months old now) because “all he does is cry”. If I had it my way, I would be back in the fitness center 4 nights each week, working out on my elliptical or exercise bike or strength training… good Lord, I had so much more energy when I was pregnant!

Carrie 3 years ago

OMG! Dying! I never did understand the whole running after children thing and am so glad that I am not the only one. I have 2 young ‘uns and have yet to constantly “run” after them and FOOD?! Right. It’s every where. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. They’re eating.. well, I should eat too!! This is fabulous! Thanks!

Rosa 3 years ago

Thanks for the laugh…and taking the words right outta my mouth!

Jenn 3 years ago

Ack! That actually happened to me after my kids (well, and I got diagnosed with an icky autoimmune disorder called interstitial cystitis). I run around like a chicken with my head cut off and can’t even pretend to enjoy food because I am SO fucking tired from the screaming kids, the exhausted husband, being “voluntold” to teach an art thing at the kids Montessori, and being stressed beyond belief (oh yeah, and in pain, crippling pain). If it makes anyone feel any better, I gained 80 pounds with both pregnancy and didn’t lose a single fucking ounce while I was breastfeeding.

Nicole 3 years ago

I gained 50 lbs with both pregnancies. After the first one, I lost all of the weight, plus an extra 6 lbs, which I accredit to 15 months of breastfeeding and a mild weight-training program. During the second pregnancy I had to stop working out due to a hernia I developed, hence the weight gain. However, I lost all of that weight plus an extra 13 lbs, due again to 15 months of BFing and a careful diet. Then I got pregnant again, but miscarried. After that I went on birth control, which caused me to gain back 11 of those lbs. I’ve switched to mirena, but I still can’t seem to get any of that weight to come off, although I haven’t returned to a hard-core workout regiment yet.


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