Weight Loss After Pregnancy: New Mom Loses 175 Pounds

Ryan Livingston has a message for moms.

“You can lose weight after you have kids. And you can keep the pounds off.”

Ryan lives on a family farm in Newberry County with her husband Scott and their young children Payton and Furman.

Ryan at her heaviest weight after delivering her daughter.

“Get in shape for the sake of your kids and your health,” she said.

Growing up, Ryan was always one of the tallest kids in class. At 6 feet tall, she used her height to her advantage on the high school basketball team. She met Scott soon after high school, and carefree college years moved her away from a regular fitness routine.

“I didn’t feel a need to stay in shape,” Ryan said. “My husband looked at me through ‘love goggles’ and never saw me as big.”

In her early 20s, Ryan began her first pregnancy at 245 pounds. She developed preeclampsia, pregnancy-induced high blood pressure that can be dangerous for mother and baby. The condition required bed rest and careful monitoring. By the time Payton was born, Ryan weighed 346 pounds.

Ryan at her leanest weight after losing 175 pounds.


“I was trying to heal from a caesarean section, do laundry and keep up with Payton. I was to the point where I couldn’t care for myself,” Ryan said.

Ryan’s doctor is Janis E. Keeton, MD, an OB/GYN in the Lexington Medical Center network of care.

“Weight loss after pregnancy is challenging for most women. The stress of becoming a new parent combined with sleep deprivation creates a vicious cycle, raising hormone levels that promote fat storage,” Dr. Keeton said. “That can help women keep the weight on and make it more difficult to get the weight off.”

Janis E. Keeton, MD

Dr. Keeton encourages women who are struggling with their weight to ask their doctor to check for a thyroid condition, which affects one in 10 women and can make it hard to lose weight.

And it’s important to have good habits in place before having a baby. That will help limit weight gain during pregnancy and decrease the risk of complications such as pregnancy-induced high blood pressure and even a caesarean section.

“If a mom didn’t have good eating and exercise habits before, it’s going to be harder to incorporate a healthy routine into her schedule with a new baby,” Dr. Keeton said.

In addition to a lower carbohydrate and higher protein meal plan coupled with regular exercise, Dr. Keeton recommended that Ryan keep a food journal and download a free fitness and nutrition app on her phone.

“It made me accountable throughout the day,” Ryan said. “I would log everything I ate. That’s when I realized I ate an entire box of Lucky Charms in two days. I learned I could satisfy my sweet tooth with something smaller.”

Ryan and her family today

As a real estate agent, Ryan worked irregular hours, grabbing food when and where she could. It was a challenge to find healthy snacks on the go and resist the ease of fast food, but she made smarter choices and the pounds started coming off. When she reached 265 pounds, she started going to the gym three days a week for light cardio and weight training.

A year and a half after having Payton, Ryan reached her high school weight of 175 pounds.

During the process, Dr. Keeton also encouraged Ryan to get some rest.

“Most new moms are working, too,” Dr. Keeton said. They’re the last to go to bed and the first to get up. I encourage them to ask for and accept help so they can find time for themselves. They shouldn’t feel like a bad person for not giving every minute they have to the baby.”

According to Dr. Keeton, the way to win the weight battle is consistency and a plan.

“They’re going to get off track,” she said. “I ask patients to anticipate the road blocks that have previously caused them to fail. I tell them to get back on track so that 85 to 90 percent of the time they’re doing the right thing. No one is perfect all the time.”

Ryan’s healthier weight and lifestyle put her in better shape for her second pregnancy. Today, she weighs just over 200 pounds and is back on track to reaching her 175-pound goal.

“Scott and my mom have been great supporters and have always encouraged me to keep shooting for my goals,” Ryan said. “It always helps when you have loved ones who want to see you accomplish your dreams in life.”

She has more energy, too.

“I still eat cake, ice cream and pizza. But I limit my portions,” Ryan said. “I’m so thankful that I stuck with it. It’s been a saving grace.”

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