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How I Lost 16 Pounds In 8 Weeks [WITHOUT Counting Calories or Feeling Hungry]

autumn bates weight loss

Earlier this year, I had my first baby ~ Sage! I had an incredible, uncomplicated at-home birth and Trevor and I are so grateful that this little lady is finally here.

Postpartum, I started to focus on my weight loss goal and I'm not going to lie, I had a bit more difficulties than I expected. Some things came quite naturally and others were tricky and required some additional tools to navigate.

Today, I'm sharing my weight loss journey: what I did, what worked, what didn't and the tips that helped me along the way.

how I lost 16 pounds autumn bates

I had more trouble than I thought I would...

I assumed the weight would come off really quickly and easily because I was breastfeeding. And for some people, breastfeeding does help them to lose weight quite rapidly. For others, it's not always the case.

It turns out, I was one of those people that breastfeeding made it a bit harder to lose weight.

During the last few weeks of pregnancy, I also lost a significant amount of muscle because I had to cut down on exercise after a minor pelvic floor injury. This made weight loss postpartum even more difficult.

As I've shared on my YouTube channel and in my various Intermittent Fasting programs, muscle helps to make the body less carb sensitive, increases insulin sensitivity and boosts metabolism. When you lose muscle, it reduces the metabolism, increases insulin resistance and increases an individuals sensitivity to carbs.

Long story short: my body wasn't efficiently burning fat as fuel and I was craving more carby/refined foods due to the increased insulin resistance.

This combination forced me to reanalyze my habits, meals and exercise so that I could better optimize each factor to support my goals while also still breastfeeding Sage.

Rather than diving straight in, I realized I needed to break up my journey into a three phase approach so that I could focus on the things that mattered the most, build a solid base and progress from there.

A quick note on breastfeeding:

I was very careful to make sure that any changes I made didn't impact my breastmilk supply. My goal was for me to feel GOOD and ENERGIZED again but I didn't want to sacrifice my breastmilk production during that process. So I made sure to only eat foods that supported high quality breast milk, I drank a lot of water (and electrolytes) and always listened to my hunger cues. Sage is my number one priority and I was always checking in to make sure she was getting what she needed first.

When breastfeeding, it's super important to fuel the body properly. Make sure to check with your OBGYN, midwife and/or nutritionist before making any adjustments to your meals and exercise postpartum.

autumn bates weight loss before and after

My Goals and How I Measured Progress

The goals I set were more intentional than "I want to lose 20 pounds". Just focusing on the scale doesn't look at body recomposition, how much muscle I was losing/gaining and whether or not my body was actually burning fat as fuel.

I had a general weight loss goal in mind, but I also knew I was going to be quite flexible with that number because it didn't matter as much. Instead I was focused on body fat percentage and muscle mass.

I set the goal of getting my body fat percentage to 21-23%.

I chose this range because this is considered the "fitness" range for women and it's the range that in the past I've felt my best. I also knew this was a sustainable range for my body.

My muscle mass goal was to try and limit muscle loss as much as possible.

Muscle loss during weight loss is usually inevitable, but I wanted to try and mitigate this loss (and possibly even increase muscle if I could).

I used a few different tools to measure my progress:

  • Arboleaf Scale: This was just to track general weight loss. This isn't my favorite method of tracking.

  • InBody: This measures body fat and muscle mass more accurately than the Arboleaf. I took these measurements roughly every 5-6 weeks throughout my weight loss journey at my dad's very fancy gym that has the InBody machine.

  • Measuring tape: This helped me to track body fat loss in-between InBody measurements. I measured various points, such as waist, hips, calves and chest.

autumn bates measurements

Phase 1: Remove High GL Foods and Add Walking (2-2.5 Months)

During this first part of my weight loss journey, I focused on removing foods that were hyper-palatable and caused me to crave sugar or eat beyond my body's needs. This meant I focused on low glycemic load foods and removing high glycemic (and most medium glycemic load) foods. I wasn't eating a ton of these foods, but later in pregnancy some of these food items did start to sneak in.

Some examples of the foods I removed during phase 1 were granola, dates, bread, tortilla chips and popcorn.

Each of these food items didn't provide me much nutrition, but they were incredibly hard to only eat small amounts of. Identifying these "trigger" foods are important for any weight loss journey because we all have them ~ foods that are easy to overeat and hard to stop once we've started.

This first phase I ate a lot of my 7 Day Detox meals because they didn't contain any added sugars. In fact, I largely followed the protocols within the 7 Day Detox during phase 1 (except for the sweating and exercise tools) so that I could help reset my sugar cravings while nourishing my body with quality ingredients.

autumn bates 7 day detox

The second portion of phase one included adding walking.

After pregnancy and labor, my body was tired. The thought of adding in anything more than walking was just too much to handle (not to mention the lack of sleep that would have made recovery from exercise too difficult).

So I eased into exercise with gentle walks. I started by just walking around our block 1-2 times. Eventually this increased to a 20 minute walk and then later a long 1 hour walk. Eventually, I hit my goal of 12,000 steps per day which was my average steps per day pre-pregnancy.

autumn bates protein waffle

Phase 2: 14 Hour Fast, Increased Protein and Resistance Training (~2 Months)

It was around this time that things started to pick up and my true "weight loss" journey began.

During phase 1, I didn't experience much weight loss, but my measurements decreased quite a bit. My body was getting stronger, my sugar cravings started to disappear and I was feeling ready to add in the next steps for my weight loss journey.

Phase 2 was all about introducing tools to increase muscle mass and help the body burn fat as fuel more efficiently.

Pre-pregnancy I was quite strong for my body. I was able to deadlift my body weight, rip out a bunch of pushups and even do a few pullups here and there.

During phase 2, I was starting from scratch after losing so much muscle, so my workouts were starting from scratch, too. It included all body weight exercises and some bands.

Slowly, I built up my workouts to include light dumbbells, which progressed to barbells and then the squat rack.

The pace was slow so that I wouldn't injure myself, but every week I was getting stronger and my body was visually reflecting those changes.

In order to support the increased training, I also increased my protein intake to about 100-130 grams of protein per day. This protein amount helped me to feel ultra satisfied from my meals while still burning fat as fuel. You can checkout my video above for how much protein is needed per day to achieve a weight loss goal.

In fact, a recent study comparing higher protein intakes to traditional calorie restriction found that the higher protein groups lost more weight and body fat.(1)

Eating enough protein was made very easy with my zero sugar pasture-raised protein powder. Pretty much every single day, I broke my fast with 2-3 of my protein waffles with skyr and sautéed blueberries. This helped me start my day off with 35-50 grams of complete protein that tasted so. dang. good.

To hit the rest of my protein needs, I ate a lot of cottage cheese, eggs, beef and chicken. Occasionally I would also have some pork in the form of bacon or breakfast sausage.

Throughout my journey, I wasn't tracking calories. Instead, I would adjust my intake based on my hunger cues. After successfully completing phase 1 of my journey, my sugar cravings were in check which made it a lot easier to assess if my body truly needed more food or if I was satisfied from my meals.

I followed my protein, fat and fiber guidelines within the Complete Intermittent Fasting Bundle to create meals that kept me satisfied while still working toward my weight loss goals.

During this time, I also added in a 14 hour Intermittent Fast. I found this to be a good balance for myself so that I could fit in all of my nutrient needs while still getting some gut rest to promote gut health.

By combining strength training with high quality sources of protein and Intermittent Fasting, I started to see significant body recomposition changes.

From November 1st to December 27th, I lost nearly 16 pounds, 15.2 pounds of fat and 8.3% body fat. I also only lost .2 pounds of muscle!



Weight (lbs)



Skeletal Muscle Mass (lbs)



Body Fat Mass (lbs)



Body Fat %



Phase 3: Progressively Increase Weights (Currently)

Muscle is so important for maintaining weight loss as well as for long term overall health. After hitting my fat loss goal, I then shifted my focus to increasing muscle mass and regaining the muscle I had lost throughout pregnancy. This means I started prioritizing traditional strength training with deadlifts, squats and presses.

From a nutrition perspective, I maintained a lot of the strategies that I used during phase 1 and 2 with one slight adjustment: I started to add in some medium glycemic and even the occasional high glycemic load food.

Ironically at this phase in my journey, the biggest issue has been eating enough food to support increased muscle mass. That's why adding in more medium and some high glycemic load foods can be useful at this point because they are less satiating and easier to eat a bit more to support muscle mass needs.

So I started eating high quality sources of medium-high glycemic load foods such as sweet potatoes, beans, lentils, potatoes and homemade corn tortillas.

My meals still largely consist of protein, fat and low glycemic load ingredients, but I strategically added these higher glycemic load foods into my regular meals (especially after a heavier leg workout day) to support muscle recovery.

My Final Thoughts...

Phase 3 of my journey is one that I am currently still in and will likely be in for a while. My goal now is to maintain current body fat while increasing muscle by 5-10 pounds.

I feel strong and in better shape than I ever have in my life (which isn't something I expected after having my first baby!).

I think there's something to be said about "starting over".

Starting from "scratch" allowed me to really build a healthy base from the beginning and incorporate strategies as my body was ready for them. Even though the progress was slow in the beginning, it was a maintainable schedule.

I wasn't hungry. I didn't have to count calories. I was eating delicious food. I was energized and my sleep was improving. I was moving my body in a way that felt good.

Overall, I just felt good again! And isn't that really what the goal is anyway?

Unlock the Intermittent Fasting tips, meal plans and recipes that have helped thousands of men and women around the world with the Complete Intermittent Fasting Bundle!

autumn bates intermittent fasting program

100+ recipes, 8 weeks of meal planning, science-backed Intermittent Fasting tips and so much more!

Head over HERE to get started!

❤️ Autumn

how I lost 16 pounds

Autumn Elle Nutrition

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