It was one of the few times Serena Williams wanted to lose.
The tennis champion said recently she stopped breastfeeding her daughter, Alexis Olympia, to slim down for her return to the court. She said she’d heard that nursing would promote weight loss, but that didn’t happen for her.
Even a vegan, sugar-restricted diet with tough workouts didn’t do the trick while she continued to breastfeed.
“You hear when you breastfeed you lose weight and you’re so thin, and it wasn’t happening to me,” Williams said at Wimbledon on Sunday. (She advanced Monday to the second round, with a straight-set victory over Arantxa Rus.)
“What I’ve learned through the experience, every body is different, every person is different, every physical body is different,” she said in the clip above. “For my body, it didn’t work, no matter how much I worked out, no matter how much I did.”
So, after six months of breastfeeding (Alexis Olympia was born in September), Williams finally arrived at the emotionally wrenching decision to stop.
“I literally sat Olympia in my arms, and I talked to her, and we prayed about it,” she said. “And I told her, ‘Look, I’m going to stop. And Mommy has to do this.’ And I cried a little bit, not as much as I thought I was. And she was fine.”
She said she quickly shed weight after she stopped breastfeeding. “It was crazy. And I just kept dropping. That’s when I learned that everyone was different. Sorry to go on about that, but I wanted to say that, so women out there know that’s not true. Everyone takes things different. I think it’s important for us to share that message.”
Mayo Clinic Women’s Health wrote last year that breastfeeding “can ... help you lose weight gained during pregnancy,” but did not offer absolutes. “It often takes six to nine months to lose” maternity pounds, the clinic added in an article published on HuffPost.
Williams’ breastfeeding remarks begin at the 11:30 mark in the video above.