Here I have a guest post for you from the lovely Sarah from Arthur wears blog who lost weight after following a dairy-free diet. Have a read of her story here. Doesn’t she look amazing!

lady with two young children

Sarah’s dairy-free diet story

Before I became a parent I wouldn’t say that I struggled being ‘overweight’. More that I was unhappily out of proportion – with a curvy bottom and thighs but little to no chest and a slim upper body. I regularly watched what I ate. I toyed with diets such as the Dukan diet in order to fit comfortably into the clothes I owned. 

When I fell pregnant with my first child, I was a small 5ft 4inches and weighed 8 stone. Having a short torso and a waist that went ‘in’ at the sides, I found that I ‘showed’ really early. My baby bump had nowhere to go but ‘out’. My weight ballooned to 12 stone by the time my due date came around. I was regularly asked if I was having twins. 

Pregnant lady with young child

Pregnancy and weight gain

With such a huge baby bump, I struggled with stretched skin. My stretch marks used to bleed. There was just no elastin left and my stomach muscles took a real battering.

I struggled to lose the baby weight and when I fell pregnant with my second child, my weight crept up to 13 stone. A whole 5 stone heavier than before I became a parent. My ribs expanded so much that I needed extenders in all of my bras. My diastasis recti were so bad that the midwives believed I may have an umbilical hernia. 

lady holding baby

Breastfeeding and losing weight

Through breastfeeding and looking after a baby and a 2-year-old (and pushing a pram!) my weight dropped to 11 stone. I was still in maternity jeans and tops and struggled to find clothes that fit me.

However I knew because of the severity of the diastasis recti (separated tummy muscles), and the loose skin I was left with I would never go back to having a flat tummy. Unfortunately, I just felt bloated and too big for my small frame. 

I struggled with PND and PNA after the birth of my daughter. I was advised to continue breastfeeding for as long as possible. This aimed to help with the ‘happy hormones” and minimise the risk of feeling worse at such a vulnerable time.

Food was also a way of treating myself. With little sleep, I relied on treats to keep my energy levels up. Losing weight was hard. I couldn’t resort to my past diets without them having a huge impact on my ability to breastfeed and care for my children.

lady holding baby in garden

Having to follow a dairy free diet

When Charlotte was 4 months old I realised that she may be suffering from CMPA – cows milk protein allergy. If you haven’t heard of the CMPA rash then do look into it if you feel this could be an issue for your little one.

After cutting out dairy for a week and seeing an improvement, I started to keep a food diary, testing and reintroducing foods to check. I quickly realised that she was allergic to both milk and soya (very common as the proteins are so similar). I would have to completely cut out both from my diet. 

This meant cutting out butter, cream, milk, chocolate, cake, biscuits, ice cream, cheese, pastries, croissants and lattes. Basically, most of the foods I ate routinely were now off-limits. As I was new to this dairy-free game I had no idea where to find the milk-free treats. Overnight my diet became a whole lot healthier (and smaller).

Within a few months, I was down to 9 stone. Nursery parents who hadn’t seen me since before the Easter holidays couldn’t believe the difference when preschool started again. Suddenly, my size 20 pants were swapped for size 12 and ‘finally’ I managed to fit into a pair of non-maternity jeans

lady and two children in front of a garden blackboard

What does Sarah eat now?

Since then, I’ve added in a few ‘treats’ such as Bourbon biscuits, 85% dark chocolate (I have this most days!), vegan-friendly biscuits or puddings, and I use oat milk as a substitute for normal milk. I’ve also made sure to add in fat substitutes such as avocado, nut butter and vitalite to make sure I am getting enough in my diet – but I’ve managed to keep the weight off. 

Sadly, the weight loss made no difference to my tummy because this is simply due to damaged muscles and skin rather than being overweight – but it was reassuring to have this confirmed. Although I am mistaken for being pregnant much more now that the rest of me is slimmer as it makes my tummy stand out so much more in comparison!

I am worried about putting the weight back on when the day comes that I stop breastfeeding and can finally eat dairy again. It has been a real learning curve to see just how much of a difference going diary-free can make.

Look at the bikini body!

This picture shows Sarah in her bikini now over on Instagram. Give her a heart if you think she looks great!

View this post on Instagram

#bemorewitwitwoo . It’s been a year today since the loss of Kate @witwitwoo, a year since we all pledged to be more #bodyconfident in a swimsuit and a year since I decided that rather than continue to vow to never, ever wear a bikini again since pregnancy changed my body forever…I’d find one that worked for the new me instead…actually I found quite a few and I wore them ALL – I just had to go back to the old fashioned retro style and wave away my previous Brazilian briefs ?‍♀️ . These aren’t the prettiest, or most ‘instaworthy’ shots but they don’t half make me giggle because what is actually happening here is that Charlotte is attempting to get a look at my bottom and Arthur is shouting something about ‘vaginas’ and I don’t think there are many things that sum up #mumlife better than this ? . Whilst wearing the white and black bikini (scroll across) I had a woman come up to me by the pool on holiday and ask me if I was expecting…question if I was sure (when I said no)…and then proceed to tell me that I need to ‘get organised’ and have another ? – I very nearly allowed her thoughtless comments to make me reconsider my choice of swimwear, but in Kate’s memory, I promise I’ll be wearing them again next time ✨ . .. … …. #swimsuitselfie #diastasisrecti #mamaswimwear #honestmotherhood #honestparenting #mycrazykids #bikinimama #bodyconfidence #mumbod #freetobeme #freetobemeonig #behindthescenes

A post shared by Sarah – ??????????? (@arthurwears) on

I love her story, don’t you? Do pop over to Arthur Wears and read her blog too. – Jen

Some Dairy-free healthy recipes

Cauliflower and chickpea curry

Quick and easy ratatouille

Moroccan tagine

Pasta Arrabiata if using dairy free pasta

Fruity roast plum, sweet potato and quinoa salad

Asparagus pilaf

Many soups are also dairy-free, check out a range here.

For something sweet, this dairy-free chocolate mousse sounds amazing! Another sweet dairy-free recipe is this one for cookies. They sound absolutely delicious! If a smoothie is more your thing this one sounds good too.

So many recipes are dairy-free or can be adapted easily to be dairy-free so why not check out my other recipes for inspiration?

To read all my posts with tips and experiences of various diets, exercises and lots more check out my comprehensive Weight Loss section.

Other success stories you might like

Weightlifting not weight loss – how changing focus can make a huge difference

Matthews 22 stone to 15 stone weight loss story

Fibromyalgia weight loss story

Ben – pre teen’s weight loss story

Why I think you should ignore your BMI

Emma’s weight loss surgery success

Ten truths of slimming as a couple

Weight loss whilst breastfeeding

Adam’s 13 stone weight loss

Emma’s weight loss story

My weight loss story size 30 to size 6

Pinterest pin of a mum with her two kids

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One Comment

  1. Great post! I can relate as my daughter is allergic to dairy and soya too, and while I was breastfeeding her she actually had 6 food allergies that I had to avoid! Since stopping breastfeeding I have put some weight back on, but still haven’t gone back to my heaviest. I guess we just have foods like cakes and chocolates less often because I don’t want her to feel left out, and I can’t always be bothered to track down the dairy and soya free version!
    Thank you for including my recipe, I’ll be sharing this post with my followers 🙂