It can at times feel like weight gain is inevitable after having kids. There are some challenges that make managing weight difficult post childbirth, but it can be mastered.
Here are 5 reasons that may be making managing weight difficult post childbirth:
Plate scraping. Your child has some food left over (kids are great at knowing when they are hungry and full), but there’s only a little left so you eat it. Although a few spoonfuls, this can add up. Two tablespoons of rice contains around 100kcals and consuming this amount daily over a month could amount to 0.5kg (1lb) weight gain. When cleaning up, consider storing food or throwing it away.
Missing meals. As adults we struggle with eating regularly because we don’t feel hungry. Over the years our environment and experiences have led us to lose touch with our hunger signals (even though they are still going off). Figure out why you miss breakfast or lunch or dinner and work out what you need to do, to get you eating regularly. Eating regularly has been found to be an important habit in weight control.
Master chef. Cooking 3 meals is not easy and is time consuming. You don’t intend to make variations, but previous tantrums have made you make adaptions…sound familiar? Don’t worry, you are not alone and there are steps you can take to change things. If certain foods are rejected, they need to be tried around 15-20 times for you to know for certain if they actually like or dislike the food. Your kids should be eating what you eat. Not the opposite way around.
Treats for the kids. You don’t intend to eat them, but you do. You’re not alone, a lot of my mother and grandmother clients complain of picking at the treats they buy solely for their kids/grand kids. Consider the next time you go and grab a treat: do I usually grab a treat at this time? If so, there may be a pattern (boredom, stress, feeling low) which you may wish to work on.
Gym membership. You’re thinking right now ‘what gym membership?! I don’t go to the gym. I have no time’. This is exactly it, before kids you had the luxury of time (and money). In the past you would slog it out doing regular exercise at the gym and local sports in the park. As a mum being more active basically means moving more. Be creative, I have a lot of female clients walking their kids to and from school, extra-curricular activities and events. This is a clever way to fit in incidental exercise. They are also utilising their aerobic classes recorded from TV or DVDs, alongside their kids Wii sport games (with and without their kids).
As noted above, weight control is much more than watching what you eat. It’s about watching the habits you have changed. If you are struggling to manage your weight, I would suggest chatting to your GP who will be able to direct you to your local expert weight loss dietitians for advice.
Perryn Carroll- Registered Dietitian MNutrDiet, BSp&ExSc