Most of us are familiar with the struggle of trying to lose weight as a single parent. After all, who isn’t? Whether you’re a new parent or have been a parent for a while, you’ll know that being a parent is among the most physically demanding jobs out there. It can be hard to find time to eat healthy and it’s even harder to focus on your waistline when your baby needs feeding.
While it’s not always possible to have kids and go on a diet (nor should you!), there are ways for you to slim down as a stay at home mom. We chatted to Heidi Klaunig, a mom of two who manages director of communications and media relations for the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). She shared her top tips on how to lose weight as a stay at home mom and what to do if you (or someone you know) is struggling.
It’s sad to say that too many of us see food as a way of coping with stress and anxiety. Whether it’s a case of emotional eating or something else, it’s certainly not helpful. Having low moods and feeling blue is made infinitely worse when you’re already struggling to put food on the table. It’s also important to note that certain foods can make you feel worse – sugar, for example, or alcohol – so it’s important to consult your doctor before you change your diet to fit into a ‘perfect’ shape.
If there’s one thing that being a parent teaches you it’s how to be a responsible adult. This means that even when life feels chaotic, you should still try and be active every day. This doesn’t mean you have to go on a gym routine or buy expensive equipment, instead it can simply mean going for a walk with your baby or taking them on an unstructured play date. Even something as simple as going for a cycle ride with your child can make a massive difference in their life.
It’s well-established that having too much stress can affect your waistline. The hormone cortisol is naturally produced during periods of extreme stress and can encourage you to eat more. Not only that, but it can also cause you to lose muscle mass and make you feel sluggish. While this may not seem like such a bad thing, getting out of bed to care for your children is probably the most stressful thing you’ll ever do, so it’s important that you avoid making yourself miserable.
Monitor Food Consumption
It’s easy for us to be tempted by foods that are high in fat or sugar when we’re feeling stressed or anxious. Those unhealthy snacks are usually the first to turn up in our cupboards when our cupboards are running low, so it’s important that we keep a check on what we’re putting in our bodies. Monitor how much food you’re consuming and make notes of any spikes or drops in your weight. You may not like what you see and it might be time to make changes to bring you nearer to your ideal weight. If you’re feeling particularly motivated, why not set a weight loss goal for yourself? That way, you can keep track of your progress and see how far you’ve come. Never forget – no one is perfect and everyone deserves to feel good in their own skin. Never underestimate the power of a healthy diet and regular exercise to help you achieve that.
Avoid Giving In To Food Cravings
When we’re feeling stressed or anxious, our brains can trick us into thinking that any food will make us feel better. This can make it really difficult to say no to foods that we know are bad for us. It’s important to recognize your own feelings and needs and be assertive enough to let others know when you’re craving something. When you feel out of control around food, it can be very tempting to give in to your cravings. Instead, eat what you need and when you need it and try not to worry about food too much. When you do eat, make sure you stick to nutritious foods and avoid anything with added sugar. If you find that certain foods help you relax or reduce your anxiety, then by all means eat them! Just make sure you aren’t consuming an excessive amount. Moderation is key.
Eat What You Want
It’s important to enjoy your food and not to deprive yourself of foods that you know are good for you. If you eat healthy foods, it will gradually become easier to say no to the foods that you know are bad for you. If you’re worried about your weight, then focus on what you want. Instead of worrying about not eating enough, worry about eating the right food. While it may not always be possible to eat what you want, it’s worth working towards. If you feel that certain foods help you relax and reduce your anxiety, then it’s time to say hello to comfort food! Just make sure you’re not eating more than is good for you. Too much food can lead to weight gain and other health problems. It’s all about moderation.
Reduce Food Waste
It’s sad to see that so much food is wasted. Whether it’s because people aren’t used to thinking about food waste or because they’re afraid of harming their perfect figures, it’s evident that too many of us are wasting food. Why be greedy when so much good food is going to waste? It’s important to reduce food waste and see every bit of food that you eat as a valuable treasure. Eat what you need and when you need it. If you find that certain foods help you relax or reduce your anxiety, then why deny yourself of those foods when you know that they’re good for you? Not to mention all of the nutritional benefits that you gain from eating them. It’s not always easy to learn how to be content with what you have, but that’s what being a parent teaches you. You must learn how to prioritize your own needs and those of your child(ren). You’re doing your child a favor by being responsible with their nutrition and feeding them healthy food, so they can grow up strong and independent. Let your child help you to reduce food waste by setting a good example and asking them to contribute to the kitchen each week. Be open to new ideas and don’t be afraid to try something new. While we may all struggle with weight, it’s important to remember that it’s not all about calories in vs calories out. It’s about finding what works best for you and your family.