If you are anything like me, the moment you began to see the scale creep up during your pregnancy, you dreamed of how adept you’d be at joyfully waving bye-bye to those extra pounds after delivery! The 25, 35, or 45 pounds that took 9 months to find it’s way onto your frame; you somehow assured yourself would be long gone just 6 short months after your bundle of joy arrived….if not sooner! Now, you’ve got your precious little one and much to your chagrin, you’ve still got those pesky pounds too! What gives? Well here are 5 reasons why your plan may not be bringing you as much success as you….well, planned!
- You skip meals. I get it, you’ve got a newborn, or a toddler, or a couple of them. No have ABSOLUTELY. NO. TIME. EVER! When you do have a quiet moment to yourself you must decide which is more important: eat, sleep, bathe, or clean. Often, eating becomes your last priority so you either go without and skip a meal or grab something quickly that’s lacking in nutritious value. This is a one of the most common pitfalls in weight loss. Skipping meals, particularly breakfast, is one of the worst habits to have when your goal is shedding excess pounds. Not only does this slow your metabolism making it difficult to drop weight, but it often leads to mindlessly adding calories as you reach for a quick snack. Keep nutritious items in the house that are easily prepared. For example, oatmeal, Greek yogurt, fruit, hard-boiled eggs so that you can have a satisfying and healthy breakfast without sacrificing too much of your valuable time.
- You’re not getting enough sleep. I know. Telling a new mom to get more sleep can seem like telling a newborn not to ever cry. It’s important to remember that fatigue from lack of sleep releases cortisol and other stress hormones, which promote weight gain. Additionally, most of us reach for sugary snacks or caffeine when we are tired which may put a roadblock to our weight loss plans. So how do you get more sleep? If you’re up at night feeding your newborn, be sure to take naps during the day. Take your family and friends up on their offer to babysit. Use this time for a quick nap and some R&R. Also, share some of the nighttime feeding duties with your husband or significant other. If you are breastfeeding, pump and allow him to feed while you get some Zzz’s at night. You’ll need to be creative but more sleep leads to more energy, which subsequently leads to easier weight loss.
- Your portions are much too large. Let’s be honest, we could get away with the theory of eating for two during pregnancy (even though we only really needed 300-500 extra calories), but now that your pregnancy has ended, you’ll need to scale down the portions. If you are breastfeeding, however, you’ll definitely want to adjust your calories appropriately. This is a great time to invest in a food scale to measure proportions and use food calorie trackers to track your intake. My favorite is MyNetDiary. Decreasing caloric intake and fueling your body with nutritious foods is a true superstar move in weight loss.
- Your focus is always all on your newborn. With the arrival of your precious little one who depends on you for their every need, it’s super easy to get completely wrapped up in making sure that their world is fantastic. Somewhere along the way some of us stop taking time out for ourselves to prepare healthy meals, exercise, pray, meditate, or engage in hobbies that once kept us so fulfilled. You must make time to pour goodness into your own life. Take at least 30 minutes, 5 times weekly to exercise. You can still involve your little one in this activity, if you choose, by briskly pushing her in the stroller for a 30 minute power walk or lifting him in reverse pushups but the key is to ensure you make time to take care of yourself by getting your heart rate elevated and your blood pumping for at least 150 minutes per week for a reasonable expectation of weight reduction.
- You’re going at it alone. Tackling a fitness and health plan can be boring alone and often leads some to ditch their plan before achieving their goal. Find an accountability partner. Tell them your goals and ask them to help you reach them. Schedule workouts together and motivate one another. Finally, seek help from a registered dietician who can give you a daily caloric consumption goal and meal plan. If you are enrolled to a military treatment facility (hospital or clinic on base), there’s a dietician on staff that would be happy to help you with your goals.