Losing Weight after Pregnancy: The Top 5 Mistakes to Avoid
I'm guilty of making all five of these mistakes, so you are not alone! This list is a great reminder that life changes as our babies grow and change, and so too do our needs. We must change and adapt, constantly be flexible, yet unwilling to compromise on these 5 things. If you can achieve that, you'll be well on your way to being one fit mama!
- Undereating while nursing
In an attempt to drop post-pregnancy weight more quickly, and fight against Mother Nature, who always wins by the way, it's tempting to compromise nutrition, especially when you may feel too exhausted to prep a meal. There are many reasons milk supply can drop, so if it does, first make sure you're eating enough and then move on to other possible causes. This is one of the most common mistakes in all women who are trying to lose weight, not just post-partum. Starving yourself not only deprives your body of nutrients it needs, but it usually backfires and brings weight loss to a screeching halt.
- Underestimating the value of sleep
Just one more episode of that show you've been binge-watching, one more stack of laundry, one more email to respond to. Continuing to do "one more" something when you could go to bed will only leave you wanting "one more minute" (or hour!) of sleep in the morning. Kids, and especially infants, don't care if you're exhausted and haggard. The importance of sleep goes deeper though, impacting metabolism, cravings for sugar and fat, and fat storage. Without adequate sleep, meaning one stretch of at least 4 hours of sleep when you have an infant and 6-8 hours once your little one sleeps through the night, it's nearly impossible to have continued and sustainable fat loss.
- Eating too many easy carbs
"Grab 'n eat" foods requiring no prep or clean up like crackers, granola bars, your older kids' fruit snacks and cookies, are tempting, especially if you're sleep deprived. The quick jolt of energy you get from simple carbs may help you get through the next hour, but it won't help you in the long run for sustained energy and blood-sugar balance. Keep healthier "grab 'n eat" foods on hand to avoid sustaining on a diet of animal crackers, goldfish, and coffee. Try to get a combination of fiber and protein at each meal and snack. Here are some easy options:
- Apples, grapes, bananas (any fruit that you can grab and eat)
- Nuts (limit it to 1-2 small handfuls per day)
- Quick oats
- Hard-boiled Eggs
- Greek yogurt
- Protein or meal bars (not optimal nutrition, but a better alternative than chips, cookies, and crackers and easy to throw in the diaper bag)
- Skipping strength training
Jumping on my TreadClimber requires minimal mental effort. Plus, I can multi-task and catch up on reading while I get in my cardio, or completely zone out while I rock out to something other than Hokey Pokey. Picking up my SelectTech Dumbbells requires a little more thought and focus (and who wants that when operating on 3 hours of sleep!?). What body parts am I going to work out? How many sets have I done? Although, strength training does require a little more thought and attention, the end result is well worth it. It's easier to pick up my 2 year old, my upper back doesn't tire from holding baby, and I feel like Superwoman if I've pumped a little iron. Ok, maybe not Superwoman, but somehow the stubborn midsection baby fluff seems a little firmer (we'll get more into fat loss in the final blog of this series). Aim for 2-3 strength training sessions per week.
And last, but not least, #5. The #1 mistake that all parents, mothers and fathers alike, make:
- Not keeping "you" a priority
If you're following this blog series, you're probably tired of reading this, but it's advice worth repeating. Again. And again. Your little one will be okay in his bouncer for 20 minutes while you get in a sweat session! My toddler gets "independent play" time or a few extra minutes of Veggie Tales occasionally while I work out. It will make you a better parent. And that's worth it.
Read all of the Losing Weight after Pregnancy series to learn more healthy ways to lose weight after pregnancy.