Being a mother alone is a stressful job that doesn’t leave you with a lot of time for yourself. That’s why most women, during motherhood, start to suffer from health problems because they no longer make themselves their top priority. It can be a struggle just to maintain your own health.
The struggle is even more difficult for those women who tend to put on weight easily and have a hard time getting rid of it. The physical and emotional stress of raising children also make that process more difficult, since stress makes the body hold onto more fat. However, this doesn’t mean that you’re without hope. There are some opportunities you can carve into your schedule to make it easier for you to get in your daily amount of exercise as well as making some lifestyle changes in terms of diet to help you stay on task when it comes to losing weight. Here are just 8 of the top tips you can use to getting your health back on the right track.
Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. Maybe you used to be on top of your game, creating a balanced breakfast with fruits and veggies and whole grains. But after your first child, you’re barely finding time to get a good meal in. Instead of reaching for the easy solution of a donut, refocus on starting your day with some nutritional ingredients. Choose lean proteins to start your day because they’ll give you energy without unnecessary calories.
And if you start feeling hungry throughout the day, settle on fruits of any kind as snacks. You can choose fresh or dehydrated, whichever is easier to get your hands on. The natural sugars will give you a boost of energy while keeping you hydrated and regular.
Exercise Wherever you Can
The gym is usually the first place people think of when they consider adding exercise to their daily schedules. But you don’t need all of that fancy gym equipment to get you fit. Instead, engage in exercise anytime and anywhere. Choose the oddest places to do a few stretches such as the grocery store or changing a diaper. If you’re at work, do a few squats with your rolling chair while you’re waiting for the printer to finish its job. Take the stairs instead of the elevator and park a little farther away so that you can get some footwork in. Even just a few minutes a day is better than nothing at all and will help to boost your metabolism.
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Drink More Water
After staying up all night to deal with your baby’s feeding rituals, your first instinct is to go for a cup of coffee to start the day. However, that only makes you more dehydrated in the process and you’re more prone to crash later. Don’t go for juices either, those are full of mostly empty calories. Go for water since it’s a natural cleanser that helps the digestion process. You’ll find that drinking more water will also give you more energy throughout the day as well.
Keeping a Food Journal
You can easily lose track of what you’ve eaten each day that you can never be sure of how many calories you’re actually taking in. To make it easier for you to keep track, get a food journal and start writing down everything you eat. You can see just how unhealthy you’re eating and starting making a change for the better.
No More Snacking at Night
Nothing feels better than when your baby is put to bed and you finally have a few hours for yourself. And that deserves a treat, right? Eating snacks late at night is the best way to start packing on the pounds, especially if your guilty pleasure involves ice cream and sprinkles. If you really are hankering for something sweet, consider a healthier, low-sugar snack instead, like yogurt with some nuts, or eat a few pieces of fruit. You’ll definitely feel better that you didn’t resort to old habits.
Playing with the Family
Raising a baby can sometimes feel like you’re all alone, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Get the whole family over and have some fun doing things in the backyard. Dance together to some music, play a few games of cornhole or show everyone that you’re still the champion at hula hoop with an unbeatable record.
Maintaining personal relationships during this period of time will also boost your motivation to get out and stay healthy too, and may even reduce symptoms of post-partum depression.
Don’t Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth
If you can reduce or eliminate the amount of sugar in your diet, do it. If you can’t, there are healthier alternatives that allow you to have more natural sugars without jeopardizing your blood sugar levels. Go for fruit instead of refined sugars like gummy bears, and flavored seltzer instead of sodas.
Cut Out Activities That Drain You
We’re not talking about exercise. We’re talking about those mindless activities that don’t achieve anything, like watching television for hours on end. It can leave you drained at the end of the day and unmotivated to do anything else. Spend less time on your phone and substitute it for quality personal time, either by yourself or out with friends. Or spend that phone time doing exercise. Make a list of bad habits you spend a lot of time on and start cutting them out one by one.
It’s hard to fight the feelings of being selfish when you want to treat yourself to some time alone, that you’re not living up to the ideals of motherhood when you’re not showing your baby constant attention. But that’s the best way to burn out and increases your risk for depression as well as metabolic health issues. By creating a more positive atmosphere for yourself, you’ll be able to provide your baby with the care they need as well as take care of yourself.