Many moms feel pressure to lose weight after having kids, but it’s not an easy endeavor. On top of caring for the children, the home, and sometimes a job, finding the time or drive to lose weight is challenging, and the unhealthy idea that they need to “bounce back” isn’t helping. While weight loss benefits moms’ health, it should be achieved healthily and sustainably. Here are a few common weight loss struggles for moms you might be experiencing and how to overcome them:
Stress and emotional eating
Motherhood is often stressful, and many moms find comfort in food when the going gets tough. However, stress and stress eating can be a significant barrier to weight loss for moms. The stress hormone cortisol is essential for daily life, but the overproduction of it when triggered by stressful situations can increase belly fat and blood sugar levels. You may also end up craving sweet, fatty, and salty foods due to high cortisol, further affecting your weight loss efforts.
It’s not easy to overcome stress as a mom, but it’s not impossible. You can try to carve out a few minutes of your day, like the early morning before everyone’s awake, to take some time for yourself. You can meditate, exercise, do your skincare routine, or whatever else relaxes you. A good bedtime routine can also help you unwind and lower your cortisol levels to help you get good quality sleep. If the kids are keeping you up, take shifts with your partner or a loved one to get bigger chunks of rest while tending to your children.
While it’s normal for weight gain to occur during pregnancy, retaining that weight after birth can increase the risk of obesity, leading to other chronic ailments. Postpartum weight—and weight in general—is influenced by complex biological and behavioral factors. Genetics, breastfeeding, nutrition, physical activity, and socioeconomic aspects like education and income play a role in postpartum weight and weight retention. Moms may lose, gain, or retain weight differently due to these factors.
For moms struggling with obesity or are overweight and dealing with weight-related conditions due to weight retention, getting support from a medical professional can help with weight loss. Medical weight loss has been used to address the biological factors of weight to level the playing field and allow for efficient weight management. Combining weight loss medications with a lifestyle program can lead to an average of 15% weight loss. With the help of medical weight loss, moms can get a tailored plan that suits their needs and schedules to help them address their weight retention healthily.
Lack of time
Working moms or moms of babies and toddlers often have their hands full, so it can be hard to find time to address personal needs like weight management. It’s hard to find the time to cook and prepare healthy meals, exercise, get enough sleep, and more. And when you do get free time, you’re likely using it to rest, but too much sedentary time can impact your weight and overall well-being in the long run.
Busy moms can find ways to save time throughout the day to free up more hours for healthy practices. Batch cooking meals and being strategic with meal prep can help you create nutritious meals for you and your kids without consuming too much time. Regarding exercise, you can make your daily routine more active if you can’t squeeze a workout into your busy schedule. Playing with your kids in the playground or the backyard can be a great way to get active while watching over them. Making exercise a family bonding activity by going on daily walks or playing sports can also get everyone moving more often.
Regardless of any struggle you’re facing regarding weight loss as a mom, remember that the most crucial thing is to be compassionate to yourself. All moms lose weight differently, so being kind to yourself without comparing your journey to others can help you be more appreciative of your progress. Self-love can help you overcome setbacks and challenges with grace and keep you going.