If you’ve been “eating for two” and find yourself struggling to get back to your old eating habits, you’re not alone. First and foremost, be gentle and kind to yourself as you recently had a baby. It will take time to return to your pre-pregnancy weight and shape but with a bit of determination and consistency, it can be done. These tips can assist you in your new and exciting journey to find “you” again:
- Have patience with yourself and work on progress, NOT perfection.
- Set up 20 to 30-minute time frames two to three times a week dedicated just for you. You can meal plan/prep during these times or you can exercise, if allowed by your doctor. You could even do both at the same time by walking on the treadmill or outside and planning what you want to eat – taking mental or written notes. Plan for meals three days at a time as it is more manageable since your world revolves around your little one(s). If you don’t have someone to watch your baby during your workout/meal plan sessions, consider including your baby within your dedicated time rather than skipping the session. All babies love their mom’s attention even if you are doing push-ups or yoga with them. They enjoy being with you so include them whenever it is safe for them.
- Budget is key as babies can be expensive. Start your meal planning by using existing protein items and vegetables from your freezer. Put those on your menu first, then create a shopping list with the sides and additional items you need. Oftentimes, shoppers continue to fill up their freezers by adding new items while the bottom items do not get used.
- Meal prep as much as possible to help make it easier for you to choose healthy foods when you get busy, run out of time or things don’t go as planned or according to schedule. It’s easy to grab convenience items if you don’t have healthier options ready to go.
- Find a friend or two who have children about the same age as yours. Plan regular outings or virtual visits with these friends and let them know if you are feeling exhausted, stressed or anxious. Having social connections can also help reduce stress eating.
Being a mom is new and exciting, but that doesn’t mean you won’t need to ask for help from time to time. Don’t feel bad about asking others for advice or help so you can schedule time for yourself. A mom that makes time for herself – mentally and physically – is usually a much more patient and loving mom.