Some women talk about the pounds melting off after they have kids. The rest of us wonder if there's some special "mom formula" we must have missed, that somehow melts those stubborn pounds that don't seem to want to disappear on their own. I'm not going to lie, it can be depressing to try and fit back into your pre-pregnancy clothes, and it may take a bit of work for it to happen. However, there are some rules for moms trying to lose weight that are slightly different than the standard "rules," if you ask me, and those rules should be followed for a number of important reasons.
Right now I'm the heaviest I've ever been. A combination of a serious neck injury in the spring, a more sedentary work life as a writer, a growing problem with binge eating, and two demanding young children has left me weighing about 30 pounds more than I used to weigh before I had kids. It bothers me more than I care to admit, and it often leaves me feeling as though I'll never get back to my "old self" again. It's also lead me to start making some tiny adjustments in my life, in order to feel better about myself, while conscious about the kind of message I could potentially be sending my children.
So, now, losing weight when I have kids watching every move I make and potentially trying to emulate me, is a slightly different endeavor. I want to make sure that I am promoting body positivity and body acceptance, instead of teaching my children that they need to hate their beautiful bodies. I also want to feel comfortable in my own skin and good about myself and the wonderful body that made my babies, so losing weight is important to me, right now. So, with that in mind, here are my nine rules I think moms should follow if they end up wanting to shed a few pounds, because you can strike a balance.
Don't Put Too Much Pressure On Yourself
Don't expect a mind-blowing transformation to happen overnight. With weight loss, slow and steady wins the race and usually means you're more likely working on a lifestyle change, rather than a quick fix (that's usually ridiculously unhealthy) that will have you gaining weight back immediately.
Remember That Balance Is Important For Everyone
There's no shame in taking a day off from exercising, or from any diet you may be on. Cheat days exist to keep your sanity intact, so don't right the idea off. Weight loss isn't about starving or depriving yourself, so find a healthy balance that makes healthy eating and exercise habits a norm that your children can emulate.
Don't Get Upset If Your Partner Doesn't Want To Join You
The journey you're on is yours and yours alone. Your partner is under no obligation to join you, whether they need to lose weight as well, or not. Of course, they should be supportive, but they don't need to be by your side every step of the way. After all, you're doing this for you, so you can feel good and comfortable and healthy, and not for the betterment of anyone else.
Remember That You Are A Role Model For Your Children
If your kids see you skipping meals, or drinking "diet" shakes, what do you think will be going through their minds? Their mom, whom they think is absolutely perfect, honestly believes there's something wrong with who she is or what she looks like or the body that made them.
I'm not going to say that choosing any of these things is wrong, because it's just another choice we make. I guess I'm saying that you should always remember that your kids are watching you, so make sure they're taking away the correct message.
Remember That What Works For One Person May Not Work For Another
I was a strict Paleo girl for several years. I really thought that was the answer to everyone's "problems," and spent a lot of time proselytizing to friends and family. Then I got pregnant and just couldn't sustain that way of eating. My body absolutely rebelled at the amount of vegetables and protein. It was an important lesson for me that every body has different needs at different times.
Don't Ask Your Kids To Join You In Your Weight Loss Journey...
There's doing things as a family, and then there's instilling the fear that your child isn't good enough just as they are. I'm sure there are exceptions to this rule, but in general, I don't believe any kid should be encouraged to lose weight without first making sure there isn't anything physiological going on.
...But Feel Free To Encourage Your Kids To Get Active With You
There was a time when I would get frustrated when my daughter crawled underneath me as I was doing a plank or mountain climbers. I didn't want to slow down or lose momentum, after all. However, how can you get upset when your kids want to join you in being active? Now, I'll take that any day over my kids wanting to sit on the couch and watch TV.
Don't Get Discouraged If Results Are Slow To Come
If you ever tried to lose weight before you had kids, you may notice things don't happen quite as quickly now that you've successfully procreated. There are lots of reasons why, but the main one is that you don't have a singular focus now. You're a mom now, too, and that means you sometimes have to stop your workout to change a diaper or you just don't have the energy to cook a perfectly healthy meal from scratch. Keep at it. It will happen.
Don't Talk Negatively About Your Body
Don't hate on yourself. Despite what you may be thinking, you are strong and beautiful and you have grown life inside of you, which makes you an amazing creature. You are fierce, and you need to love who you are whether you have jelly on your belly or not.