6 health and weight loss tips for parents
Becoming a first time mum is a life-changing event and can seem daunting at times.
As well as learning how to be a mother, your body, mood and mind all experience changes which can leave you feeling confused, overwhelmed and elated, all at the same time.
Here are some tips to look after your own health while managing your the needs of your newborn.
1. Track your day to become aware of your habits
Research shows that people who keep a food diary are more likely to achieve a healthy weight than those who don't. The WW app makes tracking simple, and even has a barcode scanner to make the process super speedy.
TIP: Make sure you've updated your WW account settings to 'fully' or 'partially' breastfeeding to ensure you have the correct daily SmartPoints® Budget. If you're fully breastfeeding, WW advises a weight loss of no more than 1lb per week. Non-breastfeeding mothers can aim to lose up to 2lb per week.
2. Aim for 10,000 steps a day
If you struggle to find time to exercise, don’t fret. It’s easy to pick up running, with programmes like Couch to 5K or to ease yourself into practicing quick-fire HIIT sessions at home. Why not start by treating yourself an activity tracker and wearing it everywhere? There’s something about those little gadgets that inspires people to walk more, take the stairs, and generally try everything they can to increase the number of steps they take on a daily basis. Aim for 10,000 steps a day. It might sound like a lot, but you’ll be surprised at how quickly they can add up when you’re running around after a baby.
3. Be kind to yourself
Even though you may want to lose any extra weight you gained during pregnancy as quickly as possible, try to listen to your body and its needs before imposing unnecessary goals which, if not met, can shake your self-confidence. Don’t scold yourself if you can’t shift the pounds as fast as you might like to – remember, it took nine months of pregnancy to put the weight on, so it's reasonable to expect it to take a similar length of time to return to your pre-pregnancy weight. In the first few weeks, give your body time to readjust as it will still be in recovery mode.
4. Pace yourself
Remember that your baby will soon grow and become more independent and active. You may have to pace any of your health and wellness goals to fit in with the demands of your new role at first, and of course, check with your GP or midwife before embarking on a health plan to make sure you are physically and mentally recovered from the birth. Caring for a newborn baby is hard work, so give yourself a well-earned break every now and then.
5. Do what's worked for you in the past
If you never liked eating salads before, there’s no reason why you should have to start loving them now. Instead, make smart choices, using the foods you love. Likewise, if you never enjoyed working out on the treadmill, don't feel like you have to start now. Find an activity you enjoy, and carve out time to do that a few times a week.
6. Make time for you
If you can, make ‘mum-only’ time a priority. Including your family in your journey gives you a built-in support system, and will help you adapt to your lifestyle changes. If they can spare a few hours to babysit, use your free time to de-stress and regain your sense of balance and control. Enjoy a workout, go for a massage or sit down to a quiet, nutritious meal.