Q. I recently had my second child. And, as with the first one, I gained an insane amount of weight after birth. At this stage, I feel very much defeated and I have no idea where to start. Do you have any suggestions for me? I need help.
A. Healthy Food Guide dietitian Katrina Pace responds:
Look at everything that’s going on around you at the moment. You’re working out what works within your new family. It’s easy to feel defeated, but give yourself credit for your wins.
Putting on weight after pregnancy can happen for a number of reasons. Post-pregnancy hormonal changes can affect how energy is used and stored, you might be snacking more because of lack of sleep, or your activity levels might have changed post baby. All of these can affect weight and mood.
A great place to start is to look at what’s going on and choose something that won’t take too much effort at this busy time of your life.
If you’re less active, would starting to take daily walks with your baby work for you? Is there a friend you can be active with for extra support?
If you feel you’re snacking more because of lack of sleep and tiredness, allow yourself rest breaks and give yourself permission to sit still. Think about what snacks you’re having and maybe put together healthy snack boxes in the cupboard, so when you do snack, it’s on high-protein, high-fibre foods.
Being busy may mean you’re having more prepared foods, which can be higher in energy. If there’s a quieter time of the week try bulk cooking and freezing dinners, so you know you’re getting healthy food.
Accept that this is a busy time, manage what you can and set a timeframe for changing other things. Get support but, most of all, take it one step at a time and make small, easy changes.
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Article sources and references
- Gunderson EP & Abrams B. 1999. Epidemiology of gestational weight gain and body weight changes after pregnancy. Epidemiologic Reviews 21:261-275https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10682262
- Rognmo K et al. 2016. Self-reported short sleep duration and insomnia symptoms as predictors of post-pregnancy weight change: Results from a cohort study. Women’s Health 12:465-74https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5373270/
- Stothard ER. 2017. Hunger and appetite ratings during circadian misalignment and sleep deprivation. In Impact of Circadian and Sleep Disruption on Metabolic Health and Behavior. Integrative Physiology Graduate Theses and Dissertations 56https://scholar.colorado.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1057&context=iphy_gradetds