We’ve all seen photos of celebrities who have ‘bounced’ back almost immediately after having a baby. We probably also know some women ourselves who seemed to just lose the baby weight effortlessly.
But, if you’re anything like me, it’s not effortless. Or easy. Or quick.
And that’s normal!
You’ve probably heard the saying ‘9 months to put it on, 9 months to get it off’. Which seems a fair approximation really. That said, sometimes, even 9 months isn’t long enough and some mums never really lose every pound they put on when pregnant.
Which, as I’ve said is normal! There are lots of reasons why it’s so hard sometimes to lose the baby weight so if you’re struggling here are 5 reasons you can use to cut yourself some slack.
1 – Sleep deprivation
Sleep deprivation can affect weight loss in a few ways. Firstly, when you are sleep deprived it stops your body functioning properly. This can include a sluggish metabolism. Secondly, when you’re tired you are far more likely to reach for sugar. Think sweets, fizzy drinks, white carbs etc. Lastly, when you’re feeling knackered, exercise is the last thing you’ll want to do.
2 – It’s not baby weight
Particularly in the early days some of the extra pounds won’t be actual ‘baby weight’ as such. You’ll need to get rid of the extra fluid in your system in the first few weeks. You may also have loose, saggy skin on your belly. Or an overhang. If you have a c-section there might be some swelling. Sometimes all the dieting or exercise in the world isn’t going to give you a flat stomach because that’s just the way things are.
3 – Snacking
One of the problems with being a mum is that once your kids start eating, there’s always left overs lying around to pick at. A few extra chips here or a piece of chicken there. It’s easy to find yourself snacking on your kids unwanted food. Also, boredom during the early days (and later days) can have you reaching for something tasty. Just to take the edge off. All these extra calories add up.
4 – Coffee and cake
Baby groups are great. Really. I’ve been to a fair few since baby 3 came along. And they all had one thing in common. Coffee and cake. Which is nice. But not so healthy. Especially if you do more than one a week. Now there might be healthy options available but there’s also an element of not wanting to look too ‘bothered’ by dieting that can mean that you reach for the cake. Or you might just reach for the cake because you fancy it. Because you’re tired or just because it’s tasty!
5 – You have a baby
Here’s the thing. When you have a baby life suddenly changes. Responsibilities shift and you’re caught up into a whirlwind of learning to parent. Baby’s require your time and attention. Constantly! Which means you don’t really have time to worry about healthy eating. Or exercising. Or losing the baby weight.
All of this means that it can sometimes be really hard to lose the baby weight. But you know what, that’s OK. The idea that we even need to shed every single pound is, frankly, bizarre. I mean, why, really. A few extra pounds really doesn’t matter. A bit of loose skin doesn’t make you any less of a woman, mother or sex goddess.
So if you’re struggling to lose the baby weight you need to be gentle with yourself. It’s likely that there are some factors outside of your control at play so don’t put too much pressure on yourself (and you can read my thoughts on why it’s time to get rid of the pressure to lose the baby weight).
Focus on what’s important. Being a mum, enjoying motherhood and loving yourself just the way you are.