The Health Hazards of Being a Parent

April 15, 2011

Did anyone see the study from earlier this week that Being a Parent May Result in Weight Gain?
Apparently, if you are a parent to a child or children under the age of 5 you are more likely to have a higher BMI and a lower level activity than people that are not parents, or not parents to children under the age of 5.

That scares me. I mean, I WAS that statistic – now have battled it, and am left wondering if I will be that statistic again. It is overwhelming to me at this point to think of finding time to make a healthy, whole meal, yet alone time for deliberate exercise while being a mom to 2 kids under 5!

So like anything I’ve been thinking the past few days, since seeing this article, how will I handle this when I have 2?

Here are a few things I came up with. It isn’t rocket science, but I think it’s important to plan and be deliberate:

Plan Meals – I need to make sure I continue to plan the meals that we will have weekly, and make sure to have the food in the house to readily make those meals. I think that cooking some things ahead on the weekend to allow for quick meals come dinner time will be important. I think it’s also important to have healthy snack options on hand at all times. I have the book- Fix, Freeze, Feast - and I plan on trying to do more freezer cooking before the baby is born this fall too.

Find a way to move my body every day – Not a ton of explanation needed here, but I need to move every day. Maybe this is parking farther away at the store, or taking extra stairs. Maybe it is a quick walk with kids in the stroller. Hey, it could even be some push ups or sit-ups while watching TV. It may be a while before I can get back to the scheduled gym workouts but that doesn’t mean I have an excuse to be a couch potato.

Play together as a family – Wow, what a simple, but important concept, don’t you think? I want my family to play together, even after Baby #2 is born. I want to be the mom that is outside playing catch with my son, and running around the backyard. We should make an effort to go on walks together – with baby in the stroller, and also hit up the playground regularly.

Breastfeed – I’m planning on trying to breastfeed as long as I can during the baby’s first year. With “L”, I made it about 8-9 months. I had lots of issues, since he was a preemie; it was NOT an easy road! I know that breastfeeding is very beneficial to helping mothers get back to their pre-pregnancy weight.

According to Dr. Sears “Breastfeeding mothers showed significantly larger reductions in hip circumference and more fat loss by one month postpartum when compared with formula-feeding moms. Breastfeeding mothers tend to have an earlier return to their pre-pregnant weight.” Source

Sounds good to me! I know breastfeeding mothers get more Points Plus values on Weight Watchers too! Win win.

Have Goals – If there is anything I learned when I first starting running nearly a year ago, it was to have specific goals. Challenging yourself is so important. If you don’t have goals, it’s hard to have motivation to get yourself moving, or make healthy choices when it comes right down to it. I will certainly have a goal to get back to my Weight Watchers goal weight, and then my pre-pregnancy weight after the baby is born. I also want to have an exercise goal. I haven’t decided specifically what that is yet, but I know I will have to think of something specific to get myself in gear again.

As parents, we are faced with unique challenges every single day. I won’t lie – it’s stressful! But, I don’t think there is a better gift that you can give your young one(s) than the gift of demonstrating for them what it means to be healthy for life.

Consider your own life – if you are a parent, what changes can you make in your life to make sure you don’t become – or stay a statistic.

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  1. Wow - that is awesome advice, although I'm not a parent yet, I'm sure these tips will eventually come in handy.

  2. This all looks amazing. I'm not a parent either but these goals can apply to me too. planning meals, moving more and setting goals. 3 things I really need to get better at in my life. Thank you for reminding me with this post. Good luck with baby number 2! x

  3. Wow! I haven't read your blog in a while ... what a nice surprise when I looked at it tonight. Congratulations!!! Wishing you a stress free and healthy pregnancy!

  4. So good that you have a plan. I wish I would have done that when I was pregnant and my kids were little. Things would have been different. I love your plan.

    Keep up the great work!! Stay focused!


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