Mom life is an intricate web of awesome, crazy, emotional, draining “stuff.” There are lots of facets of mom life, and health is only one.
But, it seems, that we moms have a laser beam focus on what our bodies look like. And what our bodies look like is in part a product of carrying our children, our workout habits and our eating habits. What we fail to realize is what our bodies look like is also a product of stress, how well we are sleeping (or not), and where our hormonal game is at.
So, while we tend to focus on kicking our own ass with workouts and trying to meal prep the shit out of our lives, and fat loss this and that, there are way more things to consider in the overall picture.
“If I can just fit in this 90 day workout program where I workout everyday except Sundays…..”
“If I can just spend three hours meal prepping on Sundays so I can eat pre-portioned meals every week…..”
“If I can just keep my house clean, my kids from getting into things they shouldn’t, volunteer for Gingerbread house making, AND get my kids to dance on time……:”
Yeah, there is A LOT to consider here, and whether or not moms should focus on fat loss is a tiny snippet of this gigantic ALWAYS MOVING picture.
So, I thought I would give you some things to consider from a mom and nutrition coach who IS focusing on fat loss at the moment, as well as a mom who has decidedly NOT focused on fat loss for a variety of reasons in her past.
Let’s dig in.
Can your head stay in a mentally healthy place while you begin to trim away at your food intake? Meaning, when it’s time to sit down and eat a meal during the middle of a jacked up day where alllll the mom shit went wrong, are you prepared to not go hog wild and eat your feelings?
Fat loss is driven by the reduction of calories. We can argue about how big that reduction should be to make it last, but ultimately, we do need the reduction. Whether or not you COUNT those calories or use different methods to figure out your needs, we still need the reduction, or the deficit. Figuring out how to deficit is one more thing to have in your brain WHILE you are still mom-ing.
Can your head stay in a mentally healthy place when you gauge how your fat loss progress is going? Meaning, if you weigh yourself, measure yourself, try on your favorite jeans or what have you, can you not beat yourself up if the measurements don’t go your way sometimes? Can you learn to separate emotions from facts?
Fat loss takes time. So, taking the long view and approaching it with a mindset of knowing there will be up weeks and down weeks, and that the overall trend will go down if we are successful is key. Here’s the thing, though. Know thyself. If you know that you are going to get wrapped up in “I’m a failure” and “That one Cheeto I ate last week is CLEARLY what made me gain a half pound in four days” and tying yourself worth to your fat loss measurements, well, I think we have some other things to think about. If you know that you can separate fact from emotional fiction, then, we might be in the right place.
Do you have a decent handle on sleep and stress?
Guess what? You can do all the right things with a calorie deficit, and all the right strength training, and you might lose some fat but find yourself stuck with a layer around your midsection that absolutely kicks your ass. For many, this is a huge sign that sleep is off and/or your body and your hormones are all out of whack from stress junk…..AKA, your body is in fight or flight mode (feels like it’s getting chased by a tiger) and not in “I’m relaxed and ok” mode. No matter if you are getting chased by a tiger or getting chased by an over-booked schedule, not facing a stack of credit card bills, or something along those lines doesn’t matter. Your body will do WELL in relaxed and ok mode, and fat loss will be much, much easier.
Are you nursing?
There seem to be two types of nursing women. The first one, we’ll call her Megan King Edmonds from the Real Housewives of Orange County…well, she basically nurses and weight falls off her without so much as an effort. The second one, we’ll call “a large percentage of nursing mothers,” well, she’s got every craving in the book, and she’s having a hell of a time managing those cravings, AND nursing, AND all the motherhood stuff is kicking her ass, and she’s having trouble losing anything other than her marbles. Whether or not you are like Megan King Edmonds or like the other nursing mothers doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are nursing, and while you can definitely focus on getting plenty of whole and nutritious foods AND find a decent level of balanced eating, the fact that you are nursing might just jack up fat loss completely, making it damn hard to focus on right now. That’s alright! You have the rest of your life to focus on fat loss, enjoy feeding your babe right now, and fat loss can get pushed further down the road. In the meantime, focus on eating balanced and healthy meals that support your recovery body PLUS your baby.
Guess what? Fat loss itself is very simple in nature. Find a caloric deficit. Probably strength train a little. Move a LOT in a non-exercise fashion. Sleep. Don’t get chased by the bear.
But simple doesn’t mean easy. In practice, fat loss can FEEL ridiculous.
So, as a mom, can you focus on fat loss? Absolutely you can. Should you? Well, if you’ve gone through anything that I’ve written above, you probably have a good idea of whether or not fat loss makes sense for you right now.
Here’s the thing….there isn’t a right or wrong answer, the right answer is YOUR answer. That matches YOUR life.
And know this. Even if right now isn’t the time for fat loss, there are TONS of cool things to focus on instead! Like……
- Eating balanced and healthy meals while learning how to moderate treats into your life
- Lifting weights
- Embracing fitness if ways OTHER than lifting weights if that’s your thing
- Learning how to incorporate “me time” into your life in a way that makes sense
- Learning a new skill
- Catching up with girlfriends you haven’t connected with in way too long
- Adopting other healthy habits that have nothing to do with fitness or food
- Finding a way to connect back with your husband and talk about things that you used to talk about BEFORE your kids came along
There is way more to mom-ing than what your body looks like. Hell, there’s way more to life than what your body looks like. But each of us has our own needs, and those are important too, right? So focus on fat loss if it makes sense for YOU or don’t, and focus on something else if THAT makes more sense for you.