Self-care was a word we didn’t hear often but this year I’ve heard it as part of many moms’ 2019 goals, resolutions, and themes. Self-care is a broad term and can refer to various things, like spa days, yoga sessions, lunch dates with the girls, and getting your health and weight in check. As a dietitian mom, naturally I gravitate towards health, specifically diets and weight.
Let’s face it: most likely your postpartum body, whether 3 months or 3 years post, is not the same as it was before baby. When I first had my son, I felt tons of pressure to lose the baby weight and “get my body back” as soon as I got the green light to exercise again. It wasn’t hard to find vigorous “mom workout” videos by super fit women on social media. Nor was it difficult to come across ads about the next best diet that promised quick results. As a health professional and more importantly a new mom who, like many of you, may have dealt with baby weight, I’m sharing a life concept that helped me cope and ultimately get back to a weight I felt comfortable in again without the strict dieting pressures: mindfulness.
Mindfulness is defined as being conscious of oneself. You may have heard this word in relation to meditation or at a yoga class..and you can also apply it to how you eat! Being more self-aware can help you identify when you are actually hungry vs wanting to eat ‘just because’ (stress, boredom, seeing others eat around you, etc). It also encourages you to distinguish the feeling of fullness vs overeating, i.e., continuing to eat only because your plate isn’t empty yet. By practicing mindfulness versus a certain diet trend has helped me reach and maintain a healthy weight and gave me confidence at meal times.
Often with dieting on and off, weight can go up and down and its not good for our metabolisms long term. Dieting can also be super stressful mentally and severe dieting can lead to eating disorders which ultimately affect all those around you, including your kids.
If you’re new to mindful eating, here are a few basic eating principles:
- Pause and listen to your body. Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full.
- Unsure if you’re truly full yet? Take breaks and sip water between bites. Identify what your body is feeling before reaching for another bite.
- Eating/snacking should be at set times/places (dinner table vs on the couch or in bed, etc)
- Choose foods that are wholesome as much as possible.
- Finally: Just eat! Take the time and enjoy whatever it is you are eating, without worrying about the calorie, sodium or fat content. You’re less likely to overindulge when you don’t restrict excessively.
Sometimes eating at home can be the toughest part when trying to make healthful decisions. Here are a few of my favorite dietitian-mom approved go-to spots in the Valley whenever I can’t cook at home. They also have great options for your little ones!
• Zoe’s Kitchen
• Picazzo Healthy Italian Kitchen
• Café Zupas
• Wildflower Bread Company
• True Food Kitchen
• Original ChopShop
What are your favorite local restaurants? Please share- I am all about trying new fun and tasty places with my family! Lastly- I want to stress how awesome each of you are! Your weight doesn’t define you or your ability to be a great mom; just remember that to be your very best, you need to feel your very best, both physically and mentally.
In good health (and in good wine)