Every mom receives a plethora of advice from family, friends and total strangers (who clearly know it all about motherhood!), even when you didn’t ask for the advice to begin with!
Yes, it’s true that there is a lot to sort through as a new mom, but here is the only piece of advice that you need to listen to: sleep when your baby is sleeping.
Before anything else, sleep is the most important thing that a new mom needs to focus on. Getting enough sleep is not just an issue for postpartum moms. Some babies don’t sleep well and turn into toddlers and kids that have sleeping problems, which means that some moms end up waking up every single night for many, many years!
I started sleeping again when my son was about 2 years old. As a baby he would sleep well, but he’d just never made it through the night until he hit 2. And mama let me tell you, I was definitely suffering from it.
Before I had my son, I had always enjoyed a full night’s sleep. Otherwise I was cranky and very easily “hangry”(you know, when you’re simultaneously hungry and angry)! Sleep was and still is something that I know I need in order to function as the best mama that I can be!
I understand that moms want to lose weight for themselves and I don’t believe that it’s a trivial desire. I know that I feel better in my body when I’m at my ideal weight. However, weight loss will happen only when you get good, consistent sleep.
The first reason this happens is that, if you are tired, it will be a lot harder to make good food choices. I know it from experience.
Very often, moms get through the day by eating very high carbohydrate foods because they have this immediate comforting effect on our brains and bodies. This might look like eating a muffin for breakfast, pizza for lunch and pasta for dinner!
To be clear: I don’t recommend low carb diets. Carbs play an essential part in our diet, especially for women. But in the western world, we eat way too much processed wheat flour and what ends up happening is that the “good carbs” have often no place in our diet (think fruits, vegetables and legumes).
Another reason is that lack of sleep will make you crave more food. Why? Your hormones. If you don’t get enough sleep, your hormones will likely go off balance.
Let’s talk about 4 specific hormones:
Cortisol. This is the stress hormone. Stress will increase cortisol production, and lack of sleep is considered a significant stressor for your body. What ends up happening is that a high cortisol level will increase your appetite.
Insulin. Lack of sleep will make you become less sensitive to insulin. This makes you produce more insulin and a higher insulin level makes you store more fat. Yikes!
Ghrelin. This is the hormone that signals when you’re hungry. Ghrelin levels will increase so you will eat more just because you’re sleeping less!
Leptin. This hormone signals when you’re full. Guess what? Leptin shuts off if you’re not sleeping. No more signaling when your body had enough food.
To summarize, sleeping is essential for your hormones to balance naturally and to put the necessary processes into place to assist weight loss.
Sometimes, some women find that not only do they not sleep enough, but the quality of their sleep is not optimal. When my son was still little, I read a book that was a treasure of wonderful advice on how to improve the quality of your sleep. Since then, I love recommending this book to every mom around me! Check out Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson.
So, mama, don’t take too much on and remember: naptime is not just for the little one. You don’t NEED to do anything else but sleep, recover, and be a rested mom.
Now, If you are sleeping enough and have tried everything you could to lose the baby weight, but you’re still not seeing any results, there is more to explore... Let’s connect to see how I might be able to support you with your weight loss goals - book in your free chat here!