Being a parent has its challenges, one of them being able to keep a healthy weight. A new study has found that being a new parent makes it more difficult to keep the extra weight off.
I know I don’t need a study to have found that out. I have two little ones and it’s always a challenge juggling parenting responsibilities and fitness. Besides, it’s so exhausting being a parent, the first instinct is to hit the couch, not the weights or treadmill.
According to the new study parents get less exercise than adults the same age without children. Part of the problem is what we, as parents, end up eating as well. The study found that moms had higher BMIs and eat and drink more sugary and high-fat foods. Mothers ate about 400 more calories every day than women without children.
“Moms are trying to eat well, at least as well as non-moms,” says study researcher Erica M. Berge, PhD, an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis-St. Paul. “But at the same time, they’re also eating more of these high-fat foods with their kiddos.”
Even when parents try to exercise, these bad decisions outweigh the good.
“I have a very picky eater, so I go through all kinds of acrobatics just to get him to eat, and what he doesn’t eat, I’m eating, or my husband’s eating,” says Lori Francis, PhD, an assistant professor in the department of Biobehavioral Health at The Pennsylvania State University.
Both of my kids go through phases of eating and not eating certain foods. The hardest habit to break is avoiding the “easy way out” with quick-fix meals like chicken nuggets in the microwave or mac and cheese, which I think nearly every child on the planet loves.