Lifestyle

I’m a parenting expert – here are the four reasons your kids are making you FAT

LESS time to exercise, more sweets around the house, and habitual eating of kids’ leftovers

Yes, the long school holidays are just around the corner. . . another reason why your weight as a parent can increase.

Your weight may increase slightly as a parent

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Your weight may increase slightly as a parentPhoto credit: Getty
Parenting expert Tanith Carey is the author of Mum Hacks: Time-Saving Tips To Calm The Chaos Of Family Life

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Parenting expert Tanith Carey is the author of Mum Hacks: Time-Saving Tips To Calm The Chaos Of Family LifePhoto Credit: ©Heathcliff O’Malley, All Rights Reserved, may not be published in any format without prior notice

For moms, the arrow on the scale shoots up an average of 3 pounds from infancy.

And “father bodies” are called that for a reason.

A study in the US found that men gained between 3.5 and 4.5 pounds in the year after having their first baby.

But you can manage the weight gain while getting the family to eat well.

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Parenting expert Tanith Carey, author of Mum Hacks: Time-Saving Tips To Calm The Chaos Of Family Life, explains how.

Sleepless nights

NEW parents lose an average of 109 minutes of sleep per night in the first year of having a baby, according to the Sleep Junkie tracking plan.

Only ten percent get the recommended seven or more hours a night in the first 12 months.

New parents lose 109 minutes of sleep per night during their first year of life

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New parents lose 109 minutes of sleep per night during their first year of lifeCredit: Alamy

You won’t just be exhausted the next day. You’re also likely to eat more, gain weight, and have a higher risk of becoming obese.

Why? Lack of sleep leads to a drop in levels of leptin, the chemical that keeps you full, while levels of the hormone ghrelin rise, triggering hunger pangs.

And when you’re exhausted, sugary choices become an appealing quick fix.

dr Greg Potter, sleep and nutrition expert and author of The Principles Of Resilient Nutrition, tells Sun Health: “Poor sleep could then mean that you are not controlling your eating habits as well the next day.

“On average, after insufficient sleep, we burn about 250 more calories per day — about the energy of a Snickers bar.”

What to do: For the first year, leave your baby in a cot in your room so your sleep isn’t interrupted for so long when you get up to comfort or feed him.

Sleep when your child sleeps during the day, if you have the opportunity.

If you’ve had a sleepless night with toddlers, don’t reach for a sugary coffee to cheer you up.

Make a cold, protein-based version with plant-based milk, ice cream, nuts and seeds plus 20g to 30g protein powder.

Studies have shown that this can help stabilize blood sugar levels and make you feel fuller for the rest of the day.

Time for dinner

An unfinished fish finger here, some fries there. . . Those extra calories add up quickly.

A survey by LighterLife found that moms and dads tuck in an extra 443 calories a week from eating leftovers.

Brush your teeth when the kids do it at bedtime - they're less likely to eat or drink anything else

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Brush your teeth when the kids do it at bedtime – they’re less likely to eat or drink anything elsePhoto credit: Getty

While it doesn’t make all that much of a difference occasionally picking at your child’s food, consistently eating 100 more calories a day – the equivalent of two fish fingers – can add up to an extra 10 pounds a year.

Eating after your kids have gone to bed and having a glass of wine or beer can also add calories.

dr Potter says, “During the day, your biological clock prepares you for physical activity and food intake. At night your body is prepared for rest, fasting and regeneration.

“So when you eat late at night, your digestion tends to get worse, your blood sugar fluctuates more after you eat, you burn fewer calories after you eat, and over time you tend to store fat more easily. ”

What to do: Serve your kids smaller portions and ask them if they want dessert.

This will also help them notice their appetite cues, the signals that tell them when they’re hungry or full.

Children are more likely to eat what they have if they are not overwhelmed by tons of food.

When eating, try to use your child’s smaller plate. It tricks your brain into feeling satisfied sooner. Studies have found that by halving plate size, people tend to consume a third less than normal.

Eat with your family to avoid that nighttime crash.

On the alcohol front, remember that a tall 8oz glass of wine is equivalent to ice cream and a pint is equivalent to sugar donut.

Then brush your teeth when the kids do it at bedtime. You are less likely to eat or drink anything else.

sweet paradise

CHILDREN can be hardwired to nag us for sweet treats.

Scientists at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia say it’s an evolutionary trait, as children need more energy as they grow.

Kids can be hardwired to nag us for sweet treats

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Kids can be hardwired to nag us for sweet treatsPhoto credit: Getty

Although adults don’t need the same amount of energy, in a survey of 3,000 parents, 12 percent admitted that every time they drop off a snack for their kids, they eat the snack.

In adulthood, those extra calories are more easily stored as fat, and mothers tend to consume 368 more calories per day than women without children, according to the University of Minnesota. Fathers are less tempted.

What to do: Try to break the cycle of automatically giving your kids chocolate or candy to keep them quiet or for good behavior.

It’s also good for kids, according to a study from New York’s University of Rochester, as it means they don’t see food as an emotional reward.

Instead, reward their good behavior with stickers, games, or stories.

And when you and the kids have a craving for something sweet or salty, you have healthier alternatives on hand, whether it’s a bowl of pomegranate seeds or grilled almonds with soy sauce or dusted with cinnamon and cocoa.

Run mom, run

It may feel like you’re always chasing the kids, but a lack of targeted exercise has been shown to be one of the top reasons parents gain weight.

On average, mothers get little more than two hours of moderate activity per week, compared to three hours for non-parents.

Mothers get a little over two hours of moderate activity weekly

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Mothers get a little over two hours of moderate activity weeklyPhoto credit: Getty

It might help explain why the US study also found that mothers had a slightly higher average BMI than childless women.

According to the study, fathers lost two hours of physical activity compared to men without children, but did not gain weight.

What to do: Instead of watching from the park bench, join in.

Wear sneakers and a comfortable sports bra so your boobs aren’t holding you back, and see a trip to the playground as an opportunity to get some exercise.

Use play equipment like jungle gyms as circuits at the gym to burn nearly 300 calories in an hour — the same as an average gym workout — while keeping the kids entertained.

A quick game of catch can also work wonders.

https://www.the-sun.com/health/5702311/parenting-expert-kids-making-you-fat/ I’m a parenting expert – here are the four reasons your kids are making you FAT

Sarah Y. Kim

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