A woman juggles multiple roles in a single day. From cooking food, to dressing the children, to handling household chores, they toil hard. So, it is essential they take care of their health.
By Luke Coutinho
A woman has a large number of responsibilities and duties to attend to. For instance, a woman’s role as a mother calls for a plethora of responsibilities. In the midst of rendering and carrying out several duties, they often neglect themselves. Therefore, it is essential that mothers go for a change in their lifestyle in terms of nutrition as well as fitness in the form of Yoga, Pilates, aerobics, etc. for themselves.
There are a number of eating mistakes busy moms make and this makes the role of nutrition in today's day and age even more important.
There is a famous saying, ‘We are what we eat’. Nutrition contributes almost 80 per cent towards a healthy body. It is the fuel that gives us energy to work tirelessly day after day.
Thus, we should choose our diet carefully, keep a check on the portions to consume and watch out for excess calories. Proper nutrition should be complemented with proper physical activity and rest. Lack of sleep and irregular workout affects nutrition.
Right after childbirth, a woman's body undergoes many changes both internal as well as external. It is a tough job and requires all mothers to be strong and healthy.
Luke Coutinho, India's leading expert in integrative and lifestyle medicine, is a firm believer in the importance of good health. "Over the last few years, I have had the opportunity to coach and consult hundreds of moms across the world and this is a message I want to convey to every mom. Your “health is your wealth.” Without good health, a mother cannot be the best mom she’s striving to be. I always see mothers prioritising their families before them as a result of which their health tends to deteriorate over the years taking the shape of diseases like PCOS, diabetes, anaemia, obesity, thyroid, hypertension and even cancer. Put yourself first. This in no way means being selfish, this means taking out that ME time for yourself and your body, even if it’s just 20 mins", says Luke.
Often, there is a belief that healthy eating is not possible in a hectic lifestyle. That’s not true. All one needs is a change in mindset and a firm decision to be a healthy mom. Introspect at every point whether you are feeding your immunity or feeding a disease. You can be a super mom and meet your health goals at the same time.
Here are 6 eating mistakes moms might be unknowingly committing that might hamper good health:
Eating mistake 1: Dieting while breastfeeding
This is the worst mistake a new mom could make. This is due to two reasons: a desire to get back to shape quickly and making the most of their limited maternal leave. During this stage, a mother’s body requires energy and nutrition for effective lactation. Putting the body on a calorie restriction diet is only going to backfire because this means going against hormones. Extreme dieting during that phase makes the body enter a famine mode which is stressful, as a result of which increased cortisol and estrogen levels contribute to fat gain and irritable moods. Respect your body and follow the natural process of childbirth and breastfeeding. Your pregnancy weight will shed off automatically post breastfeeding.
Eating mistake 2: Stress eating
In today's age, work pressure and limited time make people reach out for foods rich in sugar, salt and fat, that give an instant high. However, this often leads to guilt, fear, more stress and overproduction of cortisol that leads to fat storage. So, what could be the solution? Women, by nature, love to share and express their challenges. A failure to express and speak out results in emotional internalisation of things, which is one of the prime causes of stress eating. Make the right choice. Heal emotions with emotions and tools that work with your mind and soul like deep breathing, yoga, nature walks, positive affirmations, not with food.
Eating mistake 3: No eating schedule
Skipping breakfast due to the morning rush, eating snacks the entire afternoon and finally consuming a heavy dinner because of hunger is a sure recipe for disaster. No matter how far we have come in terms of evolution, our dinners still have to be the light. It’s important to prioritise daytime meals because that helps in regulating hunger hormones. At the most, it will require you to wake up an hour early to prepare your breakfast before kids get up. Do it. It’s worth the effort.
Eating mistake 4: Excess consumption of tea/coffee
Constantly reaching out for stimulants such as tea or coffee mid-afternoon because of dropping energy levels is a wrong approach. A mid-afternoon slump is often due to lack of quality sleep the previous night. Caffeine is only going to stress out your adrenals, dehydrate, destroy gut health, hinder nutrient absorption and going to disturb your circadian rhythm even further. Fix your sleep pattern and follow this schedule. A quality sleep will make a world of difference with regards to your energy levels, moods, eating choices, appetite, cravings and productivity.
Eating mistake 5: Take-aways lunches at work
Convenience doesn’t trump health. With outside meals, you have no control over the quantity and quality of oil, salt, tastemakers, additives, sugar, fat, etc. Meal prepping is key. Be proactive. It’s better to invest a few hours in the kitchen over the weekend to plan your weekly lunches instead of ordering a cheap takeaway. Else, locate places that serve healthy options in your vicinity. If you have meetings all day long, pack an energy dense sandwich/veggie multigrain paratha that keeps you fuller for longer. Take it a step ahead, pack nuts and seeds for evening snacks as well.
As a new mom, you are dealing with so much change such as a new baby, weight issues, etc. This article looks at 6 moves that will help you get back into shape.
Eating mistake 6: Multi-tasking while eating
Habits like checking emails while eating or eating when you are driving will not make you efficient. It will only make you sick. When it’s time to eat, slow down, disconnect from technology, take a deep breath, and embrace the moment. Mindfulness while eating allows proper chewing, better digestion and absorption, portion control and satisfaction.
Luke Coutinho, Integrative & Lifestyle Medicine - Holistic Nutrition & Founder PureNutrition.me is the author of the book 'The Great Indian Diet' and 'Eat Smart, Move More, Sleep Right – Your Personal Health Coach'.
With additional inputs from Shilpa Shetty, Indian actor, fitness enthusiast, businesswoman and producer.
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