Weight management counselling – finding your balance

Improving energy levels and getting fit after birth

Much is written about how to feed your baby a healthy and balanced diet, but what about yourself? Parenting is one of the most stressful jobs there is: sleepless nights, emotional upheavals, hormonal imbalance… Is there any way to feel better – more energetic and less stressed?

Although it is normal to feel tired and emotional for the first few months after birth, you can help yourself restore mental and physical balance.

Looking after yourself after childbirth

The first step will be deciding to look after yourself. Of course the new baby has become the centre of your world, but it is no good for the baby if his or her mum is tired, exhausted and stressed all the time. How many times a client has said to me: “I have sacrificed everything for them and they…”(then followed a story of ungrateful children). Your child does not need sacrifices – he or she needs a happy mum. If you don’t look after yourself – why would somebody else?

Looking after ourselves means paying attention to what we are eating. Some of the key chemicals that influence our emotions are made from the food we eat. By eating specific foods and avoiding others, you can help to control the way you feel. Following a healthy diet, eating regularly and not skipping breakfast will keep your energy levels up through the day.

Quite often eating a healthy diet is not enough – when we are stressed or exhausted we need the amount of vitamins that is more than can be obtained from food. Research states that “it would take 46 cups of spinach a day to reach your optimum level of vitamin E”. In this case a supplement will help make a difference.

Supplements to boost energy and fight anxiety/stress/depression

Omega 3 is a great supplement to take – it is needed to build and preserve pliable brain structures so the brain can work effectively. DHA has been shown to improve mood by boosting serotonin levels and help fight depression. Make sure to read the label when buying Omega 3 supplement – it needs to contain both EHA and DHA. Also bear in mind that it might take a month or so to replenish your body storage of omega-3 and for you to feel the difference.

Other supplements that help fight fatigue, anxiety and reduce stress levels are Selenium, Calcium and Magnesium supplements and vitamins of B group.

Taking supplements might also help you lose weight after pregnancy. Certain food cravings indicate that your body is lacking vitamins or minerals. For instance, if you can’t live without peanut butter, it means that your vitamin B intake is insufficient. Taking a supplement instead of dipping into the jar will greatly improve your waist line!

Craving cheese is often a sign of Calcium and Phosphorus deficiency. Try taking a supplement or eating more broccoli – it is high in calcium and phosphorus and has a lot less calories than cheese.

Quite often food cravings are not a sign of a particular vitamin shortage, but just indicate that you need rest. One client complained that she was a chocolate addict and could not get rid of the habit. A born perfectionist, she could never take a break and relax, so the chocolate for her became a substitute for a good rest.

Losing weight after childbirth

If you would like to lose weight, start noticing when you overeat – do you reach for biscuits when you are tired? Upset? Anxious? Is there anything you can do to deal with your emotional discomfort instead of eating? Paying attention to and resolving a psychological issue is a way to lose weight for good, much more effective than a crash diet (which is likely to make you even more stressed and irritable).

Research indicates that obese people, who try, but don’t manage to lose weight, are usually not very good at knowing their own feelings. Working with a client, who has a weight issue, I often have to find out what does their body image mean to them. So when you decide to lose some weight, first ask yourself – how thin would you like to be? What does being thin mean to you? Do you know your ideal weight and have a clear plan of how to reach it? Or will losing weight become yet another exercise in self-criticism and low self-esteem?

Don’t blame yourself for an occasional chocolate or a second helping. Internal criticism is not likely to stop you eating too much, but will definitely make you feel bad about yourself and as a result – more comfort eating! Enjoy your food and take your time eating – you will feel full sooner than you think.

Look after yourself, pay attention to your feelings, take supplements if necessary and enjoy the increased levels of energy. You will need it all as your baby grows!

Anna Storey Counsellor Life CoachAbout The Author

Anna Storey is a counsellor working from Thame. Anna has a special interest in Weight Management Counselling.

Call Anna at: 07789 696711 or visit: www.annastorey-counselling.com. You can also visit Anna’s GoToSee therapy page here

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