10 Tips for Working Mother Diets

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When you’re a working mother, meals can quickly become more of a battleground than a time for reflection and socialization. And these are the meals you plan for yourself – not the ones you’re trying to feed your kids. Dieting and working is a huge challenge simply because your resources are always low. You have no energy, you have no will power, you have no time to plan and you certainly have no time to rest so that you can focus all that positive energy on dieting. Exercise is even harder to come by. But while dieting and working can be challenging, you can make it work.

1. Take a Bit at a Time

In a perfect world you can do a total switch over night. Picture the reality show crew coming over, emptying your pantry and refrigerator and leaving you a healthy selection of delicious food to help you lose weight almost overnight. There is a reason that nonsense is on the telly – it never happens in real life. So since it’s unlikely you have the dedication (or even the memory) to start a completely new healthy lifestyle overnight, start small.

Eliminate a single food or make a substitution. For example, if you must have an afternoon pick-me-up, make it nuts or trail mix instead of a candy bar. If you have to have ice cream at night, look into sorbets or gelato. These are small reductions in calories, but over time the smallest reductions add up.

As you get more adapted to a shifting diet and lifestyle, you can implement larger changes such as eating salad at one meal every day or adding fresh fruits and vegetables to every meal you eat. Focusing on a tiny bit at a time gives you the satisfaction that you are doing something positive and as you start to feel better about yourself and see just a bit of results, you’ll be more and more motivated to continue making small changes.

2. Eat What Your Kids Eat

If you’re like most mothers, you’ll go out of your want to include at least one healthy food item on your child’s plate at meal times. Your child gets cheese, toast and fruit while you shove chips and fish in your mouth. If you start serving only one thing for dinner, you’ll cut down on your time, your junk and your calories. Simply eat what you feed your kids.

This method will help you lose weight by eliminating a great deal of the junk you can justify for you, but not for your children and by reducing the amount of actual food you eat. Your diet will likely become more balanced with healthier options as this what you prefer to feed your child and the monotony of a child’s plate will encourage you to find other delicious foods your whole family will enjoy.

3. Brush Your Teeth after Meals

The worse tendency for parents, especially those that go through the day completed drained of energy, is to snack. If there is food available, chances are it will make it into your mouth. But if your mouth feels fresh and clean, it is less likely you’ll have just a “mouthful” of anything. And since those mouthfuls can add up in a big way, eliminating them will help reduce calories and help you lose weight. You’ll also be encouraged to have real snacks instead of grazing throughout the day which is a healthier way to eat as well.

4. Keep a List

It would be too much to ask for a working parent to keep a journal of everything you eat along with calories and nutritional information. Something like that would be wonderful for helping you plan a healthy diet every day, but it’s far too much work for those that are already overwhelmed. Instead, make a simple list of everything you eat. If you put it in your mouth, make a note in a small notebook you carry or even on your PDA or mobile.

At the end of the day, you can easily see exactly how much junk you consume and the types of food you’re eating. Besides, the most successful part of a food journal is having to be honest and write down your food choices. Putting down cookie four times in a single day will likely make you feel guilty enough to avoid the fifth.

5. Go to Bed Earlier

Make it a point to head to be fifteen or thirty minutes earlier every night. It can be hard to give up the few hours of time you have for yourself in a day, but every minute of solid sleep at night is extremely beneficial – especially when you’re trying to lose weight. Shoot for eight or nine hours a night. It’s been shown that those who sleep too little are likely to eat more and gain weight. Sleeping all night every night will allow your body to better regulate itself and give you a boost of energy that wills serve you well during the day.

6. Have a Buddy

Every working parent should have at least one buddy who’s in the same boat you are. It’s hard enough to go through the sheer amount of work in a day that working parents endure, but doing it alone, without someone who understands the pain is truly a challenge. Finding someone to talk to can cut down on the more emotional side of your eating.

Don’t feel like your buddy has to be someone you work with or that’s already in your life. In fact, the best buddies in many cases are friends you meet in online forums or message boards. Communicate through messages, chat and email and you can drop each other a quick note during work even to offer support. Being able to jot down a quick email about your frustration or exhaustion for you buddy to help you with is very therapeutic as well.

7. Don’t Make Weight Loss a Job

Some people are terrific at losing weight. They are exercise buffs and can count the number of calories in a single chip, but for the parent who is already stretched entirely too thin, you simply can’t take on another job. Many weight loss plans start with terrific intentions but fail simply because they take too much time and planning. Rather than looking at weight loss as another job you must do during the course of the day, consider it your life outside of work. All of the things you need for a solid diet are actually part of a healthy lifestyle – nutritious foods, regular exercise, solid rest, plenty of water.

Setting goals and keeping records is a wonderful way to run a business, and your life is certainly your business, but losing weight should be a by-product of your life once you are able to put your basic elements in place.

8. Throw Out the Junk

Worn out parents are snackers. If you have a great deal of junk just sitting around your house waiting for you to pick it up and put it in your mouth, get rid of it. If there is nothing left in your home, you have a more serious need for some healthy foods in your household. Start in the pantry and move through the cabinets, drawers and fridge looking for anything that is empty calories. If an item has no serious redeeming value, throw it out.

This is likely to cause upset with other family members, but in truth you don’t want your children eating so much junk, so this is a good move for them as well. Simply provide healthier snacks instead to ease their transition away from pure junk food. If you have a partner or spouse who throws a fit about losing junk food and his need for salt and sweets, explain to him that you are trying to improve the overall health of the family. If he is desperate for junk, he can go to the store, buy it himself and keep it in his drawers. The serious junkies will do exactly this, but many will respect your serious intent and get on the bandwagon with you. Either way, you’ve removed most of the temptation at home at least.

9. Don’t Eat at Night

Make it a solid, unbendable rule that you don’t eat at the end of the day. Many parents make it to the end of the day only to grab that delicious treat you’ve been planning for all day. A giant bowl of ice cream or a bag of crisps is certainly delicious and can help you relax for the few minutes you’re allowed to yourself before bed, but calories at night add up the fastest and are almost always nutritionally empty junk food rather than something to give you energy and nutrients.

If you’re dying for ice cream, by all means have it, just be sure you have it before seven o’clock at night – preferably before you take the kids to the park to give you a better chance to burn off the extra calories.

10. Find Other Rewards

Another favorite trick of the tired working parent is to make food a reward at the end of the day. That large cookie beckons as a reminder of how hard you work every day. A rich plate of pasta will certainly give you the energy you need, and what good is pasta like that without a dessert to reward you for the hardships of the day? Making food a reward is an almost surefire way to gain weight. The exhausted and emotionally drained parent will turn anything into an opportunity for a reward.

The trick is to eliminate the reward and food relationship. Rewards are a great way to relax and there are far too many other luxuries available to make food the reward. Instead reward yourself with a leisurely bath or a night full of bad reality television with the dishes still in the sink. Manicures, pedicures and online purchases are just as heady as food and they last longer.

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