Losing Baby Weight: Working vs. Staying Home

The decision to remain at home with your newborn or to return to work is a personal one. Your own socio-economic and personal factors will dictate your choice, but there is something else to keep in mind….your waistline!

By Ellen Slotkin, Registered Dietician

Working vs. Staying at Home – How it Affects Losing Baby Weight

Our Parenthood Baby Weight Loss survey found that working moms were more successful at losing baby weight than those who stayed home, especially in the first 6 months post-delivery.

Why the difference? There are several possible explanations. New stay-at-home moms may find themselves in some new, very different food environments than when they were working.

New mom at home1. You are feeling more domestic. You may be preparing more meals at home than you did while you were working. For some moms, that means sampling that food along the way. What seems like only a few small bites here and spoonful there, can add up to unwanted pounds. Be mindful of tasting your creations, and remember that “tasting” means just that.

2. You are in closer proximity to food than you would be at work. (ie. The kitchen is in the other room… and it is calling you!) Healthy eating begins at the grocery store, so be proactive and keep tempting treats to a minimum. Fill your fridge with nutrient dense choices.

3. You may eat situationally- when bored, lonely, or while watching television. If you were accustomed to working outside of the home, being at home may promote some of these situations. Be sure to plan socializing opportunities with other moms and their little ones. As one mom said, “The best way to lose weight, is when I’m too busy to eat, I hardly have to think about it.”

4. Having children may change your eating habits. No one likes to waste food. So when she sees that her child’s plate is still partially full after he eats- many a mom will finish it herself. In fact 5% of moms surveyed said that they “always” finished their child’s plate, while more than a third did so “sometimes”. Those little bites can add up so be conscious of your actions.

Weight Control Tips for Stay-at-Home Moms

You have finally gotten your baby down for her afternoon nap. You flip on the television to catch up on your favorite talk show…you aren’t actually hungry, but those cookies in the cabinet might are calling your name... and you think, it might be nice to have them and watch the show… before you know it your one time nibble has become an afternoon routine, and a major barrier to dropping those unwanted baby inches…

But don’t distress, staying home doesn’t necessarily mean that you will gain weight! Here are some tips to being a fit and fabulous stay at home mom:

1. Say “yes” to snacks, just make wise choices! Why not indulge in a pre-cut vegetable tray with hummus? Raw celery is a good source of vitamins C, K, and potassium and a waist-friendly snack at only 19 calories per cup. High in vitamins C, K, A, folate and fiber, raw broccoli proves a diet-friendly snack at a mere 43 calories per cup. Adding ¼ cup of hummus provides you with heart healthy “good” fats, and 2.5 grams of fiber at only 108 calories.

2. Wear your workout clothes all day. Your baby’s impromptu nap can be an opportunity for you to sneak in a quick jaunt up and down the stairs. Since stair climbing at a moderate pace can burn 250-300 calories per half hour, several trips a day can help you stay svelte and toned.

3. Location, location, location. Focus on adding activities that are easily done at our near your home. Walking around your neighborhood is free, can be done any time, and requires little to no equipment. Best of all it can burn on average 200-400 calories per hour (it will vary depending on your speed and weight). At home workout DVDs can help you sneak in activity throughout the day while your little one naps or plays nearby. Why not get the kids involved? Toddlers and older children can have fun imitating your aerobics moves.

4. Keep a daily food record. Record what you eat, when you eat, and how hungry you were at the time (you can rank your hunger 0-5). Food records will allow you to recognize your eating patterns and areas for improvement. Once you have identified areas for change, keep a list of your dietary goals on the refrigerator.

Top Tips for Avoiding Office Food Temptations

Snack at Work1. Come armed with reinforcements. Sure a 350 calorie slice of birthday cake may be tempting, but you’ll be more likely to resist if you’ve savored a 6oz nonfat yogurt with a teaspoon of honey first.

2. Water, water, all around. Keeping your work space stocked with water bottles and low-calorie flavored waters can help curb an afternoon sweets craving.

3. Tackle it from the top. Discuss limiting high fat and calorie foods with your office manager. Some offices have a “once a month” rule where holidays and birthdays are celebrated, and diet-busters are banned. Request whole grain bagels and light cream cheese and fresh fruit for catered breakfast meetings. There is strength in numbers, so approaching other officemates to make similar requests can help make a healthier work environment a reality. Chances are your coworkers will appreciate the changes!

4. Be minty fresh. Few women are quick to eat after brushing their teeth and using mouthwash so why not try an afternoon freshen up? As an added bonus, research supports that mint scents can boost alertness and may aid weight loss.

5. Pucker up. Apply lipstick for added mouth protection because no one likes to ruin newly painted lips! It just might deter you from an unnecessary office snack.

Want more info? Click Here to Ask the Dietitian.

Return to: Losing the Baby Weight

Ellen Slotkin is a clinical dietitian in Bethesda, Maryland. She is a graduate of Simmons College Boston and completed her post-graduate education at Yale-New Haven Hospital, affiliate of Yale Medical School. Her areas of expertise include nutrition during pregnancy, weight management, and heart healthy nutrition.

: This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. The author disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. The material in this article is intended to be of general informational use and is not intended to constitute medical advice, probable diagnosis, or recommended treatments.