How many times have you made it to the end of the day and thought to yourself, “I ate like complete crap today” but then couldn’t figure out where you went wrong?
Well, I’m here to tell you, you are not alone! Here are the 5 most common reasons for why we eat like crap.
Stress – the big ‘ol elephant in the room. Let’s talk about it. The list of things that stress us out as moms is a mile long…including: Am I producing enough breast milk? Why is my baby still crying? Are we going to be late to xyz appointment…again? What bill is this and why is it so much? Soccer practice is scheduled at the same time as gymnastics and CCD and Girl Scouts?! You get the point. When we are stressed our cortisol levels increase making us crave sugary, fatty foods. When we are stressed we want pizza not salad…we want ice cream not fruit. So, if at the end of the day you are waving the white flag in surrender – accept defeat and move on. You can’t re-do today so let’s focus on tomorrow. New day – clean slate – calories start at 0 again.
Too many carbohydrates – as mentioned above when we are stressed we grab sugary foods – or if we are not prepared carbs are an easy and quick thing to grab: a bagel, a muffin, a pretzel, granola bar, etc. If we’ve gone too long between meals, say if we are working on a project or dealing with the kids – a bowl of cereal is quick and easy and doesn’t require pots and pans and multiple ingredients. When we are hungry and have 5 minutes to ourselves, cereal works just fine. The problem is, when we eat too many carbohydrates- especially on their own- they spike our blood sugar and then after about 20 mins or so we feel hungry again because it then crashes. So what do we do? Go get another handful of pretzels, chips, or grab a donut. The cycle is vicious and can be easily avoided with a little bit of planning.
Not enough protein – I’m talking quality lean meats, eggs, and the vegan/vegetarian complete protein equivalents. A chicken breast has 0 carbohydrates so it will not effect your blood sugar – it digests slowly and keeps you satiated. Chances are after eating a grilled chicken salad you won’t be feeling hungry 20 mins later like after eating a donut.
Didn’t drink enough water – when we don’t consume enough water our body gets confused and thinks we are hungry rather than thursty, so we grab a snack. Drinking water regularly throughout the day will keep the munchies away – a good rule of thumb is to drink half of your body weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 150lbs you would drink 75oz of water per day.
Didn’t exercise – most often when we exercise regularly we are making a conscious effort to live a healthy lifestyle – sure there may be a time or two after a 5k or Spartan Race you down a few beers and burger with some friends, but more often than not we will consciously choose to eat the grilled chicken or fish with the veggies and baked potato. Think about a snow or rainy day when you are stuck inside all day. If you don’t have the luxury of having a home gym or some fitness equipment chances are you aren’t getting out of your pajamas all day and will be parked on the couch watching movies and eating appetizers like weiner dogs and pizza bagels. (Confession…I have a home gym and still have chosen the PJ’s and couch option on a snow day!)
So, the next time you make it to the end of the day and wonder “what the hell happened?” run through this list and see if you missed the mark anywhere and then just make an effort the next day to do better. That’s all we can do – what’s done is done so let’s move forward and make tomorrow a better day.
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