Skipping meals is common for a new mom. She is busy feeding, changing, cleaning, and tending to her new baby. The primary focus in the first few months is the new baby and nothing else. She is definitely not focusing on herself as much as she should. Food is just not a priority.
If you are a busy, new moms who is also trying to lose weight, skipping meals is not the way. Following a very low calorie diet (less than 1000 calories per day) and/or skipping meals and snacks has the opposite effect on your body. It does not promote weight loss, it actually causes weight gain in most cases.
When you follow a very low calorie diet or skip meals you may lose weight initially, but it is mostly from lean muscle tissue. Lean muscle tissue is your muscle mass. The same muscles that keep you strong and looking lean. The same muscles you need to pick up your baby and carry them around. The same muscles that help increase your resting metabolic rate (RMR). Your RMR is the number of calories your body burns each day for you to function. The goal is to have a higher RMR because that would mean you burn more calories with or without exercise. But, if you choose to follow a very restrictive diet, your body will lose lean muscle tissue and you will have a lower RMR. In short, you burn less calories at the end of the day putting you at risk for increased weight gain.
When we skip meals, we often “make up” for it later in the day. If you skip breakfast, you may have a bigger lunch because you are starving by the time lunch comes around. You might consciously eat more because you know you skipped breakfast and have extra calories to consume. And this can happen for any meal, not just breakfast. At the end of the day, you have consumed more calories than you need.
I don’t know about you, but I know if I skip a meal or snack, I am STARVING for the next meal. And when I’m “hangry” I have no self control. I will eat the first thing I can get my hands on, healthy or not. It’s usually not healthy. It’s a quick, convenient, processed food which I overeat because I am so hungry and eat as fast as possible to fuel my body. Again, this leads to overeating and also bad food choices. If you never skip meals and become this “hangry” person, you can make better food choices and control your portions.
The last reason to not skip meals relates to your energy levels. We often forget in a world of delicious, indulgent food, that at the end of the day food is fuel for our bodies. Just like gas is fuel for your cars. And if you don’t properly gas up your car before driving it, it won’t run. That is how food is for our bodies. If we don’t properly fuel it with nutrient rich foods throughout the day, we won’t run 100%. You will be tired, lethargic, and not your best self. It will be tough to take care of your new baby when all you want to do is sleep.
There are many reasons to not skip meals and follow a very low calorie diet to lose weight. Food is our fuel. If we provide our bodies with the right foods in the right amounts, we can function at our best and provide the best care for our new babies. But if you fall into the trap of a new fad diet or “forget” to eat meals, you are only causing harm to your body, hindering your weight loss efforts, and sacrificing your ability to give your baby 100%.