If you’ve been having a hard time losing weight post-partum, you can probably blame your baby. One of the biggest obstacles to losing weight is a lack of sleep. And if you have a baby, your little one is probably the only thing keeping you up at 1 am…and 3 am…and 4 am. So how exactly does sleep affect weight loss?
- Your decision-making skills suffer
When you’re tired, the front lobe of the brain slows down. The front lobe is the part that controls decision-making and impulses. So, instead of thinking clearly and deciding to go for a jog, you end up binging on potato chips. Or you forget your sneakers when you go to the gym.
- The reward center of your brain amps up
This is like a double whammy. You make poor decisions, and you want to reward yourself more than usual. If you walk a block, you might feel the urge to eat five giant cookies. And if you handled a screaming baby all day, you might reward yourself with a five course meal. Sure, you deserve it, but this makes it almost impossible to lose weight.
Leptin is a hormone that tells you to stop eating. But when you don’t sleep, your leptin levels drop drastically. When you eat, it’s hard to stop. Another hormone is cortisol, and no sleep increases your cortisol. Cortisol makes your body save energy (aka fat) for a later time. So those trips to the gym might not be as effective.
- Being up more means you snack more
Lastly, and this one is pretty obvious, being up more means you eat more. Having breakfast at 4 am means you might eat lunch at 7 am, then dinner at 11 am. Being up at 3 am, you might be tempted to snack on donut holes. Being up all day and night means you eat all day and night.
Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to fight the effects of no sleep, other than to sleep. And that’s not an option with a baby who sleeps… like a baby (in the real spirit of the expression, not what people with babies say). The best thing you can do is to be aware of your choices. Think carefully before you scarf down that pint of ice cream. Are you actually hungry? Be aware, and if you can, find a way to get some sleep!
Hi Everyone! I'm Danielle, and I'm a little bit of a fitness nut. Since having my 1-year old son, working out has been a little more difficult. Between breastfeeding and running around with a baby who does not EVER sit still, I've had to learn how to workout a whole new way. Join me on Workout Wednesdays as I share my post-baby workout tips. You can learn how to get (or stay) healthy while you juggle being SuperMom!