15 Ways to Conquer Mom Overwhelm

15 Ways to Conquer Mom Overwhelm

This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

15 Ways to Conquer Mom Overwhelm

Mom life is tough. You’ve got about 50 problems coming at you at once and you’re just trying to keep everyone alive without going insane.

When my 4 kids are all screaming at once, there’s a puddle of pee on my floor, and my house looks like the aftermath of a tornado it takes a lot to not lock myself in the bathroom and cry.

While the joys of motherhood are real and intense, so are the dramatic lows where you find yourself locked in a bathroom with little fists pounding on the door as you cry in frustration and despair.

While it’s impossible to be The Perfect Mom™ (newsflash: she doesn’t exist) there are many ways that you can keep overwhelm at bay. These simple habits will not only help you avoid overwhelm, but be happier and healthier.

1) Make your health a priority.

This is most important thing you can do, and yet it’s the first thing that gets kicked to the curb when overwhelm hits.

But think about airplane safety. The flight attendant always goes through that little thing where they remind you that in case of an emergency to put on your own mask first.

This absolutely applies to motherhood.

So many moms put their needs last, afraid to take care of themselves thinking it will take away from their kids. But it’s not a win-lose game where if you are focusing on yourself, your kids are missing out.

It’s actually the opposite: The better care you give yourself, the better equipped you are to take care of your family. You can’t give your kids your best when you are running on empty and about to lose it.

2) Get enough sleep.

Quality sleep may be challenging as a busy mom, but it’s possible. It’s just not going to happen on it’s own. It’s gonna take some effort to lay this important foundation for your health. Here are some strategies to improve your sleep.

Sleep should be your number 1 health priority. Your sleep is 100% linked to basically every part of your health (weight, energy level, skin health etc). It’s also directly correlated to the amount of patience you have (which comes in handy as a mom).

When we are exhausted, we eat entire bags of chips and move at a snails pace as we try and attack our to-do lists. We lose our cool and yell at our kids. Great sleep is the foundation for being a happy, healthy, and organized mom.

conquer-mom-overwhelm

3) Wake up before your kids.

Waking up before your kids will supercharge your productivity and give you important “me time” when you are energized.

Even if it’s just enough time to get dressed, brush your teeth, and set your intentions (see #5). Waking up before your kids puts you in control of your day from the beginning. You’re not just responding to the bedside demands from your children as they ply you from your covers.

I find that waking up early, exercising, and getting a few thing done before my kids are awake honestly makes me feel like there are more hours in the day. For tips to wake up early, check out these 9 fail-proof tips.

4) Make your bed.

If you’re skeptical of this one, I get it. I used to think making my bed was the biggest waste of time. That is, until I actually gave it a shot. Now I’m a full believer in the power of making your bed everyday.

Making your bed right when you wake up gives you and immediate and visible “win” for the day. You get a little jolt of happiness/and or feeling of accomplishment. Starting your day with an easy win, sets you up to start knocking more tasks out of your way.

Also, one major source of mom overwhelm is clutter and disarray. Simply keeping your bed and bedroom in order will soothe your worried soul when the rest of your house looks like a tornado swept through it.

Simply, I get more done on days that I make my bed.

5) Set your intentions for the day in the morning.

You can do anything, but you can’t do everything. This is especially true for moms. You’ve got a million things coming at you at once and little people to keep alive.

So how can you manage your home, family, AND prioritize your health? At the start of your day, you’ve got to determine what the most important things you can accomplish today. Where will your focus be?

This can take many forms. For example:

  • to-do lists
  • visualization
  • journaling
  • talking it out with your spouse

The key is to decide, right off the bat, what are the few things that you want accomplish for the day. Then you don’t let the little challenges (that inevitably come) derail your day.

For example, if my goals are to be an attentive mom and to get some meal prepping done, then a dirty house or an unexpected phone call wont throw me off. When my child slips and falls, I’ll snuggle her and ignore my messy house. When someone calls to chat, I’ll find a way keep it short and get back to making meals.

conquer-mom-overwhelm

 

6) Find an exercise you enjoy & do it regularly.

We all know we should be exercising. The benefits are awesome for both physical and mental health. It boosts your mood and gives you more energy throughout the day.

But the key isn’t just exercising, it’s actually finding something you want to do. If it’s not something you look forward to, you aren’t going to do it when life gets crazy. Which then just makes life harder to handle.

Find an exercise activity that you like and schedule it regularly. Not everyone has to love the gym or running or crossfit. Don’t beat yourself up or try and force yourself. Find what works for you and you’ll actually look forward to doing it.

7) Pick your battles wisely.

Every day, you are bombarded with challenges. But YOU decide which are worth even dealing with.

You can’t do it all, but you can do what is important and valuable to YOU.

For example, I do not battle over my kids clothes and hair. It does not affect my happiness one bit. Instead, the fact that they dress themselves from about age 2 and on makes my life considerably easier. 

Do they look like they were dressed by someone dropping acid? Sure! But they love having control and autonomy over how they look. And I skip any battle over brushing their hair or making sure they match. 

(Note: We do “brush our hair for Jesus” so they look presentable at church. Usually.)

On the other hand, I am really concerned about creating healthy eating habits. Therefore, I put a lot more energy and effort into preparing healthy foods and encouraging them to like things that are good for their bodies.

Pick your priorities and let go of the rest.

8) Shower & get dressed everyday.

Showering and getting dressed for the day will make you more productive and efficient.

Mind you, “dressed for the day” does not mean you need to be ready for an Instagram lifestyle shot. It means you are clean, clothed (no pajamas), and have brushed your teeth. Figure out what kind of daily “uniform” is easy to throw on. but makes you feel “ready”.

By the way, this shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes. Remember, dry shampoo is your best friend. It’s going to save you so much time! 

Brilliant Hacks to Conquer Mom Overwhelm

9) Spend 15 minutes on laundry every day.

Spending a little time everyday doing something is far more effective than massive and sporadic bursts of activity. This principle applies perfectly to that fearsome beast: laundry.

A little everyday will ensure that it doesn’t ever get out of control. Think about it: in fifteen minutes, you can throw in a load of laundry and fold the laundry from your load the day before.

This has absolutely changed my life. As a mother of 4, laundry plagued my life. Especially folding. Ugh. I would do one big push a week, gathering, sorting, washing. It was a massive undertaking. And I could never manage to get much folded. Which meant living out of the clean laundry baskets (a time-sucking habit).

But now, I fit my “laundry 15” into my regular morning routine of taking care of kids and cleaning up after breakfast. I spend far less time on it, yet it never gets out of control.

10) Give individual attention and snuggles to each child daily.

Having 4 kids means that this takes some thought. But this goes a LONG way to create a happy home.

Lot’s of snuggles make happier kids. And crabby kids make for a crabby and frustrated mama.

Remember, most crabby kids don’t need a lecture: they need a good long hug. More snuggles usually translate into a happier day. For everyone.

11) Have a reliable babysitter (or several)

There are a few facts of life you can count on. Water is wet. The sky is blue. And you need to get out of your house without your kids.

Whether on a date with your husband or when an emergency pops up, you need someone you trust that can watch you kids. If you don’t have family to rely on, it sometimes takes time and effort to find these people. But it’s worth it.

Also, having a mother mom friend with whom you can trade babysitting is magical for a busy mom. I highly recommend finding a trading buddy. I’m lucky enough to live just a few miles from my college BFF, so we often do date night trade offs.

12) Live by 1 minute rule

This is simple: If a task will take only 1 minute or less to complete, do it right away.

Whether it’s putting something away, responding to a text, throwing away junk mail, or clearing off the counter. If it takes less than a minute, do it immediately.

This gives you 2 boosts: you get the satisfaction of getting something done plus it creates momentum to accomplish more tasks. And it keeps small tasks from building up and becoming overwhelming.

13) Use the “10 minute clean” philosophy.

When you have huge messes to clean and no time (i.e. every moment of your life), this strategy is perfect. Especially when you’ve just put the kids down for bed.

Muster whatever strength you have for just 10 minutes and do a whirlwind clean. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in 10 minutes of focused effort.

It’s usually enough to get areas of your house in good enough shape to feel fine moving on to an essential task or going to bed (see #2).

 

14) Declutter, declutter, declutter.

The more things you have, the more messes you have to clean up. So the more clutter you have, the more time it takes to manage it and the crazier you feel.

My favorte decluttering stratiegy: Marie Kondo’s The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up

This book immediately changed my life. Not only did we get rid of 1/3 of our possessions and make hundreds of dollars selling stuff, but it made my home a million time easier to manage (and more pleasant to be in!).

If you feel like your house it cluttered, get this book, read it, and let the magic rain upon you like dew from heaven. 

15) Have a soul-satisfying outlet built into your schedule.

You love being a mom. You adore your children. But you can’t be fulfilled as a person when you lose sight of yourself outside of your role as “mom”.

You need an outlet that makes your soul happy and makes you feel quintessentially YOU. Whether playing music, singing, reading, crafting, DIY, going to flea markets, or whatever. You need something that brings you joy and satisfaction apart from being a mom. And you need to do it regularly.

Banish mom overwhelm bit-by-bit

Being a mom is hard, but through the difficulty and overwhelm comes the moment of sheer bliss. Like when you see your child says “I love you” for the first time and gives you a big wet kiss. Or watching your child show kindness to another child at the park. When we put systems in place that help eliminate overwhelm, we can have more of those sweet moments of pure joy and fewer where we want to scream into our pillows. You don’t need to try and do it all at once. Start with one tip and see what happens.

You’ve got this, mama!

Brilliant Hacks to Conquer Mom Overwhelm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not Giving Up: Getting into Shape after 4 Pregnancies

Not Giving Up: Getting into Shape after 4 Pregnancies

It was pretty much my worst nightmare. Except it was really happening.

People swarmed around me while I stepped on a scale and a muscly guy with 8% body fat recorded my weight and my body measurements. And if that wasn’t bad enough, Mr. Muscles then proceeds to stare in disbelief at the numbers he’d just jotted down.

“But I see you in here all the time,” he said, genuinely perplexed.

And I had nothing to say.

I’d been working with a personal trainer for a whole month, giving everything I could to getting into shape after 4 pregnancies and yet there was absolutely no discernable difference in any of my measurements. Like any.

Not a pound. Not an inch.

Nothing.

My kindly trainer could not figure out what was going on. Not only did I show up in beast-mode daily at the gym (he was a witness!), but I was breastfeeding, right? Hadn’t he read like EVERYWHERE that breastfeeding just melts away body fat? Why wasn’t I melting?

I could feel myself slipping into a junior high-like feeling of insecurity. Deflated and disappointed.

Well, I explained, it didn’t work that way for me. In fact, I usually gained weight while I nursed.

We finished the workout, my usual enthusiasm absent. And like the little leaguer after the last game of a losing season, I went home ashamed and defeated.

Weight loss after 4 babies

Couldn’t shake it

Days later, I couldn’t help but replay the humiliation of the scale and the measuring tape.

What was I going to do? I was exercising daily and changing how I eat. Basically, I was giving everything to getting in shape. And apparently, it wasn’t getting me anywhere.

I’d mulled over my failure for a week when the thought suddenly dawned on me: Actually, things had really changed.

First off, I was nursing and I wasn’t gaining weight.

Wait a minute…this is HUGE!!!!

Also, I had more energy, slept better, and I simply felt better.

While the fruits of my labor were invisible, things were actually changing for me. I realized then that my hard work was indeed paying off.

And I wasn’t about to quit.

The Dreaded Fourth Baby Body

Just a few months earlier, I knew I was ready for a serious lifestyle change.

Looking in the mirror shortly after the birth of my 4th child December of  2016, I was shocked by how drastically 4 pregnancies in under 5 years (and a whole lotta stress) had altered my body.

To begin, I was the heaviest I’d ever been not pregnant. And more than the weight, my body showed all the signs of 4 years of not making exercise a priority. Nothing remained of a once-toned body.

But my belly. Oh, my belly.  

While pregnancy always left my tummy soft and droopy, this time it was different. My stomach basically looked like a huge pile of discarded pizza dough. While the 1st three pregnancies certainly impacted my belly, the fourth pregnancy seemed to have made a bet that it could blow away all the others in level of destruction.

And it clearly won.

Now, I firmly believe in loving your body–scars, stretch marks and all. But because I love and respect my body, I was resolved that things were going to seriously change. Perhaps my pizza dough mom belly would never completely go away, but I was determined to have the healthiest body possible.

Getting into shape after 4 pregnancies would not be easy, but I was like a toddler fixated on an unreachable toy. I was bound and determined to get what I wanted.

Once the 6 week postpartum mark approached, I swallowed my fears and insecurities and marched straight into the gym and got a membership. Determined to change (and a sucker for a well-honed sales technique), I even signed up for a personal trainer.

And nearly every single day, I showed up at the gym. The sweaty sore spot in a sea of fit and fashionable gym goers.

Weight loss after 4 babies

Getting into Shape after 4 Pregnancies

Babe Ruth once said, “You just can’t beat the person who never gives up.”

After the disappointing weigh-in, I resolved that I was not about to be be beaten by a scale and a measuring tape. My journey to health was just too dang important.  

So on I plowed, more determined than ever.

While I only continued with the trainer for a few more sessions, I continued to workout regularly and research health and fitness topics. After getting the go-ahead from my pediatrician, I started intermittent fasting while I nursed.

Suddenly, the changes started to happen more rapidly.  I gradually developed healthier habits. And, lo-and-behold, the number on the scale actually started falling.

Just this week, almost a year to the day of the catestrophic weighin, I ran into my old trainer at the gym. Mere feet from the scale and drawer that held the measuring tape. .

But this meeting was waaaay different from the year before. My determination and hard work paid off: I had lost 30 lbs while gaining a ton of muscle, completely reshaping my body.  

“Wow. You look great!” he said. “Smaller every time I see you.”

We stood and chatted for several minutes and caught up on each others’ lives.

It wasn’t until after we said our goodbyes that I realized that it had been almost exactly a year since that intensely disappointing day when I could see no discernable impact of all my hard work.

Ironically enough, I realized that I was even wearing the exact same shirt (that fit much looser now).

What I couldn’t see the year before, but saw so clearly now was that my hard work did pay off. From the moment I started my health journey, even though I couldn’t see the results, I had started on the path that led me to very real changes.

Weight loss after 4 babies

Determination is everything

When you are determined to change a habit–whether it’s not yelling at your kids, eating healthier, reading more, waking up earlier, exercising more, keeping up wth your laundry–the most important thing you can do after you decide to change is to never give up.

Even when the results are invisible and you feel like you’re going nowhere.

If you are actively working towards your goal, getting back up after you fall, reassessing your strategies, educating yourself, big changes will come.

Even if you’ve failed a million times before.

Results may come slowly, but they will come if you keep trying and never give up no matter how many times you fall.

Honestly, I still haven’t reached my health goals. I still have about 20 more pounds to lose and there are still habits I want to change. I’m not per definitely mess up. (In fact, I may have eaten half a wheel of brie today…)

But this I know:

You just can’t beat the person who never gives up

Stick with it, mama. If I can do it, so can you. You’ve got this!

 

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12 Steps to Combat Picky Eating and Create Healthy Mealtime Habits

12 Steps to Combat Picky Eating and Create Healthy Mealtime Habits

This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience.  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

 

12 Steps to Combat Picky Eating and Create Healthy Mealtime Habits

We all want to be good moms. Which means feeding our kids nourishing food and helping them have healthy eating habits. Or at least, theoretically that’s how it’s supposed to go down.

The reality is that meal time can be a battle ground of wills. 

This was how meal time went down at our house:

  1. I’d have spent serious time preparing a bunch of delicious food.
  2. I call my family to the table.
  3. My kids devolve into tears and gagging noises, convinced I’m are trying to poison them.
  4. My pride dashed, I turn into Cranky Mommy 

And thus the mealtime battle begins.

Needless to say, I’ve struggled mightily to get my kids to eat healthy foods.

And it seemed like my efforts to get them to eat (e.g. “no dessert until you finish” or “5 more bites”) only seemed to keep the food battles raging.

So I started reading everything that I could and trying stuff out on my kids.

Turns out, all that conventional wisdom (“you have to clear your plate before you leave the table!”) is entirely unhelpful for creating kids with healthy eating habits.

After some great books (this one was my absolute favorite), I found a much better way to tackle the meal-time troubles. As I eliminated the struggle and conflict from our meals, my kids automatically started to be more exploratory with foods and developed healthier habits. 

But I’m not alone in my struggles. 

Picky Eaters Are Everywhere

As many as 50% or kids, at least for a period of time, fall into the category of “picky eater”. As a parent, this is incredibly frustrating. You’re going to great pains in trying to nourish your offspring and instill healthy eating habits while your child wants to just eat fishy crackers and Doritos.

But you can create a healthy home and instill healthy eating habits–even in your pickiest eaters.

Here are 12 tips to help you do just that.

12 Steps to combat picky eating & create healthy mealtime habits

12 Steps to combat picky eating & create healthy mealtime habits

1) Get your husband on the same page.

Nothing will sabotage any new parenting endeavor then being undermined by the other parent. However, I’ve found that this is usually because I didn’t fully inform him of the new strategy I was trying.

Sit down with your partner and determine what kinds of foods you want to be eating and your plan of action. Sending mixed messages to your kids will just communicate that you aren’t serious. 

2) Involve your child

Ask your child what you should make. At the grocery store, have them help you pick out foods. Kids love picking out produce. Have them help you in the kitchen preparing the meal.

This was really helpful in our house. Involving my pickiest eater in the cooking process has not only been fun and bonding, but she’s now much more likely to eat something she helped prepare.

3) Never force kids to eat

Forcing kids to eat just ensures that kids will have negative associates with mealtime and the food you are forcing them to eat.

But taking all the fight, forcing, and negotiating out of your meals will make your child more comfortable and secure. When they’re more comfortable and secure they are more likely to eat the foods you offer.

But I know it’s so hard. When your kid is refusing to eat anything but Skittles, your first inclination is to dig in and win the battle (at least for me). Problem is the more you battle, the more your child resists. Resisting and refusing is how your child exerts control.

Which is why they start refusing foods they used to like!

This was especially true with my second daughter. Even mentioning that I was making dinner, she would start pouting and exclaiming that she didn’t like what I was making.Never mind that she wouldn’t actually know what I was making!

But because we battled and negotiated our way through meals in order to get healthy foods in her body, the mention of dinner geared her up for a fight.

When we changed our strategy (thanks to this amazing book that I highly recommend, It’s Not About the Broccoli), we stopped all forcing and negotiating. Instead, we provided lots of healthy food options and let her pick. At first, she ate a lot of rice. But with the pressure gone, over time my ultra-picky daughter began trying new things.

Ironically, her diet has improved immensely by turning the power over to her.

Forcing kids to eat just ensures that kids will have negative associates with mealtime and the food you are forcing them to eat.

12 Steps to combat picky eating & create healthy mealtime habits

4) Set a good example

Children are much more likely to do what you do and not what you say. Our children are walking testaments to our actions, not our words. This applies to how we eat as well.

I’ve also found that if I am eating anything around my kids, they will want to try some. From salads to smoothies packed with kale, if I’m eating and enjoying something, my kids want a piece of the action. And I’ve been really surprised by what my children will not only try, but end up really liking.  

5) Keep only healthy options around your house

If there aren’t unhealthy options littering your kitchen and pantry, then your child will have little else to beg for in place of the meal they’ve been presented.

For example, I never have juice or soda around the house and I only buy dense whole grain bread. They think white bread is candy. So all sandwiches or toast is made with heavy fiber and nutrient-packed bread. I try to keep all snack foods they healthiest options available.

6) Make meals fun

Making mealtime fun is will go a long way in having your associate healthy eating with positive emotions. If mealtimes are a always a battle, everyone is trained to get frustrated at dinner time!

Get your kids to help out, experiment with fun dips and sauces, and switch it up (like breakfast for dinner).

7) Don’t make a seperate meal

Making a seperate meal for your child–while it may keep the peace at dinner time–only ensures that picky and limited eating will continue.  When one of my kids outright refuse everything (rare), they are always welcome to have any raw vegtables, nuts or seeds, and sometime fruit. But no seperate meal.

8) Don’t bribe with dessert

This just teaches kids that healthy food is bad, but must be suffered through to get to the true reward: dessert. If dessert is the reward, then dessert is always the goal–not healthy eating habits.

I’ll admit that I tried this…a lot. And the result was that my children would constantly try and negotiate “how many bites” until they earned dessert. It wasn’t about eating until fullness. It was all about the dessert.

If your goal is to help your children enjoy healthy eating, bribing with dessert will not get you there. 

We eliminated dessert entirely for a while just to avoid any temptation to have dessert as a reward.

9) Introduce 1 new food at a time with foods they already like

I have found time and again that of I have 2-3 things I know my kids like at a meal and a third or fourth thing that they will try for the 1st time, they are much more likely to try the new thing than if I just try and give then a plate of full of new and strange food.

10) Offer fruits and vegetables with every snack and meal.

First off, if you want to get kids to eat healthy foods you have to offer it to them. A lot. Kid have to be exposed more than 10 times to a food before they may like it. That means the more your expose them, the faster they can develop a taste for these foods.

Secondly, if you are constantly offering fruits and veggies to your children it will help eliminate that urge to force them to eat vegetables at dinner because they haven’t eaten a plat all day. Knowing that they’ve had bites of healthy foods during the day can put your mind at ease and keep the food battle far from your house.

11) Stick to a Routine

Keep meals and snack times at roughly the same time everyday. If a child isn’t hungry for a meal or snack, then they should be hungry enough once the next one comes around.

12) Be consistent

Children’s brains are pattern seeking. If the pattern is that you enforce something new for a day or two and then forget about it, they pick that up quickly. But if you maintain consistency with your expectations and practices, they will pick that up and develop healthy eating habits.

For most people, healthy eating habits aren’t just going to manifest overnight. But through consistently encouraging healthy eating through these steps you can help your children try new foods, enjoy healthy eating, and create habits that will serve them for life. You can create a home of healthy eaters.

If you’re looking for additional reading, I highly recommend It’s Not About the Broccoli: Three Habits to Teach Your Kids For a Lifetime of Healthy Eating. It completely changed how my children eat. No more food battles and a lot of healthy eating. 

You’ve got this, mama.

13 Tips for Intermittent Fasting While Breastfeeding

13 Tips for Intermittent Fasting While Breastfeeding

This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience (which means that, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission)  Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Tips for Intermittent Fasting While Breastfeeding

Intermittent fasting has been a godsend for me. I’ve reclaimed my health, losing over 35 lbs in the year since I started. And I’ve finally lost the baby weight from 4 back-to-back pregnancies. All while breastfeeding. And taking care of 4 busy kids.

For me, intermittent fasting while breastfeeding has been the gateway to healthy habits and establishing a healthy lifestyle (you can read more about my experience here).

Because of my results, I’ve been asked a lot about what exactly I did to successfully breastfeed while doing intermittent fasting (IF). After nearly a year of intermittent fasting and breastfeeding, here are my top tips and recommendations:

13 tips for success doing intermittent fasting while breastfeeding

 1) Start slowly

Be gentle with yourself. This is not a quick-fix solution for weight loss. Your priority is health, both yours and your baby’s.

To ensure you don’t disrupt your milk supply, start slowly. Start with a 12 hour fasting period (for example, 8:00 pm to 8:00 am) and then gradually increase it from there to a 14 or 16 hour fasting window. 

To keep track your fasting/eating hours, download the free printable intermittent fasting and breastfeeding weekly log at the bottom of this post!

Since adjusting, I have mostly done a 16:8 (16 hours fasting, 8 hours eating). My body is very comfortable with that and I rarely feel actual hunger.  I feel best eating between a 6 and 8 hour window.

2) Listen to your body

What is true hunger vs. simply wanting to eat? We spend so much of our life ignoring our body’s signals of true hunger and fullness.

Tune into your body and determine whether you’re experiencing hunger or just in the habit of eating. Pay attention to emotional triggers that send you straight to the fridge, even when you’re not actually hungry.

On this IF journey, I’ve had to wrestle with the fact that I am an emotional eater. My husband has a major work success. So we celebrate with milkshakes AFTER a huge meal.

My child gets injured and we rush her to the ER. So I nervously down a huge bag of vending machine Skittles.

I’m overwhlemed with work, kids, and my many responsibilites. And I find myself in a fast food drive-thru despite the fact I just ate and am not at all hungry.

Cutting through the emotional noise and actually listening to my true hunger cues has been a revelation. I’ve gotten back to my pre-4 kids wedding weight without counting any calories.

I also pay close attention to how what I eat affects my body. After 5 sugar cookies, I am zapped of energy and feel seriously gross. But after the green smoothie, I’ve got all the energy I need to keep up with 4 little kids. 

Not only do I eat fewer calories naturally, but paying attention to how food make me feel had helped me make healthier food choices. 

 3) Drink lots of water

One of the few things my pediatrician insisted on was drinking tons of water. Since I’m never without my trusty, (very banged-up) Hydroflask (the BEST water bottle ever), it hasn’t been a problem.

You need lots of water to maintain your milk supply.  And plus, it also helps navigating true hunger pains. And it makes your skin nice, too!

intermittent fasting and breastfeediing

4) Don’t go nuts with exercise

As your body adjusts to a new eating pattern, don’t overdo your exercise routine. While you should certainly exercise regularly, gradually increase your intensity so as not to shock your body. 

When I started, I would exercise a few days a week for 25 minutes (doing this workout program). As I grew accustomed to IF, I now do a pretty intense weekly regime (heavy weights and HIIT cardio at the gym 3 days a week and running 2-3 days a week). 

5) Exercise right before breaking your fast

Experts recommend exercising immediately before breaking your fast in order to reap the greatest metabolic benefits.

At first, I thought that I wouldn’t have the energy to exercise, but now I feel best exercising on an empty stomach. I have the most energy in the hours before breaking my fast. 

Just make sure that you eat protein-rich food quickly after working out. I often will make a protein and fiber packed smoothie to break my fast (frozen berries, greens, chia seeds, hemp seeds, coconut butter, vegan protein powder).

6) Skip breakfast

Most people find this is the easiest way to do IF.

Because I’d always heard that skipping breakfast was the worst thing your could every do, for years I’d eat breakfast despite not feeling hungry. In listening to my body, skipping breakfast and starting my meals at noon gives me an energized morning.  

7) Plan a satisfying 1st meal

This was especially important in the beginning. Your first meal should be both delicious and satisfying. A meal heavy on protein and fiber will set you up well for the day.

When I first started to do IF, I was just trying to get a handle on my out-of-control cravings. I wanted to eat ALL OF THE THINGS. All the time.

So making a delicious 1st meal was really important to help ease my cravings. As I adjusted to intermittent fasting while breastfeeding and my craving subsided, my meals naturally became healthier and healthier. 

8) Stop eating after dinner

As you go through the day, you are using up your limited store of willpower. After dinner, most of us have very little willpower left. Therefore, eating anything during this time may send us for a ride on the binge-eating train packed to the gills with sugar and carbs.  

9) Take PGX before meals

At first, you may be tempted to overeat. Especially, at your first meal of the day. But that will just leave you zapped of energy and will NOT help you achieve your health goals. PGX can help with that.

I first heard about the supplement PGX when I read Dr. Hyman’s 10-Day Detox Diet (which is awesome) where he highly recommends taking it before each meal. PGX is a soluble fiber from natural sources that helps regulate blood sugar, reduces food cravings, and helps with appetite control.

Since it takes 20 minutes after eating for your body to feel fullness, taking a few PGX fiber capsules with water before eating can help with overeating.

I typically take 3-6 capsules a few minutes before eating a meal (especially my first meal of the day) and it helps me not to go nuts and eat everything in my sight. If I’m feeling especially hungry, it helps me not to feel so ravenous so I don’t eat so much that I feel gross.

intermittent fasting and breastfeediing

10) Get protein and fiber with each meal and snack

This combination has been really helpful in satisfying my hunger without overeating. There are so many possible combinations.

For a meal, I’ll eat chicken or fish with a ton of baked veggies and maybe some whole grains. Or I’ll have a smoothie packed with greens, seeds, coconut or almond butter, nuts, some fruit, and vegan protein powder. A snack might be an apple with almond butter or some nuts and raw veggies. 

10) Experiment with meal schedule

To find out what works best for you, you may have to experiment a bit before finding what works. For me, this meant a satisfying, protein-rich meal at noon, a snack a few hours later, and then eating a final meal with my family at 6:00 pm or so.

11) Take your Vitamins

Be sure to continue taking the vitamins your pediatrician recommends while you breastfeed. For me, this means continuing my prenatals and taking vitamin D.

12) Quickly forgive yourself when you “mess up”

Don’t let minor setbacks stop you from your health goals. “Messing up” is just how we learn new habits and skills.

My success has come entirely because I refuse to give up, not because I eat perfectly. Seriously, most people can’t do the cold turkey approach.  

Most of us give into temptations as we claw our way to better health. Just get back up every time you fall and there is nothing you can’t accomplish. It may take some time, but you will do it.

Intermittent fasting while breastfeeding is possible

For the last year, I have practiced intermittent fasting while breastfeeding. Through following the tips above, it’s been of one of the most important steps I’ve taken to conquer my cravings, lose my baby weight from 4 pregnancies, and finally reclaim my health.

It was the vehicle through which I have managed to slowly lose over 30 lbs while creating a healthy lifestyle. I hope that what I’ve learned from doing IF will help you on your health journey. Just remember, your biggest priority is health: your health and the health of your baby.

Good luck, mama!