[PODCAST EPISODE 49] Weight Loss and Mommy BurnoutOct 21, 2021
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About the show:
Are you feeling burnt out from everything you do as a mom? And have you noticed that you're eating more food than you normally do because of it? If your answer is YES to both of those questions, then you won't want to miss this episode. We uncover everything that's happening with mommy burnout, how it affects our weight, and exactly how to solve for it. Don't stay stuck. Learn how to move through it. This episode will show you how.
Resources from the show:
- Learn more about The 6 Stages Weight Loss Program
Read the full episode transcript below:
Welcome to the Weight Loss Before and After Pregnancy Podcast. The place you’ll get simple strategies you can apply to your life today to start losing weight. Strategies that’ll help you reach your goal, move on with your life, and focus on the things that matter most to you. I’m your host, Certified Life and Weight Coach, Andrea Scalici. Let’s get started.
Hey, everybody. Welcome to episode 49.
Today, we’re going to talk about weight loss and mommy burnout. To me, this topic feels very urgent. Very important. Because I feel like I’m seeing this everywhere right now from some of my friends, family members, clients, and even myself.
Mommy burnout is very real and it affects us, our kids, our families, and everybody around us at such a deep level. We feel such strong emotions for longer periods of time than we’re used to, which is stressful for the body and the mind, and it becomes too much to handle. Then, comes the burnout.
Many women are dealing with those longer term, strong emotions by eating food. The food is making them feel better in the moment, temporarily, but it’s having long term effects they don’t like. And you may be going through this too.
Everyday you may be experiencing out of control eating, gaining weight, feeling bloated, headaches, trouble sleeping, and so much more. It’s a real problem for many women right now. So, I really wanted to talk about it on today’s episode.
Here’s what I’m noticing from the people around me and from myself.
Let’s go way back. Like way back. To the time before you got married and had kids. Do you remember what life was like back then?
A time when you could sleep in, watch whatever you wanted on TV, and go out to eat at an actual restaurant with a friend on a whim.
A time when you could spend money on a new wardrobe or hop on an airplane for a weekend girls' trip.
A time when you could work whatever hours of the day you wanted to work in your business or in your career.
A time when extra weight, feeling bloated, getting headaches from stress, trouble sleeping, loose skin, and even scars from pregnancy weren't on your mind every single day.
We had less responsibility when we were single. We only had to take care of ourselves and maybe our dog or something like that if we had one.
Then, we met someone special and fell in love. We met this person and knew instantly they were the one.
Do you remember that? Do you remember that feeling? So much love, excitement, anticipation for the future, everything was like a dream. We didn’t want it to end. We wanted that feeling to last forever. So, we married that person. And then they became our husband or partner.
It’s an awesome thing. We’re really happy about it. But we have to acknowledge that our lives changed. Going from single to married changed everything.
Now, every decision is made together. How money is spent, that decision is made together, for every little thing. Moving, buying a house, grocery shopping, what you’ll eat for dinner, the color you’re going to paint the walls in the bathroom, everything has to be agreed upon with another person.
And then there’s the additional stuff added to your to-do list. Maybe you started doing your husband or partner's laundry. Maybe you became the one to do all the meal planning, the grocery shopping, the cooking, the cleaning, the coordination of appointments and house stuff. You took on a lot more responsibility than you had when you were single.
But it’s ok, because you’re in love. And it’s only a little bit of extra work.
Also, at this point, you’re both probably working hard in your business or in your careers and there are two incomes. So, together you’re making decisions and creating a life based on those two incomes and the idea that both incomes will grow over time.
You both decide to buy the bigger house in the nicer neighborhood, even though it’s more than your budget, because you expect both of your incomes to grow.
Then, the time comes and you both decide to have a baby. So, you do. And you feel all the amazing feels. You love your baby. You love your husband or partner. Things are really falling into place now.
But, again, we have to acknowledge that our lives changed. Going from single to married to married with kids changed everything again.
There are a whole bunch of new emotions that you never knew you had. The emotions are high and low regularly.
There’s still all those decisions you have to make together with your partner. And a lot of new ones. But now that you have a baby, there are so many decisions to make every single day, from the tiniest decision to the biggest one, that it seems like you and your partner are not on the same page as much anymore.
And your to-do list has exploded. You’re still doing all the things you were doing after you got married. But now you’re also doing laundry like everyday for everyone, so many dishes everyday, coordinating a lot more for everyone, maybe breastfeeding, which is a real thing, constantly thinking about your beautiful little baby, and doing everything to keep him safe, comfortable, and cared for.
Working in your business or in your career has really changed but you don’t want to admit it. You want to keep working like you did before you had a baby. But it’s just not working anymore. Work-life balance isn’t happening.
You feel the push away from your business or career and you feel the pull towards motherhood. You feel like you have to choose because of the stress in your family. You see that your salary may be less or equal to the cost of daycare. So, you decide, reluctantly, with your husband or partner, to stay home.
You’re ok with that decision in theory. I mean, you’re happy you get to spend time with your baby. But now there’s financial stress and mental boredom.
It’s like, you and your husband or partner created this life together based on two salaries that you expected would grow over time. You bought the bigger, more expensive house, the cars, and everything else. Now, you’re living on one salary, without reducing anything else in your life. You’re actually spending more money now. And it’s just not working. You feel the stress, the financial burden every single day.
And the mental boredom is getting to you too. Baby conversations all day long with almost zero adult conversation. It’s a little boring.
Then, you start talking about having another baby. And the cycle continues.
You’re happy you’re expanding your family. But lots of emotions. Lots of joint decisions that don’t feel aligned between you and your husband or partner. Lots of financial stress. Lots of mental boredom. Lots of things on your to-do list, which is growing everyday. And will definitely grow again after baby number two.
As all of this is happening, you really want, no, scratch that, you really need to make time for yourself. But making time for yourself feels impossible. It feels like it’s never going to happen. Which only adds to the unhappiness, the dissatisfaction you’re feeling. It makes you feel further and further from yourself.
So, you eat. You eat to comfort yourself. You eat to make yourself feel better. You eat to stop feeling what you’re feeling, which is tired, resentful, stressed out, bored, and alone.
Do you relate to any of this?
I know I do. And many of my friends, family members, and clients do too.
Mommy burnout happens at so many different stages in our lives. I see it mainly after getting married, after having a baby, after having another baby, and each major life change after that.
And although it feels terrible and isolating, and we feel confused because we think we should be happier than we actually are, it’s important for us to talk about it. To get it out in the open. To free ourselves from feeling so alone.
For me, after having baby Nico back in April, I have been going through mommy burnout again in my life. I went through it after I got married, after I had Enzo, my almost five year old son, and now again after having Nico who is six months old. I’m aware I’m going through it. And I know what to do to really feel my way through it and get myself through it. I don’t feel stuck. I feel like I’m moving through it naturally. And I feel like I have a very interesting point of view on this topic that you’ll appreciate.
I’m hoping my point of view on this topic will help you if you’re feeling stuck in this. And if you know anyone else who needs help, who’s stuck in mommy burnout and wants to find a way through it, please share this episode with them.
Ok. With that said, let me tell you my personal definition of mommy burnout. Then, we’ll talk about how it shows up in your life with weight gain and weight loss and everything else. And then we’ll talk about the solutions. This topic can get pretty complicated but I’m going to do my best to keep it all simple.
Alright, let’s start here. What is my definition of mommy burnout?
The way I see it, there are three levels. Mental burnout. Emotional burnout. And physical burnout.
The first level, mental burnout, happens when you have a lot of thoughts about things related to being a mom. School, scheduling, laundry, dishes, getting kids ready for the day, getting kids ready for bed, meals, hydration, sleep, money, homework, reading books, playing. It can also show up as you thinking a lot about your kids and what they think, feel, and how they behave.
The second level, emotional burnout, happens when you have a lot of emotions, positive and negative, about the things related to being a mom. Emotional mommy burnout is caused by all of those thoughts we just talked about. And often, the emotional burnout happens when we’re feeling those super high-highs and super low-lows regularly.
The third level, physical burnout, happens when you physically do a lot of things related to being a mom. Things like getting your kids ready for school, doing the dishes, getting kids ready for bed, creating every meal for everyone, helping your kids with their homework, reading books to them, playing with them, worrying about what your kids are thinking, worrying about how they’re feeling, and maybe even judging everything they do.
You might be picking the baby up and carrying him around, changing his diaper, getting him dressed. Doing the laundry, which might be all the way in your basement and your bedrooms are all the way on the top floor. You might be getting them into and out of their car seats multiple times a day, chasing them if they run away from you, and teaching them to ride their bikes.
The things you do physically are fueled by your thoughts and feelings. So, if you’re thinking a lot of thoughts about being a mom, and you’re feeling those super high-highs and super low-lows regularly, then you might be in a deregulated state regularly.
You might be taking action and doing a lot of the things we talked about while being in a deregulated state emotionally. And you’re often doing these things while dealing with your kids, who are probably in a deregulated state too. That might show up as them yelling and screaming and running away from you. And you may be yelling and screaming and wanting to run away from them too. The combination of their deregulated state and your deregulated state is contributing to the burnout. It’s adding fuel to the fire.
Now, if you’re stuck in this, let this podcast episode be the thing that helps you turn it all around. To put things into a different perspective. Because your kids aren't going anywhere. You cannot control their deregulated state. You cannot control their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Trying to do that would be a waste of your energy. Your kids aren’t going anywhere. Your desire to have a happier life isn't going anywhere. Your desire to lose weight isn’t going anywhere. And you aren't going anywhere. So you need to figure this out. I hope this podcast episode helps you do that.
Alright. I know this is a pretty heavy topic. You might be feeling a little overwhelmed right now. But I’m really glad we’re talking about this together. It feels so good for me to get it out and talk about it and overcome it. Instead of all of us feeling stuck and alone and hopeless and unhappy with the lives we built. Give yourself a minute, if you need to, and breathe. I totally get it if that’s what you need to do.
If you’re good to go, let’s move on.
So, this is my definition of mommy burnout. Three levels. Mental, emotional, and physical. And the point where all three of these levels feel like they’re just too much is where the burnout starts to happen.
Many women eat to make themselves feel better in this situation. They eat when their thoughts become too much. They eat when their feelings become too much. And they eat when they’re physically too tired to deal with it all. Which is completely understandable. But if the burnout goes on for a while, and you’re eating because of it, you’ll start to notice the weight gain. You’ll start to notice your pants, dresses, just all of your clothes will start to feel tight. You’ll start to notice the bloat, the headaches, the overall feeling pretty terrible.
The good news is, if you realize it’s happening, no matter how long you’ve had this going on, you can make it better. You can address the mommy burnout, the eating to make yourself feel better, you can address all of it. And not only get your eating back under control and lose the weight, but to feel better too. To feel better in your daily life as a mom.
But you can’t get there, like truly get there, until you address the burnout. That’s what you should focus on first. Not the weight loss.
So, let’s talk a little more about it, and expand on it even more, before we talk about solutions.
When you look to the past, your past mommy burnout, you cannot change what’s already happened. Not even from like one second ago. That’s the past. It already happened. It’s done now. So, don’t spend any time thinking about past burnout, comparing it to how you feel now, or anything else. Just let it go.
Focus on what’s happening right now. Become aware of where you’re at with all three levels right now. Mental, emotional, and physical.
One. What are you thinking on a regular basis about your life as a mom? What are the topics that come up everyday? Identify as many as you can. Be curious. Be open. And be non-judgement towards yourself.
Two. What are you feeling on a regular basis when you think about your life as a mom? What are your top emotions everyday? Identify them. Name the actual emotions. One word each. Be curious. Be open. And be non-judgemental towards yourself with this one too.
Three. What are you doing? What are the actions you’re physically taking on a regular basis related to being a mom? Write these down. Every single one you can think of. The small things, the big things, and everything in between. Do this without falling into overwhelm or stress or pressure or resentment. Be curious and open and non-judgemental.
Once you identify what’s happening right now at all three levels of your mommy burnout, you can start to look at the solutions that make sense for you. What I mean is, you and me and everyone else listening to this podcast episode will have a different combination of solutions depending on what’s important, what’s a priority, for each of us. There is not a one size fits all solution. Because it’s based on how you want to live your life. So, make sure you carefully consider that when you decide on your solutions.
But I’m not going to end this episode without giving you some direction on how you can create that custom solution for you. And don’t worry, this isn’t complicated. Let’s keep this simple.
Your specific solution to mommy burnout will be, as you probably guessed, at three different levels of your life. Mental, emotional, and physical.
First, you must start to do mental self-care, which is basically self-coaching. Regularly look at the thoughts in your mind that you have about being a mom. Look at them and intentionally work towards creating better thoughts. Create a bridge from where you are now to where you want to be with your thinking. And practice those new thoughts.
As an example, if you notice that everyday you’re thinking, “I don’t have any time for myself,” then consciously work on shifting that thought to something like, “I’m working on creating time for myself.” Then, go to work creating that time for yourself.
This might look like noticing where in your life you have already created time for yourself and celebrating that. This might look like figuring out what you want to do that you aren’t currently doing now and getting it on your calendar so you can actually do it. If it’s important to you, you’ll find a way to make it happen.
Stop resisting reality. Stop thinking things should be different than they are. Especially when you have young kids. Those are the years they’ll need you the most for everything. Keeping them safe. Taking care of them. Connecting with them. Teaching them about their emotions, how to manage their emotions, and teaching them about the world.
Doing all of that while taking care of yourself mentally will make it all easier and more fun. I promise you.
Ok. Second, you must start to do emotional self-care, which will naturally come if you’re doing mental self-care, your self-coaching.
Your thoughts cause your feelings. When you’re looking at your thoughts and creating better ones, creating solution-oriented beliefs, you will start to feel better. Without a doubt. As long as you actually believe the things you’re telling yourself. Like, you must actually believe that you’re working on creating time for yourself to feel the emotion you want to feel. Maybe it’s calm or focused or content. Whatever it is. If you believe the thought, you will feel the emotion in your body.
The more you focus on what you’re thinking, the more you focus on creating better thoughts, ones you actually believe, the better you’ll feel every single day. You’ll notice less overwhelm, less stress, less pressure, less resentment. Instead, you’ll feel calmer, more in control, and generally happier with your life.
When you do this, it will directly affect what you do. So, third, your physical actions. The things you do everyday. All of the mommy stuff you do. When you think better thoughts and feel calmer, more in control, and generally happier with your life, your actions will likely fall into place.
What will this look like? Well, the things you do as a mom, you might continue doing some of them and have a better attitude as you do them. You might decide certain things really aren’t that important in this season of your life. And you might decide to stop doing them all together or reduce the time you spend on them. You might request help from your husband or partner more often. You might hire help. Who knows? There’s so many options. And the options you choose for yourself will become clear once you start self-coaching.
Now, here’s the big message I want you to take from all of this.
If you want to lose weight, but you’re feeling mommy burnout, focus on the burnout first. And the weight loss, the eating to make yourself feel better, will likely take care of itself.
Focus on the burnout by doing mental self-care and emotional self-care. Your actions, the physical stuff you do, including the eating to make yourself feel better, will start to shift. Mental self-care and emotional self-care can be achieved by daily self-coaching. Just five to ten minutes a day.
If you want to learn more about how to coach yourself, go back and listen to podcast episode six, titled Losing Weight: Step 5. I go into detail in that episode on exactly what to do. It will change your life.
In my program, The 6 Stages Weight Loss Program, we don’t currently talk about mommy burnout specifically. But I do give you many tools you can use to coach yourself, see different perspectives with things in your life, and feel better. If you’d like to take this work deeper, I invite you to join my program today. Listen to the end of this episode to learn how.
Together, we can end mommy burnout. We can end this frustrating cycle of eating to make ourselves feel better. Together, we can create lives we love again, instead of lives we feel like a victim in. We can all get there. I have no doubt.
Ok. That’s it for today. I’ll talk to you next week.
If you loved this podcast, I want to invite you to check out The 6 Stages Weight Loss Program. It’s my signature program that’ll teach you everything you need to know from start to finish to lose weight, reach your goal, and maintain it once you’re there. You’ll also learn how to have your own back through the process. Join me over at mcccoaching.com/join. I’ll see you there.