It’s been really hard for me since I had to eliminate a large portion of my favorite foods to alter my breast milk for the benefit of my almost 4 month old daughter. Clearly the benefits for her outweigh my desire to eat how I want to and get back to losing weight.
But perhaps it wouldn’t matter even if I could eat anything I wanted and go back to living a life of moderation and not have these feelings of deprivation sending me over the deep end sometimes. Why?
Well because even if I could eat better, I still am getting the crappiest sleep of my entire life – or rather the least sleep of my entire life and I’ve heard a ton of times on weight loss shows/articles/programs, etc. that sleep is an important and necessary factor for weight loss.
Well here’s the proof.
Thanks to this past Wednesday’s episode of The Chew, I learned that the University of Colorado conducted a study and came up with the following conclusions:
People who are sleep deprived for even just one week tend to overeat and gain weight.
Sleeping less than 6 hours a night can lead to a 2 pound weight gain in one week.
Daphne Oz added that the lack of enough sleep causes “eating to stay awake to give you energy” and Clinton Kelly hit a nail on the head with “when you’re rested you make better choices about food.”
Hell to the yeah.
I didn’t need a study to tell me all that… I am living proof.
So you can gain 2 lbs. a week if not sleeping at least 6 hours a night? I’ve been sleep deprived for SEVENTEEN WEEKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! More if you count the fact that I couldn’t sleep longer than 3 hours at a time for the last 2 months of my pregnancy.
Since my baby’s birth I have only slept 6 consecutive hours… um… holy crap… I HAVEN’T slept 6 consecutive hours yet!!! Even when my baby gives me that long a time to sleep (which is still VERY RARE), I (unbelievably) have a hard time getting to sleep, or have to wake up to pee, or am interrupted by a visit from my son or my snoring hubby, etc.
But for the maybe 3 times I’ve managed an uninterrupted 5 hours I have to say that the amount of mental clarity I have the next day when I wake up is phenomenal. PHEN. NOM. MEN. AL. I automatically make a better choice for breakfast foods and even find myself more likely to exercise during the day. I am more interactive with my baby (and generally happier) and want to clean the house and be productive.
When I wake up from an interrupted sleep of 2-3 segments of 2-3 hours of sleep (my “usual” at this point), my eyes sting because they want to remain closed, I feel groggy and honestly the only thing I can manage for breakfast is a bowl of cereal. And then I keep eating because I need energy to stay awake seeming I can’t have caffeine and I can’t do the one thing I WANT to do – sleep.
So seeming 17 weeks could equal 34 lbs., I guess in perspective, gaining back 26 lbs. isn’t as bad as it could be, but holy fuck does it feel like it.
I am a blob. I feel as heavy as my original start weight (but thankfully I’m still down 30 lbs. from that). My self-esteem plummets when I look in the mirror to see my defined jawline disappearing or realize I barely have any clothes left that fit anymore. Ugh.
Every day I try to make the best choices (or better ones) for food and portions, but sometimes the tired hungry monster rears its head and it’s like my body is possessed and I find myself in the kitchen again trying to fill my endless pit so I can manage to function to rock my baby to sleep.
I almost feel like a first time mom because of this. I did NOT have these issues with my first child. I’m now convinced he was a robot baby. No breastfeeding/allergy/reflux issues, never spit up, slept well at night, no crying for no reason. By this time at the same age as my little girl, I was getting over 6 hours of sleep and I had an 8+ hour break at a paid job from caring for my baby and I was even getting up early to get on the treadmill and I was actively losing weight. Not this time. My baby girl is the exact opposite in just about every way. That’s fine and I love her to death, but for right now, she’s literally killing me.
I am not operating at my prime level. I’m probably at 30% efficiency.
I can’t eat right. I can’t stop eating. I can’t respond to emails in a timely manner. I can’t keep up with blogs or blogging. My bills are paid late. I forgot to call offices to set up appointments. I forget to send back school reading books or reading logs. It takes me 3 times as long to finish even simple tasks.
I know what to do to get myself healthier but I’m in a constant state of sleep deprivation and therefore not in any state able to actually achieve it.
I am exhausted.
I can’t afford a nanny or daycare.
Every day I struggle just to avoid gaining anymore weight.
Can I really play this game for the next 2-8 months? The only way I think I can keep breastfeeding up to a year is if she finally *consistently* lets me get over 5 hours of consecutive sleep at least 71% of the time (like 5 out of 7 nights a week) for me to be in the right rested mental state to achieve better choices and a healthier lifestyle.
If not… ugh… I already know of 3 different types of formulas that all make her spit up even more or give her major gas as opposed to my diet restricted breast milk (she can go a whole day without spitting up when I eat accordingly)… and no way will I have enough stored frozen breast milk to last that long if I quit early. I’d feel completely selfish to stop early.
This is my life… for now.