Diet Traps Every New Mom Faces

Trap #2: Eating When You're Sleep-Deprived

Fatigue-induced eating is a diet pitfall for all women, and particularly for new moms. According to a National Sleep Foundation poll, women reported being likely to eat more than usual on days when they didn't get enough sleep. "In that compromised state, we often reach for food, especially sweets, because we're looking for a quick energy boost," agrees Joy Bauer, RD, author of The 90/10 Weight-Loss Plan (Griffin). "We also have less willpower and tend to grab food for comfort."

Food fix: If you can't take a catnap, activate your day: pace when you're talking on the phone, deliver a memo in person instead of sending an e-mail, walk on the treadmill while you're watching TV, or go for a stroll with your baby. "Exercise pulls glycogen -- the stored form of carbohydrate in the liver and muscles -- into your bloodstream, which can ultimately make you feel more energized as your blood glucose level rises," explains Neva Cochran, RD, a nutritional consultant in Dallas. Also, use this snacking system, which acts as a kind of nibbling speed bump: "Designate three low-calorie foods you'll eat first before grabbing anything else," advises Bauer, such as two handfuls of baby carrots, a nonfat yogurt, and a 30-calorie fudge pop. "When you're on this system, you'll probably realize you're not really hungry after all."

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