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This Is Why You Gain Weight After Having Kids

Keeping off the weight can be a struggle after having children. Several studies have shown that once kids are added to the daily mix, certain triggers prompt people to gain weight.

Here are some culprits:

1. Not enough sleep

Sleep deprivation can be associated with weight gain. “What people do is stimulate themselves with food all day to stay awake," says Julie Metos, PhD, a professor in the Department of Nutrition and Integrative Physiology at University of Utah Health. Fatigue can also influence judgment, leaving people more prone to making poor food choices.

2. Eating mindlessly

While feeding kids throughout the day, parents often nibble. It also doesn't help that many of the foods thought of as “kid-friendly” are actually less healthy with more processed and less filling.

3. Stress

One study from the American Psychological Association found that 43% of parents overeat or turn to junk food to cope with stress, compared with 30% of adults without kids.

One big reason parents experience stress is the need to juggle childcare, work, and daily home responsibilities. "I think people are really time-crunched, especially when they have kids," Metos says

Tips for Parents

Metos urges parents to make healthy habits by exercising, eating properly, and maintaining a healthy body that feels right to you. When you forgo exercise to shuttle one kid to soccer and the other to dance class, you're doing yourself a disservice. Metos says to keep in mind that kids are watching you too. It’s important to set a good example as best as possible.