Lose Weight While Buying in Bulk: Tips From the Amazing Toddler Diet

By Jennifer Bingham Hull

Percent of moms who say they can’t help finishing their kids’ food: 49. —From Parenting magazine.

Five months after having my second baby I weighed 216 pounds. And my weight was going up, not down. Like many moms, I faced a moment of truth, a choice between being obese and making weight loss a priority.

I lost 50 pounds over two years and have kept it off. My secret to sucess is simple. I didn’t lose the weight for myself. After years of spit-up on my blouse and jelly stains on my shoes, vanity wasn’t a factor. I didn’t lose it for my husband, who had come to accept the woman in the billowing nursing nightie.

I lost it for my kids. Obesity leads to health problems. At 216 pounds my feet were killing me. I wanted to be a healthy mom, not a mom limping around the park and soaking her feet in Epsom Salt.

Every half pound was a struggle. But it was worth the battle. My feet feel fine now and don’t need soaking – even after a long trek through the zoo. I also feel better about myself. When you lose 50 pounds while packing lunch-boxes, going to birthday parties and hiding chocolate bunnies, you feel like you can do anything! (Even write a book.)

To lose weight with children you have to use motherhood to your advantage, using the skills you’ve acquired as a parent to accomplish your goal. Below are some of the strategies described in Beyond One.

*Treat yourself like a child. Set some simple rules and follow them. A few key standards can eliminate thousands of calories. I do not let my kids play with matches. And I no longer bring home leftover desserts from parties for my skinny husband (who never ate them). I do not lick the peanut butter off the knife or eat Halloween candy.
*Take baby steps. Would you expect your infant to run around the block when she’s just learning to walk? Returning to the gym after having my second child, I was more out of shape than ever. So I started a modest exercise routine. Actually, it remains pretty skimpy. But I do some exercise every day — even if it’s just a 20 minute walk. Some women see exercise as an indulgence. I see it as something that benefits my kids.
*Get a life, not a diet — and make it fit the whole family. What’s good for you is good for them. Childhood obesity rates are skyrocketing. Put everybody on a healthy program. It’s easier if they all eat the same thing anyway. And if you serve healthy food early on, they get used to it. Our children eat things like broccoli, oatmeal and fruit for dessert — and they think this is normal (though unfortunately these days it’s not). They don’t need the purple cereal. And neither do you.
*Eat before the birthday party. Then seal your lips. Here’s what I was able to pass up by eating before one recent party: make-your-own pizza with three kinds of cheese, salad drenched in oil, cake, ice cream and chips. Bored at the party with nothing to munch on? Play “I spy.” I spy a heavy mom finishing her son’s hot dog. I spy a skinny one who hasn’t noticed the cake…You can learn a lot by watching other mothers.
*Get support. Ever notice how often your kids say, “Look Mommy, look!” You need applause too. The compliments I got at the gym as my weight came off proved incredibly motivating. The nice thing about being really fat is that when you do lose weight people are impressed. The bigger you were, the more bowled over they are! So find a way to get kudos — and soak them up.

(c) 2010 Jennifer Bingham Hull. Reprint rights granted as long as the article is published in its entirety, including the resource box and its live links.

About the Author

Jennifer Bingham Hull is an award-winning author and mother of two. Her book, Beyond One: Growing a Family and Getting a Life, looks at life after the second child. To learn more, visit www.growingafamily.com, where you can contact her to receive this Parenting Tips column and sign up for her free newsletter.

About Jennifer

A former journalist for The Wall Street Journal and Time, Jennifer is the award-winning author of Beyond One: Growing a Family and Getting a Life and pens the MidAge Mom blog.

She’s profiled exceptional women from the Middle East to Latin America. Widely published, her essays have been included in two anthologies.

Jennifer is also a frequent radio and TV guest. Full Bio

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In Beyond One, Jennifer chronicles her leap from one child to two, describing the enormous impact the second child has on a woman’s body, marriage, family life, friendships and work.

"Hull is the kind of woman many moms long to be friends with. . ." -The Cleveland Plain Dealer.


The Wall Street Journal, Time, The Atlantic Monthly, CNN.com, MS., Parenting, Real Simple, Salon.com, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, Working Mother, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, American Way, Brain, Child, The Christian Science Monitor, and more.