Parents of Minors Lose Less Weight Than Those with Grown Up Children and Adults Without Kids

Parenthood can be exhausting, hectic and downright overwhelming – which can sometimes make managing weight loss seem impossible. But, do some parents have a harder time battling the bulge than other parents? As it turns out, having little ones at home may put the kibosh on your chance at successfully losing weight, suggests a new study.

Study Finds Some Parents Have a Harder Time with Weight Loss

A recent study out of the University of Pennsylvania took a look at how parents fared when it came to successful weight loss, examining whether having kids in the house made a difference in weight losses, and related barriers, or behaviors.

After comparing parents of minor children to other participants who did not have children, or whose children were in adulthood, the researchers found that parents of kids 18 and under had a harder time sticking to calorie goals, resulting in trouble shedding pounds.

So, why is it that parents with kids still under their roof struggle more to shed pounds than those with an empty nest or without children?

Sleepless Nights Can Pack on Pounds

For many parents with young kids, sleep is a fleeting memory of years passed. Even when you conquer those colicky newborn-months of 3 am feedings, it seems like there’s a whole host of new parenthood sleep killers that come into play. Realistically, between bedwetting, sleepwalking, and nightmares, a good night’s sleep may allude parents for years.

Aside from looking like a Walking Dead extra, lack of sleep can also wreak havoc on your waistline. Previous research has shown that not getting enough zzz’s not only can zap energy and add to stress – but it may also make you feel hungry when you’re not, according to experts.

“The appetite hormones leptin and ghrelin are made predominantly during sleep, which means that people have less of a sense of satiety if they’re not getting enough sleep,” explained Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, to CNN.

Skipping Meals Can Sabotage Weight Loss

Between diaper changes, endless amounts of homework and shuffling the kids to after-school activities, making time to sit down to a healthy, balanced meal can feel like an afterthought. Skipping meals can be weight loss sabotage, leaving you feeling irritable and even more likely to make poor eating decisions throughout the day, according to research.

Skipping meals can also set off a series of metabolic changes that can result in stubborn belly fat, according to a 2015 study from Ohio State University. The research, published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, found that skipping meals during the day and eating one large dinner resulted in potentially risky metabolic changes that led to the body storing fat around the midsection.

“You definitely don’t want to skip meals to save calories because it sets your body up for larger fluctuations in insulin and glucose and could be setting you up for more fat gain instead of fat loss,” advises Martha Belury, professor of human nutrition at The Ohio State University and senior author of the study to CBS.

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