If you read my previous pregnancy post, you know that I am not weighing myself throughout my pregnancy.
I know, I know, that’s crazy!
Except it’s not! It has been so great for me!
It has not only freed me from expectations, comparisons, and regard to the opinions of every all knowing person out there, but it has really pushed me to make sure that I am doing my part to stay healthy and stay fit.
Without a scale, the only guide or reference I have in my progress is the knowledge that I am eating healthy and working out every day.
Actually, the healthy eating is almost every day, and the working out is currently six days a week.
This consistency allows me to rest in the fact that I am truly doing everything I can to stay healthy, and any weight gain or body changes, whether inside or outside of the norm, are just life, genetics, or whatever you want to call it.
Now, even as I write this, I am thinking to myself, “gosh, Laura, you make that sound so easy! You know that ain’t the case.”
And man, the truth is, there are days where it has been so hard.
When I first found out I was pregnant, I tried to keep pushing as hard as I could, fully determined that I would be the one lucky female who was completely untouched by the aches and pains of the first trimester.
At six weeks pregnant, I called my husband, full-on sobbing, begging him to come home from work and bring me a bowl of gluten free mac and cheese. I stayed in bed for an entire day and felt like my life was over.
Because mac and cheese and endless episodes of Grey’s Anatomy are just the worst, right?
After that, I realized that pregnancy shows no mercy. There were many, many days in my pregnancy where I literally did not want to get out of bed. I had days where I woke up so sick that my husband would have to rush to the kitchen and bring something upstairs to me to help calm my stomach. I had major food aversions- including all healthy, leafy greens, and I basically wanted to eat popcorn and corn tortillas and gluten free toast for every meal for 4 weeks straight in those early days.
I really do believe that there are some days in pregnancy where you just have to do whatever you can to get food in your body, and if that means mac and cheese, so be it.
I also believe that pregnancy is in no way an excuse to just eat whatever you want, whenever you want.
Thankfully, it has gotten easier, and I have felt stronger each and every day for the most part, but there are still challenges I will likely never understand. All I can do, is keep doing my part.
As I have gotten further into my pregnancy, I have realized that doing my part is not always going to be easy, but that is is always a choice, and I am strong enough to make the right one.
I am certainly no pro or expert, and I won’t pretend to know it all as it relates to pregnancy, but what I do know, I will share!
I have had several women ask me, “how do you stay fit and in shape during your pregnancy?”
While there are certainly days that I don’t feel fit or in shape, and feel I have no right to speak to others regarding the matter, overall, I do know I have done quite well. Even knowing that, I know that every woman is completely different, so I will never say “this is the way.”
For what it’s worth, and in hopes it might help one other pregnant woman out there, here are the things I have done to stay healthy:
- DRINK WATER– I know, I know, that’s so obvious and you could have figured that out on your own. But seriously, this one has saved me. It has saved me from dizziness, dehydration, and constipation. It has also seriously helped me to not overeat or indulge in things that are unnecessary. And as I enter my 25th week of pregnancy, I find that it seriously helps prevent Braxton Hicks contractions, or stop them if I drink a ton of water when I experience them. For real, go fill up a glass right now and chug it!
- MOVE– This is one that I learned in my first trimester. I had been doing a high level yoga class five days a week before I got pregnant, and suddenly I couldn’t bend over for a sun salutation, or hold my balance in tree pose without feeling like I would vomit. I quickly became very discouraged, but then realized the most important thing was that I keep moving. It doesn’t matter if you can’t do exactly what you did before you were pregnant. Just keep moving. Get your heart rate up a little, and kick your metabolism into gear. Plus, medically speaking, it’s just better to not be sedentary! Also, leading into my next point, chances are, if you just keep moving, you will be able to do more after those awful first weeks pass.
- CHALLENGE YOURSELF– In addition to yoga, my husband and I were runners. I shouldn’t say were– we are. But goodness, those first few weeks, I couldn’t stand the bouncing up and down of running or else.. yea, I would totally vomit. I was quite discouraged by this as well, but then I realized that running is just like riding a bike. If you can do it once, you can do it again. I think I stopped running around 8 weeks pregnant, and somewhere around 18 weeks, I decided to just give it a try. I was amazed, and actually cried. I could totally still run- slower- but still! I began to challenge myself in a healthy way. I would run a little further each time, paying super close attention to what my body was feeling. I have found that paying attention is the most helpful thing. Instead of just limiting myself without even trying, I try, do what I can, and then slow down. And then I try again! Challenging myself has been huge for me, as I have realized that being pregnant doesn’t mean that I have to let go of my body, but I am made for this, and totally capable of both carrying a child, and staying healthy.
- USE YOUR BODY WEIGHT– When else is extra body weight a good thing? I have made a point, daily, to do extra exercises that use my body weight, and take advantage of the opportunity to strengthen my muscles. My favorite go-to body weight exercises are lunges, lunge pulses, squats, plie squats, planks, pushups, and tricep dips. I try to do a series of these every day of the week.
- DON’T INDULGE IN CRAVINGS- I know this is so completely controversial, and I am only sharing my personal opinion on the matter, so know that this is what works for me, and I have no judgement towards those who disagree. I am a firm believer that just because you crave something doesn’t mean you have to eat it. I honestly do not understand the “need” or “must” that many women feel regarding cravings for certain things. (Well perhaps I do, as my number one craving is watermelon and sometimes I literally think I need it). Sure, I have craved chocolate cake, cinnamon buns, ice cream, pizza, and more hot cheetos than the grocery store has in stock, but in total honesty, I just laugh it off. I usually just share with my husband, saying something like, “man, you know what sounds so good right now,” but it stops there. I can count on one hand the number of times I have actually acted on a craving, and it has been planned out in advance. I was once craving gluten free pizza, and had the same craving multiple times for nearly two weeks, so my husband and I made a plan to have that pizza for a date night. I ignored it every time until that date, and gosh! it was so rewarding! With all that said, you can’t put yourself in food prison when you are pregnant, which leads me to my next point..
- TREAT YOURSELF– I think this is entirely different than indulging, and entirely necessary, or else you might go totally crazy. After weeks of eating well, exercising, and avoiding crazy cravings, I like to reward myself. Last week my husband and I planned an outing to run errands and then treat ourselves with frozen yogurt on the way home. It made all the difference, and set me up for another couple of weeks of self control and determination. So treat yourself! In my opinion, you’ll enjoy those things so much more when they are not an every day occurrence.
Again, this is what has worked for me, and it may not be what works for you.. or, maybe it will! I think, in my short 25 weeks of being pregnant, the one thing I have become most certain of is this:
Every woman is completely different, with a different personality, different body type, different metabolism, and different life circumstances. For any one woman to tell another the best way to manage her pregnancy is just not always helpful.
So, find out what you can do, and do your part to keep you and your baby healthy!