Pregnancy. Full of joy, excitement and anticipation…and also stressful on the mind and body! Being pregnant certainly isn’t a time to overtrain or cut calories, but it’s not a time to completely let go either. This is how I have found balance to maintain a fit pregnancy.
Long before I was expecting, I always told myself I would one day have the perfect pregnancy. I would exercise the entire 40 weeks, I would maintain my healthy eating habits, and I would only gain the recommended 25 pounds and not an ounce more. All that stuff I heard about morning sickness? Phooey! Fatigue? Yeah, right. I was going to slay this whole pregnancy thing.
Was I in for a treat or what?
I spent the first six weeks as a walking definition of “ignorance is bliss.” I felt great. This “morning sickness” was nowhere in sight and I thought I had defeated the odds. HA. The moment week 7 started – so did the morning sickness. I was completely plagued by unrelenting nausea, extreme fatigue and zero motivation. I went from working out five days a week to becoming completely useless. I even started working on the couch (something I never dared to do in the past from fear of turning into an actual potato) and only moving for food or bathroom breaks.
I was crushed. My fitness level quickly deteriorated right along with my healthy diet. Due to morning sickness, the only thing I could stomach was carbs (and not the good kind). I was completely turned off by anything remotely healthy, and would go days without consuming fruits or vegetables. I was lucky to make it to the gym once a week and actually felt myself becoming weaker.
Returning to Health & Fitness
Just when I thought I would spend the next 24 weeks in misery, the morning sickness stopped. I was 16 weeks pregnant and suddenly had all my energy back – not to mention the appetite of a 15-year-old boy! At this point my body was conditioned for little activity, but I knew I had to take advantage of how great I was feeling. I made a vow to get back into fitness and commit to a healthier diet.
My Prenatal Workout
I couldn’t go back to my pre-pregnancy routine of intense strength training and vigorous cardio. It wasn’t recommended by my doctor nor was my body ready for it. I had to start from square one (no matter how much it hurt my ego). I started out by walking my dog every single morning. That quickly turned into twice a day. Then I began researching prenatal exercise and ordered a few DVDs that piqued my interest. My favorite became Suzanne Bowen’s Slim & Toned Prenatal Barre Workout. Now, my fitness routine is a combination of the following:
Everyday: 1 hour of walking
Monday & Thursday: Barre Lean Lower Body
Tuesday & Friday: Barre Slim Upper Body & Core
Wednesday & Saturday: Barre Cardio Sculpt
My Pregnancy Diet
One day a family member commented on my husband’s weight gain. He laughed and called it “sympathy weight,” but that told me I wasn’t the only one suffering from my lost commitment to health. It was time to get back to meal planning and smarter food choices.
Being pregnant has made me more aware of the nutrients I am getting from my food. I rarely think about how much I am eating, but always what I am eating. Before I prepare a meal I ask myself: what’s the protein? What’s the grain? Am I eating a fruit and vegetable? This helps me make sure I am getting a variety of essential nutrients every time I eat. While I rarely eat out, I apply this to restaurants too. I try to order the least processed thing on the menu, such as a salad or grilled chicken and veggies.
I love to cook! So while my food choices are always different, this is a great example of what you can find me eating on a given day:
2 strips of turkey bacon
½ sweet potato or whole grain English muffin
1 cup of fruit
Grilled Chicken Wrap (loaded with veggies and a spinach tortilla)
4-6 ounces lean protein
1 cup green vegetables (or side salad)
½ cup long grain wild rice, whole wheat pasta or baked potato
A Banana, Apple or Berries
Mini Babybel Cheese Wheel
Dessert (choose one):
1/2 dark chocolate covered banana
5.3 ounces Greek Yogurt w/ honey
A glass of chocolate almond milk
Those Cravings Tho…
I’m not perfect. While I try to eat as healthily as I can, I am known to give into a pregnancy craving here and there. One of the weirdest ones has been hot dogs! Will I have cake at a party? Yes. Have I asked my husband to make an emergency detour for frozen yogurt? Absolutely. I am trying to enjoy my pregnancy. If I said no to everything (on top of 40 weeks without sushi, deli meat and wine) I’d go crazy!