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Making Peace with Pregnancy Weight Gain

July 5, 2017

When learning you are expecting, many of the first thoughts that come to mind are all the fun things. Baby clothes, nursery decor, choosing names, etc are all the things I remember day dreaming about when I saw that positive test. However, what I forgot to think about was something I always knew would happen but didn’t truly digest…wonderful pregnancy weight gain. Gotta love it, right? Wrong! I know as a pregnant woman I am supposed to accept that my body will grow bigger to help support the little life that is growing inside of me, but that doesn’t mean that it comes easy.

For myself, as I’m sure many others reading can relate, most of my focus in life has been on how to lose or maintain weight. In general though, I feel like we’re conditioned as a society to always focus on being slim and trim.  Even as a career in being a personal trainer, I celebrate my clients when they lose 3 lbs, 5 lbs, 10 lbs and up. I have been doing this all for so long that now being pregnant, undoing 27 years of thinking one way, for 9 months is a bit hard to do.

So how do I cope with the fact that the body I once had, is changing and that each week will continue to get bigger? Well to be honest, it is still a process I am working on and will continue to work on until my little peanut arrives this winter (and most likely afterwards too). BUT, here are the 8 tips of advice I am currently listening to that are helping give myself a little peace of mind when it comes to gaining weight during my pregnancy.  As you’ll see with these tips, my goal is NOT to avoid weight gain or prevent it from happening, but instead to come up with a way to shift my focus so that I can feel better on this roller coaster journey.

Tip #1: STEP AWAY FROM THE SCALE

Even before getting pregnant, this was something I did and always instructed my clients to do when I found that their weight was dictating how they felt about themselves. For myself, I personally struggled for many years during high school and college with disordered eating and ever since then, weight has been a sensitive subject. Because I realized this about myself and saw how obsessed I can get about that stupid little number on the scale, I decided a few years ago that I wouldn’t weigh myself. Instead I go based off of how I feel or how my clothes fit. Now of course, being that I’ve got a bun in the oven this approach has definitely been altered since a lot of my clothes are a bit more snug than usual but Im stilling using the gauge the best I can by constantly asking myself, “how do I feel today?”
I have not weighed myself and probably will not do so even after baby is here. I have discussed it with the doctor that I’d prefer not to know and instead would like her to only talk to me about my weight if there is an issue in regards to either gaining too much or too little.  For myself personally, I feel that if I can avoid the numbers I can maintain a healthy mindset about my body. I know its going to change and grow but at the end of the day, I want to be the one who says how I feel about myself rather than letting the scale do that for me. I don’t want my weight gain to effect how I feel about exercise or food. I want to maintain that healthy relationship I have worked so hard to form over the past few years.

Tip #2: GET MOVING BUT IN A WAY YOU ENJOY MOST

Having a healthy pregnancy does not mean you have to be in a gym 7 days a week. Even before getting pregnant you wouldn’t have found me fully dedicated to the gym so you most certainly will not find me there now! Instead, what I am doing is making sure that for all 9 months of this pregnancy, I am working out because I actually enjoy it and NOT because I feel like “I have to do it.” If I don’t feel like going to the gym, well then I go on a walk. If I don’t feel like going on a walk, well then I put on some music and dance around the house like a goof ball or go in the back yard and run around with my dogs.
The most important thing for myself is that I make sure I move each day for AT LEAST 30 minutes. Sure, some days I feel super and will get in a great weight lifting workout but other days a walk sounds so much more appealing. I find that having this deal with myself has helped me feel better about growing in size because I at least can say “I’m doing something.” I think if I were to sit on the couch all day, the weight gain would feel much harder for me mentally because I would know I wasn’t doing my best.
I enjoy working out because it makes me happy. It is my therapy and especially helpful when all the overwhelming thoughts of becoming a mama seem to flood me. I know things will have to change as I start to get bigger and after baby gets here but I know as long as I can stick to 30 minutes a day, I will still benefit both physically and mentally.
Want to learn more? Check out some of my workouts on my instagram

Tip #3: EAT THE BEST YOU CAN BUT DON’T BE AFRAID TO SPLURGE EVERY ONCE AND A WHILE

Before learning about baby, I always used to tell my husband “when Im pregnant, I am going to eat so healthy and clean.” HA! I honestly wish I could have stuck to this plan but it hasn’t been as easy as I thought it would be. The first trimester wasn’t terrible but it definitely introduced a good amount of aversions, all of which consisted of the healthy foods I used to enjoy most: grilled chicken, turkey, veggies, spinach, etc. I thought that all of those would ease up after 12 weeks but that has NOT been the case. Chicken nuggets have been the closest I’ve gotten to eating poultry and veggies are one of those things I have to close my eyes and force feed myself. I keep joking and saying to my husband that his baby is without a doubt his (there was never any doubt BTW) because all the foods I want are the ones he likes and the ones I try and avoid.
Now while my food choices have definitely been altered it doesn’t mean I have completely thrown inhibition to the wind and am eating all junk food. Instead I am trying my best to still build my plate appropriately and choose the best foods I can. I always make sure I am starting the day off with a great nutritious breakfast and then try and eat balanced meals/snacks consisting of protein/complex carbs and healthy fats.
However that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m not allowing myself to splurge either. My craving recently has been macaroni and cheese. So guess what, Ive been eating it! I bought Velveeta’s little single serve cups and allow myself to have one with my dinner. I never want to deprive myself of anything because thats not maintainable for me. Instead I try practicing balance and of course self forgiveness. Why? Well because these are this is the mindset I want to pass off to my child.

Tip #4: INVEST IN SOME GREAT MATERNITY CLOTHES 

There’s nothing quite like trying to wiggle into a pair of pre-pregnancy jeans that don’t want to zip, to just rub you wrong all day long. While this was hard to stomach at first, I wasn’t shocked. I mean, I know each week my body is growing. I can see it and feel it. To help make sure this doesn’t get to me negatively I decided to take this time as an opportunity to invest in a few maternity items that I can wear often and that make me feel great. Target, Zulily, Stitch Fix and Pinkblush have been my favorite places so far to shop and the best part is that it is budget friendly!

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Tip #5: TAKE PICTURES TO TRACK YOUR GROWTH

Getting pregnant has been one of the most amazing things to watch unfold week after week. I don’t think I had fully realized how quickly things change until I started to see for myself in pictures. Now I haven’t been the best with tracking weekly but I do try and take a picture of myself at least every two weeks so that I can see the bump progress. For some reason, seeing my body expand in this way makes it much more real and definitely switches my focus away from weight gain and instead to my baby. It truly has made me appreciate and love my body that much more. I mean come on people, how amazing is it that my body knows what to do to make sure my growing babe has everything it needs?!?

Tip #6: REMEMBER THAT PREGNANCY IS ONLY FOR A SHORT TIME 

I know that for some 9 months may seem like a long time but in reality it is not. When I found out, I thought the first trimester was going to take FOR-EVER but here I am a little more than 16 weeks. I am almost half way there and that is CRAZY! I know December is going to be here before we know it, so with that idea in mind I tell myself that this weight gain is only temporary. I know that as long as I continue having the healthy mindset I currently have that I will be able to bounce back to my pre-pregnancy size and routine. OR you know what, maybe I won’t. I don’t care and I won’t let myself think about it. All I know is that I am going to do my best, cherish each and every second and love myself beyond the negativity.

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