8 Months Pregnant: In the final weeks I was asked by several worried small children if I was going to have my baby in the pool.
So my 2nd daughter Savvy is 6 months old and I’m finally getting around to writing this post! I started it a long time ago because it is by far my most requested topic, but it’s also a really sensitive one. I do want to state that I am in no way a doctor, nutritionist or health professional. I’m just happy to share what worked for me.
Let’s begin by mentioning that I have done the pregnancy thing two ways. When I got pregnant with my first daughter it was right after I competed at nationals as Mrs. Kansas so I had been on a strict diet for months leading up to it. When I found out I was pregnant I celebrated by going to Olive Garden and getting a never-ending bowl of pasta which led to a never-ending foodfest throughout the pregnancy. I would make pudding in a big mixing bowl, hugging it posessively on the couch and growling at my husband if he got too close. After Avery was born it took a few months of trying different diets and beating my head against a wall but once I started counting my calories everything clicked.
When I got pregnant the second time I knew that I didn’t want to have to go on a crazy strict diet again afterwards so I did things a lot differently…
Birth Day: Baby #1
Birth Day: Baby #2
10 Days Post-Delivery: Baby #1
10 Days Post-Delivery: Baby #2
Day before Savannah’s Birth Day:
My Top 5 Fit Pregnancy Tips:
1. Try not to gain more than 2 or 3 lbs in your first 20 weeks.
This advice was given to me by my doctor and I followed it very strictly. Disclaimer: I was also extremely nauseated so it wasn’t all that hard.
2. Eat Small, Frequent (mostly) Meatless Meals.
I’m a “meat person” (by which I mean that I like meat. It’s kind of confusing because I also consider myself a “dog person” but I don’t eat dog meat.) So in normal unpregnant life I usually eat meat every day but when I was pregnant I probably only ate it every other day because I was focusing more on fruit, vegetables, dairy and Mexican food.
(If faced with a choice between an unhealthy option and a healthy option, always choose Mexican food.)
3. Use a calorie counter app (I use Lose It) to keep a food journal and track your weight.
Notice I didn’t say to “count your calories.” I didn’t count my calories at all when I was pregnant but I did log what I ate and recorded my weight regularly so I could keep track of trends. For me it’s about staying accountable.
4. Bouyancy is your friend.
Elliptical workouts can get boring. Walks are fine unless it’s too hot or too cold out. Swimming at my gym was the thing that really saved me as far as staying motivated to work out. For me, the feeling of being weightless in the water was so relaxing that I actually enjoyed my workouts so I would stay in the lanes longer. In addition to good old-fashioned swimming I did some “water aerobics” which I put in quotations because I’ve never actually taken a water aerobics class. I basically just stayed moving by doing pool-jogging (which makes you feel like you’re on Baywatch), pool-walking (which makes you feel like you are Mr. Roboto) and also just doing a leg workout while resting on a kickboard (bonus: you don’t get your hair wet.)
5. Wear jeans (and other non-maternity clothes) as long as you can.
Elastic waistbands seem alluring in the beginning but they are a slippery slope, my friend, a slippery slope. Because I didn’t gain much weight anywhere but my baby belly, I was actually able to wear my low rise jeans all the way through my pregnancy with Savannah. Here I am in my regular jeans on 4th of July (Savvy was born 5 days later):
Bonus Tip: Don’t pig out in the hospital.
It’s really tempting. They have free ice cream. (And pudding!) I found that making really healthy choices in the hospital from day one set me on a much better path when I got home.
Extra Bonus Tip: FIBER! Just trust me.
This is the part where a lot of people say things like it doesn’t matter how much pregnancy weight you gain or if you never get completely back in shape because you are a mom now and that’s all that matters. To each her own, but that mentality did not work for me personally. Weight can be a very sensitive issue. You hear a lot of people complaining about how it makes them feel to see celebrities bounce back so quickly after having babies. To me, it’s not about a competition for who looks the best or gets back in shape the fastest, it’s about being really honest about how it feels to be a new mom AND to be the heaviest you’ve ever been in your life all at the same hormonal time.
After I had my first child, it was super depressing for me to be left with so much weight to lose while I was learning to care for a new baby. In my opinion, the important thing to remember when you’re pregnant is that it’s temporary. Not many people tell you the truth about how you look while you’re pregnant either. BOTH times I was pregnant I was constantly told how good I looked and as you can see from the pictures there was about 40 pounds difference in the two pregnancies. The first time around I wasn’t mentally prepared for how hard it was going to be to adjust to taking care of an infant. I didn’t realize how much I would want my “body back” once I got my body back to myself. By keeping focus the second time around, I was able to make more conscious choices about staying in shape to make it as easy on myself as possible when I had to start taking care of 2 kids.
To all the pregnant mommies out there or new mommies trying to lose their baby weight, I just want to say do whatever works for YOU. Keep perspective when things seem rough and don’t compare yourself to anyone else because we are all just doing the best that we can.