The 3 Pillars of a Fit Pregnancy–And an Introduction To Fit Fridays

I’m settling into the second trimester and the nesting bug has bitten. I’m all about getting the house set up, finishing decorating projects, knocking out some business stuff for the free clinic I volunteer in, and over-all tackling of the “to-do” list. I love getting into this productive zone after a few months earlier in the pregnancy spent curled up incubating and frankly, surviving. But in the midst of all this energetic bustle, I don’t want to lose sight of my fitness goals.

  (My current favorite running shoes. I just bought a new pair of Neon pink nikes I’ve been using for walking but still prefer these Brooks for my runs.)

I’d fallen just below the BMI range labeled “obese,” then entered this pregnancy still in the overweight range. What this means: lots of caution with my weight gain! I talked it over with my OB and we settled on a goal of gaining at or less that 20 pounds for this pregnancy. If you keep up with this sort of thing, ACOG released updated weight-gain guidlines within the last couple years that are adjusted based on the mother’s starting BMI. Basically, women who enter pregnancy with extra weight just don’t need to gain as much as normal weight women. Obviously, all this must be talked over with your own OB-GYN, and don’t forget my disclaimer as you read this and every post on my blog.

In any case, earlier this week and last, my healthy eating slid off track. I had cravings for sweets that seemed overpowering at the time. I made an angel food cake,  ate more chocolate than I should have, and sorta kinda ignored my calorie counting app I rely on to keep me honest. And then I ignored the scale for a few days.

You might read this and think that’s not a big deal–so what if I don’t write down everything I eat and weigh daily. Are we really supposed to weigh daily anyway? Well, for me, those are two of the three pillars of my strategy in keeping my pregnancy weight gain within its limits. Both detailing every bite in MyFitnessPal app and checking in with my scale every morning keep me from overindulging during the day. The knowledge that one massive salty, fatty restaurant meal can show up on the scale in form of several pounds the next morning stops me dead in my tracks.

Now, during active weight loss, some people do better weighing in only once or twice a week–otherwise they get discouraged if they don’t see the scale move down every day (when day-to-day plataues are frequent and sometimes it takes a few days to see a change), and give up. But for weight maintenance and situations like pregnancy, I find daily weighing to be the best strategy.

So back to the cravings. People like to talk as though pregnant woman are faced with no choice when they have a craving, that they might go into some rabid state until they indulge in whatever item they desire to consume. This is not true. There is no need to embrace the philosophy that pregnancy is a time to let the stops out and eat whatever you want, whenever you want, in the name of cravings! Of course everyone around you loves to tell you to “Go ahead, you are eating for two, after all,” as if you need to double your calorie intake! Just tune them out. Next time someone offers you a slice of chocolate cake and says “You’re pregnant–just enjoy it,” I’ve found a good response is to smile and say, “Yes, thank-you. I am pregnant, so its doubly important I make healthy choices for my developing child and myself.” Perhaps its just here in the deep south, but everyone loves to shove food, and not necessarily the healthy sort, in the direction of the pregnant lady in the room. It’s like they think its the best way to show you their love and support when you are with child. By all means, be gracious and thankful for what people are trying to do, but be honest about your goals, and they will stop!

In dealing with cravings for stuff that’s not so good, find a better alternative that satisfies what you want. Think about the qualities of what you crave: crunchy or creamy, sweet or savory, and work hard to have options that fit the bill and satisfy your craving in the best way. See that fruit bowl up at the top of this post? That isn’t even a third of the fruit I brought home from the store last week, and it’s almost already gone. I was craving sweet and sour, and found chilled grapes fit the bill (better than the Nerds candy that crossed my mind!).

My 3 Steps to a Fit Pregnancy and keeping Weight Gain within the Guidlines for your BMI (as discussed with your OB):

1. Track calories daily

2. Weigh daily

3. Exercise an average of 30 minutes daily.

Anyway, to keep myself a bit more accountable to exercising daily and tracking calories daily, I’m going to post my weekly record of daily calorie counts and exercise log here every friday, along with some fitness thoughts for the week. I’ll be calling it Fit Fridays. Feel free to leave your own weekly log in the comments each Friday (whether you are pregnant or not, these are great habits to maintain), and if people are interested I’ll start an official link-up down the road.

So meet back here next Friday for the first in the FIT FRIDAY series!


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