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Friday, August 5, 2016

TGIF | 5 Tips for a Fit and Healthy Pregnancy

I have been asked on numerous occasions how I have stayed so "small" or "tiny" during my pregnancy. And to be honest, even I don't fully have an answer for you on that one. I have a body type and a metabolism that typically causes me to gain weight just by looking at food. It takes conscious effort to maintain a healthy body size. And I fully expected that pregnancy would hit me hard. And yet with relatively minimal effort, I am sitting here at 34 weeks pregnant with a body that I am both incredibly in love with and that has managed to gain only the recommended amount of weight for a health pregnancy. But how?

The first thing that I will say is this - and it will be mentioned again in this list - I had a head start. I was in shape and living a healthy lifestyle that had been developed and maintained for months prior to getting pregnant. The habits of choosing healthier foods and staying physical were already there.

The second thing that I want to say is that every body and every pregnancy is different. I could do exactly the same things next time and have completely different results. And what matters isn't how big or small your baby bump happens to be - it's about the health of you and the little human you're growing and supporting. So these tips that I'm about to list aren't tips on how to have a small baby bump or how to stay skinny during pregnancy.
five tips for a fit and healthy pregnancy
1. Take those vitamins; One of the most important things that you need to do when you're pregnant is to take your prenatal vitamins. They're not only crucial for your #1 priority, keeping your baby healthy - they're also crucial for you. I love gummies - so much easier to take. But pay attention to the labels. I have to take a an iron supplement because mine don't have any iron. But it's still better than trying to swallow a giant pill! Considering how limited my food preferences were during my first trimester, it really goes to show how good those vitamins are for you and baby.

2. Food & water matter; I'm going to be honest here. I had it pretty easy in this department. After my first trimester, once I was beyond the majority of my food aversions, I craved mostly healthy things. Fresh fruit and veggies. Tons of water. And anything super greasy still made my stomach queasy to even think about. But even if you're not lucky like me, it's important to try to keep a healthy balance in your diet.

One tip that I've always used to "trick" myself into eating something healthy and avoid overeating something unhealthy - when you're craving something super unhealthy, don't say no... just eat something healthy first. I'm prone to bouts of low blood sugar, which causes me to become hangry. It's scary. Ask my husband. And when that happens, I tend to set my mind to eating something specific (it's usually pizza) and nothing else will suffice. And so I tell myself that I can have it... after I eat a salad. Or a protein bar. Or an apple. It typically ends one of two ways. Either eating satisfies me enough that I can now consider the possibility of eating something other than the unhealthy thing I was craving... or I still want the unhealthy thing, but I significantly reduce the amount that I would have eaten before and I have still snuck in something good for me. It almost always works for me.

As for water, you'll hear it a million times - with your body making more blood and fluids than ever before, you need more water. I happen to love water and drink it like crazy anyway, but if you aren't a fan, try adding fruit to give it some flavor.

3. If possible, start early; Before my husband and I started trying to get pregnant, we knew that those plans were in our relatively near future. For me, I knew that before we even started trying, I wanted my body to be healthy and strong. Because pregnancy can do a number on you. I started following Tone It Up, among a few other online trainers, and created a workout routine that worked for me. For the first time in my life, I fell in love with fitness and taking care of myself. By the time I got pregnant, I was in the best shape I had ever been in and I think that has definitely helped me stay strong and healthy and comfortable throughout my pregnancy. I definitely suggest that if you can, develop a healthy fitness routine before you get pregnant.

4. Get up and move; I just mentioned that at the time I got pregnant, I had a workout routine that I loved and was consistent at maintaining. Now let's address reality... first trimester exhaustion. I slept until I had to get up for work, I often napped after work and I was in bed by 7pm every single night. Sometimes earlier. I managed to do an actual "workout" twice during my entire first trimester. But I was still sneaking in physical activity, mainly in the form of walking a lot at work. Once my energy came back, I still never jumped back into my full blown workout routine. But I walk. I do arm workouts with light weights. I do squats and wall sits when blow-drying my hair and brushing my teeth. Even without doing an intense cardio or strength workout, I am still finding ways to be active and stay in shape.

5. Listen to your body; Your body is going through a lot when you're pregnant. So above all else, listen to what it's telling you. If you're tired, rest. If you're hungry, eat. Thirsty? Drink. You're growing a human. Those who have never been pregnant might assume that you just sit there and grow and that's all there is to it - but it's intensely hard work. Take care of yourself!

One last time, I want to reiterate - none of these tips are designed to help you lose weight or make you miraculously "bounce back" after you give birth. They're not meant to keep you "small" during your pregnancy. Truthfully, aside from my doctor telling me that I'm gaining just the right amount of weight, I haven't been paying much attention to my own weight since getting pregnant. These tips may help you with weight - I am assuming that they play at least some roll in my own healthy amount of weight gain. But it's not about that.

Your number one priority is and should be to take care of your growing baby and your growing body.

Do you have any tips or advice for staying healthy before, during or after pregnancy? 

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