I found out I was pregnant and immediately worried, “What should I be eating?!” “How should I stay fit?!”
I know these concerns sit on the forefront of many a pregnant mind. Fitness and food. (With someone scrutinizing your weight every four weeks, and then every two weeks and then every week at your appointments, it’s hard not to be thinking about it.)
You know though, don’t get anxious about weight and eating when you are pregnant. I was with my first baby. And, it just felt like woah. I wanted ice cream a lot more than I let myself have it. My sister-in-law Melissa said at one point, “Eat what you want! You will lose the weight!”
And, to an extent, that is true. A good balance and keeping things in check every now and then is a good idea. I may have been too critical at times but then I would bake a pie at 4:00 a.m. and eat it all up. (Balance?) Everyone can handle different foods (you truly might hate certain things. I always felt pretty good and happily craved healthy foods but I know there are some super nauseous mommies out there. (And that is just not a fair thing at all.)) And everyone gains different amounts of weight. Some bodies gain a lot and some gain just a little. Just make sure you listen to your body and try to give it what it needs. (No, your body isn’t saying, “I need late-night pizza K,” it’s saying, “I need sleep.”)
There are solid reasons to give thought to what you are eating. You can help curb and settle nausea by stabilizing your blood sugar and balance your nutrients if you can figure out which ones your body is really lacking. (Iron, anyone?) And, buckets of water save you from loads of ailments. (Swelling, muscle cramps, dizziness. Try water. Lots of it.)
Aside from food though, during my first pregnancy I was confined to a chair eight hours a day at work – yuck – and I was so worried (rightfully so) about losing muscle, energy, flexibility and stamina. (Labour certainly wasn’t a breeze.)
Thankfully, spring and summer came around, and I heaved my big ‘ol belly onto my bicycle and my husband and I would ride around town and on trails. All the time. It felt awesome to be outside, it felt awesome to use my body, it felt awesome to get some energy and endorphins going.
I then, only at seven months, took up prenatal yoga. Oh, I wish I had started that much sooner. By nine months I still couldn’t hold a chair pose for very long and I thought, “Hmmm. I may not have the stamina for this upcoming marathon.”
This time around with second baby, I am enjoying food much more. I still think about omega 3’s and iron, water saves my day each and every day, protein is a best friend of mine, and it turns out my bread cravings are terrible for my belly – so I’m curbing it and replacing it. And, I have had plenty of ice cream. (I may have even derailed a bit and may have needed to detox with veggies to get back in check ….)
But what I really wanted to make sure of this time around was that I would strengthen my muscles so that I hopefully won’t experience as much back pain (this kicked in near the end of my previous pregnancy and hit a peak when Rad turned one – carrying him caused so many shoulder, kneck, knee, lower back, etc. pains) and so that in general my body would feel strong and have energy.
And, so I have been thinking – Get it in gear, K.
(7 months. Rad is below the photo cut off!)
I have always wondered what other moms do for fitness and rec fun.
Here are the things I have been up to lately and which I completely recommend.
1) Yoga. Prenatal was awesome, especially in my third trimester because your instructor is focusing on poses and sequences that are safe for your body – not too much twisting and you won’t be (obviously) laying on your belly. That being said, I am currently at a gym that offers a variety of yoga classes and I started in on those, and after class if I have a question about a move or a possible alternative to a pose or sequence, I ask.
During your start, you may feel lost and wonder what you are supposed to be trying to do with your body but don’t worry. Take it easy, slowly test out poses, and whenever you feel pushed to your limit, just come back into a Downward Dog or Child’s Pose. (You will love these.) At it’s core, the practice focuses on mind and body wellness. You will relax into the meditative moments. You will feel fierce in your growing strength. Do yoga. Bring out your goddess.
2) Zumba. Damn, this is fun. Everyone loves dancing. You know you do. Beat-filled music, dance sequences I can hardly keep up with, all interjected with sexy little booty moves. Your first class might make you feel like, “Oh, no, I am not cut out for this.” But, start smiling, then laugh when you need and want to, and do whichever parts of the choreography you can. No matter what, shake your booty.
3) Swimming. Laps in a pool are soothing. You are weightless and free. If the option is there at your local rec center, try an aquatics class. Can’t go wrong in a pool. (I used to hate the idea of pool chemicals seeping into my pregnant skin. But, now I don’t. ‘Nuff said.)
4) Bike riding. This is my favorite sport. For pregnancy, it is tops. You get the wind in your hair, you can go as slow or as fast as you want, and it gets you outside. And when baby is born, the fun continues. Get yourself a bike chariot, strap baby in, and take to the roads and trails. We had Rad in this from week one and he has loved it since. He gets to see the sights and feels like he is riding too.
5) Miscellaneous. I did in my first pregnancy and have continued during this pregnancy to snowboard. It’s my favorite winter sport and since I already do it, my midwife gave it the green light. I won’t at five months continue to ride – your balance starts to change and so for me, first trimester is where it is at, and then these couple of weeks into the start of my second trimester – but do what you already do if you feel comfortable and if you have chatted with your doc about it. (Please, this is so important.)
Others on my miscellaneous list include hiking – this is definitely a good one and you can find some nice, easy trails.
And, last, but never least – going for a walk. I found out during this pregnancy too that a daily three to five mile walk will help keep your posture in good position, meaning that baby will stay in a good position for birth. Sounds like a win to me.
(Rad is in there! See below.)
(Two weeks old. All snuggled in there.)
(Zach built this little seat for his bike. Rad wears a helmet. This was just a posing photo. So don’t worry! We keep it safe.)
Start somewhere. And while certain days are totally exhausting and you feel like you may not be up for it, you are being good to your body and you’ll feel awesome afterwards. No one said ever after a workout, “Oh, man, I really wish I hadn’t gone and done that.” (Ok, and if you have, either keep at it or switch up the sport. Find what you love!)
The key is to choose a variety of things. Yesterday, I was craving Zumba. This morning, as I finish this post, I feel like a bike ride. Any movement is a good start and you will, I promise, get into a routine.
(Oh, and, some colorful workout gear certainly doesn’t hurt.)
Ok. Your turn! Please share how some of you mommas have been keeping – or kept – those bodies rockin’.