Being in the fitness industry and just being a woman in general, there can be a lot of pressure to look your best. Instead of making a goal of what other people think you should look like, aim at making a goal to look and feel your best for Y-O-U. When your goals are about other people, they never last. When your goals come from within, then you have to answer to yourself and you are more likely to stick with it.
Since losing fifty pounds after college, I made a vow to myself to never lose focus again. The beginning of your weight-loss journey is often the hardest part because you want results now! However, as time goes on and your body transforms itself through eating clean and exercise, it becomes easier to stick with your healthy routine. You see results within just weeks of making a change in your plan when you stay fit and healthy year round.
Pregnancy Fit Nutrition
Before my husband and I decided to try to get pregnant, I had a mental pep-talk with myself. I knew that when I got pregnant, I would have to embrace all the changes my body would be making in order to grow my little one. Whether I decide to eat super clean or indulge in junk food, I would still gain weight. However, I made the decision early on to gain “healthy” weight instead of “junk weight.” Before I got pregnant, I would limit my cheat meals to one cheat meal every two weeks. I have found that this habit keeps me in a fit and healthy body year round and I can be ready for any opportunities in fitness that come my way, while still enjoying life. Life is all about healthy moderation. Upon getting pregnant, I decided to give myself one or two cheat meals a week so that I didn’t feel restricted.
Typically, you don’t need more calories the first trimester. That’s when my morning sickness kicked in and I could only stomach the thought of spicy foods or soup with crackers. That was a hard time for me because I had vowed to myself that if I ever got pregnant I would stick to my clean meals, no excuses. Hello, food aversions. The smell of lean steak or egg whites made me sick to my stomach. Once most of the days of nausea were over in the second trimester, I eagerly picked back up on my clean meal plan. I felt so much better once I did. Clean meals gave me the fuel I needed to get in the gym.
During the second trimester you typically need about 300 extra calories per day. The third trimester typically calls for around 450 extra calories per day. Again, this depends on your specific weight and body. If you are overweight when you get pregnant, doctors usually want you to gain less weight with your pregnancy. I have a nutritionist who helps me plan my portions according to my caloric needs. For my pre-pregnancy weight, it is my goal to gain between 25-30 pounds total during my pregnancy. I am quite the planner. In my opinion, if you fail to plan then you plan to fail.
It’s so important to monitor your weight gain during pregnancy. Gaining too much weight can lead to gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, among other things. Gaining too little weight can lead to a low birth weight for your child. That’s why it’s a necessity to check with your doctor and make a plan for yourself.
Hydration is also very important while pregnant. I still drink my gallon of water daily. I find that if I miss meals or water, I don’t feel like working out that night. That’s why it’s imperative that I take care of myself during the day. I want to keep the baby and myself healthy. If you are pregnant or considering getting pregnant, I would recommend staying a healthy weight and body fat percentage beforehand. For women, a healthy body fat range is between 20-25%. You can have a nutritionist or trainer check this for you using calipers. Whether you are with child or not, taking care of your body should be a priority. That way, when it’s time to start a family you won’t have to worry about starting a completely new lifestyle.
When I first found out I was pregnant, I took one week off from the gym because I was so unsure of what I could do to keep my body and baby healthy. After talking with my doctor and several personal trainers, I was informed that I can still complete the same exercises as before I was pregnant with a few modifications. For example, I was told to modify any exercise involving me lying on my back and perform the exercise on an incline bench or stability ball. Bench press and crunches would be perfect examples. My doctor said that since I lifted weights before I was pregnant, I could do the same now. However, I’m not a runner, so obviously I don’t plan to take up a running exercise plan.
Many people told me that it’s dangerous to lift above your head, but my doctor informed me that is a myth or wives tale. Whew! I love lifting weights and training, I just didn’t want to put my baby or body in danger or risk miscarriage. I still perform the same exercises as before, I just choose lighter weights and perform more repetitions. Since starting my journey with pregnancy, I have met many fit moms who maintained their exercise regimen while pregnant. These exercises include lifting weights, running, Crossfit, yoga, pilates and more. Each pregnancy is so different, so I believe that you have to listen to your own body and make your own decisions regarding exercise. I simply avoid straining my lower abdominal muscles.
There are so many fitness options for us these days, I believe it’s becoming more socially acceptable for women to take part in fitness training while pregnant. My grandmother and mother laugh when I tell them I work out three to four days a week at 23 weeks pregnant. Their experiences with pregnancy involved the “Eat for Two” state of mind, where you indulge in anything you want, whenever you want. It’s important to check with your doctor and/or nutritionist to determine the correct amount of extra calories for your body. I would advise making a plan and sticking with it. Pregnancy is a very special time in your life and you should enjoy it. I want to be happy and healthy when my little baby girl arrives. Newborns can bring sleepless nights and exhaustion, so I want to be as healthy and strong as possible for when the big day arrives. I am training for the biggest event of my life: child birth.
Eat clean and follow your dreams.
About the Author
Team Labrada athlete and spokesmodel, Kelsey Byers, is the author of Eat Clean and Follow Your Dreams, available on Amazon.com. She has a fifty pound weight-loss success story and inspires thousands of people daily through social networking. She prides herself in offering helpful tips on nutrition and exercise to help others make healthy lifestyle changes, just as she’s done. Kelsey is a nationally qualified NPC bikini competitor and internationally published fitness model.