You hear about weight loss stories all the time, but rarely hear people talk about gaining weight. Well, today I am going to talk about it. It isn't "pretty", but it is raw and honest.
IT IS HEALTHY FOR WOMEN TO GAIN WEIGHT WHEN THEY ARE PREGNANT. Yeah, yeah, yeah, deep down obviously we know that! We know having a healthy baby is our biggest priority.
That doesn't mean that it is easy to feel good about those numbers on the scale. Every time you go into your doctor's office you get "weighed-in" and you could just cringe as they yell out those numbers that you have never seen before. You want to just shrink into a hole.
It also doesn't mean that Satan doesn't attack and make us feel insecure in this new body that we don't even recognize. Out clothes don't fit. Our shoes don't fit. We don't feel confident in this body, let alone beautiful.
Gaining weight when you are pregnant is inevitable. The baby is going to grow, that is healthy! Your body is going to change, that is healthy! Every part of your body is going through trauma to help this baby grow. These changes aren't easy to cope with, especially with all of the hormones raging through your body.
Before we can dive too far into my weight gain story, I need to give a little background. Being overweight runs in both sides of my family. I am 5 foot 9 inches and "big boned" as they call it. My three brothers are all about 6 foot 5 inches. We are not small people. To top it all off, I have hypothyroidism which means that my thyroid under produces. In case you don't know, the thyroid controls your weight gain and weight loss, among other things. So, it is hard for me to lose weight. I have tried for years to get to that "perfect number" or size, but my body just has a mind of its own.
If you have ever lost weight, you probably had an "ah-ha" moment where you realized that you needed to change. My "ah-ha" moment was in February 2019 when my husband and I were visiting some family in Texas. (Check out this picture of us at Magnolia) I remember feeling so bloated and full all of the time. I didn't feel comfortable in my own body. I saw a picture of myself on this trip and I knew that I needed to start working out again and lose some weight.
So here I was, completely motivated to lose weight and make some positive changes for my health! I was excited to start some new program and watch the weight just fall off! Come to find out, we were pregnant (hence the bloating). Knowing I couldn't focus on weight loss for the next 9 months, I decided to focus on being as healthy as I could and make this pregnancy as healthy as possible.
We didn't have a scale at the time. (This is a post for another day, but long story short, my weight can be an idol for me and I don't like focusing on a number on the scale, so I chose not to have one in the house) I like to just focus on eating healthy and working out and not focusing on the scale. At our first doctor's appointment a couple of weeks later, I weighed in at the most I have ever weighed. My jaw dropped. I was so embarrassed being "weighed in" right in front of my husband who is a toothpick. (This was just the beginning of my countless "weigh-ins" during my prenatal appointments).
My doctor encouraged me to try to gain between 15-25 pounds over the next 9 months. (I am not for sure how you really can control this. I was working out, eating healthy, and the scale just went up whenever it wanted to.)
At the next doctor's appointment, I crossed into numbers that I never wanted to see, EVER! Obviously I knew they were coming, but seeing them on that scale made my heart sink. I actually cried in the doctor's office. I was devastated. That evening, I bought a scale. I needed a plan to try to gain as little as possible but still being healthy. I wanted to have an idea of what the scale was going to say when I went into the doctor's office.
I dreaded getting weighed in at each appointment. I remember feeling like a cow getting weighed in for 4-H. The nurses never said ANYTHING, but I was so self-conscious that I felt they were judging me. Again, they weren't, nurses are amazing! But, at the time it was humiliating and I couldn't wait for that part of the appointment to be over.
I ended up gaining 30 pounds throughout my first pregnancy. It was more than I wanted to gain, but I tried my best. I think I found a good balance between being careful but still enjoying life. I have no idea how much I would have gained if I wasn't watching what I was eating! My little boy came 3 weeks early and weighed 9 pounds. Who knows how much I would have gained if I went full term!
If you are pregnant, I want you to know that it is NORMAL and HEALTHY to gain weight.
It is not easy. There will be good days and bad days. Satan IS going to attack. Talk with your spouse about your insecurities. They can be so helpful and reassuring during this unique season!
Here are some tips to focus on over the next couple of months.
Don't go and "eat for two". Many women justify eating whatever they want and as much as they want because they have the excuse "I'm eating for two". As tempting as it is, don't fall into that trap. Talk with your doctor or do some research, but you only need to eat about 300 extra calories a day. Try really hard to stick to that.
It was SO tempting for me to "pig out" and just eat whatever I wanted because I knew that I was going to gain weight no matter what. But, thankfully I reminded myself that I will have to work that much harder after the baby is born if I am not careful now.
I believe that everybody needs to treat themselves frequently, pregnant or not. I still treated myself FREQUENTLY during pregnancy but in still moderation. That is what life is all about :)
What exactly does moderation mean? Well, during the first trimester when potato chips sound heavenly, I eat potato chips! I don't eat the whole bag though, or stuff myself till I feel bloated. I get out one serving and enjoy them because that is what baby is craving. I normally don't even keep potato chips in the house, except for when I am pregnant.
2. TRACK YOUR WEIGHT
Also, something that I found helpful was tracking my weight gain. I think it is important to pay attention to the weight, without being consumed by it. Have a bit of a goal like gaining 2 pounds a month, or 1 pound between your doctor's appointments. With my personality, I like to know where I am with my goals. I don't do well being "blind-sided" at the doctor's office. Certain personalities might do better not keeping track of their weight, but I found it to be very helpful!
Don't forget to give yourself grace too. Your body is going through a lot of changes! Some women don't want to look at a scale at all during their nine months, and that is fine too. Find what works for you and feels right!
Find a great workout program! I cannot emphasize this enough! It is so important for our bodies to keep moving, even though we are growing a human being.
Beachbody on Demand has some amazing prenatal programs which I have used for both of my pregnancies and absolutely LOVED! (Click here if you are interested in a free Prenatal Barre sample workout, or fill out this form if you are ready to get signed up with Beachbody and me as your coach!) YouTube also has tons of options. Walking for 20-30 minutes a day is also great choice and is FREE!
There are so many reasons to workout while pregnant. YOU feel amazing, energized, and strong even with this new body and extra weight. Women who workout during pregnancy tend to have easier & shorter labors. BABY has higher chances of being healthy, sleeping better, and nursing better. So why wouldn't you workout IF you doctor clears you?
So to wrap it up, ate the recommended amount of calories for yourself most days. Try to move for 20-30 minutes daily. Treat yourself occasionally, after all you are creating a human being inside you! Enjoy every minute of this beautiful gift of pregnancy!
Here are some other blog posts that I think you might enjoy!
How To Prepare Your Body for Labor.
Beachbody on Demand
After having our baby in October of 2019, I knew I wanted to start working out again as soon as the doctor cleared me. I did some research and chose to start with 21 Day Fix.
What is 21 Day Fix?
21 Day Fix is a 3 week workout program with super trainer Autumn Calabrese. She has lots of workout programs. Her most famous one is probably 80 Day Obsession. I have not tried it yet, but would like to at some point!
She developed the 21 Day Fix Portion Control nutrition program to also coincide with this workout program, or any other workout program. Here is a picture of me with her portion containers :)
Overall, I really liked this workout program. It served its purpose for me during my first few weeks of postpartum. It helped me ease back into working out slowing and safely. I would not say that this program is "easy" per se but very doable! It is definitely recommended for beginners. I think almost anybody could do this workout program!
The workouts are 30 minutes long. Again, I am a busy mom with a newborn. Finding time to workout is not always easy. Having a good program that is 30 minutes or less is essential! It is the perfect amount of time for some self-care and doing something for yourself.
It is a short program, just 21 days. I liked that it was short so you could feel accomplished when you finish the program. There is a sense of pride when you finish anything! After working out with a program for 21 days, it feels good to cross that off and move on to something else. It also worked out really well for me to quickly squeeze this 21 day fix program into the calendar year before January started. If you are looking for a good place to start working out, this program is great for you!
I felt this program was repetitive. Autumn has 7 workout videos focusing on something different each day. For example, there is cardio fix, arms, legs, abs, pilates, yoga, etc. So each Monday you do the cardio fix video. Each Tuesday you do the upper fix, etc. It might not be a big deal to others, but I didn't like that. I don't like hearing the same jokes or phrases week after week (even if it is just 3 weeks). Part of this could be because Autumn has a workout video for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd trimester that I did throughout pregnancy so I got used to hearing her talk all of the time and continuously say the same things.
It is a short program. (This is a pro and a con) It is hard to see yourself physically changing and getting stronger with this workout program because it is only 3 weeks. I know multiple people that just repeat it over and over. I couldn't do that because I would get tired of this program. I like something with a little more variety.
No rest day. Because it is such a short program, there is no rest day built into each week's workout. It is fine for the three weeks, but I wouldn't want all of my workout programs to be this way. I enjoy not working out on Sundays.
When I went through this program, I lost 6 pounds and 2 total inches in just 3 weeks! Some of that was probably postpartum weight, but I was very encouraged! Along with doing this program, I did the nutrition plan that correlates, 21 Day Fix Portion Control.
I don't have any transformation pictures of myself, but here is a transformation of Sophie after doing the 21 Day Fix. Pretty amazing! Picture how you could look and feel in just 3 weeks!
If you are interested in trying the free sample, check it out here.
Fill out this form if you are ready to give the 21 Day Fix a shot and change your life! This form gives me a little bit of information about you and your goals. After filling it out, I will reach out to you in email and we can get you set up with Beachbody!
I live in a small town. We have one gas station, two restaurants, no stoplights, and many farmers. In this small town is a very small women's only gym. Last year I was debating getting a membership there, especially during the winter months when running outside didn't sound appealing. The gym membership was expensive though and I did not want to commit to paying $30 a month. It wasn't worth it to drive 25 miles to a cheaper gym. One of my coworkers told me about working out at home with Beachbody (thanks Kasey!). For those of you who have not heard about it, Beachbody is an online library of many popular workout programs. Some of their most popular ones are Insanity, T:20, P90X, 21 Day Fix, 80 Day Obsession, and their newest hit Barre Blend.
I found some great workouts on Amazon Prime that I had really enjoyed doing. I loved working out at home and finding a good workout for my level of fitness. Then, my husband and I found out that we were pregnant. I knew that I wanted to be safe while working out so I needed a pregnancy safe workout program. I also knew that after we had the baby, I was going to want to lose that baby weight. Knowing myself, I knew that having a great workout program would help motivate me. After doing some research and number crunching, I decided to pay the $100 for the year. It has completely paid off and I am happy to say that we will be renewing our annual membership in the years to come.
I found multiple workouts in Beachbody's Prenatal series. I will admit that after doing the trimester workouts 40+ times they do start to get a little boring, but they helped prepare me for labor so I am not complaining! I loved the coaching that the trainers gave during their prenatal workouts. It truly helped prepare my body and mind for labor.
Now that I have had our son, I am taking advantage of so many of their other programs. I have done the 21 Day Fix, 21 Day Fix Extreme, and now Transform 20. Morning Meltdown and Barre Blend are next on my list to complete.
If you are on the fence about getting a membership, I highly recommend it!
I actually love these workout programs so much, I decided to become a Beachbody coach to help women feel confident and change their life! If you are interested in find out more, fill out this quick form!
If you would have told me a couple of years ago that I was going to run multiple half-marathons and a full marathon I would have laughed! I would have said, there is no way that I could do that! Other people run and are active, not me. Only certain people do that, and I am not one of them. I am not thin, there is no way I would belong next to all of those runners. But I am here today to tell you that you can! Everybody can, but it does take some serious time and determination.
Ah, our before picture. We had no idea what we were getting into. No idea what to expect. Just ignorance and nerves, lots of nerves. A couple of years ago, my brother and I decided to do a charity bike ride consisting of 230 miles in 3 days. It was a huge challenge, but such an accomplishment. It really wet our appetite for challenging ourselves and pushing our bodies to the max. There is nothing like the experience! We decided our next feat would be a half-marathon. I convinced both of my brothers to participate this time though.
This picture doesn't capture all of the emotions going on here. There is the basic pre-race jitters. Frantic lines at the restrooms. Are we going to make it to the starting line in time? Where are we supposed to be going? It was raining so we tried to decide what clothes we wanted to wear for the next 2+ hours. Not to mention the 25,000 other people running the race and trying to get to where they needed to go. There was also this huge feeling of "everybody-else-knows-what-to-do" and "we-stick-out-like-a-sore-thumb".
This picture was about the halfway mark. When we entered the Indianapolis Speedway track we were at about 6 miles and when we got out it was 8 miles. That felt like such an accomplishment, even though the track itself was difficult and VERY boring! Leaving the track behind us was such a boost in our spirits and energy.
Our medals! The medal itself means nothing to us, but the medal represents the fact that we survived our first half-marathon! It is a sense of accomplishment! We made it!
Going into the mini, we had two goals...
1. Run the whole time. Unfortunately, I don't have as much will power as I would like and I fell into the temptation to walk, so I did, multiple times. Overall though, I would estimate that I walked under 1 mile throughout the whole 13.1 miles. I never walked for long, just long enough to catch my breath and build up my motivation. I will warn you though, it is much harder to start running again after you walk! If you can run the whole time, do!
2. Our second goal was to finish under 2 and a half hours. We ended up finishing at 2 hours and 32 minutes. It was so discouraging that we missed our goal by 2 minutes! At first I wanted to cry. Why didn't I push just a little harder? Why did a walk all of those times? Why did we stop to take that picture? Then, I realized we made! It was our first ever mini! I remembered how it felt giving 110% as I crossed the finish line. I learned a lot, that is what matters!
1. FIND YOUR MOTIVATION
Figure out what kind of a runner you are. Do you like to listen to music? Do you like to run with others? Are you more motivated when you run by yourself? Experimenter and find what works for you! There are a couple of different types of runners. First, there are the hard core serious runners who are ALWAYS running. They do countless races and run hundreds if not even thousands of miles each year. They eat, sleep, and well of course run. This is a very small percent of people. Most of the time, these people don't need anything else to help them stay motivated. They are incredibly driven and can push themselves without needing help. The much more popular type of runner is the casual runner. That's me! We run for fun. We run for certain events. We run because we ate too much dessert. It is not in our blood. Once you figure out what type of runner you are, you can better decide your goals, partners, needs for motivation, etc.
It sounds obvious, right? Nobody just shows up to a mini-marathon or a full marathon without training. It isn't something you just wake up in the morning and decide you are going to do that day. You need to be prepared and have a plan. Find a good training plan or create your own based on your schedule. Stick to it. It is so encouraging seeing yourself get stronger each week as you increase your miles. Yes, the finish line is the final goal, but that is not the whole picture. That doesn't show the countless hours of training. It doesn't show the journey of how we got there. Training really is a journey and the finish line is just your destination. There are so many great things that happen on that journey.
3. BE PREPARED
Do research! Talk to others that have run before. Read blogs (thanks for reading mine), Watch videos. Learn tips from other people. I guarantee that other runners can give you specific advice on what they would do differently next time.
4. SET GOALS
These can easily be what time do you want to beat? What do you want your average mile pace to be? It could also be the amount of times you have to walk. Maybe you JUST care about finishing! Whatever your goal, find something to work towards.
5. GIVE YOURSELF GRACE
As you can see, we are not professional runners. I am sure we looked silly multiple times throughout the race. We made mistakes. We were not perfect. BUT we finished! We got a medal just like the really fast runners way up at the front. They had goals, we had goals. We met some of those goals as we ran across the finish line. No, we didn't make our goal time. No, I didn't run the whole thing. Don't focus on the goals we didn't accomplish, but the goals we did!
When I look back at these pictures, I have so many memories with my brothers. I remember the inside jokes, the laughter, the pain, but mostly the fun. We had no idea what we were doing, but we did it, and you can too! Our bodies are capable of so much more than what we think they are! It just takes determination, hard work, and commitment!