My Number One Tip for Staying Fit When You’re Expecting
Near the end of my pregnancy I thought it’s finally appropriate to give you my top tip for staying fit and healthy during those 9 months of hormonal insanity. With less than two weeks left until my due date (OMG!) I have a good enough overview of whether my main pregnancy strategy has actually worked – it has and I’m more than happy to share it with you.
So let’s talk numbers first.
I’ve gained almost 12 kg (I’m 160 cm tall and I started my pregnancy at 46-7 kg). Now I weight just below 60 kg and back in the day I’d think that I would like a massive whale if I was to ever gain so ‘much’.
Here, it’s very important to get one thing straight – ‘much’ is a relative word and so is the amount of weight you should gain during your pregnancy. That’s something you should discuss with your doctor as the less you weigh at the beginning of the 9 months the more you are expected to gain and the reverse.
Personally, I feel like most of those 12 kg are in my belly, bum and boobs (hooray, eh?). The rest are evenly distributed around the rest of my body, which is why I don’t really feel in any way big. Everyone keeps remarking how lucky I am to be in such a great shape and that it’s all thanks to my ‘good genes’. Well, I’d like to open a big bracket here – my mom gained around 25 kg when she was pregnant with me and she is only 2 cm taller than me. So there should be something with the lifestyle too.
Before we get to my strategy it’s important to mention that I’ve done my share of sport since I turned 15 and up until a few weeks ago, which has helped a lot in keeping my muscles strong and my body in shape. That’s also one of the reasons behind my ’smaller’ bump – my abs were too strong to let it grow way too much over the course of the last 9 months.
My top tip, however, has nothing to do with working out and it has all to do with FOOD or the famous pregnancy cravings
that have grown to connote something incredibly negative. And I guess that’s quite normal having in mind that you rarely hear when pregnant women crave spinach. It’s the freaky, overly caloric cravings we have that are in the spotlight (think bacon and ice-cream to get a better picture).
But healthy cravings do exist and if you end up having one just go for it – you’re playing safe. The problem is when you feel like eating junk and just can’t stop munching on those Haribos and greasy pizza from the take-away shop next door. By doing that you don’t leave enough space in your stomach for the nutritious food your baby needs – think fish, avocado, eggs, spinach, ray bread and all that healthy lot – and yes, that’s a problem.
I’ve heard so many stories of pregnant women going on a wild run eating crisps and drinking soda like crazy, so when I found out I was pregnant I thought I might end doing that too. Well, it never happened. Still, I have my share of cravings so I developed a strategy to control them rather than let them control me.
First I’d always try to come up with a healthier alternative to my craving – so if I were craving an ice-cream I’d buy frozen yoghurt instead. If I were craving a pizza – I’d go for a home-made pizza with cauliflower crust. And here home-made is key, because with everything home-made you know exactly how much and what you’ve put in it.
A note to myself ‘write a blog post with healthy alternatives to not so healthy pregnancy craving’
And if no healthy alternative existed (by the way that’s very rarely the case) I’d say to myself it’s okay as long as it’s in moderation and as long as you’ve had a healthy meal beforehand. So rather than running to the store to buy Ben&Jerry’s ‘Cookie Dough’ and immediately have it, I’d first have my dinner – home-made pasta Arabiata and avocado salad and then let my body tells me how it feels. Only after I’d provided my baby with sufficient amount of nutrients I’d consider having an ice-cream or any other ‘junky’ type of food. And you know? I’d go to the store and end up buying blueberries, yoghurt, and Digestives and have them instead of the sugary ice-cream. Have I managed to trick my body by satisfying my ‘cravings’ with healthier alternatives? Maybe. But what I’ve also noticed is that during these 9 months I’ve reduced eating chocolate by 90% and the same applied to ice-cream and cake, while my pasta and rice intake has hone up by 50%.
The result? I feel fuller for longer time and no much space is left for anything else and especially not for greasy or sugar rich foods. And the best of all is that I’d feel utterly satisfied that Sofia-Malou has received all that she needs – because come on – she does NOT need McDonald’s french fries or Coke. If anything she needs freshly squeezed orange juice and home-backed potatoes.
And don’t forget that cravings are closely tied to fact that you’re pregnant. It’s a psychological thing and those around you will only make things worse by giving you advices like ‘You should taste everything you see people eat’ ‘Eat for two’ ‘Eat some more… the baby needs more’.
You’re pregnant, which means that you’re the only one responsible for the well-being of the baby that’s growing inside you… so when you set your mind to think this way, you’d find it incredibly difficult to come up with any good excuses to justify eating x amount of burgers and milkshakes a day.
And that’s where all the confusion regarding the size of the pregnant body and baby bump comes into play. Many people think – big belly = big baby But then if you have abs and stick to a healthy diet – your baby will grow and you will remain more or less the same. As my doctor explained to me –first your baby takes the nutrients it needs from the food you eat and only then whatever is left is actually for you.
So don’t let the cravings take the best out of you. Try not to be selfish and first give your baby what it actually needs. And if you can – leave the cravings for after you give birth, because I’m pretty sure the ‘it’s time to get back into shape’ attitude won’t allow you to indulge in all those not-so-great foods 🙂
I hope this helps!
And you? Do you have any useful tips? Share them in the comments below <3