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Can pregnancy and fitness go hand in hand? What about the first workouts AFTER having your baby? Diet? Nutrition? It all goes hand in hand. Here are a few of the things I found that helped me stay fit and lose all (but 3lbs) of the pregnancy weight.
I want to disclaimer this by saying that I am in no way a nutrition or health professional and to PLEASE check with your OB before doing any kind of exercise during or after your pregnancy. I made sure to have the OK from my midwife for exercise during my pregnancy and to make sure I was healed before working out after having my baby.
Pregnancy fitness: I have a whole blog on my fitness during the third trimester of my pregnancy, which you can find here. I worked out for the majority of my pregnancy, although I stopped going to the gym by probably week 30 or 32. I’ll tell you why. I found that at the gym I was tempted to do more than I felt was healthy for me at that point in my pregnancy. I have always been more challenged and inspired to work hard when I am at the gym versus when I’m doing home workouts (which is why I always have longer/more successful workouts at the gym than at home). During the first two trimesters, I spent a lot of time on the elliptical and then did about 30-40 mins of light weights. After I stopped going to the gym, I spent the rest of my pregnancy doing lots of walking and body-weight exercises at home, throughout the day. Also, every night before bed I would do 50 squats. I had several people comment on how good my legs looked during the last few weeks of my pregnancy, and I fully attribute it to that, haha. I believe that my staying active throughout the pregnancy is the biggest reason why I only got minimal stretch marks – and none on my belly! Only a few on my hips, which I swear didn’t appear until the day I gave birth… I gained a total of 22lbs during my pregnancy and lost all but 3lbs within a few weeks of giving birth. I attribute this partly to breastfeeding, partly to drinking a TON of water, and partly to the exercises I’ll talk about later.
Diet: I talk about my diet some in this blog, but I’ll explain it a little more in-depth now. Most of my pregnancy I ate well but cheated often. During the last month or two I started a very strict diet for my health (not my weight). It was pretty much just fruit & vegetables, with 1 serving of meat a day. No processed foods, no eggs, no dairy, no gluten, no sugar. I found out that I was GBS (Group B Strep) positive toward the end of my pregnancy and decided to do the diet to minimize the bacteria growth to lower the chance of Mila contracting it during her birth. I also have another virus that feeds on sugar/dairy/gluten and try to maintain a diet mostly free of those things, even now, to control that – and eventually eradicate it. I was also on antibiotics during labor to further protect Mila from the bacteria. After I gave birth, I became more flexible about my diet, I still eat mostly dairy/gluten/sugar free, but I don’t stress about it. If I’m home, I try to stick with it. If I go out, I eat healthy but allow room for those things because I don’t want to stress about whether something has sugar or gluten in it or not. Thankfully I am not allergic to either one and will not have a serious reaction if I eat it – so I do allow it when I’m eating out or occasionally at home.
I don’t count calories & I don’t stress over food – that’s the big thing. I don’t want to have to stress over what I eat! I just eat as healthy as I can. I buy a lot of fresh, raw food when I get groceries, I order healthier items when I eat out, and I try to only cheat on occasion. For some it may be more complicated…but now that Mila is outside of my body, I want to have this flexibility. I find that I do well if I stick to it most of the time. I also drink a LOT of water. Like 8 oz every 2-3 hours. Not only is it great for your body, it helps to shed the extra weight and maintains your milk supply. I totally recommend having a water bottle with you at all times to help with this. I also recommend having a water bottle with a straw…I don’t know why, it’s just easier, haha. Its also really nice to have during labor. Here is one very similar to what I have. It’s definitely worth the money to get something other than plastic! My go-to is stainless steel because it’s lighter and less fragile, but glass is a good alternative too.
Postpartum fitness: As I mentioned earlier, I attribute losing the weight so quickly to a variety of things. Since I lost most of the weight in the first couple weeks, I attribute a LOT of it to breastfeeding, to my diet, and to drinking so much water. (And also to my postpartum girdle, which sucked everything back in haha – this is the one I have). I continued to lose the weight after I started working out again and am now just 3lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight! I could not be happier. However, I’ve lost a lot of muscle and am starting a routine to get it back again. I start every session with a 10-15 min walk/jog on the treadmill, and then a 20-30 min session on the elliptical, after which I head to the weights section. If you’re interested in a full guide for the workouts that I did during pregnancy and that I’m doing postpartum, please drop a comment or send me a message via the contact tab! It’s simply too complicated to discuss fully in this blog. I usually do 2 leg/ab days a week, 2 back/bi days, and 1 chest/shoulder/tri day, although sometimes its more or less of any of them, depending on what I feel like. I’ve started very light, although I’m itching to start lifting heavier again. I lost a lot of muscle during the pregnancy and the first few weeks postpartum. My recovery was longer than most and I was not really cleared for workouts until close to 8 weeks postpartum. Since I went so long without lifting weights, a lot of that muscle has atrophied. Thankfully muscles are resilient, and it shouldn’t be too hard to work up to the same weight I was lifting before pregnancy. I’ll be honest, I am not currently working out 5 days a week – although I want to get back to that. I’m simply working out whenever I have time….which is not as often as I’d like. Let’s be honest, being a mom is hard! Especially when you have a little baby. I am trying to give myself a long leash as I begin to work fitness back into my schedule – and you can totally join me! If you want someone to be accountable to or want to work toward fitness along with me, leave a comment or shoot me a message and we can work out a plan! Give yourself some leeway too – life is tough, and having kids around makes it a little more complicated. It’s hard to even make sure you eat 3 meals a day sometimes, I get it. So do your best and don’t stress about it!
Health above wealth,