We love fit mom ambassador, Kate’s, perspective. Read about her journey and fitness tips for the overweight mom-to-be.
I may never know what prompted me to do this, but on Christmas morning of 2013, I stepped onto my bathroom scale for the first time in months. Without disclosing any numbers, I cried to my husband the whole forty miles to my parents’ house for our annual Christmas breakfast. Through my tears, I made a decision for myself, one that I probably should have made a long time ago–I was done stepping on scales, only to cry when the number flashed up at me. I was done turning my head at the doctor’s office when it was time to weigh, often asking the nurse to please not say the number out loud. I was through with listening to myself try to portray a healthy lifestyle through all the exercising and running I did while I was eating nearly double the amount of calories I should have been in a single day.
On Christmas Day, of all the days in a year, I made the decision to change my life forever. No, not after this amazing breakfast we were about to have or after the entire day so that I could enjoy all my favorite foods on Christmas. But right then, in my husband’s truck, I decided to change my life. It might be difficult to start on Christmas day, but if it was going to make the rest of my life more enjoyable, I was ready.
Fast forward twenty-nine days and almost twenty less pounds. I didn’t go into my bathroom that afternoon to step on the scale (my weight hadn’t been moving in a few days, which was odd). I had been feeling extremely tired and sluggish for about two weeks. My diet was so much cleaner, I knew something was wrong; I was eating high protein, energy efficient foods. I shouldn’t be feeling this way, I told myself. I knew something was going on. I took two pregnancy tests, only to have two barely there but definitely there pink plus signs blink up at me. It might sound a little strange to say this, but for just a short while, I felt as if my world was collapsing. There I was, becoming the fittest, healthiest me I could be and suddenly I thought this was the end to my fitness journey. I saw myself gaining back all that I’d lost plus an additional thirty pounds at least. I saw myself laying in bed for nine months, completely avoiding the gym and all physical activity. But that mentality didn’t last long at all; I came to realize that of all my reasons for adopting a new healthy lifestyle, our precious first baby was the ultimate motivation to keep it up. I realized that I didn’t have to sit around gaining pregnancy weight and not exercising for nine months; I decided to make this the healthiest, most joyful time of my life; it’s a new kind of a journey, and I’m still going hard at it!
Being an overweight mom-to-be definitely doesn’t mean that for nine months you have to watch yourself put on the expected baby weight plus more unnecessary pounds; my doctor was thrilled at my plans to remain healthy and active during pregnancy, and for the most part (you’ll have to overlook my occasional ice cream sprees), I have stuck to my plan. We set a goal of a total gain of fifteen to twenty pounds for me, which is a normal goal for an overweight woman. Before pregnancy, I was exercising five to six days per week, even if it was just walking/jogging for thirty minutes. With pregnancy, I knew I couldn’t be as strenuous, but together with my doctor, I created a three day strength and weight-training program (my favorite!) and an additional day for cardio (walking, jogging, biking, swimming, anything that would get me going for thirty-sixty minutes). Shortly into the second trimester, I was hit with some pretty rough back pain; I have a gymnastics injury from age twelve that has affected me ever since, but with a few visits to my chiropractor and a handy heating pad every few nights, it became much more manageable. It did prevent me from going to the gym for just a short while, but around week twenty, I decided to push through it and discovered some great yoga stretches and strength exercises that had me feeling like new again! Dead lifts with a thirty pound barbell were and still are miracle-workers for my back!
I feel it’s unnecessary, however, to talk solely about numbers (as far as weight gain) when talking about being healthy during pregnancy. Managing weight is just a small part of a healthy lifestyle! I was overweight as a kid and knew from the beginning of my pregnancy that I didn’t want our sweet little one to endure the teasing that we (my husband was overweight as well) had to endure throughout childhood and adolescence. I continued to eat healthy, wholesome foods, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and drink lots of water, in hopes that our baby will acquire the taste for such deliciously satisfying and good-for-you foods. Yes, I do have the occasional splurge on pizza and ice cream (what pregnant woman doesn’t?), but even still, I know I’m building a healthy foundation for our baby. Because of my efforts at having a healthy pregnancy, I feel amazing—not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. I think all too often, we get a little too focused on the numbers on the scale when we think about being “healthy,” but we must also remember that our minds are just as vital a part of our health as our bodies are!
Since I’ve continued working out and eating right, my pregnancy has been an amazing experience, and I’m fast approaching the twenty-seventh week! I’ve gained about fifteen pounds so far, but I’m not nearly as concerned about the number on the scale as I am with my health and that of this baby boy. My message for overweight moms-to-be who already strive for the healthy lifestyle is to KEEP GOING. I have definitely had times where I think, Well, I’m pregnant. Might as well eat this entire sleeve of Oreos! But by the third cookie, I can hear the mantra in the back of my mind: Healthy mama, healthy baby! Heathy mama, healthy baby! Yes, I do have to make myself walk away from the kitchen sometimes! For those moms-to-be who are now making pregnancy their motivation to adopt a healthier lifestyle, good for you! And you have my support and the support of the entire For Two Fitness community, I’m sure! Pregnancy does not have to be nine months of a sedentary lifestyle, eating all the carbs and grease that you can (but oh, how fun it would be for just a day)! Strive to make it a time in your life where you are most motivated to be the healthiest you that you can be because your little one, whether it’s your first or fifth) deserves a healthy, happy mama!
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my thoughts on health and fitness for the overweight mom-to-be; even after our baby arrives and I am back on track to a fit and healthy non-pregnant lifestyle, being overweight is something that will always stick with me—maybe not physically, but I will always know the feeling of being overweight and trying to live fully and healthily. I will always look back on my first pregnancy and admire my efforts at staying as fit as possible.
I also want to encourage you to visit and follow my blog, Keeping Pace, at www.katepace1.blogspot.com. I must thank For Two Fitness for welcoming me into their circle of ambassadors for such a great company; I can’t wait for my For Two Fitness wear to arrive so that I can represent my new favorite fitness-wear company out and about in my community and at my local gym! Thank you again, and I look forward to representing such an amazing online community, as well as chatting with some of you!
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Please welcome Alyssa, our latest For Two Fitness Ambassador! Alyssa is the mom of two young girls, and is excited to have number 3 on the way. She keeps fit during pregnancy and postnatal times by walking, practicing yoga, and doing low impact strength training. Alyssa has run a number of half marathons, and is looking forward to participating in one in 2019. Please follow Alyssa on her website.