I ran 6.2 miles this past Monday in the Peachtree Road Race. Yes, I am 7 months pregnant.
After I posted a picture of my husband, baby Streib, and I starting the race on Instagram, I had tons of questions on how I do it. I took some time this week to really think about how I have worked to stay fit during my pregnancy and why it has mattered to me.
I focus on my big vision
I have a vision for what kind of mom I want to be. Being strong and fit is essential to carrying out that vision. I am a little older in starting a family, and I not only want to have a healthy pregnancy, but I want to play with my child as he or she grows up. I want to attend all of their soccer games or ballet recitals. I want to help him or her move into their first college dorm room. I want to travel to whatever city they decide to live in for their first job. I want to enjoy every moment of their wedding.
This vision propels me to wake up in the morning and go for a run. It propels me to choose an apple over a brownie for a snack.
I put it on my calendar
Sounds so simple, right?! But I know that I can have the best intentions to go to yoga 3 times/week, but if I do not put it on the calendar, I won’t do it. At the beginning of each week, I sit down with my calendar and schedule my exercise sessions. I view these sessions as any other appointment. It is an important appointment to take care of myself so I can in turn take care of this little baby and ultimately be the kind mom I want to be.
I go slow and listen to my body
This is hard for me. I am naturally competitive, mainly with myself. I am always looking to improve my pace or finally stick that handstand in yoga, but I have learned during pregnancy to take it slow. Just last week my yoga teacher encouraged me to go at 50% with certain core poses. Though mentally that was challenging to me, it felt so much better on my body.
I have to repeat to myself that I am not trying to win a race or become a yoga guru, I am trying to be a healthy mom and provide a healthy home for my little one. That is my ultimate goal in this season. So it is okay to walk at time and change up my poses in yoga. My body thanks me for it.
I fuel myself with the appropriate amounts and right kinds of foods
Sure, I am a dietitian, so this is what I live and breathe, but pregnancy cravings are NO JOKE! Everyday I want to sit down with a big bag of salty, crunchy, good ole fashioned potato chips. I could eat the whole bag, I know it. So in order to help control those cravings and properly fuel my body and my baby’s body, I have to be intentional about what and when I eat.
I make sure to keep myself fueled by eating every 3 - 4 hours. This keeps my energy up and helps me not get so hungry that I lose all willpower to not dive into that bag of chips.
I make half of my plate at each meal some type of fruit or vegetable, 1/4 of my plate some type of lean protein food (my favorites are beans, lentils, eggs, chicken, and fish), and the last 1/4th some type of grain food (like quinoa, sweet potatoes, beans, or a handful of those salty chips).
I drink a TON of water
Naturally, being in the South in this summer heat wave makes me want to drink water, but it is easy to get busy and forget to stay hydrated throughout the day. The way to ensure I will drink water consistently throughout the day (which helps with taming the hunger cravings and allows me to enjoy those exercise sessions) is to keep a water bottle with me all the time. I love a good water bottle that keeps cold water icy cold and warm water warm. I also love a water bottle that is aesthetically pleasing, it reminds me to always grab it when I am on the go and entices me to always be sipping from it. I personally love the Swell water bottles.
There it is, my strategies for staying fit during pregnancy. Thus far, they have been successful. We will see how the next two months go!
Are you pregnant (or know someone who is) and desire to do the same? OR do you have other big health goals? Honestly, this can translate to any goal you are considering. Maybe you want to run a 5K, but have never run more than 1 mile. Maybe you want to lose weight. Maybe you want to get off your cholesterol medication. Applying these methods can help you achieve your big goals too.
1. Write down your big vision
Imagine yourself 5 years from now. How do you want that picture to look? Write down your thoughts. Let that vision drive you to make the daily wise decisions to move and eat well.
2. Put it on your calendar
Take a few moments at the beginning of each week and schedule “take care of myself” appointments. Set reminders in your calendar for those exercise sessions and snack breaks.
3. Go slow and listen to your body
Start with a 10 minute walk today. Sign up for a beginner exercise class at a gym near you. Remember, it doesn’t have to be some grand plan. You don't have to start running 5Ks immediately. Your goal is to just start moving. It releases those endorphins that make you feel good that will in turn help you want to do the same the next day. After some time, you will find that your body is ready for to tackle that 5K.
4. Eat consistently the appropriate amounts of food throughout the day
Eat every 3 - 4 hours. Make your meal plates 1/2 fruit or vegetable, 1/4th lean protein foods, and the last 1/4th whole grain foods. Eat a small snack that contains 100 - 150 calories, protein, and fiber.
5. Drink water
Aim to drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water.