It wasn’t enough that Eddy and I were already both grinning from ear to ear each day thinking about finally having another baby in the home.
We decided, while out at the Asics event in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, that we’d just stop fronting and go ahead and announce our joy to all our friends and family, and to the #bgg2wlarmy. And then, thousands of e-mails, tweets, FB messages….it was a lot. But it made us glow. There’s something about radiating excitement to others that makes them radiate it right back. And then, you’re in a room so bright, you’ve gotta wear shades.
However. I did get a few e-mails that mentioned, “Wow, so you’ll have to start all over with your weight loss, huh?” and even a couple “Wow, all that weight loss for nothing!” And Pregnant Erika had an unpleasant reaction to it – as I do most things nowadays, I won’t lie. But Zen Erika? She saved the day.
I understand! I do. Pregnancy is hard on the female body, and if your experiences with changing your own body tell you that it’s virtually impossible – especially post-baby – then you feel like that’s simply how it’s going to be for everyone, or that it’s a fool’s errand to believe it’d be different for anyone else.
I grappled with this for a while, but I realize that perhaps I can change the way we look at and think about what our bodies experience in pregnancy. I’ll tell you this much – I’m not worried about my weight gain, and neither should you. Not because it “ain’t your business,” but because I firmly believe that a) it doesn’t have to be as bad as we think, and b) it’s pointless to worry about a fight that hasn’t even started, yet. Why stress over weight gain that you can’t quantify? Sounds pretty not-compassionate to me.
Just like with having a #ScaleFree season, you can have a #ScaleFreeBaby, where you focus more on sticking to the tenets of living your healthiest life and let that naturally bare fruit, as opposed to fretting over the number over the scale and letting that rule everything from your mood to your meals for the day.
And, perhaps I can give a little insight into how to make that happen.
Here are my five tips for having a #ScaleFreeBaby!
1) Stay active. Depending on your fitness level, it’s entirely possible that your pregnancy might not be the time to work towards developing new abilities, but merely honing in the ones you already have. However, if you’ve been at it for a while, it’s the perfect time to work on the mechanics of your chosen activity and become a flawless performer.
Many doctors will discourage high-impact activity, and you should most certainly consult with yours to determine what is best for you. A pregnant body is sensitive to stress and, unfortunately, excessive stress can be deleterious to your pregnancy. And, since exercise is a literal form of putting stress on your body – your body responds to the stress by either building muscle to better complete the task, or developing new muscle memory; the higher-impact the activity, the more the stress – you will have to ascertain [with your doctor, of course] whether or not it is ideal for you to continue at your particular level, or if you need to tone it down.
You can swap-out high-impact activities for lower-impact ones and still win. If you do something high-impact like running, you might simply need to tone it down to walking or Couch-to-5k-esque intervals. You can also focus on other components of training – flexibility and balance (via yoga), power (via non-resistant kickboxing), cardiovascular health (intervals) and so on. A quality trainer well-versed in pregnancy and how it affects the female body internally as well as externally should be able to guide you through figuring that out with insight from your OB/Gyn.
2) If you’re hungry, eat. It’s the first battle in the war against cravings. If you get hungry, don’t try to put it off. You’re already moody – why make it worse by stalling on the eats? Know when you expect to have your meals, and plan ahead to make sure that you get them. Most people pack a few snacks in their bag prior to heading out. Others may pack entire meals, which is smart if you know you can’t get a filling meal away from home.
If you know you’re a snacker, plan ahead. Part of what contributes to succumbing to cravings is the fact that we’re usually starving prior to having the initial craving. If you’re not OMG DEATH STARVING prior to having the craving, you’re less likely to binge on it if you do give in to it.
In other words, take note of when hunger hits and how much food you need to feel satiated – and feel free to update it every month – and plan ahead for appropriately satisfying snacks in case you fall short some days. Build your plats with fresh produce and quality protein sources, and you can’t go wrong. 🙂
3) Be reasonable. Know when to stop, and know when to say no. I’ll tell you a story.
It’s just between us, though.
There’s a restaurant here that makes onion rings that smell like glory. You hear harps play as you reach in the basket, and angels hum in your ear as you take your first bite.
I wanted damn onion rings. (I’ve never craved onion rings before, and I might eat them once every other year or so.)
So, I jumped on the train, rode into the city, and ordered a massive order of onion rings.
I wanted damn onion rings.
When my onion rings arrived, I was overjoyed! I took a bite. Magic! I took another bite. Mystical wonder! I finished my first onion ring.
And then, just like that, the craving was gone. WTF?!?!?!?!?!
Gleefully, Eddy and Mini-me finished the rest of the rings I’d brought home. But I was done.
When it comes to cravings, if you aren’t OMG DEATH STARVING, you won’t die from indulging a little bite of a craving if you so choose. Of course, “no” is always an option and you should probably say “no” more often than not.
But keep two things in mind: 1) the voracity of the craving is almost always determined by how hungry you were before you had it – the irrational combinations usually come after that; and 2) you can always ‘divert’ a craving by eating something else, instead.
When the lyrics to USA’s Suits theme song came on, singing “go and get a piece of pie for your wife,” I sat for a minute, looked at the floor, then looked over at Eddy like, “You know, pie sounds awfully good right now.”
Ed promptly got up, went to the kitchen, got a handful of frozen grapes, came back out to the living room, and handed them to me.
It’s also worth mentioning that the habits you develop or reinforce during pregnancy are also the habits you will still have once the baby is here. That being said….don’t do it to yourself. Be smart about your cravings. Sometimes, telling yourself “no” is the smart play, but if you give in, pay close attention to the moment when the craving is gone. You likely don’t need as much of ‘it’ as you originally thought.
4) Stay consistent. The more tired you become, the harder it becomes to commit to anything. Like I just said, the habits you develop during pregnancy are the habits you’ll still have once the baby is here. So, in other words…if you learn to skip your workouts because you’re “tired,” you’ll do the same thing post-delivery. It’s one thing to set it aside because you’ve chosen to do so. But if you’ve scheduled this special time for your particular self-care, and you start to neglect it, that is a habit you will maintain throughout your pregnancy and beyond.
Set yourself up for success. Set a time – it might be 25 minutes instead of your usual 45 minutes – where you commit to your personal physical, emotional, and mental health. It is yours and yours alone. Your family respects it, your friends respect it. It matters to you. Do not chip away at it unless you are scheduling that reduced time in advance. And, when the baby is here, you will feel comfortable fighting for your self-care time, your training time, your YOU time. Because you’ve had several months worth of time practicing how to fight for it.
5) Most importantly, listen to your body. Pregnancy isn’t just about gaining weight – your energy levels shift, and the amount of energy required to complete certain kinds of tasks changes, as well. Your personal center of gravity shifts, and you’re not always going to be able to stay balanced properly. Things that might feel easy may take a completely different toll on your body now. Those three miles you run every morning might leave you feeling out of breath and miserable once you hit the right point in your pregnancy. If your back hurts to the point where Zumba might not be the move tonight, pass. If you’re too tired to keep up with everyone else on the court, know when it’s time to sit out. If the way you feel would affect your form or performance in a way that makes performing dangerous for you, then don’t.
Consult with your doctor to find out what kinds of activities will work best for you, to keep you moving and happy. But being happy is what is most important. Taking a stress-free (and pressure-free!) approach to living your healthiest life while pregnant will not only make you feel good about yourself, but also set you up for a smooth transition once the baby is here!
What tips do you have for healthy living during a pregnancy?
For more on how to live the ScaleFree Lifestyle, check out these posts!
- Pleasure and Praxis
- Mindfulness, and Thinking Before You Decide
- Consistency and Commitment
- Goal Measurement – A Bajillion Ways To Measure Progress Without A Scale
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