Thursday, March 4, 2010

Healthy Pregnancy

Yesterday I finished my course in “Optimum Performance Training for the Prenatal Client.” I thought it must have been fated that I blog about pregnancy when I checked my email inbox this morning and saw that a friend of mine sent me an article called, “I’m Pregnant, I’m fat and I hate it”. It was too much of a coincidence that I would finish learning all about what a woman should be doing during her pregnancy and then read about what real women face during and after pregnancy, not to write about it!

First off, I have never been pregnant. I can’t relate to all of the physical and emotional hurdles that women have to face during pregnancy first hand, but after training a few pregnant clients and chatting with a couple pregnant friends, I have an idea of the craziness that women have to face. There are the hormonal changes (hi, mood swings), the body aches, the skin stretching, the indegestion, hemmroids, stretch marks, morning sickness…and that’s just during the pregnancy! After the baby is born, I imagine that a new found struggle begins where you have to navigate this new body that you now reside in and figure out what to make of it. My recommendation to you if you’re going through all of these crazy changes is to read the article “I’m pregnant, I’m fat and I hate it” for someone to comiserate with!

What I can do, however, is give a little advice about what I know and what I feel on the subject of health during pregnancy. My number one recommendation is to make sure you exercise during these 40 weeks. It is SO important to keep up some sort of activity. Doing so will result in less discomfort during the gestation period, more energy, lighter moods, less need for medical interventions, and when you are ready to start losing the post-baby weight, it will be SO much easier to get back into higher intensity workouts more quickly. I know that there will be days when you are so tired that you can’t even think about getting out of bed. Maybe on some of those days, you can give yourself permission to rest. On others, get out of your house and at least walk around the block. If you can walk around the block twice, do it…If you can walk yourself to the gym and get on the bike for a while, lift some weights or head to a yoga class, even better. The worst thing you can do for yourself is to sit on the couch and eat ice cream all day.

Oh, and did you know that in your second and third trimesters, it is recommended that you only consume 300 extra calories a day? So many women take the opportunity to settle into the mindset that they can eat whatever they want and throw caution to the wind when they have a bun in the oven. Since I’ve never been there, I don’t know what it’s like to have all of the crazy cravings I’ve heard so much about (and I can imagine it’s intense). I’m sure that McDonald’s could certainly call your name three times a day. If you answer that call, however, the 25-35 pounds youshould be gaining could turn into 45-65 (or more) pounds. When the fun of being pregnant and hungry is over, you’ve got this 30 pound tire that still remains. Believe me,working that off will not be as fun as putting it on! Try your best to still watch your food intake.

All that being said, enjoy your pregnancy and give yourself permission to be a new woman after it’s all over. You will definitely have a different looking body and some postpartum “stuff” to get rid of, but hey! You just made a freaking PERSON in your body! Cut yourself some slack and enjoy being a mom for a second. THEN get to the gym and feel great about getting back into your skinny jeans, even if it takes a little while. Be well!

Monday, March 1, 2010

No Comparisons! Unless....

For those of you who follow my blog (Hi Mom!-ha) it’s been a little while since my last post. I have been pretty busy with clients, training for the NYC Half-Marathon, and working towards my NASM re-certification (which I finally finished today! whoo hoo!). Those aren’t the best excuses since there has probably been plenty of couch sitting as well , but hey, sometimes, I’ll take ‘em where I can get ‘em.

If you follow my blog, you know that I’m against comparisons and for rocking it out in your own skin. You should always work towards being the best you can be without putting yourself down based on what other people look like or the shape they seem to be in. Like I’ve said in the past, you don’t know about anyone’s journey but your own. Being healthy and strong is where it’s at…compare leads to despair, folks!

All that being said, however, my mind changed a tiny, TINY bit after reading this month’s Shape magazine. The “Editor’s Letter” for March really struck a chord with me and made me realize that comparing yourself to others actually can be a good thing at times IF you can do it right. And the way to do it right, is to use it as a source of inspiration. Valerie Latona, Shape’s Editor and Chief, explains in her letter that she has been guilty of feeling jealousy towards other women (who hasn’t, right?) but realized that “instead of being negative” she could “take a more can-do-approach.” Latona says, “next time you see someone looking fab, ask her for her secrets. You may become inspired to be your best!” So, maybe if you see someone walking down the street with amazing legs or Michelle Obama arms and your immediate impulse is to put yourself down, you can change that negativity into, as Latona says, “Wow, she looks incredible…I really need to get back on the ball when it comes to exercising.”

However, I do feel this approach might not work for everyone and there’s a chance that looking to other women walking down the street as motivation can pull the focus away from how great YOU are doing on a daily basis (especially with all of the different shapes and sizes we see out there). My biggest problem with making comparisons is that in this day and age, you don’t know what anyone is doing to look the way they do. They could be getting plastic surgery, not eating, eating too much, eating just enough, who knows! The most important thing is that you check in with yourself and push towards being the healthiest you can be. This comes from working out and eating healthfully. I still say find motivation in the mirror or with people you know and admire for their health, not their looks. I know it’s a struggle but like I always say, one of the greatest benefits of living healthy, is looking healthy. Try your best to keep that mindset and I promise you will feel great, no matter what! Be well!