Why committing to healthy, nutritious, active pregnancy has made all the difference (so far)
Today I want to share my thoughts with you on committing to a healthy pregnancy, fueled by nutritious healthy food and physical activity that leaves you feeling proud, happy and energized.
Before I get in to it, let me acknowledge that I understand that everyone’s experience will be different as no two people (or pregnancies) are exactly alike.. Some of us will feel more tired and sick than others, have pre-existing medical conditions to be mindful of, or schedules and obligations that are far more time consuming and challenging - all of which can really complicate and interfere with your goals.
The thoughts that I share here represent my own personal experiences with pregnancy, most of which have been incredibly positive so far. And to be completely honest, it is something that I was not expecting at all.
In just a couple of months, I will be 33 years old and halfway through my first pregnancy. I have been married for almost four years and with my partner for nine years. Most if not all of my married friends have kids - many of them have two or three children.
The point I am trying to make here is that I put off getting pregnant for as long as I could, and only started to really think about it when I didn’t get my period for a year. I went from wondering if kids were for me, to being really scared that I might not even have a choice. Only when this happened to me did I really start to consider having children in the near future as a real possibility.
But before this happened, like I said, I put off getting pregnant and wasn’t necessarily excited or motivated to start a family… for a lot of reasons. Looking back on it, almost all of them are in someway related to my feelings on wellness.
My desire for a physical and emotional sense of wellness has played a central role in my life for as long as I can remember. But maintaining it has not always been easy.
A lot of the time, we are our own worst critics and I am no exception to this. Whether it’s my weight, my productivity, or how I react to something - I spend far more time being criticizing myself than being nice to myself.
I wish I could say that I’ve learned to become more accepting and kind to myself over the years, but loving myself is still a constant struggle. Because of this I’ve been fearful about becoming pregnant and having children of my own. I’ve been scared about gaining weight while pregnant and even more scared that I wouldn’t be able to lose it; I fear having a child will stunt my progress personally and professionally as my focus shifts from myself to my child ; I worry that having an infant will be so consuming that I will become a shell of my former self; and most of all, I am scared that I will criticize myself so often, for everything I am doing wrong or not doing at all, that I won’t know how to raise confident children.
For these reasons and more, I was afraid to start the next phase of my life. But then I got pregnant, and it was time to face the music.
I wondered: how in the hell am I going to overcome all my fears in such a short amount of time? How am I going to be someone who genuinely loves and accepts themselves more than they critique and overthink every aspect of what they do? I don’t know…
What I do know is that I am going to need a lot of confidence in order to do it. And the only way to become a more confident person, is to simply try my best to feel my best.
Pregnant or not, I know that my best, happiest days are the ones where I start by taking care of myself.
As always, for me, that starts with eating good, nutritious food. Sticking to a diet filled with predominantly plant-based whole foods, that was minimally processed and low in sugar, was the first thing I would commit to during my pregnancy since it has served me so well over the last six years of my life. It makes me feel good; it gives me more energy; healthier skin and stronger nails; and has allowed me to maintain a stable weight like no other diet has. While it’s common to regard to pregnancy as a great excuse to indulge in our wildest cravings, I know unequivocally that I will only feel worse by doing so.
So I’ve continued my commitment to eating a diet filled with wholesome unprocessed plant foods…And my pregnancy has been better for it. I’m not a doctor but I do know my body, and if eating this way has always made me feel my best, then I’m going to go ahead and attribute feeling great during my first trimester to this. I had very little morning sickness; no heart burn whatsoever; my skin was completely clear, despite not being able to use my go-to anti-acne products; and I slept well and through night, every single night.
For me, continuing to infuse my body with nutrient dense foods instead of garbage means that I can wake up each day feeling comfortable in my body, and energized and motivated to take care of all of the other things that I need to do in order to feel good.
Like exercise. While I don’t work out as often or intensely as I did before pregnancy, I’ve been able to maintain workout routine that consists of 4-5 days a week of 45-60 minutes of physical activity including strength training and spin classes (which I modify to suit my needs) to hiking and low intensity mat workouts at home.
The same goes for my work. Working for myself, from home, requires a great deal of motivation. This was especially the case during my first trimester when I was exhausted. Looking back at those first three months, I can say with certainty that I felt more lethargic and less motivated to work on days when I didn’t eat well or wasn’t active, but felt stronger and more capable on days where I fueled myself with nutritious foods and had at least 30 minutes of physical activity.
To be clear: pregnancy is not a time to worry about weight loss or productivity - it’s simply a time to take care of yourself and do what feels good. And what ‘feels good’ will vary from person to person.
For me, doing my best is what feels good. So, naturally, I can’t help but advocate for a healthy, active pregnancy because it’s what’s working well for me. And it’s my hope that sticking to the habits that make me feel good will help give me just a tad more of the confidence I will certainly need as I embark on the next chapter of my life.