Today I’m going to talk about a topic that many stay away from: pregnancy weight gain. However; I only want to share my personal experience thus far because I believe in full honesty. I could sugar coat everything with this pregnancy, or choose to share with you all the moments I struggle sometimes. I choose the later.
First off, I want to say that I will take every added pound for this sweet baby boy. I realize how blessed I am to be able to carry this child and I am in no way taking that for granted.
Going into this pregnancy it was obvious weight gain was going to happen. In fact, at my very first appointment my Doctor estimated I would gain anywhere from 25-35 lbs since I started at a normal BMI. I knew all these things ahead of time and honestly it didn’t bother me.
Fast forward to about 18 weeks when the real weight gain kicked in. It really wasn’t the fact that my clothes didn’t fit, or that my arms and legs were starting to “fill out”, it was instead that I could feel my body really taking a beating with running with an extra 10ish pounds on it. It doesn’t sound like a lot but I could tell from my body how it was making it much harder.
I’ll be completely honest and say I have had several break downs over weight and running. My wonderful husband has been so understanding, and most of the time I couldn’t figure out why it was bothering me. Yes, I’ve had issues in the past regarding food restriction but I’ve worked past those and had come to terms with the weight gain.
I can blame part of it on hormones, those things can get frustrating! Part of it I’ll blame on just not realizing how quickly running would change for me and I’m sure deep down part of it was it being a little hard for me to accept.
I’ve started changing my focus away from the weight gain, because it’s not going anywhere and focusing instead on some other areas that will help me feel better about myself and my abilities. Here are a few things that have helped me.
Pregnancy weight gain is different for every person and every pregnancy. I am a part of many forums for pregnancy and for the most part they are very helpful as a first time Mom. However; I always skip the ones where everyone is comparing how much weight they’ve gained. Some have gained more, some haven’t gained any, and some have even lost weight. Everyone’s circumstances are different so I’ve found its best just to stay away from these completely and focus on you. If your Doctor is saying that you are in still in a healthy weight gain then that’s all that matters.
Eat Healthy but Eat Often
I find that my body needs to eat every 2-3 hours. I don’t eat a full meal for all of those times but add in lots of snacks in between meals. I try to keep them as healthy as possible, but I haven’t been one to turn down ice cream either yet! I think it’s important to find a balance in any area of life, and even with what you eat during pregnancy.
Put Your Focus on the Prize
During pregnancy I have turned my focus from a certain race, to keeping my body healthy not only for this baby boy but to be strong and ready for delivery. Even if I have to go out and run 10:30 miles then that is better than sitting and doing nothing in all areas. I keep my eyes focused on the beautiful reward at the end and to me that has always pushed me through the tougher times.
Give Yourself a Break
The few times I have gotten upset over weight gain, I’ve felt so guilty for even having those moments. The truth is, every woman is going to have a moment or two during their pregnancy and that’s okay. It doesn’t make you a bad person it just makes you human. Get upset, pick yourself back up, and move forward. Trying to keep the emotions in sometimes just makes things worse.
Add in Strength and Cross Training
Running has gotten increasingly more difficult at times, so if I am having hard days I will substitute running with cross training. I’ve also added in strength which not only will help me now and during delivery, but it will also help me after having the baby. I want a strong body that I know can handle what I am putting it through, so strength work has been a great focus for me.
I’ve had this discussion with many other women, runners, etc. who have been here before and it was nice to know that I was not the only one who has had moments of struggle. I guess I just wanted to type out some of my thoughts on this for you all because I think it is something that many women deal with during pregnancy. It’s not always easy and it’s okay to talk about! The important thing is to try to turn your focus on what is really important. Weight gain is going to happen, it’s normal, and it’s natural.