Comfortably working out while pregnant

work it out

So you need to get your tushy moving while your belly is growing and your entire body is going through a hormonal roller coaster craving ice cream with pickles? Yiaiks! The benefits of working out while preggos are many, and thanks to Google I got the following ones for ya:

  • You’re likely to gain less weight
  • You have more energy
  • It might make labor and delivery easier (sorry, no guarantee!)
  • It might ease many of the pregnancy “side effects” such as leg cramping, swelling, constipation, gestational diabetes, sleep problems, prenatal depression
  • You will feel more like the hot mama you actually are and not the whale you can sometimes see on the mirror
  • Baby is likely to be born with less excess body fat (no, your huha doesn’t want to push a 10 lb baby out!)
  • Baby may grow smarter (yup, recent studies say that)

So clearly there’s at least one or two things that sound tempting right? Well, go for it and get your booty moving while your body is very nicely taking care of making a perfect baby! Now, don’t get me wrong, just because is good for you it doesn’t mean your body is willing to cooperate since it might be distracted say… making a baby! Not to worry about it darling! You can make a difference and keep yourself and baby healthy during pregnancy. Remember, your body won’t go where your mind doesn’t go. Talk pretty to yourself. Remind yourself why is good. When  your body says, “yeah no thank you” (and it will, I promise), convince your body that is the only choice. Again you don’t need to workout for hours, but at least 30 mins of physical activity are good for you and you should strive for that every day because your body deserves to feel its best!

It can be something simple like walking. You can go for a walk with hubby, a friend, kids if you have any, your dog if you have one or two or how many. Or you can try something else like swimming, taking a yoga class, use some light free weights and get those muscles going. Whatever you feel like doing is what you should do. And this is the part where this post comes about. Feeling comfortable while you are working out!

I started using my pre-pregnancy workout clothes during the first months. They still fit so why not? I did for as long as I could. Then you know the belly was kinda getting on the way. I was rolling my pants under my belly so the belly wasn’t feeling “pinched” by the waistline. However, this isn’t very comfortable after a little while. It could be two things, at least for me: my hips weren’t holding the pants so they kept coming down or the actual pants waistline was smaller and not as stretchy so it would hold at my hip area but it would also be too tight. So I decided that while is nice to think you still fit in your pre-preggos clothes, it just wasn’t comfortable and it was time to get maternity workout clothes. Brilliant, I know!

I don’t consider myself cheap but also I am not willing to spend more than needed in things, especially clothes. Sure Seraphine’s luxury maternity jeans ($109) are probably nicer and cooler and all you want better than Target’s maternity jeans ($34.99), but I am simply not willing to pay for the extra “nicer” in this case… or any for that matter. So I did my research and found out, or was reminded rather, that maternity clothes are expensive! The difference between now and the last time I was pregnant, is that I know many new websites that sell stuff at a discounted price such as Zulily.com. Their inventory is limited, sales are final, and you wait a bit longer than normally for items to be shipped but once shipped you get them fast! So I found some deals that seamed reasonable to me and placed my order. Below are my choices and feedback in case it is helpful to any of you. I worked out (elliptical and weight training) in all three of them.

Choice 1: Honey B  ($12.99)

This are my least favorite ones of the three pants I ordered. They fit fine. The fabric is not that stretchy see-through kind (good for me). Very comfortable on my legs and I like the length a lot. This came in third because of the waistline. While is stretchy and will give in more as my bellow grows, it hits me at the belly button. I personally don’t like that because this tend to put too much pressure in that area and that is not comfortable. Additionally with a lot of movement it rolled down to below my belly and I don’t like that very much.

Option 2: Dynabelly ($11.99)

This are my second favorite ones. I tend to use capri length for workouts but is actually nice to have the full length. Stretchy and comfortable. The waistline hits me right at the top at the belly which is great! Is very comfortable not to have any type of pressure on or below the belly because that’s where the lil one hangs out all the time, so this fit is perfect! Overall very much satisfied with it including the price.

Option 3: Topsport ($19.99)

This are my favorite of the three! If you pay attention on the pants picture it has that overbelly coverage which is simply extremely comfortable during pregnancy! Like I said, I love capri length so that’s a plus, but nothing can bit that comfortable belly feeling. This was the most expensive of the tree choices but is at least $10 cheaper that common choices like Old Navy and Target.

So I hope you find this info helpful. Whether you’re preggos and need motivation to workout and also looking for cheaper clothing choices. Or if you’re planning to become preggos and just want to know what’s out there.

Til next time!

xoxoxo

 

Why am I trying so badly to have a healthy pregnancy

Pregnant

So this is pregnancy #3, and trying it for it to be a healthy one. My first pregnancy was the unhealthiest thus far. I gained nearly 70 lbs! The silliest part was that I was under some silly assumption that all the weight gain would automatically disappear once the baby was born, and guess what? Nope, it didn’t happened! Nearly 8 years later I am still holding unto at least half of the weight I gained during my first pregnancy. I have learned to love my body and accept the prize of motherhood. This doesn’t mean that just because you learn to accept and love your flaws  you can’t work towards a better you. The best way to thank our body, especially as a mom I think, is to care for it and being healthy. This is my goal!

I remember when I was at the hospital after my son was born (24 hours of labor later) and went to use the bathroom. I was wearing a loose hospital gown. I distinctly remember, checking my belly in the bathroom mirror and thinking: “holly schnaps, I still look pregnant!” People kept telling me not to worry about it, that the weight would just go down with time, but that didn’t happened. Why? Because at that time I wasn’t taking care of myself the way I should have. During my first pregnancy, I never worked out, I didn’t drink enough water, I often gave into unhealthy cravings. After my son was born, I didn’t have time or energy to care for myself the way I should have. I was working graveyard shift at the hotel, only sleeping 4-5 hours per day, and eating a lot more than I should have for energy. UNHEALTHY any way you look at it!

When I got pregnant again, I promised myself I wouldn’t let myself reach such unhealthy levels. And I tried… sorta. The first trimester I was sleeping a lot because of low iron. No morning sickness just tired. As soon as the second trimester started, I had more energy but I was miserable! I know is hard to explain but I promise every single cell in my body seemed to be in some sort of pain ALL THE TIME! I was going to the gym at first, but decided to cancel my membership because there was no point in paying for not going since my body was always aching. I was happy that our family was growing, but my body was taking its sweet time to carefully bake an amazing little girl in my oven. The price tag was more than I hopped, and I was just not feeling physically well most of the time. Despite, I was on track with my weight gain goal until nearly the end. The doctor recommended to gain only about 20 lbs since I was overweight for my height. And I did so until I went on my maternity leave. Because of medical coverage I stayed extra weeks at work and only took about 2 weeks off before due date. This two weeks at home, pretty miserable I confess, were enough to kill my good vibe gaining another 10 lbs! 30 lbs is better than 66 lbs gained during pregnancy, BUT this was still unhealthy because of my BMI.

After years of struggling to lose weight and deciding that no more babies was best for our family because life in the Bay Area is quite expensive, I was surprised with pregnancy #3, my current one. I am enjoying every bit of it, but still keeping in mind that for my own health and the baby’s is best to make healthy choices as much as possible. I had gestational diabetes with baby #2, and is one of the things I am working hard to stay away this time around. With quite some pregnancy experience, better informed about healthy eating, and becoming obsessed with exercising, I was better prepared this time. Now just because you know what the outcome should be, it doesn’t mean you can easily put the equation together. And sure enough, I am having challenges this time around but the difference is I have a plan that will hopefully keep me on track.

Over the past year I have learned a lot about fitness. I have gotten really good at meal prepping because it truly is about 80% diet, 20% exercise. I have also done research about working out, which kind is best for what, added weight lifting into my routine, and understand better the cardio/weight training combination. After the long story about my pregnancies I can actually get down to my point which is my plan to stay healthy. How exercising is possible during pregnancy and how it is beneficial for both mommy and baby. And very little food information (for now). My experience will not apply to everyone, just FYI.

They recommend staying active through the entire pregnancy but you need to be careful during the first trimester. All I really did during the first trimester was walking. Since I don’t believe in going to the gym to just walk/run on a treadmill, I started walking more at work during my lunch hour. Once the second trimester starts you can take your exercise to a higher level but always remember to be careful not to hurt yourself or baby. I added yoga to my life which by the way is amazeballs! I tried it in the past and I was very uncomfortable because I am more of the boot camp type, but this time it was different. Is soft enough not to hurt you and baby (the instructor will know which poses are not safe or can be modified to keep you and baby safe), but is still a workout that your body needs and it helps with labor.

My current workout routine is not super strict as I was before, but it keeps me active. For cardio I started using the elliptical. I really wanted to participate in a half marathon (at least) so I was running before I got pregnant. I know is possible even while your’e pregnant but since my endurance is not that good I switched to the elliptical that is easier on your joints. For weight training I kept doing split days for zones: chest & triceps/ shoulders, legs & calves/ back, traps, biceps. I use lighter weights and remove abs as a target zone but I am keeping some exercising that will help in this area but are not as direct as crunches for instance. I was doing all the above before I got pregnant, so I am just modifying it now. Instead of using free weights at the gym which I prefer, I am using the machines that allow you to workout in the same areas just as fine. The days I workout on my legs are no longer on the Smith machine. I used my own body weight plus 10 lbs free weights for just a little extra. I’m not going hard on my body, I am just trying to keep muscles engaged.

Meal prepping is the biggest part always! I can easily make healthy choices when I have healthy choices handy. I am back to preparing my breakfast and lunches for work. I don’t always have the time but I tried to do it often. I can easily go for the bagel with cream cheese instead of overnight fridge oats which is why I try to be prepared with the healthy choice. I don’t think that salads are always the healthier choice because dressing can easily kill a salad! When I prepare a lunch I choose a protein (usually grilled chicken and no I don’t get sick of it), grilled veggies and quinoa or black beans. I stay away from processed food as much as possible so my snacks are often fruit, cheese or celery sticks. I sip on water throughout the day, although I think I need more. I am not drinking coffee anymore and if you know me, you know I used to drink coffee with every meal! But this isn’t so much to be healthy but I simply can’t stand the smell of coffee.

I am not saying I workout every day and that my food choices are on point every day. If you’ve seen my instagram you know that I’ve had some not healthy choices but I am pretty content with the effort I am making every day for baby and I to be healthy. I am enjoying this pregnancy and not eating a Big Mac, for instance, doesn’t mean that I am being hard on myself. I just know that isn’t worth to eat this crap even if “the baby wants it!”

 

A healthy pregnancy… or trying to!

There are so many feelings, emotions, responsibilities, and challenges that come with pregnancy. I’m currently expecting baby no. 3, and while we had no plans to go beyond two kids, I can’t help but to feel extremely excited and blessed to be expecting again. The first thing that came to mind after excitement, and then feeling concerned about losing my new job because of a maternity leave, was that this time I wouldn’t let myself get to the same unhealthy conditions I did during my first two pregnancies. After all, I am in a journey to become the best version of myself each day, and unhealthy choices take me away from my goal.

The first months were easy and hard. It was easy not to gain to much weight this time around because I was feeling sick all the time. I admit I have some type of vomit phobia, but almost everything was making me nauseous and had no energy. The little energy I had, I used it to make it through my workday because I wasn’t ready to share the news yet. After that, i would go home kiss and hug my kids for a little bit and sleep at least 10 hours straight every day. I wasn’t exercising as often as I was used to, but because I was also not overeating, it wasn’t hard to hide that blooming seed in ma’belly!

Right after the first trimester, the nauseous were pretty much gone, but my energy levels were still super low. Since they recommend to wait until the second trimester to have a more demanding exercise routine, I was hoping to be able to head back to the gym and keep myself in the best possible shape, but that didn’t happened. I was feeling tired all the time! I had read several articles of how exercising during pregnancy is both good for mom and baby, and is safe to even continue to do weight training of course understanding that you are likely not to lift as heavy but at least to keep those muscles engaged. I took a prenatal yoga class that made me feel like in heaven. I enjoyed it because it was “soft” on my body, but it made me feel refreshed and connected with my baby. But this 60 minutes class once a week, couldn’t compared to my pre-pregnancy routine of 60 minutes 4 to even 6 times a week.

I mentioned to my OB my concern of gaining too much weight again and we had a plan. The first four months I was on track with it, but around week 20 it all changed. For starters, my appetite was back and that wasn’t always good. Not that I gave into every single craving but I was definitely eating more than before. I started going to the gym about 3 times a week and walk every day during my lunch which was more activity than I had in the past months but it just wasn’t enough. Until that moment most people had not even noticed that I was expecting but just like that, almost overnight, my baby bump was out! I am not sure if I mentally convinced myself that this meant it was all going down the drain, but my body started listening to my mind and then the weight really started to pile up.

Of course, what the doctors tell you about how much or little weight you should gain don’t automatically apply to your body and people like myself, who gain weight like CRAZY, can find ourselves struggling to keep within the range. People commenting how big my belly is and asking if I’m not by chance unknowingly expecting twins, really don’t help to feel better about myself. One thing is different this time to the ones before. While my body is trying to gain weight like crazy even though my mind is politely explaining that for our own sake we need to take it easy, I feel better about myself and my body because not only do I  know my body better now, but I have also learned to love and accept my body at every stage. I know that it might be harder to lose the weight again but I know is not impossible.

I am currently at week 24 of my pregnancy. I started using again my food tracking app, myfitnesspal, to log my meals. I am honest with it because it doesn’t really help me to lie to my app about not eating the ice cream when my body and hips know I did! I am feeling better energy-wise and started going to the gym again with my husband. He is tired too and we are going at least 3 times the last weeks, but I am definitely trying to stay active and walk as much as possible at work, during lunch, and on the weekends. I try to make healthy decisions. Some days is easier to say I don’t need this cookie, I’ll have a banana or peach instead, and some other days I let myself enjoy the cookie. I have also been trying to satisfy my tooth by having a smaller portion of the unhealthy food. Sometimes you need a bite or two for your brain to calm down and you can skip the rest.

pregnancy week 24

16 more weeks to go! I trust that while this might not a perfectly healthy pregnancy it will sure my healthiest, and last (yup, no more babies for us), of all.

Update: where have I been?

still alive

I started this blog several months back because I love to share stories. I love to share my point of view. And most importantly, I love to think my words can some day make another person a better version of themselves just as I try to be a better version of myself. After starting great, life hit me and I lost focus for a little bit… more like a big bit! In any case, I am back and ready to continue this journey for a better me.

Since my last post, several things have changed. The first thing that is worth naming is that after 8+ years working for a hotel in San Francisco, I took my chances on a new job in a well known IT company in the Silicon Valley. This decision has been one of the hardest ones of my life. Why? Well, I was so used to my “comfortable” hotel life and it was scary to leave the known for the unknown. My new position, while temporary (18 months contract), does have a chance to extend into more and even become permanent. Weighing the pros and cons of leaving my old job and having a new one was tough. At the end of the day, I decided to take a chance and try something new. We evolve in life continuously, and change can sometimes be good and necessary so I went for it!

For the first months it was not bad, but not pleasant. Changing industries is harder than it sounds. Hospitality and IT don’t work in the same way at all! There were really good things about it and some other things that seemed silly to me because it looked like people were too needy. In any case, slowly but surely I got the hang of it. I can’t say I am the absolute best admin ever but I feel beyond great with what I do, my contribution to the team, my sense of care in an industry that seems not to be very sensitive. I feel comfortable at work now, and I am not scared to ask if I have any questions. At the beginning I thought it was a sign of weakness, but I have learned that is better to make a well informed decision than guess a bad one which is what happens when you are scared to ask. I can’t say that I have made real “friends” yet, but I do have great coworkers who have been very supportive and made the transition smoother.

During the first months, I was also very much on track with my fitness goal. The commute is longer but there is more flexibility at work. When my load allows it I can leave earlier, don’t have to wait until the exact time to clock-out by using my fingerprint as I did at the hotel. Impossible to get away with that I’ll tell ya! I submit my time sheet online for my scheduled hours. This doesn’t mean I am always “stealing” time from the company because I have to check emails and update meetings at night at home. The Sr. Director I support is one hecka busy man so I just have to work around his needs which are not always 9-5.

In any case, I was doing great with my fitness goal I was saying. I had started going to a gym that is half way from my home to work so it would help with traffic in the  morning. Preparing meals as much as possible. Making healthy choices as much as I could. It was actually paying off. I had finally dropped two jean sizes since the moment I started with my goal in October of 2014. Now that doesn’t sound like a lot in one year, but every time in the past that I lost weight fast, I gained it back fast too because those silly diets don’t really work. Fitness is a lifestyle. I was becoming fit and it was showing on my clothes and the way I felt about my body, but then it came the next big surprise since my last post.

I got pregnant! I am at week 23 as I type this so more than half way done. Now, being a mommy is the best feeling in the world. I can’t explain the joy it brings to my heart and soul to witness my kids growing and feeling an amount of love that can’t be explained. I knew I wanted a third kid but living in the Bay Area is not cheap, so we had decided to stay with two until… surprise! I was so happy and so worried because I had only been at my new job for about 3 months when I found out our family was about to grow by two feet. I cried both of excitement and fear. My husband was traveling abroad when I took the test and I was scared to tell him and got him upset. But let me tell you that the man I married is the best in my world! (yup, I clarify and said MY world because I am sure everyone feels that way about their significant other) He was so sweet and loving when I told him the news. What else can we do but accept this gift from Heaven! We have friends who have struggled to get pregnant and paid lots of money for treatments that haven’t worked yet. We couldn’t say no to this blessing so we started mentally preparing for the arrival of baby # 3.

I know I stopped writing about 10 months ago thanks to the great tracking of this site and this only accounts for about 7 of those months. But you know what? I am a busy mom. I try to juggle motherhood, marriage, extended family time, work and some time for myself which is usually time at the gym. I decided to get back at this because I love doing it! And like I said at the beginning, I love to think my stories can one day help one other person out there. More to come about the new goal: fit pregnancy!

Cheers!