For the majority of this pregnancy to date I have felt that I try to “stay healthy” as a whole. Faithfully I exercise 6 days per week and I generally “eat healthy” for the most part. I am happy with my exercise performance, but I feel that my eating habits have slowly gone downhill and I would like to revisit what my health and eating goals look like.
My goal is to keep my pregnancy weight gain at a slower pace. It’s mentally tough to watch those numbers on the scale go up to a weight I have never seen before. My goal for pregnancy weight gain is to cap off at around 30 lbs gained (plus or minus). At the beginning of my pregnancy, my doctor informed me that healthy weight gain for pregnancy should fall in the range of 25-35 pounds. 30 pounds puts me right in the middle. By eating healthier, it will help me achieve that weight goal, as well as eat more nutritious foods to help my baby’s growth, instead of eating junk that has no nutritional value for my growing baby.
My 10 Pregnancy Health Goals:
1. Drink lots of water. When I say lots, my goal is to be drinking at least 10 glasses (or approximately 5 nalgene water bottles) each day. The more hydrated I can stay, the healthier baby and I will be. When you become dehydrated, sometimes you can mistake dehydration for hunger. Rather than grabbing for a snack, I want to try to always go for a drink of water first to see whether it’s really hunger or if it’s thirst.
2. Eliminate sweets (for a while). So far this week I have eliminated sweets completely since I was eating ice cream, cookies or other dessert/sweets on a daily basis for a period of time. Now, I want to completely eliminate sweets to get those cravings under control. Once I feel ready, I would like to change this goal to eating a dessert/sweet one to two times per week (max). An example of this would be: eating an ice cream cone on a Monday night and having a brownie for dessert on Saturday night with dinner. For now (the next week or two weeks), I am making a goal to eat zero sweets.
3. Don’t count calories – rather focus on healthy foods & portion control. If I count calories I already know I’m going to drive myself crazy. This is not the time to count calories since I am pregnant. I know that I only need to consume an extra 300 calories per day due to pregnancy, but I haven’t counted calories in years. I’m not about to start. But, with that being said, I want to choose HEALTHY foods to eat my calories with, instead of non-healthy foods. I want to consume reasonable sized portions.
4. Avoid processed foods – eat mainly whole or natural foods. I’m trying to avoid things like crackers, chips, etc, but find that okay snacks are things like: fruit, string cheese, greek yogurt, granola bar, hard boiled egg, natural dried fruit, almonds or veggies.
5. Consume a lot of fibrous foods. IE fruits and vegetables. I already eat a lot of fruit, but I want to try to make it a point to eat vegetables with dinner every night.
6. Eat healthy snacks and don’t allow my sugar to drop. A mistake I’ve been known to make to save calories is to try to limit my food intake and get in a bad mood because my blood sugar drops. This makes me an angry person who yells at people for no reason. I want to make sure I am regularly consuming healthy snacks to avoid this pitfall. Snacks could be: string cheese, fruit, granola bar, almonds, yogurt, etc.
7. Eat fruit or greek yogurt in place of dessert. I do like the idea of “having dessert” at night. The past few days after dinner, instead of going for actual dessert, I have been eating a fruit flavored greek yogurt to satisfy my sweet craving. Another option could be to chop up some strawberries and eat those from a bowl or something like that.
8. Continue with 5-6 days per week of exercise. Currently my typical exercise routine includes 3 gym days and 3 outdoor running days. The running on some days is starting to be at the gym in the air conditioning rather than outdoors. Maintaining 6 (or 5) days per week is my goal. I want to continue doing 30-60 minutes per day of exercise throughout the remainder of the pregnancy. Ideally I like to complete at least 40 minutes of cardio (40 minutes for 40 weeks!) On non-running days, I usually find myself doing the elliptical trainer, the rowing machine or the bike. Plus some weight training.
9. Don’t stress if I’m not perfect. If and when I slip up, don’t beat myself up about it. Just move on. I cannot expect myself to make perfect choices 100% of the time. I am a human, after all. But if I do make a mistake, I don’t want to let the mistake spiral out of control—I want to move on and continue with healthier choices.
10. Allow myself one “free meal” per week. Right now I’m not going to do this quite yet since I’m trying to stabilize myself after eating less than perfectly. But I want to note that I think it’s realistic for me to have one meal per week where I’m not overly worried if the meal is healthy or not. This will be saved for more special occasions such as: going out to eat for dinner with my husband or going to a barbeque at a friend’s house.
With these guidelines, I hope that I will be able to keep my pregnancy weight gain in check and have an overall healthier pregnancy. I also realize that it will allow the transition of post-natal weight loss much easier if I am eating in a healthful way NOW, rather than eating terribly and then having to fix my diet after the baby is born.
Note/Disclaimer: These are simply MY THOUGHTS and opinions for my personal pregnancy health. I am not a registered dietitian or an MD. These are simply how I plan to stay healthy for the remainder of my pregnancy. Thanks for reading.