JeanMarie Rinaldi, The Life Lessons Gained with Pregnancy Weight

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A few things I learned while I was pregnant 

Ever since I was little I knew that I was supposed to be a mom. Whenever some one asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up it was always a teacher or a mom. Flash forward 20 something years and I discover I’m pregnant! Obviously I was filled with a ton of emotions: excited-wahoo! my time had finally come; nervous-crap, am I going to be a good mom; happy-omg this is all I ever wanted; and scared- wait, what the hell do I do now?

As I went to my 8 week check up praying that the baby would be healthy and I would hear a heart beat, I had a ton of questions that I wanted to ask my doctor. The main questions… Can I still go to barre class?! And How many calories should I be eating?! Those of you that know me know that I love working out and for the most part (aside from the occasional cupcake, chocolate covered strawberry or my latest candy obsession) eat pretty healthy! My doctor explained to me that the goal was to gain 2-4 pounds every month. “Remember” he said, “whatever you gain is going to go towards the baby and you are the one who has to push out that baby not me!” Hmmmm Good point I thought! He also said that whatever exercise I did before I was pregnant I was allowed to do while I was pregnant until I felt like I couldn’t anymore. SCORE!! 4-5 barre classes a week it is!

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The first trimester was hard. I was tired more than I usually was, I felt some of my clothes starting to get tight and my little A cup boobs went to a B overnight (most of you are thinking that’s really not that big but when you are an A your whole life it feels a little weird. My husband wanted me to embrace them and was hoping they would stay after our son came….spoiler alert… They are slowly back to an A). I pushed through the first trimester keeping with my barre schedule and eating healthy. I was doing great. The second trimester came and I was filled with a ton of emotions I wasn’t expecting. Epiphany moment: I did not like being pregnant. For some one who has weighed the same weight for most of her adult life, give or take a pound or two, this constant weight gain and change in my body was not working for me. I knew the end result was going to be amazing but the 9 month journey to get there was one I didn’t expect. How could I not like this when all I ever wanted my whole life was for this moment. The guilt set in but I continued throughout my pregnancy with these emotions and my constant need for barre class. I had a lot of people telling me they couldn’t believe I was still going to barre 9 months pregnant and of course the always present question; are you sure you should still be getting up at 5 am 4 days a week. My answer was yes every time.

I definitely think the lifestyle I lead for those 9 months lead me to a healthy pregnancy ( I gained 36 pounds), a fairly easy labor (8 hours of labor from start to finish and I pushed for 20 minutes . . . Don’t get me wrong the epidural helped!) and a great postpartum recovery ( it has been one month since I gave birth and I have 8 more pounds to go to be back to my pre-pregnancy weight).

So that’s my story, why am I telling you this?! My sister (the Monday dieter) kept asking me to write a guest blog about how to have a healthy pregnancy. I don’t really think I am an expert in this…. at least enough to write a blog and give my advice/opinion but then I did some thinking. While I was going through all those emotions for 9 months I would have definitely liked to go on Pinterest or another form of social media and read a blog about some one’s pregnancy journey. I would have found comfort in knowing some one else was thinking or feeling the same way I was so I made a list of things I think helped me and that I would have liked to know when I started this journey! I hope they help you have a healthy pregnancy!

  1. Eat when you are hungry, not because you are pregnant – everyone thinks, ‘I can eat what I want because I am eating for 2’ but actually you are eating for yourself and maybe half another person and really that little person just needs some nutrients so they can grow and form healthy inside you. If you are hungry eat if you aren’t pass up on that extra plate of fries or those chicken fingers late night at the diner. Keep a few extra snacks in your bag so if you do get hungry you have something handy and don’t overindulge. Some of my favorites: a snack size bag of animal crackers or goldfish, an apple or a kind bar
  2. Find a work out buddy- going to the gym is definitely easier when you have some one else holding you accountable. My sister and I would set our gym schedule for the week on Sundays. We made it an outing, I would pick her up at 5:45, am that is, be at the gym by 6 am and sitting in Starbucks catching up on each other’s lives by 7:15. We had a routine and I looked forward to those 2 hours with her to bond and check in on what was going on in each other’s lives.
  3. Have a good support system, and make sure you tell them what you need – cliche mushy moment…. I have an amazing husband. He tells me I am beautiful at least once a day and he is constantly showing me he loves me in many different ways. Unfortunately when your body is constantly changing at that fast of a rate and your hormones are that high those comments don’t necessarily work anymore. Voice what you need and how you need him or her to handle you for the next 9 months.
  4. Let your cravings be a part of your life, not take over your life – everytime you go out while you are pregnant you get the same question- so tell me, what are you craving?? Some people crave one thing their whole pregnancy and some crave a bunch of different things. I think one of my bigger cravings was pancakes. It is very easy to eat pancakes every morning, Especially when they taste so good! I made pancakes a treat. Every Sunday in the summer – my family (all 10 of us) would wake up, go to church and then go to our favorite breakfast spot jaysons in LBI. I Looked forward  to those Sundays with the family laughing, talking and satisfying my cravings of pancakes. It was my treat for eating good the whole week. Towards the end I let myself have that chocolate chip cookie I craved every night for dessert. But make sure you stop after one.
  5. Take time to rest – it is ok to take a day or two or even a week off from working out and reset your body. You are better off resting so you can get back on your schedule rather then tiring yourself out and then giving up on the whole working out thing all together
  6. Embrace your bump- if you want to rock a skin tight shirt or little black dress go ahead! Embrace it!

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