Let’s face it. Not everyone is in tip top shape. The list of reasons is endless but pregnancy often inspires women to take better care of themselves. If you find yourself overweight and pregnant or just want to lose a few pounds to make bouncing back post baby easier, you can safely start working towards your weight loss goals. The key here is “working towards”.
Women want to know how to lose weight during pregnancy but pregnancy is not the time to start following a weight loss program. It just isn’t safe for the baby. Although true, you can follow a mommy to be fitness plan to manage your weight and increase your fitness level. With this approach you can get more toned and become more physically fit.
Rather than doing endless internet searches for “how to lose weight during pregnancy fast” and “pregnancy weight loss”, focus on making fitness a part of your life. The sooner you start, the better. Low impact cardio is highly recommended. Commit to taking a walk every morning. This can be outside or on a treadmill. Continually progress until you reach a mile, 2 miles and maybe move on to 3. As endurance levels increase, try jogging but with caution. For those who did not run/jog on a regular basis before pregnancy, keep your jogs light and listen to your body. If it says stop, stop. You also want to try swimming. Swimming is very relaxing, is really effective cardio and activates almost every muscle in the body.
In addition to cardiovascular exercise, regular strength training is recommended due to the fact that it increases stability and strength. This means fewer aches and pains, a healthier baby and according to research, an easier delivery. A strong body is a stable body that is more capable. Strength training also better prepares your arms for carrying that heavy car seat and stroller, strengthens your core to make getting your waistline back less of a task and works the glutes and legs for a more fit post baby body.
Feed your body well
Nutrition is everything during pregnancy and is even more important for those that really want to manage their weight. To ensure that you are feeding your body and baby well, eat as clean as possible. Clean eating means you only consume fresh, whole foods and avoid processed ones to easily meet your nutritional needs. This means a diet consisting of lean meats like chicken, turkey and fish, beans and legumes for vegetable sources of protein, tons of fruits and vegetables for fiber and essential nutrients, and whole grains for complex carbohydrates that keep energy levels up.
Also, do not forget the dairy. Low fat milk, cheeses and Greek yogurt are excellent. Just enjoy in moderation. In addition to eating clean, you have to eat often. Proper weight management requires small, frequent meals. This approach helps manage portion size and keeps you feeling full.
At this point you probably want a few exercise suggestions. There are a lot of questions surrounding exercise during pregnancy. Women want to know exactly what they can do. Let’s go over a few suggestions aside from cardio that you can do throughout your pregnancy. You will find those below.
The Plank: To perform the plank, lower yourself on all fours. Align your wrists under your shoulders using your forearms to stabilize and straighten out your legs with knees off the ground. Once you create a straight line with your body, hold this position as long as you can. This will strengthen your core and abdominal muscles safely and keep that dreaded back pain away.
Bicep curls: Choose a set of dumbbells that you feel comfortable with and start lifting (after stretching and warming up those muscles). Whether you are sitting or standing, keep your back straight, keep elbows and shoulders stable, keep elbows pinned at your sides and maintain neutral wrists. Do not rush as you perform the lifts. Taking the concentric and eccentric phase of the lift slowly really activates muscles.
Squats: Squats will keep your lower body strong. They target the entire lower body including the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings and calves. Do not allow your knees to pass your toes.
Chest Presses: Chest presses work the pecs which will help keep things perky despite the changes in cup size. These are done at the gym with a chest press machine. Start light on the resistance and move your way up. Machines are great because they control range of motion and encourage proper form.
Exercises to avoid
Now that you know what you can do, let’s go over the types of exercises to avoid. Pregnant women should steer clear of any exercises involving overhead lifts. The motion involved can increase the curve of the lower back. In addition to that, avoid any exercises that involve lying on your back after the first trimester and do not use any exercise machines at the gym that press against your belly. Both cause unnecessary pressure that can restrict circulation to both yourself and the baby. Any jarring or leaping exercises are also a no. The sudden movements involved increase the risk of an abdominal injury. You can perfect your jump squat a month or so after baby. Lastly, avoid any exercises with an increased risk of falling. Stay away from skating and cycling in addition to sports like skiing (obviously).
When it comes to pregnancy weight loss, focus more on staying fit and eating right rather than losing weight. Gaining weight while pregnant it inevitable but you can control how much you gain. Your doctor will provide you with a healthy range. From there, make sure to monitor your weight and adjust your diet and exercise plan accordingly. Stay fit ladies!