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!”

 

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!