Pregnant Body Image

Applying a steady fitness routine to my day since my daughter quit preschool has been difficult. Before, I was able to hit the gym in the mornings, drink a smoothie, eat a healthy lunch, and go pick her up. At the gym, I was able to make use of the cardio area, functional fitness area, and the weights. I made sure I had cardio and strength training within my workout each time, at least 3 days a week. It was a time where I could think, concentrate on the task at hand, and focus on me.

At home, I can barely handle a 30 minute pre-natal yoga session. I am constantly interrupted, losing track of my reps, and I don’t have weights. So, fitness has become a source of frustration for me. Even if I do manage to find time, I end up feeling more stressed afterwards and time wasted trying with an incomplete, ineffective workout. With that comes unhealthy eating habits for me. When I don’t workout, cravings for junk foods kick in. (Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t sit on my bum, watching tv, and snacking on junk all day either. I am active within/around the house doing laundry, playing, cleaning, climbing the stairs, etc.)

When I found out I was pregnant, I began tracking my weight. I knew I wanted a healthy pregnancy, which meant sticking to a healthy weight gain. I’ve worked so hard on losing weight (over the past 2.5 yrs) and training to show horses (supposed to be now), that I didn’t want to destroy that work by allowing an excessive weight gain. I found out I was pregnant mid-January and weighed 135# with a BMI of 19-19.5. I continued with my normal workouts until I began spotting blood in February. I scaled back the weightlifting amounts, changed my nutrition to accommodate a pregnancy better, and increased my cardio. My midwife provided an awesome weight/BMI chart with my Prenatal Care folder to keep track of my weight. Everything was smooth sailing, and the weight gain was on the minimal, but normal side. According to my midwife chart, I needed to gain 25-35# for this pregnancy for my BMI range. (I was on the lower side of the normal range.) Currently, I’ve gained 18.5# at 26 weeks pregnant. Now, that isn’t terrible. However, on my midwife chart, that does place me between the maximum and median weight gain projection lines. My negative inner voice screams at me, “Regret not working out this week, huh? Regret eating those donuts, huh?” Yeah, I totally do…I’m disappointed in my lack of discipline. After stepping on the scale for the week, I cry and the negative thoughts and feelings cloud my head. And because I am having the negative pregnancy body image, I cry more.

A positive body image is something I have always struggled to obtain, even when I was 18/19 years old, 125#, and a size 3. My stomach didn’t show rock hard abs, my thighs were thick (no gap here, ever), there isn’t a swim bottom to contain my booty, my fair/tanless skin, and cup A breasts. All of these areas a source of discontentment. I know my thighs will always be thick, I will always be fair skinned (Irish ancestry), my booty will never be contained in swimwear (even in shorts), and (unless I undergo surgery) my boobs will be small and my stomach loose (thank you, my precious blessings and genetics). Although I know these things cannot be changed, my brain processes them (& now my pregnant belly) as negatives. Because my brain does this, I become angrier. I don’t want to have negative thoughts about myself, about my body working so hard to grow another life. I want to embrace these changes and not be self conscience. I definitely do not want my daughter to notice my negative body image either.

Hopefully, with the 14 weeks I have left of this pregnancy, I can turn my negative thoughts into positive ones, embrace my changing body, work harder to find the time for a quick exercise routine, be happy swapping one unhealthy snack for a healthier one, and lower my expectations on myself to “keep it all together”. Sometimes, you just need to cry at that extra pound or another stretchmark to feel better and move on.

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