pregnancy and body image

This is probably one of the hardest posts I have ever written, and I kind of have mixed feelings about posting it because I feel pretty darn conflicted. Despite the fact that this pregnancy was a huge surprise and that we’re very excited for it, I have to say that my body image issues have been amped up tenfold. I might not look like the definition of overweight, but I have a lot of muscle, and I am not “thin” in terms of weight. The concept of gaining 20+ pounds to deliver a healthy baby terrifies me.

While I was crossfitting, I gained about 18 lbs of muscle and excess body weight, which it took me nearly a year to shed through running, reducing one-rep max lifts and really putting in more HIIT workouts. I didn’t reach my goal weight this year. I’d hoped to lose another 15 lbs to get to a comfortable weight in 2014 before we considered having children. Obviously, however, that didn’t happen.

^^^ not my belly. image via.

I’ve been working really hard to have a more positive mindset about the weight gain, and Ryan’s been helping me as much as he can, as well. I know that this weight gain is temporary, and it’s necessary to have a healthy, happy baby. I know that I have a say in how much I gain, and that the longer I stay active, the healthier I’ll be. I know that I’m doing this for two people now…not just me.

So, I’ve been working out 6 days a week, but I’ve been switching things up, too, which I’ve noticed is helping me both mentally and physically. My workouts generally consist of the following now:

Monday – Long, slow, 2-3 mile run/jog, plus one hour of yoga in the evening.
Tuesday – P90X ab ripper, plus 30 minutes of intervals on the elliptical.
Wednesday – 15 minutes of stationary bike, 15 minutes of light treadmill running, one hour of yoga.
Thursday – Long, slow, 2-3 mile run/jog.
Friday – 1.5 hour swim (generally about 3-4,000 meters).
Saturday – 2 miles on the treadmill – 1 running, 1 of intervals – plus, HIIT circuit with light weights.

I know it might look like a lot, but thus far, it hasn’t been too bad. I’m adjusting wherever necessary, and I’m listening to my body’s limits so I don’t push too hard. I’ve noticed that it’s kept excess water weight at bay for now, and I can feel my body fat dropping even though my weight is staying the same for now.

In terms of eating, I’ve done a lot of research, and I’m firmly sticking to the idea that women do not need to eat for two. In fact, women don’t really need to eat more in their first trimester. When the bulk of development occurs in the second and third trimester, I will add the recommended 200-300 calories to my diet. For now though – I’m conscious of what I eat without adding calories or going insane.

This seems like such a self-involved post, but I swear that changing my mindset to putting the baby above all else has been one of the hardest things in the world to do. I’ll definitely be posting some of my workouts here, as well as making this a positive place for body image all around because I think that we, as a society, need to stop putting all the emphasis and value solely upon weight.