Everyone always asks me what my tips are for healthy pregnancy, so I just thought I would write a blog post and talk about what I thought and how I kept my pregnancy healthy.
Ironically, I never worked out with both pregnancies but let me explain why.
The first go around with pregnancy, I was not into going to the gym AT ALL. Fitness Carli was not born yet. I was just Carli who never wanted anything to do with the gym and never ate healthy and just wanted to eat and be happy and be validated in my choices. I fell in love with the transformation and nourishing my body and everything AFTER I had my baby Navy.
So, during my FIRST pregnancy... I didn’t workout at all, I ate whatever I wanted, I gained a normal amount of weight and I didn’t really have any healthy habits. My SECOND pregnancy… first off, I started out in a really good spot. I just ran a half marathon, I was the fittest I have ever been in my whole life and I got the lovely surprise that I was pregnant with identical twins, which was crazy! I had fully intended on working out my entire pregnancy because I really wanted to experiment with that, but what happened was, I was told I was at a high-risk pregnancy. I really let that fear of losing the twins control me and I thought you know what… working out and letting that affect me losing my twins isn’t worth it to me so I didn’t work out. I tried to for a little bit but truthfully the twin pregnancy was really REALLY hard. I felt double doses of EVERYTHING, I was super tired so I chose to not workout but that being said, I wasn’t going be like… “okay all healthy progress and decisions I have made throughout the last couple of years since starting my fitness journey are out the window and I am eating for three now so I am just going to put everything on pause”.
I KNOW how hard it is to gain a ton of weight and then not be able to feel good after having a baby and I wanted to do everything that I could in my pregnancy to keep my babies safe while also acknowledging my own needs and fulfilling my own needs.
So, first off I think that the notion “you’re eating for three” is complete bullshit (sorry for my language). I would work really closely with my doctors and try to ask all these questions on my high-risk pregnancy just because I had identical twins and that was REALLY SCARY for me. My health was perfect and everything was great, BUT I really wanted to know what their recommendations were for food because for me I always just nourished my body with healthy food.
I never believed in restriction.
I don’t believe in that diet mentality where you restrict and you see how well you can avoid food and not eat and then get skinny. That’s never what I’ve done. If you’ve been following me you know, I have always approached food with the mentality of it is good and it is here to nourish and reward and fill my body with good things and it’s not about deprivation. For me, I really wanted to make sure when I was in this twin pregnancy that I kept adding those nutrient dense foods into my diet. I didn’t say “I now don’t have to eat healthy and now I have a pass for gaining weight and I’m just going to live it up”.
It was still important to me that I got in all of those nutrient dense foods.
With that being said, I’m not talking about first trimester. I barfed a lot, I craved Taco Bell and I just ate anything that I could because that’s just first trimester and if you have been pregnant before or if you are in your first trimester YOU GET THIS. You have no energy. So, this was second trimester when you aren’t barfing anymore. I really made sure that I continued to add in those nutrient dense food. I researched a lot of foods that would help my babies grow and I talked to my doctors and I was like "hey I really want to make sure that my weight gain is sufficient but I don’t want to over gain. Can you explain to me what my twins need?"
THE COOL THING is in my third trimester I was seeing my high-risk doctor and she was so amazing and she was so excited every time I would come to see her because she would say... "all of my patients are so unhealthy and it’s really hard to see these unhealthy people all day that you really want to help but their eating choices are making them super high risk and I just love seeing you because you’re so healthy and it’s very refreshing!"
She told me that my third trimester each of my babies only needed 100 calories to THRIVE. TO THRIVE YOU GUYS! She is an OB that also went three years past her school and got super specialized in high-risk pregnancies and pregnancy issues. She would tell me “I love the amount of weight that you’ve gained and you’re doing awesome”. Which felt SO GOOD.
At this time I wasn’t working out, all I was doing was just making sure that I got those healthy foods and YES I got the cravings, YES I would indulge in the sugary things but I just made sure that I was adding in all of the nutrient dense food. I always tell people this: keep eating your spinach, keep eating your banana smoothie, keep eating your green beans or broccoli because all of those things give you SO MANY NUTRIENTS and are so important for you and your baby to thrive during pregnancy. Don’t throw those out the window and say “oh! I’m just eating for two and I need to make sure that I am eating a ton of calories for the growth of this fetus.” That’s just not true!
Third trimester of two babies I only needed to be giving them 200 calories (100 calories each) to thrive. So for me, I didn’t track or anything when I was pregnant I just made sure I was really focusing on those nutrient dense foods. I would eat a lot of that. I was craving steak, so we ate a lot of steak and a lot of green veggies and again, I was not perfect, I didn’t restrict. That’s not the time to be restricting. It’s a hard time and food can give you some satisfaction and pleasure but don’t ditch all of your healthy decisions. That’s the biggest piece of advice that I have for people when they ask me about healthy pregnancy because pregnancy is hard and I totally get that BUT it’s so awesome to come out on the other side being in a really good place and feeling strong even if you can’t workout. Just knowing that you gave you and your baby all of these nutrient dense foods to help the process of growing your baby and recovering your body IS AMAZING.
Now, after pregnancy it’s so important to let yourself rest and GUYS I love chocolate and cookies and sweets and everything. I totally crave those like crazy. I love cheeseburgers. I love French fries, and I would definitely indulge in those in those hard moments. Food tastes good and I totally understand that. It’s kind of the one thing you can look forward to in that time after you have a baby. It’s like “oh my gosh everything is so hard and I’m so glad that I can eat this cookie and get a little bit of pleasure.” Okay I totally understand that but again DON'T THROW ALL THOSE NUTRIENT FOODS OUT THE WINDOW, make sure you’re adding them and I’m not saying “restrict, restrict, restrict, only eat healthy foods”. I’m saying don’t illuminate them. Make sure they’re there, make sure you’re forcing them in because you’ll feel so good and my body was able to respond so well after the twins because I gave it what it needed, I didn’t restrict.
I’ve always truly loved my body and I treat my body right. I think my body is so beautiful and so amazing and it was this beautifully divine design gift from God. I’m super religious and even if you’re not it’s such an amazing tool and an amazing gift and when you treat it right you can have such a better quality of life and it’ll be so rewarding and fulfilling and that doesn’t come from restricting or telling yourself that you need to lose weight cause your fat. No, no, no! It comes from a place of “WOW I want to see what will happen and how strong I can get if I give it what I need to thrive and survive.” Don’t fill your body with a ton of sugary things that make your insulin go up and make you insulin resistant and feel awful and exhausted all day. I want you waking up feeling invigorated.
That is a very different approach to health and fitness. It’s not about weight loss. It’s about how can I feel amazing and thrive in this body that I’ve been given that’s such a gift and regardless, it doesn’t matter if you’re pregnant or if you’re not pregnant… that should always be something that you are aiming for and for me I just kept that. I wasn’t like “oh no, make sure you don’t eat because you’ve got twins in there and you don’t want to get fat”. That’s never what it’s been. It’s always been like “OH MY GOSH I am carrying two babies and it’s a really hard job! What can I do to make it a little bit easier on myself? Oh! I can make sure that I’m giving my body all of the nutrients and all of this love through food so that it can do the best job”. And that’s one thing my doctor always said. It’s so important to make sure you are giving your baby and your body good things because growing a baby is so hard and when you gain excess weight it is SO MUCH HARDER! And that is one thing I will never forget that we were talking about is she said “when people say that they are eating for two and it is their time to relax, I really want to scream at them and say nooooo, it is so much harder when you gain so much weight.” It makes the process of pregnancy so much harder and it truly isn’t worth it. It really isn’t worth the pleasure of relaxing with food and indulging because what happens is this CRAZY chemical reaction in your brain when you indulge in foods that have a ton of sugar and are processed. It’s this crazy chemical reaction of pleasure and having to deal with everything that goes along with that.
Since our maternal instinct is so strong, it’s awesome to have the mentality of “I want to do what’s best for my baby” and when that maternal instinct kicks in, you will be amazed at how much better your decisions are when you come at it from a place of “I am going to do what is best for my child” because our maternal instinct is so much greater than ANY urge we have for food and we can all relate to that.
Truthfully I’m such a better mom because I am able to have a strong body and I don’t have all of this brain space taken up by self-consciousness and “am I going to eat this sugar, am I not going to eat this sugar” and “am I going to like the way I look in a swim suit today or am I not going to like it” I don’t have any of that. I can look in the mirror and say “oh my gosh I am so proud of how hard you worked, your body is so amazing. It grew your children and now you get to go love them and spend time with them”. There’s so much brain space available for my children because I don’t have all of this brain space taken up with the unhealthy relationship that comes from eating processed foods because it truly is just this chemical reaction and these crazy urges that your body has. For me, my maternal instinct for my children was so much stronger than my urges for cheeseburgers and everything. I would use my children as my motivators to get healthy and make sure I was giving my body what it needs because I need to take care of them and I was a nursing them and I needed to be in the best possible state and I needed to be filling my body with amazing things so that I could be the best mom that I could be. That’s always how I am, even now, I will try to be the best mom that I can be by showing Navy and the twins what it looks like to have a positive relationship with food and a positive relationship with my body and I want to give their body good things and I want them to exercise because it makes you feel unstoppable and it makes you feel so good and it makes people confident. I don’t want them to have a relationship with food that looks like deprivation and beating themselves up and telling themselves they’re fat and trying to restrict food. So I don’t teach them that.
The only way that I can truly teach them that is by example and making sure that the conversation around food is always “let’s nourish our bodies no matter the season. Fill it with good things, fill it with love and watch how it responds”.
I hope that helps and if you’re pregnant, it’s TOTALLY a hard road. I’m not saying that I was perfect. I definitely indulged but I didn’t cutout the nourishing food, the good protein, the good fat. Avocado was my BEST FRIEND okay? Make sure you’re nourishing and make sure to do some research about the amazing things that come from eating vegetables during your pregnancy and you’ll be like YEP IM DOING IT. Eat your broccoli, eat your green beans, whatever and your kids will also eat those things and that will just makes you feel like OH DOUBLE WIN because you’re crushing it in the mommy department. Your kids are eating healthy and that makes you feel so good cause we all want our kids to be healthy!
Hang in there mamas, we are in this together!