Archive for the ‘Pregnancy’ Category

New Year, New Baby!

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

I’m back! And I had my baby! Her name is Alexandra Constantina, and she surprised her father and I by arriving over 2 weeks early. She was born on October 28, 2011 and weighed just 5lb 10oz. We’ve decided to keep her :)

Since this is a health, fitness, and weight-loss blog, I’ll try to keep my posts centered around that – even though so much of my life these days is about feeding this little creature and less about feeding myself…

Prior to getting pregnant, I weighed 178. At my last doctor’s appointment before having the baby, I weighed 224. Riddle me this: If the baby weighed less than 6 pounds, and the rest of the fluids and birth ‘stuff’ weighed about 10 pounds, how did I gain 46 pounds?

Answer: Eating whatever the hell I wanted to eat and not exercising. Shocker.

Since giving birth, I’ve gotten down to 199 pounds (finally, yesterday morning, after weeks of hovering around 201 – how about THAT for a good way to enter the new year?!). That  means I’ve lost 24 of the 46 pounds I gained, and I have 22 more to go to get to my pre-pregnancy weight. Sure, there’s another 10 pounds to get back down to my lowest, and then another 18 to get down to my ultimate goal of 150, but I’m taking baby steps. (Ha – “baby” steps – get it?)

I entered a Biggest Loser Contest that started 2 weeks after Alexandra was born. I felt a little bad at first because during the first 2 weeks of the contest I lost 5 or 6 pounds, which I attribute to the loss of fluids from the pregnancy. However, now I’m struggling to lose weight again (ie: I have to WORK for it) so I no longer feel like it’s unfair. I just got a little head start.

My goal is to get back down to pre-pregnancy weight – 178 – by May 3rd when the contest ends. That gives me 4 months to lose another 21 pounds. I figure if I do that, I might actually win! And if I don’t win but I reach that goal, well who cares about the bragging rights and a little bit of cash?

For the first 6 weeks after giving birth, I wasn’t supposed to exercise. Some days I felt really good though, so I took Alex for a number of walks in those weeks. I felt sore afterward, but it was wonderful getting outside and doing something again! And so nice to have some company, even if she’s less sentient than my cat at this point :)

Two weeks ago I was cleared for exercise by my doctor. I was so excited to get that news, but did I start exercising? No, not really. Not right away at least. I don’t want to be one of those people who uses their kid as an excuse for not exercising, but seriously – a newborn requires a LOT of attention! And when she’s sleeping, I feel like I should either get some sleep myself, do some client work, or do some housework. I’m going to start making more of an effort to schedule it in, though. It’s just as important as those other things.

Last week I exercised a little – I went for a run and I did a 25 minute workout video, both of which I’m sad to say were quite difficult. The run was just under 2 miles and I couldn’t even make it that distance without walking. I walked frequently, but not for long each time. When I returned home, the recovery took a lot longer than it used to. For a few hours, every time I tried to take a deep breath, I coughed. I think much of that had to do with the cold weather, but I’m clearly very out of shape, so it’s likely a combination.

I’m not going to let it get me down, though! It just gives me a good idea of where I am right now. A baseline, if you will. I’ve decided to run another half marathon in September of this year, so I have a long way to go, but I’m confident I can do it. I did it before!

So there you have it: I’m back to eating right. I’m back to exercising. And I’m back to blogging.

I hope you’re all doing well! Here’s to a fantastic 2012! 

Mission Accomplished!

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

Today is Day 7 in my little 7-Day Challenge, and I’m proud to say that I worked out each and every day this past week! This challenge has caused me to remember what it was like when I was training for the half marathon or doing P90X – when, in both cases, I worked out every day, or nearly every day. Here are my insights:

• Planning is essential. In order to fit in a workout every day – or even just on a day that you intend to work out – it’s necessary to think ahead and fit it in when you can. This week, I’ve had other commitments like client meetings, taxi-ing husbands and friends (just one of each) to the airport and back, dinner with friends, etc, and in many cases, if I hadn’t thought ahead of what my day entailed and squeezed in my workout when I had the chance, I would have missed my only opportunity and ended up missing that day.

• I hate doing laundry. After one of my long-term fitness commitments which meant working out on a daily basis, I purchased enough shorts, tank tops and sports bras to get me through 4-5 days without having to wash clothes. But now that I’m pregnant, only a few of those things still fit, and I haven’t bought more of that type of clothing that will fit my new shape, so I’ve had to do laundry at least every other day. It sucks. I hate it. I need more pregnancy-friendly workout clothes. Period.

• When I work out, I feel good. I don’t generally feel good DURING the workout, though some days, I do. And I don’t generally feel good (or excited about working out) BEFORE the workout, but after the post-workout shower? I feel great! And then for the rest of the day! And not just physically, but also mentally. I can look back on my day and say that I did something positive and healthy for myself (and my baby!). Right now, after 7 days of working out, I feel much less like an amorphous blob than I did a week ago.

• Some days I feel better than others. With the exception of Saturday, when I counted my Kung Fu class as my workout for the day, I did Suzanne Bowen’s Long and Lean Prenatal Workout. Overall, I progressed quite nicely with this workout: I was able to do more and more of the workout (today I did damn near everything without  having to pause at all), and generally felt better doing the moves – like I had better form and wasn’t going to die from them. However, Thursday was a bad day. A rather lackluster workout. I simply wasn’t in the mood to do it in the first place, and that didn’t go away even though I pushed myself to do it anyway. I don’t know if it was something I ate (or didn’t eat) or the weather, or what, but I just didn’t have as good of a workout as the other days. In fact, I may have skipped a few moves altogether. But then on Friday? Great again! Ebbs and flows, people: Don’t let it get you down.

• Being physically active makes me want to make healthier food choices. After working out, the last thing I want to do is eat a heavy, calorie-laden meal. I’ve had more salads this week than I have in ages, and I ate them because I wanted to, and they tasted great. Focus on one area of health, and the others seem to follow!

I know at least a few other people were doing this challenge with me – how did you girls end up? Did anyone else do it in secret? That’s cool too – I hope anyone who attempted it was successful. Even if you didn’t work out every day, if you worked out more than you usually do, I’d call that a success.

Now time to schedule my massage reward!

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Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

I’m two days into my 7-day challenge and I’ve stuck to my commitment thus far! I like the new workout video I bought (Suzanne Bowen’s Long and Lean Prenatal Workout), though it’s not really yoga. In fact, it’s not yoga at all. I don’t know why I *thought* it was yoga, except that I found it on Amazon after specifically searching for “prenatal yoga dvd” – but probably after clicking on a few links.

Anyway, there are 3 sections to the workout: The first is 20 minutes of standing work which I would have laughed at prior to my pregnancy – it looks so easy! – a lot of slow, controlled movements like leg lifts and squats. But seriously: Now? After how many months of doing very little exercise, gaining nearly 30 pounds, and circulating roughly 4 extra pounds of blood? It’s tough! Not too tough to do, for the most part, but I feel like I’m getting a good workout – I certainly work up a sweat and get my heart rate pumping!

The second section is also 20 minutes, and is mat work. It starts out with pushups, which have never been my thing, but I can power through most of what she asks here, since they’re knee pushups and she breaks them into sets of 8. Very manageable. After that there are some leg lifts and some arm strengthening moves all of which make me feel like I’m doing something, but not so much that I ever feel like I’m endangering the baby. There’s no jumping or jarring movements at all.

The third section is 10 minutes, and is just a bunch of stretching and relaxation moves. I didn’t love this section – I always balk at stretching, I always have. I did it yesterday, but skipped it today. Is that bad? Hmm… now I feel bad for skipping it. Maybe I’ll add it back in tomorrow.

There are a few little things about the video itself that bug me. For instance, the instructions are a voice over, which is fine, except that a few times she says right leg but actually uses her left leg and vice versa. It’s a little confusing at times, but overall, I’d give it two thumbs up.

Of course, this is only Day 2, and I’ve committed to doing it seven days in a row. I’m a bit concerned that I’m going to be sick of it by Day 5, because it’s hard for ANY workout video to feel fresh after doing it over and over again. Hopefully, I’ll see improvement in what I can do in short order which will keep me motivated.

I’ve also decided to treat myself to a massage at the end of the week if I stick to my plan as extra incentive. I *love* massages, and boy could I use one!

 

Seven Days of…

Sunday, July 31st, 2011

A comment on my last post from my friend Emily who had a baby of her own about a month ago really made me feel better. I was lamenting the fact that I wasn’t doing as well as I had hoped in the exercise department, and she had this to say:

Hang in there! I know I intended to do much of the same in my pregnancy [exercise regularly]. And, like you, had only bits of success. I was way too tired / nauseated for the first trimester and then too uncomfortable in the the third. I did better during the second, but only a bit. I ended up gaining about 40 lbs… and in the month since giving birth I’ve lost 30 lbs and I haven’t done a darn thing to do it. My unsolicited advice is this: everything in moderation. As long as you are healthy and feel good, so does your baby. You’ll lose the weight later… but pamper yourself now. :)

I especially like that bit about pampering myself!

Really, though, I know that I can (and should) do more exercise now than I have been – and I think I’ll feel better both physically and mentally by doing so. My idea is to do something in my air conditioned cocoon to minimize the discomfort by the heat of the summer, and the plan is yoga. I’ve done a little yoga in the past (very little) – a class or two, plus the yoga workout once a week during my 3-month stint doing P90X. I wasn’t great at it, but I didn’t hate it either.

So I did a search on Amazon, reading the customer reviews for a number of prenatal yoga videos, and settled on one that 52 out of 60 reviewers gave 5 stars to: Suzanne Bowen’s Long and Lean Prenatal Workout. It arrived yesterday, and though I haven’t removed the shrink wrap yet, I’m excited to give it a try!

The writer of one of the blogs I frequent, Krissie of Questions for Dessert, has recently issued a challenge to folks to do 7 days of yoga, starting August 1 (tomorrow!). It was just the call I needed to jump start my foray into actually exercising during my pregnancy – and perfect timing since I just got that new video! I’m psyched :)

Anyone else want in on this? It doesn’t have to be yoga, if that’s not your thing. Just commit to doing some sort of workout for 7 days straight. Like Krissie says at the beginning of her post about this, I’m a little worried about successfully carrying out this commitment, so I’m trying to recruit others so that I’m not alone. I find it’s easier to stick to something when you A) tell others about your goal and B) get others to join you. So that’s what I’m doing!

I know it’s short notice, but if you’re going to join me, let me know that you’re on board in the comments and tell me what you’ll be doing! I want to hear about it!

And I’ll let you all know how I do with my 7 days of yoga. Hopefully I like this video and I’m not like the one person out of 60 who gave it 1 star… I’m optimistic about it!

Hotter Than a Match Head

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Last week I had another doctor’s appointment. This one went significantly better than the last one, which began with me breaking down into tears after being weighed (and freaking out my husband with my crazy pregnant lady hormones).

After that ‘rock bottom moment,’ I made a conscious effort to improve my eating habits. I started off with a bang – cooking more & eating out less; eating more vegetables; not eating ice cream for dessert on a daily basis; not eating whenever I damn well felt like it; etc. – and most of that stuck. The cooking has decreased a bit and the vegetables aren’t as plentiful as they should be, but all in all? Not too bad.

The exercise thing in the last five weeks has been better, too, though there is definitely still room for improvement. The heat has been a real hurdle to working out. It’s like all temperatures are amplified: If it’s a little cool, I’m freezing, and if it’s a little hot, I feel like it’s the desert in summer. So when it’s actually hot? I’m completely miserable. The other day I was outside for less than five minutes, and I felt like I was going to pass out. And given my track record with passing out, I was concerned enough to retreat to the sanctuary of my air conditioned cocoon (aka: The Couch). The heat has never made me this uncomfortable before, so I can only attribute it to the growing creature inside of me.

Despite the intense heat of late, I’ve managed to make it to Kung Fu about twice a week, on average. However, it’s so freaking hot in the school that my workouts there are a bit lackluster. (Air conditioner anyone?!) Plus, there’s only so much I can do there anyway: My kicks are little more than knee height because when I kick high my thigh hits my belly and it feels weird; I obviously can’t spar; I refuse to hold body bags for anyone to kick into; I (discreetly) avoid working with people who I feel don’t have good control; I have terrible endurance these days and require frequent breaks; etc. etc.

I’ve walked a few times, but honestly, rarely long enough to consider it an actual workout – more a (reasonably) pleasant way to spend half an hour or an environmentally friendly way to get from one place to another. (I actually really like walking for transportation, but – with this damn heat – by the time I reach my destination I often look and feel like crap. That means I have to be judicious when deciding if this is an option. Hopefully I can do this more when the temps drop a bit – soon, with any luck!)

There have also been occasional one-off bouts of exercise: Lots of volleyball a few weeks back; a kayaking adventure with some friends; a few short hikes. Really though, nothing too crazy. I mean, I know I’m not supposed to do anything crazy, but it would be healthy to increase the frequency and perhaps duration of these exercises.

What I really should be doing is yoga or something similar in my house. That way, I can be in the sweet, sweet air conditioning and still get a good workout in that’s safe for me and the baby. Have I done that though? Even once? I sure haven’t!

Despite all of the things that I could be doing better, I did make improvements between my most recent doctor’s visit and the one before it. And I only gained 4 pounds in that 4-week period. Yay! Still too much, and I still got a well-meaning discourse from my doctor, but I’m making headway.

And I didn’t cry.

I’m a work in progress.

Ready for that Jelly

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

Tell me if this is weird: I’m really anxious to start showing already! I want to get all big in the middle – and (ironically) look like I have a ‘watermelon waistline.’

Right now, my abdomen is bigger, but so is everything else: Arms, legs, boobs (oh boy are my boobs bigger!). This means that my clothes don’t fit right (or at all), and that I don’t feel as good psychologically.

But, if I was very clearly pregnant, I think I would feel better. When I went out in the world I wouldn’t feel the urge to tell strangers that I was pregnant as an explanation for my girth – they would just know. And when I looked in the mirror, I wouldn’t have to tell myself that, either – it would be obvious.

I know that I’ll get more and more uncomfortable the bigger I get, and that I should appreciate this time – especially since it’s summer and the heat and humidity is already sapping my energy – but I’m anxious. At 19 weeks, I feel like it should be obvious that I’m pregnant, but again, I just look like I put on 20 pounds. Annoying.

So, women out there who have been pregnant, I ask you: Is this strange? Did you feel this way too? Some reassurance that I’m not a freak would be great!

I’m Pregnant

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

For the few of you readers out there who don’t actually know me in real life – or for anyone who may have slipped through the cracks – the secret’s out: I’m pregnant!

I’m nearly 19 weeks at this point, with a due date of November 13. My husband and I are very excited, but we’re also terrified, though we’re scared about different things. He’s worried about soft spots and diaper changes and not being able to do anything for the next 18 years – things after the impending baby enters the world. For at least the time being, I’m more concerned with getting through the pregnancy itself – and the whole giving birth bit, but even that isn’t at the forefront of my mind just yet.

I had a miscarriage last year. It sucked.

We moved on: We took some time to recover, tried again, and 6-ish months later, here we are. Obviously, that’s great – one thing we have going for us is that we seem to be reasonably fertile. My heart goes out to those who aren’t so lucky. There’s little sadder than couples who want children but can’t have them.

Given our loss last year, we were obviously a bit anxious at the start of this pregnancy. That was only compounded by a number of various complications in my first trimester. My doctors were equally concerned, so much so that I was told not to exercise.

No exercise?! A few years ago, I never would have imagined that being forbidden from exercising would bother me – hell, a few years ago, nothing would have changed since I didn’t exercise anyway.

But now? That was really tough. For weeks and weeks and weeks, all I could do was walk, and I didn’t even do that much. I had to quit boot camp. I had to take a hiatus from Kung Fu. I haven’t run in months.

I know, I know: It’s a small price to pay for a healthy baby, and nine months isn’t that long. That’s very true, but it doesn’t make it easier! I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up the same level of intensity while pregnant, but I wasn’t ready to be benched completely – especially so early on.

Other than the complications, the first trimester was pretty good – meaning I (thankfully) wasn’t a victim of morning sickness. However, I was tired and hungry. All. The. Time.

It was insane! If I wasn’t sleeping, I was eating. And I’m ashamed to admit that my food choices weren’t always the healthiest. When I ate at home, the problem was portion sizes – and ice cream. But I also ate out a lot. A lot.

So you can imagine my surprise (ahem) when at my last appointment, my doctor informed me that I’ve gained 24 pounds with this pregnancy. Already. That’s as much as I’m supposed to gain in all 40 weeks, and I did it in 18.

Holy. Shit.

Pardon my vulgarity, but seriously, what the hell?! I guess four months of eating as much as you want, sleeping all the time, and not exercising – oh and using your body as an incubator for the next Khan – will do that to a person.

Even though I knew the number on the scale wouldn’t be good, and that I wasn’t being healthy – for me or my baby – I was still shocked when I saw the number (202 – ouch). I was ashamed and embarrassed and angry.

And I cried. Right there in the doctor’s office. Thankfully it was after the nurse left and before the doctor came in, but I think I threw my poor husband into a panic. That or he just thinks I’m a crazy, hormonal, pregnant woman.

The good thing about that emotional breakdown is that I’ve turned a new (old) leaf. Since my appointment on Friday morning, I’ve been a lot better, both with my eating and with exercise (which I’m allowed to do now, with the exception of running, lifting weights, sparring at Kung Fu and overly intense stuff in general – I’ll take it!).

What’s more is that I don’t want the bad stuff anymore – I swear! I threw out all the ice cream I had in the house and I haven’t missed it one bit. I’ve been eating less (but still plenty, don’t worry!), and I don’t feel hungry. I’ve gone out of my way to work exercise into my day – even walking, which I find extremely difficult to do on my own, since I’m always dying to break into a run.

I guess sometimes we need to hit ‘rock bottom’ in order to be motivated to make a positive change in our lives. Whether that’s a change with your health, a relationship that’s run its course, a job that’s no longer a good fit, or something else holding you back.

I’m just glad my rock bottom came after only 24 pounds or I’d probably gain 100 by the time this baby is born!