managing my pregnancy weight gain with slimmingworld

 

Balance is key to a healthy lifestyle…and so I feel I want to add some balance after my rant about SlimmingWorld the other week.  Because you may be forgiven for thinking I hate every last thing about SW, and that isn’t true.  After all, it has helped me have my healthiest pregnancy ever, and that is not something to be shrugged off.

I went into my first pregnancy blind.  It was unplanned, unprepared for and I didn’t have the first clue about health.  I was an overweight teenager who drank heavily, lived on junk food and the extent of my cooking skills was to fire up the deep fat fryer in my grotty little council-flat kitchen.  I have no idea what my weight gain was, as I didn’t own scales, but I went from a size 16 to a 22 so it’s safe to say it was probably near or even more than 4 stone.

My second pregnancy came ten years later, and I was a much different person as I’d been through my 6.5 stone weight loss journey.  But although I’d achieved that loss and made big changes to the way I ate and lived, that pregnancy came at a time where things were sliding.  I’d made the shift from an active job with time for fitness to a desk job which left me with little (perceived) time for exercise.  The job also made me miserable and I had turned to food, so I ate my way through my pregnancy and put on nearly 3 stone.

This time around, I’m different again.  My knowledge of health and nutrition has grown beyond diet/light/low-fat and I’ve made big advances in my fitness levels too.  That saw me get down to a size 12 less than a year after our four year old was born, and down to a size 10 for my wedding two years ago.  Unfortunately though, some things have not changed – I still struggle with using food as a coping mechanism, and my control around food is tied to my mood and emotions.  So I came into this pregnancy overweight again after a stressful year at work, culminating with both losing my job and having the stress of starting a new one after dropping the pregnancy bomb.  Oh…and then Christmas.  I put on nearly a stone in the first 18 weeks, and it looked as if I was on track to pile on the pounds yet again.

But something clicked in my head.  I’ve never enjoyed my changing body in pregnancy, and always felt self conscious about my weight gains, but as this is my last pregnancy I didn’t want to spend it hating how I looked.    And then there are the health consequences of a bad diet and big weight gain, both for myself and my baby.  I didn’t have the excuse of ignorance this time – if I wasn’t going to be healthy for me I should at least be healthy for my baby.

So that’s where SlimmingWorld came in, and where it has helped me.  I’ve been critical about some of their “free” foods and approaches, and I stand by that.  But following a plan and going to weekly weigh-ins has been key, and that is what SlimmingWorld has given me.  I’ve written before about how I’m more of a Weight Watchers girl and that too gives a plan and weekly weigh-ins, but SlimmingWorld have gone a bit further and had themselves accredited to accept pregnant members.  Having to be mindful about my food and being held accountable at the scales each week have helped me to make good choices whilst also ensuring I don’t overeat – two things I struggle with when left to my own devices.  Two things that are pretty much all you need to nail to maintain a healthy weight.

If I hadn’t been allowed to join a group, I fully believe I’d have carried on putting on weight the way I had when I started.  But thanks to SlimmingWorld (and my own efforts!), at 32 weeks I’ve only put on 3.5lbs since January.  I know I’ll probably gain weight each week from now on, and that will be something to get my head around, but most of that weight will be my little man filling out and getting ready for his arrival.

I’m hoping that after the birth, my overall weight gain will have been less than a stone.  That just blows my mind, how different this pregnancy has been to my others.  And the impact has reached further than the number on the scales.  I feel happier, I have more energy and I’ve been able to keep active.  I’m sleeping almost as well as I did before pregnancy, I’ve had minimal heartburn and no back issues.  And more importantly, I’m enjoying the pregnancy and don’t feel self conscious or bad about my changing body.  I’m hoping this is all gearing me up to the birth I want, and of course a healthy baby!

Life According to MrsShilts
My Petit Canard
Continue Reading

why i love swimming when pregnant

 

Last weekend Hubs and I look our youngest to the pool.  I was ashamed to realise how long it’s been since we took him…it was only the second time we’ve been this year, lets put it that way!

It’s funny the difference between my two boys.  The teenager is a competitive swimmer and at his brother’s age was already competent and fearless in the water.  But the four year old point blank refuses to do much more than walk around the splash pool.  And it isn’t because he doesn’t go often enough, as my parents take him most weeks and he did a block of lessons with the nursery at the end of last year.  But despite seeing some of his friends swimming, and us pleading with him, he would only hold on to the side and kick his legs just long enough to prove he could do it.  I don’t know if it’s fear or stubbornness, but I’m hoping the next block of lessons he’s about to start will build his confidence. He’s going to look a little silly if he’s still hanging out in the baby pool by the time puberty hits!

I was just happy to be in the water.  Well, I say happy…as happy as I could manage whilst wearing the world’s most unflattering item of clothing.  Me and swimsuits haven’t ever got on, but my maternity swimsuit is beyond disgusting.  It’s a throwback to my first pregnancy, so at over 15 years old it’s the oldest item in my wardrobe.  Quite frankly it makes me look like a bunch of deflating beach balls shoved into a shapeless sack, but I’ve had such a drama with maternity clothes as it is that I didn’t have the energy (or budget) to add swimwear to the shitstorm.  Mind you, I regretted that decision as soon as I was faced with the walk of shame between the changing room and pool, and even more so when I had to make the walk back to the splash pool after swimming lengths to find Hubs had struck up conversation with a skinny mum in a bikini…

Hurt pride aside, it was good to be swimming again.  I’ve always loved swimming – it was the only sport I would bother with as a kid, and I was always pretty good at it.  As an adult I’ve not been able to make regular time to get to the pool, but I always make sure I do a few lengths whenever we do take the kids.  I did the Great Scottish Swim in Loch Lomond a few years ago where I found a love of open water swimming too (and a wetsuit is so much more flattering than most cozzies!).

I’ve always made a point of swimming in my pregnancies, even in my first where I was obese and vastly out of shape.  Especially at the end of pregnancy, when maternity leave kicks in and I’ve had a little bit of time for myself before my new baby arrives, I’ve been known to swim numerous times a week.  No wonder I’m planning a pool birth this time around!

 

Why I love swimming in pregnancy

  • I find there’s something about the support water gives my pregnant body that makes me feel normal and human again.  Suddenly I don’t feel so heavy, and I get my freedom of movement back.
  • Being in the water also helps to give me a break from any aches and pains – they just melt away.
  • It’s also great for helping to avoid collecting more of those aches and pains, as it’s a low impact form of exercise.
  • I find it quiets my mind – once I get into the rhythm of movement and breath it’s almost like meditating.
  • I always think it prepares me for birth too – building stamina to get me through labour, and reminding me how to control and focus my breathing.
  • I’ve been able to keep swimming right up until my due date before, which isn’t always possible with many other forms of exercise.

Keeping safe whilst swimming

I’m not an expert, and of course you should always check with your midwife if you are unsure whether swimming is for you, but I have picked up a few helpful tips to make sure I’m safe in the pool when pregnant:

  • Bring a bottle of water.  I drink tons when I’m doing any sort of exercise, but it can be easy to forget about dehydration when you’re soaking wet!
  • Be mindful of overheating.  This is something we are warned about when pregnant, but it’s harder to assess when you feel as if the water is keeping you cool.  Don’t over exert yourself.
  • Breaststroke is probably the best stroke to use.  It’s good for your back as you don’t twist as much as you would in front crawl.  It  also avoids you being on your back, which even in the supportive environment of water can still put pressure on vital blood vessels.  Just be mindful if you suffer SPD, as the leg movement may not be the best option.  In my last pregnancy I switched to a more crawl-style of kick, or focused on using mainly my upper body.
  • Use flip flops or at least hold on to hand rails when walking around the pool area.  A slip or fall is never nice, but in pregnancy you need to be extra careful.

 

I’m getting a bit too tired come the end of the day to make it to my weekly Clubbercise class, so I’m thinking now is the time to add swimming into my fitness plan.  I wish more than anything there were Aquanatal classes near me, as I think they’d be a great thing to get into, but I’m happy enough churning out the lengths.  Even in my nasty swimsuit.

Twin Mummy and Daddy
Continue Reading

my pregnancy at 30 weeks

 

So that’s me through my 30th week of pregnancy, and I’ve been pretty crap at keeping any sort of record.  With my teenager I kept a journal for most of the time, and with my four year old I took a bump pic each week.  This time around, nada.  I had a pregnancy book which I bought last time and never got round to filling in, so I figured I’d use it this time around.  But when I sat down to do it, I wasn’t crazy about a lot of the sections…it felt too forced.  I want to make some sort of effort though, given that this is going to be the last time I manufacture a tiny human.

And would you look at this – now I have a blog to do it in.

I warn you now though, I’m no earth mother who thinks the miracle of pregnancy is a wonder to meditate upon.  I’m basically a cranky bitch, and I’m quite looking forward to getting to the finish line.  But I’ll try to sprinkle in some positives…

 

Pregnancy so far…

  • No morning sickness, lucky me…but weeks of feeling like a burst sofa.  A nauseated, exhausted burst sofa.
  • Feeling movement from 15 weeks, and getting an extra 20 week scan because this baby appears to be as stubborn as my others.
  • The heartbreak of being told that this baby had a very high risk of having Down’s Syndrome.  We decided to have an amnio to find out for certain, and that is not an experience I would want to go through again.  We spent Christmas in limbo awaiting the results which, given how high the risk factor was, we were certain would confirm the diagnosis.  We dragged ourselves through the festive period trying to be positive for the kids, and breathed a sigh of relief in January to find that the results were “normal.”
  •  We also found out from those results that we were having our 3rd boy.  This was something I had to digest, because as much as I love being a mum of boys it does mean I will never have a daughter.
  • I’ve been given a lot of compliments about my bump this time around, which is a new experience for me.  I’ve struggled with being so visible, but the nice comments have at least helped a lot when faced with dickheads who call pregnant women “huge”

 

Body at 30 weeks

  • I’ve been feeling very front heavy in the past few weeks.  Bending over is a mission.  I’m struggling to do up my shoes and I have that moment of contemplation every time I drop something – do I really need it back off the floor?
  • My bump has more aches and pains than an old hypochondriac.  I am in a constant state of discomfort tinged with paranoia, not helped by the shortness of breath that kicked in this week.
  • I’m pretty sure that maternity bras have wrecked my boobs, so I’ve reverted back to my underwired ones in a desperate attempt to halt any further southward-bound migration.
  • My nails looks like crap, but my hair can go for days without needing a shampoo.  For the first time in my life I’m not scheduling my week around hair washing!
  • Minimal sciatica, only occasional heartburn and my back seems to be holding out…winwinwin.

Mind at 30 weeks

  • Emotional outburst-wise I’m doing ok…as long as you ignore the fact that I cried in the swimming pool at the weekend because Hubs spoke to a skinny tattooed mum in a bikini while I did some lengths,  looking like a whale in the worlds least flattering maternity swimsuit.
  • I’m feeling guilty at work – they will not be covering my leave, so my manager will have to do two jobs while I’m gone.  I can’t help feeling responsible for any pressure this will put on her.
  • That said, I am so excited about my maternity leave.  What’s not to look forward to – getting the best part of a year with my new baby and to be a proper mum to my boys?  I can’t wait!
  • But then I think…how will I cope with three kids by myself all summer holiday?!

Baby at 30 weeks

  • This boy can move!  I’m pretty sure he’s can-can dancing in there at times, and he particularly likes sticking what feels like a foot into my right side so forcefully I can actually feel the shape.  I’ll be honest, I find it quite creepy!  I’m ok with regular movements (except when he kicks me in the cervix…thanks wee man), but identifiable body parts give me a touch of the heebie-jeebies.
  • Still no name.  After two boys the inspiration well is dry.  All I know is that with two boys whose names start with R, I can’t have another one with that initial or it will start looking like a thing.  We have some names floating about, but I think this will be my first baby who isn’t named until after his birth.  Quite a while after!
  • Teenager is not very interested in the pregnancy itself, but I know he’s looking forward to another baby in the house as he’s such a good big brother to the four year old.  And four year old is still very positive about becoming a big brother, occasionally hugging and kissing my bump.  I’m still certain that reality will hit our spoiled little attention seeker quite hard when the time comes, so I’m building a bomb shelter out the back to hide in.

Fuel, Fitness & Rest

  • Oh my god, all I did last week was eat.  This has been the first week since January where I’ve felt out of control, and I’m scared to step on the scales.  I’m also feeling guilty about the quality of what I’ve eaten – Greggs, MacDonald’s, cake, chocolate and pizza have all featured.  Not exactly the nutritious start I’ve been trying to provide!
  • I hit the wall at about 2pm each day, and could easily mimic the sleeping habits of a teenage boy if I didn’t have to adult all the bloody time.
  • My sleep is generally good though, when the four year old complies.  I invested in a body pillow this time around, who Hubs and I have named Pierre as it is like having a third person in bed with us.  But after our nights in London without him, I know Pierre is helping me get a decent rest.  I still wake for the loo and to change position, but getting back to sleep is a doddle.
  • Apart from a lot of walking in London and 10 lengths of the pool at the weekend, my exercise this week has been non-existent.  I’m looking forward to getting back into a routine next week, and I think I’ll still manage my Clubbercise class for another few weeks…maybe.

 

I don’t have anything to update about purchases yet, because apart from picking up some cute outfits we haven’t really done much.  The upside with another boy is that he will be cheap to run – we didn’t chuck anything out from the last baby, and I dug out our lovely blue Babystyle Oyster from the garage last weekend to find that it’s in pretty great nick…I just need to find where we put the carrycot!  So no names, no goodies…hitting the big 3-0 is exciting for me, but it doesn’t make for a thrilling update so thanks for reading!

Continue Reading

can we just stop commenting on pregnant women’s bodies?

 

As someone who battles with my weight and self image, I’ve spent my life trying to hide my body.  It dictates what I wear, what I do and even how I sit – these are all done in a way which minimises the amount of flaws on display.  So the visibility of my body during pregnancy is something I struggle with.

Suddenly it’s ok for people to comment and discuss my shape, often without invitation.  Don’t get me wrong, most comments are well meaning and complimentary…but even they couldn’t take the sting out of being told I was basically a fat freak by someone I’d barely even met before.  On more than one occasion this charmer has reacted with shock when overhearing how far along I was, gasping that I was huge.  In one instance she even combined the classic I thought you were nearly due with the equally tactful is it twins?!  I was 24 weeks at the time.

The rational side of me knows not to take to heart the words of an airhead (common office perception, not just me being a bitch) who thinks it’s ok to dress head-to-toe in gradients of Barbie-pink in her late 40’s (ok, that was me just being a bitch).  But when has body hatred ever been rational?  Instead of writing those comments off as just moronic standard phrases tossed out by conversationally challenged people to anyone expecting, I have internalised them.

Continue Reading