1) Develop Healthy Eating Habits & Get Yourself Healthy
Crazy diets and depriving yourself from the foods you love is not a good plan to get in shape before you have a baby. You should be trying to get healthy, not skinny. Big difference. Plus, you can't maintain those eating habits once you get pregnant because it is not healthy for you or your little bundle. Make eating healthy a lifestyle and indulge in a little guilty snacking once in a blue moon. You've gotta live a little, but you don't have to live it up everytime you are tempted to snack.
2) Get Moving
Start working out or getting active before you get pregnant so your body can adjust to that level of activity. At my first OB appointment, the very first question I asked my doctor was how often and intensely can I workout. He told me to keep doing what I have been doing. And if I have already been working out...maintain that level of fitness. If not, I would have to be careful with pushing my body into new things while carrying a baby.
3) Trick yourself into loving water and wean yourself from caffeine.
Everyone knows you shouldn't drink alot of caffeine while you are pregnant, it's not good for you or the baby. But also drinks contain alot of calories. Empty calories I might add, that you just don't need. Your body does, however, need water. Lots of water. This wasn't an issue for me because I love water and sodas gross me out. But if you do love drinks, start by trading one a day for a bottle of water and gradually work your way out of your drink dependant days.
4) Start loving your body now.
A woman's body is an incredible thing. Just look at what it can do. We get to grow our babies in our tummies and that is an amazing miracle. So no matter what shape, size, weight, whatever you are...RESPECT your body and love it for what it's about to do and don't stress about your changing figure. Be prepared to embrace the changes that come with your growing belly because it really is the most beautiful thing.
Eat alot, but eat alot of the good stuff. Baby needs those nutrients and so do you. Cheeseburgers and Blizzards won't cut it though. Time for an abundance of fruits, veggies and protein. I craved apples when I was pregnant. If there had been an apple truck driving down my street I would've chased that bad boy down and rode for miles eating apples (haha). I actually think I talked myself into craving fruit because I knew that was best for little Kollyns.
2) Stay Active
The more active you stay, the better you will feel. I had only 1 morning of nausea during my entire pregnancy and I don't know if it was because I was extremely blessed, or because I stayed active. I worked out just about every morning and that was a good start to making healthy choices throughout the day. I lightened up on my weights but I did alot of body weight exercises and cardio always making sure to keep my heart rate down! A typical 1st & 2nd trimester workout for me would include different types of squats, an assortment of lunges, leg extensions, and leg curls and free weight arm exercises as well as ab exercises on a stability ball. I also used the elliptical alot because it was a smooth, effective form of cardio. My 3rd trimester included alot of stability ball exercises as well and I used alot of different forms when doing exercises to accomodate my growing belly. If you aren't familiar with proper workout techniques I would definitely hire a personal trainer for a few sessions to show you some great pregnancy exercises!
I cannot emphasize enough the role breastfeeding has played in my health and my daughter's health. I was back down to my pre pregnancy weight within 2-3 weeks and my belly was flat. Making milk is a calorie burner girls. Not to mention, it's a superpower ;). Most importantly, Kollyns has not had a single sick visit to her doctor, ever. And she will be 2 years old next month. Ahhhmazing.
2) Keep Working Out
My doctor gave me the go ahead to start light workouts 3 weeks after I had Kollyns. If you thought it was hard to drag your butt to the gym before you had a kid, you just wait until afterwards. Thankfully, my parents own our gym...so I would take Kollyns in her carrier with me when she was an infant so I didn't have to part with her. For those of you that have to part with your precious jewel, look at it as a time for your little one to bond with daddy, and time for mommy to get a little alone time. Ease back into it, letting your body lead you because it knows best...and DO NOT let it stress you. Getting your body back is not your number one priority. Enjoy your time with your sweet baby because you can't get those moments back, and just workout when you can!
3) Keep Eating Healthy
If you are breastfeeding, you HAVE TO up your caloric intake. Do NOT try to diet if you are breastfeeding. I know it's hard. After having Kollyns the last thing I wanted to do was stuff my face while feeling like a bloated puffy marshmallow. And I'm not talking loading up on the Reese's peanut butter cups, chocolate chip cookies and chips. You need milk makers, ladies! Good, healthy fats are super important for your body to take in, in order to produce milk! I'm talking peanut butter, eggs (not peanut butter eggs...don't get excited girls, there's a comma there), avocado and oatmeal! Like before, eat an abundance of HEALTHY food (fruits, veggies & lean protein) also. Also find a few HEALTHY SNACKS you like and keep them on hand. My faves were yogurt, celery with peanut butter smothered on it, and REAL fruit popsicles (not the ones loaded with sugar). And of course, stay hydrated and drink lots and lots and lots of water.
4) Stay active!
If you have a spring/summer/fall baby you have the weather on your side. Take your baby for long strolls or strap him/her in that jogging stroller and put those running shoes on. Fresh air is good for you and your little one. Kollyns was a winter baby, so I didn't have that working to my advantage. But when she got older and more mobile we would have some dance parties with moves that would make JLo jealous. :)
5) Let your little one be your motivation.
Model a good healthy lifestyle, exercise and show off some crazy good eating habits for your kid. We want what's best for our sweet babies, and they learn from US. If that isn't enough to keep you motivated, I dont' know what is!