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- Undergaining During Pregnancy
- New Video Success Story: Cheri H.
- Tip of the Week: Exercise Your Brain
- Recipe of the Week: Awesome Coleslaw!
- Introducing NutriSystem's Nourish ProgramOne Week FREE!
- New Year, New You WOWY Style Is Here!
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Undergaining During Pregnancy
By Melinda Nicci
Perhaps at no time in history have women been under so much pressure to stay thin and gorgeous while simultaneously producing a human life. Additionally, there is pressure to maintain their career and to appear unruffled and unscathed by the whole childbirth experience.
A new craze in the U.S. has pregnant women spending hours in the gym and obsessively dieting and restricting calories. Women fret endlessly about what they eat and how much they weigh from the moment they conceive, some even trying to lose a few pounds prior to conception in order to avoid a massive weight gain. It's even gone so far as electing to deliver babies early to avoid the excess weight gained during the last few weeks of pregnancy. This is becoming so commonplace that it even has a name: undergaining.
The dumpy and frumpy ideals of the past are a motivator for today's women to stay fit and look fabulous during pregnancy. While this sounds great, it's being taken to extremes that put both mother and baby at risk. The old adage "eat for two" has been replaced with the question "What is the minimum increase in calories allowed by the medical profession?"
There is no reason why the desire for a healthy baby needs to completely override any concern about how the mother looks and feels. In fact, it's a common fact that a woman's self-esteem usually has a direct link to how she feels about her body, and there is nothing like pregnancy to challenge your self-image. Understandably, most first-time mothers are frightened by the possibility of losing their hard-earned fit bodies. The idea of not being in control of your body is a frightening thought for anyone, and probably even more so for a woman who is disciplined in her diet and exercise. But by obsessing about each calorie consumed, women are adding further stress to a very demanding 21st-century lifestyle.
The answer is a balanced approach to exercise, nutrition, and natural weight gain. A healthy approach nurtures the deep maternal instincts of most women to produce the next healthy generation. While it sounds simple, watching yourself expand and bloat each day has a way of tossing the "balance" concept out of your life.
But there's good reason to keep your wits about you. A study at Tufts University showed a link between excessive weight gain, the pressure to lose it quickly after the birth, and postpartum depression. But it also showed that a healthy balance of diet and exercise while pregnant was easily attainable and that the combination both increased self-esteem and made it easier to get back into shape after the birth. Conversely, the study also showed that these issues are being swept aside with a growing obsession over weight gained during pregnancy.
The truth is that there is only so much control we can have over our bodies while pregnant. Hormones in the system require the body to store extra fat in the hip and thigh area. This is a biological phenomenon and has little to do with the amount of leg lifts you do. The best we can do is to exercise wisely, make healthy food choices, and allow our bodies to grow at their own rate. This is not the time to try and look like Madonna but to stay focused on the big picture. Women who remain fit during pregnancy have an easier time losing the weight after the baby is born, no matter how much weight they gain.
Women can remain healthy, fit, and toned by maintaining a regular and effective routine of exercise. This prepregnancy, pregnancy, and postpregnancy exercise regimen should consist of 20 to 30 minutes, six days a week. The basis of your exercise program should have a balance of some cardiovascular exercise to maintain your fitness and burn off calories. There should be light weights with lots of repetition. This keeps the muscles toned and your metabolic rate higher. The higher the muscle-to-fat ratio is in your body the more energy will be consumed in daily life. Muscle burns more energy than fat. If you keep your muscles toned, you will look better, feel better, and use more calories. Abdominal exercises, long abandoned by most pregnant women, are not only possible whilst pregnant. They are very useful in achieving the best postpregnancy body you could wish for. This will also help with diastis rectithe splitting of the abdominal muscles to accommodate the growing baby.
Your routine should finish with a stretching program that will keep muscles long and lean and assist in keeping you relaxed as well as prevent cramps or injury. As with all the exercises that you do during pregnancy, stretching can also be rather problematic. Later in the second and third trimester, your body produces a hormone called relaxin to assist the ligaments to separate and expand to prepare the body for giving birth. This facilitates the joints to soften and can be dangerous when your stretching is too dynamic. Slow and controlled is the ideal in this scenario.
Medical evidence suggests that there is little correlation between excessive weight gain and bigger babies. The fetus gains the most weight during the last trimester while the organs and vital development occur in the first two. So, the question is "When is it safe to diet whilst pregnant?"
Dieting and therefore a restriction of calories during pregnancy and while breastfeeding is a common concern. Dieting is not a threat to the baby as such, but it all depends on where the calories are coming from. A diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, proteins, and healthy fats will ensure the healthy development of the fetus. However, on the contrary, taking in fewer calories from nutritionally empty foods might not only inhibit the fetal development, but also leave the mother feeling tired, sluggish, and hungry.
An intake of a balanced variety of foods will keep mom fit, maintain a healthy weight gain, and keep the baby's development on track. Ultimately, the women of today want it allhealthy, happy children and to look great all the way through this process. A balance of healthy food and the right exercise can, without putting both mother and baby at risk, give the desired results, and allow the new mother to embrace this new role with a positive attitude.
New Video Success Story: Cheri H.
Congratulations to our January Video Success Story!
"To be successful at anything with lasting results, you must make it a top priority and love yourself enough to keep it a top priority. Make an attempt every day to keep your promise to yourself to mold yourself into the best you can be. A wise person once said to me, 'If I am all that I have to offer to help make the world a better place, how can doing something to make myself a better person be wrong?'"
Tip of the Week: Exercise Your Brain
By Steve Edwards
Exercise, especially aerobic exercise, helps maintain or enhance cognitive power. Your brain cells thrive on oxygen and are fueled by carbohydrates, just like your muscles. So if you're feeling particularly bogged down and uncreative, get out and do something active. It's better than coffee!
Recipe of the Week: Awesome Coleslaw!
Tired of the same old side salad? Teri W. comes to us this week with a super-simple coleslaw recipe that'll make getting your greens fun again.
Thanks, Teri. Sometimes the simplest things yield the biggest rewardslike a free Beachbody T-shirt! Enjoy!
1 small head cabbage
1 green or yellow pepper
1 small tomato
½ small red onion
Rice wine vinegar
Sea salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
Chop up all of the veggies as coarse or as fine as desired. Toss them all in a large bowl with vinegar. Sprinkle sea salt and pepper to taste. Add more vinegar, sea salt, or pepper as needed.
If you have a recipe you think is Beachbody material, send it to email@example.com. If we choose to use it, we'll send you a free T-shirt.
Introducing NutriSystem's Nourish Program
One Week FREE!
I can't believe how easily the weight has come off. The food tastes great, and I'm very rarely hungry. I love the convenience and the variety.
For over 30 years, NutriSystem has been helping people shed pounds and inches by giving them the right foods to eat, in the right portions, so they don't have to specially prepare meals or count calories and points. Now, for the first time ever, NutriSystem has teamed up with Beachbody to provide Beachbody members with a customized diet program. Follow it along with your workouts and you'll lose weight faster and easier and keep it off for good.
Just click below now to try NutriSystem today and get one week FREE!
New Year, New You WOWY Style Is Here!
During the month of January, WOWY.com is giving away a $100 Gift Certificate a dayevery dayto one lucky WOWY participant. Only those WOWY members who have submitted a photo of themselves will be eligible to win, so be sure to upload your photo now. Check out WOWY.com today for the official announcement, rules, and regulations.