Often times people give up on weight loss programs because there is a sense of little or no control of results. Even with the odds against us, there are a select few who manage to take complete control of their weight and health. Instead of understanding how and why they achieved success, they are usually envied and the internal story of why it won't work for you starts spinning constantly inside your mind. Although it may seem counterintuitive, pregnancy is a fantabulous opportunity to take full control of your and your child's health.
Charles Duhigg states in his book titled Smarter, Faster, Better, "Figure out how this task is connected to something you care about. Explain to yourself why this chore will help you get closer to a meaningful goal. Explain why this matters and then you'll find it easier to start."
If you connect the importance of working out to the health of your unborn child, this can help in making decisions around your health and fitness in a deliberate way easier. Envision a stronger, healthier, leaner child with a parent (you) who is strong, is a healthy weight, feels good in their clothes, and is happier. Then envision the opposite, declining strength, weight gain, muscle and bone degeneration, increased risk for heart disease, etc.
Duhigg explains that seeing the bigger goal can help us to take action now. In our instant gratification culture, this practice can be challenging, but perhaps not as difficult when considering the health of your unborn child. The placenta, which is a temporary organ, transfers oxygen and nutrients from mom to baby. The demands of regular exercise cause the placenta to grow larger, making it better at delivering oxygen and nutrients to the baby. Exercise makes your baby stronger and leaner.
No better time to start exposing your child to physical activity. Natalie Digate Muth, MD, reported, "Few behaviors more significantly influence child health than physical activity," in an article titled, To Grow Healthier, Happier Adults, Raise Fit Kids. Waiting till your child has a weight or health issue to begin an active lifestyle is a huge disservice and is less likely to become a regular part of your child's life.
Exercising while pregnant is highly beneficial and encouraged by ACOG. Exercise has multiple benefits for mom and baby. There are certain guidelines to follow so working with a professional who is certified in pre/post-natal fitness instruction is important. If given the go ahead by your doctor, you can begin an exercise program, even if you are starting when pregnant.
If you are a woman who has struggled with losing weight and/or committing to an exercise program, pregnancy is a prime opportunity to consider how you will address weight and health issues with your child. Set your new baby up with good health right away with the added bonus of improving your health and fitness too!
When most of us sign up for a new diet or exercise routine that promises losing 10 or more pounds, we get excited and think, "YES! This is going to work for me this time. I am determined and tired of being fat." The problem is, when you hear a friend, a coworker, or even yourself say, "I'm on a diet", it is mentioned and thought of as if it were a temporary thing.
If you reach or get close to reaching your goal weight then the carrot is yours. This is the most dangerous time because we have thought of the diet as temporary, a way to reach our goal, and as something that isn't pleasant and has an end date.
BAM! Chances are, you gain all the weight back and then some, only to feel like a failure and try again with some other diet or routine. Why do we keep doing this to ourselves?
We were brought up on a rewards and punishment system and have tried to apply the same motivational system to induce weight loss. Rising obesity rates annually should show us that this way isn't working!
Intrinsic motivation is the best guarantee for success in any endeavor, not just weight loss. Quick fixes are probably something you will regret later on. For instance, a girlfriend of mine, her mother took a popular weight loss pill many years ago and it caused a valve in her heart to deteriorate; she now has the valve of a cow and was told that eventually it will need to be replaced. Nothing short of scary!
This is a great example of why you shouldn't just take or do something just because it is for sale. The FDA doesn't monitor most supplements, which means manufactures can add whatever they want, which can cause harm and death in extreme cases.
The moral here is to get tons of information; information about yourself, your body, your mind. Learn why you are unconsciously holding onto the weight, because we all choose what activities we participate in and what we eat. Learn what triggers you to eat unhealthy food; are you using food as a coping strategy? Have a coach guide you in seeing what is really the problem, because the "magic" diet is 1000% NOT the answer and never will be.
Julia Broome is passionate about health, nutrition and exercise. She is most excited about educating women on the short and long term impact of exercise and proper nutrition on pregnant women and their baby.