As a mum-to-be, you might be wondering how to not gain too much extra weight during your pregnancy? Of course, it’s perfectly natural to gain weight when you’re pregnant. In fact, gaining weight is necessary for you and your baby’s health. But how you can keep it to a healthy minimum so that you can bounce back quicker to your old shape after the baby is born?
I’m 33 weeks pregnant. And if you’re anything like me, exercising is the least on your mind right now.
Because of the baby bump, I find any type of jumping or running extremely uncomfortable. Even driving over a speed bump in the car feels uncomfortable 😉 Anyone?
But that was a different story before I fell pregnant. Because previously I was running 30K+ a week on average. As soon as I found out that I was pregnant I stopped running. So I started to look for alternative ways to stay in shape — without going to the gym or changing my diet too much.
Here are my 6 tips to help you not gain too much weight during pregnancy. So that you can stay in shape and feel confident in your body without going to the gym or exercising excessively.
Disclaimer: Please make sure to consolidate with your doctor before you do any exercise.
1. Set a reminder on your phone
Maintaining your weight during pregnancy is all about the new, daily habits you create for yourself. Even small changes can make a massive difference if you do them regularly. And to help you stick to those small changes on a daily basis, you have to turn them into habits first. Set a daily reminder, whether that’s on your phone or on post-it notes, to remind you of your new habit. Over time, you’ll start to remember it on autopilot but before you get to this point, it’s absolutely crucial that you have a reminder set somewhere.
This is the first step for any changes to take effect.
For me, it works best to set a daily reminder on my phone. For the first trimester, I set an alarm to go with it. By the second trimester, I no longer needed the alarm to remind me of my daily habits because it had become a habit. So for my third trimester, I removed the alarm altogether.
It’s easy to pair your reminder with another task you already perform daily, like having a shower or brushing your teeth.
If you’re curious to find out what I set my reminder for, then keep on reading.
2. Set a specific goal to prevent gaining weight during pregnancy
In order not to gain excess extra weight during your pregnancy you need to set a specific goal of what you’re committed to doing. And I can’t stress enough how powerful your goal becomes when you make it really specific.
For example, the specific goal I set my reminder for is to do “10 Squats daily”. The time I choose to do it is when I am in the shower getting ready in the morning (remember, you want to pair your new habit with a task you already do).
Ever since I made my goal specific, I managed to stick to it.
- What happens when your goal isn’t specific
Before I decided on “10 Squats daily” I had my daily reminder in my phone set to “workout”.
And guess how many times I worked out? ZERO. Exactly.
Because my goal was not specific enough. The reason why “workout” wasn’t specific enough was that it required me to start thinking about what I wanted to do when my alarm went off. That strategy simply didn’t work.
Deciding on squats gave me a clear exercise to do hence I am sticking with it to this day.
- Set small achievable goals
Choose whatever goal or exercise you feel is right for you. I choose squats because I’d like my bum to stay in shape, hehe. But it doesn’t have to squats for you.
Think about what your specific goal can be? And why do you want to achieve it? What are you trying to prevent? Or to gain?
- Small changes are the way to go to prevent gaining weight during pregnancy
Depending on what specific goal you’ve set for yourself, stay humble and start small.
10 squats may not sound like a lot, but believe me, they’ll add up. By the end of the week, you’ll have done 70 and by the end of the month, you would have done a whopping 240. Now, to me, that’s better than no workout at all.
- Increase the number of repetitions if you can
I’m now 33 weeks pregnant, which is well into my third trimester. And I do 20 very slow squats while rinsing my teeth with mouthwash (it takes 60 seconds, just as much time as they recommend to rinse mouthwash). The squats, although it’s not a crazy large number, really get my heart rate going. Try to engage your pelvic floor muscles as much as possible by gently squeezing them with every downwards and upwards movement.
Don’t make any rushed moves. Instead, take your time and execute each of your squats mindfully. You want to feel your muscles engage. Work with your breath or your baby’s movements. Remind yourself that this type of exercise is going to help you strengthen your muscles to help your body deliver your baby.
3. Oats for breakfast
Ladies, let’s be honest. When you’re pregnant you get constipated and you’re not as regular as you used to be. This can quickly add up to you feeling unwell and gaining some extra weight. Therefore, it’s important that you eat the right food to support your body with the right calories and nutrients to function as well as it can. My secret weapon to help combat constipation and to prevent gaining weight during pregnancy is to start my day with oats for breakfast.
You can get my favorite mixed berry breakfast oats recipe here.
Oats are full of fiber that will help you keep your bowels moving. And being regular will help flush out toxins instead of storing them in your body. This will contribute to helping you not gain weight during your pregnancy.
- No time to prepare oats in the morning?
No problem. Sometimes my days start busy too. And on those days I prepare my oats the night before and let them soak up the flavors overnight. They’ll taste extremely yummy the next day. Check out my overnight apple pie oats recipe.
Oats will also help you lose weight after your baby is born. So find a few oats recipes and stick to them.
4. Add protein to your diet
If you’ve been reading my blog you know I’m a huge fan of protein. And here’s why.
Protein is an essential building block.
Almost every cell in the body is made from the building blocks of protein, such as your hair, skin, bones and muscles.
Protein consists of 20 amino acids, which are essential in the production of collagen. The collagen keeps your skin firm and youthful during pregnancy.
But more importantly, protein helps replace excess body fat with muscles. Consuming just one protein shake a day can help you look more toned in places as if you’ve been going to the gym. So make sure to include enough quality protein sources in your diet with protein shakes daily. Always check the sugar content and stick to natural products that don’t contain anything artificial.
- Don’t like protein shakes?
And if protein shakes are not your thing then check out my low sugar raspberry jam protein ball recipe. They’ll last up to two weeks in the fridge and are easy snacks to take with you when you’re out and about.
- If you are interested in knowing what exactly you need to eat during pregnancy, check out my post “What To Eat During Pregnancy”.
5. Walk 10,000 steps a day to avoid gaining extra weight during pregnancy
The best way to learn how to not gain weight during pregnancy is to get as many steps in as possible daily.
I try and make an effort to walk 10.000+ steps every day. It might sound a lot but it only takes 20 minutes.
The benefits for you, your little one, and your waistline are incredible. Walking is the softest form of exercise on your body during pregnancy. The benefits are that you don’t need any equipment and you can do it anywhere you like.
Most days, however, I only manage between 6.000 -7.000 steps a day because of the heat. It’s currently summer here in Australia and temperatures are too high to walk around outside for longer, before I feel dizzy with a baby bump 7 months pregnant.
So even if you don’t manage 10,0000 steps, try to get as many steps in as you can. Because any movement is better than none and your body and mind will thank you for it.
- How to track your steps?
I use the free Health app on my iPhone to keep track of my daily steps.
- Tracking your progress is rewarding
I don’t know about you but I find it extremely satisfying to monitor how many steps I’ve made. Mind you, that doesn’t include the steps I do around the house because I don’t always carry my phone on me.
If you want to track every single step you make you have to have your phone on you I suggest you invest in a fitness watch instead.
Tip: Find the best time of the day for you and don’t forget to put sunscreen on when you leave the house.
6. Daily Weigh-ins
Another way to maintain a healthy baby weight is to weigh yourself daily.
I have to admit, I like to weigh myself and I always do it around the same time, which is after I had a shower in the morning. Right before I get dressed (Again, find something you already do and pair your new habit with it).
Try to find a time during the day that’s right for you and make that the time for your daily weigh-ins.
- Why daily weigh-ins are helpful
I weigh myself because I know that I never just gain weight overnight. Weight gain is the result of how much I ate and how much I moved over the last couple of days. It helps me to trace my habits and to understand better which food made me gain weight.
To sum up how not to gain weight during pregnancy
- Find an activity you like
- Set a daily reminder on your phone to do it
- Don’t just set a vague goal like “exercising” but pick something specific that you can stick to
- Add more oats to your diet to maintain healthy bowel movements and prevent you from being constipated
- Increase your protein intake wherever you can, because it helps your body to replace fat with muscles
- Weigh yourself daily around the same time to understand which weight gain is healthy weight gain related to your growing baby, and which one is linked to bad eating choices you made the day before
And always keep a positive mind and give love and gratitude to yourself. Know that you’re in control and have the power to turn things around.
Which tip is your favorite? Tell me in the comments below. Would love to hear from you.
About the Author
Kristin Brause is a blogger and mum-to-be over at happyskinny.me
She’s sharing her weight loss tips and tricks to maintain her weight without going to the gym or on diets. She also helps other bloggers and mompreneurs start and grow their blogs. Before becoming interested in affiliate marketing and monetizing her blog, Kris worked in some of London’s top advertising agencies for global brands. As a coach, she’s also helped hundreds of women get their online businesses off the ground.
Connect with her on Pinterest.