Health and fitness have always been a larger part of my everyday life and routines. Even growing up, I was obsessed with eating berries, veggies and fruits and most times, I’d choose a bowl of berries for dessert over a bowl of ice cream. They’re good habits to have especially at a young age, but it wasn’t until Zack left for Japan in August 2015 that I really started to take my health to the next level and get serious about it. Those of you who have been around a while know that my top goal while he was overseas was to get my mental and physical health under control and I did just that!
Lately I’ve been getting a lot of questions (mainly from strangers) about my diet and exercise routines. Especially with being pregnant. As of this past Wednesday, I’m 26 weeks along and have only gained about 10 pounds so far. From the outside, it doesn’t even look like I’m pregnant some days and I’m even still in my normal jeans! So today I’m giving you an inside look at my daily eating and exercise routines so you can see what my “secret” is to staying fit and healthy.
First and foremost, I do not believe in dieting or counting calories or anything like that. If you’ve been following along for a bit now, then you already know this about me and how I feel about it. I’ve just never been the type to create all these crazy restrictions for myself and hop on board the latest diet trends floating around the internet. I just don’t do that. If I want a slice of pizza, I’m going to eat that slice of pizza. Same with a bowl of ice cream or a large pasta dish or whatever else I’m wanting in that moment.
Related: Please Just Eat The Cupcake
While I don’t diet, I do, however, make a ton of healthy choices when it comes to the foods I eat. Now I know what some of you are probably thinking: isn’t this the same as a diet? No, it’s not. Here’s the difference:
A diet is typically temporary and includes a giant list of foods that you “cant” eat. This can include carbs, sugars, processed foods, etc. Some diets require you to count your calories and keep tabs on every little thing you’re putting into your body. There are tons of diets out there. But to me, diets just aren’t meant to last and a lot of the time, they don’t. They’re “quick fixes” that a lot of people do before big events like weddings or preparing for bikini season or a vacation. Again, temporary. Once the event is over, most people will go right back to their usual habits.
Making healthy choices, however, is a lifestyle. I do not tell myself I can’t eat certain foods. There aren’t any foods or ingredients that are completely canceled out of my diet or anything along those lines. My food choices don’t change based on the time of year, I don’t have “cheat days” or count my calories. None of that. It takes practice and a little more discipline for some people, but I choose to eat healthy 365 days a year. I don’t have to go through any form of detox after the holidays or after a vacation or anything like that, because I’m consistent in what I’m putting into my body.
Having these habits have helped me a TON this pregnancy. As I’ve mentioned before, pregnancy is not the time to eat whatever you want just because you’re craving it. While I would love a peanut butter fudge shake every night, I don’t eat one every single night. That’s crazy. No one need a milkshake every night of the week. So going into pregnancy, I had it a little bit “easier” by having these types of habits already locked into my daily routine. So if you’re trying to conceive or plan to in the near future, get your health under control while you can! I promise it makes your pregnancy so much “easier”. AND it helps with the weight gain!
Related: My Top Tips For A Healthy Pregnancy
Now onto the foods that we buy and eat…
IN OUR KITCHEN.
Currently our fridge is a bit of a mess at the moment. It’s so horrible and frustrating. If any of you have tips on how to organize a fridge, I’d love to hear them!
Now I’m not on any sort of diet, but Zack is currently eating less carbs as he’s trying to lose a little weight and tone up his body again (he’s doing amazing with his new routine!). Right now we are very much obsessed with smoothies so our entire fridge is literally fruits and vegetables right now. And water. LOTS of water. We also just recently made the switch to almond milk since apparently my body can’t handle normal milk while pregnant.
Our snack cabinet is actually pretty empty right now. It mainly consists of bread, some cereals, popcorn, and a few other miscellaneous things. A lot of our snacks are from the fridge (more on this later). Our actual cabinets include a ton of pasta that Zack currently wont eat along with rice and potatoes and other carb-filled foods. I didn’t realize how much I love and eat carbs until he decided he wasn’t eating them anymore. There’s just no way I could give up my carbs!
Breakfast has been super basic around here. We’re big on fruit smoothies and/or eggs most mornings. I’ll sometimes make pancakes as well, but breakfast and lunch are off limits carbs-wise for Zack right now so I haven’t been making them while he’s home. When I do make them, I’ll sometimes add some protein powder to them. Some mornings I’ll have yogurt (I’m currently obsessed with Chobani!) or a bowl of fruit (I could eat berries and fruit all day, every day and be SO happy). This morning I made a delicious fruit and protein smoothie which consisted of strawberries, bananas, walnuts, a hint of spinach, protein powder and almond milk. This is currently my new go-to breakfast on the mornings where I don’t have time to eat at home.
I’m not sure what Zack eats for lunch, but it varies for me. Again, I normally keep it lighter. A lot of my meals are pretty light, actually. I just feel better and have so much more energy than I do when I’m eating something heavy. Plus, it’s easier to eat at my desk when it’s a work day too or from the car if I’m on the go.
So for lunches, I love sandwiches. A good chicken salad sandwich is my all-time favorite. That’s what I had yesterday. Currently as I’m typing this, I’m having a super yummy salad. We made big salads for dinner last night and had some leftover so I made another one for lunch. It includes spinach, egg, chicken, cucumbers, green peppers, some cheese, and thousand island dressing. Love it! I’m also a HUGE fan of sushi. I have sushi about once a week. Some people wont eat this while pregnant, but it’s totally up to you and what you feel comfortable with!
Dinners vary, but most times it includes some sort of meat like chicken, pork, salmon, or steak with a steamed vegetable like carrots, squash, zucchini, etc. We end up prepping our food separately because of our differing diets right now, but I love putting marinades, breading, and other toppings on my meat. Salmon is my absolute favorite. I could eat it every night. I cook it with a little butter, parsley, and fresh lemon. It’s delicious!
Zack also just came up with a “healthier” version of taco salad so we’ve had that a couple times in the last couple weeks. I think he cooks it with green peppers and zucchini and things like that. It’s super yummy. I mixed mine with rice the other night and loved it.
I literally have to be eating something at all hours of the day. It’s insane. Hence another reason why our fridge is so healthy. I can snack without worrying about how much I’m eating. Most times, it’s berries. I just ate a whole 24oz carton of blueberries last week which is crazy to me, but hey. It could be worse. I could have eaten an entire bag of potato chips. So I’ll take it! I also really love carrots and ranch dressing as well. Really any veggie with ranch. I typically have mixed nuts in the house too and sometimes I’ll even just have some yogurt with fruit in it.
Zack really loves popcorn so we have a few healthier popcorn options in our cabinet. I’m currently obsessed with Skinny Girl popcorn (single serving bags) and I can’t remember what brand it is that Zack’s been eating. His grandmother sent it to us around the holidays and it’s really delicious. He also keeps string cheese in the house and eats it like nobody’s business. Same with eggs. We always have hard boiled eggs in the fridge. And the last big thing we like snacking on are triscuits and hummus!
So. Much. Water. And I love to put lemon in it too. This is honestly pretty much all I drink aside from a cup of coffee some mornings or smoothies and things like that. Sometimes we’ll have juice in the house too. Zack loves Powerade and Gatorade as well since they’re full of electrolytes. We’re pretty basic here.
Related: 5 Benefits of Drinking Water
MY GUILTY PLEASURES.
Now let’s get real for a second. While I do tend to eat healthy a good majority of the time, I’m still human. I have my guilty pleasures just like anyone else. Soda used to be a big one. I LOVE a cold Pepsi so much. Even talking about it right now is making my mouth water. I gave up soda in March 2016 and while it was super hard to nail down the new habit, I don’t regret it one bit. I’m now at a point where I can have one every once in a while without feeling guilty because I know it’s not something I consume on a regular basis.
Another guilty pleasure of mine are sweets. Brownies, Snickers bars, milkshakes. They’re all amazing and unfortunately, the little one has been wanting a ton of them these past 7 months (just my luck, right?!). So I’ve had a tad bit more sweets recently, but nothing my body can’t handle. Again, moderation! It’s so important to know when to reel it back in to prevent yourself from getting out of control. Once you’re completely off track, it can be super hard to get yourself back on track. So self-control and self-awareness are key here!
MY FITNESS ROUTINE.
I work out before dinner. Usually around 4 o’clock or so. Currently, I’m not doing quite as much cardio and have eliminated my ab workouts as well since I’m pregnant. But everything else is very much the same. I’m at the gym 3-5 days a week right now (usually it’s 5 while not pregnant!) and then I take a prenatal yoga class Friday mornings. So it’s a good balance. I very much want to try pilates after the baby is born so that’s on my list of things to look for right now. And I’d also really like to get back into Zumba this summer as well. It’s good to mix it up rather than going for the same exact work out every single time.
For cardio, I typically run 1-3 miles depending on the day. The amount of cardio you need is based on what your individual fitness goals are. For me, my big thing is building muscle so I can afford to not run quite as much. I’ll be honest, I cannot stand running. Running is the worst. So I haven’t been doing as much cardio while pregnant. Rather than running, I’ll do a mile uphill at a 5%+ incline that way I’m getting in some cardio while also working out those calves. It’s a two for one! Another good two for one is biking. This gives you cardio and a good thigh and butt workout. The stairs are also a good one for cardio and butt. So I’ll mix it up each day.
Working out the rest of my body really vary each time I’m at the gym and it took some time to choose the right equipment that worked for me. So if you belong to a gym, then don’t be afraid to talk to the trainers and ask for help in choosing what works for you! They’re there to help and I’m constantly asking them for advice and tips when I’m feeling stuck in my routines. They’re awesome!
So like I mentioned before, I’m currently at the gym 3-5 days a week. I like to workout 2-3 days in a row and then take a rest day before going back. So this week, I worked out Sunday and Monday and then took Tuesday off for Valentines Day. I then worked out Wednesday and Thursday and had yoga this morning so I’ll be taking tomorrow off. This gives me consistency while still allowing me enough rest days to prevent myself from being completely exhausted and overworked. Again, listen to your body!! I cannot stress this enough. Everyone’s routines are going to be different and that’s perfectly okay!
Now as for the weight and reps and things like that, again, this will vary from person to person (sorry if this sounds repetitive and annoying, but it’s true). You have to play around a bit to determine a good starting weight for yourself. I think my weight for my arms were maybe 20lbs when I first started. So don’t feel embarrassed by your starting point. I’ve come a LONG way since then and am still continuing to build muscle while pregnant. So I’m proud.
When I increase my weight, I start with doing 3 sets of 10 with about a 30 second break in between. If this is too easy for you or you don’t feel sore or challenged then you’re either 1. doing something wrong or 2. the weight is too light. From here, I either increase to 3 sets of 15 OR I’ll increase the weight by 10 pounds. It’s super important to listen to your body with this too! Push yourself to build muscle, but know your limits as well, especially if you’re pregnant.
What’s your diet and exercise routine like?