Dec
08
20

My Pregnancy Journey : Pt. 1

Photography | Kylee Yee

Hair & Makeup | Victoria Elizabeth Official

My pregnancy journey has certainly been life changing. In the very beginning I had no idea how to adjust. I had went from running 40 miles per week + 3-4 days of weight or cross training, to barely running 10 miles per week and feeling lucky if I’d gotten just one simple workout in.

I also had no idea what to eat, and anyone who knows me, knows that I am all about eating extremely healthy and always strive to take the best care of myself. However, once I’d became pregnant, of course I was suddenly hating the foods I used to love and most things made me nauseous. I craved carbs more than anything and that was certainly already prominent in my diet being a marathoner.

At my 16 week check up my doctor was already growing concerned with my weight gain. She was very nice about it and really watched how she told me this news. At first I was really upset and thought that it was absolutely crazy that someone like me, so fit and in shape, was being told that I needed to slow down on weight gain. Never in my 35 years of life has anyone ever told me that I needed to “slow down on weight gain.” In fact, I was constantly picked on through my teenage years and early 20s for being “too skinny.” Add in those pregnancy hormones running wild and I just had such a meltdown, crying to John, trying to figure out what I was doing wrong.

I am a huge perfectionist and put a ton of pressure on myself to do anything and everything at the highest level and while failure teaches us to overcome and be even stronger this was such uncharted territory for me that I’d really felt completely lost.

During my first trimester I had gained just over 20 pounds, whereas most of my pregnant friends hadn’t even hit 10 pounds yet. I looked at my diet and thought “well, I do eat a ton of pasta and bread every week (sometimes everyday!) AND I’m no longer running [as much/often]” … BUT, instead of trying to balance, I just drastically cut back on all carbs assuming that would help.

It was a real challenge to pull back on my carb intake, I mean who doesn’t love bread and pasta?! I thought I had done a pretty OK job by the time my glucose tests were coming up because my weight was becoming more controlled. So, when I’d failed the 1-hour test I was pretty upset, but when I’d failed the 3-hour test I had a whole other meltdown. When I’d received my results back and saw how high my levels were compared to what “normal” was I just cried … cried and cried for practically an entire day. Here I am thinking : How did I go from this fit marathon runner to this unhealthy pregnant woman?

Thankfully, my support system talked me off of the ledge and made me realize that it was actually way more common than I’d thought. So I took a deep breath and tackled it like I do with pretty much any challenge set in front of me. I researched what a gestational diabetes diet needed to be and made changes immediately. Truthfully speaking it wasn’t too far off from my regular everyday diet, it was just much better balanced.

Being a business owner, and especially a wedding planner, where I am constantly worried about others, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve skipped a meal or just grabbed a quick snack, then tried fitting in a workout all while taking phone calls, answering emails, running to meetings, and making sure Michelle Elaine Weddings was/is always at peak performance.

In a strange way becoming pregnant and getting diagnosed with gestational diabetes forced me to balance out not only my diet but my life as well. I’d realized that I can run my business, take very good care of my couples all while still taking good care of myself. I didn’t need to trade one for the other and I think for many years I had lived that way.

In all of this, those close to me, who truly out of genuine love, constantly reminded me to not deprive myself and to still have treats, which I did! I had apple pie, brooklyn blackout cake (that was a good day!), Krispy Kreme donuts, chocolate cupcakes, waffles with syrup (yum!) … I still indulged just without over doing it. I also became more conscious about having my special treats during the daytime where I could still get a long walk in to rebalance my sugar levels.

Cravings have been interesting and sweets have become my kryptonite! However, I didn’t want to put any risk on not only my own health but of course now my baby’s health. I’ve come up with alternatives as my exercise has decreased [during these final weeks], so that I still feel satisfied without going overboard. I LOVE chocolate, but luckily for me I only love dark chocolate which has the least sugar and carbs … so instead of grabbing a snickers (well sometimes I do :)) I grab a plain dark chocolate bar, have a few pieces and I feel totally fulfilled with my sweet craving.

It has almost been like backwards marathon training. In marathon training all I do is carb load, run and cross train a ton. Now I was needing to balance my diet more, cut back a bit on carbs and get the strength exercises that my body needed throughout pregnancy and to prepare for labor. I was walking 3 miles a day + exercising 60 min. a day. I had tons of energy for weeks as soon as my diet changed. My weight gain also significantly slowed down while our baby was still gaining just fine and was only growing healthier and healthier at each visit!

Between the 2nd and 3rd trimesters I have only gained roughly 14 pounds which is a long way from the original 20 I’d gained in just the first trimester!

I’ve learned SO much about nutrition and what your daily intake should really look like. Of course once I am back to marathon training I will be carb loading again but from now on I will ensure that I am eating a much more balanced diet and highly ensure that I am taking care of myself so that I can take care of everything else in my life; our new baby, our little growing family and my business can still run successfully. I think that in my head I always felt as if I had to go, go, go and it was OK if I came last. It’s strange that something like pregnancy, where everyone constantly tells you “now you come last!” has opened up my eyes to the fact that I need to actually put myself first way more often so that I can care for everyone else.

At first I was so embarrassed about all of this, I heard the word diabetes and immediately thought = unhealthy, something is wrong with me, how did this happen. I now feel more empowered because I took it on and crushed it. I made the necessary diet changes, and for once put myself first for the sake of my baby, and my life going forward.

It felt important for me share my experience because I am sure there is at least one person out there just like me and hopefully this can be helpful, especially during these current times of isolation.

I also wanted to share some meals & snacks that I ate fairly regularly, that helped keep control of my glucose levels without needing medication or insulin for my entire pregnancy.

*Tip : I started to eat/snack every 2-3 hours which helped sustain my energy throughout the day versus eating just 3 full/heavy meals per day. I also walked and/or exercised everyday up until really these final weeks (I am currently 38 weeks.)

**Yes, things can begin to get mundane but once you’ve got a few weeks down you start to know what other recipes & ingredients can work … it’s really all about balancing what you eat for each meal or snack. Instead of straight carbs or sugar, like plain fruit or bread, you have to consider a protein or vegetable to keep everything on an even ground.

***I am NOT an expert or registered dietician nutritionist, this is ALL simply based on my own personal experience and hopefully can be helpful to others đŸ™‚

BREAKFAST OPTIONS

Peanut Butter & Berry Toast

– 1 multi grain english muffin
– 1 tbsp peanut butter
– 1/4 cp strawberries or 1/4 cp raspberries
– sprinkle of cinnamon

Avocado Toast

– 2 slices of multi grain toast
– 1/2 avocado and 1 cp cooked kale
– 1 hard boiled egg
– himalayan salt & pepper to season

Scrambled Eggs with Veggies

– 2 scrambled eggs with sharp cheddar cheese
– 1 slice of flax grain ezekiel bread
– 1/2 cp chopped veggies : peppers, tomatoes, kale, spinach
– black pepper & oregano to season

Yogurt, Peanut Butter & Berries

– plain yogurt
– 2 tbsp peanut butter
– 1/2 cp raspberries

SNACKS (*Usually 2 hours post-breakfast OR can use for a snack during any part of the day)

Yogurt, Berries & Nuts/Granola

– 1 plain yogurt
– 1/2 cp mixed berries
– 2 tbsp peanut butter
– 1/3 cp chickpea granola OR 2 tbsp walnuts
– sprinkle of cinnamon

Egg & Cheese

– 1 hard boiled egg with himalayan salt & pepper to season
– 6 cubes of sharp cheddar cheese

Smoothie

– 1 cp flaxseed milk
– 1 plain yogurt
– 3/4 cp mixed berries
– 2 tbsp peanut butter
– 1/2 cp spinach or kale

Granola & Berries

– 3/4 cp flaxseed milk
– 1/2 cp mixed berries
– 1/2 cp whole grain & flaxseed granola
– sprinkle of cinnamon

LUNCH OPTIONS (*This is the best time to have more carbs)

Salad with Chicken (*can have with crackers or multi-grain toast)

– cooked kale (seasoned : himalayan sea salt & pepper)
– 1 tbsp olive oil
– 8 cut cherry tomatoes
– 1 cp chicken
– 1/2 cp farro
– 2 tbsp feta cheese
– 1/2 avocado

Salad without meat (*can have with crackers or multi-grain toast)

– 1 cp arugula
– 1/2 avocado
– 1/2 cup farro
– 1 tbsp feta
– 1/2 tsp olive oil
– 2 tbsp walnuts
– sprinkle of himalayan sea salt & pepper to season

Sandwich & Crackers with Hummus

– 2 slices multi grain bread
– 1 chicken breast seasoned with himalayan sea salt & pepper
– 1/2 avocado
– 1/2 cup cooked kale : 1 tsp olive oil, salt & pepper
– 2 tbsp lentil hummus with whole grain crackers

Pasta & Turkey Meatballs

– 1 cp veggie pasta
– 5 organic turkey meatballs
– 1/4 cp organic tomato sauce

Egg & Cheese Bagel

– 1 whole grain bagel
– 3 scrambled eggs with cheese

SNACKS (*Usually 2 hours post-lunch OR can use for a snack during any part of the day)

Apple & Peanut Butter

– 1 granny smith apple sliced (*can sprinkle with cinnamon)
– 3 tbsp peanut butter

Hummus & Veggies

– 3 tbsp hummus
– carrot sticks
– celery sticks
– sliced peppers
– cubes of sharp cheddar cheese

Celery & Peanut Butter

– celery sticks
– 2 tbsp peanut butter

DINNER OPTIONS (*Lowest carb intake should be during dinner and in the evening)

Salad with Halibut

– 1 cp arugula
– 10 sliced cherry tomatoes
– 1/2 avocado
– 1 tbsp olive oil
– 1/4 lb. of halibut (seasoned : garlic powder, paprika, himalayan sea salt, black pepper)
– 1/2 cup farro
– 1 squeezed lemon for flavor

Salad with Chicken

– 1 cp leafy greens : spinach, chard, arugula
– 1 tbsp olive oil
– 10 sliced cherry tomatoes
– 1 chicken breast
– seasoned : himalayan sea salt, pepper, oregano & garlic powder
– 4 cubes sharp cheddar cheese + walnuts or sunflower seeds

Cod with Farro

– 3/4 cup farro + 1 cp leafy greens : spinach, chard, arugula
– 1/4 lb Cod (cooked with unbleached flour, egg, garlic powder, himalayan sea salt & pepper)
1/2 Lemon

Warm Salad with Chicken

– 1 cp cooked kale
– 1 chicken breast
– 1/2 cucumber
– 1.5 tbsp lentil hummus
– himalayan sea salt, pepper & olive oil

Vegetable Pasta with Turkey Meatballs

– 1 cp zucchini pasta
– 5 organic turkey meatballs
– 1/4 cp organic tomato sauce

Chicken Salad, Crackers & Greens

– 1 cp chicken salad : chicken, celery, almond slices, mayo, himalayan salt and black pepper and dill
– 12 flaxseed crackers
– 1/4 cp quinoa
– 1 cp leafy greens

Tacos with Chicken, Beef or Fish

– 1 chicken breast or 1 cp of beef or 1/4 lb. of flounder
– lettuce, tomatoes and avocado
– 1/4 cp shredded cheddar cheese + 1/4 cp black beans
– 2 hard taco shells
– fresh squeezed lime for added flavor

LATE NIGHT SNACKS (*Try to eat at least 2 hours before bed)

– Yogurt plain or with 1 tbsp of peanut butter
– Walnuts
– Cucumber slices with hummus
– Roasted chickpeas
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