This post probably contains affiliate links, to items I am in love with, and I am confident you will too! For any health advice I give on nutrition and weight loss, make sure you check with your doctor, as I am not a health professional. I am just a mama with lots of health and fitness knowledge and experience.
Gaining too much weight during pregnancy can happen faster than we realize. If you’ve gained too much weight during pregnancy, don’t worry. It doesn’t mean the whole pregnancy can’t be healthy, or that you can’t turn things around quickly. Believe it or not, you can lose weight while pregnant with the correct diet and fitness program, and completely turn your pregnancy weight gain around.
Let’s go over how you can stop gaining too much weight during pregnancy, as well as turn things around going forward.
As a mama of three boys, I KNOW what it feels like to gain weight during pregnancy, feel totally sluggish, have no energy and LOVE eating nachos. My first trimester is always the most out of control. I can’t function, I have no energy, I fall asleep in the afternoons, and all I can eat is carbs and cheese.
I start gaining weight FAST. Like scary fast. Way more than necessary for the first trimester. But guess what? Once I start feeling better the second trimester, I turn things around, start eating better and get active.
It totally works! This is the program I’ve followed to gain only belly during pregnancy, and I find that the workouts help ease the nausea and give me more energy. A healthier diet with lots of fruits and veggies and lean protein (hello protein shakes!), I lean out even though I am getting further along in pregnancy.
How To Stop Gaining Too Much Weight During Pregnancy:
Calculate your calorie consumption:
This is your most important step. Grab the MyFitnessPal app and start logging your food. If you can get a grip on how much you are eating daily, you WILL turn things around. This is the hardest, most eye opening decision you can follow through with, but it will be the most rewarding. It will also set you up for faster weight loss once baby arrives because you will be accustomed to monitoring how much you are eating. In my weight loss program for breastfeeding, counting calories isn’t the center of the program, but I do advise it if you’ve been eating a lot and gained quite a bit during pregnancy. I promise, this alone will set you up to successfully manage your weight gain, OR LOSS! while pregnant. Depending on where you are at with your weight, you can lose or maintain just by realizing how many calories you are eating. From there, you can decrease your calories around 200 a day to start losing weight pretty quickly. It is a great idea to do this while pregnant because you don’t have to worry about breastfeeding and milk supply yet. If you have stored fat, you also have stored nutrients for growing baby, so you will be just find as you let go of fat and start feeling better.
Switch to high-volume, nutrient-dense foods:
This is actually so simple and easy to do, if you aren’t experiencing extreme aversions to fruits and vegetables. Replacing snacks and meals with more fruits and vegetables will actually make you feel fuller, on less calories. So, as you are monitoring you caloric intake, find fruits and veggies you can fill up on. Snacks like low-fat cottage cheese and berries, carrots and hummus, lettuce wraps and protein smoothies will really help you feel so full! I HIGHLY recommend protein shakes during pregnancy and postpartum weight loss because it is such a great way to get in your protein, fiber and nutrients in one, quick meal. I developed Milk Dust for breastfeeding and weight loss, and it is safe and wonderful for pregnant mamas too! It has the live folate, L-Methylfolate for mamas that may have difficulty absorbing and digesting synthetic folic acid. This is really important in the first trimester, but still important for the second and third trimesters as well. You can also take a look at this plant-based protein powder.
By replacing less-than healthy snacks with fruits, veggies and lean protein, you caloric intake will decrease, yet your tummy will feel super full from the protein and fiber combo. My program, The Belly-Only Pregnancy, has more details on this, as well as lots of recipes to help and inspire you! This is a free, clean eating challenge specifically for pregnant mamas to help you eat cleaner, leaner and more nutrient dense.
Start walking more every day:
Walking is safe and super effective for fat loss. If you can add 45 minutes to 90 minutes of walking 5 days a week, you will be really surprised at how quickly you start leaning out and feeling better. The more weight you drop off, the lighter and easier it will be to get through your walks. I walked a lot all through my pregnancies. Even with two toddlers in the stroller and pregnant with my third, I walked as much as I could. I had my third in October, so I was very pregnant through the summer. It wasn’t fun in the heat, but there wasn’t rain, snow or cold, so I did it! I promise this is super simple, and very, very effective. I also have workouts in my program that help you build muscle and burn fat. They are fast and effective, but I suggest you combine them with walking. Walking is a long, steady-state cardio that taps into your fat as fuel. We need a combination of this type of workout, with strength training. The workouts in my program tap into cardio and strength training, which we call metabolic conditioning. This is to help speed up your metabolism, and leads us into the next step.
Build and maintain lean muscle mass:
Building muscle is important to maintaining your metabolism. I also know with experience that after you have a baby, and don’t get a chance to do much activity for a while, you lose muscle. By maintaining and building muscle during pregnancy, this will set you up for a faster recovery and metabolism once baby arrives. Muscle burns more calories throughout the day, so if you can build some muscle it will help you burn more calories. Combining cardio with your muscle building, like I do in my program, helps you burn extra calories. If you can keep your heart rate up, while lifting and taxing your muscles, you will burn more calories during and after your workout. You also don’t have to workout as long, which is always good. Sweating and moving helps with swelling too, so that is another major bonus to being active during pregnancy. My program goes over how to determine how hard to work out being pregnant, which helps ease any concerns you have in terms of getting too tired. You don’t have to think of yourself as an athlete, but there is no problem with challenging yourself and body to stay in the best shape you can!
If you need more ideas for workouts, check out this post, Best Pregnancy Workouts For A Healthy, Fit Pregnancy!
Drink your water religiously:
I saved the worst tip for last, I mean the worst tip because I’m sure you’ve read this a million times. This is the most annoying tip on every fitness/health article ever, BUT let me tell you why it is more important to actually do this because you are pregnant. The effort you put into drinking your water is going to help you eliminate swelling (assuming you don’t have major issues going on), eliminate headaches and FILL UP YOUR STOMACH! As you get farther along during pregnancy it is a lot harder to eat large meals anyways, and adding lots of water can really help you feel full. This is going to help combat some of that extreme hunger that hits. I used to DREAM about food at night, and get these extreme, empty stomach feelings. I found that water helped keep that at bay, and if I drank some water with my snack or meal, I didn’t over eat all the nachos. I am sorry this is so redundant, and probably annoying, but you can also drink tea (no caffeine), lemon water or other no-calorie drinks to help too.
Remember, you can stop gaining too much weight during pregnancy.
Will gaining too much weight affect baby?
The short answer is yes. Gaining too much weight during pregnancy affects baby, as well as gaining too little weight. It is really important to gain a healthy amount of weight, which your doctor can advise you on. If you are overweight to begin with, it is suggested that you gain between 15-25 lbs, and if you are a healthy weight, 25-35 lbs is suggested. Going above or below the recommended weight ranges for your body can be harmful to baby, and needs to be monitored closely by your care provider.
You can turn things around fast by following my steps, or you can jump into my program for added motivation.
Gaining too much weight during pregnancy can also be depressing to realize, but you can relieve some of that stress by understanding exactly how you can turn that weight gain around, and have your healthiest pregnancy yet! If you are already into your third trimester, you can definitely get a head start on losing the baby weight by following my more, in-depth program and app, The Postpartum Cure.