If you are concerned about excessive pregnancy weight gain, you could probably use a handy list of tips to help keep you motivated and on the right track.
Most experts agree that you should limit your weight gain between 20 and 30 pounds over the course of your pregnancy. How can you make that happen? By following these 10 easy tips, compiled by a pregnancy nutritionist:
1. Drink enough water
Water will keep you hydrated, it will help keep you regular, and it will flush away toxins that accumulate in your body. But from a weight management perspective, it’s also the best way to feel full in between meals.
2. Avoid sugar
Sugar is the #1 cause of weight gain during pregnancy. If you avoid it for the next nine months, you’ve taken a major step forward in keeping your weight in check. Try xylitol, agave syrup, raw honey, or stevia instead of sugar.
3. Avoid artificial sweeteners
Don’t think that artificial sweeteners are better for you than sugar–they’re not. In fact, artificial sweeteners are full of chemicals that can cause a range of troubling side effects and health issues. Instead, opt for healthy alternatives like stevia, xylitol, agave syrup, and raw honey.
4. Increase your fiber intake
Everyone who’s ever been on a diet knows that fiber helps in weight loss. Try to add high fiber foods to your grocery list every week. Besides allowing you to feel full in between meals, fiber also helps you to avoid constipation–a common pregnancy complaint.
5. Eat a veggie with every meal
If you are having trouble getting enough fiber, try this one trick: have a veggie with every meal, including snacks.
This will help you feel full between meals, feel more satiated during the meal, and will help you get the fiber you need to keep your weight in check.
6. Eat a healthy fat with every meal
Structuring your meals so you get a healthy fat with every portion–including snacks–is another great way to keep your weight in check. Healthy fats will give your baby the fatty acids she needs for healthy neural and cognitive development. But they have the added benefit of helping you feel satiated between meals.
7. Eat protein with every meal
One more component of a healthy meal–whether you are talking about breakfast or a snack–is a portion of protein. Protein provides your baby with essential amino acids, but also helps your blood sugar stay more level between meals. If your blood sugar fluctuates too wildly, you could be tempted to snack too often or too much.
8. Get Some Exercise
It should go without saying, but you can’t keep your weight in check unless you exercise. Even when you’re pregnant. Find a low-impact or no-impact workout that makes you happy, and aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise per day for the best results.
9. Get Enough Sleep
You also need to try to get enough sleep during pregnancy. Studies have shown that a lack of sleep can contribute to obesity, but getting enough can be difficult while you are expecting. Try a body pillow, which will cuddle your baby bump and help you feel more comfortable at night.
10. Reward Yourself
Find ways to indulge or reward yourself that don’t involve food. For example, you might treat yourself to a movie night with friends, or a manicure and pedicure at a salon.
Or try a pregnancy massage to relax your back and help you feel pampered all over. By rewarding yourself in ways that don’t involve food, you can keep your weight gain under control.