Nov 242015

I’ve wanted kids for as long as I could remember and was really excited when we got that positive test! But to be honest, I never really thought about the being pregnant part. Ever. In my fantasies it was always the “after”–the baby, being a mom, being a family. I don’t know why I never really thought what being pregnant would be like. Maybe because I really didn’t have anything to relate it to? I don’t know. But in my mind those 9 months never really popped up in my brain! LOL

When I got pregnant and wasn’t really enjoying the first trimester, it was a bit of a rude awakening. Once the second trimester started and I was feeling better, everything got better — including my mood. This was also the time my body started to change a bit. Instead of it looking like I just ate a big lunch or was gaining a few pounds in muffin-top poundage, I was starting to look pregnant.

I began to wonder how I would adjust mentally to all the changes my body was going to go through. Because again, I hadn’t really thought about it much. I’d worked so hard to lose 110 pounds and had worked just as hard to keep it off for 7 years! How was I going to change my thinking that gaining weight was OK?

First, making the mental adjustment to stop being in “loser” or “maintenance” modes was a weird switch. It was even weirder in the 2nd trimester when I had to INCREASE my caloric intake! Suddenly I was supposed to be eating more food. It took awhile to make that mental shift.

While I’m eating more food and not beating myself up if I go over my calories once in awhile, I’m not going crazy either. I’m eating more, listening to my body (and when I’m extra hungry I eat a little bit more) but I’m not bingeing on stuff because I’m “eating for two.” This was a huge positive thing for me. I had some reservations that old binge-eating habits would return because I have this “free pass” all of a sudden, but nope, not really. I honestly don’t feel that different and I’m not eating that differently.

Second, I had to get used to my body being the center of attention. For years as I lost weight and after I had reached goal, my body was the focal point in a lot of conversations. People would make comments about how great I looked, how awesome it was that I was losing weight, that I did a great job reaching my goal! It was all positive reinforcement and it helped keep me motivated in times when the weight loss stopped happening. But it was weird to go from being the fat chick that hid behind big clothes and layers to suddenly being skinny and having people NOTICE. I never really got used to the body comments.

Being pregnant I’ve noticed that I’m no longer an individual person–I’m now a baby vessel and people make comments. Half the time they are wildly inappropriate and sometimes downright rude (Maybe someday I’ll share some of the truly awful comments I’ve gotten but…right now I’m trying to stay positive!)…but for the most part people are just noticing “the bump” and making comments. Again, my body is on display and the focus. Weird.

For the first half of my pregnancy I didn’t feel too different. Around 20 weeks I started to notice some things.

The Bump

Clothes stopped fitting properly. I was making the switch to maternity clothes and shirts that were a size larger. I was also noticing the bump getting in the way of things. I could still bend over to pick something up but it was getting awkward. Certain machines at the gym I couldn’t do anymore because my bump was getting in the way (like the seated leg press). It was getting uncomfortable to toss and turn in bed–I had to do it gingerly to avoid pain and discomfort.

I was trying to remember back to when I was 250 pounds–I carried most of my weight in my stomach area. Yet I never had these issues when I was obese. It’s so odd that gaining 10 pounds of baby weight and suddenly I’m floundering around like a turtle on my back!

A5RKXR Upside down tortoise

Just learning to maneuver around with this new appendage was an adjustment. I can’t imagine what it will be like when I’m 35 weeks!!!

Even though I was buying clothes in a larger size–which used to send me spiraling into a mild depression–I wasn’t too upset about it because I kept reminding myself that THIS IS TEMPORARY. I am not buying a whole new wardrobe in giant clothes. I’m just buying a few maternity items to get me through the next few months.

I kind of love The Bump, though. This was a spot on my body that I loathed after losing weight because of the loose skin that never really went away no matter how much I lost or how much I worked out. It made me self-conscious. But now? I’m not bothered by my stomach at all! Besides, it’s the home for the little guy for a few more months. And it’s kinda nice knowing he’s there with me all the time. :)

Getting Bigger in General

I felt a little sad when around 15 weeks I had to go buy a new bra in a larger size. Larger size and larger cup size. It was a moment of sadness because I remember just how happy I had been when I was losing weight and buying clothes in smaller sizes.

My legs (ankles especially) are getting a little bigger. I’m sure it’s normal swelling (from what I’ve read) but it’s still weird to see swollen body parts where they used to be skinny.

Getting Winded Easily

I am a very fit person, cardio has never been an issue for me. I was in great cardio shape (thank you swimming!) and then BOOM. 20 weeks, I was suddenly huffing and puffing walking up stairs. I was so winded, could barely catch my breath, and it felt like overnight I was suddenly back to my old body! THIS WAS HARD.

I was noticing in the gym that things were getting harder, that I was out of breath, that my heart rate got high really quickly….BUT I FEEL THE SAME! Why isn’t this the same?!?! I used to be able to run 3 miles on the treadmill without feeling like I was dying. What happened??? I used to swim 2000 yards in the pool in 45 minutes without stopping to rest and now…I am so much slower now at everything.

It was so hard to make that mental shift that I can’t do the same things I did before at the same intensity. I am still struggling with this. I struggle with this every time I go to the gym and realize, Oh yeah, I need to back off a little bit.

My body sure is reminding me of this. When I get winded, when my heart rate is too high and I need to rest, and then especially the next day when I am really, really sore. I am reminded that my body is different.


I know that after the baby is here my body is going to be even different. I haven’t really thought much about it yet. I probably won’t think about it! Not until the time is here. I know I’ll get back to something resembling normalcy, but it will be another mental adjustment when it looks different then pre-pregnancy.

Being pregnant is definitely an adjustment. What I find obnoxious is that none of the books really talk about how you will FEEL. Every woman and every pregnancy is different, so there really isn’t a universal “this will definitely happen to you” thing…The books don’t really talk about what the changes will be like. Sure, they say “you’re going to gain weight” but the books don’t really talk about how it feels, what it looks like; they especially don’t discuss what it’s like to gain weight during pregnancy after you’ve lost a significant amount of weight in the past…you’re just kind of adrift at sea figuring these things out on your own, navigating your own feelings alone. None of my friends with kids could really relate or share how it feels because their story wasn’t like mine.


It’s odd to FEEL the same but every week your body is changing in new and weird, fun and sometimes alarming, ways. You just never know what is going to happen next.

You know what distracts me from thinking too much about my body changing? When the little guy started moving and I felt the flutters and tickles. Then getting the ultrasound and seeing a formed human instead of a blob of fuzzy gray. :) He was waving and swimming and flipping around and it felt real.

If you’ve gone through this stuff, I’d love to hear about it!

Nov 092015

The secret to fixing bad knees is to strengthen your lower body (for me, specifically, it was the glutes). Read this post:  A Runner and Her Injuries. It has a lot of good physical therapy-type exercises to fix some of those types of injuries. Or this one: R is for Runner’s Knee.

I avoid lunges at all costs. I used to do them a lot and I’d be crippled for days (hamstrings) but I kept telling myself it was a good thing. Then I started having knee issues…too many rounds of physical therapy to count, I stopped doing lunges at the advice of several physical therapists. They all said lunges were not the best exercise for someone with knee issues. So…I stopped. I do sometimes do side lunges, which don’t bother my knees.

Here are some of the standard exercises that I rotate through my weekly weight routines:


I go back and forth between doing weighted squats with a bar or just doing body squats. Both are very effective and help me a lot. It’s good for your glutes, hamstrings, core strength, helps with flexibility and strengthens your entire lower body. It really is one of the perfect exercises you can do. Just make sure you do it right. I was slightly off when I first started doing squats but a quick chat and demonstration with a trainer fixed that for me.

20120530183534-squat properly

1 Leg Romanian Deadlift

I’ve raved about this exercise many times on the blog. It has helped me a lot with my knee issues and it’s a really good move to incorporate into your gym session. It’s effective and it doesn’t put as much stress/pressure on your back like a regular deadlift can. It works the glutes, hamstrings and hips. Done correctly it’s also a good core workout. What I find beneficial is that it also helps with balance. I notice when I take a break from doing this exercise and then start back up again–balance is gone! But if I do this move consistently in my workouts, my balance improves!

10 Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift

Slam Ball

This a fun exercise! I love it and need to do it more often. Like jump squats (see below), this one ALWAYS makes me a little extra sore when I do it. It works your core: abs, back, quads and glutes. You’re basically doing a squat with a heavy ball. It’s such a good workout!


Leg Press Machine

I started incorporating this machine in my routine after a physical therapist recommended it. He had me do it in a few different ways. First, the normal way–both feet on the platform. Second, he had me practice doing it one-legged. That is a LOT harder than it looks! And it WORKS. It helped my knee stuff so much. It focused the work on my glutes one at a time. I prefer this machine:


Over the one that you lay down on. Although, now that I’m pregnant I’m finding it harder and harder to do this machine so I will soon be switching to the leg press machine you use laying down.


Here is another physical therapy exercise that has worked it’s way into my fitness routine. My physical therapist had me do this to strengthen my glutes to fix my knee issues. I found it so beneficial that I kept doing it even after I got better. It’s really easy and all you need is a stretchy band. SideHopsWithRB1

Standing Hip Adduction

Another one that started because of physical therapy…noticing a theme? My knees needed work!! This one strengthened my glutes and hips and helped with overall balance. If the machine at your gym doesn’t have the attachment seen below in this picture, you can still do it. My gym doesn’t have this ankle strap so I just put my foot through the round hand piece. It works because my feet are kind of small.

Standing Cable Hip Adduction

Step Up with Weights

I like this one because it gets my heart beating pretty quick and it’s kind of a full-body exercise. I wanted to include it, though, because I’ve noticed it’s helped me with balance and strength. I do it slightly differently–I step up, then I do a bicep curl, then step back down. You can vary this exercise a lot but it’s a good base if you want something basic. You can use a taller step, you can add more weight, you can lift your leg like the below picture:


Lots of variations!

Squat Jump

This one will get you EVERY TIME. So be prepared. No matter how many squats you normally do in the gym, do a bunch of jump squats and you WILL BE SORE. I started doing this workout at The Warrior Room and then incorporated it into my own gym routine. Seriously, I don’t know why this one makes me so sore, but it doesn’t matter if I do 10 or if do 50. Same level of soreness afterwards! But you sure feel like a badass when you do it! If you have knee issues, you might want to talk to your doctor first. Listen to your body and stop if it hurts. It rarely hurt my knees, but I was always conscious of it and made sure I didn’t land too hard when I jumped.


What about you? What are some of your favorite lower body workouts?