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You can totally burn fat during pregnancy, and even lose fat during your pregnancy as your belly grows. This is actually a wonderful, natural process for those who are starting pregnancy out heavier than expected. Maybe you didn’t even get a chance to try to lose the baby weight, before you got pregnant again. Maybe the baby weight never came off, then before you knew it, you were pregnant. Whatever the case may be, pregnancy is never an excuse to not eat healthy or exercise. In fact, eating healthy and exercising during pregnancy have enormous positive effects on your baby too. I am pregnant with my fourth baby now, and every pregnancy, I gain more weight than I should in the first trimester. I literally can not eat anything healthy for about 4 weeks of the first trimester. I also can’t workout, and I lay on the couch as much as possible.
By the time I get to the second trimester, or about 14 weeks or so, I am feeling so much better! I eat cleaner and start working out again. And guess what? In that process, I burn off some of the extra fat I gained during the first trimester. If you are stuck at home right now, and pregnant during the COVID-19 pandemic, working out at home is just as good as the gym. There are so many options, and I even have a small, super affordable nutrition and workout program that is basically how I eat and workout to keep from gaining extra weight.
The Belly-Only pregnancy fitness program is a specific program for pregnant mamas looking to stay as fit and healthy as possible while pregnant. This program is also designed to prepare you for labor, as well as protect your core and pelvic floor for after baby. I’ve had three babies, and I wish I did a program like this! I was able to gain minimal weight during all three of my pregnancies, and lose it all within a few months because of my diet, but I didn’t focus on the repair work my muscles needed to recover and heal! That is why I first created my postpartum program, The Postpartum Cure. After popular demand, and many requests for a pregnancy program, I now created this program for mamas wanting to do some prep-work, eat clean and gain minimal weight while pregnant!.
The trick to burning fat while pregnant is to eat the right kind of calories and the right amount of calories to nourish your body and baby, while also telling your body to use fat as an energy source.
Using fat as energy:
Don’t be scared to use fat as energy. That is what it is there for, and for some reason many mamas have a fear that if they reduce calories in any way, they won’t be giving baby enough energy or nutrients. If you reduce calories and eat low-quality foods like packaged goods, breads, crackers, fast food etc., then you are doing a disservice to both mama and baby. Eating nutrient-dense foods, like the ones I recommend in my clean eating challenge for pregnant mamas, then you are doing more than just helping your body burn fat.
Eating a clean, nutrient-dense diet is the first way to switch your body into burning fat. By giving it a lot of fruits and veggies, you are reducing the excess sugar and fat that comes in any packaged and process foods. The excess fat and sugar is what gets stored in fat cells. Switching to nutrient-dense foods fills your body with nutrients, rather than ecxess calories. It alos dmatically impacts your growing baby.
A nutrient-dense diet determines your baby’s health:
This is really important to go over becasue eating healthy to burn fat is one goal, but eating health to positively pre-program your baby should be another major goal. Your baby’s genes can actually be turned on or off based on your nutritional intake. Your nutrition can protect your baby from diseases, help baby learn to properly digest food and regulate metabolism.
There are many benefits of eating healthy for baby, so you can burn fat while pregnant, and still know you are supplying your baby with everything it needs! Eating more vitamins and minerals during pregnancy ensures you are giving your baby the nutrients it needs to develop. A great diet during pregnancy can override genentic predisposition to disease. “
Research shows that maternal nutritional status during pregnancy plays a more important role in determining foetal health and predisposition to some diseases, than genetic factors…Source.
What is even more astonishing is that by eating healthy, you are pre-programming your baby to properly digest food, produce insulin and regulate metabolism. This is a long quote, but it is super important to support the impact of a healthy diet during pregnancy:
Maternal nutrition during pregnancy also appears to have a “foetal programming” effect, that is, the foetus learns nutritional habits, which will influence it for the rest of its life, before it is even born. A foetus will also adapt its metabolism and other body systems to cope with different states of nutrition. For example, an under-nourished foetus, which does not receive enough macronutrients or energy, responds by reducing glucose and insulin production, which ultimately slows the rate of foetal growth and increases the risk of low birth weight. It may also alter the metabolism permanently and leave an individual predisposed to metabolic conditions such as diabetes. The foetus also adapts to under-nutrition by redirecting blood flow and therefore the supply of nutrients to protect the brain, at the expense of fully developing other organs including the kidneys, muscles and endocrine system (the system which regulates the body’s hormone production).” Source.
Your nutrition is so important to burning fat during pregnancy, and I highly recommend grabbing delicious protein shakes to help you get your fruits and veggies down. That’s partly how I keep from gaining tons of weight in the first trimester, and how I stay healthy all through my pregnancy. I of course drink this protein powder, and the pregnancy formula will be out soon, which is very similar!
Exercise to improve energy + metabolism:
Exercise is going to be super important to burning fat as well as your nutrition. I put nutrition above exercise, because that is honestly the key. Exercise is going to give you more energy, help you become strong for birth and increase your health overall. Exercise can help your blood sugar levels as well as blood pressure, which are monitored during pregnancy.
Walking regularly is one of the best ways you can stay active during pregnancy. I usually get back to running in the second trimester, then go to walking in the third. Either way, walking helps your body stay moving, has a low-injury rate, and it is difficult to over exert yourself. When you combine walking with compound weight movements like I have in my program, you can really stay very fit all pregnancy. A great plan to stay fit at home would include some weight work maybe on a Youtube video, and walking 3-4 miles 5-6 days a week.
Walking and weight lifting tend to keep you in a fat burning zone, which is partly why I suggest this activity as your workout plan.
HIIT workouts and running are amazing for more calorie burn, but it is really easy to over exert yourself and get an injury if you are carrying more weight than necessary.
Drink lots of water:
This is the last tip to burn fat during pregnancy. Water is going to help you swell less, feel more full, and avoid headaches. It will also help heal your muscles after weight lifting. I keep a 24oz reusable Starbucks cup with me at all times, and do various versions of ice water plain, with a little lemon and sometimes with grapefruit or cucumber. Depending on what I have, but the little bit of taste changes it up. It’s hot here in South Florida, so keeping ice water on hand at all times is really important.
I highly suggest my free, two week clean eating program for pregnant mamas to jump start you on new habits. With this, you can have some guidance on what to eat, and some recipes to help you know what to make! Your first step is to clean up your nutrition while pregnant. This often times slows weight gain naturally, because healthier foods are lower calories. Healthy foods are high in fiber and protein, which makes you feel much more satiated on lower calories.
I also go over all the calorie recommendations for pregnant mamas. I learned all about this in my certification course to become a Pre/Post Natal Exercise Specialist, and there are specific calorie points you can start with when deciding how much to eat. I highly recommend writing down everything you eat for three days, with no attempt to eat more or less. Then total the average calories per day, and reduce by a few hundred each day. That will give you a benchmark. I go into more details on burning fat while pregnant with exactly how much you should gain or not gain when starting pregnancy heavier, the calories you can start at, and recipes for comfort foods to keep you on track!
I also have a very popular Postpartum weight loss program, The Postpartum Cure. This is for mamas looking to heal and lose the baby weight safely, while keeping your milk supply super high! I encourage you to check it out and see what some of the mamas are saying about it! I have a package deal, so you can do both programs, or if you are already feeling too far into pregnancy to attempt to change your habits, The Postpartum Cure might be just perfect for you.