Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Personal training, the sixth (and final) week

Today was my last personal training session (at least for a while). We worked on mobility with a foam roller, and then did two three-round sets. In the first set, I did 10 chest presses with a 45-pound bar (a couple of weeks ago I actually did a few of these with a 95-pound bar!), 10 push-ups with my feet on an upside Bosu Ball (ouch -- this one was tough), 20 medicine ball tosses while balancing on one leg and 10 box jumps. In the second set, I did 10 forward-and-back TRX lunges, 10 TRX bicep curls in a squat position, 10 rows with two 12-pound dumbells, and then 10 burpee/push press combinations (I can't really describe this one very well) with 10-pound dumbell. This particular workout wasn't as intense as Monday's workout, but it felt intense because I am still sore from Monday (and shoot -- I meant to record Monday's workout, but I didn't and now I can't remember it)! In fact, I'm so sore that I can't even touch my toes right now. This is unusual for me, but it is probably good mental preparation for that point in my pregnancy when toe-touching is completely impossible.

Anyway, I'm sad that my sessions are over because I love working out one-on-one with Kili, and I know it is so beneficial. On the bright side, though, I know I am still able to participate 100% in group workouts (every now and then I have to modify, but so far only because of fatigue or just feeling slightly overheated), and I feel very confident in my ability to keep participating. I also feel very confident in my ability to stay strong and healthy over the course of the next 7 months. I'm sure I'll do more personal training later on, but for now I think I'm good to go on my own (not that I am truly on my own -- I have an incredible support system). I'm still going to check in regularly with Kili, though, to make sure I stay on track. I'm doing my best to keep an accurate food journal -- not my strength by any means, but it helps knowing I need to show it to her (almost like a homework assignment). She is also checking my weight and measurements once each month. This data is really interesting to me because I love seeing the specific changes my body is experiencing. The scale itself doesn't tell me all that much. I mean, if I just looked at the number on the scale I might feel like I've failed -- I've already gained five pounds. I know lots of women who don't gain any weight at all in the first trimester (some even lose weight), and at first I assumed I wouldn't either. But knowing where and how my body is changing gives me context for those five pounds, so it isn't bothering me at all.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Paleo electolytes

Last week, I needed hydration. So, I drank some Gatorade. And some Emergen-C. Both do the job, but they aren't paleo. Full. Of. Sugar. I don't want to make either one a habit, but I need to stay hydrated (especially considering the headaches I've been having). Well, I found a solution -- coconut water! I tried coconut water sometime last year and thought it tasted terrible, but now I like it. And it works, too. I bought a 12-pack from Amazon yesterday.

Five days of headaches

I almost hate to say this because I don't want to speak too soon, but I think that maybe -- just maybe -- my food aversions are gone! Yippee. I started doing a lot better last Friday. Even though I had chocolate covered almonds and raisins for lunch, the rest of my day was all paleo. On Saturday, I indulged in a delicious "scoop" of raspberry cheesecake ice cream (I use quotes to describe the scoop because it was probably more like three scoops -- this particular ice cream shop had absolutely ginormous servings), but the rest of the day was perfectly paleo. And ever since Sunday, I've been 100% back on track. Yay.

Unfortunately, though, I seem to have traded food aversions for a terrible sinus headache. It came on Saturday night and it has been unrelenting (I'm sure it is at least partially related to Saturday's ice cream binge). Usually I combat sinus headaches with Advil and Sudafed, but both are off limits in pregnancy. I tried Tylenol, and that didn't help at all. I also tried my trusty neti pot, but that didn't do a thing for me either. An adjustment from my chiropractor brought some relief -- until the headache returned. So, I've just been resting on the couch with an ice pack, consuming extra electrolytes and trying to sleep it off and power through. I also called my midwife's office for some advice and found out that I can take more Tylenol than I originally thought I could take. I can also take Sudafed PE (the version that never worked before, but I'm willing to give it another shot), Benadryl and Zyrtech. I'm very relieved to hear about the Benedryl and Zyrtech, because in a month or so when the seasonal allergies kick in, I'll need it!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Rice + Gatorade

Yesterday was clearly a fluke. No bona fide paleo dinner tonight. Instead, it is Gatorade and steamed rice. I have really, really mixed feelings about this. Gatorade is full of sugar, but it also has lots of electrolytes -- and I need to stay hydrated. Rice is a grain (duh), and I do not personally believe that grains (yes, even whole grains) are necessary or even desirable for optimal health. However, right now I have to make some concessions. Otherwise, I'll forgo eating altogether (or, like I said the other day, gag -- I did go to the store today to pick up ingredients for dinner, but as soon as I unpacked my grocery bag I knew cooking was not on the agenda). I'm really hoping to shake these aversions before the end of the first trimester, because I know that paleo is a better choice for me and our baby. In the meantime, though, I am just going to try to make purposeful decisions about anything non-paleo I choose to consume. Plain steamed rice, for example, instead of gluten-based grains. Bananas instead of banana bread. Sweet potatoes instead of french fries. Healthy vegan smoothies instead of chocolate shakes. The key for me is not to beat myself up over this. I know that right now, I'm doing my best (this isn't about self-control -- I have no trouble sticking to paleo under normal circumstances and "cheating" is generally not an issue for me).

Anyway, today was not all bad food-wise. For breakfast I had two paleo pumpkins muffins and decaf coffee. I skipped lunch, but I had a few snacks -- hard boiled eggs, roasted almonds and a So Delicious coconut water sorbet bar (unlike most other So Delicious products, these bars do not contain Agave!!) -- throughout the afternoon. And then the rice and Gatorade. Maybe tomorrow will be even better? I'm holding out hope!

A bonda fide paleo dinner

Last night, for the first time in two weeks, I went into the kitchen and prepared a completely normal dinner -- baked cod with lemon and herbs, served with avocado and cherry tomatoes. I also boiled some eggs and baked a loaf of bread (the bread is for Carl -- he's not a paleo devotee and for a variety of reasons I'm OK with that). It felt like a milestone. I hope I can do the same tonight!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Personal training, week four

Yesterday, I started my fourth week of personal training with Kili. I'm really happy with how things are going. I enjoy my workouts, and I can tell that I am improving in ways that will help me throughout this pregnancy. She challenges me, but is also well aware of my current/future limitations (right now, there aren't many, but that will probably change as the months go by). Also, I know that from a training perspective I am in really good hands -- she is always researching and learning new information on pregnancy and fitness, and incorporating the things she discovers into my workout (and passing this info on to me).

In addition to training with her twice a week (Mondays and Wednesdays), I am also doing High Def on Tuesdays and Thursday, TRX on Fridays, and yoga on either Mondays or Saturdays. Technically, I should be running and/or walking at least twice a week, too, but the weather has been horrible. So wet. Eventually, I'll get to it.

Regarding High Def, I always have a really hard time explaining it to friends when they ask. My best explanation is that from a group workout perspective, it is the most effective program I have ever particpated in. It is fun, too, and it kicks my a$$ most of the time. The workout is different each day. In 15 months, I've never done the same workout twice.

This is what we did today ...

Warm-up: Kicks, lunges, lateral shuffles across the room (x3)
Skill: Rope climbing (we spent 15 minutes working on this; I am too freaked out to climb the rope and am still working on getting my feet in the right position anyway -- maybe next year??)
Workout: 10 minute amrap (as many rounds as possible) ... 5 push presses, 7 box jumps, 20 mountain climbers.

I used 20 pound dumbbells for the push presses, but I think I should go for 25s in the future (especially when the reps are this low). I did 8.5 rounds. I know a 10-minute workout might sound too short, but it isn't. The workouts are efficient and effective.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Choosing a midwife

Today is a great day! Not only have some of the food aversions subsided (credit, once again, goes to spearmint essential oil), I also scheduled an appointment with a certified nurse midwife. After lots of contemplation and research, I came to the conclusion that this is the best choice for my prenatal care and labor/delivery. I'm really happy with this decision.

Originally, I fully intended to go the traditional obstetrician route. After our first appointment, though, Carl and I were uncomfortable with my doctor. She was dismissive regarding our questions and I got the impression that she wasn't really interested in getting to know Carl and me -- and that might be OK for some people, but it isn't right for us (we prefer open, collaborative relationships with our health care providers). I thought about it for two weeks before I decided to move on.

This, of course, left me with a big decision. Who do I see instead? I read profiles of just about every single doctor affiliated with the hospital we've chosen for our delivery. Whenever I thought I found someone who might work, I discovered something that told me otherwise. Finally, I called the clinic I used to go to for preventive care, prior to getting pregnant. I always really liked the clinic and my doctor there was super nice, but she had gotten so busy. For the past two years, I felt like a number. Still, I trusted her -- and I wondered if she might be the best choice after all. After a long chat with an admin at the clinic, it became clear that wasn't the one. However, the admin recommended two other doctors and then asked "have you considered a midwife?"

I had not, so I asked the admin to explain the benefits and the differences. I was sold. Our first appointment is April 8th.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

And the aversions get stronger ...

In addition to all the gross-out foods I listed the other day, I am now completely disgusted by the idea of cooked veggies. Raw veggies are still agreeable to me, thank God. Needless to say, for the past few days my diet has been more fail-eo than paleo.

This is what I dined on yesterday ...

Breakfast: 3 scrambled eggs
Snack: Lara bar
Snack: 1 fuji apple
Lunch: A big green salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, unsalted sunflower seeds, olives and balsamic vinaigrette dressing (I also dipped the cucumbers in a small amount of ranch dressing -- something I would not normally do)
Dinner: Pad Thai, hold chicken and tofu. Essentially, a bunch of rice noodles with peanuts, bean sprouts and Pad Thai sauce. I  haven't had noodles or peanuts or a sauce like this in months. It was delicious. Usually, this dinner wold leave me full of regret. Not this time. The alternative is to starve. Or gag.

Today is even worse. I've had a Lara Bar, a biscuit with jam, and a small bowl of mint Coconut Bliss (which is not paleo because it contains agave). For dinner, I'm planning on Caesar salad. It sounds OK now, it could be a different story in three hours. Especially after I prepare dinner for Carl and our two dinner guests -- chicken enchiladas. I hope I can get through it! Carl shredded the chicken and threw away the carcass when I wasn't home, so that will help.

I really, really want to do better with this. I know that the closer I stay to paleo throughout my pregnancy, the better I'll feel and the quicker I'll bounce back. I'm trying right now to figure out a reasonable alternative to get me through the rest of the first trimester (or however long the food aversions last), and this might involve throwing in some dairy. Not ideal, but dairy products are better than grains.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Food aversions

Usually, my diet includes a lot of chicken and beef. This week, though, some pretty significant food aversions kicked in. Meat, poultry and fish all sound absolutely revolting to me. On Sunday I made coq au vin in the pressure cooker, and by the time dinner was on the table I thought for sure I was going to vomit. The leftovers are still in the fridge. I can't even bear the thought of opening the container to throw it away. Same with the chili I made last week. Yuck.

Needless to say, this makes paleo pretty difficult (protein is the cornerstone of any proper paleo meal). I'm sure this aversion will pass (at least I hope so), but in the meantime I'm living on scrambled eggs, pumpkin muffins (made with coconut flour and maple syrup rather than wheat flour and refined sugar), dark chocolate, tea with honey and Lara Bars. With the exception of the scrambled eggs, when I am not pregnant these are treats and not a part of my everyday diet. Too much sugar. For now, though, since this is all I can tolerate this is what I'll be eating.

Monday, March 7, 2011

I already look pregnant

Today, I entered my eighth week of pregnancy. The physical changes I am already experiencing are a huge shock. I doubt anyone else can tell, but I can tell. And, since I'm not sure yet what is "normal" for me, it is a little hard to swallow. When I heard/read that most people don't show at all during the first trimester, I took that pretty literally. Well, I am most certainly "showing." I've already gained three pounds. I've gained 1/2 inch around my waist and I'm already more, um, voluptuous. By an entire inch, even (gasp). Oddly, my body fat is slightly lower (strange, but I'm not complaining!).

I'm trying really hard to embrace these changes. They are difficult to accept, but I am trying. Fortunately, I have people in my life who are willing to give me a reality check when I need one. Like my trainer Kili, who assured me today that I am gaining in the right places, and only the right places. And my friend Leana, who reminded me that physical changes are a normal and beautiful part of pregnancy. And, of course, Carl. Carl could not be more encouraging and supportive. I'm so thankful for him (and he'll be such a great dad!).

Pregnancy heart rate

Last week, I asked my doc where I should keep my heart rate while working out. Her reply? 120.

I'm thinking she misspoke, because 120 is impossible. The goal here is to stay fit throughout my pregnancy, and if I stay at or below 120 I might as well skip the working out altogether. My heart rate monitor tells me that I get close to 120 during the warm-up portion of High Def. I hit 105 when I walk up the stairs in my house. Yesterday, I went for a very easy run and my heart rate stayed at 143 the entire time. I wouldn't be surprised if I'm at or above 120 in yoga class!

My biggest concern, of course, is the well-being of our baby. So, I did some research and discovered that the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists gives a general recommendation of no more than 140 beats per minute. That's better, but IMHO still pretty unreasonable (for me). During a typical workout, I tend to hover around 155. And because I've been working out at a pretty high intensity for a super long time, I am not concerned about this number. I rest when I need to rest, and I keep a close eye on my hydration. When the time comes to dial it down, I will. Until then, I'll do what I feel is best for me and the little one -- and that means keeping up my exercise routine! Plus, I have people looking out for me ... people in the know, like Kili and Robert, who will tell me if they think I am pushing too hard. Official guidelines definitely have their place, but I really think they need to be taken with a grain of salt.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

First ultrasound and doctor visit

Today, we got to hear our little gummy bear's heartbeat! Wow! So amazing! At this point you can't really see much -- he/she is less than a quarter of an inch long -- but you can hear the heartbeat loud and clear. The ultrasound also provides a more accurate due date, and we learned that I am not as far along as we thought. The due date is now officially October 23rd.



The visit with the doctor was all about asking questions and getting information on pregnancy basics, nutrition, exercise, potential complications and prenatal screening tests. Carl and I decided that we are not going forward with any of the tests. Though they are often recommended for mother's in the 35+ age group, it isn't the right choice for us. My pregnancy and our baby is in God's hands, and He'll take care of it all.

Speaking of which, the doctor visit was good because it helped ease my mind. The other day, I started reading a great book called Your Pregnancy, Week by Week. The book is incredibly detailed and packed with info. However, it has a bit of an alarmist tone and I started to freak out about the wine I drank, the caffeine I consumed and the Advil I took before I knew I was pregnant. My doc assured me that there is nothing to worry about (phew).

As far as nutrition goes, I didn't specifically tell my doctor about the paleo diet. When I asked her about caloric intake and eating right, she said the best thing to do is to just eat when I need to and to go for what sounds good to me at the time. I can deal with that. As for the pamphlet on pregnancy nutrition that I received, I can't deal with that. It tells me that I need to have four servings of dairy and six to 11 servings of bread/cereal per day. Um, no. Not that wouldn't enjoy a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch followed by pasta for dinner -- I would (yum). But the consequences (i.e. excessive pregnancy weight gain, feeling terrible, poor nutrition for the baby) are soooo not worth it.

Bad choices

Today, I made some bad choices and I'm paying the price.

It all started with our ultrasound appointment. My OB/GYN has two offices, and one happens to be near our favorite bakery. What a delightful excuse for a treat. So, after our appointment today (really excited about seeing the heartbeat!!!), guess where we went?? Yes, the bakery. I actually had this planned for two weeks (for me, planning and anticipating non-paleo events usually helps me stay on track and resist temptation). However, I did NOT plan on ordering two pastries. When we first went through the line, I ordered a jammer and Carl ordered a monkey muffin (the monkey muffin is quite possibly the most delicious baked good ever created). 20 minutes later, though, I decided we had to have a cheese danish (we shared this one). Big mistake. It is now 5pm and I feel terrible. I've got that weak, shaky, low blood sugar feeling (this doesn't happen to me when I stick to my paleo diet). I am now wondering whether I can make it through my workout tonight. Lesson learned. No post-ultrasound bakery visits in the future (and all subsequent appointments will be scheduled at the office that is not near the bakery, if at all possible).