Maintaining Weight During Pregnancy

QUESTION

Hi,
I'm 26 years old and almost six weeks pregnant with my first baby. I have always been very overweight, and have tried everything to lose the extra pounds. I have been very dedicated, especially when I knew I wanted to conceive, to losing weight but no matter how hard I try, absolutely nothing works.

I have even seen dietians and they just tell me to keep doing exactly what I already have been (eating healthy, avoiding sugar and fat, eating protein and fiber, light exercise) and nothing changes. Believe me, I don't cheat on my diets but I still never lose any weight.

Anyway, I know I can't really diet while pregnant and I am pretty resigned to not losing weight anyway, but I wanted to know, based on my age and current weight (240 pounds), how many calories should I be eating per day to make sure I don't gain any more weight (besides baby) during pregnancy? I just want a vague idea so I don't overeat or undereat. I am eating healthy now, fruits, vegetables, low sugar, high fiber type meals. I'm just not sure how much for pregnancy.

ANSWER

While you are pregnant, let's not focus on losing weight; let's focus on keeping your weight gain to the minimum healthy amount. A good goal is to gain 15 to 25 pounds maximum while pregnant if you are concerned about your body weight now. Also, not gaining too much is more healthful for you and your baby and essential for helping prevent gestational diabetes.

Aim to exercise daily, do exercises that are not straining on your stomach, such as walking, swimming, prenatal yoga, light dancing. To keep your muscle mass up, your metabolism up and to prepare you well for holding your baby, do some light weight lifting while seated. Use light free weights, 3 to 5 pounds each, lift 12 to 15 times for 3 sets, doing shoulders, biceps and triceps.

Eat small meals within an hour after waking and every three to four hours throughout the day. Go for high fiber and low fat protein foods at most eating times. Eat veggies and fruit twice per day. Stay clear from the fried foods and foods that leave shine on your fingers. Go for bean based soups and salads and grilled fish/chicken with high fiber starches/starchy vegetables (e.g., whole wheat pasta, yam, butternut squash, quinoa, green peas, brown rice) with lots of veggies.

Cheering you on!
Deborah Klein, MS, RD

Deborah Klein

Deborah Klein , MS, RD, is the world’s first Livitician™ coach, a term she coined beyond Dietician, counseling clients on nutrition and fitness for 17 years. Her mission is to educate others on achieving optimal wellness through balanced eating, intrinsic coaching and exercise.

At University of California, Davis, Deborah received a Bachelor of Science degree in Dietetics and a minor in Exercise Physiology and received her Registered Dietitian license in Georgia. She also completed her Master’s of Science degree in Foods and Nutrition with an emphasis in sports nutrition at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona and is a PhD candidate at Saybrook University Graduate College of Mind-Body Medicine. She is also a Certified Intrinsic Coach, which she incorporates into her nutrition counseling to delve into the core of ones’ experiences and thoughts, to identify any barriers to enable long-term health.

Her past career experiences include hosting a TV show in Georgia on Midday News Live, teaching “5 A Day - For Better Health,” working for CNN, Food & Health News and honored as “Registered Dietitian of the Year” by the Spectrum Health Club in Los Angeles. Recently, she was named “Young Dietitian of the Year,” by the American Dietetics Association and served as President of the Los Angeles Dietetics Association.

Currently, Deborah has a private practice where she specializes in weight loss, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, disease prevention, and long-term wellness. She is the author of “200 Superfoods That Will Save Your Life” published by McGraw-Hill, Inc. that details her “Livit” philosophy to achieve one’s wellness goals. Through education and discovering each individual’s full potential, Deborah provides individuals with “A Plan to LIVE for!” She resides in Los Angeles and relishes being a mother of 2 boys, Hayden (8 years) and Eitan (6 years).