Healthy Weight Gain

QUESTION

Dear Fitness Expert,

I have been a gymnast for 10 years, and have been running a gymnastics program for the last 6 years. I just found out I am pregnant. As you can imagine, I have been used to running around and working out a lot. I am very thin, and I am a bit concerned about being able to put on weight.

Everyone tells me to eat milkshakes, fries, and all of the things that I've been trying to avoid for most of my life. Is there a healthier way to go about this? Or should I just start consuming mass quantities of fatty foods?

ANSWER

Akkk! No fatty foods. At least, not that kind of fat. I promise you, your body knows what to do. If you are naturally lean/thin, consider yourself luck and in tune with your needs.

First, speak with your physician. Chances are the only reason you are worried about being too thin is because everyone keeps telling you you are too thin. If your doctor tells you not to worry -- don't worry. Baby will take what baby needs.

As for you, if you are feeling run down (as the baby has a tendency to do this even in utero) french fries are NOT going to give you more energy. Protein shakes (check your local fitness center), bagels, pastas, for example, will give you more energy and better overall nutrition. If you fuel yourself with junk/garbage, you will continue to feel run-down but will also battle things you don't want like cellulite later down the road.

If you truly need to add weight, work with a nutritionist to create a new diet plan. By doing so you will have more energy, better health and better recovery after the baby is born.

Good luck. And don't let people tell you how they think you should look during your pregnancy. When you are eating and sleeping well and relatively stress-free, baby is happy. Enough said.

-- Alex

Alexandra Allred

Alexandra Allred is a former member of the US Women's Bobsled team, is an accomplished martial artist, and continues to teach kickboxing while juggling her career as a full-time writer and mother of three. She has interviewed hundreds of athletes, models, actresses, trainers, doctors, and health/fitness experts as she sought to find answers to her own questions about working out while pregnant, arranging breast-feeding around a training schedule, diet when pregnant and breastfeeding, and encouraging her whole family.

Alex is the author of ten books, including Atta Girl! A Celebration of Women in Sports and Entering the Mother Zone: Balancing Self, Health & Family. We're excited to have her on board!