All Woman

Pregnant, fat and miserable

Donovan GRANT

Monday, April 15, 2019

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Dear Donovan,

I am currently seven months pregnant and in the last few weeks I have gained about 30 pounds. This has caused me much distress, because I do not want to be fat. Even though I try to eat healthy, I am hungry all the time, and indulge in sweet treats, and even soda. How can I cut back on my calories and lose some weight, so I don't balloon much further? It's very hard to tame my cravings. My baby is healthy and active, if a bit on the larger side, so all the food I'm eating is just going to my hips and thighs. Can you give me a diet guideline please! I am 5ft, and I'm currently weighing 168 pounds, up from 120 when I first got pregnant.

Congratulations on your pregnancy! Bringing a child into this world is one of life's greatest blessings! Most pregnant women will experience a drastic increase in appetite around the second trimester of pregnancy. This is usually the time when morning sickness ends. This increase in appetite is due to your baby needing more calories and nutrients for growth and development. However, there is no need to increase calorie intake by more than 350 calories in the second trimester and 500 calories in the third trimester.

Giving in to your cravings and consuming too many calories can lead to excessive weight gain; which can affect your health as well as that of your unborn child's. In addition, you may even make the delivery of your child more difficult with this consumption. You mentioned that you have gained 30 pounds in the last few weeks, and overall you have put on 48 pounds so far in your pregnancy. Since you basically have two more months to go, you will have to make every effort to control your weight gain in your now third trimester. In this period, your baby can grow from two and a half pounds and 16 inches in length at seven months and between six and nine pounds and 19 to 22 inches in length at nine months. However, the good thing is that in the third trimester you might notice a decrease in appetite due to the fact that your growing baby leaves less room for your stomach.

I am going to make some suggestions that hopefully will help to reduce your rapid weight gain. Going forward, it is important to eat smaller and more frequent meals instead of a few large meals daily. It is better to eat five or six small meals instead of two to three large meals, for example. By eating every three to four hours, you will be more likely to keep your appetite under control.

In addition, it is important for you to choose fresh, whole foods, for example, fruits and vegetables, instead of refined or processed foods. A salad can make you feel full as well as provide important nutrients for you and your baby.

It is also important to keep yourself hydrated since your body will need more liquid in pregnancy. If possible, try to aim for eight to 12 glasses of water daily. In some cases it may be hard to differentiate between being hungry and thirsty. In your case, it is necessary to cut out sodas and sweets from your diet. Sodas will increase calories as well as increase your appetite without providing nutritional value (empty calories). Foods that you do not intend to eat should not be bought.

If possible, you should also have on hand healthy snacks, example, fruits and coconut water, in case you get hungry between meals.

Watch your calorie intake, avoid processed, refined, sugary, and greasy foods. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, yoghurt, salads, and soups will be good for you at this time. If possible, with your doctor's permission, you may also do some exercises. But no vigorous exercises should be done — example jumping, bouncing, hopping or skipping. Water exercises are usually good. Studies have shown that pregnant women who exercise during pregnancy enjoy many health benefits. These include improved cardiovascular health, blood pressure, mood and weight control. However, you should consult with your health care provider before starting any exercise programme.

We will answer your weight-related questions

Are you struggling to lose weight or just need some advice on living a healthier life? Tell us about your health issues and we'll have nutritionist and wellness coach Donovan Grant answer them for you. Grant has over 12 years' experience in the fitness industry and is the owner of DG's Nutrition and Wellness Centre, 39 Lady Musgrave Road. Call him at 876-286-1363. E-mail questions to clarkep@jamaicaobserver.com.


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