{Guest Post} with Elizabeth from Bite An Elephant…

{Guest Post} with Elizabeth from Bite An Elephant…

Apr 29

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We Love You Already{Image via SWG Photography}

Elizabeth is one of my dearest friends and long-time inspirations. She is the Wellness Programs Director at Chick-Fil-A, and she has dedicated her life to motivating others toward better health. I have picked her brain about everything from dairy products to bicycle shorts, so I was thrilled when she agreed to share her thoughts on her first pregnancy, her changing shape, and how she’s embraced the baby bump! She is due in July, and trust me when I say, she looks A-mazing {and she can still outrun me on a 6-miler– baby bump and all… Love you, Liz}. –Salina

Alright ladies, I want to begin with disclaimers so that we are on the same page.

1.    I am sharing simply from my personal experience being 6.5 months pregnant with my first baby.

2.   Every person and every pregnancy is unique.

Health and energy have been very important to me for many years. There is a clear correlation between food and exercise choices and how they affect my health (my ability to do what I want, when I want and not be limited by my own inability) and my energy (the extent that I can invest in people, projects, or opportunities). Naturally, after I found out the wonderful news that my amazing husband, John, and I were going to be parents my mind went to “how do I do this the healthiest way – for the baby and for me?”

Each week my body has been changing, and honestly that has been very difficult to accept. I used to look at pregnant girls and think, “You are so adorable. I am so excited to be in that place someday – fit with a baby bump.” I suppose I never really stopped to think about what it would really feel like to outgrow my clothes, not fit through small spaces like I used to, or to look in the mirror and think “whose body is that?” I am by nature a disciplined person, and I knew how much food I needed in a day to be healthy, and suddenly, I felt like I could eat everything in sight. It took me a few weeks to separate what the baby and I needed from what I wanted to give myself permission to eat.

Have you experienced that?

It doesn’t have to be pregnancy. It could be a hard day at work that ends with, “I had a hard day, I am going to treat myself to some ____”. Or perhaps it was a rough conversation with someone you care about that concludes with, “Some ____ will make me feel better”. Permission to behave in ways we want but we know are not productive can be dangerous. It is sneaky how it works. And I was finding in the first months of pregnancy I wanted to give myself permission to eat another cookie because after all I was growing a life inside me. What is bazaar is the reality that of all times this is the most important time for me to make wise decisions. A perspective shift was required to move from “I deserve” permissions to “what is the best choice right now?” wisdom.

jonlaurenmaternity_0012{Image via Love the Schultzes Photography}

Regarding exercise, I was thankful that the CDC had a statement regarding exercise during pregnancy – in my own words, if you did it before getting pregnant you can do it now, unless you feel pain–great motivation to be in our best shape before getting pregnant! My personal motto became “do what I can, as much as I can”. I am thankful I was able to run until about 24 weeks along. Now it looks like, thanks to a nice sharp pain in my hip, walking and cycling on the stationary bike is going to be the wise choice. I know that my decisions to exercise will help this little guy be the healthiest he can be. It will provide for a better delivery, and it will allow me to be my very best after he is born. As he grows up I want to be playing catch with him in the yard, not playing catch up with myself for poor decisions that I made while I was pregnant.

Striped bump 1{Image via Meghan Rickard Photography}

Each story is different, but the principles that I have learned in the process may relate to you:

  • Consider this season as precious and unique, and recognize that a growing tummy means a healthy baby.
  • Separate what we need to eat from what we want to give ourselves permission to eat, and moment by moment ask “what is the best choice I can make right now?”
  • Exercise every way you can (without pain and only if you did it before you were pregnant), as often as you can. (It will only get more challenging to move around)

So, no matter season of life, what would life look like for you if you knew you were living as the best version of yourself?
How would your confidence, energy, and even relationships look and feel different?

{You can follow Elizabeth at Bite An Elephant— a website that encourages readers to dream big and take action on those dreams every day!}

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Salina Beasley