Is pregnancy the biggest motivator for a healthier lifestyle?

I don’t know if this answer will surprize you or not, but here it is.

No, not necessarily. And here’s some reasons why.

We’re human, not machines

Human beings are amazing and sometimes what we can accomplish is mind boggling. And, we also give up, quit, and procrastinate about implementing positive changes. It’s part of just being human.

Tip:  Accept yourself as you are and recognize that sometimes you are awesome, and other days you’re not. It’s being human.

Changing habits 

Let’s be honest. Who succeeds with New Year’s Resolutions over the long haul?  We set ourselves up to improve our lives every time a new year begins.  We often have great plans and wonderful ideas, but few folks achieve their goals as this research from Ipsos (2015) shows:

“Nationwide, only about 31 per cent of Canadians actually select a New Year’s resolution, and out of that 31 per cent, 73 per cent are bound to break it, according to an Ipsos poll from 2015.Jan 2, 2018

Canadians’ top New Year’s resolutions by the numbers …
www.ourwindsor.ca › community-story › 8028996-cana

Tip: Being pregnant is exciting. If you are going to make changes, be easy on yourself. Talk to folks who can help you stop or limit an unhealthy behaviour and take baby steps (no pun intended) on changing habits. Set yourself up to succeed bit by bit.  If you’re looking at exercise, or quitting something cold turkey, please talk honestly to a health care professional to ensure you do it as safely as possible without accidentally harming yourself or the baby.

We don’t agree with information we receive during pregnancy 

Many times, teens and women are given almost too much information about what they should or should not do while pregnant.  It can be quickly be overwhelming and frustrating. And, what can happen, is we start ignoring or denying the information.  We might be given advice by our friends and families accidently filled with misinformation, too.  What worked for one person during pregnancy may not always be helpful for another person.

Tip:  Learn about pregnancy and your needs with your medical team and if you can, bring your supports to meetings. Ideally, great conversations can take place with everyone understanding what YOU need during YOUR pregnancy.

Fear 

Pregnancy is a normal life event. Each pregnancy is different. Some folks may have health risks before pregnancy happens, and sometimes health risks develop during pregnancy.  I’ve had more than one friend told to stop work early, to rest more and a couple of friends who were told to be on bedrest (in other words, only get up to pee).  Those changes can be terrifying and it’s easy to feel afraid. Sometimes the fear stops folks from accepting the advice.  

Tip:  Learn to relax and find healthy outlets for the emotions stopping you from following advice.  That might mean listening to music or podcasts that relax you or being creative and writing (or drawing or photography with your phone), or checking out laughter yoga to reduce stress, or connecting to an emotional support person who understands YOU.

Pressure from ‘fake’ social media

You don’t have to join every trend so why not remove social media pressure?  We all know this, and we need to keep reminding ourselves.  Social media is filled with trends and people who post may not always be posting the ‘real’ story because social media allows us to pretend.  Right? You know, people do post pictures of their life that aren’t quite true because they want to seem better than they are. If you get consumed by trends you might be setting yourself up to fail.

Tip:  Take the time to be true to yourself and your beliefs.  Don’t want to post everything? Then don’t!  Remember, your child can eventually see what you’ve posted on social media, too.  If you need to take a break from social media, that’s fine. Spend more time connecting with people who know you, respect you, and support you

Finally

The desire to exchange bad habits for good ones, or to enjoy a healthier lifestyle in mind, body and heart, doesn’t happen like the flip of a switch to turn on a light.

Be gentle with yourself and set fresh goals that bring more joy into your life and let you feel productive and healthier in managing both your life and the pregnancy. Take the time to discover what motivates you, what stops you and who can help you.

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