Our second Table Talk interview (mommy edition) is officially in the books with fitness enthusiast, dancer, aerialist and new momma, Andrea Salini. This interview was done when Andrea was 38 weeks into her pregnancy. Now she has a beautifully healthy baby girl named Sophia and she, as well as anyone who follows her on the gram is absolutely obsessed with the Sophs, especially when she is in bunny ears. Andrea has always been a personal inspiration to me because I always felt like she had a healthy relationship with food and training. That directly translated through her pregnancy in my eyes, and I feel like her story had to be shared.
After all, just by looking at her pre- and during pregnancy body you can see that she is absolute goals, not just because of the way she looks, but because you can tell she is happy in her own skin and we are EBS are all about loving your body!
What did your average day look like while pregnant?
My average physical activity pre-pregnancy started with a 10 min warm-up, usually on the treadmill, then about 1-1.5 hrs of weight lifting combined with plyos and ALWAYS followed by at least 20 min of thorough stretching (VERY IMPORTANT). There were days when I had aerial practice as well so that was another hour of training at the studio, other days I would skip out on the gym and practice in the evening. Now during pregnancy, everything has changed (positively of course)! Aerial training is on pause for now, duh, and the gym is thankfully still in my life at 38 weeks. I kept up with the same training regimen for most of my pregnancy, adjusting weight and intensity as needed. I was making it about 4 times a week to the gym and now towards the end I'm REALLLLYYY starting to feel the #struggle and I aim to make it 3 times a week. My workouts have changed a lot recently. I've had to tone it down many notches and focus more on total body, body weight movements as opposed to focusing on just one muscle group and tearing the crap out of it. I've also been focusing more on cardio and I've increased my 10 min warm-up to 20-30 min of light walking (trust me, it feels like I've ran 3 miles towards the end). When you're pregnant, your body is going through so many hormonal and physical changes. Ligaments and joints are loose and more sensitive due to the excess hormone, relaxin, your body is producing. It's important to listen to your body and take it easy when needed. Not to mention the extra 20-35 lbs you're already carrying! That's a workout in itself. When I have one of those "I'm not making it to the gym" days (they will happen often and that's totally okay), I try to take up a short physical goal for the day like sweeping, mopping, laundry and just about anything to keep me somewhat active! Of course, I make sure to fit in plenty of couch potato days, like today, because #balance.
Do you have any nutritional restrictions?
I don't have any specific restrictions in my regimen. I'm a huge believer in moderation and I apply that to literally everything in life. I do aim for wholesome & well balanced meals, a lot of plant based foods, organic choices (when the wallet allows it), and LOTS of fruits and veggies. I always have a serving of veggies with each meal. It's just as important, maybe even more, than having protein in your meals. I still eat meat but I try to stick to lighter meats like fish, chicken breast and lean ground turkey. I've been health conscious for as long as I can remember and to be honest, this way of eating makes me FEEL good. Sure, there are days where I give in to delicious mac n cheese or 5 Red Lobster biscuits but the next day I CANNOT WAIT to get back to my habits and cleanse. Don't get me wrong, I feel absolutely no guilt and I enjoy every bite but again ... BALANCE. Oh also, I need chocolate every day :)))) Major sweet tooth.
How has being pregnant changed the way you fuel?
Pregnancy has definitely changed the way I eat. I'm guilty of eating way too much protein when I was into bodybuilding and literally obsessing over how many grams of protein I would eat in a day. During my pregnancy, I've been forced to really listen to my body and the nutrition it asks for, especially when I couldn't stand the thought (or smell) of some of my favorite things! I learned to eat intuitively. I eat to fuel my body and my baby, I don't eat to fuel my muscles anymore. It's a common misconception that protein is the key to a healthy body. Aesthetically, yes, it may help grow your muscles quicker to achieve that full, ripped look, but it's time we all start looking into MICROnutrients rather than MACROnutrients. What is your food made up of? Has it been processed? Are there added hormones? Will eating 3 servings of chicken breast a day (true story, sadly) fuel my body more than a massive quinoa and veggie salad? Probably not.
Side note: I am in no way bashing on those who still eat chicken or processed meats. I still do as well but I'm referring to those extremists who allow themselves to become obsessed with one way of eating. Unfortunately I was one of them and I've learned that balance really is key. Enjoy your meats, veggies, tofu, dairy products, vegan products and anything your body desires but make sure you're mental health is number 1.
Do you think you will take any of these learnings and apply them towards your post-pregnancy nutrition?
I'm definitely taking away a huge lesson and I can't wait to apply this new style of eating with my workouts once I get this little girl out!
What do you eat for the following meals?
1/2 cup oats
1 cup soy milk
1 tbsp peanut butter
2 whole eggs or 1 whole egg & 2 egg whites ( Fun fact: I LOVE eggs and I must have them every day. No matter the time. They were my breakfast go to in the past, but pregnancy has made me wake up craving oatmeal every morning so I've had to make some minor adjustments lol)
Handful of spinach
2 mushrooms sliced
Dash of pink salt and pepper
2 whole wheat slices of toast
Light cream cheese
Dinner leftovers from the night before
Veggie patty with whatever I find
(They're different every day, these are some favs)
Greek yogurt and granola
Smoothie bowl topped with fruit and granola
Hummus and carrots
PB & J sandwich
A serving of veggies (my recent favs and approx 1/2 cup)
Mixed frozen veggies
A serving of protein (approx 3 ounces)
A serving of grains/carbs (approx 1/2 cup for me)
LATE NIGHT SNACK
Ben and Jerry's (LOL)
My fiance's stash of pretzel sticks with peanut butter
How in the world did you manage your cravings? If you don't mind sharing, how many pounds have you gained? Is that a healthy amount? how do you think that you managed that?
I think I've been lucky as far as cravings to be honest. I never really felt that crazy NEED for something like you see in movies where the pregnant woman makes her husband get out of bed at 3am for ice cream and pickles or she becomes a monster ya know? I did however have one crazy hot dog craving so we rushed to Target before they closed lmao. Then there was this one time I saw a McDonalds cheeseburger on my feed and oh lord I really thought I wanted it BUT... I knew that was a terrible choice and I would probably feel like poo afterwards, considering I haven't had fast food in years. I found some singles cheese in my fridge and made a sandwich... surprisingly, this helped! Maybe I just wanted cheese... who knows. Aside from that, I've craved a lot more fish and shrimp than before so I usually order that when we eat out (I'm not the best at cooking seafood). I believe cravings come from a nutritional unbalance and get out of control when your body is low on something. I've made sure to keep my diet balanced every day and allow myself my daily dose of bad stuff or sweets. I may be wrong but it seemed to have worked for me!
I've gained 25 lbs and I'm currently 38 weeks pregnant. They say the healthy amount is between 25-35 lbs. I haven't focused on gaining or losing weight at all. I embraced the weight gain because it's normal and healthy for the baby & just kept up with my usual exercise/eating habits. Remember, this is MY pregnancy and everyone will have a different experience. Please don't compare yourself to anyone else. We all have different body types and metabolisms.
Do you stress eat? Or is there anything that triggers you to eat? How have you or do you overcome those moments?
I 100% stress eat! When I'm stressed or anxious you'll catch me binge eating just about anything I can get my hands on, it's terrible haha. I try to make health conscious choices when I can like going for the carrots and hummus instead of the ice cream pint. Having healthy snacks handy helps a lot. I always make sure to grab some when I grocery shop for unfortunate moments like this.
If you had to give people 3 tips to proper pregnancy nutrition what would they be?
VEGGIES, VEGGIES, VEGGIES.
It is sooo important to make healthy choices for yourself and more importantly for your baby! Don't wait till you get pregnant to start eating better, trust me it's a lot harder. Start now. Little by little start incorporating and trying new veggies with your meals. Try salads if you're not a fan of steamed veggies, or try roasted veggies, cooking them into your food like a ground turkey & veggie scramble, put them in your omelette in the morning.. whatever it is just do it! Your body will thank you. There's nothing like the fuel of fruits and veggies.
This doesn't necessarily mean go weight lift (unless your body is used to it and your doctor gives you the okay). Yoga, walking, swimming... anything helps. Aim for 30 minutes a day, 4 times a week. Your doctor will tell you how important this is for your pregnancy. Again, don't wait until you're pregnant to start. I cannot stress enough how important it is to incorporate healthy eating and exercise habits into your daily lives even when you're not pregnant. THIS IS FOR EVERYONE. Even if it's 3 times a week, you'll keep your body healthy and create a routine and when you're pregnant you'll feel like a superwoman! Most importantly, you'll pass these amazing habits on to your little one.
Side note: There are some cases with high-risk pregnancies in which certain activities are not safe. Check with your doctor before any physical activity and do whatever is right for YOUR body and YOUR pregnancy.
MENTAL HEALTH IS JUST AS IMPORTANT AS PHYSICAL HEALTH
Love yourself. Love your weight gain, your new curves, your enlarged breasts (and the pain that comes with it), your thicker thighs, wider hips, growing belly, swelling feet.. take it all in. Love your strong nails and new healthy hair (see, it's not all too bad ....), your hormonal changes, emotional ups and downs, overwhelming thoughts & everything that pregnancy brings. It's a beautiful moment in your life when you learn what motherhood really is. Think about it, you're going through all these things for someone else. Someone YOU are creating inside of you! A little human is in there depending on you to help them grow, develop, and live. EMBRACE IT. Take the challenge and make the best of it. Don't compare your pregnancy or your body to others. This is your time to shine, Mama's!
To follow Andrea's journey be sure to follow her on Instagram @Andrea__Salini