Simple Tips to Help Prevent Sympathy Weight Gain
By Coach Jimmy Hays Nelson
I have noticed there are a ton of blogs, articles, and books for women on how to prevent too much weight gain during their pregnancy. Or how to lose the baby weight after they have given birth. But what about the men?!?!
It was a little over a year ago when I found myself in that exact position! My wife and I were expecting our first child. Everything about pregnancy and all the things that come with it was totally new and foreign to me. All I knew is that I wanted to be the good, supportive husband and make my wife’s experience as smooth as possible.
I had heard funny stories of crazy cravings. (Who hasn’t heard a good pickles and ice cream pregnancy joke?) But they definitely came fast and furiously. The first one I can remember being pretty consistent was a crazy constant craving for egg drop soup. The people at our local P.F. Chang’s got to know us on a pretty consistent basis.
The next one was cheese. All kinds of cheese, and LOTS of it. Living in Texas, we don’t have a shortage of Mexican food joints that are more than happy to drown anything in queso! Then, my previously pescatarian wife started craving chicken in all forms and fashions. Followed by a stage that I call the “I don’t care what’s inside it as long as it’s FRIED’ stage.
So what is a soon-to-be first time father with his own health and fitness company to do when the love of his life is obviously uncomfortable and the only thing that will make her happy is some meaty cheesy fried therapy?
I’ll tell you what you do: You make her happy! But I am also here to tell you that you CAN be the ultimate Super Hubby without looking like you are doing some kind of man/woman dual pregnancy science experiment! It’s not always easy, but it IS possible.
Looking back on that third trimester when the cravings were all over the place, I’m thankful I had two things working in my favor. First, our company NELSONGY FITNESS works closely with Beachbody. I was already scheduled to be sent by Beachbody to go on an all expense paid trip to the Caribbean. Knowing I was going to be surrounded by a bunch of fitness minded people in bathing suits and doing workouts with celebrity trainers Shuan T and Chalene Johnson made it easier to watch my wife inhale her cheese bowl without joining her.
Second was the fact that I had already surrounded myself with a support community before my wife got pregnant. These people are the secret to my long-term success. There have been many seasons in life when fitness and nutrition were not at the top of my priority list. And it would have been easy to justify falling off the wagon for a few weeks or even months. Having a like-minded group of people that constantly encourage, support, and challenge me was priceless. In many cases, other fathers shared stories of sympathy weight gain and how they wish they would have avoided it, or tips on preventing it all together.
Many times its easy to fall into the trap of thinking in order to empathize we have to fully participate. That isn’t the case. At the end of the day, the goal is to comfort and support them. If I am enjoying steamed chicken and veggies with brown rice at P.F. Chang’s while my wife has Egg Drop soup and fried rice – it’s ok! She is filling her craving, and has someone there to enjoy it with – aka- she’s happy! Adding to your waistline and complaining about it to your wife isn’t making her pregnancy easier!
If you don’t have something like a Caribbean vacation on the horizon to keep you accountable, create an event. Maybe it’s a progress photo shoot, a 5K race, or a mud run. Maintaining your fitness and workouts will also help you deal with any extra stress you may feel as the due date gets closer and closer.
If you don’t have a local support group, find one. Maybe it’s a local running group, rec basketball league, or joining one of our virtual Challenge Groups.
Bottom line is that you can be a good example of healthy living to your child even before they make their grand entrance! If I can do it, you can do it!
If your significant other is expecting, and you are feeling frustrated, discouraged, or overwhelmed I invite you to stop by my Facebook page and leave me a message!
In This Together—Coach Jimmy