Friday, December 21, 2012

Bed Rest, Exercise, Clean Eating -- Seems Contradictory But It Can Be done!

I am 27 weeks pregnant with my 4th child, and my first little girl!  I went in for a doctors appointment this last Wednesday and I am already dilated to a 2 - yikes!  My babies just like to come early!  So, the doctor has put me on bed rest; I can't work, or really move to do anything.  At first, I thought I would go crazy seeing that I am a busy-body and love to be active.  I like being productive at work and I love my morning gym time but all that has to change until my angel arrives.  It is time to get creative and since I'm new to this "bed rest" thing my mind has been flowing with ideas to maintain my sanity.  I hope if any of you are experiencing anything similar that my ideas may be able to help the time pass more positively as I know we are all counting down the days that it ends!

Disclaimer - I know there are different extremes to bed rest so please consult with your doctor before you try anything new as you don't want to make issues worse.

Exercise is VERY important to me! I believe most of us feel the same way. Our body and minds crave it more than we know. Bed rest is a quick way to deteriorate the muscles and bring on depression making life very unhealthy. I know this can be avoided.  Just like I found my motivation to wake up early every morning to go to the gym because I loved the results, I know I'll have to do the same thing with my new found bed rest prescription.

If you have already encompassed the clean eating lifestyle this will all be much easier on you. If you haven't this is a good time to start.

Help is obviously needed when on bed rest since we can't really do anything ourselves. The only time I am allowed out of bed is to go to the bathroom or to take a shower, which I look forward to.  I know it's important to move to prevent blood clotting so blood circulation is key.  Let me share some ideas...

First, have someone get in the habit of getting you a big glass of water for you first thing when you wake up. Stimulating your metabolism is important to help keep the blues away! My husband fills me up a big container of ice water with my no-sodium electrolytes that I love (I have them listed on my blog).  The potassium and magnesium will help your muscles not to feel so stiff as well as keep you hydrated.

If any of you have a Cocomotion I can't rave enough about it! My next morning regimen is to have my warmed vanilla coconut milk with some added cocoa (mixed and warmed in my cocomotion). I use the SO Delicious coconut milk brand. Yum! My husband has got good at making this for me. Coconut milk has more calcium than milk and the fat in it is SO good for energy and your immune system. If you've read any of my other posts/recipes, you know how much I love coconut oil and its health benefits and the same goes with the milk.

Now that I have all my liquids right next to me at my convenience I am ready to stimulate my muscles a bit. To prevent muscle deterioration, you have to use resistance weights.  I have a 10lb dumbbell that lays right next to me all day. For those of you that are not use to lifting weights I would suggest starting with 2 1/2 pound weight. You only need one dumbbell as you don't want to engage your core too much by having one in each hand. Start off slow and be sure to have someone place the dumbbell close to you where you don't have to strain to reach it.

I like to start with a military press. I can't sit with my back completely straight as this is a "no no" but laying at an angle I slowly press the dumbbell from the side of my body,  a 90 degree angle away from my head, palm out, and keeping my elbow in a square position - I do 25 repetitions on both sides, repeating twice back to back.  I then move to chest press staying in the same laying position.  I push the dumbbell up away from my chest toward the ceiling, keeping the elbow square in the down position. I like to straighten my elbow at the top of the movement, not too tight, but enough to engage my triceps. I do 25 repetitions on both sides, repeating twice back to back.  Oh, it feels good! You can feel the blood moving!  I then take the dumbbell and grab it with both hands holding it horizontally straight in front of my chest. I extend the dumbbell above my head, keeping my arms straight with a slight bend in the elbows, and bring it straight down in front of my chest. I do 30 repetitions, repeating twice back to back.  Last but not least, I hold one end of the dumbbell with both hands and do a center chest/tricep press.  Raise the dumbbell above your head and bend the elbows to bring the dumbbell in front of your face. You'll feel this in your chest but probably more so in your triceps as you just engaged them in the previous exercises.  This should take about 5 minutes to complete.  Try to do it throughout the day to get a total of 20 minutes in.

I just ordered an exercise band from Amazon as well that I can use to stretch my legs and arms in bed to prevent blood clotting. They are very safe and easy to use and provide the needed resistance that I need to keep from swelling through out the day.  As for now I can lay on my side and do knee lifts to get the blood moving in my legs. I will also lift my leg slightly, not too high as again we don't want to stimulate the core, and hold and contract it in position for 20 seconds.  Point your toes and circle your feet and really get the blood moving.  I also take my exercise ball and push one of my heels at a time and roll it in towards my butt.  I repeat this 25 times on each leg, twice back to back.

Once my blood is moving I function so much better. Now, go get a good magazine or book and read. I don't watch much TV so unless my husband is home with me the TV stays off, not to say it's a bad thing. I am currently keeping my mind occupied with reading, writing up exercise plans for when I am in recovery after the baby is born, creating recipes that I can test when I can be "ME" again, and writing on my site. :) Finding a good hobby such as knitting or art work would rejuvenating too. There is so much that can be done. I've thought about starting a journal, which I should do anyway, and document each day. I have set a goal to learn something new every day whether it is about nutrition or anything that interests my mind and to write it down - I could add that to my journal.

Clean Eating - yes, you can still eat clean on bed rest. If anything, it's probably easier. Snacking every 2-3 hours is great. My hummus and gluten free whole grain crackers is one of my favorites. I also love the protein shakes I use to make but now my husband gets to do it. :)  We make a fruit or a chocolate shake packed full of goodness! Yogurt, nuts, unsweetened dried fruit, salads, are all good snacks to eat through out the day. I have a mini crock pot next to the bed where I have a sweet potato that slow cooks for me.  I dob it with a little bit of coconut oil, cinnamon and agave before I devour it, skin and all.  Don't let yourself get full. Eat when you are hungry otherwise it will be easy to gain a lot of weight quickly. Be sure to drink your fluids, especially water through out the day.

I would love to hear any of your ideas as I am sure there are many of you who are pro "bed rest-ers". :)  Healthy tips are much appreciated!

I am throwing positive thoughts all your way - send them back to me too! ;)