Things get deep and personal as we talk to our founder, Fayrouz Youssef, about her two pregnancies to understand how being more aware of your lifestyle can have a huge impact on your health and appearance.
As the ‘always skinny’ girl who was eager to get pregnant at 23, Fayrouz knew very minimal information about what a healthy lifestyle actually was. She thought, like many others, that being skinny means good health. The excitement of being a mom-to-be pushed worries of weight gain to the back of her mind, so much that Fayrouz’s sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating caused her to gain 6kg by the end of her first trimester. By the end Fayrouz had put on a whole 28kg. ‘People who knew me and saw me at that stage of my pregnancy didn’t recognize me’ she told us, and more importantly, she couldn’t recognize herself. Fayrouz became demotivated and dispirited as she was a first-time dieter who had no idea how to lose all the excess postpartum weight. She decided to take action, and from there came her decision to learn more about health by studying nutrition.
Three years later, and with a much higher level of awareness, Fayrouz took a very different route for her second pregnancy. As soon as her first trimester was complete, she hit the gym again and resumed her regular exercise routine, with pregnancy modifications of course. Swimming, some cardio on the treadmill, and gentle weight training composed her routines. ‘People looked at me like I was crazy, I was criticized for exercising by people I knew and people I didn’t know’. She was being criticized for doing what should be the norm, Fayrouz reiterated.
In terms of her diet, we were happy to know that Fayrouz was not too strict with herself. She listened to her body’s cravings and satisfied them sensibly. Between her first and second pregnancy she had completely cut out meat and cheese, for example, but she felt her body needed this extra protein and nutrition during this important phase of her life so she reintroduced these items into her diet. Baladi bread with tahini and molasses were on the top of her breakfast meals, green smoothies as snacks, and she paid particular attention to her water intake too. ‘Most days I would have salads with protein, and some days I would crave things like pizza and I would have a couple of slices because that’s ok too’.
Fayrouz’s motto and outlook on her second pregnancy seemed to have worked perfectly, because by the end of her pregnancy she had only gained 13kg, a week later she had lost 9kg, and 10 days after that she was back to her normal weight. Yes, she made a huge effort during her pregnancy to make better food choices and stay active, but Fayrouz assured us that in the end it paid off was well worth the effort.
It all comes down to one very important point Fayrouz mentioned mid-conversation. ‘I enjoyed my second pregnancy; I enjoyed the experience, how I looked, and how I felt each day’. That’s the most important thing at the end of the day, right? If you are expecting or know someone that is, we encourage you to bust the myths that pregnant women are ‘eating for two’ or ‘shouldn’t move’. Women are strong, they can withstand childbearing, and a healthy body means you will be able to withstand it even better.
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