How to Get the “Pregnancy Glow”

You’ve probably heard people talk about a “pregnancy glow.” But if you’re like me, maybe you don’t always feel terribly glowy or attractive or anything but BIG during pregnancy. Both physically and emotionally, pregnancy can be tough that way. So today’s post is on how to look good pregnant and get that “pregnancy glow.” Because really, who doesn’t want THAT secret? ūüėČ

But I’m going to be real. It can be hard to look in the mirror and jump for joy when you’re pregnant. (Actually, it can be hard to jump for any reason without peeing your pants when you’re pregnant. But you know what I mean.)

It’s discouraging to suddenly see your waistline disappear completely. It’s tough to see your fingers and feet swell up to sausagey proportions that make all thoughts of rings or shoes that aren’t flip flops sound like a joke. It can be frustrating to see pictures of pregnant celebrities¬†who look like supermodels with a basketball tucked under their shirt and then feel like rather than having a cute bump, you have instead BECOME a bump. Some days, I feel like this guy:

pregnancy glow funny meme

Yet at the same time, if you’re like me, you’re ashamed of these feelings. You know what a blessing and miracle it is to be pregnant. There are women out there who would give their right arm for your sausagey fingers. You’re thrilled about having a baby, but less thrilled about this new version of you that is larger than you’ve ever seen yourself before. And so you end up feeling not only ugly and fat but guilty too‚ÄĒa pretty miserable trifecta of emotions.

I wish I could tell you how to banish swelling, stretch marks, and anything else that has you down. The bad news: I can’t. But the good news? You don’t need anything like that.

The real secret to looking good while pregnant is¬†BELIEVING you look amazing and then carrying yourself accordingly. If that sounds too good ¬†or simple to be true, I dare you: try it out and see what happens. ūüôā I’m pretty sure that glow = confidence. So if you can figure out how to stay confident about yourself and your body while pregnant, you’ve got it made.

Today I’m going to share five¬†things that help me keep¬†my head in the right place. These five things help me carry myself with confidence, stay body positive, and see myself as pretty even on my most sausage-fingery, non-glowy days.

 

1. Ignore dumb comments from others.

During my first pregnancy, I had to go back to my old high school to drop something off for my job. As I waddled down the hallway, from behind me I heard a teenage girl giggle and then whisper to her friends, “Oh my gosh! I hope I’m not that huge whenever I’m pregnant!”¬†I totally cried once I got back to my car. I let it ruin my day and replayed the scene over and over in my head the rest of that pregnancy. I let it get to me, and if you look at pics from that first pregnancy, it shows.

In my second and current pregnancy, I’ve done better this way. Thankfully too, I haven’t heard anyone be as outright mean in their comments.¬†But you always, always have the insensitive, oblivious weirdos at the store who make comments like, “Are you sure you aren’t due today?” “Got twins in there?” “You look ready to pop!”

funny pregnancy ecard
You know what you should do when that happens? Flat-out ignore it. Totally disregard anyone who feels the need to comment on your size. Forget about whatever crap they said on the spot. That person is either not thinking, or more likely, is¬†insecure about his or her¬†own weight or appearance. Most snarky, unkind comments come from people who don’t feel good about themselves. Haters gonna hate. So whenever you are at the receiving end of unwanted commentary on your appearance, take it as 100% a reflection on the giver of the comment, not on you.

But What About Compliments?

But what about positive comments? You shouldn’t hinge your self-esteem on what others think, obviously. But I don’t think there’s a thing wrong with graciously accepting compliments and letting yourself feel happy when they come.¬†This pregnancy, actually, people have been insanely nice to me this way.¬†Last week I posted a pic of myself on day 1 of my third trimester and was overwhelmed by how kind people’s comments were.

That’s both nice of people and kind of funny. Why? Well, my doctor has given me the heads-up at my past few appointments that my uterus is measuring about a month ahead of average (not a health concern in his view, but still). My weight gain and my baby’s measurements are on track, but apparently I just have a super huge uterus. So the truth is that I am in fact abnormally BIG for my 28 weeks! But when someone says something nice to me, I don’t feel the need to explain to them that I’m actually not cute or tiny or pretty or whatever because my doctor said so. I just smile and say thanks.

 

2. Keep track of your baby’s development week by week.

For me, it’s helpful to constantly remember WHY I am getting bigger. I’m having a BABY! And the more specific I get, the better. Find a week-by-week pregnancy tracking app or hit a site like BabyCenter or What to Expect that tells you how your baby is growing each week. It’s nice for me to be able to think, “Wow! My baby gained 4 ounces this week, is as big as an ear of corn, and now has enough hearing to distinguish MY voice from other sounds!” instead of solely thinking about the number on the scale.

These specific details about how miraculously my little one is growing helps keep my head in the right place. Plus, how crazy-amazing is it to think that your body is currently growing another human being?! That is both something to be amazed by and proud of. Getting bigger is totally worth it for a sweet little baby, and reading specific weekly updates about my baby’s development helps me to remember this AND appreciate all that my body is capable of.

pregnancy glow at 24 weeks along
Me during the week that Scarlett was the size of an eggplant.

3. Buy cute maternity clothes.

This sounds shallow, but my experience is that on days when I’m dressed in something I like and have spent as much time on my hair and makeup as I did pre-pregnancy, I’m a lot more able to stay body positive. I spent most of my first two pregnancies schlepping around makeupless and unshowered in my husband’s old clothes. I’m huge anyway, I remember thinking. Why bother?¬†As a result, I felt pretty frumpy and awful most of the time. Anyone who lived in their husband’s ¬†baggy old things would feel that way after long enough!

But dressing up a bit sends a powerful message, both to yourself and others. When I take the time on myself to put together a cute¬†outfit, I’m essentially telling myself, “Yeah, I’m worth the effort.” And that self-affirmation radiates out and lets everyone else know that you still think you’re gorgeous.

 

look good pregnant black lace top

4. Work out.

Exercise is powerful. Remember what Elle Woods has to say about exercise in Legally Blonde? Well, in addition to helping you not kill your husband, endorphins can help your confidence too. Simply working up a sweat, in whatever way is safe and fun for you during pregnancy, feels good. Personally, I know workouts keep my outlook on not just my body but life in general more sunny.

As an added bonus, working out regularly can keep your pregnancy weight gain in check. Now, let me be clear: you can and should feel confident at any weight. But it’s just the truth that the farther you get from your pre-pregnancy weight, the tougher it may be mentally to stay body positive.

Every healthy pregnant woman needs to gain some weight ¬†and will therefore get bigger. But working out regularly can help stave off excessive pregnancy gain along with the benefit of simply helping you feel good. If you’re curious about how to get in safe but effective pregnancy workouts, check out my list of the 6 Best Pregnancy Workout DVDs¬†as well as my post on Pregnancy Cardio.¬†

 

how to look good pregnant workout gear

5. Last of all, remember that you are your own worst critic.

You may look in the mirror and be horrified at what you see, but guess what? Your opinions aren’t fact. Especially if body image is something you’ve struggled with in the past, keep an open mind and consider that your view of yourself may be pretty¬†distorted.

You may be less sure, but trust me. Others probably look at you and see a gorgeous, glowing, lovely mama-to-be‚ÄĒnot whatever you’ve decided in your head that you more closely resemble. They’re looking at you and wondering how YOU¬†figured the whole pregnancy glow thing out so flawlessly.

So be kind to yourself. You’re doing better than you think you are! Keep your chin up and your confidence high. Remember that your attitude is what will make you the ultimate gorgeous and “glowy” pregnant person.

How do you stay body positive when you’re pregnant? Comment away!

Quick Korean Beef ‚ÄĒ Freezer Meal Friday

It’s FMF: Freezer Meal Friday. And to kick things off, I wanted to start with the recipe for one of my very favorite make ahead freezer meals ‚ÄĒ Quick Korean Beef.¬† I’ve never actually eaten real Korean food, so I can’t attest to this recipe being particularly authentic. But I can tell you that it is delicious!

This Quick Korean Beef is a slightly modified version of the¬†Korean Beef recipe found on one of my very favorite recipe sites, Six Sisters’ Stuff.¬†If you compare my version to theirs, you’ll see that I’ve omitted the sesame oil (even lean beef has plenty of fat to make this dish tasty), swapped garlic salt for fresh garlic, and left out both the green onions and red pepper flakes based on my family’s taste preferences as well as to pare down the ingredient list. This makes mine an equally tasty, even simpler version. ¬†With just 5 ingredients and zero chopping involved, it comes together in minutes. WIN. Note that I’ve also quadrupled the Six Sisters’ version so that you get several nights of dinner out of one night in the kitchen.

make ahead freezer meals korean beef

Quick Korean Beef

4 lbs lean ground beef (I use the 91% lean beef found in the freezer section at Costco)

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup soy sauce

1 1/2  teaspoon dried ground ginger

garlic salt to taste

 

Directions

  1. Brown and then drain the lean ground beef.
  2. Add the soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and garlic salt to the beef and mix in thoroughly.
  3. Let cool completely before portioning into freezer-quality ziplock bags. You can put these together as individual portions in sandwich size bags. Or, what I tend to do, is portion out the approximate amount my family of four will eat in one sitting and put it into a slightly larger ziplock bag.
  4. On the day you want to eat this meal, you can either warm this beef through on the stovetop or defrost it on low-power in your microwave until hot. Voila! If I am thinking ahead, I like to put it in the fridge the morning I plan to serve it so that the warming process is even faster.make ahead freezer recipe directions

On the Side

  • This dish is wonderful served over either white rice or quinoa. I make and freeze batches of both, portioning them into individual bags since my husband prefers rice, I prefer quinoa, and the kids vary from day to day. I then warm up the bagged rice or quinoa as I’m warming up the beef on the stovetop.
  • I also buy pre-frozen bags of broccoli that I steam in the microwave or quickly boil on my stovetop to serve on the side. Frozen peas or green beans also pair well with the meat and rice/quinoa in this dish.
  • If you’re willing to do a quick bit of chopping, I’ve found that raw baby carrots give this dish an extra crunch. The bright orange and green also look so pretty on the plate together.

Nutritional Info

This data comes from divvying up this big batch into 15 individual servings (or for my family, 5 big bags. I then serve up about 1/3 a bag apiece for my husband and I and split the remaining 1/3 between my 5-year-old and 2-year-old). Also note that this data is for the beef alone. If you’re counting calories or macros, be sure to account for any grains or veggies you eat on the side.

Calories: 308 | Fat: 11g | Carbs: 29g | Protein: 26g

There you have it! As far as quick, healthy, easy make ahead freezer meals go, this is one of the best recipes out there. Enjoy!