Making a weight management plan

It's important to look after yourself and start managing your weight as early as possible in your pregnancy to get the most benefit. Having some goals and planning what you're going to do will help.

NOTE: This page is for women who have a BMI of 30 or over. If you have a BMI of 18.5 or less you can read more here.

The most important thing about managing your weight is to be kind to yourself. If you have a bad day, don't give yourself a hard time – you can get back on track the next day.

Make a plan to manage your weight

Download and print our Goal plan here.

It will help you set some goals that you can follow and you can pin it somewhere you will see it every day.

Research has shown that people who have step-by-step plans to help them reach a goal are more likely to succeed. Pick some practical things you can do today, such as going for a walk, planning a healthy shopping list or signing up for a pregnancy exercise classes. If your plan is clear and simple it is easier to stick to it.

Give yourself goals you can achieve

Start by picking the easiest things to change and make the changes very simple. For example, you could say, 'I will have a healthy breakfast every day instead of skipping breakfast.' Or 'I will take a healthy snack to work instead of buying a chocolate bar.' If you know exactly what you're aiming to do, it will be much easier to stick to than a vague idea that you'll be 'healthier'.

Write your goals on the goal plan and tick them off when you've done them.

Think about why you're eating

It’s tempting to reach for the biscuit tin when we've had a bad day or when we’re bored. You may also be used to having a snack at a particular time of day so it feels as though you’re missing out if you don't have it, even if you're not hungry.

If you're aware of why you're eating, that's a big step towards taking control of eating when you're not hungry. Ask yourself whether you're really hungry and if you are, eat something. If you're not hungry, or you're not sure, you may be thirsty or need something to distract you.

Find a distraction

If you crave food when you know you're not really hungry, try doing something to distract yourself. You could:

  • phone a friend
  • go for a walk
  • get a glass of water or a mug of fruit tea
  • have a warm bath, go for a walk
  • put some music on
  • read a book.

It doesn't matter what you do as long as it takes your mind off eating. 

Get active with a friend

If you know someone who is pregnant, or trying to manage their weight, get together to walk, swim or exercise class. You're more likely to stick to your healthy goals if you do them with someone else and you'll be able to give each other support. Getting active with a friend is a great excuse to meet up for an activity, a healthy lunch or just a chat.

Don't give yourself a hard time

Everyone has days where they just don't feel like doing much or when they eat the biscuits they said they wouldn't have. If this happens to you, try not to get annoyed with yourself or feel that you have failed.

Believe in yourself and tell yourself that tomorrow is a new day. You can do this, for you and for your baby.

Reward yourself!

It feels great to succeed at a goal you've set yourself. For many people, that feeling is enough to stay on track but you could also reward yourself when you stick to your plan. Choose treats that aren't food, such as a bubble bath, a magazine or book, a manicure, haircut or a movie. A reward is a great reason to keep going.

There are some apps here that can help you

Read more

Sources

  1. Taylor S E, Pham L B, Rivkin I  D et al (1998) Harnessing the imagination. Mental simulation, self-regulation and coping, American Psychologist, 1998, Apr 53(4)  429-39
  2. Westenhoesfer J, Von Falck B,  Stellfeldt A et al (2004) Behavioural correlates of successful weight reduction over 3 years. Results from the Lean Habits Study, International Journal of Obesity Related Metabolic Disorders, 2004, Feb; 28 (2) 334-5.
  3. Kumanyika SK, Wadden TA, Shults J, Trial of Family and Friend Support for Weight Loss in African American Adults (2009) Archives of Internal Medicine 2009;169[19]:1795-1804
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Last reviewed on February 1st, 2015. Next review date February 1st, 2018.

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