Fit Pregnancy: Mind, Body, and Soul
by JDR Instructor: Tara Wheeler
As a TV personality and a dance fitness instructor, I felt extra pressure when I announced my pregnancy. I had seen other instructors teach up until the final month of their pregnancies, and I had watched fellow news anchors set fashion trends and return smaller than ever when they were back on air less than two months after giving birth. I decided that I would do the same and aimed to be the fittest, most stylish pregnant person ever. I was determined to be a good role model and prove that health and fitness as well as style were still a priority.
It took a scary moment to realize my motivation was all wrong. I was 24 weeks pregnant, and despite not feeling well, I pushed myself to teach class. In the middle of my Just Dance playlist, I was doubled over in pain with cramps so severe, I worried I was going into pre-term labor. Thankfully, mommy and baby were both ok, but my doctor told me, while I could continue to exercise in moderation, I could no longer maintain the physical intensity it takes to lead a class.
That’s when I came to the realization that a fit pregnancy isn’t about crafting a body worthy of a magazine cover, it’s about nurturing the tiny body growing inside of you. And sometimes, what’s best for that tiny human being is for mom to take a step back. It wasn’t an easy realization. It’s in my nature to be over-booked and overly-involved, and since being a Just Dance Roanoke instructor brings so much happiness into my life, it was an emotional and difficult decision to temporarily step away.
I did my best to eat healthy and continued to exercise, attending JDR classes and modifying the moves to be less strenuous. My body grew more than I expected. I weighed 130 lbs when I became pregnant. The day I went into labor, I weighed 175. Will I ever weigh 130 lbs again? Maybe… maybe not. Even if I do, will my body look the same as it did before? Maybe… maybe not, and that’s ok.