The wellness expert shares her secrets to staying healthy, happy and stylish when expecting
As contributing editor to Vogue and wellbeing columnist for The Sunday Times Style, Calgary Avansino knows a thing or two about looking and feeling fabulous. And as the founder of wellness website calgaryavansino.com, she’s her own best advertisement – with shiny blonde hair, radiant skin and long, toned limbs, she’s always the picture of health.
However Avansino hasn’t simply jumped on the current wellbeing bandwagon. It’s been her lifestyle for as far back as she can remember. “Nutrition was a very important part of my childhood, without me really knowing it,” she explains. “My parents both ran marathons and were interested in nutrition and achieving the optimal diet – it obviously rubbed off on me. I learned the power of positive eating and moving your body, and I hope to give my children that same experience.”
When it comes to her wellness philosophy, Avansino pulls no punches. “Eat clean and train lean!” she enthuses. “But that motto varies for every person – just making a start is the most important step. Every positive decision makes a difference.” For her, healthy living is all about getting the most out of life, and feeling energetic and illness-free.
With just one month to go until the birth of her third child, Avansino’s health regime has been brought into sharp focus of late. “I’ve had different obsessions with each pregnancy, and this time it was potatoes in any form for the first four months.” She also craved coffee (but didn’t give in), Cream of Wheat (an American breakfast porridge), brownies, frozen grapes and kiwis. But when it comes to these cravings, she is philosophical: “Listen to your body and give it what it’s asking for within reason,” she says, adding, “Be as kind to yourself as possible – you’re growing another human and that’s a pretty big deal.”
The fitness fan also applies this moderate approach to exercise when expecting. “One of the most important lessons of pregnancy is to listen to your body, and mine has been telling me not to do too much – I just haven’t had the energy or the endurance this time around so I don’t push myself.” She’s traded the yoga and Tracy Anderson videos she relied on in her previous pregnancies for brisk walks, simply to stay active.
As this is her third time around, Avansino has her expectant style sorted. “I’ve definitely got a pregnancy wardrobe,” she says. “For day it’s either a pair of stretchy leather trousers with a fitted jumper, blazer and low-heeled boots, or one of the many tight, pliable dresses I’ve accumulated. When I’m working I still have to feel like myself and make an effort.” She cites pregnancy friendly brands such as Emilia Wickstead, Carven and J. Crew as favourites. For evening events, Avansino keeps it sleek and sexy – “I go for a bit of va-va-voom in tight dresses or a pliable pencil skirt with a simple black top. And always heels – I can’t do flats in the evening, no matter how difficult it is to get around.” Once a Vogue girl, always a Vogue girl.
In Her Words
Hide the bump or show off the bump?
Show off the bump 100 per cent. I’m not a naturally curvaceous person so I find it fun to dress differently when my body changes so drastically. I say embrace the curves and be proud that you are carrying new life - there’s no reason to hide it.
Nine long months or nine joyous months?
Joyous and long!
Are you a go-home-and-collapse-on-the-sofa pregnant woman, or a hyperactive-yoga-superbusy pregnant woman? (Or both?)
I had a lot more energy throughout my first pregnancy and the second and third have been far more tiring, but that said I’m a pretty high-intensity person who finds it hard to slow down. That’s one thing I love about pregnancy, though. It forces you to take everything in life down a notch and that’s a great lesson to learn.
What do you miss most while pregnant?
Working out really hard. I love exercise and how wonderfully energised and powerful it makes you feel. I miss the sweat and I miss the burn!
One thing you couldn't live without while pregnant?
My bathtub. It’s the only place I feel light and ache-free.
Surprise pregnancy fact you've learned?
Not everyone “glows” – I have terrible skin while pregnant.
Top tip to other pregnant women?
Give in to your pregnancy completely and succumb to all the changes that creating a new life brings. Pregnancy is literally like being possessed by a different soul – you want to eat different things, do different things and act different ways. Don’t fight it - just surrender your control to the amazing process and try to enjoy the magic of it all.
Boy, girl or waiting to find out?
Boy. I am a giant control freak when it comes to planning, so the thought didn’t even cross my mind not to find out. For better or worse, I’m the type of person who has to have the nursery completely decorated and sex-appropriate clothes all purchased, washed and folded before the baby comes. It’s still a surprise whatever stage you find out. My husband and I had the scan technician write the sex down on a piece of paper and then went out to a nice dinner a few nights later to open it, which made it special. I always tell friends to do that if they want to find out.
If your partner could carry the baby, would you let him?
Maybe for the seventh month of the pregnancy when the baby is kicking, just to experience it briefly, but even though it is extremely hard work being pregnant, it is the most wondrous and rewarding journey a woman is gifted with. I wouldn’t give it up for anything.
Photos by Florence Finburgh
Words by Emily Taylor
Visit Calgary’s website calgaryavansino.co.uk, follow Calgary on Twitter or Instagram @calgaryavansino