Pregnancy: weight gain and loss

Well, I am sticking to my promise. My first “official” blog post is going to be about how I was skinny, got pregnant, ate my heart out at every possible opportunity, gained lots of weight, then got back to being skinny-fit.

Notice that I did not say I got fat. I do not think that any pregnant woman is fat. Some might gain more weight than others (ahem. I am looking at myself.) but you are growing a HUMAN! You’re supposed to put on extra weight. In my case, I put on almost 50 pounds. Yikes. Thank a ton, Chick-fil-a.

I think the first thing that women need to realize while pregnant is that your body is going to do a whole lot of stuff you never knew it could do. For example, you are going to grow a seven- or eight- or even ten-pound baby, your belly will grow as big as a watermelon, your skin will stretch, your breasts are going to get huge, or your thighs might get so big and uncomfortably rub together that even in the hottest summer in NC record, you will wear jeans because the constant feeling of sweat is unbearable. But just know, it is all most likely going to go back in place. how cool is that?! It still fascinates me to this day how much elasticity our skin has. I wish I was more educated on that. Maybe that will be my next endeavor.

I am rambling. Let’s just get moving on this…

This is me before I was pregnant:

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Clearly, I need to take more pictures of myself because this is one of two pictures I had in the couple months leading up to our IUI procedure. More on that in a later post.  But, if you did not already guess, this was taken at a themed holiday party. So just know that I do not always wear sparkly glitter-ball headbands, but I do always support Glen Coco.

I did not have a strict eating plan or anything of the sort. I drank a lot, ate pretty much whatever, especially fast food, but I also worked out. I did not have any sign of abs, my arms were slightly toned, but my best feature was my butt. I actually had someone tell me one time that my butt had to be a result of working out because there is no way it was natural since it was so round and tight. I guess that was a compliment?

Here I am at 22 weeks pregnant:

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As you can see, things were escalating quickly. There was a whole week of my pregnancy that I ate only Chick-fil-a. That is not a joke. I was so nauseous that it is all I could stomach. Which is ironic because I had a serious aversion to chicken during my pregnancy… unless it came from Chick-fil-a. I should have bought stock. There was also a point that I was in the hospital because I was so sick and dehydrated that I couldn’t stop being physically ill. That was scary, but not related to this post.

In addition to everything else, I ate a LOT of brownies. They were my craving throughout my entire pregnancy. You know how some people say they craved pickles? I craved brownies. Shoutout to Dugan for making me brownies at 10:30pm one night. And running to the grocery store at 11pm after we saw a commercial for cinnamon toast crunch and I just had to have it. You’re the real hero, DR!

And here we are, September 11, 2016. A mere 15 days before I gave birth.

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My face got extremely full, along with every other part of my body, including my stomach. Little man had nowhere to go but out, and that is where he went. I was exhausted from carrying so much weight in the front of my body. Pregnancy is exhausting as a whole.

I remember standing in my closet one day while wearing one of my husbands’ t-shirts. I was early in my third trimester and I reached to grab a pair of his sweatpants to put on. He looked at me and said, “is it not bad enough that you’ve stolen all my t-shirts, you have to steal my sweatpants now, too?” Complete transparency, my husband was making a joke. He is the sweetest man on earth. I have only ever heard him raise his voice three times in the six years we have been together. Ever since we started dating I have worn his clothes. But this time, because I felt like I was as big as a whale, I broke down crying and sobbed, “but this is all that fits me anymore!!!” Like complete breakdown. Tears. Sobbing. Head in hands. The look of horror and concern on my husband’s face is something I will never forget. He felt absolutely terrible. But I couldn’t stop. My hormones were all over the place and I legitimately felt huge and uncomfortable.  But, despite all of those feelings, I was more content with my body image while I was pregnant than ever before. Maybe it is because I knew I was doing something miraculous. Maybe it was because, for the first time in my life, I wasn’t worried about every little thing I put in my body. Who knows. All I know is that I loved being pregnant and I would do it again in a heartbeat, weight gain and all.

Baby came. I still ate the same. Partly because I knew I needed the energy to breastfeed and get through the day. But then the day came where I looked down and was unhappy with the way I looked. The extra flab was still there. My stretch lines were still extremely noticeable. The breaking point was June 2017, when we went on our annual trip with my parents, this time to the beach. Putting a bathing suit on was so uncomfortable for me because I felt like I was a stranger in my own body. That was when I decided I needed to stop being unhappy about it and actually do something to change it.

Want to know the most drastic thing I did? I stopped eating starches and fast food, cut back majorly on the alcohol and soda, and that is it. Cold turkey. No bread. No pasta. No wraps. No french fries. Absolutely no fast food. I barely drank alcohol and I stopped buying soda so that it was not even a choice. All the things I desperately loved. Especially the bread. Give me all the bread and butter and I will be happy. But I knew I was overeating all the wrong things. My husband told me I was perfect the way I was and that I looked healthy, but he was also extremely supportive of me wanting to get back to my pre-pregnancy body. I started cooking healthy dinners but still made a side of potatoes or rice for him. I couldn’t risk making him any skinnier than he already is!

Want to know what I did not do? I did not stop eating candy. I did not stop eating cheese. I did not stop eating any specific meats or fruits that were high in sugar. In fact, I probably ate more sugar than I used to since it was my new guilty pleasure. I couldn’t give up absolutely everything. I also stopped over-eating. It also might have helped that I was focused on my son getting his meals in that it made me cut back on the time allotted for mine. And then, the weight just started coming off. I did not notice it at first but my friends did. My husband and parents did. So I kept up with my new eating habits and turned them into my new normal. And, here we are today:

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I have come a long way in the almost twenty-one months since my son was born. In addition to changing my eating habits, I went back to teaching bodypump. I am currently either teaching or taking class as a participant 4-5 times a week. I am fitter than I was before I was pregnant. I am stronger than I was before I was pregnant. I actually have abs now! Some days you can see all six of them. Some days you can only faintly see them depending on what I ate. My legs are toned, my arms are toned, you can even see my back muscles! But it goes without saying that I am much happier in my body!

I have people that tell me I am too skinny, or that I need to eat a cheeseburger, or that I am taking it too far. But my doctor says I am healthy, minus my high cholesterol. Thanks, Dad and Mom. So in addition to trying to level that off without having to take medication, I am also starting to eat starches every once in a while. I try to only do it for one meal a day, and in small quantities. I am also very mindful of what kind of starch it is.

Basically to sum up this lengthy post, what I am trying to say is that if this Italian bread-and-pasta-loving girl can go from being whaley pregnant (see what I did there?) with an extra fifty pounds to lose and get to where I am today, you can too! Yes, it takes a ton of dedication. It is not easy by any stretch of the imagination. But, it can be done. I wanted to set an example for my son, that if you set out to do something, you can do it. I was tired of being unhappy. Your commitment determines your success and will only take you as far as you let it! Figure out what works for you, take small steps and move day-by-day. Don’t rush it. If you need to, find an accountability partner. Do whatever helps you succeed and make it happen!

 

 

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