When I became pregnant I was at my highest weight. Ever. A few too many adult beverages in the name of celebration, too many decadent meals trying to keep up with my 6’2″ counterpart and more sweets than I can count. I was still very active, running and strength training 5-6 days a week but my eating was out of control. I was 145lbs when I got a positive pregnancy test.
Immediately I knew I wanted to start eating better. That day we went to the store and spent over $200 on the freshest, healthiest food, a new rice cooker and a steamer. Then, morning sickness hit. And it hit me hard.
For weeks I spent the majority of the day in bed curled up in the fetal position wondering what kind of devil child was growing inside of me and swearing that Bryan would have to carry the next kid because there was no way I was going through that type of nausea again. I was nauseous. I was pukey. Every time I stood or closed my eyes it felt like the room was spinning. I could barely keep anything down and nothing sounded appealing. For the first 12 weeks it was about survival and eating anything I could, not about what was healthy. So when Panda Express’s orange chicken and Olive Garden’s chicken parmigiana didn’t make me gag at just the thought, I ate it. In 13 weeks I lost 15lbs. I was assured by my OBs that it was OK. That the baby was OK. That the nutrients my little man needed he’d get, even if it meant stealing it from my reserves. I called the help line of my doctor’s office almost nightly trying to find a way to keep food down. But then assured me time and time again that it was OK, it would soon pass and to eat what I could (I did try to take meds but they actually made me vomit MORE).
At 13 weeks, like a bad storm, the morning sickness subsided and my appetite returned. However, vegetables didn’t sound appealing. I wanted cheesecake, fried mac and cheese and sushi. I gave in to my cravings but still maintained a fairly healthy diet. It was about 70/30. As I was able to eat more, I began working out more as well. I started running again, swimming and doing prenatal yoga.
In the subsequent 25 weeks I gained 16lbs.
While on the low side for a healthy weight gain of pregnancy, baby was healthy and thriving and measuring normally. I knew I was getting enough calories and nutrients for both my pregnancy and my fitness levels. I was confident that I gained what I needed to and when that 7lb 6.2oz baby boy arrived, I knew I was right.
When I got home from the hospital, 3 days post partum, I weighed 13lbs less.
And I stayed at that weight for 4 months. I began running again 3 weeks post partum but I was eating nonstop. I ate 2000+ calories daily, thinking I was a “breastfeeding” mama who needed calories and fuel to feed her baby. Little did I know since I had a low supply I was barely burning any calories since I was barely feeding my child. I started training for my half marathon 7 weeks post partum and kept the increased calorie intake to make up for what I was burning through running. I didn’t care if the scale didn’t move and if my mama pooch stayed as a permanent fixture to my waistline. My primary goal, as it’s been from the beginning, was my baby. And even if I’m not Jackson’s full source of food, I don’t want to hinder the little milk I do make that is so valuable to him or hinder my energy levels since I have to keep up with a very active 5 month old 24/7.
At 4 months post partum I began cleaning up my diet a bit. I cut back on the endless cookies, hershey’s kisses and s’mores and added in more vegetables. I reached for my water bottle more often and the bag of trail mix less. I began adding some strength training back into my routine. And I began to see my body change a bit more.
At 5 months post partum I’m down 19lbs from the my last OB appointment and 3lbs below my lowest pregnancy weight (which was 14lbs less than my prepregnancy weight) <—did that make sense? I definitely don’t have my old abs back (even the muscle I had at my highest weight) but I’m starting to feel the muscle I’m gaining through healthy living replace some of the jiggles.
I feel more confident because I know I’m doing my body right by eating better and exercising but mostly because I know I’m setting a good example for my son. I want him to learn about healthy living not by grilling him about nutrition facts or refusing to buy him sweets but by showing him what a healthy lifestyle is. I want him to choose healthy choices more often than not, not because I told him to but because that’s how he grew up. Because that’s what he knows. We won’t ever have soda in our house but if he wants to order one at a restaurant, then so be it. I want him to enjoy being active over spending hours sitting in front of a television because that’s how he grew up: running as a family, playing catch in the backyard, going to the park, etc. Not because he thinks it’ll burn calories. It’s all about balance and I hope to teach him that by showing him.