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Pregnancy and Weight Gain

16 Oct

 

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Hey friends. I’m back from elk camp, which I’ll recap when Travis gets back with the camera. I also forgot to take a bump picture this morning so I’ll do my 15 Week update tomorrow.

Today I wanted to share my thoughts on weight gain during pregnancy, two aspects in particular: food and body image.

Food

For an average-sized person like me, the recommended amount of weight gain is 25-35 pounds. And despite the familiar idea of eating for two, the extra calories required daily to grow a human being are pretty much 0 in the first trimester, 300 in the second trimester, and 450 in the third trimester (again, for an average-sized person like me).

It’s funny, though, how prevalent the mindset is of eating whatever you want now that you’re pregnant. All of a sudden, eating an entire chocolate cake by myself is not only acceptable, it’s encouraged. “The baby needs chocolate!” I can’t lie and say that I haven’t already often said “Hey, I’m growing a baby” as an excuse to eat more than I would normally (mostly to avoid being hungry an hour later), but I haven’t been demolishing everything in sight either. I may be pregnant, but I still can’t stand the feeling of being too full.

All that said, my approach to gaining weight during pregnancy is going to be the same as my approach was to maintaining weight before pregnancy: Intuitive Eating. The main two principles of Intuitive Eating are 1) Eat when you’re hungry and 2) Stop when you’re full. Sub-principles are 3) No food is off-limits and 4) You feel better when you eat healthy foods.

Now that I’m in the second trimester, the amount and quality of food I eat is especially important to The Biscuit. I’ve been pretty consistent in eating at least one serving of vegetables a day – last Thursday and Friday I had enormous salads for lunch (which cost me $7.50 each at the work cafeteria, no big deal). Tonight, I’m going to buy and prep the ingredients to keep that salad streak going. I’d also like to start cooking dinner more often – even if that only means making our own mini pizzas instead of throwing in a frozen pizza. I’ve also been putting strawberries on my cereal for breakfast and eating an orange and grapes or canned fruit for snacks during the day. {Side note: I love canned mandarin oranges.}

That’s about where my healthy eating ends. The rest of my diet has been a mashup of fruit snacks, licorice, potato chips, ice cream, pickles, sushi and white dinner rolls. And the love for meat I had during Weeks 5-7? Pretty much gone. Even chicken tastes kind of weird now.

To sum it up, my eating habits since becoming pregnant haven’t been the greatest and I’m aiming to improve them for the sake of my baby. But I’m not going to be a Nazi and count calories, or use a checklist to make sure that I’m eating everything I’m supposed to be (like the one that What to Expect When You’re Expecting has). Even in pregnancy, healthy eating is about making good choices, one at a time.

Body Image

Before getting pregnant, I’d heard pregnant women whose bellies were growing lament the loss of their former shape. I always thought it was kind of silly – I mean, what do you expect when you get pregnant? Having your belly grow is inevitable. But now I have a different perspective/understanding of that lament.

Don’t get me wrong – I love that my belly is growing because it makes pregnancy so much more real. But I wasn’t expecting to feel the same apprehensions as the other women I judged. There are days when I wonder if I’ll ever be able to run a 10 minute mile again, or ever have a stomach that’s even remotely flat. There are days when I feel like my belly is just fat, not baby, and compare myself to other women who have barely-there bumps even at 19 weeks. I wonder if my boobs are still growing, and if they’ll ever return to the sufficient size they once were.

Probably the biggest struggle I have in regards to my body image is my fear of getting out of shape. For the past 8 or 9 years, I’ve been consistently active. Over the past 3-4 years, I’ve done sprint and Olympic triathlons, half marathons and a full marathon. Now, I count cleaning my house or walking the dogs as a workout – because honestly, I don’t have much energy for more. I went on 3 hikes this weekend with my mother-in-law, each lasting between 60 and 90 minutes, and that was my limit. I get tired a lot faster and easier than I used to, and I’ve already noticed that my fitness level has dropped significantly. I keep waiting for the “second trimester energy” to kick in but so far, I feel just as tired as I have the past 3 months.

So just like with eating healthy, I am just going to take it a day at a time and try to do as much as I can. If that’s only 2 workouts one week, that’s what it is.

How did/do you feel about gaining weight or losing fitness during pregnancy?