I wanted to talk about the big taboo topic of pregnancy – weight gain. (I couldn’t really find a lot of frank personal discussions about it, so I thought this post might help others).
I am a tall woman, and I’ve always weighed more than most people. Even at my absolute skinniest I weighed about 135 pounds. This is what a 135-pound 16 year old looks like:
Obviously part of that is my height, but I also inherited thunder thighs. (PS – check out my sweet soccer tan. Only the knees!)
In any case, I started out the pregnancy at about 154 pounds.
I knew the recommended weight gain was 25-35 pounds, and in the first 20-25 weeks I was right on schedule. I barely gained any weight in the first trimester and then was gaining slowly but steadily for the next 10 weeks. Then Armageddon hit – in one month I gained 12 pounds. I could not believe it. I got a lecture from a secondary doctor at my OB-GYN office and left in tears. I was eating more than normal (especially sweets), and my workouts had decreased, but I was just floored. I weighed more than I ever had in my life and it was not a good feeling.
I curbed the sweets-eating, tried to be active at least a little bit every week, and got back on track. Still, the damage was done and at the end of it all, my total weight gain was about 55 pounds. If you’re keeping track, that means I weighed over 200 pounds when I gave birth. Again…NOT a good feeling to see your weight start with the number two.
My mom and doctor both told me I’d lose a bunch of weight right off that bat, and they were right. Including the 10 pound baby that was removed from my stomach, I lost about 25 pounds from the day before I gave birth until about three weeks after. That put me at about 180. I started walking with the stroller at least 2-3 times per week and tracking my eating. The diet wasn’t the hard part, but getting out in the summer heat with Louise after a C-section wasn’t the most pleasant. A few times I even succumbed to the dreaded mall walk.
At six weeks, with the doctor’s approval, I started jogging again. By the time I went back to work at 10 weeks, I was right around the 170 mark.
I eased up a bit on the diet (my goal was still about 1,200 – 1,400 calories per day) but increased my workout frequency and intensity. Specifically, I found a workout that said “lose 10lbs in 5 weeks!” that had me running 3x a week, mixing long runs with intervals. Between two and a half and four months I really lost a lot of the excess weight and it felt great. Between months four and five, I had a few stops and starts due to illness or traveling and I started cheating a bit on the diet, so I stayed almost the same weight – probably lost about 4 pounds. Between months five and six I basically acted like normal, without dieting or working out a lot (I still ran 1-2x per week). Six months out, I was hovering right around 155-156 pounds. That means I had 1-2 pounds to go to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight.
After the holidays I really got back on the wagon. Eating well, working out…I had it in the back of my head that I wanted to be totally back to normal by her first birthday. So far, I’ve dropped to about 2 pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight which is good.
The kicker, though, is that my body changed pretty dramatically in the typical way – hips widened, tummy got softer, etc., so I still can’t fit into most of my pre-pregnancy pants. It’s really tough to have to go through your closet and toss almost every pair of pants and most of your skirts because your tummy bulges out over the top. I know it’s just the way it is – like I said, I actually weigh less than before Louise – but it is depressing nonetheless.
I am trying to look at the positive side, however. First, I think my closet was due for a major overhaul, body shift or no. There were a lot of items I just didn’t wear anymore – sky blue chinos, for example – and a lot of items that were old and looked it. I found a pair of gray embroidered mules (I mean…what??) that I had worn maybe three times total, and not for over eight years. Those went in the donation bag without a second thought.
So in conclusion, I did reach my goal of being “back to normal” by Louise’s first birthday. My body just redefined what “normal” was. And I’m ok with that, because I got the best consolation prize.