Obesity

The Weight Gain

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I wanted to write a post about how I’m feeling because, after all, this was a blog about gaining and losing weight and addressing body image is important to me. Read these two recent posts about the topic of weight gain and pregnancy:

Let’s Talk About Weight

Body Changes During Pregnancy

For the last few months I’ve been handling the weight gain pretty well. It was slow in the first trimester, most of the second trimester it was steady but not extreme. Then around 26 weeks I had a big jump. Even though everything I read said this was normal around that time period, it was kind of devastating. I was shocked to see an 8 pound difference from last doctor appointment. 8 pounds in one month?!

After talking to some friends that had had babies and reading that this jump was normal, I was able to talk myself down a bit and not beat myself up about the weight gain. After all, I had been staying consistent with my fitness (working out 5 days a week) and I was still counting my calories and 85% of the time I was staying within the range my doctor suggested.

Then at 27 weeks the bump POPPED. It wasn’t a cute little bump anymore, it was a “wow there’s definitely a baby in there” bump. It’s crazy to see a drastic change in just one week. Where did that big bump come from?!?

Once I was in the third trimester and the weight was consistently climbing and the baby was getting bigger, I was struggling. A lot. I’d have good days and I’d have bad days. It was hard to see my body changing in such a major way. It was HARD not to compare those changes to the OLD body I used to have. I kept trying to remind myself that this is pregnancy, I was gaining weight for a healthy baby, not because I was obese.

Those old memories were hard to shake, though.

It was hard not to focus on the number.  It was hard not to feel like I was back at my 25 year old self when I was obese. At my highest weight I was 255 pounds or so.

What’s hard to ignore is just HOW HARD I WORKED to lose that 110 pounds. It took nearly 2 years of hard work, daily effort, diligence and focus to lose the weight. So seeing the number on the scale tick up and up felt like a failure to that success.

It’s difficult to articulate just how it feels. Because logically I know it’s ok. My doctor isn’t concerned with my rate of weight gain. Everything has come back normal, right on target, baby is healthy. I’m happy I am able to stay active and workout, even if I am modifying a lot of activities. That has definitely helped my body image, self-esteem and just general mood. Working out gives me a boost of happy feelings and that’s good. So if I can still workout, feel good and I know logically that things are normal and ok, why do I get bummed out when I see my body getting bigger??

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It’s been said before many times but it’s really true. Comparison is the thief of joy. It is SO HARD not to compare yourself to other pregnant ladies. I’ll see them at the gym and it looks like they are further along then I am, yet they are all stick thin with a basketball belly. You know the type. They don’t seem to be gaining weight in other parts of their bodies…like I am…and I compare myself. Then I feel badly and then I shame myself for comparing myself and it’s a vicious cycle.

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It’s weird not having ANY control over your body changes. Something that happened when I lost 110 pounds was that I realized I was in control of my body and I COULD lose weight. Then when I spent 6+ years maintaining that weight loss, I was still in control. I could make decisions on what I ate and I made good decisions most of the time and was successful. Then all of a sudden, I was no longer in control of what happened to my body, even though I was still TRYING to be in control of it. Letting that go has been a struggle for me — I am not good at giving up control.

What sucks is the comments I get from other people. People who either think they are being charming or funny, but are not. Just don’t. Never make judgmental comments, even “joking” about a pregnant woman’s body.

I was looking through some Facebook posts recently and saw some photos of myself from last year and the year before–when I was feeling down about having gained 10 pounds or so. My first thought was, Damn, I was so much skinnier! Then I thought, why didn’t I realize it at the time? PERSPECTIVE.

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I came across this article: The Dirty Little Secret About Pregnancy Weight Gain and was a little uneasy…expecting it to be gimmicky or a waste of time but reading through it, it really spoke to me. It was more about finding perspective, and not the judge-y article I was expecting. Here is a tidbit from that article:

“According to experts, these are the main concerns:

  1. You’ll be more uncomfortable with all that extra weight to haul around.
  2. You could develop gestational diabetes.
  3. You might have high blood pressure, which can lead to scary complications.
  4. Your baby could be big, making labor more difficult and possibly leading to a C-section.
  5. You’ll have your work cut out for you to lose more weight after the baby’s born.

For me personally, I have no signs of gestational diabetes, my blood pressure is consistently low, and my baby’s growth is right on track.

Leaving only concerns number 1 and 5, which are really just about my own convenience. After talking to my midwife and reading up on the risks, I’m not concerned about my “high” pregnancy weight gain.”

It was kind of an eye-opening DUH moment for me. Perspective. I do not have gestational diabetes. My baby is not measuring extra large, my blood pressure is normal and I’m not having any other issues. On top of that, I am counting my calories per my doctor’s instructions and I’ve been exercising pretty much the same throughout. Those are all positives! So what if my body is gaining a little bit more than I was hoping? All signs are pointing to healthy–isn’t that the most important part?

I have no idea how much I weigh at this moment. Once I got to the middle of the third trimester I stopped looking at the doctor’s office. I didn’t need to know how much weight I was gaining because really…this pregnancy has shown me that it’s out of my control and feeling badly about myself isn’t going to be a positive thing at this stage in the game. Besides, I’m almost to the end. Why do I need to know right now? Maybe my focus needs to be on other things for these last few weeks.

So I’m not weighing myself, I’m still working out when I can, doing what I can, counting my calories and eating healthy, and LETTING IT GO. My mind is now focused on the baby and not the weight, even if I do have a “bad” day. I can’t wait for him to be here and I’m happy my body is doing so well as he grows.

How am I feeling now?

At 35 weeks I am finding that I care less about the weight gain. Maybe that’s because I haven’t been to the doctor in a few weeks and I don’t know how much I weigh…ignorance is bliss? But I’m honestly feeling pretty good about my body right now. I feel like I’m in the homestretch and just generally feeling happy with my body these days!

If you’ve had kids, how did you feel about the weight gain?

Too Fat for Photos

Recently I posted a link to an article on my Facebook pageSO YOU’RE FEELING TOO FAT TO BE PHOTOGRAPHED . . . I wanted to share it here for you guys to read, too. I really loved this article and could relate to so much! I’m sure many of you can, too.

“In our warped minds pictures become frozen mirrors that we can stare at as we pick apart our features over and over again. I know girl. I know.”

This was me for a really long time. Probably most of my life. I ducked for cover whenever someone brought out a camera at a party or event. If I was forced into participating in the picture I was the one that hid in the very back behind the group of people so that I could hide my body. I was just a floating head in the background.

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My other move was to not have body shots taken. A lot of pictures were from the chest up. Not that that really hid the fact that I was fat, but somehow it was better for me.

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Another trick: wear baggy clothes or big jackets/sweaters and to hold purses and bags and stuff in front of my body. Not foolin’ anyone!

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As I was losing 100 pounds I started to get better about allowing photos to be taken of me. It was slow. It’s not like I lost 20, 30 or 40 pounds and immediately was like “yeah! I’m ok with pictures now!” I was still reluctant. But I’m glad I did get some photos because I get to look back now and see the transformation I made. I didn’t notice the weight loss as I was smack-dab in the middle of it. I couldn’t tell I was losing weight (other than having to buy new clothes in smaller sizes) until it was a drastic change. Looking at yourself in the mirror every day, you don’t see the changes.

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The above photo was taken the day I weighed in at 50 pounds lighter–the day of my brother’s wedding. I was SO glad I reached that first goal before his wedding and that I was able to enjoy the day and not feel self-conscious about my body and not enjoy being in the photographs. It wasn’t about me and how I felt about my fat. It was a day for my brother and his wife to celebrate and I’m glad I’m in those photos. No matter what size I am.

“…always waiting for this elusive moment where I would be thin enough (pretty enough) to have such a permanent record of me. Because, you know, HEAVEN FORBID there be any proof that I look the way I actually look.”

That above quote from the article was TOTALLY me. Not only was I waiting to be thin enough for photos to be ok, I was waiting to be thin enough TO BE HAPPY. “I’ll be happy when I lose 50 pounds.” Why can’t I be happy now??

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I’m also happy I have some photos of my heavy days (even if it’s not many) because sometimes I forget that was ever me. I see old pictures and I don’t recognize that person, I can’t relate and it doesn’t feel like I’m looking at myself. But I’m glad I have them because I can look back and think “that was that amazing trip to Chicago I took with my best friend!” I’m not thinking “that was the trip I took when I was 250 pounds.”

I think many of us have been there. But have you ever stopped to think, isn’t this a moment that I would like to remember someday? Even if it’s not my ideal body weight, wouldn’t I rather look back years to come and remember this moment? Christmas with family? Especially if family memories have passed away. Am I going to look at the photo and think “God I look fat in this photo!” or am I going to look at the photo and think “I really miss Grandpa. I’m so glad we got to spend that last Christmas together”??

Your children want pictures with their mom.

Your husband wants pictures with his beautiful wife.

Your mom and dad want pictures of the happy, successful, amazing woman they raised (ok, and more pictures of the grandkids while you’re at it)

So you’re feeling too fat to be photographed? . . . Ok. But you’re the only one who notices. The rest of us are too caught up in loving you.

Now that I’m pregnant and obviously going to be gaining weight, I’m trying not to focus on that. I’m growing a human. It’s not like I’m bingeing on pizza and ice cream like I did when I was 250 pounds. That was a different beast altogether. I’m trying to focus on my body as a healthy vessel for the baby, not criticize the weight gain or pick apart pictures of me that may not be the most flattering. It’s important to me to have PHOTOS of this magical time in my life. I want to look back years from now and think happy thoughts, not negative thoughts about weight gain. I’m trying to change my perspective.

What about you? Are you hiding from the camera or embracing life as it is in the moment?