I gained 54 pounds when I was pregnant.
Holy crap, that’s a big number.
Let me start from the beginning. When I found out I was pregnant, I had lost about 12 pounds over the previous several months. I was 2.8 pounds away from my overall goal. I had run a half-marathon the month before, and I was running and doing resistance training several days a week. I envisioned a pregnancy when I was really active, ate healthfully, continued to run races, and only gain the 25-35 pounds that are recommended if you start out at a healthy weight.
L. O. L.
I didn’t anticipate the mental aspect of working out while pregnant. I was never really…comfortable. I was constantly worried. The first trimester, I basically felt hungover all of the time. It definitely could have been worse, but I just didn’t feel good. When I did workout, I was mentally struggling the whole time and worrying about the baby. I knew intellectually that it was perfectly healthy to work out, but there was some kind of mental block that I just couldn’t shake.
I decided to wait until the 2nd trimester started and I felt a little better. My doctor was really supportive of that. But I already had a bump that just kept getting bigger, and I was working again, and I was tired. I was on my feet all day at work, so I laid down when I got home. And it was summertime, so I made homemade ice cream. Yum. And when I felt bad during my first trimester, carbs were the only food that I could consistently handle, and I continued that habit once I started to feel better.
When I hit the third trimester, I had gained an average of a pound a week. Pretty normal. But I didn’t account for being heavily pregnant during Thanksgiving. And Christmas season. And my birthday. How is a pregnant girl going to turn down all of those goodies? It’s just not normal. Over a two week period at Christmas, I put on 14 pounds. 14! That’s a pound a day. It’s just not normal.
I still wasn’t working out. I was too big. I was too tired. It was too cold outside to walk around. It was too late.
My doctor was never concerned about it. “You started out at a healthy weight,” she said. “I only worry about the scale when you don’t start out at a healthy weight. It will come off.”
And it did, at first. I lost about 40 pounds by the time I went back to work 12 weeks after I delivered. I was still nursing, and continued until my little man was about 5 months old. As I weaned, I used My Fitness Pal to count calories and did the Couch to 5k workout plan. Both of these methods worked really well for me before I was pregnant and I was excited to get back to my old self.
I didn’t lose one. single. ounce. Not one.
I was devastated. Truly, I was traumatized. All of that effort, and watching what I ate, for literally no payoff? What is the point? So I stopped. I hovered within the same 3-4 pound range for eight months.
That’s a long time to not lose anything. Granted, I wasn’t really trying some of that time. But still. What the crap is that about?
Right before Christmas, I was talking about it with two of my good friends who were working really hard to lose weight. One of them told me that she would let me borrow her eating plan booklet, but only if I asked for it. She didn’t want to pressure me until I was ready. The other one told me that when I was ready to lose weight, nothing would be able to stop me. Nothing.
That was so empowering to me. It helped me to shift my thinking from feeling like not losing weight was something that was just happening to me to realizing that it was something I was doing. Or, rather, something I wasn’t doing. So I decided to change that.
So I borrowed my friends booklet and workout DVD–21 Day Fix. And I lost 5 pounds in a month. It was hard work, but it paid off. And now I’m still eating that plan and doing the workouts pretty much every day. I’m not perfect, but I’m making progress. I’m shifting my mindset and changing my habits. And I feel better about myself.
No one is paying me to say anything nice about this program. I’m pretty sure no one besides my husband even knows that I have a blog. 21 Day Fix doesn’t need my help–it’s super successful because it’s a great plan. Eat clean, be active. The end.
I’m still 8 pounds away from where I was when I found out I was pregnant, and about 11 from my overall goal–which is the same goal I had before I was pregnant. But I feel better about myself. I have more energy. And I’m noticing improvements beyond the number on the scale or the way my clothes fit; the workouts are getting easier, my arms are starting to actually look like they have muscle, and I’m more flexible. Prioritizing my health helps me better manage my depression symptoms, too. It’s a win-win-win for me and my family.
My friend was right–nothing can stop me. And I’m going to keep going until I hit my goal. I’m going to keep giving it everything I’ve got–and then a little bit more. It’s about progress, not perfection.