You hear about weight loss stories all the time, but rarely hear people talk about gaining weight. Well, today I am going to talk about it. It is healthy for women that are pregnant to gain weight. It is inevitable. The baby is going to grow, that is healthy! Your body is going to change, that is healthy! Every part of your body is going through trauma to help this baby grow. These changes aren't easy to cope with, especially with all of the hormones raging through your body. Gaining weight and seeing numbers on the scale that I never wanted to see was one of the hardest parts for me during my pregnancy. I have written up my weight gain story below. It is full of the good, bad, and ugly.
Before we can dive too far into my weight gain story, I need to give a little background. Being overweight runs in both sides of my family. I am 5 foot 9 inches and "big boned" as they call it. My three brothers are all about 6 foot 5 inches. We are not small. To top it all off, I have hypothyroidism which means that my thyroid under produces. In case you don't know, the thyroid controls your weight gain and weight loss, among other things. So, it is hard for me to lose weight. I have tried for years to get to that "perfect number" or size, but my body just has a mind of its own.
If you have ever lost weight, you probably had an "ah-ha" moment where you realized that you needed to change. My "ah-ha" moment was in February 2019 when my husband and I were visiting some family in Texas. I remember feeling so bloated and full all of the time. I saw a picture of myself and I knew that I needed to start working out again. Come to find out, we were pregnant (hence the bloating). So here I was, completely motivated to lose weight and I couldn't.
We didn't have a scale at the time, because my weight can be an idol for me. I like to just focus on eating healthy and working out and not focusing on the scale. At our first doctor's appointment a couple of weeks later, I weighed in at the most I have ever weighed. My jaw dropped. I was so embarrassed being "weighed in" right in front of my husband who is a toothpick. This was just the beginning of the countless "weigh-ins" for pregnant women. My doctor encouraged me to try to gain between 15-25 pounds over the next 9 months. (I am not for sure how you really can control this. I was working out, eating healthy, and the scale just went up whenever it wanted to.)
At the next doctor's appointment, I crossed into numbers that I never wanted to see, EVER! Obviously I knew they were coming, but seeing them on that scale made my heart sink. I actually cried in the doctor's office. I was devastated. That evening, I bought a scale. I needed a plan to try to gain as little as possible but still being healthy. I wanted to have an idea of what the scale was going to say when I went into the doctor's office.
I dreaded getting weighed in at each appointment. I remember feeling like a cow getting weighed in for 4-H. The nurses never said ANYTHING, but I was so self-conscious that I felt they were judging me. Again, they weren't! But, at the time it was humiliating and I couldn't wait for that part of the appointment to be over.
I ended up gaining 30 pounds throughout my pregnancy. It was more than I wanted to gain, but I tried my best. I think I found a good balance between being careful but still enjoying life. I have no idea how much I would have gained if I wasn't watching what I was eating! My little boy came 3 weeks early and weighed 9 pounds. Who knows how much I would have gained if I went full term!
If you are pregnant, I want you to know that it is NORMAL and HEALTHY to gain weight. Don't go and "eat for two", that is not healthy. Talk with your doctor or do some research, but you only need to eat about 300 extra calories a day. Try really hard to stick to that. It was tempting for me to "pig out" and just eat whatever I wanted because I knew that I was going to gain weight no matter what. But, thankfully I reminded myself that I will have to work that much harder after the baby is born if I am not careful now.
Also, something that I found helpful was tracking my weight gain. I think it is important to pay attention to the weight, without being consumed by it. Have a bit of a goal like gaining 2 pounds a month, or 1 pound between your doctor's appointments. But don't forget to give yourself grace too. Your body is going through a lot of changes!
Above everything, just pay attention to your health and the baby's. Find a great workout program (I love Beachbody on Demand) or just walk for 20-30 minutes a day. Eat the recommended amount of calories for yourself most days. Treat yourself occasionally, after all you are creating a human being inside you!
Check out my post on How To Prepare Your Body for Labor.