Real Talk: I am not Fat, I am Pregnant
I find myself uttering these words when I look in the mirror and see my belly with my beautiful growing child. I have struggled with my weight the majority of my life and find it more and more challenging since surpassing age 30… I imagine that part is all in my head because of the stats — they say your metabolism drops off when you are 30, etc etc.
Anyway, I realize I am not fat, just pregnant (so please spare the comments of gushing and how baby needs that weight. I am a logical individual, not a complete idiot. Nor am I fishing for compliments… I take them poorly anyway). But as I started to gain the necessary weight for pregnancy, I struggled with my growing reflection, especially in the “I don’t look pregnant, I look fat” stage, which every pregnant woman goes through, unless you are lucky and super tiny and all belly when you get pregnant and start to grow. But I figured, that if I was having this mental “crisis” (so-to-speak) that I couldn’t be the only one.
When I was little, I was always a little chubby. In high school, I noted many of my friends who played soccer and ran as much as I did, had little trouble keeping weight off. And thanks society, for giving me the impression that Barbie was well proportioned and other super models were how normals were supposed to look… Seriously? The magazines and posters left little to be desired. Anyway, I was a little miffed, but still continued on, because hello, have you seen me play soccer? I am/was a beast. And have been called such on the soccer field and yes, it IS a source of pride.
I went to college and packed on the freshman 15. I felt gross in my own skin and when I came home from that first year at Purdue, I did experience a relative exclaim “wow! You have really packed on the weight!” Uhhhh thanks, guy…. I didn’t notice the new pants I had to buy in order to clothe myself and what would I have done if I didn’t have you to tell me??? Anyway, I resolved to lose weight then and there, and for a year or two, I lost weight, and managed to have some accomplishments in soccer and in my track and swimming times. Anyway, let’s speed forward a little bit because you don’t need all of my crazy recounts of each individual year.
Since leaving school my weight has fluctuated quite a bit. I have been unhealthy at 120 pounds and I have been unhealthy at 200 pounds, I have seen both sides of the spectrum. My comfortable and healthy range is somewhere between 145 and 160 depending on what training I am doing (this is not based on the charts at the doc office, but based on my frame and what looks good on me… And for reference, the charts at the doc say for my height I should weigh 125… When I did weigh that little I had my mom telling me to eat a cheeseburger, no lie). With that being said, that is not what I weighed at start of pregnancy. I was actually kind of overweight and going through massive amounts of testing for why I continuously managed to get overweight despite working out, lifting and mult types of cardio, as well as eating healthy.
Thyroid issues run in my family and so do some other medical weight issues and I was being tested for the lot of them as well as some infertility diseases when I found out I was pregnant. I will tell you, I have been tested throughout my life for hypothyroidism and every time I am tested, I am on the cusp of being declared with a hypothyroid. (Sigh) anywho, we found out we were expecting, which was awesome, because I had had one doc already tell me they were unsure if we could get pregnant. I was excited but a little concerned, because I was going into pregnancy about 10-15 pounds heavier than I wanted to and I was constantly working out at the time. I knew I didn’t need to focus on losing weight, because hello, pregnant, but watching the scale go up was not something I could easily adjust my thought process to as the way life should be. I proceeded to watch my food intake (as in be conscious of what I was putting in my body and try not to eat too much processed crap, I’m not talking restrict myself in anyway) and make sure I was still working out (within reason), in order to stay healthy and keep the baby healthy. I gained minimal weight in the first trimester and then I got really tired and lazy and started eating a little bit more processed crap and working out a little less. Let’s be honest, pregnancy does that to some people, no two pregnancies are the same (even for the same person) and I after never being an afternoon nap taker, was falling asleep at like 8pm.
For a while, up until about 6 months, I could hide behind sweaters and long scarves at work. But all the while would look in the mirror, and tell my poor husband, I was getting fat with baby. He would do his husbandly duty and tell me I was crazy, but it was a hard mental adjustment after years of weight battles to watch the scale climb and accept it completely. I have gained 24 pounds at this point during my pregnancy and am holding steady for now (although don’t expect to through the end, as we still have about 10 weeks to go). I am mostly belly but there are some love handles that have filled out more and I can see it in my face.
So why should you care and why am I writing this? Well… I was talking to a buddy of mine and was talking about this whole weight gain thing and how it was a hard adjustment mentally to accept that it was right… Logically I know it is correct but emotionally I am like…. Dang. And I thought, I can’t be the only person going through this or having gone through this or that might go through this and decided I should write about it. At this stage in my pregnancy, I am 3 days shy of 30 weeks. And I def look more pregnant than fat although I have had some idiots make stupid comments and then I am like uhh I’m pregnant and then they’ve been like really? And I’m like no… I am just fat or no I like to walk around with a basketball under my shirt and pretend… (Sigh…people)… But let’s be real, if you are going through this pregnancy thing or you are about to, you will always meet a few idiots…. Just like in life, they will be dumb as hell and ask stupid questions that make you shake your head… This is normal and they don’t go away just cause you got knocked up.
Point is, don’t let these idiots bring you down! You look fabulous!!! And you are doing what you are supposed to be doing which is gaining weight and feeding your growing child, who if you are at almost 30 weeks, like me, is stomping on your bladder and having a great time sucking nutrients from you while punching your ribs. Roll on friend, roll on. You are doing what your body, as a woman, was meant to do. And who cares if you can’t keep up your pre-pregnant workout regiment??? It really doesn’t matter. I was running 20+ miles a week, lifting twice a week and swimming also pre pregnancy… And I kept up some of the running (dropped in miles), come of the lifting when I first got pregnant… But at 3 months the running became uncomfortable due to the way things were shifting in my body and at 4 months, I stopped lifting because I could feel it straining my lower half which isn’t really that great for the kid (cause big secret… That is where you carry the kid!). I am not saying don’t work out or don’t run while pregnant, I am saying you are different than me and I am different from the next person. You need to do what is right for you to take care of you and your baby. And yes… I did say I was going to run through my whole pregnancy… Then I got pregnant and ate those words…a few times over.
Now? Now I try to make sure I walk a lot (circulation is important) and I have a few buddies who meet me to go walking. I take walk breaks at work, drink a lot of water, and make my husband eat Mexican once a week with me 🙂
So I will say this again, during this incredibly amazing time growing a human (when you are uncomfortable and possibly feeling like a beached whale), you need to do what is right for you and listen to YOUR body. The article over there from how-you-should-do-your-pregnancy-right is probably wrong since that is a generalization from one person or a few people’s experiences. You do you. And tell yourself this during pregnancy and during parenting… Because people have unsolicited advice and they want to give it… And that is a topic for another day.