This is a post I wasn't sure if I was ever going to write. It seemed weird for me to write about post pregnancy weight when each pregnancy is so different and unique. However, some things have come to light recently that make me want to share my particular story and ask you all a question.
The day that I checked into the maternity ward to give birth to Isabella I weighed in at 183 pounds. I would guess about 30 pounds of that was water weight since I swelled up so much during my last month of pregnancy that I looked, and felt, like Violet Beauregarde. Okay, perhaps I am exaggerating a bit, I didn't have blue skin.
Before I was pregnant with Isabella I weighed about 145 pounds. I stand about 5'4" and had finally become accepting of my Nigella curves. I embraced getting bigger as my pregnancy progressed as well and I just assumed that, like many women, I would work extra hard after giving birth to lose the weight. In truth, I didn't think about it all that much, I just wanted a healthy baby.
When I was 28 weeks pregnant I discovered I had gestational diabetes. For the health of my baby, I drastically changed the way I ate until she was born at 38 weeks. I didn't have the option of "eating for two". I didn't have the luxury of eating a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts, entire pizzas or hot fudge sundaes because of that line we love to use of "the baby was asking for it."
For ten weeks I ate six small meals a day made up of mostly protein, veggies and a small amount of whole grains. It was hard, I told people to bring me carbs in the hospital. Most days I wanted to bury my head in a cupcake, or a piece of fruit, but eventually I found tricks and ways to cope with the cravings and by the time I received all those hospital carbs, I no longer craved them in the same way.
It wasn't a diet, it was a lifestyle change. I counted carbs, not calories. I ate small portions but wasn't hungry. I learned why eating two large meals a day is hard on your body. I talked to other pregnant women who told me of their many trips to In N Out Burger and I would just smile and nod and know I was doing what I needed to do, again not giving any thought to what this was doing to me, but wanting Isabella to be as healthy as possible when she made her grand entrance into the world.
While I was still in the hospital, I think I lost about 30 pounds after giving birth by just peeing. I really swelled up like a puffer fish during that ninth month. One month after giving birth I was down to 130 pounds. Two months after giving birth I lost another ten and today I weigh in at 110 pounds ~ 35 pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight.
At first I was in denial, I couldn't believe how much my body had changed. I kept thinking that it was some sort of freakish temporary thing and I would wake up any day now and be a size 10 again. I stayed in denial for a few weeks trying to fit into my size 8 and 10 clothes and watch Jimmy roll his eyes as I would walk across the room, each step I took causing my bottoms to fall closer to the floor.
Finally I went shopping for new clothes. I was thinking that I went down a size or two and grabbed a size 8 and an ambitious size 6 thinking there was no way that was happening ~ my usual dressing room internal dialogue with myself. When I got in the dressing room both sizes now fell off of me. I then took in a size four, and in some cases a size 2, and was astounded by what I was seeing, and still in a bit of denial.
I tried to do a before and after capture above but as I was going through my photos, I couldn't find any body shots of me pre-pregnancy. Hmmmm.... perhaps I do hide from being on the other side of the camera. The photo on the left was a self portrait taken in April 2007, while I was manifesting a healthy pregnancy and wearing a size 10, and the one on the right was taken yesterday wearing a size 4 jean. At the time, I was trying to make myself look slimmer in the photo on the left so I need to find a different photo to illustrate the difference in my body.
However, I do find it interesting that after this photo shoot I became pregnant three months later ~ that photo was taken during a time when I was attempting to heal the rocky relationship I was having with my body.
At first I felt guilty for losing weight because I know pregnancy weight is hard to lose for many women and as much as my friends suggested I should write about my weight loss, I resisted. I didn't want to bring attention to the fact that my body had changed so drastically ~ where did my J-Lo booty go? I talked myself into thinking that it wasn't important and didn't matter. After all, I truly believe that bodies should be celebrated no matter what their size, it's how you feel in your own skin that matters.
Then I started to think a lot about gestational diabetes, and diabetes in general. Many stats say that less than five percent of women are affected by gd and I am going on record by saying that I don't believe that is true. I believe there are many pregnant women who have may have this form of temporary diabetes that don't know they have it and when I hear about women having 10 and 12 pound babies, I have to wonder...
The more I research and the more I think about the way I was eating and now I how eat and how the body metabolizes sugars, it all makes sense as why diabetes is on the rise. I now have a 50% chance of acquiring type 2 diabetes in the coming years if I don't watch what I eat, and how I eat. Not wanting to be attached to a blood sugar monitor makes me want to do what I can to prevent that from happening. Babies eat every two hours, who decided that we needed to stop that at some point and instead eat three larger meals a day?
People who have seen me ask what I did to lose the weight and I really believe it was the way I ate for those ten weeks. I believe when you eat many smaller meals throughout the day rather then the standard breakfast, lunch and dinner, your body effectively metabolizes what you take in and doesn't need to store it as fat. I know it's not rocket science, but it took me having gestational diabetes to learn the lesson the hard way. I have had a couple people ask me exactly what I ate, any recipes I could share, etc.
I didn't eat this way to lose weight; weight loss wasn't a goal for me during pregnancy. If I had ballooned up to 200 pounds I would have been fine with that as long as Bella was okay. I ate the way I did for Bella and learned some things in the process. The goal was to do this so my gd wouldn't affect her at birth. However, in doing so, I did lose a significant amount of weight.
I know I was carrying the emotional weight of two pregnancy losses on me for quite a while and while having Bella finally allowed me to let go of a lot of that emotional weight I was carrying, the fact is that eating differently, as well as understanding why I was eating the way I was, which was key for me, also helped.
I no longer feel guilty about my size, I now feel healthy. I feel better in my skin, and not as tired as I used to be, even with an infant. I like the way I look in clothes again and not because I want to be a size 2 or 4, I just feel healthy in my skin. I am convinced more and more that how we eat is just as important as what we eat. Now I just need to work on the toning part.
I try and take long walks with Isabella each day for both of us and because I now have a higher chance of getting diabetes because of my personal experience, I look at food, and what goes into my body, in a whole new light. I am not as extreme as I was during those ten weeks, and yes I have had a cupcake (or two) but I still eat small portions of good, healthy, quality organic food throughout the day most days.
I didn't expect this to happen to me, but it did and now I am wanting to share more of my personal experience and what I learned from this experience.
So my question is this: Is this kind of information something people would really want? If I were to put an e-book together on exactly what I did during those ten weeks, including recipes and a non-doctors view of how I understand the body to work, is there an interest out there?
I was unable to find books I could relate to on the topic of gd when I was looking so I believe there is a need. I would love to put it out there and get feedback from any of those interested who do try it for themselves, for whatever your personal reasons: diabetic, pregnant, preventative or simply because you wish to lose a few pounds.
Of course with anything, it's about taking information with a grain of salt and using it in a way that works for you. I am not a doctor, nor am I a nutritionist, but I do research the topics of food and how our bodies metabolize a lot since having had gd. I would love to research this more if this is something people have an interest in and share what I do know.
So, please let me know your thoughts, questions or suggestions either in comments or by email.