From Points to pregnancy: dealing with weight gain so far

apples

This time last year, I was celebrating two milestones: my first anniversary with Weight Watchers and achieving lifetime status with the program after reaching my goal weight. Dropping those 35 pounds took me out of the “overweight” category for the first time in my adult life.

Shedding that weight was life-changing for me. Beyond being happier with my appearance, I actually had energy. Drive. Purpose. My new relationship with food made me feel empowered, not guilty. I slept better, walked taller and generally felt like Meg 2.0. And I was getting married!

Life was great before, but after WW? It was fantastic.

When I learned I was pregnant last September, I had every intention — every intention in the world! — of maintaining my healthy eating habits. Reaching for a banana instead of a high-calorie snack was just what I did — not something I thought about. I was so well-versed in the Weight Watchers way of life that I tracked Points in my head, naturally knowing when I’d overdone it or could indulge a little that day.

And I wanted — want — to have a fit pregnancy. As Spence and I began to discuss starting a family, I started researching prenatal health and nutrition. Armed with facts, data and support from doctors and other mamas, I felt fairly confident that I could continue to be me . . . just with a baby bump.

And then I got sick.


Funnel cake


The nausea started in week five, reaching a delirious fever pitch in week eight. Though I have heard so many stories that make my own morning (er, all day) sickness seem wimpy by comparison, there is no denying I was ill. Perpetually nauseous. Foods I once loved — Brussels sprouts, hummus, green beans, yogurt, chicken — became Enemy No. 1. In the weeks after we learned I was expecting, my husband and I basically had to empty out our fridge and start again.

There was no telling what would set off my gag reflex, which made it even harder. I would walk into a restaurant craving chips and queso, then panic and walk out before I’d even gotten to the counter. Something I loved one day — spicy pickles, chocolate ice cream — would sicken me the next.

What I could count on? Breads. Macaroni and cheese. Bagels. Potato chips. Rich, carb-heavy foods that seemed to settle my stomach the way my lighter fare could not.

In short? I wanted everything I stopped eating after committing to healthy eating. For the first time in more than a year, our house was packed with junk food — and I began packing on the pounds.

At this point, 20 of them.

Until I began to make my peace with it, that number terrified me. Though I limit what/how much I’m reading about pregnancy (online, especially), I know a “healthy” weight gain in the first few months is generally between one and five pounds. I probably gained that in the second week.

Now 19 weeks along, I’ve discussed this with my doctor. I’m closely monitored. I weigh in at every appointment, give blood and urine — all the normal procedures. And so far, I’m good. We’re good. At this point, there is no reason to worry or obsess about my weight — and that knowledge calms me down.

Also? I’ve learned to cut myself some slack.


Brussels sprouts


Those early months felt like I was stumbling around with an awful stomach virus — and if I thought I was going to be munching on salad greens with a light vinaigrette, well . . . there was no way. No way. I wasn’t sitting down to five-course dinners, but I was eating what I could stomach — and snacking often to keep the queasiness at bay.

Physically, I did what I had to do to get through it.

But emotionally, it was tough.

After feeling so healthy, strong and slim, my body’s rapid transformation was crazy. I felt sick, not pregnant, so it was psychologically tough to differentiate between gaining weight for a little one and just . . . gaining weight.

Those early months were hard.

I subscribe to a few baby boards for expectant moms also due in June. Though they can be something of a dark hole sometimes, especially for nervous first-timers, I do find camaraderie there — and answers to many “Is this normal?”-type questions. (Answer: probably. Everything is weird in pregnancy.)

But when I see a post called “No weight gain!!!” or “Feeling fat,” I know to stay away.

They’re triggers for me . . . especially when I started scrolling through posts from women who had not gained a pound — or actually lost weight — in their first trimester. Even recently, at almost five months along, some ladies can still fit into non-maternity clothing. Entire threads of women showing off their svelte figures at 12, 14 or 16 weeks made me self-conscious and anxious.

I bought my first pair of maternity jeans at six weeks along — because I really needed them. My pants with their single-digit tags now look laughably small, and 75 percent of my wardrobe is completely unwearable.

But this is a season. You’re growing a baby, I gently remind myself — so of course I’m growing, too.

Though I know they’re probably innocent, remarks about suddenly seeing weight gain “in my face” take me aback. I’m so happy to be having this baby, but the comments about my changing shape are hard to take. Especially with a smile.

A friend — a mom of two herself — recently told me that, once you’re obviously expecting, everyone feels as though your body is public property. Your breasts, rump and belly are all open for conversation, scrutiny and comparison . . . along with your eating habits. And parenting style. And so on.

When I was craving Milano cookies in November, someone casually mentioned “all the sweets” at my desk.

“Remember, you’re going to have to take all that weight back off,” she warned. “And good luck with that.”


I feel I need a disclaimer here . . . a big, bold one that says, Yes, I am so unbelievably happy about this baby! We already love him or her so much, and I know all these changes will be more than worth it. With time and patience, I’m sure I’ll begin to feel like my old self again.

But it’s still hard sometimes.

Honestly, it is.


So, the title of my post: how I’m “dealing with” weight gain at five months along? Now that the dark, sick days of the first trimester are behind me, I find myself . . . thinking again. Thinking like Meg 2.0.

About what I’m eating.
Why I’m eating it.
How it’s benefiting Baby J — and if it’s benefiting me.
Am I hungry . . . or bored?
If I’m hungry, is this what I’m really hungry for?

Slowly, slowly, the fruit and vegetables have returned to my plate. Slowly, slowly, I’m reaching less for the chips and more for the almonds. String cheese is back, as is Greek yogurt. And my appetite for meat, though smaller, has also returned. (Minus chicken. Something still doesn’t sit right with me.)

I’m feeling less like the junky, tired stranger who arrived in the fall and more like the empowered, choosy woman — the mom-to-be (!) — that I’m much more comfortable with. I feel human.

I guess that’s why everyone loves the second trimester, right?


Shifting from Points to pregnancy hasn’t been seamless, and I know I’ll feel a thousand conflicted emotions between now and June. (And, you know, for the rest of my life.) But I feel like I’ve reached a place where I’m feeling well enough — and strong enough — to take control of my nutrition again.

And I really want to. Moving forward, I want to approach healthy eating during pregnancy with the same zeal that first brought me to Weight Watchers in 2013.

Though part of me does wish we could take that whole “eating for two” thing literally sometimes — especially when funnel cake is involved.

Pass me an apple instead?


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23 thoughts on “From Points to pregnancy: dealing with weight gain so far

  1. wow – haha – I remember when my sister was pregnant for a boy – she did gain some weight, her energy level stay the same. And most importantly it was a great lesson for her husband to listen and enjoy!! Congrats and wish you a great health!!

  2. It actually sounds like you’re doing pretty darn well with the weight gain and pregnancy (minus the nausea). I know that my mom went up to about 198 pounds (she’s 5’4″) when she was pregnant with me, but she didn’t even attempt to eat healthy. In fact, I think that she ate more than my dad. With regard to your coworker, I think that you should have thrown the cookies at her, and then tell her that you’re burning calories that way.

  3. Although not really eligible to comment, sometimes you need to get your (& your baby’s) nutrition from somewhere, and that has to be better than starving both! And remember, you are now well aware of what you can do, and what you have to do to get there – when you feel the time is right. (My wife was sick for the first & third trimesters, and most of the second – I sympathise with you)

  4. I am so glad I wasn’t pregnant in the age of “fitspo”. The idea of women showing off online about how little weight they have gained is really gross.
    You seem to have a healthy attitude about it, which is really good. Pay attention to your health and do the best you can– and ignore input from anyone but your doctor!
    I existed on slurpees during my first pregnancy, haha. Wouldn’t recommend that, but it was all okay in the end!

  5. I cannot even tell you how much I relate. Prior to being pregnant, I lost over 115 pounds, and now at 39 weeks, I’ve gained quite a lot more than I should have and some days I just want to cry! However, my doctor tells me he isn’t concerned because I’ve had no other pregnancy troubles, and I realize this is only temporary. I also realize it will be worth it when it’s all said and done, and that I can lose the weight again, but I will only ever carry my son once. I know this doesn’t help, but you’re not alone, and if you had the will to lose the weight before, you will have the will to lose it again!

  6. LOVE the honesty of this post!! From everything I’ve heard and read about pregnancy, you just have to eat what you can, when you can in those first totally nauseous months…and not sweat it. You look AMAZING in my opinion.

  7. I can imagine that’s a tough mental transition to go through when you’ve met a big weight loss goal like that. But it definitely sounds like you’re being extremely mindful about your eating, and that’s a skill that will carry you through a healthy pregnancy and beyond.

  8. oof, as someone who struggles with her own weight, i can only imagine that a possible future pregnant me will struggle with a similar thought process. thank you for being brave enough to share and good luck with the baby! ❤

  9. I love your outlook on this, Meg! I’m sure it’s a struggle to deal with eating healtier now when all you want are carbs, carbs, and more carbs, but I agree…cut yourself some slack! Sounds like you’re on the right track, though. And it’s such an exciting time in your life!

  10. I think you sound like you’re aware of what’s going into your body and that’s a major key. I won’t go into my pregnancies with food, but I was sick during both of them, wound up on IV fluids twice and decided I was not a good pregnant person. The outcomes were fabulous and worth it, but I was so sick of being sick! Focus on the end, healthy mom and baby. 🙂

  11. I feel ya sister! I totally remember a similar experience. I’m so glad you’re past the nausea part of it. I walked around feeling car sick the entire first trimester, and smells were my worst enemies. It sounds like you’re approaching this situation with a healthy mix of self-reflection, kindness to yourself, and ambition to have the pregnancy you want. I think you’re doing GREAT! ❤

  12. The whole weight-gain issue has freaked me out from the start, but for different reasons. I’ve never actually been overweight but I come from a family where overweight/obesity is a BIG problem (along with diabetes and heart disease). As a result, I’ve had this “fear” of gaining weight that I’ve struggled with for most of my life (at age 11 I started keeping a secret food journal where I tracked not just calories but fat, carbs, sugar, and sodium for every.single.thing I ate -if I couldn’t track it, I didn’t eat it- and I would sneak out at night to run laps around our backyard for extra exercise …). Just in the last few years I feel like I’ve come to terms with the fact that my body is not my mother’s/sister’s/cousin’s/etc and realized that I’m in control of my weight through eating well and staying active in a sane, healthy way. It’s been really tough for me psychologically to see the numbers on the scale increase every week and to accept that it’s actually a healthy weight gain. The Husband keeps reminding me it’s not fat, it’s a baby and the weight gain means I’m doing something right for the baby, but it’s still tough to accept the growing belly, the too-small clothes, and the knowledge that I’ll just keep getting bigger for the next five months. It sounds like you’re approaching it with a healthy attitude and staying in tune with what your body needs, which is always a good thing! And I kinda think your coworker deserves to be pelted in the eye with one of those MIlanos, but why waste a perfectly delicious cookie? 🙂

  13. Good for you, Meg! I understand and empathize with a lot of what you’re saying here, and I can honestly say (even though we’ve never met in person!) that I’m proud of you for keeping your eye on the ball. For reminding yourself that getting sick and craving non-normal foods is all about the baby and not because you’re doing something wrong or fell off the WW wagon. I can already tell your child is going to have the healthiest lunchbox in the cafeteria and that you’ll set up Baby J for a lifetime of healthful, thoughtful eating, which will help your child have a positive body image. Good for you!

    (And I’m with Stephanie. Pelt your coworker in the eye with the Milano. And then catch it before it hits the ground so it doesn’t go to waste. :>)

  14. Hi there Meg! I can so much relate to you on this post as I myself is on the 15th-week of pregnancy. Good to know that you’re passed that stage where it’s confusing if you’re really feeling pregnant or sick. Me? Well, I’m just starting to regain my appetite after being so “sick” on my first trimester. The good side about this is that, “we are having a baby”. And it’s a blessing. Good luck to you and to me. 🙂

  15. I’m 39 weeks pregnant now, and looking back, my eating habits weren’t even close to what I thought they would be. I had lost 40 lbs. prior to becoming pregnant, and I thought that I would be able to keep eating healthy, as I had been. Then, as you said, the morning sickness began (and lasted all day). Game over, bring on the carbs! I have come to realize that pregnancy really doesn’t last that long in the grand scheme of things and I will have my chance to lose weight again. I let go of my expectations and have really enjoyed this pregnancy, despite the big weight gain!

  16. I know this is easier said than done, but worry about what you eat…BUT NOT TOO MUCH. Yes, yes, you will have to lose it later. But keep in mind that breastfeeding melts a lot of that weight right off of you. Enjoy this pregnancy, it is a magical time (especially that second trimester). Don’t be too hard on yourself.

  17. It sounds as though you’re doing beautifully! I agree that it’s annoying that people think a woman’s pregnant body is up for discussion. I didn’t mind being called “beautiful” or “glowing,” but I can’t tell you how much I wanted to punch a coworker who jokingly greeted me with, “Hi Waddles!” Now that I’ve returned to work this month, I’m still getting comments. *sigh* Keep up your good work, mama, as you grow your little miracle. 🙂

  18. Oh man, you’re so right on! So much of this hit home for me. First off, the idea of my pregnant body as public property has been shocking for me. I have had people ask some pretty rude questions, especially since I’m expecting twins. It’s everything from weight gain to whether or not we conceived naturally. The last one is especially annoying to me because 1. It is nobody’s business and 2. people have a lot of ill-conceived notions about how twins, especially identical twins are conceived. The last question usually sends me into a riff on a scientific explanation about how identical twins happen because it is the only way to collect myself enough to be polite rather than rude. It is totally grating…

    As an aside, what is it with chicken??? I am back to eating every other kind of meat but chicken still weirds me out most of the time!

  19. It’s so hard to cope with morning sickness! I had it with all 3 of my pregnancies and you’re dead on- only junky food kept it at bay. Chicken was my worst enemy except for my middle pregnancy, but even then I could only eat it fried! Do what you have to do as long as you’re being healthy 😉 and you’ll go back to eating the way you want when the baby arrives- it’s truly an instant transformation with your appetite! I’ve also heard that WW has a great program for nursing mothers if that’s in your plan (and if not it’s still a great way to get back on track). Keep growing that baby however you have to do it!

  20. I must have missed your original announcement; congratulations on your pregnancy! That’s so exciting!!
    I can imagine that dealing with the physical changes of pregnancy are tough but it sounds like you have the right perspective on things. I think you are reaching the point where the hormones start to calm down so hopefully you’ll start to feel completely normal again. And keep in mind that breastfeeding burns a ton of calories so if you’re planning on doing that, then you’re sure to burn off the baby weight even faster. Most importantly, I’m just happy to hear that you and the baby are healthy because at the end of the day, that’s all that matters!

  21. Congratulations on your pregnancy! So exciting! “Morning” sickness is absolutely the worst, so I definitely feel you on that. With my first son, I could not eat anything, and then all of a sudden I’d get some weird, random craving. One night, my husband took me to Five Guys just so I could get a bacon cheeseburger and fries. I ate every single bite, although prior to that I had barely eaten a thing in the past two days or so. Pregnancy is so weird!
    It’s really hard to think of yourself as gaining weight to grow and sustain a human being, instead of just getting fat. I struggled with that a lot. But it sounds like you have a really healthy perspective on things now, so that’s wonderful! Stay positive, and (as cliche as this is), remember that it really is all worth it as soon as you lay eyes on your little baby. 🙂

  22. Honey, do not worry about your weight. You lost it once, and you can definitely lose it again. With my first child, I didn’t care what I age and gained 60 pounds. I used Weight Watchers and lost it all. With my second child, I did watch what I age and still gained 55 pounds. When that started happening, I changed my outlook to one of panic and constant angst over the weight gain to one in which I realized that the most important thing I can do for the baby is eat healthy, well-balanced meals. If I gain weight doing so, I’ve proved to myself that I can take it off again. My sagest advice, of which you are probably already so tired, is to just enjoy yourself and your pregnancy. It truly is a special, one-of-a-kind moment in life, and it passes too quickly to worry about such things as weight gain.

  23. I have never been through this, so I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be. I will say that I think you’ve got your priorities straight and it’s much more important to keep you and the baby healthy than to keep all the weight off. Hang in there!

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