Fat or Fit: How My Two Extreme Pregnancies Compare
No shade to doctors, but there's more to pregnancy health than consuming the daily recommended 1 matchbox-sized portion of steak, 2 cups of spinach, 3 eggs, 4 pieces of string cheese, and 5 glasses of milk. Throw in some whacked-out hormones, crazy cravings, and serious bouts of morning sickness, and it's really impossible to stick to a proper diet when you're pregnant.
As a woman, you already know what it's like to have to deal with crazy double standards and unrealistic expectations. But watch things go out of hand once you become a mom… and it starts when you start flashing that pregnant bod. You're going to have to deal with a lot of unsolicited advice and disapproving glances when you dare take a bite of a donut– or gasp– try to stay fit while pregnant!
I'm here to share my own experiences of going through two pregnancies looking like two completely different women. First, as a totally lazy couch potato, and second, as an obnoxious health nut. Each had its own set of pros, cons, and lessons learned. I'm not here to preach anything… simply to give insight into what it's like to go through both health extremes:
The Lazy Couch Potato Pregnant Lady
My first pregnancy was completely unplanned. I was young, so I was completely thrown off guard. To say I ate my feelings would be an understatement.
Diet: For breakfast, 4 scrambled eggs with butter (I was just learning how to cook, so I practiced with a lot of eggs). Lunch, 2 medium two-topping pizzas to share with my husband. Dinner, hamburgers to go. Zero fruit, veggies, or dairy.
Exercise: None. Lived a very sedentary lifestyle of video games and Netflix. Didn't even help walk the dog.
Weight gained: 65 lbs. (out of the recommended 30)
Medical problems: At risk for gestational diabetes.
Non-medical physical problems: Constant and extreme swelling from my face down to my toes. Stretch marks galore from very rapid weight gain. Had 0 energy, sluggish throughout my pregnancy.
Mental/psychological problems: Very depressed!
How it affected the baby: It didn't. My daughter was completely healthy.
Postpartum effects: Difficulty recovering from pregnancy and from giving birth. Took months to return to my pre-baby body (which I didn't even think was possible).
Pros: You know how everyone tells you to enjoy your time and relax before you have your baby? I did, hardcore. And being totally unhealthy during my pregnancy and gaining that insane amount of weight catapulted me into a very health-conscious lifestyle after having my baby.
Cons: Permanently loose skin and stretch marks. Probably starting to develop actual diabetes. Zero photos during such a huge (tee-hee) and important time of my life.
The Obnoxious Health Nut Pregnant Lady
The time in between my first pregnancy and my second was really intense. There were food journals, daily weigh-ins, new "allergies" that I started developing *cough* gluten-sugar-dairy-meat sensitivity *cough*. I literally ate like a bird (minus the worms.) I was constantly doing yoga throughout the day, and even doing lunges while cooking in the kitchen. I wanted to carry over this healthy lifestyle throughout my pregnancy.
Diet: Breakfast would be steel cut oats with almonds and cranberries. Lunch, kale salad. Dinner, a piece of fish and veggies, but often skipped. Barely any protein and carbs.
Exercise: Although I really wanted to keep up the exercise during my pregnancy, I was really paranoid that it would harm the baby. I stuck to walking, and clocked in a mile or two daily.
Weight gained: 29 lbs. (out of the recommended 30)
Medical problems: Very low blood sugar
Non-medical physical problems: None! I was full of energy, didn't develop any new stretch marks, and there was very minimal swelling.
Mental/psychological problems: I became really obsessed with what I ate, because I didn't want to exceed the recommended weight gain.
How it affected the baby: Although he was very healthy, my baby was born 6 lbs., a far cry from my chubby first born.
Postpartum effects: Recovered immediately. Snapped back to my body within days (save for a few pounds because I was breastfeeding)
Pros: A healthier, happier experience and a quicker recovery from pregnancy and birth.
Cons: Because my baby was so small, it sent me into panic mode and I started to indulge heavily again while breastfeeding, gaining back what I had already lost and maintaining it until I weaned.
This is really non-advice because everyone already knows this, but balance is key. Pregnancy is a great time to indulge, but don't think there aren't any consequences when you eat junk all day and don't get moving. On the other hand, worrying too much about your appearance (masked as "health") shouldn't really be your top priority when you're carrying a baby.
I've thrown out my scale for good and stopped recording all my meals. And these days, I don't really count Cheetos and Twinkies as a satisfying lunch. Now that I have two kids to chase around and take care of, I need to be healthy– both physically and in my well-being.
If I could go back to my lazy pregnant self, I'd tell her that she'll never be able to wear low-cut jeans and string bikinis for the rest of her life if she doesn't wise up. And to health nut Nikki, well, maybe I'll just start fanning a grilled rib-eye in her direction every now and then.
Currently pregnant? On a scale of french fries to kale, how do you rank your pregnancy health? Share your thoughts with us.Tags : confession pregnancy