To me, it's the number I topped out at before giving birth to Jack.
I thought I'd write a little something about gaining weight when you're pregnant. Full disclosure: I don't exactly know what weight I was when I became pregnant. I hadn't weighed myself in 6 years before that; I live my life based on how my clothes fit and try not to fixate on numbers. So, I have to guess that I was between 138 and 143 because that's where I've always felt good.
You do the math, people: that's around 50 pounds of weight gain. Every time I went to the doctor, I saw the scale creep to a number I had never before seen in my life. I should also mention, most OBs say the "healthy weight gain for pregnancies" is around 25 to 30 pounds.
Did I ever feel discouraged or down on myself? No, I didn't and here's why:
(1) I ate healthily, drank a ton of water and exercised regularly. I did not use pregnancy as an excuse to indulge in every food whim I had (although, I did consume a fair amount of prosciutto and limeade during those 9 months), nor did I pretend to be some delicate flower who needed to sit on the couch all day.
(2) My mom told me she gained around 60 pounds with each of us. It was just her natural weight gain for pregnancy (and doctors will tell you, the best predictor for how pregnancy will be for you is how it was for your mother). Sorry for outing you, Mom.
(3) My doctor told me tall, thin women have a tendency to gain more weight when pregnant to make their bodies more hospitable to their babies. Which sounds kind of mean and horrible, like my poor child was relegated to some sort of dungeon as opposed to a master suite.
(4) I've mentioned this before, but I guzzled around a gallon and a half of water a day... that's some serious poundage right there!
(5) I was in the process of doing the most important thing I had ever done in my life: bringing a person into the world.
Once I had Jack, I lost 30 pounds in 6 weeks (ok, well, I guess if we're being analytical here, Jack was almost 7 pounds, so I lost around 23). When I went in for my 6 week check-up, I was shocked to learn I still had 20 pounds to go because I already felt amazingly light for where I was at on the scale.
Since then, I've continued to steadily go down. I'm solely breastfeeding Jack, walk for about an hour and a half a day, eat healthily and don't stress about it. It took 9 months for me to gain the weight and I refuse to get down on myself... being a new mom is challenging enough.
Pregnancy has made me appreciate my body like never before. The extra chubs or skin I would have fixated on in high school (ummm, which was non-existent in high school, I see that now) or college is nothing; I think I look damn good and I am truly proud of what I've been able to do during the last year thanks to my body.
A couple tips that has helped in feeling good about myself since birth:
(1) At 6 weeks, I went and bought two new pairs of jeans. I needed to get out of maternity jeans and yoga pants and feel like a real person again. I simply started trying them on until I found two I felt good in; I did not check the sizes until I was waiting in line to pay for them. Also, I wanted my pants to feel snug... some words of wisdom to live by, "Sweat pants are the most comfortable pants in the world. You never gonna want to lose weight unless you feel uncomfortable." (Shout out to Li-Nan for her insight).
(2) The only exercise I did for the first 6 weeks was walking. I'd strap Jack to my chest, leash up Moe and off we'd go. It was a great way to get out of the house for some fresh air and I truly believe walking to be one of the best things you can do to clear your head (and trim your thighs, eh, eh?).
(3) I'm back to not weighing myself. We don't own a scale, so it's easy for me to do, but I can tell I am already significantly smaller than I was at my check-up a month ago.
(4) I've started going to kickboxing classes at the gym and I kid you not, I can feel the endorphin rush when I'm walking home. Even if it wasn't a hard core workout (which it is), the happiness I experience after that hour is worth it.
(5) Surround yourself with people who do not fixate on weight or body image. At the end of the day, you brought a human into the world, and that should be their focus, not your size. Also, acknowledge the fact that every woman, body and pregnancy is different: comparison truly is the thief of joy.
To all you pregnant ladies out there, enjoy life as it is right now before it changes in the biggest way possible. And to all you new mamas, congratulations! I'm sure you and baby look great.
Mine sure does.
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” - Buddha