Monday, January 27, 2014

On pregnancy weight gain & an ED past

I have had several women email and ask specifically how I was able to healthfully deal with the weight gain that comes with not only one, but now two, pregnancies. I have hesitated writing on this topic because honestly, it really was a non issue for me. And for that I am beyond thankful.

I know this is not the case for many women who are in recovery, or even for those who consider themselves "fully recovered."

During the time spent in therapy, while simultaneously pursuing fertility treatments to get pregnant the first time around, this very topic is something my therapist and I discussed and worked on, in order to mentally prepare for what would come in the form of extra pounds.

Because let's face it. . . for someone who had worked SO, SO HARD to gain a significant amount of weight, the thought of adding on an additional 25-30+ pounds on top of an already established healthy goal weight, can be downright scary. Terrifying actually.

Thus. . . prep work was needed.

And it worked. No doubt. When I got pregnant with Clara, and Camille for that matter, I was at a normal BMI based on the chart below. And for both pregnancies, without being overly restrictive or overly indulgent, I gained right around 30 pounds each time.

My therapist helped me shift my mindset and thus my mental focus during those nine months was WHERE the pounds were going. I was not gaining weight because my diet was spiraling out of control. I was gaining weight because I was growing a baby. A human being was depending on me to grow, thrive and survive. And with that in mind, I knew I needed to give it my best effort. 

Pregnancy weight gain does not = I am getting fat. 

Pregnancy weight gain = I am using my body, that God has entrusted me with, to provide proper nourishment to this teeny tiny baby. This teeny tiny baby that is depending on ME, each and every day of pregnancy, to ultimately make an appearance in this world. 

We also walked through charts like the one above, to see just how the pounds break down during a pregnancy. 

So while this sounds short and sweet, I know in reality, it is not a short and sweet process.

It takes time.

It takes work.

It takes a lot of mental preparation. A lot. 

And for some, like myself, it takes months of assistance from a therapist who can help work towards a healthy mindset of pregnancy weight gain. So that when a pregnancy does occur, the foundation has been laid, and instead of fretting each and every pound that creeps on, one can sit back and enjoy the wonder of a changing body and the growing of a human life.

Has anyone had experience with this? Did you struggle mentally and/or emotionally when gaining weight during pregnancy? What helped? What didn't? Please share. 


  1. Great post! Different background, but as someone who has struggled A LOT with body image/food issues I can relate. I totally agree: so much of dealing with the pregnancy weight gain is about (constantly) reminding yourself that there is another precious life depending on you for nourishment and growth. Something that really helped me when I was pregnant was TRUSTING--that God knew what He was doing, that my body knew what it was doing and would gain the appropriate amount of weight. For the first time in my life I really, really listened to my body: eating when I was hungry, stopping when I was full, allowing myself to eat what I was craving, giving myself permission to avoid foods that sounded downright disgusting, slowing down on exercise, etc. I'm sure so much of this sounds easy and obvious to someone who hasn't struggled with food/body image...but to me this was new territory. And you know what? My body did what it was supposed to (go figure) and gained the appropriate amount of weight. Sure, there were hard moments were I struggled to cope with weight gain, especially when all areas of my body seemed to increase in size. But allowing myself to eat what were once "forbidden foods" when I craved them AND still staying at what was considered a healthy weight = life changing experience for me.

    1. Great point - yes, it is also about trusting that God knows what he is doing and that he is ultimately in control :). It is quite amazing how our bodies just do what they need to do when we surrender over our control and stop obsessing about every little thing, right?

  2. Great (and informative) post! I definitely agree that keeping the end goal in mind helps in dealing with the weight gain. It also helped that my OB/nurse did not focus on the number at my appointments and I never felt like it was being scrutinized. I feel like some of my friends say their nurse or doctor really calls attention to it at appointments and that seems to create a lot of unnecessary worry and guilt!


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