Back in June when I began blogging, I divulged that pregnancy is something that I am excited for in the near future, but also fearing to some extent, given my past (and present) history with body image issues, weight struggles and disordered eating behaviors.
While we aren’t planning on starting a family in this very moment (my husband just began an MBA program at University of Michigan this fall, so ideally we’d like to wait a little longer), it’s been on my mind a lot more lately.
So when I came across this article, “Dieters Gain More Weight During Pregnancy” in the health section of the New York Times (coincidentally published on my birthday), I was immediately interested.
Though I consider myself someone who has made many (successful) lifestyle changes since I began my journey in April 2004, I am still attempting to restrict my caloric intake every day; it’s ritual now, habitual. I don’t think about it — I simply follow Weight Watchers, track my points, wear a heart rate monitor when I exercise.
So by those determining factors, I am considered a “dieter” — even though I feel like I’m doing it in a healthy way.
The article’s lead was alarming. “Women who have a history of dieting are more likely to experience excessive weight gain during pregnancy, a new study shows.”
It was like seeing my worst fears coming true: I’m “predestined” to see excessive weight gain during pregnancy simply because of my past history?!?! Even though I’m healthy now?!?!
It’s not that before reading this I didn’t fear this happening or something (this has been on my mind for a while now). Yet it was somehow different, if not disturbing, “hearing” it in a conclusive study.
Old Melissa would have dwelled on this, told her husband she was never getting pregnant and resolved to a miserable life spent at the gym.
New Melissa, blogging-and-improving-via-therapy-and-blogotherapy-Melissa, realizes this is a ridiculously irrational thought that needed massive reframing. (Thanks, Dr. G and CBT!)
So here’s my positive, PR-girl spin on it: All the more reason to make peace with my body now.
If I come to terms with that now, then hopefully when the time comes, I’ll be even further along this road to recovery and less anxious about food and exercise. I’ll be at a place where I am happy with my body and able to let things happen on their own accord.
Then maybe I won’t be one of those statistics.
Maybe I’ll be one of those women who is already in the healthy range, who has a healthy pregnancy and gains a healthy amount of weight for her baby.
I’d say that’s the biggest sacrifice of all, and one I’m truly feeling willing — if not eager — to make in the next year or two. (We’ll see!)
How about you? What was your pregnancy weight gain experience like? Had you dieted heavily before?