Monday, January 3, 2011

Background Part 2

Part 1

So I ended part 1 with my first pregnancy, which had a starting weight of around 200 pounds.  I gained 35 or 40 pounds during the pregnancy, and never lost much of it.  When my daughter was still a baby, I decided to try out vegetarianism, mostly for ethical reasons, but also hoping to lose all the weight I had gained in the previous few years.  I stuck with it for a coupe of years.  Unfortunately, it just seemed to make things worse.  I couldn't lose weight, I felt bloated and irritable all the time, and I was always exhausted.  We also tried unsuccessfully to get pregnant for over 6 months before I couldn't take it any more and gave up trying.  I even tried veganism for a few months, but that really made me feel awful (though out of embarrassment I told my vegan friends that I felt great on it, I just couldn't stick with it!  I figured I must be doing something really wrong to feel so bad on what was supposedly the healthiest way to eat!)  Of course, now I know more about the problems soy can cause, and the downfalls of veg*n diets.  Eventually I decided that if I was going to be fat and feel like crap, I might as well get to eat meat!

The one lasting benefit of my stint with vegetarianism was that it forced me learn how to cook.  All the food we ate growing up was processed and canned, and my mother rarely cooked anything "from scratch."  So when I was 18 and married with a baby, I had no clue how to cook.  Because we live in a rural area with few vegetarian convenience foods (back then, anyway!) I had no choice but to learn to cook.  I am grateful for that!

Generally we ate the "standard American diet," and it wasn't until I finally got pregnant with  our second daughter that I began to develop an interest in healthier eating.  But, I was still very much trapped by the "low-fat, high-carb" mentality.  I gained 40 or 45 pounds with that pregnancy and did lose all of it in 4 months thanks to a successful breastfeeding relationship that time around, but I was still pretty overweight.  I kept eating low-fat, restricting calories pretty significantly, and started working out at Curves.  I did lose another 40 and got down to a size 10 (a pretty nice size for my height and body shape), and while I certainly felt better than I did in my veg*n days, I was still tired, still irritable, and still plagued with the heavy, painful periods I'd suffered since puberty started.  I just assumed I would always be that way and kept up with my low-fat, low-calorie diet and exercise 3-5x a week, hoping to to lose another 10 or 15 pounds.  But then came my pregnancy with daughter number three, and my largest pregnancy weight gain so far (over 50 pounds!)  The second I dropped the low-fat diet, my weight piled right back on.  Talk about frustrating!

But, I told myself that if I did it once, I could do it again.  I found I couldn't get myself back into the low-fat and calorie way of eating (breastfeeding makes you ravenous!), and also decided to cancel my gym membership to help save money.  I only managed to lose half of my pregnancy weight gain before I found myself in the ER one evening with a ruptured fallopian tube from an ectopic pregnancy.  I'd been unaware I was pregnant and had written off my abdominal pain as gas until it was unbearable and my husband insisted on taking me in.  Good thing, too, because by the time they took me into emergency surgery I had hemorrhaged over a liter of blood into my abdomen (the doctor who did the surgery told my husband and my mother that if I had gone to bed that night instead of coming into the ER, I would have bled to death in my sleep).  I was very weak for quite awhile afterward, due to the blood loss, and gained about 10 pounds.  I got pregnant again just a couple months later, and after ectopic pregnancy was ruled out and we heard a strong heartbeat at my 12 week appointment, I assumed everything would keep going on normally.

Sadly, I started bleeding at 16 weeks and ultra-sound confirmed the baby (a boy) had died 2 weeks earlier.  I won't go into the details here, but suffice to say it was extremely emotionally and physically traumatic.  I had already gained some weight during the pregnancy, and I easily gained another 10 or 15 afterward from depression.

So, I started my 6th pregnancy with extra weight from 3 pregnancies and the aftermath of 2 miscarriages. Thankfully, this pregnancy (a boy!) went well.  I gained 40 pounds and quickly lost almost 30 (again, yay breastfeeding!), but now I've "plateaued" and the weight isn't coming off easily.  About halfway through my last pregnancy, I began learning about traditional foods from a woman from my church.  I read Nina Planck's Real Food: What to Eat and Why and loved it!  It made so much sense, and after seeing it all laid out, it seemed so obvious that this was a common sense way to eat.  I quickly picked up Nourishing Traditions and started implementing the principles there.  Of course, with holidays at that point being right around the corner, and having a junk food junkie of a husband, I certainly haven't been following it anywhere near the extent that I should, and so my weight has stayed the same.  But now with the new year upon us and the holidays over, I feel very ready to dive in head first!  Because I am breastfeeding, I don't currently plan to move onto phase 2 (or, if I do, so that I can cook for my cooking challenged husband who desperately needs the phase 2, I will add enough calories back in to stay around 2500).  Yes, I know the book doesn't recommend even phase 1 for pregnant or nursing moms, but after going through every recipe in the two weeks of phase 1, I feel confident that it's a heck of a lot more nutritious than how I've been eating over the last few weeks!  But of course, I will add in calories if need be. 

Thanks for reading!

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