I first met our RE on Friday, February 20th, 2009. At that initial appointment, he told me to totally change my whole diet. He told me to cut out all High Fructose Corn Syrup, potatoes, corn, any ingredient I couldn't pronounce, alcohol...you name it. I figured that he's the expert...so I started following his directions pretty darn closely. I "deviated" from time to time, but I quickly got really careful about what I ate. And did I mention that he wanted me to do an hour of cardio and 200 crunches per day? My cardio ended up being 20-30 minutes per day, but I did the crunches.
On February 20th, 2009, I weighed 175 pounds. I'm 5'9", so I "distributed" the weight pretty well. But it was definitely the heaviest I had ever been...and I was mostly okay with it. I was happily married, and I was loving eating a home-cooked meal with my husband every night.
From day one of the dietary changes, my goal was always to get pregnant and maintain a healthy pregnancy. The goal was never to lose weight. Sure, it would be a nice perk, but I was never trying to lose weight. But three or four months into "Operation: Eat Healthy", the extra pounds started coming off. For the most part, I avoided the scale--I was trying to provide a healthy environment for a future baby, not necessarily lose weight.
At my OB appointment, I was shocked that the scale (you know the old fashioned type with the sliding weights) was reading under 150. I had my clothes and my boots on...but I swear it said 136. That didn't seem right, so I assumed that I had misread it (adding up the multiple sliding weights has never been my specialty). The next morning, out of curiosity, I got on our bathroom scale before getting in the shower.
I'm ten weeks pregnant and I weigh what I did in...8th grade? I realize that the true weight gain hasn't quite started yet...but I'm pretty darn close to being considered "underweight". I calculated that my Body Mass Index (BMI) is 19.2, which is barely in the normal range. I figured that something had to change.
And so...I ate three chocolate-covered strawberries at the dessert buffet at my conference luncheon today. I filled up on salad, soup, sandwich, rice, and steamed veggies as well. But I gave myself permission to eat the chocolate-covered strawberries...as well as blueberry pie with vanilla ice cream (I need calcium at this stage, right?).
I promise I'm not going to go overboard and switch back to the other extreme of gorging myself on sweets or other unhealthy items. But it is a bit of a paradigm shift after being so careful about what I ate for the last year. The way I see it, I could gain just over 40 pounds in this pregnancy and still be under the 175 mark that I was at around this time last year. But just as I started to eat healthy for the sake of maintaining a pregnancy rather than losing weight, I need to continue to eat in a way that will maintain this pregnancy and not simply for the sake of gaining weight.
Today, I recognize how much I am blessed to have a supervisor who supports my professional development. While I'm at this conference, I'm reminded of just how blessed I am to have the emotional and financial support of our department in allowing me to participate in this sort of opportunity. In this time of educational cutbacks, it really is a blessing to have the chance to present, learn, and network.