SCALE is a dirty word in our house right now. Weight is not discussed. I’d love to be able to say that I’ve never been one to demonize or idolize a certain number on the scale, but that just isn’t true. I WANT it to be true! While I know that the number that shows up on the scale isn’t necessarily the best measure of my health – pregnant or not – it’s hard to keep that in perspective when stepping on the scale is the first thing you’re asked to do when you go to the doctor every month. I beg them to let me take off any attire that would be appropriate to lose: boots, coat, sweater, etc. And then, “oh, joy,” there it is – that number that seems to be going up so fast! Five pounds in four weeks, is that really possible?! This pregnancy has felt like a giant blow right between the eyes where weight is concerned – but in a beautiful, redemptive way.
This is my third pregnancy, and for some reason I feel like I’ve gained more weight at this point in my pregnancy then with my other two. I’m not sure why … I’m eating healthy, exercising regularly, and chasing two wild boys all the time! The beautiful thing, though, is that this time, I feel free ! Free to not worry about the scale all the time. Free to eat! Free to exercise! Free to (try to) enjoy being pregnant! I think the reality of what I have known to be true about health is finally sinking into my brain. All women are different, all babies are different, and all pregnancies are different. If I’m eating healthy, exercising regularly (whether that’s working out at the gym or taking walks outside or at the mall), and taking my prenatal vitamins then who cares about the number? During my second pregnancy, I remember feeling extreme anxiety before every appointment because I was so nervous about what the scale would reveal! At one appointment, I remember my midwife saying that I didn’t have to look or that I could request not to be weighed; I hated looking, but at the time, I think I was using weight as my barometer of health so I was afraid not to look. What if I was gaining too much weight – so much weight that I would never lose it all? Questions like these kept me slave to the scale.
This time around, I’m reminding myself that “pregnant & fit” isn’t measured in numbers alone, but rather, it’s determined by a healthy lifestyle. For me, that means eating plenty of fruits and veggies, snacking on whole grain snacks and nuts, running around the house with my kids, going to the gym three or four times a week … and then taking a deep breath and enjoying dessert, if I choose to have one. I’m pregnant, but that doesn’t mean I NEED eight cookies – though I guarantee I could eat at least eight! I can enjoy one or two and then sleep in peace knowing that I haven’t ruined my health or my baby’s health and that everything is going to be okay. I can trust that I don’t have to look at the scale with worry and that my doctor will tell me if she has any real concerns with my weight.
This time, I’m free. Praise God.
Note: This is the third in a series of posts entitled “Pregnant & Fit?! Is it possible?” For more from Jenn on this same topic, click here.