Pregnant and Proud

20 Sep

Dear Ruth

In June 2012 I got engaged to my amazing partner, after a childhood of dysfunction/abuse and as a consequence, overeating. I loved my life, but hated myself and the way I looked. I read ‘Run Fat Bitch Run’ and embarked upon a massive change, I became a fitness fanatic….running 4-5 times a week alongside other activities and lost 3 stone. I felt great, with still a little way to go (1 and a half stone) my confidence soared. I was then struck down with an injury that required an operation, I was unable to walk/run for 6-8 weeks. This year I have had spurts of getting back to that level of fitness but haven’t stuck to it. I am now married and 9 weeks pregnant, we’re delighted to be having a baby but I feel so Ill. I’m off work and barely leave the house because I’m so sick. I’ve put loads of weight on already and generally feel miserable about how I’ve allowed this too happen. I don’t want to become obsessed with ‘weight loss’ during pregnancy but at the same time I want to feel good. Days go by and I’ve achieved nothing. This isn’t how I dreamt pregnancy would be!!!!
Please help, any advice would be greatly appreciated!!!!
Natalie Watson

Hi Natalie,

Firstly, I am sorry to hear of your bad childhood, consequent overeating and then your herculean efforts to transform being thwarted by injury! How frustrating. But you have proved to yourself that YOU CAN DO IT and you will do so again.

Pregnancy is such a weird one, we are so at the mercy of those intense hormonal fluctuations! And at week 9, I’d hazard a guess you are at the absolute pinnacle of the crappiest stage of the whole 9 months. How is it that we can feel so tired and sick and bloated and yet are always unnervingly keen to deliver cake into our mouths whenever baby?!?! demands… How is it possible to sleep for 14 hours solidly and still feel tired, to eat ones body weight in pastry while feeling gut-wrenchingly sick and weep into a pillow every 10 seconds when having a baby was all you ever wanted? And looking and feeling super fat because you don’t yet look remotely pregnant. Hideous.

This God-awful phase will pass and by about week 14 you should start to feel a bit more like yourself. That awful sickness you have now will soon be gone, and that ‘so fat’ feeling will be replaced with a much more acceptable ‘so pregnant’ one. In a few weeks’ time everything will feel different; that bloated tummy becomes hard with baby and you can stick it out without worrying that you look fat. Finally you look pregnant. And feel proud!

Its a very bad idea to diet when pregnant. Better to eat as healthily as your body and mind and cravings dictate and to try and keep those cravings and those mood swings under control by remaining as active as you can, which will help stave off unnecessary weight gain, balance your energy levels, helps with the crippling tiredness, and purportedly prepares you for labour!?! the fitter the better so they say (I’m unconvinced by this, I think the best indicator of how you deal with childbirth is how your mother dealt with it but that’s another story)…..

Here’s what I did exercise-wise when preggers with the twins: I went on a proper long walk most days, (same sort of distance that I used to jog – 4 miles), right up until it became too uncomfortable in the last month or so, and I did a pregnancy yoga DVD 3 or 4 times a week). These two things were great for helping offset unnecessary weight gain from the mountain of food I gorged upon throughout. Luckily I craved a lot of good(ish) foods and I’m sure some of that was because I remained so active. So Natalie, you previously embraced ‘run fat bitch run’ and felt great. Why not use that old circuit now for fast walks and try to get back to your 4-5 times a week fanaticism – you already know from previous experience that it will have you feeling great again in no time, and lets face it its a helluva lot easier to psyche yourself up for a walk than for a run – especially now that the weather has turned! Go now and you will feel a thousand times better when you return..

The Grit Doctor says:

Pregnancy, like motherhood, is nothing like what you expect. Expect the unexpected from now on.

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