Yesterday I had an appointment with my OBGYN. One of the many appointments I have had and will continue to have. I am currently in my 2nd trimester (19 weeks), so it was a good appointment – a time for me to ask a lot of questions about the many changes that are taking place.
I have made it a regular practice when I go into their office to make sure that they do not tell me my weight when I step on the scale. I have never been one for scales and numbers – I do not think weight is a good measurement of health or anything else really. Weights can vary greatly depending on how much muscle you have at the time, if you have a lot of water weight at the moment, or even if you’re wearing heavier shoes than normal.
Regardless of the reason, I made a conscious decision to keep my weight unknown during my pregnancy. Because of my history with restrictive eating and negative body image, the last thing I want to do during my pregnancy is cause any stress to myself around the amount of weight I am gaining.
I am very connected to my body, thus my decision is to listen to how I am feeling (paying close attention to my energy levels, vitality, degree of sleep, clarity, etc.) to ensure that I am nourishing the baby and myself enough during this time. For a while now, I have trained myself to listen closely to my body’s signals. I eat when I am hungry and listen to my body to know when I am full. I am conscious to eat nutrient-dense foods, but I do not put intense focus on only consuming the “cleanest” food possible. I eat what I want. If I am craving breads and carbs, that is exactly what I eat. I know there is a reason my body is craving that particular food. The same goes for sweets. If I am feeling the desire for something sweet, I let myself have it – typically in the form of fruit, dark chocolate, a decadent smoothie or ice cream.
I bring all of this up because yesterday, as I left my appointment, the doctor gave me a piece of paper that outlined our appointment. When I got home, I pulled out the document, forgetting that it may include my weight, and immediately my eyes went to that exact number. I saw loud and clear how much I weighed. Ugh, how annoying I thought – I did not want to see that. My instant thought was damn, is that too much weight? I have gained a lot since I first got pregnant; does this mean I am going to get really big as the pregnancy goes on. These thoughts streamed in my mind, just as I could have guessed they would. This was the precise reason I decided not to view my weight throughout the pregnancy.
So here I was left with all of the feelings I so dreaded. My head immediately went to – well shoot, I need to focus on eating healthier and not so often. I don’t want to gain too much weight in the pregnancy. I was actually feeling hungry as all of these thoughts were crossing my mind, and my thought was that no, I should not eat. Remember the weight you just saw.
This is the problem, my friends, if we come from a background of disordered eating and negative body image; we can so easily revert back to this world. This is precisely what happened to me – my fear came true.
So what did I do?
Well, it took some talking myself down to be honest. First I reminded myself that I looked and felt great. That weight was just a number, not a representation of health – something I am always telling my clients.
I reminded myself that it did not matter how much weight I gained in this pregnancy, as long as I felt good and knew deep down that I was nourishing the baby and myself to the best of my ability. I reminded myself not to compare myself to other pregnant moms who have remained very thin throughout their pregnancies – that perhaps they struggled with restrictive food behaviors and stress around food and their body image throughout their pregnancy. This form of stress is something I have been adamant to not bring into my pregnancy since the moment I conceived.
One thing we often forget is that the worst thing for a baby is stress. Any stress! So stress around food, body image and weight gain during pregnancy one hundred percent falls into that bucket.
I reminded myself of my main goals for my pregnancy – happiness, being in the present moment, enjoying the experience (perhaps a once in a lifetime experience), and remaining in the best headspace possible for the baby, my family, and of course myself.
I told myself that I am better than this and have the tools to move through this. I coach people through this all the time; how is this different when it is me? I also told myself that this is definitely happening for a reason – that I was meant to see that weight, so I could go through this experience and test myself. How far along on this journey am I really?
It is helpful for me to experience situations like this so I can relate more deeply to my clients – understand what they are going through when they relapse back to restrictive habits or binging based on a triggering experience they have.
As I say constantly, I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. This event is no different. I would not be writing this blog post and potentially helping others who are struggling with similar hardships or regressions in their healing if I had not seen my weight on the paper and experienced the thoughts that followed.
So today I am feeling better. I am making the conscious effort to continue eating just as I have been throughout my pregnancy thus far, which is extremely freely and based on my cravings – a sign of what my body needs. No restriction or over-focus on my body and how it is changing as the baby grows; just joy and amazement in this experience on the whole and the constant reminder that nothing else really matters because at the end of the day I am growing a human inside of me. And how extraordinary is that?
Sending lots of love, compassion and courage your way today and every day!
Glow and flow,