Monday, 16 February 2015

Pregnancy and the Dreaded Weight Gain!

Personally, I hated being pregnant. I hated every single minute of it from the moment I turned 8 weeks and the morning sickness began, to the point I went into labour. Now most of that probably has to do with the fact that I had hyper emesis and I vomited for the majority of my pregnancies.

I waited for it to pass, everyone said it would get better at 12 weeks, then 16 weeks, then 20 weeks. 

Then people stopped commenting, because I was still being sick. Even with anti sickness medication, I was still sick.

The even bigger downside to having hyper emesis is that I was not blessed with losing my appetite and losing weight in the first trimester. I quickly discovered that pretty much the only way to help stem the tide of vomit was to eat. Eat everything in sight, because the sickness would return within the hour of me having something to eat.

I had to eat little and often, which is hard when you can't open the fridge because your stomach is convinced it smells like someone died in there (it didn't, my husband practically doused it in bleach in an attempt to ward off the smell).

So I ended up eating the things I could reach without having to go in the fridge.... McDonalds (three times a day, I'm not exaggerating), crisps (Salt and Vinegar Lays) and biscuits. You'll not the lack of fruit and vegetables, and even mostly lacking in protein.

You'll also notice the massive amount of empty calories. Calories that weren't ever really going to fill me up or satisfy me. I'm sure it was only making my nausea worse in the long run, but I could not stand the thought of eating anything else.

And so the inevitable weight gain began. It was steady, but it was fast. I couldn't stop it. Every time I stepped on the scales I winced (as did my doctor), which was often as they weighed me every doctors visit which was at least once a month, becoming more frequent as time went on.

I gained 26kgs in my first pregnancy. That's well over 4 stone! And I gained exactly the same amount in my second pregnancy. You would have thought I had learned the first time, and the truth is, I did. I tried so hard not to overeat in my first trimester that I only gained 700 grams.

But second and third trimesters were just as horrendous as the first one, and I lost my ability to restrict what I was eating. I had a permanent hangover and was always borderline running for the bathroom, and so I ate to get through the day with as little time hanging over the toilet as possible.

Don't get me wrong, it was worth it. I have two beautiful, healthy children, who I adore, but I have to admit the idea of having to go through pregnancy ever again makes me feel slightly panicked. It was hard work and I spent a lot of time in floods of tears because I really really didn't want to be sick again.

Back to the weight gain. 26kgs is a lot of weight. And don't be fooled, almost none of it was baby. I think I lost 7kgs after my children were born, and that was it. None of this shrinking back into my pre-pregnancy jeans in 6 weeks (like my mum, lucky sod!).

There is nothing like an extra 19kgs of weight to really thwart your self confidence. Not only mentally, but physically. Carting around an extra 19kgs, that you gained in an astonishingly short period of time, is physically exhausting.

I became listless, lethargic, and that extra weight certainly wasn't helping out my already patchy thyroid function. Patchy thyroid function also means a drop in self confidence and a short, sharp road to depression if you aren't careful.

After my first child was born, I was stupid. I crash dieted and I swapped out healthy meals for chocolate or Starbucks skinny blueberry muffins. I dropped the weight in the five months after my daughter was born, and got back to my pre-pregnancy weight. But I was unhealthy. I had no muscles and I had no definition. I was flobberly and loose and just did not feel like myself.

And then I got pregnant again, so all of the loose skin and the saggy self disappeared under the massive weight gain.

I can't tell you how upset I was as I approached my due date and I saw the scales mounting again and again and again. I had really thought I had the self control to stop myself from eating so much food, but my hormones were raging and the nausea and vomiting had driven me over the edge and left me with no self control whatsoever.

After my son was born, I was determined to do the whole weight loss thing differently. And not only because I wanted a decent body back, but because I wanted to be healthy. I wanted to be able to carry my 12kg daughter around without feeling exhausted. I wanted to be able to play with them and run after them (my daughter was already almost able to outrun me). Most of all, I wanted to be healthy for them, to minimise the effects of my thyroid disease and to make sure I was fit, healthy and alive as long as humanly possible.

So I took on the whole thing! Diet and exercise. As The Circuit Factory trainers remind me all the time, it is 80% food and only 20% exercise. Not surprisingly it is the 80% food that I struggle with the most, but I keep slogging away at it.

The exercise classes are exhausting and leave me aching and sore and stiff, but they are worth it too. To see my muscles move under my skin, and to feel the way they have slowly become more fluid. To see my run times get faster and faster and know that I am getting fitter all the time. To know that I am building a body that I can not only be proud of, but that I can use to maintain my health and to maintain my family life.

It's been so hard to get my backside off the sofa and out to an exercise class. I've had to accept that I have no self discipline when it comes to exercise. I'm not going to go to the gym and push myself hard enough. I need to be yelled at, I need someone who knows what I am capable of, and who doesn't let me slack off. It cost me more money than a basic gym membership, but it's more than worth it too. I'm fed up of wasting my time and getting nowhere.

Accepting my limitations and working within in them has really been the key. The constant reinforcement and encouragement and pushing has really driven me to new fitness heights, and I'm excited to see what is in store for me in the future.

Getting back my pre-pregnancy body has been hard work, but working for more than that, for a fitness that I have never known before, that is something that is worth every burpee, every press up, every mile run.

The Circuit Factory, I owe you much more than you know.