“You’re not fat, you’re just… wide.”
A “good” friend told me this once. I was 21.
A few of my friends have had the honest to goodness guts to post about this recently, and since it’s been weighing on my mind, I thought I’d throw my two cents in, too.
Truthfully, I never thought I struggled with weight issues. I just… weighed what I weighed. I have a couple of pictures from high school and my internship that I look back on now and think, “Wow, yeah, freshman fifteen.” But at the time? I wasn’t bothered about it at all.
At barely 5’3″ I am also the tallest of my sisters, so I was used to being a little bit bigger than them. As we grew into teenagers and young adults, I grew to believe that it was pointless to compare myself to them. They were smaller than me. I was bigger than them. No big deal. To this day, when we hug, I feel like a giant.
I’m also not an overly athletic person. And I like to eat. Like, really good, luxurious, delicious, fattening food. Like cheese and chocolate and wine and bread. Oh, my.
When I was pregnant with Mackenzie, I didn’t worry much about my weight then, either. Most of the time I was too nauseous to think about eating, and then I just ate whatever felt right, that didn’t make me puke. I drank a lot of water, and I limited my caffeine intake to one cup per day. I walked the dogs multiple times per day, and I worked out a little bit, too, when we lived in our first apartment in Nashville. All in all, I gained about 26 pounds. Not too bad.
Then, after I had Mackenzie, things changed. I started dropping weight fast. I was nursing, so I just kept eating right, drinking water, and snacking on too many cookies. By Thanksgiving, I was back in my old clothes, and feeling really good. At Christmas, I had dropped below my pre-pregnancy weight and was still losing.
When Mackenzie was four months old, I had lost something like 35 pounds. I was a little bit wigged out about it, especially when another good friend commented and asked if I was feeling okay. Like I was on an unhealthy cult diet or something. I told her I was tired but doing fine. But I was down to just two pairs of pants that weren’t too big. The mental comprehension of that was starting to be too much for me. I was seeing numbers on the scale that I hadn’t seen in 15 years.
When Mackenzie was six months old, I had dropped another 5 pounds or so, so I decided to call my OB/GYN’s office just to make sure everything was okay. I felt great, but the physical change was just so weird for me. I talked everything over with the nurse, including my diet and physical activity. She told me that my BMI was fine and screened me for any red flags. All clear. I had no reason to worry.
And truthfully? I’m still not worried. I have dropped another four pounds or so since that call, but I’m still several pounds above the low end of my BMI range, and my weight has been holding steady for the last few months. I feel great. I’m not tired all the time. I eat well. I’ve even started running with Annie in the mornings. (Because have you seen her? Girlfriend is a chunk-o-love.)
Age 15: 115 pounds
Age 21: 121 pounds
Age 28/pre-pregnancy: 128 pounds
Age 29/39 weeks pregnant: 156 pounds
Age 29/post-pregnancy: 112 pounds
Those numbers are all over the map. There is no logic to them. Not to me, anyway. They just… are what they are. Another mom I know wrote something to the effect of, “This is what my body does when it is growing a baby.” I love that perspective.
So let’s stop judging other moms and other women, okay? Every body is different. All women handle pregnancy differently. Our lives are different. There is really and truly no one-size fits all.
I’m not always happy when I look in the mirror, numbers whatever. And I’m a little scared about how my body will change (again!) when I hit 30 and (again!) when Mackenzie weans. But I’m okay with it. I’m thankful for this journey and change in perspective.