Balance is key to a healthy lifestyle…and so I feel I want to add some balance after my rant about SlimmingWorld the other week. Because you may be forgiven for thinking I hate every last thing about SW, and that isn’t true. After all, it has helped me have my healthiest pregnancy ever, and that is not something to be shrugged off.
I went into my first pregnancy blind. It was unplanned, unprepared for and I didn’t have the first clue about health. I was an overweight teenager who drank heavily, lived on junk food and the extent of my cooking skills was to fire up the deep fat fryer in my grotty little council-flat kitchen. I have no idea what my weight gain was, as I didn’t own scales, but I went from a size 16 to a 22 so it’s safe to say it was probably near or even more than 4 stone.
My second pregnancy came ten years later, and I was a much different person as I’d been through my 6.5 stone weight loss journey. But although I’d achieved that loss and made big changes to the way I ate and lived, that pregnancy came at a time where things were sliding. I’d made the shift from an active job with time for fitness to a desk job which left me with little (perceived) time for exercise. The job also made me miserable and I had turned to food, so I ate my way through my pregnancy and put on nearly 3 stone.
This time around, I’m different again. My knowledge of health and nutrition has grown beyond diet/light/low-fat and I’ve made big advances in my fitness levels too. That saw me get down to a size 12 less than a year after our four year old was born, and down to a size 10 for my wedding two years ago. Unfortunately though, some things have not changed – I still struggle with using food as a coping mechanism, and my control around food is tied to my mood and emotions. So I came into this pregnancy overweight again after a stressful year at work, culminating with both losing my job and having the stress of starting a new one after dropping the pregnancy bomb. Oh…and then Christmas. I put on nearly a stone in the first 18 weeks, and it looked as if I was on track to pile on the pounds yet again.
But something clicked in my head. I’ve never enjoyed my changing body in pregnancy, and always felt self conscious about my weight gains, but as this is my last pregnancy I didn’t want to spend it hating how I looked. And then there are the health consequences of a bad diet and big weight gain, both for myself and my baby. I didn’t have the excuse of ignorance this time – if I wasn’t going to be healthy for me I should at least be healthy for my baby.
So that’s where SlimmingWorld came in, and where it has helped me. I’ve been critical about some of their “free” foods and approaches, and I stand by that. But following a plan and going to weekly weigh-ins has been key, and that is what SlimmingWorld has given me. I’ve written before about how I’m more of a Weight Watchers girl and that too gives a plan and weekly weigh-ins, but SlimmingWorld have gone a bit further and had themselves accredited to accept pregnant members. Having to be mindful about my food and being held accountable at the scales each week have helped me to make good choices whilst also ensuring I don’t overeat – two things I struggle with when left to my own devices. Two things that are pretty much all you need to nail to maintain a healthy weight.
If I hadn’t been allowed to join a group, I fully believe I’d have carried on putting on weight the way I had when I started. But thanks to SlimmingWorld (and my own efforts!), at 32 weeks I’ve only put on 3.5lbs since January. I know I’ll probably gain weight each week from now on, and that will be something to get my head around, but most of that weight will be my little man filling out and getting ready for his arrival.
I’m hoping that after the birth, my overall weight gain will have been less than a stone. That just blows my mind, how different this pregnancy has been to my others. And the impact has reached further than the number on the scales. I feel happier, I have more energy and I’ve been able to keep active. I’m sleeping almost as well as I did before pregnancy, I’ve had minimal heartburn and no back issues. And more importantly, I’m enjoying the pregnancy and don’t feel self conscious or bad about my changing body. I’m hoping this is all gearing me up to the birth I want, and of course a healthy baby!