Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Game of Healthy Weight Gain

I was on a happy vacation when I discovered I was pregnant. I started on a very shaky ground when I also discovered that I was 5 kilos over my lowest weight (which was 65 kilos).There I was standing on the weighing machine, staring at the number 70, the ground underneath me not only shook but also moved is an understatement.

The below picture is NOT taken during my pregnancy. This photo is taken around 2008 when I was 86 kilos and growing.This picture was a reminder of what I have been fighting all along and what can I become if I am not careful about my pregnancy weight gain. What I was, what I am and what I can be were the three questions I always kept in mind.

I embarked on the journey of my life time where my aim was NOT to lose But to gain weight.

My pregnancy journey in short.

First Trimester - There was nothing much I could do in this period. I was not allowed to exercise. I felt terrible nausea and was on bed for sometime due to vomiting. All I could manage to eat was bread and butter and I lost few pounds.

Second Trimester - Sunshine returned in this trimester. I felt hungry, I liked few foods and I returned to my senses. On an average I was supposed to eat 300 calories above my normal intake. I invested my time in eating home cooked healthy and nutritive meals and I returned to my 30-45 minutes exercise routine. I followed the rule of eating at home during the week and indulging my craving on weekend. By the end of this trimester I gained 6 kilos. I weighed 76 kilos.

Third Trimester - In my 7th month I experienced hunger as I never experienced it before. I was hungry most of the time. I ate and ate and ate. The only rule to eating policy was to eat at home and not eat free calories like biscuits, chips, ice creams instead I ate mutltigrain roties, sprout bhel etc. I gained most of my weight during my third trimester, towards the end I was 84 kilos. A gain of 14 kilos was considered healthy by my doctor.

Diet that I followed : I am a very lazy creature and I tend to eat any thing that is easily made and quickly consumed. I kept my meals as simple as possible.

Breakfast-  5 soaked almonds were must. My breakfast was usually veg/egg sandwich with a big cup of tea. I did craved for Sago/Sabudana so I used to make microwavable sabudana khichadi which consumes less oil. If I felt like eating poha or upma, I added lots of veggies to it.

After 2 hours- Apple or a banana

Lunch - 2 roties with sabji and raita. It was a conscious decision on my side not to eat rice every day. I kept rice for the craving days.

Evening - Handful of walnuts with tea. Depending on my hunger I would either opt for a multigrain roti OR sprout bhel with green chutney.

Dinner- Same as lunch

I ate nutritive filling meals and there was nothing very fancy about it. Simple rule, eat whatever you want but make sure to eat low calorie version.

I chalked out few rules for myself which I followed to the T in my pregnancy.

1. Better to be Silly than sorry - I always consulted my doctor regarding my doubts which included my questions about weight and exercise. Keeping your doctor in loop is not only good its common sense. No question is too small NO doubt is too silly.

2. Diet Busters- Most people advised me "Not to Diet" during pregnancy. I really don't understand what does NOT to diet stands for. When I lost weight I ate healthy and never stayed hungry and I refuse to call this lifestyle as dieting. During my pregnancy my rule was to eat healthy food. When hungry I could have easily opted for a samosa, burger, french fries BUT I chose to eat roti-sabji, fruits and eggs, which are not only filling but are also healthier.

I have seen people (and I am sure most of us have) who eat tub of ice creams, chips, loads of fat just because they are pregnant. There is nothing wrong in indulging yourself but with my weight issues I just could not afford to be a part of frequent indulging philosophy.

3. Call of the carvings - I wanted to enjoy my pregnancy by eating all the sin food BUT I also wanted to be in the healthy weight range. So I made a rule. Week days were strict home cooked meal days and cravings were to be addressed on weekend. I made a list of my cravings and every week I enjoyed one craving guilt free.

I felt like eating vada pav every single day, had I done that I would have easily crossed my weight limit, instead I ate it on weekend. I never for once felt deprived during my pregnancy, if craving is there then it will be fulfilled on weekend. The guilt free craving encounter kept me motivated to eat as healthy as possible during the week. Just because I was pregnant did not mean that I had a "all that I can eat" free pass.

4. Late Night Tiffins - My hunger level started to rise during my second trimester.
As my late night hunger pangs started, I used to quickly go and have a big tomato cheese sandwich. After few days I realized that I cannot do this on daily basis, so I came up with late night tiffins. I kept a box of roti-sabji, litti,vermacili ready in the fridge. As long as it was tasty I was happy to eat it at night.

My night time tiffins helped me to avoid instant 2 minutes noodles, chips, biscuits, namkeen, cheese and bread and what not.

5. Exercise- My habit to exercise before pregnancy helped me to stay active during my pregnancy. It was a personal decision, which was made solely on my research, to pack my bag and go to gym. Throughout my second trimester I did treadmill and elliptical at low speed. I did 30 -45 minutes of cardio workout.

The reason I opted for treadmill was that I felt( and it is solely my opinion) that treadmill provides a smooth walking space, there are no sudden jerks and surprises. Elliptical and treadmill both are considered pregnancy safe.

While exercising I was super conscious about my body indications. I did not let my body dehydrate and over heat. I never once pushed myself, if I felt tired I would immediately stop exercising.

I was asked to stop exercising after my 7th month which I did but I was active doing my house work and doing shopping for the baby.

6. Knowledge - It always helps to understand things. We live in an era of easy knowledge and I see no harm in making use of this knowledge. I read as much as possible about healthy weight gain and exercise during pregnancy. All the articles and books that I read helped me to shape my path. Knowledge is the most powerful tool that we can use in our weight loss journey.

7. De bunking the myths - I have seen people eating junk in the name of pregnancy. One common belief is to eat whatever you feel like, I did that too BUT I also kept a tab on the frequency of such treats.

During my last days of pregnancy, there were suggestions to drink ghee with milk, so that the baby comes out easily. The thought of such deadly combination and the amount of fat it will accumulate was horrifying. I am fortunate enough to have an aunt( who is a gynecologist), she told me that the place where the baby comes out and the place where ghee and milk are digested are different. There is no connection between loads of ghee and easy baby.

Some suggested that keeping brick of ice cream in the fridge is a sure shot cure for acidity, I agree but it is also a sure shot way to gain fat.

I stayed clear from such myths, in case of any doubt I consulted my doctor(and my aunt).

As a simple rule, where my weight and diet during pregnancy was considered I did not listen to anyone except my doctor.

8. Maternity Clothes - I refused to buy clothes tagged as Maternity. My fear was that because these clothes are so comfortable I might keep wearing them.

I opted for large size clothes. I bought really few of these dresses because there was no way I was going to keep them after my pregnancy.

Just after my delivery I could not fit back in my old clothes and I just had handful of dresses to wear outside. I refused to make any new purchases for my new big size. Wearing few clothes over and over again was just my way of reminding myself of what I was trying to change, what will happen if I did not work towards my vision and what awaits for me if I work a little hard to chase my dream.

I never had a pregnancy wardrobe(apart from extremely few large size clothes) and I do not have a post pregnancy wardrobe as I fit right back in my old dresses.
The best part about healthy pregnancy weight is that you lose almost half the amount right after delivery and with little effort you can lose the remaining.

Remember, when you are dealt the cards you don't like then the only way to play the game is to give your very best shot and to play as if you can never lose.

You might also like to read - The Last Laugh

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Last Laugh

Once upon a time when I was a little fat girl, me and my cousins got involved in a tug fight. My cousins were pulling and forcing me to stand on the weighing machine at the railway station And I with all my strength was trying to run away. In the end I gave up and took the challenge to stand on the machine,braced myself for the coming attack. I was fattest of them all and everyone wanted to laugh at my weight. When the weight slip came out of the machine there was a pin drop silence from my cousins, curiously I took a look and burst out laughing. The machine just showed 20 kilos ( which I definitely was not). I kept laughing and dancing in front of them for a very long time. For all these years this incident stayed with me because it taught me the power of the last laugh.

When I got pregnant, most people told me that with a tendency to gain weight, 20 - 25 kilos of weight gain is normal. I should not expect this weight to go easily, in fact it will be very tough for me to lose weight after delivery because hunger levels do increase while breastfeeding. Every time when someone commented on the impending weight gain and how I won't be in a position to lose it, the railway weight machine incident flashed in front of my eyes.

During my pregnancy I gained 14 kilos and 4 months after the delivery I managed to lose all the weight plus an additional kilo as well (in total 15 kilos). When I stood on the scale one 31st December I just could not stop myself remembering my day at the railway station, just could not stop myself from laughing out loud.

Somewhere in my life I discovered that its not others who decide my fate, its just me alone who calls the shots and decide my destiny.

The one who laughs last, laughs loudest and longest because she knows that no one can take hard work away from her and hard work is the only thing in life that always always pay.
Just after the delivery

Wearing my old jeans felt like a distant dream


Finally the Jeans are back on.

Remember, when underestimate your strength then you and me we both know, who will be laughing in the end.

A very happy new year to all of you. This new year don't forget to chase your dreams.

PS: And yes I am back to blogging.