Lay off the sweets

For my whole ride home from the doctor, I debated whether I would write this post or not. In the end, I decided to go for it. I have really appreciated reading candid posts from other pregnant bloggers about difficult or less than ideal situations that they have encountered ranging from Emily of “Daily Garnish” writing about hypothyroidism and a gestational diabetes scare, to Jen from “This Runner’s Trials” talking about both success and challenges she has faced while running through her pregnancy, and finally Sarah from “the SHU box” candidly discussing pregnancy weight gain.

I feel more ashamed about this than I probably should, but I’m going to go ahead and put it out there. My doctor scolded me this morning for gaining too much weight.

“Brittany, you are a very tall girl, but that is too many kilos in one month. Same same, maybe one kilo more next time.”

“But I’m solidly in the middle of the acceptable weight gain range for my 26th week.”

“Yes, but you have a very small frame for your height. The high end of the range is for bigger people, not you. I am concerned that you have been eating too much.”

I had been dreading going to the doctor for days now because I had a suspicion that this was going to happen. Between traveling in China for a week eating who knows what and far too much ice cream, then having company for a week and eating out way more often than normal, I had already guessed that I would be a bit heavier than I should be. Even still, it was a far more crushing blow to my ego than I ever imagined.

In reality, the “too many kilos” that she was referring to really only amounts to one kilo, so just over two pounds, more than planned during the last month. Is it the end of the world? Probably not. The big question is whether my eating patterns are setting me up for three more months of one kilo extra which would ultimately be nearly nine pounds extra that I would have to deal with later.

Let’s just say that I came home and tossed my supply of Cadbury chocolate in the trash.

Is that rational? I don’t know. Probably not. Moderation, right?

Not so fast. I’m more of an all or nothing kind of girl and prior to coming to India I rarely ate chocolate, cookies, or sweets in general. Since coming here it has become a daily habit. There are no excuses for that. Even considering that I should be eating slightly more calories overall right now, they still should not be from junk.

So here it is, I’m putting it out there: “My name is Brittany and I have a chocolate problem, but I resolve to focus on eating real food for at least the next three months.”

That chocolate fiend in my brain is freaking out right now, but I’m pretty sure that it is better for both me and the baby involved here to return to my normal healthy eating habits, stat!

As an aside, I don’t think my doctor’s advice of “same same, maybe one kilo more next time” is necessarily sound, so I don’t want anyone to worry that I’m going to under eat. I did get her message loud and clear though. In her opinion, I am trending in the wrong direction and I should consider keeping it in check. That said, I know that I do not tend to overeat when my diet consists primarily of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and low-fat dairy, which are all things that I should probably be eating anyway, so I will to return to my original healthy habits.

Cadbury, it was fun while it lasted, I will miss you.

Interestingly, one of the responses that I typically have to psychological blows is to eat junk food. Thankfully, this traumatic incident is not eliciting the same response.

  1. branny said:

    Don’t beat yourself up too much. Everybody and every BODY is different and responds differently to the shock of pregnancy.

    • Brit said:

      But Branny…I’m supposed to be perfect! 😉

  2. Dana said:

    mmmmmm Cadbury chocolate 🙂
    Like PP said, don’t beat yourself up — it’s only two pounds AND your travel/company schedule definitely can account for it. PLUS i think you’re doing phenomenal for being in a new country during your first pregnancy….away from friends/family. If I were in that situation my chocolate addiction would be hourly, not daily LOL!

    • Brit said:

      *Daily may or may not mean more than once per day.

  3. shelby said:

    I’m not a doctor (obviously) and I’ve never been pregnant, but is she really suggesting with “same same” that you don’t gain any weight for a month? But the baby has to grow…right?


    Sounds like a smart idea to keep an eye on the overall trend, but from what I understand, the rate of weight gain over pregnancies is different for everyone and not necessarily evenly distributed over time. And also, you’re smack in the middle of an amazing life/cultural experience and it would be a shame to miss out on the FOOD that comes with that! Who cares if you gain an extra pound or two.

    Just my humble, non-fetus-bearing opinion. 🙂

    • Brit said:

      I think that was her suggestion? I don’t know, I’m just doing my best to stay within the acceptable limits of ACOG for starting with a normal BMI.

      As for the food experiences, I would probably have no trouble staying within her preferred range if I didn’t eat so many ordinary junk foods like chocolate and cookies. We’re headed to Singapore and Nepal this month and you better believe that I’m going to try the local specialty foods!

      Your opinion counts, just because I’m now fetus-bearing doesn’t mean that I have a clue about it. 🙂

    • My fetus-bearing opinion is remarkably similar. This probably won’t offer you much consolation because I know exactly how sensitive I’d get if my doctor told me I was doing something less-than-ideally in my own pregnancy, but I tend to take most pregnancy guidelines – even when they’re from a doctor – with a grain of salt. The standards for what is appropriate weight gain can vary drastically from practitioner to practitioner, culture to culture, and era to era. (Fifty years ago my BFF’s grandmother was prescribed diet pills during her pregnancy which she had enough sense to chuck in the garbage.) It’s clear from your blog that you’re a very health-conscious person who values your healthy lifestyle and is doing everything you can to ensure that your baby is growing optimally. It’s also clear that you’re in the midst of experiencing an amazing time in your life of culture and travel. I think the best thing you can do is relish this time of your life when you have the opportunity to taste and experience awesome things because, in an indirect way, that will help you be that much more of a great parent when the baby comes.

      • Brit said:

        I agree. That is a really good point about standards changing based on time and place. I have been told stories about women in the US in the ’60’s who were told to smoke during pregnancy to keep their weight in check. Today that sounds crazy to most of us!

        Incidentally, this is also the doctor to whom I do not divulge the details of my exercise because it is unacceptable here (or to her anyway). My US-based doctor did not bat an eye at exercise as long as I listened to my body. Possibly another example of different places, different standards.

  4. Jane said:

    Hi Brit- I usually read your log and dream about as being as dedicated as you are to eating healthy and exercising. That being said, take what your doctor said in stride and listen to your body. If you want to have some chocolate, have some! You are a healthy eater and will not over do it. If you put on some extra weight, you put it on. With the workout schedule you keep you will work it off in no time. I traveled for work all throughout my pregnancy and had pretty bad morning sickness during my first trimester and the only way I felt better was to eat lots of carbs. Thanks to not always being able to find healthy alternatives to airport food and being on airplanes a lot I gained 50 lbs. during my pregnancy. I also lost every single pound afterwards and didn’t have any health issues because of it. I’m the same size 4 I was pre pregnancy and you will get back to your same pre pregnancy body as well. Don’t be afraid to spoil yourself during this time and don’t stress over a little chocolate or a few pounds.

    • Brit said:

      Jane, you’re so sweet and you are absolutely right. A day removed from my ” too many kilos” incident, I feel like I have it in perspective much better. I felt so shocked yesterday when, for the first time in my life, a doctor brought up my weight as a concern. She woke me up to the fact that I should not be eating ordinary things like cookies with reckless abandon, but I absolutely plan to try the special local foods from the new places that I am lucky enough to visit.

  5. Lisa said:

    I personally think this doc sounds a bit nutty. I’m sure she’s capable of giving the care you need, but I truly do not think it’s rational to scold you about 2 pounds. I do think it’s good to try to keep focusing on eating healthy foods, but as Shelby said, make sure that doesn’t keep you from enjoying the local favorites when you travel.

    Also, just as an example, I have a former co-worker who’d I’d guess is about 150 pounds and she gained 70 pounds with her first pregnancy. She’s lost some, but she still talks about wishing she hadn’t let herself gain so much. This is probably an unhealthy example, but I don’t think you’re going to let 70 pounds creep up on you! Just take care. 🙂

    • Brit said:

      Her openness about discussing just two pounds may, in part, be a cultural thing. I think that American women tend to be much more sensitive about comments like that than women elsewhere are. Hopefully she was just making sure that I was aware that I am trending in the wrong direction in her opinion.

  6. Ken B. said:

    Haha, you’re fat.

    • Brit said:

      Thanks Ken. Are you on my side or the doctor’s? Geez! I though if anyone would support my overindulgence it would be you.

  7. Kelsey said:

    I admire you for being so frank about your weight and your conversation with the doctor. However, I think it’s important not to beat yourself up too much. So you had too much ice cream. Who cares? You are a very healthy person. Don’t forget to celebrate all the wonderful things you do for your healthy and your body.

    I once had a doctor scold me for being overweight when I had literally lost eight pounds in a month due to depression/not eating. I’d already told the doctor about it including that my hair was beginning to fall out. Did I have weight to lose? Sure, but at 5’8″ and wearing a size 8, that didn’t exactly seem like the time/way to discuss it.

    My point is to not get too wrapped up in it. Just be healthy and happy. Don’t stop living life and treating yourself every now and then because of two pounds.

    • Brit said:

      I am feeling much better about it today than I was yesterday. Even though I half expected for her to scold me, it was quite a shock to me when it actually happened! In retrospect, I think she meant well, I was just feeling super sensitive about it because I always envisioned that I would do this pregnancy thing perfectly. Perfectly is a matter of perspective though, huh?

  8. I don’t think that 2 lbs (or 9) is that much to worry about. But maybe it’ll be easier to get back into healthy eating once you have your baby if you are more mindful of it now. I wouldn’t give chocolate up completely though! After taking away wine and sushi, that’s all I’ll have left when I get pg!

    • Brit said:

      I’m pretty sure that chocolate will never be completely eliminated from my life, but I went from the occasional chocolate bar in the grocery store line to buying them in bulk and often having more than one in a day. That may have been a bit much.

      Don’t forget about bread and cheese. You’ll still have those things. 😉

  9. Do you have any way to communicate with your US OB/GYN, to get a ‘second cultural opinion’ as it were?

    I don’t mean to bombard him/her with questions, just to reassure yourself if you get such precise advice.

    My feeling (lacking the equipment to bear a fetus, and a lot more than an extra kilo of weight) is that the Indian culture is probably less sensitive about weight as well as less sensitive about giving STRONGLY prescriptive advice like this.

    The best thing is probably to be wise about your body, and be mindful, but not slavish, to the doctor’s advice.

    • Brit said:

      Yes, in fact I have contacted my US doctor a few times just to double check what was going on here. (Fortunately, they have always been in agreement.) It is probably a good question to ask next time I place a call.

      If anything, I think what I am getting here is a lesson in cultural norms.

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