Getting in my greens
Halfway there! Having had a baby early, it feels funny to say I’m “halfway” through this second pregnancy — because truthfully, life is uncertain. I won’t know what the halfway point actually was until I’m in the final stretch.
But I try not to get weighed down by thoughts of “this time” versus “last time.” This time, I can only focus on the moment. And I’ve actually gotten pretty good at that.
I’ve had surprisingly few food cravings or aversions with Baby No. 2. With Oliver, I couldn’t go near the meat section at the grocery store without feeling myself turn green from head to toe. Though it doesn’t make sense, I’m oddly OK with eating just about everything — despite my all-day nausea. Yes: even salads. All I wanted were savory, fatty, truly-bad-for-you foods during my first pregnancy. No chip was too salty, nor any French fry too fried. This preg- nancy? I’ve been dangerously close to . . . healthy. I distinctly remember eating nothing but plain bagels and frozen chick- en tenders for months while expecting Oliver, but I’ve been happily diving into foods as var- ied as shrimp, olives and fruit cocktail with nary a concern.
I’m not saying I don’t indulge. One glance at the empty candy wrappers around my key- board, especially on deadline, would betray that. But I don’t find myself needing to stick to “beige” foods — mashed pota- toes; bread; bananas — quite like I once did.
If you’ve been around “Right, Meg?” for a while, you might remember the year I lost 40 pounds in anticipation of my wedding as well as my sister’s big day. I felt lean and mean, for sure: able to tackle just about anything. It took superhuman dedication, but I dropped four dress sizes in 10 months.
It felt good to make a promise to myself and actually keep it. I wanted to look and feel awesome in my wedding dress, of course, but the main impetus for my weight loss was really just get- ting healthy “once and for all.”
That lasted a year. It feels like nothing but a memory. I’m now one of those people who don’t recognize themselves in wedding photos, having made a drastic change that lasted for such a short period of time — a time that was heavily photographed.
I knew pregnancy would be challenging for me. Losing the weight and keeping it off required 100 percent commitment to the cause: no cheating, no “weekends off.” I went cold turkey from any foods that caused me to contemplate falling back into old habits. So everything, basically.
Once pregnant, I’ll admit to using that as a cop-out to indulge in everything I hadn’t eaten since starting my weight loss journey the year before. (Like pasta — so much pasta.) I didn’t just fall off the healthy-eating wagon: I catapulted myself from the moving stagecoach, hitting every junk food tree on the way back down.
It’s different this time. I’ve basically been in survival mode since Oliver was born, for starters; parents everywhere get used to subsisting on the scraps of chicken nuggets, Teddy Grahams and crackers their children leave behind. I didn’t think I’d be one of them, but I totally am. If my husband and I aren’t committed to making a home-cooked dinner, we forage. Sometimes it just takes too much energy to make a separate meal or try to guard our food from a toddler’s pry- ing fingers. We share.
Still, I don’t find myself reaching for the fried chicken and macaroni and cheese that were staples of my diet last time. If I “crave” anything, it’s typically . . . string cheese? Pickles? And on more than one occasion I’ve heard myself utter, “You know, I could go for a really good sal- ad right now.”
And I do. I wind up at a fast food place and search the menu for anything green, hoping it’s full of crunchy tomatoes and crisp mushrooms. Maybe with a nice vinaigrette. Who am I? I mean, this is certainly not a bad thing. It’s a far cry from the unhealthy indulgences that characterized the months I was expecting Oliver. But it feels weird, too, favoring let- tuce over lasagna. Even on my nauseous days, I would still reach for cucumber slices over cheese curls.
When I got pregnant with Baby No. 2, I vowed to approach this pregnancy with a healthier mindset. No more indulging in ever y milkshake to wiggle in my path. It’s fine to enjoy the occasional treat (and I do), but I haven’t been eating like every meal is my last. It’s all about balance.
Am I still up 20 pounds at 20 weeks? For sure. Just my luck. But I feel better at this point than I did before, especially given my blood pressure had already started to creep up and alarm my doctors by the halfway mark with Oliver. So I have that going for me.
But with the holidays coming, let’s just hope it sticks.