Get­ting in my greens

Maryland Independent - - Classified - By Me­gan John­son Twit­ter: @right­meg

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.

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