Paleo and pregnancy weight gain (and losing the baby weight)
I have a rant today about pregnancy weight gain, and the subsequent dreaded "losing the baby weight". I heard horror stories from lots of people about ridiculous weight gain during pregnancy and how Very Long it takes to lose said weight after the baby comes. A complete stranger at the climbing gym told me that she gained 70 pounds with her first pregnancy and 60 with her second! NOT twins by the way.
The weight issue has been a non-issue for me, and I think that is because I kept a strict Paleo diet throughout my pregnancy and after giving birth. I gained a total of 25 pounds during my pregnancy (started at 127, ended at 152), and I went 10 days past my due date. By the 10th day post-partum, I was down to 133, within 6 pounds of my pre-pregnancy weight.
Throughout pregnancy (and after), I never dieted, and I never thought about food quantity, only food quality. I strictly avoided gluten grains, indulged in other grains very rarely (maybe once a month), dabbled a little in high-fat dairy but had to scrap that experiment when I broke out, and kept my sugar intake pretty low. I didn't even worry about total carb intake too much, increasing the amount of fruit and sweet potatoes I ate and adding in occasional white potatoes. Most of my diet was grass-fed/pastured meat, eggs, vegetables and fruit, butter, coconut, and plenty of dark chocolate. I felt satisfied and had plenty of energy.
I wanted to put this out there because a lot of women feel powerless over their bodies during and after pregnancy, and they can gain control by cutting out those stupid "healthy whole grains". I read so much bullshit nutrition advice on pregnancy websites, encouraging snacks like low-fat yogurt, peanut butter, bread and crackers - not to mention all the excuses about how you need to "treat yourself" and the cultural indulgence for downing large quantities of ice cream and candy when you're pregnant. It drove me crazy. This is the worst advice, guaranteed to make you put on too much weight. And we wonder why the numbers of women with gestational diabetes keep rising?
I'm awfully glad I didn't listen to conventional wisdom about pregnancy nutrition and instead made an effort to understand the actual research and mechanisms. People will say that I'm "lucky" because I didn't gain much weight and lost it so quickly. But I bristle at that. I worked hard to eat healthy foods, I didn't indulge in junk food, and it was not always easy. But I knew that by choosing the right foods and avoiding problematic ones, I was doing the best I could for my and my baby's health, and as a nice benefit (or even as evidence of the healthiness of this approach), I kept control over my weight.
Yes, every woman's body is different. Not everyone is going to have the exact same experience as I did. But how many women could reduce or even eliminate their struggles with baby weight if they just gave a grain-free diet a try? Most will never know because they will never hear about it, are afraid of contradicting their doctor, or just don't want to be bothered to give up their favorite foods. I just want to encourage people to give it a try and see how nice it is to retain control over your body. It is empowering and will only bolster your and your baby's health.