Reflecting on the past year, as my one year anniversary comes up with my nutritional cleansing journey, I realized that a few sentences on Facebook couldn’t do it justice.  Last year at this time I was just beginning my career as a health coach as was struggling inside because I knew I should weigh less and be healthier.  The sad truth is that I was eating very well and working out three times a week (more than I ever had), but I couldn’t get the scale to move. I was having a crisis, because I felt like a fraud to my clients.  I also wanted to get in the best shape I could before embarking on baby number 2.

Back in 2011 when I was pregnant with my son Dylan I thought I was pretty healthy.  Before becoming pregnant I had gained back all 23lbs that I’d lost before my wedding mostly due to some emotional messiness going on in my life.  My crutch had always been food and when times got tough – I got eating.  Before my wedding I spent a solid year on Weight Watchers and lost 23lbs – about .5lbs per week.  After my wedding in July of 2009 I started this blog. Without the deadline of a wedding looming I found it hard to keep motivated and to stay the course.  The harsh truth is that it is much easier to lose weight than to maintain it.  Without the weekly rush of my weigh-in and subsequent loss (woohoo!) I was lost.

When I became pregnant, I was back up the 23lbs and there was no turning back.  I did the best I could at the time to have a healthy pregnancy with my limited knowledge.  I remember insane sugar cravings (mostly at night) up until my diagnosis of gestational diabetes just 2 months shy of my due date. The night before my test I was so stressed out about it and felt so hopeless that I ate a sleeve or Oreo cookies to calm my nerves.  I was definitely in the midst of a serious sugar addiction.  Being pregnant for the first time was scary, stressful and brought out a lot of my inner demons.  Would I be a good mother?  Would I know how to handle a difficult baby?  Would my child love me?  How will I handle the changes to my life? When there’s a lot of stuff going through your mind, many of us try to squash it in all the wrong ways – drugs, alcohol, food and sex.

I remember the day my doctor told me I had gestational diabetes that I just sat in an empty conference room at my office and cried.  I was devastated.  She told me that there are contributing factors that may have led to it (being overweight, diet) but that mostly it’s a body chemistry thing.  I wasn’t going to need insulin to manage my diabetes, just diet control. That was the sliver lining. I went to the hospital weekly for diabetes counseling and learned how to check my blood sugar 4x per day.  (I remember crying that day too, when I realized what that entailed). I kept a record of my blood sugar for the nurse and had excellent results with my diet control. I was so happy to not have to actually use insulin like a friend of mine did (who was not overweight at all) that it may have been the only saving grace that got me through it. They also checked the baby’s weight weekly to make sure I wasn’t having a giant baby.  My son ended up being born at 8lbs4oz – a completely acceptable weight.

But those last 2 months of pregnancy were rough on me.  I was so swollen I had to buy new shoes.  My wedding rings didn’t fit anymore.  My back ached.  Plus is was the dead heat of summer so that certainly didn’t help either.  I had to stop taking the subway to work because I couldn’t manage the stairs.  I ended up driving to work and paying $20 a day to park my car just so I could get there with ease.  Thankfully I had a wonderful physical therapist at the time who massaged me a few times a week and helped me with my swollen limbs.  But a day after a massage it always came back – it was never gone.

Marie, 2011 about 28 weeks pregnant

Marie, 2011 about 28 weeks pregnant

 

Once I gave birth (about a week early) the nurse in the hospital tested my sugar and it was normal.  No more diabetes.  But I’ve been haunted ever since.  I keep thinking, “you’re gonna get it again.”  It runs in my family (on both sides) and now that I’ve had it once, I’m at a higher risk for it unfortunately.

Last summer a friend and fellow health coach was starting a 30 day nutritional cleanse and posted about it on Facebook.  I was immediately on-board.  I convinced my husband to do it with me and I went for it.  We had recently gone on vacation and gained about 5lbs eating at the buffet table in Las Vegas, so we were both motivated to make a change.  I could certainly feel that I’d gained weight despite taking this pretty good picture while on that vacation.

Marie & Ran Attend a Wedding August 2013

Marie & Ran Attend a Wedding August 2013

 

A friend told me I was glowing in the picture – and I was!  My healthier diet and lifestyle was showing through, but the scale just wouldn’t budge.  No matter what I tried I could never lose more than 3lbs.  Thank heavens nutritional cleansing came into my life. After the first week, I was down about 7lbs.  I was losing a pound a day.  On Weight Watchers it took me a month to lose the first 5lbs.  I remember it distinctly because we went out for sushi to celebrate!  I was following the plan and the weight was just coming off.  It was like a miracle.  My sugar cravings were decreasing, my clothes were fitting so much better and people started to notice.  My husband was also losing and feeling good.  At the end of the 30 days, we both lost 15lbs.  We felt on top of the world going to my 10 year college reunion and then my brother’s wedding.  I was so much happier and confident in my own skin.  Plus, I no longer felt like a health coaching fraud.

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Marie Before & After Cleansing

Marie Before & After Cleansing

 

I still had some demons to deal with and I did rebound a little around Christmastime with holiday eating, but I had the tools to manage my weight.  When I became pregnant I was down a pants size.  I continued my super food nutrition during my pregnancy and continued to eat the way I knew I should.  I had cheat meals and I submitted to some pregnancy cravings but it was NOTHING like the last time.  Now at 28 weeks pregnant, my engagement ring still fits.  My shoes still fit.  People are telling me that my face hasn’t changed at all (yet).  I’m working out regularly.  Best of all, I passed my sugar test 2 weeks ago and have been cleared of any and all gestational diabetes!! When an email from my doctor came through with the subject line “good news” I breathed such a heavy sigh of relief that my son asked me “What happened Mommy?”

If only I could explain what happened and how much I had to change to get to this point. Having a healthier pregnancy this time around isn’t just about me and my health, it’s about my unborn baby having a healthier womb to reside in.  Maybe labor and delivery will go easier this time.  Maybe losing the baby weight will go faster and my milk production will be more plentiful.  Maybe things will just be easier this time around because I’m coming from a much happier and healthier place.

Marie, 28 Weeks Pregnant enjoying a shake

Marie, 28 Weeks Pregnant enjoying a shake

 

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Yes, you read that right. I’m not fat, I’m pregnant. But, no, you’re not an asshole. Oh gosh, where do I even start? I know that it’s been far too long since this blog has seen any action and for that I sincerely apologize. As many of you know, I really only write when I have a well thought out message for a blog post. No one, including me, wants to read about every banal detail of my everyday life – so I try to skip that and just write about the really good details and things that I feel are worth sharing. I’m sad to admit, I haven’t had any well thought out messages for you in a REALLY long time.

This blog post has been brewing in my head for a while, but for some reason, it took a brand new iPad 2 to get me writing again. Friday night at midnight, Ran and I went to the Apple Store for the third time that day to see if the line had decreased enough for us to actually stomach it. By midnight, it had and so, in we went for some retail therapy of the Apple variety. I had been thinking about getting a iPad for a while, but was convinced that there was really no reason for it. I have an iPod, an iPhone, a desktop and work laptop. Plus, Ran has an iPad, iPhone, iPod and a macbook. Seriously, we should buy stock in Apple. So basically, there’s absolutely no need for ANOTHER iPad in the house. Except that my desktop is 4 years old and super slow. It’s not used for much except the occasional web surf and to update my iTunes. After some consideration and notification that my tax return this year would be VERY generous, I decided to get the iPad to use as a computer rather then getting a new computer. The desktop will still have a home on my desk – because I can’t bear to part with the only PC left in the house. Old habits die hard, I guess. (You’re welcome Bill Gates)

Happy to report, that I am writing this blog post with my iPad 2 (in it’s snazzy docking station with the wireless keyboard connected -Hell, I have to make this feel like a desk top experience and I can’t figure out how to type on the iPad without going crazy).

I’m also home alone tonight. Well not entirely alone. Ran is out for the night and I’m sitting here with our little dog Bamba. I can’t help but notice that as Bamba came into our lives this summer I stopped writing. We decided to get a dog pretty quickly. Ran was talking about it for years and I had been saying “Imagine?” every time he brought it up. (That was my *nice* way of saying “Not a chance in hell”). But as soon as we saw our friend Manuela’s puppy Lola, I started to think “Maybe I could be a dog owner.” Lola is a toy poodle and was just 8 weeks old. She was so tiny and the sweetest apricot color. She’s hypoallergenic and was just so darn cute! After a weekend spent on the Brooklyn shore talking non-stop about puppies, Ran and I were in touch with the dog-breeder who sold Manuela Lola asking about Lola’s sister, Zoe. I wasn’t truly convinced about getting a dog until I saw a picture of little Zoe. I remember seeing it on my computer screen at work and thinking, “She looks sad like me, I will give her a happy home.” From that moment, I knew “That was MY dog.” We picked her up about a week later and changed her name from Zoe to “Bamba”. The name “Bamba” may sound familiar as I’ve mentioned the snack “Bamba” in the blog before. Bamba is a snack from Israel that looks like a cheese doodle but is actually peanut butter flavored. When Bamba was a newborn puppy, she was kinda peanut butter colored and I just always liked the name Bamba for a dog. I also always liked dogs with food names: Waffle, Applejack, Muffin, and Oreo – for example. I have to admit, I selfishly thought getting a dog would be good for us as it would force us to walk it and get a little exercise. More on that epic fail later.

It’s St. Patty’s Day, a perfectly lovely Thursday night, and I’m home alone with the dog and a fridge full of food. Normally, this would be a torture test. But now that I’m pregnant (remember that from the first paragraph?) I can kinda eat more than I’m used to. In fact, I’m actually eating for 2 – really! So I can nearly eat “as much as I want.” Sounds pretty great right? Of course, being pregnant is a lot more complex than “eating like a Gavoon” (Italian slang world for slob). But being able to eat is one of the great things you can do when you can’t drink, skydive or have Diet Coke. And to make sure my baby is nourished, I’m eating! I’m not counting points and I’m not really beating myself up over my food choices. However, I am trying to eat “real food” and I’m staying away from fast foods at all costs. The one thing I can report, is that my baby craves chocolate EVERY DAY. I like chocolate every now and then, but I swear, now I want Oreos ALL the time. Oreos, Entenmann’s chocolate donuts, Cadbury Creme Eggs, Jell-O chocolate mousse, M&Ms. You name it, I’ve eaten it in the last 19 weeks.

Tomorrow marks the beginning of my 20th week of pregnancy and finally – I look like a pregnant woman. For the first 17 weeks or so, I just looked fat. Good ol’ chubby Marie. And I was eating like a Gavoon! Before everyone knew I was pregnant, they must have thought “Geez Marie is eating non-stop and really letting herself go!” Thinking that, was definitely not helping my self-esteem. I wanted to have a button on that said, “I’m not fat, I’m pregnant you asshole!” To let people know EXACTLY what was going on in my mind. Here’s the thing. I’ve been fat, I know what that feels like and I wasn’t exactly thrilled that people were thinking I was going back to that place. I can write page after page about how overweight/obese people are passed up for promotions at work, made fun of, and thought of as stupid and lazy all based on the amount of weight they carry. None of us want to admit that this is the state of things, but IT IS the state of things. And I have to admit the truth, I didn’t want to be included in that group.

Here’s the other nasty confession I have to make. This summer when I was “taking the summer off” I was actually “putting the pounds back on”. A summer of lazing by the beach and eating off the Ravioli fair truck at Seagate was making my bathing suits give me a wedgee. Around the beginning of October, Ran and I both were feeling disgusting realizing that our fall wardrobe was not fitting the same as last year. We took matters into our own hands and embarked on South Beach Diet phase 1 for 2 whole weeks. We ate crustless egg quiches and grilled chicken breasts. We nibbled on string cheese and baggies of pistachios. We had NO sweets, except for the occasional mound of ricotta cheese flavored with almond extract (Ran was not a big fan). We were even forced to go out to dinner a few times during those 2 weeks and we NEVER cheated. I have to say, we did really really great on this thing. I lost about 7 pounds and Ran 9. We really felt great. What do you think happened next?

Choose your own adventure – Affair with Cheese style. Marie and Ran went off the South Beach diet phase 1 and tried(!) to keep the pounds off. I was motivated, but Ran was pretty much over it. He was glad he lost the weight, but not really interested in continuing the journey. Pizza crept its way back into our life, so did Oreos and cheese on bread. I know (though I didn’t have the guts to weight myself) that the pounds were coming back. By the time I realized that, I also realized I was pregnant and any thoughts of dieting went out the window.

Luckily for us, our conception journey was very easy and happened about as quick as it can happen. Truly a blessing.

From the day I discovered I was expecting till about 5 weeks ago, I was a mess. I was morning sick all friggin day and my only refuge was when I was sleeping. Which, let me tell you, I wanted to do ALL the time. I was a zombie when I’d come home from work. In fact, I could barely get myself to work. It was a foggy 10 weeks or so. I was distracted, worried, excited, scared, tired, hungry, sick to my stomach and wondering if I could really handle this whole thing. Those were some intense emotions which would normally send me into a bit of an eating tail-spin (except for the nausea). Now that I’m out of the woods with all the morning sickness, I really have to watch what I’m eating. I need to truly be eating the way our bodies are meant to: Fruit and Vegetables with a bit of dairy/meat/carbs on the side. This is a hard thing to do. I’m Italian, we think a slice of pizza with mushrooms on top is a balanced meal. The challenge is on. I’m doing my best to snack on nuts, baby-bel cheese (for portion control), and fruit. I’ve been limiting my egg and cheese breakfast to 1x per week. I’m putting blueberries on my yogurt and granola in the morning. I’m trying, I swear.

I also haven’t asked or let the doctor tell me how much I’ve gained. I mean, is that the most important thing right now? I told the doctor, if there’s a problem – tell me. If there isn’t – don’t tell me. It’s not worth the headache. I need to be healthy now not counting every .2 on the scale. Keep your fingers crossed for me that this strategy doesn’t come back to bite me in the butt later on.

For now, I will focus on the journey of the next 20 weeks. In that short amount of time, we will finally get to meet our baby and I know she/he won’t think I’m fat. At least not for the first few years.

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