Last month, I wrote a blog post about what God has done so far this year in bringing change in my eating. At the end of the post, I shared that I am pregnant. I wanted to share a bit about what the Lord has been teaching me about what it looks like to be a Thin Within (aka “normal” eater) during pregnancy. For those of you who aren’t pregnant, I have something to share with you as well, so please keep reading!
As I shared in my previous post, in the middle of this journey of returning to normal eating, I found out I was pregnant with my second child. The Lord had already given me victory over a major stronghold food had over me, and was in the process of helping me overcome the diet mentality.
It’s been a huge blessing to be going through this part of this journey pregnant because it has forced me to not focus on weight or body image. It’s completely normal and necessary to gain weight throughout pregnancy. So that really freed my mind to just focus on eating 0-5 and to grow closer to the Lord in this area of my life. With my first pregnancy, I never weighed myself. Each time I was weighed at a prenatal appointment, I made sure to let them know that I didn’t want to know my weight (and this was before I was eating 0-5). It wasn’t until the very end that I asked about weight gain because I was just curious. And so far, I’ve done the same with this pregnancy.
Weight gain during pregnancy can be attributed to so many things, but I am a firm believer that if you are eating 0-5 (as a normal eater) that it’s really genetics and other factors that come into play. Years ago, I read a book by Denise Austin (exercise guru) and she said that with both of her pregnancies that she gained 50 pounds. She’s a very fit lady and very conscientious of what she eats. If she can gain that amount of weight during pregnancy, then that just proves right there that there are factors out of our control that lead to weight gain beyond just the weight of baby. But this isn’t an excuse to just throw in the towel and eat, but hopefully it’s a good illustration that weight gain is a natural occurrence during pregnancy.
During the first few weeks after I found out I was pregnant, I was out of town visiting family. I was still at a point in this journey where I wasn’t completely delighting in my boundaries, so I found myself giving myself the “pregnant” excuse to eat. But the Lord quickly got my attention and showed me that He has created our bodies to eat 0-5 no matter what, even during pregnancy! So I reigned myself in and realized that it really didn’t take as much extra food as I had hoped.
Here’s the thing—I think a lot of women use pregnancy as an excuse to eat with abandon. But really, 0-5 still applies. You don’t even need to worry if you are getting those extra [insert “magic” number] calories a day. All that is required is listening to our body and honoring our hunger. It’s really so simple.
Here is what it says about pregnancy and eating 0-5 in Thin Within (page 79):
“A common belief that can lead to rationalizing is that any amount of weight gain is acceptable during pregnancy, despite abundant medical evidence to the contrary. To apply the Thin Within Keys to Conscious Eating during this special time might seem inappropriate, but we have had many women use the Thin Within tools when they were pregnant. We have found that 0 to 5 eating uniformly results in less weight gain, fewer blood pressure and diabetes problems, more comfortable and enjoyable pregnancies, and happier mothers, babies, and obstetricians. What a wonderful time to honor your body, God’s temple.”
About 7 weeks into pregnancy I started to feel “yucky”. Call it morning sickness, call it “feeling gross”, call it whatever you want, but I felt really weird at times. I found that if I waited too long to eat that it would make me feel worse. So I had to find the fine line between 0 and “eat now!” It was tricky, but I did my best. I just wanted to be so careful that I didn’t use that as an excuse just to eat for the sake of eating. I really wanted to honor God and stay within my 0-5 boundaries.
I’ve also noticed that I’ve had to tweak how I would normally eat. Like, I eat 2 breakfasts. Maybe I’m part Hobbit; I call it Breakfast #1 and Breakfast #2. I’m finding I cannot eat too much for Breakfast #1, otherwise I feel weird. About 1-1/2 to 2 hours later I am hungry again, so I will eat Breakfast #2. For other meals, it’s helped to use a small plate or bowl for portions because I really cannot eat too much (and actually, I would use those same plates and bowls anyway). As I am eating 0-5, I am surprised at how little food I actually need, even pregnant.
And to be honest, I cannot share all of this without admitting that I find myself wondering what it will be like after pregnancy. Will it take a long time to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight? Will I be tempted to diet? Will I feel pressure to be a certain size by a certain time? Will I have time to exercise?
I lost my first pre-pregnancy weight fairly quickly. Unfortunately, the weight loss was sped up by being sick and in the hospital for almost a week due to a burst appendix and surgery, 6 months after my first child was born. But I don’t look at that as a fair way of getting back to pre-pregnancy weight. And thankfully we only have one appendix, so that won’t be a reoccurrence.
I do know this: I can trust God!
His ways are perfect! At the core of every human being we are a normal eater. I can trust Him that if I honor Him by eating 0-5 and eating within my boundaries, that I will release any weight that is needed to get back to my God-given size. I don’t need a diet. I don’t get a strict exercise regime. I can listen to the Lord and honor my hunger signals that He has given me.
How about you?
Maybe you aren’t pregnant, but maybe you struggled with overeating when you were pregnant. Or maybe it’s that pregnancy weight you are hoping to release since you had your last child. Can I encourage you that eating 0-5 will help you release that weight? There’s no magic formula, no gimmicks—just pure and simple waiting for 0 and eating to a satisfied 5. The Lord has set up a perfect way to release baby weight and get back to our God-given size and weight. Isn’t that awesome!? All of His ways are perfect!
Maybe you are years past your pregnancy years, are waiting to have children, or maybe you are a man reading this. Do you find yourself making excuses to eat? Do you have weight you would like to release? Is there something in your life that is tempting you to throw in the towel and just [over]eat? Are you willing to admit those excuses are only getting in your way of finding peace with food and finding freedom with the Lord’s help?
What can you do today to stop making those excuses?
Written by: Christina