Getting Real About Pregnancy Weight Gain

17 weeks pregnant

During my first pregnancy, I gained over 50 pounds. It was a lot, sure, but somehow I found a way to accept it and not let the overwhelm of knowing I’d have to eventually lose it keep me from enjoying that sweet baby in my belly. I was sort of blissfully big, a happy memory now. And when I did lose that pregnancy weight, I felt a certain self-assuredness that I wouldn’t find myself in the same spot again. I thought, oh I won’t gain that much again—a been there, done that type of overconfidence. But guess what? Surprise, surprise, this time around I think I’m probably heading for a similar number.

17 weeks pregnant

I’ll be honest, it’s scaring me. But I have to find a way to be OK with that, a way to be OK with the gain and with the shame-filled emotions that come along with it.

For someone who has viewed eating in terms of weight loss and gain for virtually her whole life, it’s incredibly hard to stop thinking in those terms—even when I know it’s destructive, even when I know it’s wrong. Even during good times, when I’m able to eat intuitively and healthily and maintain a comfortable weight, that old mindset is always present somewhere in my mind. And now, being pregnant, rationally I know that my focus should be on nutrition and not on weight, but regretfully, for someone like me, it’s impossible to completely decouple those thoughts.

At the beginning of my pregnancy when I noticed I was gaining quickly, I told myself I was going to be completely accepting, focus on nutrition, listen to my body, find peace in the change…while also trying not to backslide into binge behaviors that I know aren’t good for me or my baby.

So far, my success has been mixed. I’ve been eating healthy, nutritious food, but I do occasionally find myself slipping back into unhealthy behaviors. Last night we had pan-seared salmon, roasted broccoli, and baked potatoes for dinner. I baked extra potatoes to keep in the fridge for another day but once I was done with my meal, I had a second potato with butter and sour cream, and then a third, and then there was just one small one left and I ate that too. I felt ashamed and defeated. Who eats 4 baked potatoes in one sitting?

Well it turns out, I do. Not at every meal, but with pregnancy hormones surging and cravings through the roof, I have to accept that sometimes I’m going to do that. It doesn’t make any sense for me to spend the rest of the day depressed and ashamed about it.

Pregnancy is difficult enough; let me try to not make it any more difficult than it is. Somehow, someway, let me learn to release myself from the burden of worrying about my weight and my appearance and the obsession with whether or not I’m still a worthy, lovable person if I happen to gain and lose between 30 and 50 pounds every year (the truth is a tough pill to swallow). Who am I when I’m not obsessed with my body? I’m not going to be the cute pregnant lady with a perfect bump. I’m going to be round all over, with rolls on my back, an eeeven rounder face, and cellulite all through my thighs. As long as everything else is perfectly healthy, which thankfully it was and is, I need to make peace.

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35 thoughts on “Getting Real About Pregnancy Weight Gain

  1. Judy Caywood

    It is easy for someone to say love yourself but the reality is it’s hard to release food and body obsessions. So as much as possible focus on that beautiful baby within and the cutie pie brother awaiting the grand entrance with you and Daniel You are stunning all the time. Really!

    Reply
    1. Christin

      Hi Andie, please take comfort that it might not be anything you’re doing. For my second pregnancy, my weight starting climbing soo quickly. I was eating healthy but the number on the scale shot up waaay quicker than my first pregnancy. And my first pregnancy was the one I was eating Wendy’s frostys every day! but the number climbed higher way more slowly the first time. The fast weight gain made no sense for the second pregnancy except it seemed my body was saying, “oh yeah I know how to do this. We’ve done this before ok lets get ready for baby really fast!” I remember asking my mom why I was gainkng weight soo fast, and my doctor was baffled. Every visit, he would ask me what I was eating, trying to figure out why the weight number was climbing so fast. but i was an active, healthy eating vegetarian ‍♀️ he couldn’t figure it out either. So maybe it’s just a thing with baby #2s. Don’t beat yourself up ❤️ you’re just extra cuddly right now. I love your photos. You look beautiful.

      Reply
  2. Kerry Haynes

    First of all, congratulations! Secondly, I can relate! I gained differently with both my pregnancies. The first one was slow and steady and the second one felt like it was overnight! No two babies are ever born into the ‘same’ family – conditions are always changing! So that means we are never the ‘same’ mama twice. This pregnancy, you’re trying to keep up with a toddler and your body has already carried a baby so this time it’s already different.
    I have no doubt that you will make peace!

    Reply
  3. Ashley

    I’ve had four babies and each pregnancy I vowed to exercise the whole way through and eat really well but I felt so crappy each pregnancy that that typically didn’t happen. My last pregnancy I gained my most of around 40 pounds but guess what? I’ve lost all the weight. You’re right I was never that cute pregnant lady with a little bump. I always felt gross and uncomfortable haha but one day pregnancy will just be a memory and you can work on losing the weight later. I can so relate with your mindset struggles.

    Reply
  4. Stacia

    Andi I gained 50lbs at least with each of my four kids. I vowed each time I would do better. I knew how much work it was to lose it each time. In the end I have 4 wonderful kiddos. It’s ok. Take care and enjoy pregnancy!

    Reply
      1. Brittney

        Being pregnant is hard enough. But now you’re pregnant during a pandemic! You have hormones and cravings and now this extremely stressful time. I think we all need to remember to allow a little more compassion for ourselves- always but especially when we are growing humans. You always look beautiful. I survived off of potatoes of every form my first trimester and if I’m ever lucky enough to get pregnant again I probably will do that despite all my good intentions. You’re doing great- thank you for your honesty. It’s refreshing.

        Reply
  5. Phi

    Sending lots of love. It’s so tough. As someone who has never been on the skinnier side, I really struggled too, so I relate to this. And with twins, it was even harder. I thought I was killin it and then I’d step on the scale and tear up. You got this though. You’re building a human, that’s crazy, and beautiful, and you’re a super woman! I look back now on the photos of me over the past two years and just see the happiness, because usually I’m holding a baby (or three) so I try to look past the extra lbs and just see the happiness. You’re amazing. And you got this!

    Reply
  6. Janelle

    Andie, I am 11 weeks pregnant for my first time and in the SAME boat. Ps. I relate to you more than any blogger/author ever – I am also from Methuen originally! And grew up similarly to you and had the same, same exact binging tendencies. I didn’t want to go to UMass because of course most of my high school was going there so I opted for UConn instead :) But anyway – I have gained about 15 lbs in the first 11 weeks manly due to being home in covid quarantine and having so many comfort foods around and baking and cooking a lot, and its been really hard. When I read your first blog on this topic I was amazed at how much it resonated with me. Your words are so soothing. Thank you for sharing. I seriously relate to you so much and listen to your book every year around Christmas. I’m lucky to be following in your pregnancy footsteps and have your blog as an amazing resource during this time! Thank you for being real :)

    Reply
    1. Andie Mitchell Post author

      Thank you! I think this is an extra tough time to be pregnant. I just hope things are more normal by the time we deliver. I feel so bad for the moms delivering and bringing home newborns in these scary times.

      Reply
  7. Leah

    Thank you for being so honest about how much of a struggle this can be. I’m 16 weeks and while I haven’t gained much because I’m still so nauseous, the negative thoughts about weight gain are really tough. This is my second and I never lost all the weight with after my first so I definitely am already feeling the anxiety about that postpartum struggle….

    Reply
  8. Julie

    Andie –
    You are beautiful and inspiring and you are HUMAN! You are taking care of yourself and your baby – focus on that and be as kind to yourself as you are to others!! Blessings!

    Reply
  9. Kristin Sepulveda

    Hi Andie!! Congrats on your baby. Hang in there! I’m almost 8 months pregnant with my first child and this quarantine situation has got me craving comfort foods and baking projects! I went from being super active at work to working from home and primarily sitting in front of a computer. This wasn’t at all what I imagined for my last trimester but I’m trying to keep things in perspective. Sending good thoughts to you!! Let’s keep our fingers crossed that we all have healthy babies and deliveries.

    Reply
  10. Kate

    Awww – Andie. Been there! I gained 30 pounds with my first pregnancy – and I was probably 15 pounds overweight when I got pregnant. The next year, I lost it all and felt amazing. Then I got pregnant again and gained 50 pounds – so I weighed about the same at delivery both times. And I never really lost the weight with the second (who’s now a 15 year old!). This is the one time that you have every right to be gentle with yourself. And you’re pregnant with a toddler – during a pandemic quarantine!! You are gorgeous and you’ll take off the weight this time around too. It might take a little longer but you’ll get there. Sending you lots of love.

    Reply
  11. Aimee

    It might just be the way your body is destined to react to pregnancy. With my first pregnancy I gained 60 pounds (and was a healthy weight before I got pregnant). I fought tooth and nail to lose that weight and I finally lost it all by the time by son turned one. When I got pregnant again 3 years later, I vowed that I had “learned my lesson” and I would gain much less. Even though I was extra mindful and did everything I could to prevent that kind of gain, I still gained almost the exact amount as my first pregnancy. My body just did what it wanted! Rest assured, I lost all that baby weight again (although it took longer the second time around) and you will too. Enjoy your pregnancy and don’t beat yourself up.

    Reply
  12. Trisha

    For my second pregnancy, I was already starting out 10 pounds heavier, so it is amazing the difference I felt. I had sciatic nerve pain, lower endurance, etc. despite eating 100% better than before. Everything popped out sooner, too… people felt they could tell me “It looks like you could go any day!” when I was only 18-20 weeks. I gained a similar amount, but I think the biggest difference was the starting point. If I ever have another, I’d love to lose a little weight prior to trying and then be kind with myself expecting a similar gain during. It truly is an incredible thing to grow a new life and I think everyone’s bodies do it differently. Sending love ! Excited for your new addition :)

    Reply
  13. Sheila

    I hear you!! My first I gained 70 lbs, then 25 with my second. I didn’t really do anything different between the two, it’s just what happened! Around 9 months ago I had just gotten down to a healthy weight after losing 50 pounds. That was when we started trying for baby #3. I had two miscarriages since then, and still no baby. The stress and hormone fluctuations and depression and heart ache all contributed to me gaining all the weight back. I’m not proud of it and it’s been hard, still trying for another baby with extra weight I had worked so hard to lose. I wish the 50 pounds I regained came with a baby, but I guess that’s how life goes sometimes.

    Reply
  14. Paula

    Andie asks: “Who eats 4 baked potatoes in one sitting?”
    Me: *raises hand slowly*
    ______________________________
    As we say in Spanish before every meal “buen provecho” (may your derive benefit/advantage).

    Keep healthy and nourished. You are gorgeous. End of story.

    Reply
  15. Pingback: What I Love This Week - Andie Mitchell

  16. Courtney

    I’m late to reading this post, but just wanted to say that I really appreciate your honesty about such a vulnerable topic. Your book will always be in one of my top lists, and I really relate to the struggles you’ve faced and also have conquered. I don’t have any little ones yet, but I’m fearful that when we start trying (and hopefully succeeding) in the next few months, that I won’t drive myself crazy worrying about the scale going up while also worrying about not depriving the baby to keep the weight gain to a minimum. Also, everyone else has said this and it’s true: you are gorgeous!! Thanks again for always sharing to help those of us who struggle as well! And also, super excited you guys are having #2!!! :) yay!!

    Reply

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