Having twins did a really bad thing to me. It robbed me of the ability to be a rational human. The poor little guys don’t mean to do these things, but their introduction into our family has brought on many a hormonal meltdown from The Mommy. It’s actually not the twins, really. It’s the addition of two infants into an already crazy household of 6 people.
I deal with everything from periods to girl drama to slap fights to incessant lipstick application to bug and dirt eating to poop smeared all over the walls. The gamut of possibility of shenanigans in my daily goings-on is extremely varied and difficult to contend with. It quite literally drives me crazy.
And also, I have become a capital F for Fatty.
I have one word for you…twinskin.
I’m like a wiener dog with a bowel obstruction. I look 6 months pregnant…but it’s a baby made of food…or poop. It’s like all my fat magnetized to my midsection and left tiny little pick legs and stick figure arms.
Let’s back up a little. I’ve always cared about my body’s health, fitness and paid a good amount of attention to what I eat. The only times I really let my guard down is during pregnancy. I get so sick that I’m thrilled if I can get down a Ding-Dong or a Twinkie. We tease my firstborn that she’s made of candy bars and Ho-Hos.
Until my twin pregnancy.
Twins change everything. They make you stop doing things you said you’d always do forever and start doing things you swore you’d never, ever do. They make you reconsider everything you think you think you know. They cause moral absolutes to become farts in the wind.
So anyway. When I found out I was pregnant with not one, but TWO meatballs, I immediately went into Crazy-Googler mode and found out all the horrible things that could go wrong with a twin pregnancy. My doctor said to me before I left her office, quite dazed and confused, “Jesi, I know you’re a researcher. Please don’t research until you’ve gone to the specialist. Just don’t.” Of course I got busy on Google on my phone the minute I got to the car.
We were diagnosed very early on as a Monochorionic-diamniotic (mono-di for short) pregnancy. Fancy for “the babies share a placenta but have separate amniotic sacs”. The second most high-risk twins there are behind Mono-Mono twins. Par for the course. I’m always the high-risk of every category. This pregnancy was no different – I was old, had preeclampsia and pregnancy induced hypertension in multiple pregnancies and had so many previous issues that I’m pretty sure my OBGYN expected me to die relatively quickly. I understood right away that this was serious business.
I read book after book to try and nail down what I could do to get these babies here safely and healthy. It kept coming up…diet, food, diet, food. What I ate would impact the babies. Twin pregnancies require more of everything – especially protein.
We had been on a fairly strict paleo diet for a while before getting pregnant. It’s how I had lost the baby weight from baby 4 and we just continued it because it worked. (and I could do man-work for like 6 hours straight without eating) I knew I needed to continue eating that way, also adding more protein and fat as well as modifying how many carbs I was eating – adding in more of everything to build those baby bodies.
Long story short, I was GOOD. Like, REAL GOOD. I ate around 180 grams of protein each day and never touched soda the whole time. I barely ate any sugar but tons of vegetables and fruit. I gained the recommended amount of weight for a twin pregnancy and carefully monitored everything. Interestingly enough, as long I was getting adequate protein, I didn’t get sick much at all. I was basically a 24 hour barf machine in all my previous pregnancies, so this was crazy.
I know that my careful attention to my diet got us through with flying colors. I know it. I was totally the winner. I carried them to 38 weeks when I was induced and they were both exactly 6 pounds, 7 ounces. I had zero complications. My doctor says I’m an anomaly. She can’t explain it given my history and risk factors. But I know.
It was what I put on my plate that mattered. How terrifying is it that the doctor told me what I ate didn’t really matter all that much?
Fast forward 18 months and I’m a fat, sluggish ball of hormonal rage. How did I get here? Well, after the twins were born, I rapidly lost 40 pounds. Like real fast. I was breastfeeding them both and the weight just melted off. I got complacent. I got lazy. I figured that breastfeeding two wildebeests would make up for whatever I ate. How quickly we forget…
Ok, so when you’re breastfeeding twins, you get hungry. So hungry that you might have a crying fit in the car on a 30 minute drive to grandma’s house and force your husband to stop at Walmart so you can buy some food to tide you over for the last 15 minutes of the drive. Hungry like crazy starving 24/7 like you’ve never known. Hungry like munchies at 2am all.day.long. Hungry like I ate 4,000 calories a day while breastfeeding. (I’m not kidding) I spent more time eating than anything else. Well, besides breastfeeding. Milk machine. *flexes flabby arm muscles*
It all started with some damn Cheez-Its someone had. I had been really good for a while, still sticking to my pregnancy diet and still losing weight. Then I ate a Cheez-It. I hadn’t had any Cheez-Its for a long time. The MSG apparently high-jacked my brain and yanked my butthole up through my mouth.
I started slow. Cheez-Its now and again. Then I bought some cereal. It wasn’t horrible. Cheerios with honey. Maybe Rice Krispies. Donuts. Chips. Chocolate. Candy.
The rest is all a sleep-deprived, Cheez-It-eating, blurry nightmare. We bought a bigger house to hold our collection of children, the babies started running and scaling walls, my older kids decided to make hitting puberty family affair. I basically started shoving whatever I found into my mouth-hole on a regular basis. For a while, it was ok. I stopped losing weight and plateaued, but it was no big deal. I was accustomed to holding on to a little extra weight while breastfeeding. I was also accustomed to that weight melting off as soon as I stopped breastfeeding.
Remember that thing I said about twins changing everything you thought you knew?
We started moving, I got stressed out and started eating marshmallows and truffles at midnight to drown my sorrows. I never stopped eating even when the nursing slowed down and I wasn’t as hungry. I was eating a lot of stuff that was devoid of nutrients so my body just constantly needed something to eat. Anything. I slowly started gaining. And gaining and gaining. I marshmallowed my way right up to my heaviest weight ever while not pregnant. (I was only heavier post-partum with my 2nd baby because I ate a ton of Kielbasa while I was pregnant with her)
As the New Year inched its way toward us, I knew we had to do something. My husband likes to show his pregnancy empathy by gaining weight right along with me. I have a couple kids with digestion and bowel issues, behavioral problems (ADHD like behavior), acne and weight gain. It became apparent that we had to reevaluate and circle back to our normal eating habits. I had to do something.
We’ve always done “diets” (lifestyle) changes as a family. Somehow I’ve always been able to rope everyone into following my diabolical plans. Really, kids have no choice. They eat what I buy and cook. Simple as that. I’m super lucky to have a husband who will basically eat whatever is put before him. He has a vested interest in his health and cares about his body, so we’ve always seen eye to eye on that.
So guess who’s in charge of the diet? Mommy. The crazy one who can’t seem to find time to poop. Yeah. That’s who.
The babies weaned and in true twin fashion, my body shocked me again by NOT losing weight quickly after stopping breastfeeding. I cried into my spare-tire each morning when I weighed myself and actually weighed more. I guess it has something to do with being old?
I knew we needed to hit the reset buttons on all our bodies. (yes, we have those!) Enter…Whole30. I read It Starts with Food a few years ago. (I like nutrition books, okay?) I was intrigued but having success with a family modified paleo diet to lose weight and keep ourselves relatively healthy. I knew this time, we had a lot more going on in all of us and we needed something more. It’s not just about weight loss. We settled on Whole30 and I started making plans.
I love bloggers and how they give stuff away for free. It makes my life awesome. Like 10 minutes of planning a month’s worth of meals! I go to a blog, print out the Whole30 monthly meal plan, prep tips and shopping list and head to Costco. (I’ll tell the story of how I almost didn’t get home with my food or to save my children because some dummy set a wildfire near our property another time) Anywho…$500 later, we’re ready.
I absolutely hate all the January Facebook “Look! I’m on a diet and working out” posts but Christmas was coming and I wanted to bake stuff and eat fruitcake and crap so I knew I shouldn’t sabotage us before we even began by starting before Christmas.
I hate clichés and doing what everyone else is doing. It pains me deeply, but the timing just worked and the New Year was a good starting point so…January 1st. Yeah.
Tune in next time for updates on Our Family Whole30-ish. Click here for the next installment.