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Brewer's Diet, Weight gain, & Calories, OH MY!

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I am loosely following the Brewer's diet for health and well-being, not because I have any risks. But, my critical self keeps butting in and being paranoid that I am eating too much and will gain way too much weight.


Back story is that I gained 50 lbs on not-so-great food with DS1 (I was 19 and didn't think about nutrition) and 70 lbs on a vegan diet with DS2 (10 years later). I now eat meat and goat dairy and sprouted grains, so a more balanced diet. My goal is to eat as healthfully as possible for the baby without a 70 lb gain if I can swing it.


I breastfeed my 18mo, I walk 30-60 min/day and have been searching for a good amount of calories to take in.


I calculated that if I need around 1750 to sustain my weight, an extra 200 or so for breastfeeding, and an extra 350 for the babe at 14.5 weeks pregnant, then I should be taking in 2300 calories. I also should be eating my exercise calories right? So that would generally come to like 2400 calories a day. I have been eating around 2000 on average, but that just doesn't seem like enough calories even though I don't feel hungry enough to keep eating. So far, I've gained at least 7 lbs. I'll find out for sure when I'm weighed at my next appt.


I am looking for experiences with this diet and/or how you have decided how many calories to eat daily and how that is going for you. How's your weight gain? I am looking forward to reading your comments and thoughts. 

post #2 of 17

With my first, I was normal weight going in and gained only 15 lbs.  Ate "healthy" (way too many grain products and sugar for me to consider that healthy now, but I did very well with what I knew then).  Stressed about it a bit, but generally felt pretty smug about still being thin and pretty and pregnant.  Had a craptastic birth and took a LONG time recovering, partly because I don't think I got enough *nutrients* in the latter part of my pregnancy.


This time around, I was close to 20 lbs overweight going in, and put on at least 10 lbs in my first trimester because the ONLY thing I could stomach was bread and stuff-in-bread and stuff-on-bread and pasta.  Now, I am back to my normal paleo-ish diet and I don't think I've put any more weight on and I kinda doubt I will put much more on, but I'm focusing entirely on nutrient density - good meats, good eggs, good veggies, etc.  I don't count (or care about) calories and I eat the best food I can contemplate putting in my stomach (and find in my fridge) whenever I am hungry.


My stomach capacity when pregnant is teensy, because I am very short (especially in my torso) and my last baby was very big and I see no reason why this one would be any different.  So the more pregnant I get, the less I can eat. YMMV, but frankly I don't think worrying about *calories* is a great idea in pregnancy, because your body has a lot more say over how many calories you can take in than your brain does.  Your brain's job is to make sure that the *quality* of your food is consistently high, and your body will do what it will with what it has.  Eat so you're not hungry, eat so you feel ok, don't stuff yourself because that feels gross, eat good food, get good exercise, don't sit around on your butt too much, and everything will be fine smile.gif (I say as I'm sitting on my butt surfing MDC, LOL)

post #3 of 17

I'm already up 20lbs. :(


During the first trimester the only time I wasn't nauseous was when I was eating. So, I ate. A LOT. 


At this point, I cannot stomach greens at all! I had kale and bean soup last night and my stomach was tossing and turning all night. I had the same problem with some roasted cabbage a few weeks ago. I can't even look at most vegetables. My CSA is going to the compost most weeks. 

post #4 of 17

I'm probably not the best person to contribute here-- I am in recovery (doing well for several years) for Binge Eating Disorder, and for me, my triggers are around counting calories and getting weighed... so I don't do those things*.  My MWs are completely fine with this, and said that weight gain tells them very little, with a couple of exceptions-- mainly if you are losing loads of weight via hyperemesis, that's part of the diagnosis, and if you are gaining loads of weight in fluids, that can be a preeclampsia issue.  Weight ITSELF is otherwise a minor/poor indicator of any issues in their opinions.


I mean-- don't get me wrong-- I am thinking about it.  I'd rather not have loads of weight to lose after the baby is here (though I'm also a lot about self-/fat-acceptance-- and weight itself, again-- not usually a causative factor in health problems-- so I feel I don't have to lose anything).  Mostly I'm focusing on getting to the "80/20" point with my eating.  That is, at least 80% "healthy" foods and no more than 20% "junk" foods.  I'm at closer to 60/40 right now, especially if you consider most prepared/restaurant foods as "junk." 


This is a delicate dance for me, because as soon as I feel restricted, I can go the other way.  In the past several years, I have focused on NOT restricting the type of food I eat, but monitoring when I feel hungry and when I feel no-longer-hungry (trying not to get to "full" or past that).  But with baby in tow, it doesn't feel as tough to do some food-quality monitoring, as I'm already restricting/curtailing some foods and drinks (lunch meats, alcohol, caffeine, the usual suspects), and it hasn't been too triggering for me.  


If I were you, writermama-- or more accurately, if you were me-- I'd not count calories at all, but just try to eat when I'm hungry, not eat when I'm not, and mostly choose healthful foods that make me feel good and are nourishing for baby.  Biologically, baby is really good at getting what he/she needs even if you suffer for it, so-- especially if you don't feel you are suffering, and the quality of your food is mostly good-- I wouldn't worry about it.  But you can see I have a bias on that one for personal reasons.  And I would keep being active, of course-- that has all kinds of benefits.


As for not wanting to gain 70 lbs...  I guess I'd also have to ask how quickly you lost those 70 lbs with your DS2, because I know people who gain like 25 lbs in pregnancy and struggle for a year after birth to lose it all, and people who gain 60-80 lbs and it all falls off in a couple months.  We're all so different. 


Just a couple thoughts.


*I have no idea what I weighed before pregnancy, am pretty sure I put on a few during m/s, (when I only wanted to eat fried potatoes and noodles), and am pretty sure I also lost those few over the past 4-5 weeks, when I started eating better and having more energy to walk/run/do yoga.  I can somewhat tell by how many ribs I can see-- I am not at all thin, but have a prominent ribcage.  That's enough for me.   

post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

I'm loving this thread! Thanks so much for being honest and open about issues that might be uncomfortable. They certainly are for me. I know you all are right about not counting calories. Actually this is anew thing for me (that is kind of addicting) because it gives me the feeling of having a little more control over the changes my body is going through. I ate to hunger with DS2 and probably had too many sweets and I blew up. I never thought that would happen. So now, I am trying to be cautious, but not at the expense of the babe! I refuse to sacrifice the baby's health for my weight gain. I know it is trivial, but in a way my body size is the one thing I have consistently fought to maintain some control over my whole life. It's hard to give up that ...what should I call it? a habit? 


Buko, I gradually lost 63 lbs within the first year or so without too much effort. I still breastfeed and was on my way to dropping five more pounds when I began trying to get pregnant. The stress that caused made me eat sweets so I put it back on...then got pregnant at 14 mo pp. and kept it. So, I don't know if you'd call that "quick" but I least I didn't have to fight to lose it. I don't know if I'll be that lucky this time though. 

post #6 of 17

Writermama, that honestly doesn't sound too bad at all to me (63 lbs, gradually, in 1 year-- and that was almost all of it).


I think a nice "compromise" for you this time might be that you try to eat to satisfy hunger, but also try not to have too many sweets or high-calorie/"empty"-calorie things around the house.  Maybe save those things mostly for times you eat out, eat at someone else's house, etc.?


Then have as many of your favorite-- but lower-calorie/higher-nutrient and filling (esp higher fiber)-- foods around the house as possible.  For me, just for example, that would be...


-Baby carrots (which I eat with fairly high-fat dip, but it's still low-cal, high-nutrient overall, and very filling)

-Asparagus (I steam it)

-Mushrooms (for omelettes, etc.)

-Salad mixes

-Many assorted fruits!

-Assorted soups (I like tomato and chicken noodle, etc.-- soups are more filling and take longer to eat)

-Pretzels (I eat with low-cal mustard)

-Oatmeal/certain cereals


-Part skim cheese sticks

-Chicken sausages

-Prepackaged Indian vegetarian meals (Trader Joe's and some others have them)

-Just discovered coconut milk yogurt!

-I like occasional smoothies-- DH is my smoothie chef!  It's like my "dessert," even though there's no added sugar in mine (frozen fruit, ice, maybe some milk)



Protein and fiber, especially, are really filling and nutritious (and help with GI issues!)  I like to add Benefiber to soft and liquid foods-- like soup, oatmeal, yogurt, etc.  It "melts" right in.


I also try not to drink too many calories-- I am mostly limiting to a little diet soda in the morning (not the best, but I need some caffeine-- it's only about 30-50 mg worth) and flavored seltzer and uncaf herbal tea, maybe with Splenda.  Occasionally I will have a little 100% juice and when I'm out, I will treat myself to a Coke or juice or bubble tea or whatever.




I totally understand the desire to control SOMETHING!  You just don't want that desire to end up controlling you, you know?  Not that it would for you-- it's something I struggle with, though.

post #7 of 17

Oh, and so no one has any illusions!  I only eat like the above 60-70% of the time.  Not gonna lie-- I eat fast food (usually not HORRIBLE choices, but still) about 1-2x/week, eat out at restaurants 1-2x/week (ditto) and eat some cr@ppy convenience food, candy, whatever, occasionally.  I would like to eat like the above more like 90% of the time, but I am trying not to stress about it-- because stressing, for me, almost always has the opposite effect. 

post #8 of 17

I gained 45 with my first not following any diet/counting calories. I am using the Brewer diet this time, but very loosely. Sometimes I think it is too much food. I do not count calories, because I have a history of eating disorders and it just causes problems. 
I am just trying to make good choices (although my cravings this time around have been very junk foody), and I eat when I'm hungry. I'm not trying to stress about weight gain, but that is pretty much impossible for me. I have gained 6 pounds ask far @14 weeks. I have been exercising at least 30 min/day and go for long runs on Sundays. The fact that I am working out makes me feel a little less guilty about gaining, because with DS I didn't start walking until the last 1/4 of my pregnancy.

post #9 of 17

I gained 40lbs. with DS#1, 70lbs. yikes2.gif with DS#2, and 55lbs. with DS#3. Although a lot of the weight (from DS#2) was at the end when I swelled up like a beached whale from pre-e. But still, I am nervous about gaining too much again. I'm not a young chicken anymore, and loosing the baby weight will be challenge enough with out adding 20-30 extra unneeded pounds to that. That being said, I am not counting calories, that would make me crazy or at least crazier than I currently am! 


I listen to my body, I eat when I am hungry, and I don't graze mindlessly. If I do feel like having a snack I will have cucumber, pepper, or tomato slices with hummus. I also always have greek yogurt in my fridge, and those are great for mid-day snacks too. I find the Brewers diet to be good overall plan, but there is way more food on their lists than I could ever consume in a day.   


I am putting my goal at 40 pounds. Thats my tip top weight, but would like to stay under it. I gained 5 pounds at my 15 week appointment (total so far), so I think I am off to a good start. 

post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hey all, I want to follow up with this conversation and stress my growing anxiety over a high weight gain. Since I started this thread about a week ago, I have stopped counting calories and just eat when I am hungry and have tried to be mindful of getting in a wide variety of foods, based on the brewer's diet. I have been pretty darn good about sweets, only eating a little ice cream on Friday evening or a cookie on Saturday. During the week I don't have any sweets and I only eat homemade food, save for a daily fruit and nut bar, cheese, and the sprouted Ezekiel bread we buy. 


However, at my check up today I found out that I've gained around 8 lbs in a month, which means about 13 lbs total at 15.3 weeks. I don't know how to feel about that. I don't feel like I am doing anything unhealthy that would make me gain double the recommended amount. The good news is that at this point in my pregnancy with DS2 I had gained 19 lbs, so I am doing 6 lbs better than last time (my 70 lb gain).  What I'm wondering is--Should I just suck it up and deal?  Or should I make adjustments in my diet to slow down my gain? I am not sure what would be the healthiest choice. 


I'm sure I can figure this out myself...but if you want to weigh in I wouldn't be opposed. :)

post #11 of 17
What I'm wondering is--Should I just suck it up and deal?  Or should I make adjustments in my diet to slow down my gain? I am not sure what would be the healthiest choice.


You should get them to stop telling you how much you weigh!  Well, that's what I would do (am doing).  So JMO.  I am also admittedly skeptical of Brewer, so IDK about that.  But I think the obsessing-- or tendency to obsess a bit-- can best be cured by ignorance.  2whistle.gif  Of course you want to keep up the healthy diet, but if you still gain a bunch of weight on it, what are you going to do?  Cut back to sprouts and filtered water?  Of course not. 


So the question is, what good is knowing the number on the scale doing you?  Again, JMHO and all...  Take it with a big giant grain of salt substitute, but hopefully we can all agree that the diet/exercise equation is the most important thing, not the number on the scale (unless it's indicating fluid retention or something)... and IMO some women's metabolisms are just affected differently by pregnancy-- not necessarily causing any real harm-- and there's not much we can do about that, or maybe even should do.  hug2.gif    

post #12 of 17
writermama (love your moniker), i'm inclined to agree with buko. if there are fluid problems that point to pre-e or something else that may be medically problematic, then weight gain during is an issue. otherwise, it sounds like this is what your body does during pregnancy, and you have a good record of bouncing back. you are eating well, and taking good care of yourself -- what more can you ask? (and recommended weight gains are not one size fits all; how could they be?)

i don't know anything about the brewer diet other than the "experts" can't seem to agree on whether it works, so i can't speak to how that may be affecting your weight.

here's to staying healthy during pregnancy and letting your body do what it needs to do!!
post #13 of 17

Buko and writinglove have good input. I just wanted to second the idea about not getting on the scale or asking them not to tell you your weight.

post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 

All who replied, I appreciate your thoughts on this. I think by continuing to stress out about the weight issue, I am nursing my motherguilt and desire to control stuff. As if gaining more than the average amount of weight reflects on my quality as a mother...I think I just need to get over it! So what if I have a little extra padding to lose! 


Good idea not to weigh myself any more. I asked my DH to hide our bathroom scale over a month ago because I was weighing myself every day (paranoia?). Since I haven't had that stress in my life daily, I've felt much better. 


Gratitude mindful mamas--

post #15 of 17

Writermama!  I completely understand.  We're here for you.



post #16 of 17
Originally Posted by writermama12 View Post

All who replied, I appreciate your thoughts on this. I think by continuing to stress out about the weight issue, I am nursing my motherguilt and desire to control stuff. As if gaining more than the average amount of weight reflects on my quality as a mother...I think I just need to get over it! So what if I have a little extra padding to lose! 


Good idea not to weigh myself any more. I asked my DH to hide our bathroom scale over a month ago because I was weighing myself every day (paranoia?). Since I haven't had that stress in my life daily, I've felt much better. 


Gratitude mindful mamas--

Just wanted to chime in. I'm also loosely following Brewer's, but the thing that I like about it is that you don't have to count calories. I printed out the checklist that is on the site, put it in a plastic cover, and have it on my fridge. Instead of counting calories, I'm checking off the nutrients that I'm eating throughout the day. The visual gives me a reminder of what I should choose for a snack/meal instead of just eating whatever. Not that I'm sticking to that 100% (or ever 80%). I have a hard time getting all of the protein that they suggest and eating eggs everything day, but it seems to be helping. I'm also like you in that I feel like I should be eating more, but am just not that hungry most of the time. I've also found that eating small meals more frequently is allowing me to eat a little more and get a better variety in my diet. It's also helping the discomfort that I've been having at night. I came into this pregnancy about 10 pounds over where I'd like to be. So far I've only gained 7 pounds and even lost one last week. I only gained 20-25 with DS, so I suppose that's just how I am. I'm OK with it, but feel like it should be more. I'm basically just going with what my body is telling me and not forcing food into it. 

On a side note, I teach a Dr. Sear LEAN Expectations class (nutrition & wellness for pregnant mamas). He does mention calories, but also focuses on the quality of what you're putting in your body over quantity. You definitely don't want to limit calories right now (which you're not doing). I think you're on a great track with putting the scale away for now. Just listen to your body, make good food choices (with  the occasional treat - I have one daily), and you'll be good. Lots of water & fluids too. 

post #17 of 17

writermama, I'm glad it sounds like you've come to a peaceful decision about this. orngbiggrin.gif I haven't used the Brewers diet, but I was very happy when my midwives told me that they were far more concerned about me being healthy, than about how many pounds I did or didn't gain while pregnant. I don't even own a scale, because I prefer to be relaxed about it all in my non-pregnant life, so this was just the right attitude for me! Since it sounds like you're eating foods that are good for you, it seems to me like your body will know what it needs to do - just like it's done before. And I bet you are an absolutely beautiful pregnant lady. smile.gif

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