Pregnancy nutrition is a hot topic for me – perhaps hotter than training during pregnancy (which is SO important…but I talk about that all the time). I feel like my entire pregnancy has revolved around food. What is okay to eat – what is not okay? Nothing sounds good…now everything sounds good. Am I eating too much or too little? These are just some of the thoughts I obsess over and that women often ask me about.
Much of the time, we over think. Just like before pregnancy, the foods, nutrients and supplements we consume affect our body. Those choices affect how our metabolism works, how much energy we have and our fuel for the gym.
The difference during pregnancy is that now these every day decisions directly affect another very delicate person.
Eating For Two
This myth is the root of so many pregnancy complications and body issues that come during pregnancy and stay long after the pregnancy is over. Trust me, I KNOW how hungry you are! But it is important to remember that it is your nutrient needs that increase for two – not your caloric needs. Calorically, your baby and your body only need about 300 extra calories per day during pregnancy. That is the equivalent of one small, balanced meal.
The nutrients you get from your food choices are more important during pregnancy than ever. Plus, putting in the effort now means less effort to get your eating habits back on track post-pregnancy, amongst countless other benefits.
Not only does your baby benefit from healthy, nutrient-dense foods, but those choices can also help with normal (and uncomfortable) pregnancy side effects such as nausea, heartburn, constipation and more.
I’m not perfect and DO splurge and enjoy treats a few times per week, but I try hard to avoid sugar, processed foods and refined or hydrogenated oils (vegetable oil, canola oil, margarine, etc.). Some examples of the foods I put my focus on are whole foods, vegetables, fruits, organic eggs, meat (it FINALLY doesn’t sound disgusting in my 28th week!), nuts, pasteurized cheeses, unrefined coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil.
As you know, I stay in great shape year-round. So, watching (literally watching) my body change shape so much and store fat can be difficult. Pregnancy is one of the most amazing things I have ever done with my body – and I had no idea I would be so in awe. Sure, I am definitely a normal woman…I’m a little self conscious about the areas where my body decided to store fat (hello booty and thighs!), but I also have this amazing confidence being so proud to be this baby’s mama and wear my bump with pride!
I always had a vision of what I expected my body to look like when pregnant. I would stay fit and not change too much. I would just be one of those women whose only body change was a baby bump that sticks straight out – at least that’s what I hoped for. I had an idea of what I would do to keep my body in shape and how I’d never be like other women I knew that found out they were pregnant and threw on sweats and grabbed a seat on the couch for the next nine months. The truth is, you will never know what your body will do or look like pregnant and how you feel until you are going through it. And you really can’t do a darn thing about it. This is as much of a mental journey as it is a physical one. And the best thing to do is remember that YOU ARE ENOUGH and that you’re doing a great job! Every time I look down at my thighs, I remember that a moderate amount of fat storage means a healthy pregnancy – our babies need it for development and growth and we need it in preparation for labor endurance, breastfeeding and so much more!
One thing that helped a lot for me was my wardrobe. I was in mini denial for a while that I wouldn’t need to get any size large clothes or maternity items. At 5 months pregnant, I was still squeezing myself into my workout pants from 12 pounds ago. Not only was the waistband uncomfortable, but also I knew what I used to look like in them and filling them out that much didn’t do much for my confidence. If you’re not into maternity clothes just yet – even purchasing a few extra pairs of regular pants a few sizes larger will help a lot. But I will tell you that the moment I finally gave in, bought a pair of maternity pants and pulled that waist all the way up over my belly…I’ll never look back – it is SO comfortable!! I felt like I could finally focus on my workouts again and stop fussing around with wardrobe issues.
And, while you’re shopping, grab some sexy underwear or lingerie in your new size. I don’t care if you wear it for your partner or just for you – it will make you feel sexy and will improve your confidence.
Making Good Decisions
Improving your confidence and feeling GREAT about your body changing to accommodate and create such a miracle will help you make great decisions in how you feed and fuel your body. It is so easy to turn the foods you crave into healthy options! Here are some examples of my favorite foods that have been there for me through all of my food aversions and cravings.
2 corn tortillas
flank steak (cooked to medium)
mozzarella & ricotta cheese
Sprouted grain tortillas filled with grilled chicken breast
1 medium baked sweet potato
4 oz ricotta cheese
1 cup chopped arugula