Pregnancy, food & body image!

by Nicole on September 13, 2012

photo by steve depino

When you get pregnant, you know you’re body is going to go through a transformation. It’s obviously understood because you are growing a human life inside you. I always wondered what my body was going to look like when my belly got nice, round and full. And I wondered if the cellulite on my legs would increase at an exponential rate. (it didn’t, I thank lunges & squats.)

After finding out I was pregnant, I knew I would be committed to having a healthy pregnancy. For me, that meant I was committed to eating as well as possible and exercising for as long as I felt good.

This *also* meant for me that eating well, would mean I would loosen up a little bit with food and let go of any “food rules” (not that I had super strict ones, but I would pay attention to my meals and make sure they were balanced and that I didn’t overdo it with my carbs/grains).

Additionally, I felt that I wouldn’t count calories (because I never have) but I would just listen to my body and eat when I was hungry. Pregnancy does NOT mean eating for two, so there was no reason to be doubling my calories. Extra calories for me usually comes in the form of an extra snack or extra whole grains. Funny enough, I have only had dessert a handful of times this entire pregnancy. It gives me a stomachache EVERY SINGLE TIME. Sometimes it’s just worth it and I’ll just have a small serving (already planning on it at the wedding I’m going to this weekend!) This baby just doesn’t seem to like sweets…plain chocolate is usually ok though, although it’s been giving me trouble in past 2 weeks.

All of these thoughts really allowed me to have a very healthy pregnancy, physically and emotionally. I just rolled with it. Food wise and weight gain wise.

I really believe that treating your body well and honoring the food/calories you need will help you get in a really good place throughout pregnancy. It’s such a fine line between allowing yourself to eat what you want AND not eating for two. You have to trust your body to regulate that. In my normal life there is no way I would eat pasta multiple times a week, sometimes 2x in one day. But being pregnant, if I want pasta 3-4 times a week, I make sure I am getting the rest of what I need and throw in some veggies or protein.

Moving on from food and moving onto body image.

Like I said, I didn’t know how I would feel about the weight gain and my expanding waistline, but I really think that fact I know I’m doing the best I can fueling myself and exercising has made the process so wonderful. I have really enjoyed watching my belly grow and am still surprised by it when I pass a mirror. It makes me smile.

As far as the numbers on the scale goes, I’m surprised at how much they have NOT affected me or bothered me. Don’t get me wrong, I do have a twinge of nervousness every time I step on to see what it’s going to say, but so far, I have felt like my body is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do and has gained a healthy amount of weight.

What’s my point?

My point is that pregnancy is SO filled with uncertainty. You don’t know how you are going to feel, what you are going to look like or when your baby is going to arrive. BUT the one thing you can *try* to control is how you feel about your body, what you put into it and how you move. (And I say this for those having a healthy pregnancy, I know that not everyone is so lucky!!)

Embrace your body and the changes it’s going through. Let yourself eat what you want within reason. Love your body enough to fuel it as properly as you can. Eat when your hungry, but stop when you’re full. Tell yourself your belly and body is beautiful!

photo credit to steve depino

(photo from our maternity pics! more on those soon!)

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Erica { } September 13, 2012 at 9:03 am

Thank you so much for writing this. I’m hoping to have my first child within the next few years and (selfishly) am worried about how my body will change and if I can handle it. I lost 50 pounds a few years ago and since then I’ve always had a fear of gaining it back and I think I would be absolutely okay with that if there was life growing inside of me but it still makes me nervous!
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char eats greens September 13, 2012 at 9:03 am

I thought for sure I was going to hate a growling belly just because I’ve always been so belly-conscious, but I’ve shocked myself by how much it doesn’t affect me!

I also thought I would be so jealous of my husband and make him gain ‘pitty weight’ but again, I don’t care! haha

It’s amazing how pregnancy can surprise you! The only thing I feel selfish about is running – I can’t wait to remember what it feels like to run without a baby in my stomach. But the benefit to that is that I’ll then have a running partner to take with me all the time :)

Love the photos – I hope we do a maternity shoot soon, too!
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Leah @ Chocolate and Wild Air September 13, 2012 at 9:04 am

I’m sure that I will be equally nervous if/when I ever get pregnant. It sounds like you are handling it so well though! Listening to and honoring your body really is the best thing we can all do, in every aspect of our lives
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Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) September 13, 2012 at 9:07 am

The changing body is so hard at first because you feel so bloated and there’s nothing that tells you there is a baby in there. Once I got to the point where I could feel the boys, it made all the different in the world! I didn’t care how I looked. I loved having them in there. What a great post Nicole!
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Miz September 13, 2012 at 9:12 am

Oh Nicole. I love this. You’re so flipping wise. Will share.
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Michele @ Nycrunningmama September 13, 2012 at 9:25 am

OMG. I love this post. It’s so crazy b/c I’ve had a post in my drafts for so long that I have been meaning to finish about how despite the weight gain, extra padding on thighs/butt, cellulite that starts to appear, etc…that I feel more beautiful when I’m pregnant then when I’m training like a crazy person for a race…
I love the pictures btw – you look amazing !!! So glad that you had maternity pics done =)
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Christine September 13, 2012 at 9:33 am

Your belly is beautiful =]


Sarah @RunFarGirl September 13, 2012 at 3:12 pm

I agree completely with your points here! Pregnancy can be such a scary/unknown time when it comes to changes in body and appetite. It’s easy to get caught up in the old adage “eat for two.” But that is the last thing we want to do. Good advice here! And super cute preggo pics!
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purelylori September 13, 2012 at 10:53 pm

I have this bookmarked, so when the time comes for my body to change I have your great words to reflect on ;) thanks girl! xoxo
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christina September 17, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Love this post! Its great for the fearing not yet moms like myself ;)


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