Pregnancy is beautiful, exciting, miraculous and sometimes just outright annoying and difficult to process. Many people, including women, give me the side eye when I honestly and openly speak about the hardships of being pregnant and navigating through the constant changes we as women experience physically, spiritually and emotionally. One of the most difficult aspects of pregnancy that I have encountered is people telling me I look small in comparison to societies standards of what a pregnant woman should look like. I have thick skin, but these constant statements, even from many close relatives, made me insecure and question what was "wrong" with my body.
In reality, every woman and every pregnancy is completely different. So utilizing comparative words like "small," and "huge" to describe a woman whose body is performing a daily miracle is insensitive and rude. Instead, when addressing a mommy-to-be use words like gorgeous, beautiful, and strong. Society needs to embrace that all pregnant woman are amazing in their own unique way!
Eating a balanced and healthy diet is sometimes difficult, but when you are pregnant this is sometimes impossible. From my own experience, listed below are practical tips to incorporate into your daily lifestyle to help you better nourish and fuel your body.
“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.”
― Ann Wigmore
Constant deprivation dieting is unrealistic and unhealthy, rather, permanent changes to your eating habits, incorporating a regular exercise routine and developing consistent sleeping habits are what lead to true success in establishing a healthy lifestyle. For many of us, changing our eating habits requires us to retrain the way we think about food and how our bodies use it. When I began my journey as a pescatarian almost three years ago, I had to reprogram my mind, negating 20+ years of bad and unhealthy eating habits. Now as a pregnant vegetarian, I have to be extremely intentional in how I fuel my body for myself and my baby.
Control and Balance
Eating is about control and balance, so when making your food decisions try the 80/20 method, where 80% of the food you consume is healthy and nutritious, while 20% can be those delicious pies and cobblers you crave. There is a time and place for everything so designate moments throughout your week when you can relax and have an extra cocktail or enjoy that decadent dessert. Making small adjustments like eliminating the overconsumption of processed foods, sugary soft drinks, and empty calories in many cereals and fast food can go a long way when transforming your mind and body.
Discard the cookies, honey buns, muffins and any other items that can cause you to stray away from your fitness goals. Replace salty processed chips with fresh fruit. Replace sugary soft drinks with fresh fruit and vegetable juice, and whenever possible limit or eiliminate your alcohol intake.
Removing temptation can help reduce the urge for you to cheat yourself!
Show LOVE and Compassion Throughout your Journey
This is a marathon. Eating healthy/nutritiously balanced meals and incorporating regular exercise into your lifestyle are a constant act of effort and practice. Will you have setbacks? Yes. But you must be patient, be understanding and be kind to yourself as you embark on this new spiritual, mental and physical journey to a better you!
Enjoy Summer and Happy Eating!