A friend of mine is pregnant and has been struggling with her weight gain and is conflicted between what she knows she “should” be eating vs what she is craving and really feels like eating. Whether we are pregnant or not, it is a struggle that we all face throughout our lifetime journey with food: our mental knowledge vs. our body's cravings.
For most women, the first trimester of pregnancy is a sensitive time so it is so normal to want to eat comforting and nurturing foods. We naturally crave carbohydrates (breads, pastas, baked goods crackers) because they make us feel better. They are also the foods that are easier to go down when women feel nausea. All the nutrition rules and books would tell us not to eat those foods, but our body wisdom is asking for them anyway. This can create an internal struggle. Do you fight the cravings or surrender to them?
Many women have days and moments when they feel drained, resentful, unfulfilled and bored of motherhood, and so they eat when not even hungry. In those times food is bringing a little joy and pleasure in the moments when the days at home with kids can feel long and uninspiring. The carbs offer a little serotonin boost; a hit of happy! In those moments, do you listen to your nutritional rule book or eat what your body is asking for?
Pregnant women will often crave carbs when they are tired. Often when women are pregnant and they have to tend to a toddler, they eat just to keep going, especially around 3-4pm. For many it is not an option to rest or take a nap when the body is begging for one, so carbs become the substitute. Again, all the nutritional knowledge accumulated over the years would tell you not to grab those foods, but it is what the body is asking for in those moments, so do you fight it or give in?
When we are pregnant, our food inhibitions come down. We know we are going to gain weight anyway, so we figure, what’s an extra 10 pounds, from just eating what we want, going to matter? Foods we typically restrict when we are not pregnant get expressed when we are pregnant. The food inhibition walls come down and we feel a little freedom to eat whatever we want.
So this is the message I shared with my friend and if you are pregnant, this is what I share with you too:
“This is just a phase and it will pass. We all go through different phases of nourishment and right now you are in a nurturing/comforting phase. It will have an ending. You will soon feel better and you’ll naturally want to go back to your ideal way of eating. But in this moment, in this phase right now, try to surrender to it, don’t fight it, rather enjoy what you are eating and know it is all serving this little baby inside of you. See the weight gain as nourishment for the baby, as the energy your body needs to use to build the life inside of you and for the milk supply and energy you will need for post-partum. And how you are eating right now, is also a beautiful connection with your first child who loves food. If you can love it and enjoy it with him/her it is an act of nourishment, nurturance and expression of love. As hard as it is to believe and trust, know that your body is exactly where it needs to be right now and you really look beautiful and feminine and as a healthy pregnant woman should look.”
Whether you are pregnant or not, know that we all go through phases where our cravings and desires will trump our nutritional knowledge. Sometimes you just have to surrender to that and know it really will be okay and this too shall pass…
Yours in health,