Pregnancy & Diet: My Experience

I don't think any of the advice, books or stories in the world could have prepared me for what to expect when becoming pregnant. Especially diet-wise.

Before becoming pregnant, I was eating very clean. I was doing strict Paleo/Whole30 about 90-95% of the time. Salads at lunch and dinner, veggies for snacks...I was known at work and the gym for my eating habits. I had established rules for myself and found a diet and meal plan that seemed to work for me. Prior to becoming pregnant, I was at my leanest. Not sure how much I weighed or what my body fat percentage was, but I was seeing more of my abs than I ever had before, and I was loving it.

My goal had always been to eat Paleo throughout my pregnancy. A few days after I found out I was pregnant, I began googling pregnancy, CrossFit and diet. I wanted to maintain my normal behavior as much as possible- I had finally gotten into a routine of diet and training. Plus everyone knew I was a creature of habit. After reading a blog about a woman who was not able to do Whole30 for her first trimester, but was easily able to do it during her second trimester gave me some expectations.

Well those went out the window. I had a 3 week period of straight nausea- no throwing up but just nauseated all the time. Vegetables and salads made it 10x worse. Deep fried foods like tater tots, chicken nuggets and cheap Ramen were what sounded good. What I was experiencing was different than anything I ever felt before- it wasn't a "mind over matter" issue with food that I thought it would be. It was, "I'm literally going to throw up if I have to eat that". So much for being so good with my diet.

Now one of my old CrossFit coaches explained my craving for terrible food to me as my body preparing for this baby. As I said earlier, I was at my leanest prior to this baby. My body didn't feel that it could support me and my activities, in addition to growing a human inside of me. My previous diet was more low-carb as well, which didn't bode well with all the work going on in my body. Growing a human = 3-4 worth of WODs a day of energy inside my body = baby wants carbs. So I became more accepting of my diet changes.

Until I realized how much people had really noticed my eating previously. People, mainly my co-workers, were picking up on the fact that some was up. Gone were salads at lunch, gone were veggies for snacks. I complained of not feeling well (my bad), and I guess I started to look a bit puffy in my clothes. Same thing was happening at the gym. My workout schedule that I stuck to like glue was changing. I was taking more rest days or doing less early mornings at the gym. And again the puffy thing.

While I can appreciate that people recognized my dedication to my nutrition and schedule, as people began to ask others behind my back about me being pregnant, it kind of ruined it for me. Instead of enjoying with my husband the joy of what was happening, I was instead worrying about how I looked or what I ate. We were trying to wait until 12 weeks- when the risk for something happening would be significantly decreased, and then announce our news. My husband listened to me complain multiple times about how I was tired of hearing about people asking. He laughed at me and I got more mad.

I was hoping once the second trimester began, I would be able to go back to a more "normal for me" diet. Unfortunately I'm sitting here at 20 weeks still and that hasn't really happened. I'm eating salads at lunch again- though not as nutrient dense as they once were. Vegetables are slowly getting easier- but still not great or easy to consume. I'm definitely eating a lot more carbs than I did before. The higher carb diet and me having more mass/weighing more has paid off- I feel stronger than I was pre-pregnancy. However now I'm getting to the point where I'm not always comfortable with heavy weight because of the pelvic changes I'm feeling.

If anyone had tried to tell me what I was about to experience,  I would have never believed them. And I know that if/when I become pregnant again, it will be a completely different experience. It's incredibly hard to watch and feel your body change, without having any control or say in it. Especially as a Type A personality.

My advice & what I've learned:

- Don't force yourself to eat certain foods. Forcing yourself to eat certain foods during pregnancy may make you not able to eat them later on.

- Do eat to fuel your body. If that means deep fried food because everything else makes you nauseous, it's temporary. Your tastes will continually change throughout the pregnancy.

- Do try to eat as healthy when you can. Expect that it will be a mix of give and take.

- Do listen to your body- if you need the extra rest, take it. Your body is doing so much more than you can imagine, so give it what it needs!

- Every pregnancy is individual. Someone told me, don't listen to pregnancy advice from someone unless they've had 4 or more pregnancies, because each one is so different!

Moving forward, I hope to continue to slowly work more and more towards my old diet, with more carbs. After giving birth, I hope to do a Whole30 to help get me back on track. Most of all, my goal is to not be so hard on myself and to listen to my body.