Pregnancy has been such a learning curve for me, it’s taught me things about myself that I didn’t expect to learn, and for that I’ll be forever grateful. Now in my third trimester (I know – how fast has that gone?!), I wanted to chat with you guys about my pregnancy ‘diet’, and set the record straight re “eating for two”. (By the way: I genuinely hate using the word diet, so just to make it clear from the get go, by diet, I’m literally referring to the food that I consume, NOT any crazy eating regime with rules etc – no thank you.)
My Pregnancy ‘Diet’
When I first became pregnant, I craved all the plain carbs – bread, tortilla crisps, dry crackers, you name it, I probably ate it, and these fast became part of pretty much every meal/ snack. It kept any nausea I had at bay, so I went with it and didn’t beat myself up about munching them. It’s funny because pre-pregnancy, I’d have said that I had a pretty good relationship with food, I didn’t track macros or count calories, I knew what foods I liked and the ones my body reacted well to, and as I general guide I’d place my higher carbs around my training to help maximise performance and aid recovery, but pregnancy has taken my intuitive eating to a whole new level!
I‘m not 100% sure why this shift has happened, but over the past 7 months I’ve become more relaxed about the food choices I make, even down to the times at which I eat them – ordering the jam and croissant with my Sunday morning coffee, or dunking the digestives in my tea (yes, I’m that person – I bet I’m not the only one who dunks?). Maybe it’s because I feel less pressured to look a certain way? Or maybe it’s the new found respect I now have for my body? Whatever the reason, it’s a positive mindset shift that I plan to continue with post-pregnancy and beyond.
With that said, I haven’t been going wild ‘eating for two’, no, no. I’ve continued to make healthy food choices to provide both my body and baby with the macro and micronutrients they need to stay energised and grow. At the moment I am all for fresh fruits, raw veggies and soft protein sources like cottage cheese, greek yoghurt and eggs, but that’s not to say I don’t allow myself a little of what I fancy when I want it, I just have them in moderation. Filling my plate with nutrient dense foods, coupled with staying active, has meant I’ve felt pretty fabulous… I’d even go as far as saying that I’ve loved my pregnancy!
‘Eating For Two’
“You’re carrying a baby now, you’re eating for two!” Not literally. This I find is still one of the biggest misconceptions about pregnancy nutrition, and why a lot of women who’ve come to me for advice and prenatal training plans have said they gained excess weight during previous pregnancies that they then struggled to shift post-partum. I was very upfront in sharing that I wanted to ensure I gained weight at a healthy rate throughout my pregnancy, not because I wanted to ‘stay in shape’, but because for me, I felt it important from a health point of view, helping me to stay active and feel strong in the lead up to labour.
So how much extra food should you be eating? General guidelines suggest that you don’t need additional calories until the second and third trimester, and even then the suggestions are only an increase of approx 150-300* calories per day. That could be something as simple as a banana and nut butter! Note: not two tubs of ice cream. *these can differ for women who are exercising as energy expenditure will be higher.
I purposely haven’t tracked my calories during my pregnancy, but by staying active and focussing on fuelling my body with nutrient dense foods, I’ve gained weight at a steady rate, and there’s still been room for the odd croissant! Now at 30 weeks, I can happily say I feel more confident than ever with my body, at the heaviest I’ve been in my life!
What cravings did you have during pregnancy? Did you track your food? or go with the flow? I love hearing your stories, so do leave me a comment below and let’s chat…