At 35 weeks pregnant, I’ve now gone back and forth for the last 20 or so weeks over how I should write this, or if I should write it at all. You see, it’s personal, and the internet, well, it’s public. But what kind of person would I be if I couldn’t share my mistakes with you all, who also care so much about health and wellness? In the end I’ve decided that this is the right thing to do. Although it means admitting I messed up, it was a humbling experience, and one that I’m fairly certain many of us have gone through or will go through, as we ladies deal with pregnancy. I also want others to realize that these struggles happen to everyone, even trainers with specializations in nutrition. I now feel better equipped to help people that may run into these issues, having now experienced them first-hand.
If you read my Life Changes post, you know a little bit about my mental state upon learning I was pregnant. Excited, nervous, scared, stressed, stressed and a little bit stressed. All of a sudden I found myself questioning my own knowledge. Not being a dairy-eater, I found myself craving cheese and wondering if it was because I wasn’t getting sufficient calcium? Am I missing other nutrients because I don’t consume meat? Is my baby okay? I found myself stressed, nauseous and consuming foods I hadn’t eaten in years. I got numerous comments from friends, family, clients and gym members “oh you’re going to be the cutest pregnant person ever” which added a level of stress I can’t really describe. I felt like everyone had unrealistic expectations of me. “Why am I going to be cute, because I’m a trainer? Because I’m supposed to be thin, cute, happy and pregnant?” I was stressed and unable to eat any sort of vegetable without gagging. This was going to be a long pregnancy.
Several weeks later, I found myself feeling awful from a less-than-ideal diet, still nauseous and packing on pounds at a rate faster than the typical pregnant woman should. I had to have a serious conversation with myself about what I was doing. Although we’ve acknowledged that I was scared, stressed and nauseous, causing me to consume foods I wouldn’t normally even consider putting in my body, I think I also thought I was immune to the science of nutrition. You know the “since I’ve been so healthy for so long, I can eat whatever I want and it won’t affect me” kind of mentality. Not sure what was happening upstairs, but this is definitely NOT true. I’m human just like the rest of the world, trainer or not. And when I started eating pasta, bagels, cookies and crackers instead of spinach, vegetables, fruits, lentils, etc., my mental and physical state declined rather rapidly.
It was at about the 15 week mark that I realized I needed to get my head out of my “you know what” and pull myself together. Whether or not I could stomach a vegetable no longer mattered. My baby NEEDS proper nutrition and it’s up to me to provide that. I also realized that I could either live the remaining 25 weeks like this—miserable—or I could make a change.
I emailed my nutritionist in a panic saying something to the extent of “I messed up. How much damage have I done and can I fix it?” You might be thinking “man, she’s really overreacting about a little pizza and some cookies”…but I really wasn’t. Every part of me knows how crucial good nutrition really is, so when I realized that I’ve been slacking at the most important time of my (and my little one’s life), I was pretty upset with myself. The emails we exchanged are actually quite humorous in hindsight. My messages to him are long, drawn-out confessions about how much shame and embarrassment I’m feeling, that I “know better” and how could I let this happen…and his to me are comforting and reassuring with words like “it’s not too late, and yes, you can fix it.”
With that, I got myself back on track. And wouldn’t you know it—soon I started to feel MUCH better! The next 15+ weeks were much improved. I still had some food issues but not nearly as bad as the first 15 weeks. I was juicing vegetables (and still am) to ensure I was getting them in my diet (still can’t choke those things down without throwing them in the juicer), started drinking my Amazing Meal smoothies again, and life was looking up.
I’m due with our sweet baby in 5 weeks. I never really regained my appetite for clean eating, or an appetite at all really, but have definitely been making healthier decisions. As nauseous as I am today, eating healthier has allowed me to feel better physically and mentally. Pregnancy is a funny thing—I’ve decided that you can only be so hard on yourself for the crazy things your body is enduring, but it’s also important to not let yourself go off the rails. There are two people relying on you for the proper nutrients, so cookies for dinner is not acceptable. Nor is two or three bagels in one day…yikes, glad that’s in the past!
So if you’re pregnant, or might become pregnant, I hope you can learn from this post. If you eat crappy food, you’re going to feel crappy. This is actually ALWAYS true, pregnancy doesn’t really matter here. But when you ARE pregnant, and you already feel crappy, it can be hard to make nutritious choices. Employ your spouse or partner to help get healthy food in your body, for both you and the baby. If you’re at that point where nothing is staying down and you’re reading this cursing me—I get it. Just remember that you can only eat so many crackers, and your body would really rather prefer non-processed food choices. Try some brown rice and bananas.
Oh, and it turns out, all that second-guessing about my pescetarian, dairy-free diet was a waste of energy. Much needed energy, at that! It is perfectly okay to be a pescetarian, vegetarian, etc., you just need to ensure you are getting the proper nutrients in sufficient amounts through other food sources. Find a good, natural pre-natal vitamin, do your research, involve your health care provider and employ a good support system and you will be just fine. Oh, and if your health care provider tells you otherwise about not eating meat, dairy, etc., it’s probably time to find a new one!
Good luck to all the mommas-to-be out there!
Peace, love and proper nutrition,
Note: I am not a doctor and do not claim to be one. If you have questions about your vitamin and nutrient intake, please consult a qualified nutritionist or medical practitioner.