Hello, wonderful readers! Today, we’re diving into a topic that so many of our clients bring up during consultations and prenatal appointments: eating during pregnancy and postpartum. This journey is nothing short of magical, but it’s also a time when there’s a lot of advice swirling around, especially when it comes to weight and body changes. So, let’s have an open-hearted conversation about shifting our perspective from weight loss to nourishment, and how we can embrace intuitive eating during this transformative phase of life.
Pregnancy is a time of extraordinary transformation. Your body is nurturing and growing a new life within you – how incredible is that? It’s a time when every morsel of food you consume isn’t just for you, but for the life inside you.
And yet, in a world inundated with diet culture, the focus often shifts to how much weight one should gain or lose during this period. But what if we chose to focus on something far more impactful?
Shifting the Focus: Nourishment Over Weight
Picture this: instead of counting calories, tracking pounds, or stressing over meal plans, imagine if we shifted our energy towards nourishing our bodies and souls. Nourishment isn’t just about food; it’s about giving your body what it truly needs – love, care, nutrients, and the joy of eating.
During pregnancy, your body requires additional nutrients to support the growing baby and to keep you feeling your best. Instead of fixating on numbers, one option is to focus on the vibrant array of colors in your meals – the deep greens of spinach, the fiery reds of bell peppers, the sunny yellows of mangoes.
These colors represent a wide spectrum of nutrients that contribute to your health and your baby’s development. Eating the rainbow is a way to reduce the emphasis on counting calories or macros, while still getting variety.
For some, reframing like rainbow eating can be enough, while others may need something a bit more in depth. Intuitive eating could be an option for you. It’s the philosophy that encourages us to listen to our bodies, honor hunger and fullness cues, and eat without judgment.
It’s a profound shift away from rigid diets and restrictive eating patterns. And guess what? It’s a perfect match for pregnancy and postpartum! During pregnancy, your body is an astonishing communicator.
It tells you when it’s hungry, when it’s full, and what it’s craving or needing to avoid. This is the perfect time to listen to your cues and lean into them versus suppressing them.
If your body is asking for juicy watermelon, relish its juiciness. If a warm bowl of soup is what you’re yearning for, savor its comforting embrace. If all you can stomach is french fries, enjoy the crispy saltiness to its fullest.
We suggest checking out a few books on intuitive eating and seeing how it feels in your body.
- Intuitive Eating by Elyse Resch, and Evelyn Tribole
- Anti-Diet: Reclaim Your Time, Money, Well-Being, and Happiness Through Intuitive Eating by Christy Harrison
- Just Eat It by Laura Thomas (she also has a great podcast called Don’t Salt My Game that calls out diet trends and myths)
These options may be enough for some, while others may find more personalized support from an anti-diet nutritionist may be helpful. We love working with Natalie Joffe in Seattle and One Connection Health in Ballard.
Language Matters: Shifting Away from Diet Culture
Now, let’s talk about language. The way we talk to ourselves and others during pregnancy and postpartum can shape our entire experience. At the end of your pregnancy you will be so tired of hearing the same handful of phrases over and over that can become your first thoughts if alternative language isn’t put into practice.
It’s time to toss out phrases like “eating for two” and “watching my weight.” Instead, let’s use empowering and affirming language that focuses on nourishment, love, and health.
Replace “eating for two” with “nourishing my body and my baby.” Swap “watching my weight” with “honoring my body’s needs.” These subtle shifts not only change how you approach food but also cultivate a positive mindset that nurtures self-love and self-care.
Creating Space for Pleasure: Food isn’t just about sustenance; it’s also about pleasure and connection. As you journey through pregnancy and postpartum, give yourself permission to cook or purchase foods that bring you joy. If a scoop of your favorite ice cream is calling your name, relish it without guilt. When you eat with mindfulness and joy, you create a positive relationship with food that you can pass down to your child.
Inviting Mindfulness into Meals: Mindful eating is a practice that encourages you to savor each bite, fully engaging your senses. During pregnancy and postpartum, this practice becomes a powerful tool. As you eat, take a moment to appreciate the textures, flavors, and aromas. You may find you enjoy foods you previously did not! Expressing or feeling gratitude for the nourishment you’re providing to yourself and your baby can change the way you approach a meal.
Supportive Community: Your Cheerleaders
Surround yourself with a supportive community – whether it’s your partner, friends, family, or online groups. Share your journey, your triumphs, and your challenges. When you have a network that values your whole person’s well-being, it becomes easier to focus on nourishment and self-love, rather than weight or diets.
Folks like Lindley Ashline (@bodyliberationwithlindley), Aubrey Gordon (@yrfatfriend), Tracy Cox (@sparklejams), Kayla Stansberry (@fatpositivetherapist), Virgie Tovar (@virgietovar) are wonderful folks to add to your community!
So, wherever this blog finds you remember that your body is a vessel of life. It’s a canvas that tells the story of creation and transformation. Let’s shift away from the noise of diet culture and weight obsession, and instead, embrace the concept of nourishment with open arms.
Listen to your body’s whispers, savor the flavors, and honor your unique needs. Speak kindly to yourself, knowing that every bite you take is a gift to yourself and your precious little one. Embrace intuitive eating, mindful moments, and a community that uplifts you. Let’s embark on this journey together, celebrating nourishment, joy, and the beautiful changes that come with this extraordinary phase of life.