My Healthy Pregnancy: Diet

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Last week, I shared about my desire to maintain a healthy pregnancy, and I talked a little about exercising while pregnant.  Today, I'd like to talk about my diet, and the things I've been trying to work  on.  First off, I am not on "a diet", in which I cut down calories - rather, I try to be mindful of what I am eating, how much I am eating, and how those foods affect my body.  

When you are pregnant, you don't really need that much more to eat - it is SO common to hear when you are pregnant, that you are now "eating for two", but that is such a misconception.  Yes, you are eating so that you grow a little life, and what you are eating IS very important.  But it doesn't mean that you should eat twice as much food - really, a pregnant woman should only be eating about 300 more calories than usual, per day.  I'll be honest and say I have struggled with this - it can be way too easy to want some ice cream or more dinner or another snack, and just claim that because I am pregnant, I can ahead and eat it.  And sometimes I do - I get that my body does need more fuel right now and that sometimes you just have splurge, but I try to not go overboard - moderation is still key!

It can also be a struggle for me to watch the types of food I eat when I am pregnant.  I already love sweets and desserts and chocolate, and when I am pregnant and hormonal, of course I want more.  Which is why I try to not buy the things I know I will want all the time or the things I know I will eat far too much of (sometimes I struggle with self-control...ha!) - like chocolate or ice cream!  

Last time I was at the Doctor, he noted that Ezra had been a very large baby (10 lbs, 2 oz) and that having such a large baby can often be an indicator of gestational diabetes.  Now, I always passed my 26-week glucose test and was never positive for gestational diabetes, but the Doc still quizzed me on what I ate and what kinds of food I was gaining pregnancy weight with.  He made it sound like the types of food I gain weight with, will have a direct impact on how big Baby #3 could be.  Obviously, the baby will be born bigger or smaller, regardless of what I eat, but the Doc was convinced that if I gain all my pregnancy weight on carbs and sugary goodness and "empty foods", that the baby will be prone to being much bigger.  Rather than gaining all my pregnancy weight on protein and fruit and veggies and whole grains - then the baby could still be on the bigger side, but wouldn't necessarily have to be huge.  Now, I have never really heard this from any other Doc, so don't know how much of his reasoning was based on truth or just idea and theory, but he did a good job convincing me that what I put in my mouth has a huge impact on my baby's weight.  And if there is one thing I am a little concerned about, it's how big this baby could be when it's born!  

Since that Doctor visit, I have really been trying to modify my diet (and therefore the diet of my family...sometimes much to the chagrin of my dear husband who could eat dessert five times a day!).  We've cut out a lot of what I call "empty carbs" - white flour, white rice, white sugar, white potatoes - and replaced them with whole wheat flour, brown rice, sweet potatoes.  I've tried to up my protein and fruit/veggies, and cut down on the carbs that fill my plate.  I've also been trying to limit the sweets and desserts we have around and therefore consume.  Now, I was never that huge into having tons of sugary stuff around, but as I mentioned before, my husband loves his desserts.  A lot.  And I still believe in moderation.  Which means we end up with a cookie or ice cream a few nights a week.  Or a piece of chocolate after lunch.  Because sometimes, you just need a good piece of dark chocolate, you know?!

The other thing I've been inspired by is the amount of processed foods we eat, which was honestly a direct impact of the website 100 Days of Real Food.  Now, we already ate fairly healthy and I have always tried to not buy super processed foods - I make pretty much all our desserts, breads (minus sandwich bread for Max), pastries (if we have them), meals, etc from scratch.  We don't really do boxed mixes or packaged stuff.  But I was still very much inspired to take a good look at what I do buy, and evaluate how much sugar might be in it, or how many ingredients really made it up.  That doesn't mean that we've drastically changed what we buy (because like I said, I really didn't buy much super processed food to begin with), but it's made me more aware and is teaching me to take a better look at what I am fueling my family with.

Over the past few months, I've been making an attempt to really watch what I eat and put in my body.  And I've found that I feel a lot better when I do - I have much more energy, I manage stress better, and I deal with my babes more gracefully.  The one thing I have noticed, with eating healthier, is that I tend to get hungrier more often.  Which is fine with me.  I'd rather eat smaller meals and have a small, healthy snack in between, than try to fill up on huge meals that leave me tired and feeling like I need to go take a nap!  Overall, I know that I am filling my body up with good foods, that are growing a healthy baby, who will hopefully not come out huge at 13 pounds!  And because of that, I will continue on with my eating habits - even when it's hard and I just want to grab a cookie or more ice cream or another huge helping of dinner.   

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  1. Oh I had a rough time during pregnancy with food. It's just hard!



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