SO. My last pregnancy post was all about How to Survive and Thrive with Food During Your First Trimester (click the link to read allllll about my food experience and my tips for enjoying food during the beginning of pregnancy.)
I wanted to share some of my thoughts on body image during the Second Trimester.
How to stay excited about the changes you’re experiencing.
How to continue to love and enjoy your body through this process.
First, let me tell you more about my experience:
As you may or may not know, I struggled a LOT with body image when I was younger (think pre-teens through mid/late twenties).
There were days when my happiness absolutely depended on the number on the scale. Not matter how good I felt when I got up in the morning, if I got on the scale and the number was different than I expected (or not what I wanted), my day was essentially ruined.
If I had to do some extra wiggling to get into my jeans I would pretty much have a breakdown an d want to take a sick day from work.
Numbers ruled my life: the number on the scale and the numbers on my clothing tags.
I would rather walk around like a peg legged pirate in too-tight jeans that were the size I wanted to be than be comfortable.
Back when I was struggling with body image, the thought of being pregnant absolutely terrified me:
- What if I lost total control and at ALL the things and gained 100 pounds?
- What if I couldn’t lose the baby weight?
- What if having a baby made me fat forever?
I was so scared that I would lose myself if I lost my body. Having control over my body and how I looked was THE most important thing to me at the time– and the prospect of losing control literally made me question if I ever wanted to have kids.
It wasn’t until I had my wake-up call with food and learned to love and embrace my body that I started to feel differently.
Once I created my personalized food routine– a routine that was a balance of foods that make me feel healthy and a balance of the not-as-healthy foods that I really enjoy– that I was able to finally think of pregnancy as an exciting adventure.
My peace of mind came from knowing that if I listened to my body and ate intuitively throughout my pregnancy and beyond, my body would naturally get to where it’s supposed to be. Now that I have a balanced food routine and I’ve worked to find food freedom, I’m totally okay with that.
I want my body to naturally be where it’s supposed to be.
All of that being said, my second trimester was a really cool adventure in seeing how my body was changing.
I thought of it as a really cool experiment and did my best to observe all of the changes and be really present and appreciative of what was happening with my body.
And when I took that approach, it was a REALLY fun experience.
It was the first time in my life that I would step on the scale and actually be excited to see the number going up.
I did my best during my second trimester to follow my usual food routine. I focused on eating lots of nutrient dense foods and enjoying my special treats (there were probably more special treats sprinkled in than usual). I also really tried to listen to my body and eat intuitively.
Apparently, “eating for two” is a myth.
Pregnant mamas only need an additional 300 calories a day during the second trimester to support their growing babies. I used this information to give myself permission to relax about food– to feel more confident that I was getting the nourishment that my baby needed. I ate when I was hungry and stopped eating when I was full and satisfied. Sometimes I ate until I was a little more full than I would like, but I feel like that’s an important part of the learning process of having a balanced diet.
Because I had practice eating intuitively and I was comfortable with the balance of my diet, I was able to think of the second trimester as an awesome, fun time where my body was changing beyond my control.
I encouraged my own curiosity about the changes rather than fearing them.
I feel like eating intuitively allowed me to really enjoy the second trimester. It also helped me keep my weight gain “on target” and continue to wear all of my regular clothes (some jeans with a Bella Band) throughout my second trimester.
Here are my top three tips for enjoying your body’s changes during your second trimester:
Approach with curiosity.
Think of this time as a wonderful experiment. Even if this isn’t your first pregnancy, you’re never really sure what your body will do. Approach this time with an open mind and with amazement about what your body is capable of. Practice seeing each little change as something amazing and wonderful. Watch your belly grow and change with an open heart. It’s such a cool process– too cool of a process to stress out over.
Take belly pics too! The progression is amazing– and you won’t necessarily notice or appreciate it as you’re going through it. Having the pictures to reflect on is really fun and pretty phenomenal.
This is me at some point during my second trimester.
Listen to your body.
When it comes to eating and exercise, listen to your body. I was able to keep up with my workout schedule through my second trimester, but my goals were MUCH different than they were before I knew I was pregnant. (The fact that I would lose fitness was another one of my big fears before pregnancy, but as soon as I found out I was pregnant, I stopped stressing about it). I still did squats three times a week, I still did push presses, snatches and cleans, but I did what was comfortable for me. This meant snatches and cleans from the hang power position and squats down to a medicine ball.
In terms of eating, focus on eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full. Listening closely to those inner body cues and working to deconstruct your cravings. Like I mentioned in my first blog post, this is a time when your inner body cues are extra loud and clear and a great opportunity to really tune in to what your body is asking for.
Be confident in your food routine.
When working with pregnant women, the biggest fear I run into is that they’ll never be able to feel comfortable with their bodies after the baby is born. When someone voices this fear, I always try to remind them that by working to create their own food routine, they’ve honed the tools that they need to get to where they want to be after pregnancy. Through the process of creating your own food routine, you’ve figured out what foods make you feel good and you’ve practiced listening to your inner body cues enough to be an expert in fueling your body.
Have confidence that if you stick with your food routine–if you continue to eat the foods that make you feel good and to listen to your body– you’ll get to where your body naturally wants to be after pregnancy. You don’t need to diet or to restrict yourself– you will get there the same way to got to where you were before pregnancy.
Just like with healing, it might take a little longer than you expect, but you WILL get there if you continue to listen and to be patient and forgiving.
If you have any questions, or if you need some support, please don’t hesitate to email me at Allison@friskylemon.com