sure, there were moments during pregnancy when i got pretty hungry — during the first trimester, in particular. i’d eat a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast [random craving for me], and then i’d want another one just an hour or so later. i wanted meat, cheese, and lots of salty carbs. mealtimes took on a sense of urgency that they had never had before.
but as i grew, my appetite shrank. i’m not sure whether it was mostly mechanical in nature [ie, very little stomach space] or a hormonal effect on the desire/drive to eat, but by the middle of the 3rd tri my weight gain had really slowed. i have to admit that it was probably the first time in my life [well, since childhood!] that i’d ever routinely indulged in haagen dagz and the like with absolutely no guilt or trepidations whatsoever. <– and yeah — that part was sort of fun 🙂 i knew that annabel needed the extra calories, and even with these nightly ‘supplements’, i ended up a couple of lbs. down in the last month of pregnancy.
body image + the bump
the relationship that any woman has with her body during and after pregnancy is complicated — and to be honest, for me, i think this is especially true. by lessening my exercise and ramping up eating, i purposefully gained 7 lbs or so prior to getting pregnant because i believed it would help me conceive, and from this juncture i truly do think it helped. i’d love to say that i was comfortable in my own skin at my own personal ‘fertile weight’ and that i enjoyed the process of getting there, but . . . well, that’s just not true.
when my bump became obvious and i finally got that there was SOMEONE inside me — a real person, our daughter!! — i started to appreciate my new [and continually shifting!] shape. i ate very intuitively throughout pregnancy other than adding some extra treats in to try to prevent weight loss at the end, as i mentioned above.
and after . . .
after she was born, everything changed. i found that the pregnancy weight basically took just days to come off [perhaps i could have been even more aggressive with the ice cream regimen in those later days]. but thankfully, annabel was healthy and my milk supply seemed reasonable.
fast forward two months, and i’m back into many of my pre-preg clothes [well, the bottoms, anyway]. my proportions have shifted somewhat, but seem to be slowly going back to the old normal. however, i am finding that at this point it’s actually become hard for me to get enough food in the day. i’m eating 5-6 times/day, including good-sized meals and snacks [see below], and even so i’m finding that my go-to jeans pre-pregnancy are fitting more loosely than they used to.
the hard part to admit is that this means it would be incredibly easy to lose more weight right now — and sometimes it’s tempting. but the rational and less vain part of me knows that this is not a good idea for either my milk supply or my future fertility, and i feel a bit guilty and selfish even having those thoughts. i actually put a calorie/nutrition-tracking app on my iPhone last week to see if it would help me by reinforcing the amounts that i needed, and because i was curious as to how much i was actually taking in. this experiment failed miserably, because:
a) i ended up taking in more than was recommended, even when i added in 500 extra ‘exercise’ calories for breastfeeding. [keep in mind that i am only 5’1″]. this made me feel like i was doing something wrong when in fact i was just listening to my body, which surely is more evolved than an iPhone app
b) i found it really annoying to measure things out and couldn’t stand trying to estimate a million different things — especially when eating something i cooked or eating out
so, it’s back to intuitive eating with some extra treats added in for good measure. i am going to really try to maintain at my current size, even if i don’t always love it. and if i find myself really having trouble, i will head back to the RD for a couple of visits [i went when i was TTC and it was helpful].