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Pregnancy and Body Image

Finding out I was pregnant was one of the most amazing moments of my life. Men, I’m sorry, but this is one moment that we women have you beat. The thought that a human life is starting to take shape inside of me is nothing short of a miracle. I was and am overwhelmed with the thought of it.

I always knew I wanted to have kids someday but I have to admit that I have been rather nervous to find out how my body was going to handle pregnancy. Everybody is different, every woman is different and from what I hear, every pregnancy is different, so I am trying my best not to compare my pregnancy to anyone else. Whether pregnant or not I hope you can relate to my new and improved approach to food, exercise and body image.

As someone who has always taken care of my body, watched what I ate and exercised regularly, the thought of gaining weight was a bit scary. I know that I need to gain weight to have a healthy pregnancy, but that still does not make the growing numbers on the scale any easier to see. As I get further along in my pregnancy I am happy to say that my relationship with food, exercise and body is changing… for the better!

To start, I am WAY easier on myself. I eat what my body is craving not what the Internet or someone else tells me to eat. Before getting preggers what I ate usually depended on if I worked out that day, or how I felt my body looked at the time. Pregnancy cravings are there for a reason right? Soooo if I’m craving Salt and Pepper Kettle Chips (I have not gone 1 day w/o having these…. Obsessed) then I should listen right? Well yes and no. I am trying to be balanced while at the same time enjoying those oh so delicious kettle chips J. When I start to feel tired I know I need to change it up and get more protein and veggies, so I do! Hey my body really does know what it needs!

My focus has changed from what I should not eat to what I should eat. It’s pretty straightforward. I am growing a human and I want that little baby to get all the nutrients it needs. In the past I have put too much focus on what I shouldn’t eat because of calories, carbs, sugar, blah, blah, blah. Today I have a much more balanced approach. I try and focus on getting plenty of greens, fruit, lean protein etc. because I know that is what my baby needs to grow and that is what I need to feel good. Don’t get me wrong, I have, and am having, my fair share of junk, but focusing on what I should have rather than what I shouldn’t helps me not to dwell on those French fries I very much enjoyed the day before.

My approach to exercise is also changing through this journey. It is important to stay healthy and fit for myself and more importantly for my baby, but boy has my routine changed. I went from running, bootcamping, Pilates and cycle to just walking, Pilates and cycling. Thank goodness for Kor180, and I am not just saying that because I am an instructor. Pilates is the PERFECT workout for you moms to be! Instead of working out to lose weight or to look good in the mirror, I now work out so that I feel good….. Annnddd people say it makes for an easier labor… and I will do anything to make that process easier! It’s a funny concept to exercise and know that the scale will continue to rise and my clothes will continue to get tighter and tighter, but its really not about me is it, its about my baby. So instead of being discouraged by that belly that is starting to poke out, I am excited because that means my little one is growing and growing and I am so thankful for that!

Lastly this process is greatly changing my approach to body image. Our bodies are beautiful and God blessed each an every one of us with our own shape and size that we should love and embrace. As my belly, thighs and butt grow (yes your thighs and butt get bigger... this was news to me) I am learning to embrace it. I am starting to enjoy wearing tight clothing because it shows off my bump! In a society where women are constantly trying to dress to hide imperfections, bumps and lumps, it is so freeing to just put it out there for the world to see! I am letting go of the expectation that I should look a certain way and it feels great!

All in all I am learning to give myself grace. We are all so hard on ourselves, constantly feeling like we should do more, be better, do better, and be more. Pregnancy has allowed me to give myself grace without feeling guilty. So some days my workout is skipped, the bowl of mac and cheese is devoured and the house is still a mess and I don’t feel bad. I eat what my body and baby need. I exercise to feel good and I embrace my body. Pregnant or not, I think we can all benefit from a progress not perfection approach.

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