OPEN UP: Eating Intuitively During Pregnancy

I am so excited today to have Simi Botic on the blog today, talking all about what it’s been like to eat intuitively through her pregnancy. I can’t wait to create some open, much needed, totally honest conversation on this topic.

Simi is my the other half behind Finally Free Program. Simi is one of the absolute greatest coaches I know, and I am honored and feel so lucky to share a business and mission with her.

So, here you go! I know you’ll enjoy her post as much as I have!

Open Up Series

Hi HHS babes!

I’m so excited to be here today chatting all about my experience with intuitive eating during pregnancy. I want to start off by saying that I am here to share my personal experience, NOT to tell you what your experience should be. I know for a fact that many women have drastically different pregnancy experiences than I am having and that is 100% normal. It is normal for us to be different. My hope for this post is that it will help you to feel comfortable in your uniqueness and, of course, that we can relate as women here to support one another.

Let’s dive in.

Ah, pregnancy. I grew up with my mom talking about how much she LOVED being pregnant. I admired glowing women with adorable baby bumps. I ooh’d & ahh’d at pregnant celebrities on the red carpet. I always viewed pregnancy as a magical time that would make me feel like a sexy, feminine, empowered woman – no exceptions. That is what I had always heard, always observed, and truly, deep down in my soul, always believed.

Until, I got pregnant.

My pregnancy experience has not been red carpet worthy. I do not have an adorable bump (in fact, most people make it a point to highlight how I am not showing). And I have spent more time feeling nauseous/throwing up than I have spent reading mama-to-be books, shopping for onesies, and feeling like a gorgeous womanly creature combined. Way more time.

From super early on my pregnancy, around week 5, I got what some call “morning sickness.” Don’t be fooled by this silly name. For me, morning sickness was an extreme nausea lasting 24/7. I was also getting sick 10-15 times a day. I could barely keep food down, lost weight, was totally dehydrated, and felt awful.

Thankfully, the team of doctors and midwives taking care of me during my pregnancy recognized how extreme this situation was and put me on medication around week 12 (I tried EVERY non-medication option recommended to me, but none of them worked, not even mildly). Once I started taking the medication 3x/day, I was able to reduce my vomiting to about 5x/week. I am now over halfway through my pregnancy and despite what I had hoped; I am still feeling the same. I’m not sharing this to complain, but because it is important context: my personal experience completely shifted the way I thought about and related to food over the past 5 months.

In some ways, being sick has made me infinitely more intuitive and connected with my body. But in other ways, it has made some of the guiding principles of intuitive eating a distant memory. Here’s how…

I don’t feel hunger

Yes, you read that right! For months now I have not felt “hungry,” at least not hunger as I used to know it. Instead I feel nauseous. I have now learned that certain spikes in nausea are red flags that I need to get food and get it quickly. While I used to eat to honor my hunger, I now eat to keep from voming.

Eating isn’t really fun right now

I used to truly ENJOY food. I loved it! It wasn’t the best part of my life, of course, but I made sure to savor every single bite I ate. Food was a way to experience life more fully, connect with friends, enhance travel, and honor my body. I truly cannot wait to get back to a place where food feels this way again, but right now food has one main purpose: to lessen nausea/keep me from throwing up while trying to get my body as much nutrition as possible. If my tummy gets empty (which is easy to do when most foods sound icky), I will 100% get sick. So, I do my best listen to my body when she tells me the one thing that won’t make me sick (i.e. “white sticky rice”) and to get that into my body ASAP! It isn’t fun, but I am also reminding myself this is temporary.

I give my body exactly what she wants

More than ever in my life, I trust that my body knows best. Why? Because every single time I have attempted to eat something that was not a direct message from my body, I have thrown it up within 20 minutes. Like that one mango green smoothie I made… oops. If I choose to ignore my body’s message (which is less of a craving and more of an image of food in my mind not directly followed by the immediate need to get sick), she will remind me who is in charge. She is.

I have truly made peace with ALL foods

My body used to crave a lot of really “healthy” foods – think greens, greens, and more greens. It was easy and “safe” to honor my body when she wanted foods that I understood as being nourishing for my body. I haven’t craved a green veggie in a dog’s age and I have made peace with that. I wrote about this experience, some of the food fears it brought up in me, and how I moved past it for Refinery29 here, if you want to take a look!

I am focusing on what really matters

Even though I haven’t had an “easy” pregnancy, I thank God every single day for the little guy inside of me. I don’t love the way I feel while pregnant (at least not so far!) but I truly do LOVE that I am pregnant. I love how this experience has brought me closer to God, my husband, and the true friends in my life. I love how I am more gentle, flexible, go-with-the-flow, and in the moment than I have ever been before. I love learning that I am stronger than I ever realized.

To me, intuitive eating is relationship work. It’s learning how to communicate, love, care for, and be present with ourselves. So, while I might not be able to “eat when I’m hungry,” “eat what sounds and would feel good to me,” or some of the other typical behaviors associated with intuitive eating right now, I am 100% doing the relationship work with myself. I’m not numbing out, escaping, or wishing I were someone else. I am embracing joy through surrender and nourishing my self (inside and out) the best that I can each and every day. I’m comforted by the truth that I am exactly where I am meant to be on this crazy transformational journey – you are, too.


I would love to hear from you, beauties. Let me know if any of my experience resonates with you, or if you have had a different experience that might encourage other women in this community!

Simi

You can learn more about Simi on her website here!

Love, Paige
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