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The food balancing act

One thing I am learning about my first trimester is that I have to listen to my body so much more when it comes to food. Before I was pregnant, it didn’t really matter if I got hungry and there was no food around—I could handle hunger pangs for a while—and it also didn’t matter if I ate a lot at one sitting, because I knew that I’d just feel full for a while and then eventually I’d get hungry again. Let me tell you, I do not have these luxuries now: if my body tells me I need to eat, I have about seven minutes before I turn into crazy-hungry-pregnant-woman, where I seriously consider stealing ice cream cones from small children. (Case in point: after leaving the doctor’s office yesterday, my husband and I were literally going to go across the street for lunch, but I was so hungry I made him stop first at the fruit stand three feet away from the hospital door. I just couldn’t wait.) Even weirder, I can also no longer eat too much at a single sitting. If I do that, then I am REALLY visited by the nasty nausea fairy.

For instance, yesterday, after the trip to the fruit stand and a rather large helping of chilaquiles, and I felt ill all afternoon—especially about five hours later, when the pangs of nausea were so strong I couldn’t even eat my dinner. I’m pretty sure the nausea is directly tied to the large lunch, because when I eat lighter, more moderate meals, I don’t get nauseous at all. But do you know hard it is to be absolutely STARVING—pregnant starving!!!—and be forward-thinking enough to order a salad instead of a huge plate of Mexican deliciousness? It is not easy, I assure you. But nevertheless, it is the smart option, and it is something I am going to try to do (especially because the lunch options that don’t make me feel sick are probably also healthier for baby as well).

So today, I’ve been monitoring myself carefully. I made myself my usual peanut butter-and-banana smoothie for lunch, and whereas I usually down the whole thing no matter what, I drank about three-quarters of it and then realized that I was about to cross over to the dark side. I knew that those four remaining sips would punish me for the next five hours, so I stopped and poured the rest of the drink down the drain. Sure, I may get hungry later this afternoon, but that’s OK: I have lots of healthy snacks around. It really is amazing how much this is teaching me—meals are no longer about eating as much of the delicious stuff in front of me as I can, but rather, they’re about eating as much as my body tells me to. And I’m finding there is a very big difference.

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