Today on the blog we have the third and final paleo pregnancy post update from Monica, where she shares a bit about her third trimester experience and how she has managed her health throughout the pregnancy (first trimester and second trimester can be found here).
Monica originally began her work with our team as our lead assistant in 2013, and now supports The Paleo View through guest scheduling, sound quality checks and show note preparation.
While I didn’t recognize it until the third trimester, this paleo pregnancy has had a theme from start to finish. A theme that has shaped many of my decisions along the way, and will likely shape who I am for a long time to come.
The theme? A self-love discovery.
It didn’t dawn on me until I took my first-ever ‘just because and for me’ selfie that I realized how much I love and appreciate my perfectly imperfect body. And not just because of the bulging belly sentiment, but simply because I love what I see looking back at me. A genuine smile, a strong and sturdy body, dimples and stretch marks that tell my tale of an overweight childhood and two pregnancies, and muscles that show a passion for lifting.
In the first trimester I found forgiveness and flexibility as my aversions to food were strong, I was feeling exhausted and run down, and I battled with paleo pregnancy perfectionism. In time though, I stopped focusing on controlling weight-gain, and instead focused on simple and nourishing foods (bone broth based soups, sweet potatoes, rice, and ground meat) and forms of exercise that made me feel both physically and mentally strong.
In the second trimester I never did regain a love for vegetables, but found comfort in the paleo gray – eating as many nutrient dense foods as I could, and incorporating gluten-free foods and dairy as tolerated. At that point I also focused my energy on lifts, and listened to my body every step of the way, adjusting WODs as I grew and my capabilities changed.
And in the third trimester as food aversions hit an all time high and exhaustion was both mentally and physically taxing, I took care of myself in every way I possibly could. I cut back on responsibilities and obligations, incorporated lots of lazy time, slept when I needed to, ate what I could when I could stomach it (yup, totally lost interest in all food), relied heavily on my cheerleaders to support me on difficult days, snuggled with Wrigley as much as possible, and pampered myself with pedicures, haircuts, and relaxing baths.
There have been many nights this trimester where my heartburn has been so uncomfortable that the thought of eating was unbearable, so I didn’t force it. And instead of worrying about vegetable servings, I have incorporated lots of fresh fruit. Most of my meals have been made up of eggs, avocado, pastured ground meat, and mountains of berries, watermelon, apples, pears and so forth. I have incorporated dairy here and there, but have backed off when my system doesn’t seem to tolerate it.
Lifting has happened one to two times a week this trimester, with toddler entertaining as my main form of exercise. While lifting I didn’t worry about increasing weights, my WOD time, or reaching the point of butt-whooping. I simply moved to move, and lifted to feel strong. I approached every workout with an open ended conversation with my trusted coaches to discuss how I was feeling that day and what movements I felt comfortable incorporating. This kind of support, and that of my husband’s (who has a degree in kinesiology and is a sports performance coach for a living), played a critical role in helping me maintain my fitness goals throughout this pregnancy. I also have over five years of experience in Olympic lifting and listened to my body when it said to back off.
While the changes within diet and lifestyle were exciting to see and I was so proud to find flexibility in these spaces, I was above all amazed with my acceptance of self. I never once looked for flaws in the mirror, or hid my growing shape in baggy clothes, and what amazed me most is that I stopped looking at the scale. Completely didn’t care! Even at my midwife appointments I began to look away because I realized it didn’t matter to me. I truly accepted all of me, and felt strong and beautiful regardless of measurements, WOD times, paleo pregnancy perfectionism, my shrinking exercise routine, etc.
I don’t know why this pregnancy was so different from the last or what prompted the discovery of self-love, but I am so grateful to have happened upon these changes. In the next chapter in life, as a mother of two, I will do everything possible to maintain this self-love. I like what it has done to me as a person, and think it will strengthen my abilities as a mother because less time obsessing about the scale means more time to live, laugh, enjoy and love.
Thanks for following along with my paleo pregnancy! For more specifics on my eats, especially as I head into the breastfeeding land, check out my Instagram feed.