Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Unexpected Lessons

Now that I’ve reached the halfway mark of this pregnancy, I realize that, instead of just bitching about being pregnant, maybe this journey deserves a glass-half-full assessment. 

Despite a crap-tastic first trimester and the desire/need to sleep constantly, this pregnancy has had some unexpected benefits. My blog has long been dedicated to fitness and food. Particularly when it comes to issues surrounding diet and weight, I have struggled to maintain balance, and my views about what it means to be leading a healthy lifestyle and staying on track with a healthy diet continue to evolve. It’s no secret, if you’ve read this blog over the years, that emotional eating has oft sabotaged my best laid plans and good intentions.

Pre-pregnancy, I was serious about facing my issues with emotional eating. I had, arguably, gotten better about fighting the urge to “zome out” while eating, instead attempting to be fully aware of what I chose to put in my mouth and why, even when I chose to eat (and overeat) because of stress, boredom, sadness, loneliness, etc., versus hunger. If nothing else, it was a first step on what is no doubt a long journey. Except that with my pregnancy--despite that fact that I do sometimes stress about other weight-related issues--emotional eating seems to be a non-issue. Surprising? It has, and continues to, surprise the hell out of me.

So where is this coming from? The first trimester is pretty easy to explain. Mentally, I had no desire to eat. Physically, eating to much actually made me fell awful. Normal hunger cues didn’t really apply. I got hungry, but normal stomach rumblings didn’t happen, mostly I just felt sick. And eating too much or eating the wrong thing would make me sicker. Emotionally, I was a bit of a wreck, as pregnant ladies can be in the first trimester with the hormones and whatnot, but taking those feelings out on food was really not an option. To be honest, I tried a few times. Those attempts did not go well. Like so many things in life, I learned the hard way.

So how about now? The second trimester, for all the exhaustion, has brought with it a wave of... what’s the term... emotional balance. Before, facing these eating issues required facing some of the relationships and situations that caused me anxiety, but now, I’ve been blessed with a case of what, I believe, is techinically called “not giving a fuck,” but not in the way that I let my world crumble down around me.

No, this brand of “not giving a fuck” dictates that I take care of no. 1 first and foremost, and worry less about numbers two through whatever. With the elimination of the anxiety and stress I created for myself surrounding any number of things (social commitments, people drama, changes at work, family issues), the desire to eat emotionally has kind of disappeared. That’s not to say I don’t overeat from time to time, but when I do, it’s usually in the vein of “this tastes really good, nom nom nom,” and before I know it I’m a bit overfull. The insane thing is that without all the messy emotions to identify, I’m actually able to say things like, “Crap Lou, you’ve eaten too much, you’re not going to be hungry for dinner/lunch/snack time/second breakfast.” And then--even insaner--is that if I’m actually not hungry or not that hungry, I actually don’t eat, or I eat a very light meal if I feel like it’s in the best interest of Baby + me to have something.

What the hell, right? Did it really take me getting knocked up to learn these lessons? Will all of this clarity and balance surrounding food disappear when the baby arrives, or will it stick? I really don’t know the answer to that, but I do know that right now, I’m doing my best to recognize this new-found balance and acknowledge the reasons this might be happening, and maybe, just maybe, I can carry this with me beyond the pregnancy--not just for me, but also for the Baby, you know, the one who I’d rather not have following in my emotional-eating footsteps.

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