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My A-ha Moment About My Intuitive Eating and Exercising

Pregnant Woman holding her hands in a heart shape on her baby bump. Pregnant Belly with fingers Heart symbol. Maternity concept. Baby Shower. Motherhood

Over on Fit Bottomed Mamas today, I’m sharing all the good, bad and downright gross first trimester symptoms I’ve had thus far in my pregnancy. So if you’re into that sort of thing — hot dogs, gas, frat boys — check it out. But, over here I want to expand upon something I touched on at the end of that post: intuitive eating and exercising.

It’s funny; I’ve been through quite the journey with intuitive eating and intuitive exercising over the years. And I thought I was pretty much golden with it. Sure, occasionally I eat a little too much or reach for food when I’m not really hungry, but most of the time I listen to my hunger and I eat the food my body needs. Same goes with workouts — if my body is screaming for a day off or an extra walk around the block, I honor those requests.

That said, the second I learned I was pregnant, things were taken up a notch in the ol’ intuitive department. And in ways that I wasn’t even aware needed tweaking …

Intuitive eating example: It’s 10:30 a.m. on a weekday. My belly rumbles with mild hunger and a craving for a smoothie (or, okay, a hot dog) even though I had a late breakfast at 8:30. Before getting pregnant, at this time, I’d probably power through a little more work, drink some water or a cup of coffee and make it through until lunch at noon (if my stomach got really grumbly, I’d grab a spoonful of almond butter). Being pregnant though, it’s like theres’s no longer even an option to “power through.” Why in the world would I do that when clearly my body — and my baby (small as it may be) is telling me to get a snack? So, no matter the time, when I’m truly hungry, I eat — and usually whatever my body is telling me to eat, I eat in as healthy of a version as I can. (Like, seriously, right now my body said, “Drink a vanilla milkshake!” And, thus, I went and made a smoothie with kale, vanilla protein powder and almond milk, and it’s pretty much craving perfection.)

Intuitive exercising example: It’s 5:30 a.m. at the gym. I’m feeling pretty good, but about 20 minutes into my workout — when I’m only a few reps from being totally finished with the WOD — I start to feel pretty gaspy for air and my heart rate goes way, way, way up. Before getting pregnant, I’d push through those final reps, give that workout my all and end totally spent and exhausted but proud of myself. Now, it’s like little alarm bells go off in my head — no gasping! Can’t talk! Heart rate too high! Now, I’m all for continuing to push myself and keeping up with many of my workouts, but never at the expense of my baby’s health. So while I have the okay to keep doing the workouts I’m doing from my health practitioner, I’m following her sage advice to listen to my body. And when my body says, “Hey, there, cowgirl. Take it down a notch,” I do.

I’ve really learned a lot about myself during these first three months of pregnancy. And, to be honest, I kind of called BS on myself a little bit. Yes, I have been good about being intuitive, but once I knew I had a little one relying on me to take care of myself, I started doing an even better and more intuitive job. No more “powering through” until lunch or “pushing through” a workout when it’s not making me feel good just to have a sense of accomplishment. Those examples of things I was doing (or not doing) that weren’t exactly intuitive, I wasn’t even aware of until I got pregnant.

If I could go back in time, I’d alert myself to these sneaky little habits to shed some light on them. (Awareness is always key to change!) But since I can’t, I figure I should share my story in case you have pesky little hidden thought patterns and habits hiding out, too!

Do you have any sneaky behaviors that you could shed some light on and improve upon — whether you’re knocked up or not? This was a serious a-ha for me! —Jenn 

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