Link Love

  1. Parenting and technology… Crying babies are given pacifiers, at home kids are sat in front of a TV to distract them, and in public, many parents give their kids phones or iPads to play with. What ever happened to old-fashioned connection to soothe whiny kids?
  2. We all know that food can do many things to your body, but now a new study shows that fast food lowers children’s IQs!
  3. Interested in the primal/paleo way of eating, but reading a lot of conflicting philosophies? Robb Wolf lays out the “7 Shades of Paleo” here- the many different approaches people take to the diet/lifestyle! I am a combination between Primal and 80/20 – I do dairy very well and feel better with than without, so I include high-quality dairy as a part of my regular diet and that puts me more in the Primal camp. I also eat things here and there which are not even close to Paleo, but I figure it’s okay as long as I am eating well the majority of the time! This keeps the whole diet much less stressful.
  4. 8 Ways to determine your baby’s position in the womb! I’ve been curious about this for a while… I’ve been pretty sure that the baby is head-down for a while now by what my midwife said and the way it wedges itself into my pelvis sometimes while still kicking elsewhere. I just had what was very clearly a foot sticking out right under my rib (a common spot for this baby to kick) so I believe that the baby is in the anterior position. I also think this because my belly is nice and round sticking out. I think the baby turns side-to-side regularly, but never really turns around fully or flips upside-down anymore.
  5. This is pretty amazing and super informative… comprehensive timeline of the breastfed baby!
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The Morphing Body Image

Life Until Pregnancy

I have gone through many changes in the way that I feel about my body. When I was little, I barely noticed anything but its function, and how much taller I had gotten. Around sixth grade I started to become more body conscious, with the combination of Judy Blume books, pop culture influence, and all the girls I knew starting to change. I was so proud when I got my period when I was 13 years old (on Halloween!) and finally became a “woman.”

During high school I started to feel fat, and felt the pressure of being thin. I played a lot of sports and occasionally dieted, even following Weight Watchers with my mom for a while, which kept my weight in check for the most part. When I quit my sports senior year, I gained a bunch of weight which I carried into college with me. Before Spring Break I went on Atkins and lost a few pounds, then started reading everything I could get my hands on about nutrition. Unfortunately it was all conventional advice, so although I was always eating “healthy,” I was battling about five to ten pounds of extra weight for the next five years or so. I had some self-confidence, but was never happy with my shape and envied the tiny girls around me.

When I discovered primal, a lot changed. My blood sugar stabilized, and I didn’t have to try to keep my weight down, it just happened naturally as long as I didn’t eat naughty neolithic foods. I have been more confident in my body than ever in the last couple years. I also must give props to my dear husband for always boosting me up and complimenting my body.

Pregnancy

I have loved seeing the changes in my body since I got pregnant. It really baffles me that many women spend much of their pregnancy focused on the numbers on the scale, and not the magical process. For most of my life up until I got pregnant, I viewed my body in a critical light. I would see all the things I didn’t like and judge them, try to change them. Not so much now.

Being pregnant, I am so much more aware of what my body was really made for, what it is capable of. My boobs have gotten bigger, but not because that way they’ll look better in a low-cut top… they are getting ready to become milk-on-tap for a tiny person. My belly is growing outwards, but it’s not just my belly… it is the temporary home of my growing baby who is constantly moving around to remind me what this is all about!

Oddly, I love the way my body looks pregnant. I have rarely felt pretty and feminine in my life, but I am now acutely aware of my womanhood. Yes, I am bigger, but why do I need to be a twig? My body has a higher purpose than aesthetics. I am eating healthfully (for the most part) to fuel this body and the one growing inside, and I trust that if I continue to follow its cues, my body will return to fit and the numbers on the scale to a happy place, in the months after the baby is born.

Maybe I should do a Demi Moore-style photo to look back on and remind myself my body is amazing? 😉

Second Appointment With the Midwife

Last week we were supposed to have our second appointment with our midwife Judy on Wednesday, but she was up all night helping a mother give birth and of course postponed the appointment to Saturday.

Before the appointment I had to track my food for four days, so I did that and also entered my food into FitDay to analyze my nutrition. I gave Judy all that info along with my supplement list, and despite my cheating I am doing pretty good! The only drawback to recording for such a short amount of time is it doesn’t really reflect the variety of my diet… After I go shopping, I might eat something a lot that is not normally such a big part of my diet (like pistachios and guacamole this time). I also go through phases where I’ll eat a lot of seafood or a lot of beef or whatever it happens to be at the time. Anyway, if you’re curious here it is– there are tabs at the bottom to see either food log or nutrition data.

After we got through the chatting I laid back and Judy felt my uterus, and I learned a couple things. First of all, I have an anteverted uterus, which just means that my uterus is tilted forward which is normal and doesn’t affect pregnancy or birth. Second, although I am only 15 weeks pregnant, my uterus is the size of more like 17 weeks. No wonder I have been feeling so much stretching! I wonder if the baby is big for its age too? Supposedly it’s about the size of a navel orange now!

Finally, we told Judy about how earlier that week, Luke had brought his stethoscope home and he found the heartbeat. It was very faint of course, but he pointed to where he heard it and when Judy placed her microphone thing on my abdomen, there it was! Loud and strong and immediate, we heard our baby’s heart beating. Magic!

My Diet Journey

I have always been diet-conscious. Since about middle school, I have been aware of my body and fat, cultural ideals, beauty, and everything that makes a young woman insecure. I was never really fat, but I gained weight easily and so from an early age I learned to watch what I ate. I went on my first actual diet junior year of high school- my mom started Weight Watchers, and I did it with her. I quit my sports senior year and started gaining weight, and was at my highest weight – about 145 – my first semester at the University of Minnesota.

Upon deciding to go to Daytona Beach for spring break with some friends, I started the Atkins diet and lost about 5 pounds by then. As effective as Atkins can be, it was not sustainable for me, so I just started to try to eat fewer calories in general. Low-calorie bread and deli meat, lots of sandwiches, oatmeal, skim milk, and lots of binging on alcohol and late night treats. I read all the articles in magazines and online about easy ways to cut 100 calories or burn more calories. I walked or rollerbladed to all my classes, started going to the gym regularly, and during the summers would go on long runs, rollerbladed, and biked. I was consistently eating between 1200 and 1600 calories per day, but the lowest my weight ever got was about 132.

Senior year of college I was so stressed out and living on a diet of Lean Cuisines, Slim-Fast mixed with coffee, Sugar-Free Red Bull, and alcohol, and I actually managed to drop down below that elusive 130 mark. I was not healthy though, and I knew it, so I started reading a lot more about healthy dieting. I moved into an apartment by myself, was done with college, and working two jobs. I started cooking regularly, whole-grain pasta and bread, tofu, tempeh, chicken breasts, brown rice, beans, lots of veggies. I ALWAYS ate breakfast, and aimed for 6 small meals per day as recommended by every women’s fitness magazine. If I went more than 2 1/2 hours without eating, I would get dizzy and start shaking, and would stuff my face with the closest snack (I carried around granola bars and whatnot just in case) to normalize my blood sugar.

In the fall of 2007, I met my husband-to-be, Lucas. He was from the East Coast and I never thought it would last, but we just clicked right from the start. He was in his last year of vet school, so after a long hard day he would come over to my apartment and I would make him dinner. Stir-fries, loaded nachos, baked chicken, not too bad! In the spring he was moving back to New Jersey, and we decided that I would move out when my lease was up.

I moved to New Jersey in the fall of 2008 with a job lined up and the closing of our house in just a month. The first month I lived in NJ I stayed at Luke’s parents house, and my stomach went through it’s own kind of hell. Coming from MN where I cooked at home all the time to NJ where Luke’s family ate out and ordered food much of the time, my stomach was constantly in pain from trying to digest this new food and I lost a bunch of weight right away. When we moved into our house together, I got back to cooking and my stomach normalized. We celebrated “Meatless Monday” with a tempeh stir-fry or veggie burgers, and I was near vegetarianism.

As always, I was very into reading about health and food, but it was less geared towards weight loss because I was pretty happy with my shape for the most part. In my research, I stumbled across Mark’s Daily Apple, and was dumbfounded. I just devoured it, everything suddenly made so much sense. I started incorporating primal principles immediately, starting with cutting the grains out of my diet. I noticed almost immediately that I no longer suffered the blood sugar swings that had plagued me for so long- my energy levels were much better! I went down the rabbit hole and haven’t surfaced since. I admit openly that I am not 100% paleo… I love wine and occasional cheats- some chocolate here, a tortilla chip or cracker there, and I still eat cheese… never a sandwich or plate of pasta though.

Luke has joined me on the journey as well- I’ve talked about it enough that I’ve effectively influenced him! He’s found that he feels much better when he eats well. Meats, fat and veggies- that’s all you need!

I think that my gut flora was a bit messed up from years of bad diet, so I would “cleanse” every week or two using senna tea. I can’t imagine that laxatives, natural or not, are very good for the gut though, and so a few months ago I started brewing Kombucha tea, thanks to my mother-in-law who has been brewing it for over 17 years. It has helped my digestion immensely! I am hoping that it will help in many other famed ways as well, but that’s yet to be seen.

Since going primal, I have also not had to watch calories at all- I don’t seem to gain or lose weight! I don’t actually know my numbers because I never weigh myself, but my clothes fit well. I think I am just staying at my body’s happy weight, and it is effortless as long as I stay eating clean.

I have also become more sensitive to foods that my body does not like… I think that my stomach was always in a constant state of defense before. It was always bloated, and I was just used to feeling a little bit yucky. Now I know the difference between feeling good and bad. I have discovered that my body does not like rice, and I am now thinking nuts may be a problem as well.

I am currently in a state of refining and cleaning up my diet, trying to get as healthy as possible before becoming pregnant, and helping Luke do the same. I am planning to make an appointment to see an allergist because I am definitely still reacting to some foods, and in the meantime am self-experimenting.

I am looking forward to seeing what, if any, cravings pregnancy will bring, and how my whole-foods diet holds up and helps me cope. I will of course report back here!