Pregnancy Cravings and Beyond

Pickles and ice cream? French fries? Doritos? Chipotle Burritos? These are all examples of food items that me or my pregnant friends have craved recently. It wasn’t until I became pregnant that I understood why some of my gym clients have such a hard time “saying no” to certain foods. Before I was pregnant, I would eat to live – not live to eat. I had a hard time understanding why some of the ladies I worked with battled their food cravings daily and seemed to have a passion for cooking and eating. Now, my eyes are opened.

I had a relatively easy first trimester compared to many other pregnant women. I had to take prometrium (to maintain my progesterone levels) which wasn’t fun, but I learned how to manage my nausea pretty early on. I exercised twice per day to combat nausea and increase my energy level, and I ate protein at night right before I went to bed, which seemed to help with the early morning nausea. So, since I was feeling pretty good, my pregnancy cravings started as early as the first trimester. The odd thing for me during this pregnancy is – I have craved several different items, and often, after I eat it once, I am over the craving.

Before I even knew I was pregnant, I was dreaming about New York bagels. Yes – even dreaming. I would go to bed thinking about them, and wake up salivating over the thought of a real New York bagel smothered in butter. The only bad part – I live in Ohio. Talk about depressing. You can’t even get a decent bagel where I live. After the bagel craving, I was onto craving Chipotle burritos- which you can get in Ohio… and I got them 🙂 The odd thing is, I don’t even usually like Chipotle at all, and would never choose to go there.  After a few burritos, I was over the craving. Then it was onto craving KFC (yeah, gross right?), then Chick-fil-A, then ice cream, etc, etc, etc.

So, what did I do to curb these cravings? In the beginning of the pregnancy, I would simply give into the craving. Then I realized that I couldn’t keep eating these high calorie, greasy, un-healthy foods. So, I came up with a plan. First, my plan was to simply use all the self control I could muster and avoid eating these foods at all costs. But then I realized that made me miserable and obsess over the foods even more. The joke in our house became – how many bowls of high fiber cereal, apples, bananas, carrots, and glasses of water does it take to curb a pregnancy craving – the answer, and endless amount of those other foods. So, what did that mean for me? I learned how to enjoy small amounts of the foods I was craving without over doing it. I learned in college psychology classes that it only takes 2 bites of a food to satisfy a craving. And it’s true! Try it! The first bite is absolutely amazing … the second, great as well, but the third, forth, etc – not nearly as great!

So, now that I am in the third trimester and still craving foods like ice cream, cookies, donuts, etc, I am allowing myself to indulge in them, but only in small portions. I have a tiny bowl that I use for my ice cream, try a bit of a cookie here and there, and splurge on a 50 cent McDonalds cone every once in a while. I find that the worst thing for some of my clients to do is an “all or nothing” diet. If they completely take away the foods that they love to eat, they seem to be missing some joy in life, and then binge when the food is available in a moment of weakness. It’s often OK for these ladies to have small amounts of their favorite foods a few times per week, and prevents the binges that are so common in “all or nothing” dieters.

So, what about you? What were some of your pregnancy cravings? What are your non-pregnancy favorite treats? Are you the kind of person that needs to do an “all or nothing” diet? Or are you capable of eating small portions of your favorite treats?

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