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What’s The Deal With Food Aversions During Pregnancy?

Food aversions are common during pregnancy. Some women have intense food aversions during the first trimester that then settle down, while other women experience food aversions throughout the nine months. For some other women, food aversions can come and go during pregnancy.

While there can be a variety of types of food aversions, the most common ones are to meat, coffee and eggs.

Food aversions are different from foods that should be avoided during pregnancy, such as:

  • alcohol
  • deli meats
  • unpasteurized cheese
  • raw proteins
  • raw veggie sprouts
  • foods that may contain BPA, lead and mercury

While food aversions are difficult to deal with, they will not harm your baby. The issue to consider is if you are not getting proper nutrition, which can happen if you stop eating, or if you frequently throw up much or all of your food.

That is why it is so important to find ways to navigate your food aversions.

The reason for food aversions during pregnancy

There are a number of hypotheses about why food aversions develop:

1. They are hormone related

Hormonal fluctuations in human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) increases rapidly through the first trimester, then peaks and levels off. The theory is that these hormone fluctuations are tied to food aversions during pregnancy.

2. Taste aversion learning

It can be tough to eat when you feel nauseated all day, every day. You may begin to associate foods with nausea and vomiting, causing you to no longer enjoy them.  

3. Maternal and embryonic protection

Food aversions may exist to protect your baby from foods that can contain harmful toxins or micro-organisms.

How to deal with food aversions during pregnancy  

Regardless of the cause of food aversions during pregnancy, it is important to accept and accommodate them. The most important thing to do is make sure you are getting enough nutrition. How do you do that?

1. Have a variety of foods available

It can be hard to predict when a food aversion might strike. Given this, it’s important to have lots of food options available. When one isn’t working for you, move on to something else. And I recommend that my clients always restock what is working well before you run out!

2. Be flexible

If you are dealing with food aversions, it is important to eat when the desire strikes and only have as much as you want. When you want a meal, have one. Don’t worry if the combination of foods seems odd or if the sizes are unusual. The critical thing is that you eat!

3. Experiment with different textures and temperatures

You may find that you can stomach liquids over solids, or cold and crunchy over hot and creamy. Again, don’t judge what works for you in any given moment. Then, if your tastes change, experiment again until you find something else that works.

4. When all else fails, try bland foods

The less flavour a food has, the less likely it is to cause a serious reaction. When no other food is working for you, opt for bland foods like rice, apple sauce and baked potatoes.

When it’s time to call the doctor about your food aversions

You can navigate most food aversions, but there are times when it is important to reach out to your medical professional. What are those times?

1. When nothing is working

If you have tried all the ways of navigating food aversions and you still aren’t able to keep anything down, it’s time to call your care provider. They will need to make sure that the issue is really food aversions, not something more serious. That may mean that you will need some testing done.

Depending on the results of those tests, your doctor may want to pursue treatment for another condition or discuss medical interventions to ensure you and your baby are getting proper nutrition.

2. If you start experiencing odd cravings

If you get to the point where you are craving ashes, dirt, or any other non-food item, that could be a sign of a larger issue. These cravings can sometimes signal vitamin or mineral deficiencies. They can generally be remedied, but they need to be identified and addressed by a medical professional.

3. If there is blood

Your food aversions may lead to vomiting. That is not a huge worry. If, however, you see blood in your vomit, that’s a different story. Should you see this, you need to see a medical professional as soon as possible as this could be a sign of a serious issue.

 

Still having issues with food aversions during pregnancy? Let me create a personalized food plan that works for you and changes as your aversions change!


Eat Like A Boss In 2019

Claire gray (BKIN, CEP, PN)

 

Have you got ambitious nutrition goals for this new year? Whether you are looking to clean up your diet, lose weight, or finally get those 6-pack abs you’ve always wanted, read this first! No matter what you’re goals are, you can follow these steps to help guide your nutrition program. 

Step 1: Identify Nutritional Deficiencies

The first step to any nutrition or diet program should be to identify nutritional deficiencies, more than 80% of the population has at least one. Until these are removed, the body simply won’t function properly – and that makes any health or fitness goal a lot harder. Common deficiencies include: not enough water, not enough protein, insufficient vitamin and mineral intake, and insufficient healthy fat intake. 

Step 2: Understand Energy Balance

When our body digests the food we eat, energy is released in the form of calories. Our body uses these calories for body functions and stores the leftover. If there aren’t enough calories, processes that we don’t absolutely need to survive start to shutdown. Too many calories can cause the body to become resistant to important hormones, inflammation increases, blood pressure increases and the risk of chronic diseases goes up. 

Step 3: Choose Foods With High Nutrient Density

Nutrient dense foods give you the most nutrients for the fewest amount of calories. As you can imagine, processed foods are so high in calories they aren’t going to give you much bang for your buck; one fast food meal has the same amount of calories as 18 apples! We can only eat so much in a single day; so to maximize the amount of nutrients you take in, it makes sense to spend your calorie budget wisely. The best way to do that is to simply eat the foods that carry the greatest amount and variety of nutrients.

Step 4: Figure Out What Works Best For You

There is no universal best diet because people have different body types, dietary preferences, dietary exclusions, budgets, knowledge, and time to commit. Most diets work in their own right because they raise nutrition awareness and attention, they focus on food quality, they help eliminate nutrient deficiencies, they help control appetite and food intake, they promote regular exercise. So the best diet to follow is the one that’s best for you. It will depend on your needs, your goals, your lifestyle and food sensitivities. You want it to be something that is sustainable for you, within budget, and includes foods that you enjoy, even if they have to be in moderation.

Step 5: The 6-Pack Trade-Off

Getting abs is a much bigger undertaking than most people realize. Alcohol, processed foods, and desserts all need to be severely limited if you’re trying to lose fat and show washboard abs. If you’re committed to making this happen then 90-95% of the time you need to eat protein and vegetables at every meal, include healthy fats at most meals, eat a small amount of carbs post-workout only, limit carbs at other meal, exercise intensely 4-5 times per week, and get at least 8 hours of sleep each night. 

Ready To Take On 2019 Like A Boss?

I know it’s a lot of information to digest, especially if you are just beginning this journey. Remember these steps are listed in order of priority. There’s no sense in thinking about what diet is best or 6 pack abs until you have first figured out what your deficiencies are and take steps to fix them, take a look at your energy balance and start choosing more nutrient dense foods over processed and low quality foods. Reach out to coach near you or contact me for support; I offer online as well as in-person coaching and I’m here to help. You got this!!

 

 

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Managing Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression

Claire Gray (BKin, CEP) 

 

You’re not alone

The first few weeks after childbirth can be tough, know that you’re not alone.  About 80% of mothers experience the “baby blues,” this typically occurs within the first few weeks of giving birth. You may have rapid mood swings, feel helpless, worried, irritable or anxious, cry for what seems like no reason and have problems sleeping.  These are normal as your body recovers from childbirth, your hormone levels are changing, your routine is being disrupted and you’re running low on sleep.

The Difference Between Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression

The baby blues is short-lived and naturally resolves within two weeks of onset. If your mood doesn’t improve after two weeks then you may be experiencing postpartum depression. Common symptoms are: loss of appetite, feelings of guilt and inadequacy, poor sleep, decreased motivation, and thoughts of harming yourself or your baby. Women often find it hard to admit to these feelings, but up to 16% of new moms experience depression in the first year after birth, and there is help out there.

How To Feel Better

Speak with your doctor as soon as possible. They will be able to determine the best course of treatment with you and know the resources available to you in your area.  The three main areas of treatment are self-care, counseling, and medication.

Self-Care

The main components of self-care can be remembered by the word NESTS: nutrition, exercise, sleep, time to self, and support systems.

Nutrition

  • It’s common for women with depression to have a change in their appetite and either not eat enough or overeat
  • Your body needs high nutrient dense calories to recover from giving birth and to breastfeed
  • You may find that you’re reaching for crackers, cookies, or other foods high in carbohydrates for quick satisfaction but these foods can cause wide fluctuations in your blood sugar levels resulting in mood swings
  • To avoid these fluctuations try to eat at least 3 balanced meals a day and aim to include some protein in every meal and/or snack

Exercise

  • This self-care component is going to give you the most bang for your buck
  • Many studies have proven exercise to be as affective as medications in the treatment of postpartum depression
  • Exercise results in endorphin-release, gives you a sense of power and control, improves self-esteem and can double as time to self
  • Proper strength training can help with postpartum recovery, pelvic floor strength, urinary incontinence, sleep quality and prolapse

Sleep

  • Sleep is very important for your mental health and it’s going to be hard to come by for the first few months
  • You need consolidated sleep in order for it to be restorative, so even if your hours of sleep add up to 8 hours a night, it doesn’t compare to getting a 5 hour stretch
  • With feeding every few hours this is not going to happen at first so be patient and gentle with yourself
  • A lof the mood swings have to do with lack of sleep and this will get better with time
  • You can also have your partner or another support give the baby a bottle in the night to give you a longer stretch of consolidated sleep

Time To Self

  • Alone time can be hard to come by, especially if you don’t have family nearby
  • Set aside at least a few minutes each day where you can have time to yourself, 10 minutes is still better than none
  • It could be a walk while someone else looks after your baby, it could be a bath during the baby’s naptime, or just a few quiet moments to think about how you can care for yourself today such as making healthy choices for meals and snacks, talking to a friend on the phone, drinking lots of water

Support Systems

  • Reach out to family, friends, and community
  • If you don’t feel ready to speak with someone face to face, the Pacific Postpartum Support Society provides telephone support at 604-255-7999 or postpartum.org
  • Connect with other moms at your local Community Centre or Family Place, chances are they share similar feelings of being overwhelmed, sad and anxious

You’re not alone! The feelings that come with postpartum depression can be very frightening for a new mother. It’s important to recognize that it is very common and there is a lot of help out there, so please reach out. You got this!!

Resources

BC Reproductive Mental Health Program www.bcmhas.ca
1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)
HealthLink BC (811) or www.healthlinkbc.ca
Pacific Postpartum Society (604-255-7999) or www.postpartum.org

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How To Overcome Mindless And Emotional Eating

claire gray (bkin, cep, pn)

 

We all have different eating behaviors that impact our relationship with food, most of us aren’t even aware of these behaviors. Why does it matter? Your relationship with food can directly influence your digestion, mood, mental and physical well-being.

Mindless Eating

Almost all of us eat too fast, with so many distractions around us, it’s hard not to. When we eat too quickly, we miss important hunger and fullness cues, as well as body cues about how certain foods make us feel physically. Furthermore, if we consistently eat with a distraction such as having the TV on, you are conditioning yourself to feel like you should eat whenever the TV is on.

Becoming A Mindful Eater

We want to find ways to slow down and pay more attention to our food, here’s some ideas how:

  • Write about how you feel after a meal; Do you have heartburn, bloating or indigestion? How long does it take before you feel hungry again? Are you stuffed or satisfied?
  • Time how long it takes you to finish your meal, you can use this as a baseline for subsequent meals and try and take longer.
  • Do something between bites: set down your utensils, take a breath, sip water, focus on table conversation.
  • Savour your food by noticing the smell, taste and texture of each bite.
  • Reduce distractions; put your phone in another room, turn of the TV, take a break from your work.

Emotional Eating

Many people eat for comfort and to manage their emotions or unwanted physical feelings, such as stress or anxiety. There’s no shame in this! We know that food stimulates pleasure pathways in the brain, has emotional associations for many of us, and connects us to others. This type of eating only becomes problematic when: we do it to excess; we feel out of control; we can’t stop when we’re satisfied; we don’t have any other way of creating comfort or managing our feelings.

Overcoming Emotional Eating

  • Keep a journal where you can write down thoughts and feelings you have at meal time; you can use this to work through the feelings that give you the urge to eat or for the feelings you have after eating.
  • When the urge to eat emotionally comes on, pause (or HALT) and ask yourself if you are Hungry, Anxious/Angry, Lonely, or Tired.
  • Challenge yourself to sit with the uncomfortable feelings for 5 minutes before you give into the urge to eat, over time this can teach you to self-regulate and self-soothe.
  • Come up with alternatives when you feel the urge to eat overcome you: go for a walk, go to the gym, call a friend, send an email, have a shower or bath, paint your nails, journal, meditate, do laundry or clean a room in the house… anything to distract you for a bit.

Go Easy On Yourself, Be Patient

If you struggle with mindless or emotional eating I encourage you to try at least one of these strategies this week! Don’t try and do all of them at once! Work through the list and identify which strategy works best for you. It takes time, patience, and repeated effort to form new habits so be gentle with yourself and acknowledge the courage it takes to make change. You got this!!

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