To any of the mamas or women that are learning their body hormonally, this one is for you.
Disclaimer, I am not a doctor or a professional, but this is my experience that I wanted to share.
15 months ago, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy and prior to that my body went through all sorts of changes in the pregnancy process. In those last final months my body rejected chicken, dairy, and basically any heavy foods. When I ate gluten, I looked pregnant again and when I had ice cream, I would throw it up moments later. It goes without saying that building a tiny human takes A LOT of work!
I was so taken back by the process of post partum and all of the things I wasn’t aware of. As most first time moms, it is truly something that you do not quite understand until you go through it. I thought I was just going to cry a lot, maybe a little moody, I was told I would drop weight if I breast feed, and the list goes on. I was all these things but also more at such an intense level. I wasn't dropping weight and while it was okay because I loved breastfeeding our bubba, I felt off. I started becoming more in tune with my body because I felt swollen ALL the time, I wasn't crying a lot but I was anxious 99% of my day (it was a level of intensity that sort of frightened my positive self, and I felt like there needed to be a change.
I started working out at home in between naps, sleeping when I could and ate healthier. I sought out a holistic nutritionist because while I felt better, I just wanted to dive deeper into my hormones due to the anxiety that was still occurring. I have two parts to this as I am still on my journey. Part I is a lot of my time with my holistic nutritionist while Part II is my journey with a Naturopathic Doctor.
LETS GET INTO IT
Tori Simeone: my angel of a nutritionist. I found her via Instagram and reached out and ever since… magic happened both physically and mentally. While I would love to bring you into our journey, there are months of work that was covered and it would take way too long (100/10 recommend reaching out to her though). Here are some of the key things that I have taken into my daily life that have helped me change physically and helped my anxiety dissipate, my self love grow, and my love for food flourish.
Things That I Learned:
How to eat intuitively - This one is top of my list because I never really had a good understanding or relationship with food. I could go into SO much detail but I'll save you my rant. I grew up playing sports and eating a lot of fast food on the go in between practices, games, and weekend tournaments. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good Arby’s sandwich and a Wendy’s frosty, but I grew up thinking that I could eat whatever I wanted. Until I gained weight after a big surgery, I realized that wasn’t the case. Which is when I began to restrict calories, workout more, binge eat until I was sick (emotional eating), and thought healthy eating was lots of salads, chicken and veggies all the time, or what was “labeled” healthy.
Instead, this approach helped me to be aware of what my body actually didn’t like. What made me feel heavy, what made me bloat, what changed my mood. I instantly started paying attention IN DETAIL to every single food that was being put into my mouth. I learned to eat when I was hungry, stop when I wasn’t, and not to be so concerned about the “timing” that many tell you. I ate dark chocolate before bed when I wanted, ate wholesome amounts of food that I wanted, and ultimately learned how to navigate what my body told me.
This actively helped me manage my relationship with food and to not have the shame and guilt behind what culture puts on us but also to do what is right for MY body because our bodies are curated and crafted so differently.
It’s OKAY to steer off track - We put so much pressure on ourselves to start on a Monday, having a cheat meal will mess everything up, and that if we eat the pizza we have to do the extra cardio. WRONG.. but I get it. Tori reminded me that it is the consistency and the lifestyle we adapt in healthy eating that allows us space to live our lives. She reminded me that yes my body may feel not so great but to know the proper steps to get back to it. I no longer feel guilt when I have a super bowl weekend filled with maybe a little too many wings or numerous amounts of chips and guac.
Move my body and sweat. it. out. - I will be the first to tell you that exercise for me was about achieving “the perfect body.” But let me also be one to tell you right now, your body is perfect just the way it is. Not for a second, did I think about the fact that moving my body and sweating was a way to also allow my food to be processed, detoxed, or utilize food as fuel. I thought it was about achieving the leaning legs, the toned abs, the cut arms and while yes I still would love to achieve all these things, I see it in a different light. I see it as my little sanctuary for my mental health now more than ever. Tori always pushed me to sweat it out or get by body moving when I made some “unhealthy choices," and not to guilt me but rather for me to utilize the food as fuel and to help my body detox it rather than letting me sit in it. She taught me to never shame myself for these decisions but rather to embrace it and get moving because our bodies are strong and meant to be moved.
Little Tips and Tricks:
Warm lemon water in the mornings (game changer) and honestly, puts me in a good mood. Add some Cayenne or Apple Cider Vinegar and you'll really get that digestion going.
Limit my coffee intake. Now this isn't for everyone but due to my anxiety this was a suggestion to help see if it would ease and it did. TMI - but I also noticed when I was on my time of the month, my cramps were significantly less when I didn't drink coffee.
Sub with green tea or Matcha. Matcha is so high in antioxidants, it boosts your brain function, helps aid in digestive health, and so much more.
H20, H20, H20. I really didn't understand it until I literally saw and felt the differences of my body when I had water vs when I didn't.
Keep it simple. Literally. If you only want a smoothie while everyone is having a big breakfast, that's okay.
Tori - Thank you for all that you have done for me. For celebrating my wins, guiding my downs, and venturing with me in this unknown territory of post-partum. Thank you for helping me navigate food as a friend rather than as an enemy.
You can find her on IG: @torrsim
Her website: https://www.torrsim.com/