keep from going overboard

Posted: September 9, 2010 at 4:16 pm

If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you likely know I declare balance as an integral part of healthy living. Balance is hard though! Recently, I have learned just how exceptionally hard by trying to balance food as a pregnant lady. I still enjoy my favorite vegetables and lighter, healthier dishes, but it takes a lot more planning and effort to eat those meals. I desire hefty, savory dishes while pregnant. BBQ sandwiches, Mexican food, pizza, hearty casseroles. Sweets sound good too – cake, candy corn, icecream, and cookies. Even McDonalds manages to squeeze its way in as an undeniable craving despite its utter lack of appeal outside of these 9.5 months.

You know what else doesn’t help? The almost insatiable hunger of the 2nd trimester. The first one you feel like you spent the last night chugging tequila and have no desire to eat. The last one your stomach is basically in your throat thanks to the jabbing and kicking bundle of joy taking up any room where food could fit. The second trimester though? Ohhhh….bring it on! Hunger strikes sometimes mere minutes after putting your dish away. And the food tastes so insanely delicious. Unless its veggies. My normal beloved meals simply taste meh right now.

However, for the sake of balance and to keep from going overboard on the way my body wishes to eat, I do take some proactive measures.

1. Have reasonable portions of the foods I crave.


While my plates may include larger portions than the norm due to pregnancy, I still never eat to overfilled and try to eat when genuinely hungry instead of when a case of the munchies hit. I also try to keep treats to single serving sizes…like dividing up the oh so tempting candy corn pumpkins into baggies and being certain to eat no more than one handful baggy per day.


2. Make healthier versions of favorite meals.


I can make healthier chicken enchiladas, my favorite healthified sloppy joes, pulled pork tenderloin sandwiches, casseroles hiding containing veggies, veggie filled pasta dishes, etc. These satisfy me but still provide nutrition.

3. Allow for treats regularly.

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Once a week we go out to dinner for me to get whatever I may be strongly craving. I order what I want and feel no guilt over it. Having that meal to look forward to makes it easier to actually prepare the healthier options during the week. We also have pizza Fridays where we make some pizza at home for a chill evening.

4. Keep meals that don’t have cravings lighter.

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Since heftier meals call to me, I typically face the worst cravings at night. For that reason, it’s easier to stick to healthful staples for breakfast, lunches, and snacks. Things like oatmeal, green monsters, fruit, hummus, yummy sandwiches, leftovers of those veggie dishes I make myself cook at night still sound appealing at those times. I get in all the nutrition I can during those meals.

5. Don’t fret!

I know that within a month after delivery my old taste preferences and eating habits will return. I know guilt and stress over food does nothing positive for my body or the truly amazing experience of pregnancy. This will likely be the last pregnancy I experience and I will not dwell on not eating my absolute best. I may be in a 70/30 ratio instead of a typical 90/10 ratio of health to more indulgence, but it does not matter. I know I will have strong health practices and live as a healthy example to my children. And I know I still do my danged best now…even if it isn’t quite in line with my best ever.

  • What situations make it hard for you to balance your eating?
  • Any other tips or suggestions you would like to share?

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45 Comments to “keep from going overboard”
  1. stressful situations are so hard for me, but i usually try and drink a ton of water then. i really like your suggestion of keeping non-craved meals lighter though…i bet that helps a ton!

    • Tina says:

      Stress can still set me off sometimes too. Not nearly as badly as before but I still have to be mindful I don’t just turn to food for comfort.

  2. KristenV says:

    I have to say that I’ve only recently gotten in to eating better, more “eat to live” not “live to eat” style. Its been a struggle to re-learn how to eat, when to eat, and what to eat but I think I”m doing pretty well so far

    I have noticed that if I don’t plan out my meals I’m sunk. I have been fixing meals on Sunday for lunch during the week or else its just so easy to go grab Chik-Fil-A or McDonalds. I also have been planning our menus for dinner and that seems to be helping as well.

    • Tina says:

      We have to plan out our meals too. I always plan out what we’re having for dinners, how many leftovers will there be for lunches, what other healthy options can we have for lunches, etc every week before going to the store. It definitely makes it easier to stick with healthy eating. Way to go on changing your habits!

  3. I’m so glad you wrote this as I struggle with this daily!!! And, then I tend to beat myself up over it a little.
    I had very little sickness in my first trimester and I found the best way to keep from feeling sick was to eat. I still maintain that eating & weight gain is better than feeling sick though!
    I also drink a ton of water, I give myself a small treat everyday, and I go to great lengths to include vegetables in the foods I crave (like pizza).
    Thanks for the the post!!!

    • Tina says:

      You’re doing great too! I quickly learned the last time around that I couldn’t expect to have amazing habits all the time when pregnant. Took a lot of the stress off.

  4. Holly says:

    Even though I am not in any trimester, this post totally resonated with me. I am recovering from a rough week at work and a vacation filled with all sorts of unhealthy goodies. Getting back on track has been a struggle. Its time to go back to my normal healthy routine, but I’m still craving the unhealthy stuff I dabbled in over the last week.

    I loved when you wrote: “I know I still do my danged best now…even if it isn’t quite in line with my best ever.” I am officially adopting that quote until I get myself back on track.

    • Tina says:

      I hoped this would be relatable across the board. Just do your best this week and keep trying to make the best choices and you’ll get back to the normal groove soon enough.

  5. Tina I think these are great tips! I like to allow myself an indulgence once in a while, I need to keep sane somehow!

    I also try to balance out my meals: if I have a protein packed breakfast, I’ll have some starch at lunchtime, or the other way around. And if lunch is veggie packed, dinner can be a little more indulgent (more starch and protein, etc). That way I know I’m getting nutrients from the veggies but I’m not eating veggies all day long (that does not work for me!)

  6. Simply Life says:

    I love hearing how the pregnancy is going and how you’re keeping this balanced and eating what you want!

  7. homecookedem says:

    I can relate 100% to this! I’m always hungry!! And I have very little willpower when it comes to treat. Oh well, I figure I better enjoy it now! Back to business after Baby!! 😉

  8. I guess the 2nd trimester is making up for the 1st in terms of eating huh? I think traveling makes it hard for me, mostly as a vegetarian though. I am about to have to go to Dallas for a few days for work and it’s totally stressing me out on how I’m going to eat….I do not eat out often b/c it’s so hard to find vegetarian meals. Anyway… breathe…..

  9. Sarah says:

    Great post! I’ve discovered that ignoring my cravings often leads to a horrible binge/restrict cycle so I think it’s fantastic that you are honoring your cravings. Thanks for being such a wonderful role model 🙂 I’ve found that breathing/meditating/prayer helps with cravings and subsequent guilt.

    • Tina says:

      Definitely! If I deny myself things I’m really wanting or try to ignore my hunger it will become a slippery slope very fast. Now I always pay attention to what my body wants as well as what it needs.

  10. You go, girl. It truly is all about moderation and NOT completely depriving yourself!
    Hey, so you’ve probably gotten a couple dozen already but I gave you a Cherry on Top award cuz you totally rock. 🙂

  11. It is definitely all a balancing act. I normally make healthier versions of my cravings. I have going out of town unless it is somewhere I know will have good options for me since I have dietary restrictions. It kinda stinks for Tony and I now because both of us have our own set of restrictions and his is really a lot harder that mine with no gluten. You seem to know exactly what to do. I say enjoy it.

    • Tina says:

      That’s got to be so hard. But you seem to have it down pretty well. I’m sure its always a learning curve but you do a great job! And certainly have some yummy healthier versions of things up your sleeve.

  12. Oh that second trimester sounds magical! I love your healthy, balanced approach to pregnancy eating. I think it is most important to not fret–you know you’ll be back to 90/10 soon enough AND you’ll have a new, healthy bundle of lovin’!

    Balanced eating is hard for me when I am at parties or barbecues. The seemingly endless supply of delicious food makes me want to eat everything in sigh! And sometimes I do.

    • Tina says:

      Social events are still the hardest for me!!! It’s so easy to mindlessly munch and so much good food available to munch on. I try to survey the goods and pick out a few things I REALLY want and stick with those. It usually works. Usually. 😉

  13. Kati says:

    Luckily, I’m still loving my veggies! But yes, the 1st tri, nothing looked or sounded good. The 2nd tri- bring on the FOOD!! I was trying to explain to my husband how I’ll have a day or two each when when I can literally eat. all. day. 🙂

  14. Heck, I’m not even pregnant and some of your days sound like mine!

    I love your tip of pre portioning those “sweets”! That has to help quie a bit.

  15. Camille says:

    I find it very hard to balance my eating right before “that time of the month”. I just eat everything in sight! I finally realized that trying to stop myself is a recipe for disaster and I should just allow it for like, 2-3 days and then go back to my healthy lifestyle. No harm, no foul!

    • Tina says:

      I remember reading some study that showed women’s metabolisms increase a good deal before their cycles and thats why they have an increased appetite. I think allowing extra eats those couple days a month is a great idea! Shows you listen to your body and know not to worry because overall balance is what matters.

  16. Lee says:

    Great tips.

    I also find that not keeping snacky foods in my office works well for me. I’m an out of sight, out of mind person. When I have a box of granola bars on my desk, I am constantly craving them. When they’re not there, I’m not.

    • Tina says:

      There are quite a few things that are out of sight out of mind for me…but candy corn is just not one of them. LOL There are quite a few things that if I stop buying I don’t miss them though.

  17. It’s definitely a balancing act for ALL of us….I can’t imagine being a pregnant lady trying to maintain the same balance!!

    I think if you try and eat frequently, adding as much nutrition into your meals as possible, it can work out. Like, when I want pizza, I buy multi-grain dough, make it with spinach, goats cheese, sauteed onions and whatever other veggies I feel like….so you get the best of both worlds!!!!

    • Tina says:

      And that sounds like a fabulous pizza creation. 😀

      I posted this specifically because I know we can all relate. I love reading how we all try to practice balance. 🙂

  18. Great post! I think pregnancy is so fascinating. And scary 😉

  19. 45before35 says:

    I wish I ate as well as you are in my pregnancy. Unfortunately, I was too tired to adhere to common sense – while I didn’t go crazy on eating I still should have had better food. Thank you for encouraging others to eat well during this important time!

  20. I swear, everytime I see your pictures of candy corn pumpkins I get the worst craving – and I’m not even pregnant! I really need to go buy some. 🙂

  21. Love these tips. I need to print this post out and stick it to my wall, because I’m prone to going overboard.

  22. sophia says:

    tina, you’re doing an awesome job. I’m not pregnant (and prob never will be), but I can relate to what you said so much. I love how balanced and reasonable you are in your approach to eating and life.

    p.s. the first pic made me laugh out loud that the pickle was the biggest thing on the plate!

    • Tina says:

      Us pregnant gals do love our pickles! 😉 Pickles really are so good. M likes them too and will even ask for some with her lunches.

  23. Maura says:

    I’m with you on the whole balancing act thing–pregnant or not pregnant! I’ve recently discovered and have fallen in love (red: obsessed!!!) with Cinnamon Almonds from TJ’s. I have to separate them out into serving size portions otherwise I’d have at them like a madwoman!!!

  24. Pregnancy is a hard time for me to be balanced. I had a tendency to crazy on my eats. Maybe that’s why I had pre-e both times? Really, I don’t know. 🙂

    It’s tough for me to stay “on my game” on the weekends. I know most people probably struggle with the weekends the most. 🙂 Or when The Lover buys me some coconut chocolate cheesecake ice cream. DROOL.

  25. ashleigh says:

    This is very helpful even though I am not pregnant! Lately I have been struggling with overeating crap like no other. I am trying to lose a few more pounds and its been a huge struggle. I basically took the summer off from watching what I eat and now it’s killing ME! I want chips, cookies, ice cream, nachos and other junk in large amounts, UGH!

    I think I am going to start allowing myself a weekly splurge day. Where I can eat whatever I want. I am not talking about crazy amounts or anything, but I think if I planned it, it may help me get through the week better. We will see!

    A lot of times, I have cravings for something… likethis week it was a brownie… and I didn’t give in and eventually started overeating other crap. I am hoping by allowing myself a weekly splurge I can avoid this binge cycle that is driving me nuts!

    • Tina says:

      Be careful with weakly splurge days. Be sure you still can have things you enjoy and crave during the week as well in some form. Otherwise you will feel so deprived by the splurge day you will likely go overboard. And that defeats the purpose of balance. 🙂


    The second trimester for me, both times, made me crave entirely different things from the norm.

    With Hannah, my first, I craved the crap out of Sonic Cherry Limeades and Tots and milk and strawberries. (Seriously, the milk was the #1 cure for my nasty heartburn. NOTHING else.)

    With Madelyn, I craved meat and MEXICAN. What is it with those beans!?!?! I crave chips and salsa on a daily basis (thanks for reminding me, preggo 😉 and it was off the charts when I was expecting.

    I love that you’ve made some great choices (the baggies of candy corn…nom nom nom)…and once I find out about baby #3 in the future, I’ll be coming after you for help. 😉

  27. LindseyAnn says:

    Great job on balancing it all–even when pregnant! I know a lot of women use these months as a chance to let loose and wind up regretting it later.

    Moving in with my boyfriend has made a balanced diet harder. The best way to describe his eating habits would be to say that he has a simple diet, quite similar to an average 7 or 8 year old. Trying to mesh that with my adventurous and healthier habits has been tricky, but I’m slowly getting the hang of it.
    PS–I’m being brave and allowing those wonderful pumpkins in to my apartment… bring on the plastic baggie portions!

  28. I miss craving veggies. My pregnancy has me craving anything and everything unhealthy, but I feel like I have to sneak veggies into my diet lately. And it is working about as well as it works with my 4 year old.

  29. Erica says:

    I bet the hunger/cravings during pregnancy are out of this world! Your guidelines totally make sense- I especially love the idea of portioning out your snacks so you can’t go overboard. Keep it up chicky 😉

  30. […] If you’re prone to going overboard, like I am, check out Tina’s tips for indulging without completely losing focus. I really like the idea of having a 90/10 ratio of healthy choices vs. more indulgent ones (which […]

  31. […] love this idea. I loved it when Tina talked about it on Faith Fitness Fun. I’ve even thumbed through Joy Bauer’s 90/10 diet […]

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