May 6, 2022 8:37:20 pm
In her book, Grow Your Baby, Not Your Weight: An Extraordinary Memoir of Pregnancy, Birthing and Everything Between (Rupa, Rs 295), IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal provides insights from her personal experience of managing the number of changes that a pregnant person goes through. Nagpal, best known for her crackdown of Uttar Pradesh’s sand mafia, wrote the book in the last trimester of her second pregnancy, in July 2021.
Among the book’s tips on maintaining weight while providing nourishment to the baby, Nagpal addresses one of the commonest aspects of pregnancy—food cravings. “I think craving is a beautiful word because it’s something that is naturally associated with pregnancy. You don’t ordinarily hear a person say they are ‘craving’ something… When a pregnant woman says she is craving, the whole family gets involved,” Nagpal says.
The family’s involvement in “Mission Craving”, as Nagpal terms it, means that the mother and baby are set to be pampered. It’s a great time indeed, for families to come together, but it’s not without risks. “There’s a thin line between craving and loading,” she says. When expectant mothers have a craving, they can end up eating excessively to satisfy it, but, in the process, end up hurting their body and their overall well-being.
Nagpal suggests a Japanese diet rule of mindful eating, called hara hachi bu, meant to be a simple formula for a long and healthy life. You satisfy your stomach until it’s 80 per cent full and you leave 20 per cent empty. She says, “It’s a particular belief that is even more valid when you’re pregnant.”
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The approach sounds counterintuitive, especially since there is a lot of pressure on pregnant women to “eat for two”. Family and society encourage her to do so, and that means that the craving overtakes everything else and she ends up eating more than necessary. Nagpal says while it’s important to eat for two people, it’s almost equally important to remember that the second person you are eating for is “the size of a walnut”.
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