Caitlin Ball is an intuitive eating coach and helps her clients quit dieting in order to trust their food choices and feel confident in their body. She lives in Albany, CA with her husband, Jon, and their son Cooper, 3 years old. She is sharing about her eating habits while sheltering at home and expecting her second baby.
1. Current state of mind?
Today, I’m feeling positive as I physically felt good all day and enjoyed being outside in the sunshine with my son. But without any childcare and all the future unknowns, it’s not this easy everyday!
2. Due Date?
I’m due November 20th!
3. Do you have a gender preference?
I’ve always pictured having a boy and a girl, and I was mentally sure it was a girl because I’ve been so much sicker this pregnancy. When we found out it’s another boy, I cried! I had to adjust my vision of my future family, but now I’m excited to have two little guys and am sure they will love playing together. Luckily, I have two nieces so they are going to get some extra attention when I need some girl time!
4. Is your stress level higher during the COVID-19 crisis while pregnant?
I found out I was pregnant the very first day of quarantine which was interesting! I think the fact that I’ve been not feeling my best has been a blessing (and sometimes a curse) because it’s been easier to slow down and not stress so much about work. We have definitely been extremely cautious because I’m pregnant, because even though the research doesn’t suggest it could harm the baby, I don’t really want to have to find out! 5. What are your eating habits during this second pregnancy while staying safely at home?
Due to being nauseous often, I simply have to eat a lot of carbs! They feel good to my body right now. Normally, I love roasted vegetables but right now the only veggies I can eat are raw, like salads. I also have been eating way more ice cream than normal! Similar to my first pregnancy, my body craves more dairy than my body can handle on a regular basis. And to be honest - I’ve eaten Taco Bell more in the last 2 months than I have in years! It’s been a major craving that I hadn’t even thought about before pregnancy.
6. How was your breastfeeding experience with your son?
Cooper was premature and had to be fed from the bottle to start which I believe made breastfeeding harder. He liked how quickly he could get milk from the bottle! Plus since he was so little, he didn’t suck very hard. I did manage to do a combo of breastfeeding and bottle feeding for 4 months, but it was simply too hard mentally and physically to keep going. I was really disappointed that I couldn’t exclusively breastfeed or continue for longer, but now I understand fully that it does not matter how your baby is fed! Your baby will be healthy and happy however you decide to feed it. I plan to try breastfeeding baby #2 as well, but if it causes me added stress like it did last time, I’m going to switch to the bottle sooner. I’m going with whatever is easiest next time around!
7. Did you have a different daily diet while breastfeeding?
I tried to eat anything and everything that claimed to increase my milk supply because I never had enough - though I don’t think it helped! I also didn’t eat dairy because it didn’t agree with Cooper’s stomach, and we ended up having to get him goat milk formula for the bottle.
8. How are you handling the quarantine life with your husband and son? Have you found some ways to adapt to this new normal?
Since I own my own business and can set my hours, I’ve taken on the majority of childcare for Cooper while my husband works from home. My husband and I plan around my client calls and podcast interviews, and I do a little work during naptime. We’ve gotten into a good rhythm though and it’s feeling more normal. I have a few “must-do’s” for my own self-care that I prioritize everyday like meditating, journaling, and moving my body and that helps keep me sane.
9. Are there any bright sides/moments you’ve been enjoying during this unprecedented period?
I’m actually enjoying all the extra family time! Eating lunch and dinner together every day is really a treat that we’ve never gotten to do before. I’m also finding out how much work I can get done in a little amount of time when I set my mind to it, and also realizing what my top priorities are. I’ve actually decided to reduce my childcare (when that’s allowed again) since I believe I can manage with fewer hours! Cooper is actually a lot happier now that he doesn’t have to go to school every day, so now that I can see that, I am going to adjust our schedule accordingly.
10. What is your advice to women who are currently struggling with their eating habits and body image while staying at home?
I think stressful times like we are in right now can amplify anything that you’ve previously struggled with. So if you’ve always had a funky relationship with food and your body, it’s going to come up even more right now. My answer is most certainly not a quick fix - but it’s a worthwhile one! And that advice is to start to look deeper - figure out WHY you might be eating the way you are eating, or WHY you might be struggling with your body image. Once you identify the why, you can start working on that, because just changing what you eat to try to lose weight is like putting a bandaid on something that actually needs surgery. There are probably some deep beliefs hidden in your subconscious that tie your body size to your self-worth - and this can trigger the dieting mindset, which causes a whole negative ripple effect on your relationship with food. Now’s a great time to check in with your beliefs and get to the root of the cause because you aren’t going to be around that many people this year, so you can figure out how you want to eat and live in your body. And remember - gaining weight during a pandemic is OK!! And by far not the worst thing that can happen. We are in an uncertain time so be kind to yourself with whatever it is you are going through.
11. Any recommendations for those who hate working out at home or outdoors?
I think a good mindset shift is in order if this is the case :) I have a lot of clients that come to me that don’t like working out at all, but they force themselves to do it so their bodies will look a certain way. But once they stop worrying about counting the calories they burn or relating how much they can eat to how much they worked out, they start realizing that they like to move their bodies once they allow themselves to move in a way that brings them JOY. So my question that I’d like you to answer is, “If I could move my body in any way I wanted, without worrying about trying to change my body size, how would I move?” With this new mindset, I have tons of clients that start dancing, taking slow yoga classes, walking in nature --- and ditch the gym completely. Moving your body is an act of love and respect for your body, and when you try to use movement to change your body to look a certain way, you are taking the fun out of it. Take notice of your kids - they move all day long in different ways, just for fun!
An added bonus of movement at home right now - you can take classes you might have been nervous about taking before and just turn your video off! I finally took a hip hop class and felt ridiculous so I turned my video off and just relaxed and enjoyed it without any added pressure (even though no one was looking at me anyways!). How can you joyfully move your body today?