📲 Instagram: @empowered_by_betty
Hello, friends. I’m so freaking excited for today’s episode. I have Betty here with us, otherwise known as Empowered by Betty on Instagram. And she is just the sweetest, most incredible person ever. And she is so inspirational. And today we are dropping the tea on diet culture with pregnancy and how those kind of intertwine and how to essentially honor your body throughout pregnancy and like how to just embrace this phase of your life. So Betty, thank you so much for coming on here today and chatting with us.
Yes, thank you so, so much for having me on here. I’m so excited to be here as well. Love your content and everything that you share. So when you reached out, I was, I just felt definitely, I guess, honored.
So for anybody who is listening that doesn’t know you, tell us a little bit about who you are and what essentially inspired you to start your Instagram account, Empowered by Betty.
Yes. So my name’s Betty Flores. I’m 30 years old. I live in Utah. I have a just two-year-old toddler, and I am just a little past 31 weeks pregnant with our second daughter. What else? I’ve been playing soccer since I was five years old. Probably didn’t get super into weightlifting and things like that until I was 26-ish. And then what inspired me to start Empowered by Betty was after having Sienna, my first, I went from being a full-time social worker at an inpatient hospital. So I’d been there for about five to six years to then being a stay-at-home mom just because life and sleep was rough for me for the with the little one you know so trying to think or like trying to even fathom working and being a mom was just not happening.
So Empowered by Betty started out just as like a motivation for myself to kind of get back on track with my fitness. I’m wanting to keep myself accountable in that because I was just so into fitness and working out and that was kind of my thing before having a baby. But I realized that it was a lot, a lot more difficult to do that with a child and lack of sleep. So it ended up being more of like this normalizing of like do what you can but also like know like your limitations you know like you have this new role as a mom you have this new body like everything shifts and changes and it doesn’t matter I don’t know at least for me it didn’t matter I never got back to my what they call, you know, like your pre-baby weight, which I was totally fine with. Everything changes, like your organs, your muscles, like everything changes after a baby. And it’s just very different. So that’s, that’s what started and kind of inspired and empowered by Betty.
So you said that your fitness journey kind of began or things shifted when you were 26. What was going on then? Like what made that shift for you?
Like I said, I’d always played soccer, so that was always something that was going on. But the biggest thing, I just think I wanted a little bit more control and something that I could zone in on. With soccer, you play with teammates and things like that, and so regardless, if you have a good game or if they have a good game, you might not have a good game, so I just wanted a little bit, I don’t know, just have, I guess, a little bit more control in that way. Also, I guess a big thing also was I was having a lot of stomach issues, and so I was really kind of weeding out what was going on with that. So I was getting bloated a lot, I wasn’t feeling good, I had like low energy, so just changing up my diet, I realized, and not, I don’t want to say diet, but just like the food I ate, you know, I was eating out a lot. I was just eating whatever, I guess.
So I realized that like a lot of sugar, a lot of fried foods, I’m also lactose sensitive, like those type of things. Like once I started monitoring those a little bit better. I felt better in total, like just as a whole. So it was kind of a combo of things. Just working out and focusing on me more also made me feel better. So the combination of me tuning into what I was eating and then focusing on working out. And prior to that, like I had 26, I’m like trying to think. That was after I got married to my husband Josh. And like prior to that I think there was also a lot of like been drinking and coping with anxiety that way and I got on an SSRI finally at like 26, 27 so that also I think helps cope with my anxiety that I had always had yeah so those are probably the three things now that I think about it out loud.
Yeah. It seems like you had a pretty balanced relationship with fitness growing up. What about your relationship with food growing up?
So food was definitely interesting and I don’t think I noticed it as much growing up. I notice it definitely more now that I’m a parent and have a daughter. But like growing up it’d be like, eat all of your food, you know, that’s on your plate type of comments from family members and things like that. But then also like hearing, you know, aunts and different female relatives talking about how they didn’t like their body. So it was definitely like an interesting kind of perspective growing up that I don’t think, like I said, I realized I was surrounded by until I had my daughter and those comments are still being made. I’m like, okay, I don’t want her hearing that and like feeding off of it.
Thankfully, I don’t feel like I had too much of a negative relationship with food ever. I was never like, oh, that’s bad or that’s, you know, good. It was more so like, I just wasn’t in tune with my body and like what it needed. And so I was, like I said, getting super bloated to the point of like I’d have to lay down and like wait until that would pass you know and I was like something has to change with my diet because and what I’m eating because it’s not I don’t know it’s it’s making me physically ill so yeah thankfully I for whatever reason have had an okay you know relationship with food always but just yeah really being in tune with those kind of comments and those statements now the older I get, I just don’t want my daughters to pick up on any of that.
Totally. So going off of that with the comments, I feel like that segues us right into the comments in the diet culture surrounding pregnancy. So with your first pregnancy with Sienna, like what kind of comments were you getting that you hadn’t ever gotten before, or maybe some things that you started noticing more diet culture related that you hadn’t noticed before, like when you were pregnant and your body did begin to change?
This is funny. It’s not funny. It’s really, like, it’s kind of sad that people think they can make the comments that they make, you know? And I don’t remember too many comments from Sienna’s pregnancy, but I obviously, like I made a post not too long ago about like what people have said about this pregnancy with Jannie. And, but I do remember like towards the end of my pregnancy, there was a lot of comments like, well, like, are you almost done? I’m like, I have weeks, like, and I feel great. Like, you know, you know, and so it was a lot of those comments of like, are you almost ready? Like you’re about to pop.
Like, are you only pregnant with one? You know, those type of things. I think the biggest one that stuck out was some family members would, it was, I remember it so clear. We had just announced our pregnancy to some family members and it was right after my second trimester. So I was just starting to feel good and wasn’t having any more morning sickness. And so I was eating what I could, you know, I was like, I’m eating all this food because I can and I’m not puking, you know, and I don’t feel nauseous. And somebody said, you know, you’re going to have to lose that weight after the baby comes. And I was just like, I can’t even handle that. Like, I don’t even know what to say, you know?
And I think if it definitely depends on who those comments come from on whether or not I will say something, whether I feel like it’s my energy. But a lot of the time I’m like, this is like a good teaching moment for you. Like I don’t, like I’m okay with it, you know, I’m okay with you making those comments, like to me, because they don’t super affect me for whatever reason. But, like, if you were to say that to somebody who, you know, has difficulty with body image or food or eating or whatever, like, that is a super unhelpful comment to make to them. Like, you don’t know how they’re going to take that and how it could affect their pregnancy moving forward and, you know, what they’re willing to eat in front of you. So, I think that’s where I more get riled up with people’s comments.
Yeah, and I think it’s, I mean, it’s twofold in the sense that I feel like some people like genuinely like are not trying to do, like it’s very innocent and they don’t even realize like what it is that they’re saying. And then other people, it’s just like, wow, it is unbelievable how much the diet culture is in your head. And it’s like, you feel like it’s okay that you can make that comment about me and my body. Like, this is my body. You don’t have to lose the weight. Why do you care?
Right, right. And I’ve noticed it more with like older generations. So I don’t feel like I’ve gotten as much of that feedback or you know, comments about the body change or anything from individuals my age. So that’s also interesting. I mean, a lot of it’s like, you look great, and I’m so impressed. Right now, with me working out, and that’s a different topic, but yeah, it’s definitely older generations that have made the comments.
After you had Sienna, what was it like, like, you know, recovering from obviously having a baby, and then, as you said before, like this overwhelming pressure to get back to pre-baby weight? Mm-hmm.
Yeah, I think that’s where I really had a hard time with Sienna, and I don’t know if it was necessarily trying to get back to pre-babyweight initially anyway, you know, I just wanted to be able to move my body like I once used to. So like getting back on the soccer field or like getting back into the gym, I obviously like growing a baby and having a baby, however you have a baby, like there’s recovery in that. And it is, it’s definitely like, it’s a shock. So before I had Sienna, I had tore my ACL and then I got pregnant with Sienna.
So I was recovering from that along with being pregnant. So I didn’t work out as much as I would have liked. But it was definitely a shock, trying to do the things that my brain was like, you can do this. And my body was like, no, you need to slow down. Like, you need to take your time and it’s okay. And it’ll happen as long as you keep slowly working on it. So that was the biggest, I don’t know, that was a good motivation for me to start Empowered by Betty. If I do these workouts and post them, it almost keeps me accountable to continue to do it. But also posting about the times that I just like, hey, being a mom is hard, and it’s okay not to work out and giving myself that that grace, which again, I think having been in sports for as long as I have, that was hard to like not having the expectation that I could continue doing something at the level that I was used to.
But with like the pre-baby weight, there was a lot of I think hormones and just postpartum hormones that nobody can really prepare you for. Some moms deal with it better than others. Some moms just have, you know, a baby that sleeps. Some moms don’t. Some, you know, there’s always something that I don’t think you can be fully prepared for in being a mom. And so I felt a lot better about just my weight and myself in general. Honestly, the closer I got to weaning her from breastfeeding. So once my hormones started to kind of stabilize, I would say it’s when I didn’t, I was able to kind of like relax and let loose a little bit more and kind of throw away those old jeans, you know, find ones that fit, wear the things I wanted to without judgment, like I was just like, oh, I gotta wear this, because it’s a crop top and I have a little pudge, you know, or like, I can’t button up my pants without there being a little bit of muffin top, you know?
So those type of things, like I feel like definitely evened out the closer I got to weaning her and those hormones kind of stabilized, but yeah, I think social media is hard too and seeing other family members maybe lose the weight faster. It’s just so hard to not compare yourself to others. I think that’s probably, that was like the harder thing too. Like my sister’s always like lost the weight super quick and like I have a sister-in-law that also like, I mean, works super hard. They both work hard and eat well, you know, to kind of get there. And I, like, I would catch myself like comparing myself to them probably the most. And like, why am I not there yet?
Like, I need to put in more work. But then I’d be like, but I don’t and it’s okay. You know, so I would kind of go like, between these two thoughts of like, I need to be there, I should be there, like I could be doing more, but then I’d be like, you know what, it’s okay to just like rest and take a nap when the baby’s napping and not work out and eat, like eat what you can and eat what you have versus like stressing about like trying to prep a meal and make sure there’s like all the healthy food in your house, you know, so that you can get back to what, I don’t know, your mind’s trying to tell you you should.
Totally, totally. I mean, so many good things in there. And I, you know, I can’t even imagine all of the pressure, but I feel like you have such a good mindset with it, and that’s what I appreciate so much. And I love the comparison piece that you brought up, just bringing awareness to the fact that, like, everybody’s body is different, and therefore, like, coming off after it, like, it’s going to be different regardless. So with that said, I am so curious to know because again like I haven’t had a baby, how has like has your body changes been any different this pregnancy versus your first pregnancy and if so how have you coped with that?
So it’s interesting because during my pregnancies, both pregnancies, I don’t know what it is if I’m just able to kind of rationalize that there’s a baby in there so I don’t feel like I worry too much about my body changing. Like I’m like, it’s going to happen. I’m going to get bigger. I’m going to change, you know, like I’m going to take these pictures and I’m going to just, I’m going to look like a different person than I did a year ago. But I definitely started out at a higher weight than I was with Sienna. I never lost the baby weight. So that was, I don’t know, I didn’t think too much about it. The only time I did is when people would make comments like, my sister just had a baby in January. And so they’d be like, I think you’re bigger than her.
And I’m like, I am. I am. I started out bigger than her. Like, so it’s more like comments like that that I feel like I’m coping with. But this pregnancy, I feel like I’ve gotten a couple more stretch marks and maybe, I’m like trying to think of things that have changed. I definitely feel like there’s more shifts internally that are happening faster. Like, I feel like this pregnancy, the baby’s definitely lower. And so I have more hip pain or things that I’m not able to do. So I was enjoying riding my bike a lot. And I had to stop that probably a month or two ago, just because my hips were hurting and my pelvis. So I was like, this is not going to work. Yeah, so I don’t know if I really even answered your question. I feel like I did.
You did. I was curious, that was more out of curiosity because I know that, I mean, I just assume that they’re not entirely the same and just like comparing yourself to other people but also comparing yourself to yourself.
Right. That would almost be tough as well. Yeah, I feel a lot better this pregnancy. Like both have been fairly, fairly easy pregnancies, which I’m super grateful for. I just had a couple of weeks of morning sickness with this one. I think it was maybe four or five weeks. With Vienna, it was like 10 to 12 weeks. It was really in just that first trimester. Otherwise, I have felt great health-wise and mood-wise too. Josh, my husband always jokes that I could be pregnant all the time because my mood stabilizes when I’m pregnant. So I have apparently the opposite of effect when I’m pregnant than a lot of females.
But this pregnancy has been great, because like I said, I had tore my ACL prior to being pregnant with Sienna, so I was primarily just recovering with that. So being able to just work out and have that time to myself and kind of, I feel like that’s like my own identity separate as being a stay at home mom and being able to work out and do that. So even sometimes she’s there with me and we’re working out together, she’s dancing along. Like I still feel like it’s my thing that allows me to be me and just being able to move my body during this pregnancy where I wasn’t able to last one. I just feel like I have, I don’t know, just so much more control, especially during the pandemic, like, there’s just not a lot that we can do right now. And so being able to have that, and you know, the support from everyone has just been has just been great.
Totally. So I mean, I feel like I’m very similar to you in the sense that I mean, fitness is big part of my life and like having to slow down, how has that been for you? Or like how, I mean, you are so great about working out, but like, how about like doing like this slower, low impact movement? Like, how has that been?
It’s definitely a mind shift, you know, of like, oh, like I would try something and be like, okay, I can’t do that anymore. Like physically, I just cannot do that anymore. And really just like telling myself, I can’t do that right now, but it doesn’t mean I will never be able to, you know? And so that’s, I think, a big thing for me. Like I just have to be super logical about it. Like you are currently growing a baby, you know, and you have more weight on you than you’re used to, and you don’t wanna fall, you know, and hurt yourself or the baby. So I think I just have to, I think that’s what’s helped me during the process. And honestly, kind of with the pandemic going on, it was like a super great excuse not to be playing soccer or being around it. I was like, so it made it easier for me in the sense I’m like, I just can’t play.
Like, because not only because I want to keep other people safe and myself safe, but I’m pregnant. So not only am I taking care of myself, I have to take care of my baby and my family. So it really helps with that and rationalizing that.
So what movements are you able to do right now? Or like what kind of like low impact workouts have you found to be like helpful and enjoyable at this stage of your pregnancy?
So I feel like I can do a lot of what I was doing before. Obviously, I’m not running or sprinting or doing HIIT, but I can walk on the treadmill and do a little HIIT on the treadmill, like just making it a little bit faster, a little bit slower of a walk or incline, you know? And then really with just the weights, I just do lower weights, and I don’t do a lot of workouts where I’m laying on my back because it can make you nauseous and dizzy if you’re on your back too much during pregnancy. So those were some adjustments that I definitely had to make.
But yeah, I don’t feel like there’s super a lot. It’s just realizing that I can’t do as much weight or as high of weight. Or when I’m tired and I’m like, oh, but I have, I put on my little mirror that I was going to do four rounds, but my body’s telling me I need to just do three, you know, or two today. And so just like really being in tune of like, okay, like, my heart rate’s getting up, like I’m breathing heavy. Like I like have to like, tone it down a little bit and recognize that and be okay that I’m not gonna get that third or fourth round in.
I love that you just like bring awareness to the fact of, I have this plan, but if I’m not feeling it, it’s okay. And like I’m gonna honor my body in that way and respect it in the sense that I’m gonna listen. And know that like, I’m growing as human.
Yeah, and it’s definitely not like that all the time, right? Like sometimes I’ll push myself a little too hard and I’ll wake up in the morning and was like, okay, that was obviously like a little too much, so I need to pay attention, you know? Like I need to do a better job at paying attention because my hips hurt or my legs are super sore and I’m not trying to like lose any weight, you know? I’m not trying to be toned and pregnant and there’s a lot of women out there that Can and do do that and I think it’s amazing, but it’s just I don’t know It’s just not in my vision of you know what I need to see for myself.
Yeah totally, so with the Stretch marks that you talked about earlier and body changes. How do you – not that they happen all the time – but when you do have a bad body image day, what helps you kind of recenter yourself as your body is changing?
I think just telling myself that it’s amazing that my body is doing what it’s doing, right? It’s creating life, and in order to create life, these things need to happen, you know, that like they just naturally happen. And I’ve always loved, you know, I’ve always loved a pregnant woman or a pregnant person and seeing them and seeing their body change. And so recognizing that I also need to share and see that same kind of love and appreciation in my own body as well. Because I think we do that just as humans in general. Like, we’re always able to, you know, give grace or give gratitude or give love or support to somebody else. And just really zoning in and doing that for yourself, I think is super important.
So yeah, not like that happens every time, but you know, if you can be like, hey, what would I say to, you know, my cousin or a sister, sister-in-law or mom, you know, that’s currently pregnant and having these thoughts, like, how can I direct that energy to myself? Because, yeah, what you’re doing is absolutely amazing. And it’s weird and it’s awesome. And your body needs to change in order to provide for your baby.
Going off of that, what advice would you have for women who are either struggling to honor their body or embrace the changes that are occurring throughout this process?
Yeah, I think, like I said, a big thing for me that has helped is really thinking of it logically, like why are these changes happening? Like why do they need to happen in order to support my baby, support me during this pregnancy, and even like reaching out to people, you know, like, hey, I’m really having a hard time with looking in the mirror or like realizing that my clothes don’t fit or that I’m hungrier than normal and it’s like really hard for me to control my eating, you know, and really reaching out for that support. And I have like a great group of girlfriends that we text daily.
So if I’m having a difficult day or something’s going on, if they’re really a good group of support, that will be like, okay, well you need to just slow down, dude. That’s a big thing for me, you need to slow down, remember you’re pregnant. That’s probably the biggest thing that they’ve helped me with throughout this. And just, I like what you said. You said it a couple times. Like, you don’t have to love your body. Oh my gosh, what have you said?
Oh, that you don’t have to love your body to accept it?
Yes, oh my gosh, I have loved that. Because it’s so true. Like, all these changes are happening and they may be changing for a good reason, right? Like, your growing life and having a baby is this wonderful thing, but like you might not love all the changes happening, which is totally valid. You don’t have to love it, but like accepting it is going to be a lot easier.
It’s going to make a lot easier of a journey than hating the process for the nine or whatever months that you’re pregnant. And so when you, you know, I think you say it a couple times and I think you’ve said it just beautifully, but just being able to accept it, I think makes the journey a lot more enjoyable.
Okay, to put your, I guess, social work degree into practice, how that you’ve had personal experience, how have you navigated the comments are like, what do you recommend that people do? Or how do you recommend that people set boundaries with others that are maybe making comments that aren’t very helpful?
That’s a hard one. So I’m really good at setting and holding boundaries with my family, but I think it’s, you know, like, hey, I understand that you’re probably not saying these things to be hurtful, but it’s really not helpful for me, you know, to hear that I’m getting bigger. Like, I know that I’m getting bigger, you know? Like, I see myself every day and I know that I’m getting bigger and it’s, you know, it’s hurtful for me and my journey and if you’re going to make a comment or like I’d prefer that you ask me if there’s any way you can support me during this pregnancy or you know if you can lend me a hand to help with the toddler or you know food or whatever but I think just like validating that people aren’t trying to be malicious and then offering what you want from them instead.
I love that. I think that’s great because it’s not overwhelming in the sense that, you know, it’s not about being so confrontational because I know that that’s tough, but I like how you say, you know, just let them know how you’re feeling because I think a lot of times, people aren’t trying to be hurtful and they don’t realize what they’re saying. So just letting them in to know, like, hey, this is how I heard that, so.
Yes, exactly. Like, I heard that I’m a cow and am having twins, like, where I’m just having one baby, you know. And so, and like I said, it’s nice because I’m able to brush that off, but a lot of people aren’t. And you never know. The thing is, you never know what somebody else is going through. You never know if they’re having just a bad body image day, if they have difficulty with body image in general, or the relationship with food isn’t healthy or good. And so, really just comments about body and food. I feel you just need to be kept to yourself. Yeah, unless you know somebody’s struggling and they’re asking for your support.
So good. All right. So for everybody to get to know you better, I know you know I do this because you look at my podcast. Are you ready for your speed round question?
So ready, but not even though I know you do it.
All right. What is your nut butter of choice?
Nut butter… Peanut butter.
Crunchy or smooth?
What is the dumbest or just most random way you’ve ever been injured?
I honestly think how I tore my ACL was the dumbest way I was injured. Just like running down the soccer field with a ball and I just pivoted and there it was. Like that’s what happened. Like all by myself, like, yeah. So I pivoted and fell and it was an ACL tear. I feel like I’ve heard that often with ACL stuff, like it’s never like this epic story, it’s always like I like literally I was at the bottom of the ski hill and then I like or saying that Mike was going down the soccer field.
Oh no! Yeah. If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?
Gosh. What would the title be? You got me on that one. I don’t know. Well just kick it out in Powered by Betty.
Okay, okay. We’ll keep it there. Would you rather have to sew all your clothes or grow all your own food?
Ew, grow all my own food. I don’t even want to touch a sewing – I don’t even know what that is.
What is one tradition your family had when you were growing up?
We would celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve.
What did you have for dinner last night?
Last night we had mashed potatoes, drumsticks, and broccoli.
Sounds so good. Would you rather have someone cook for you or clean for you?
Ew, clean. This is one of my favorites that I’ve just included. What is a food combination that you love that somebody else would think is weird?
Um, a food combination. I don’t know if it’s so weird now, but I love pickles and sour cream and onion chips.
Like, together, like you take a bite of pickle and then chip?
Yes, yes, or like get the like pre-cut sandwich pickles and then like lay them with the chips. Whoa, so like, I love my fried pickles because they’re like battered.
How would you define happiness?
That’s a good one and you’ve asked that before. I think being happy can be hard and it’s so, I think it can be short-lived, you know? So I like the word content over happy. Just doing, I don’t know, doing what you want, what you’re passionate about, and with like lack of judgment from others, you know?
Good, good add on there, I really like that. If you were a coffee drink, what would you be and why?
I love the caramel frap without whipped cream. And it’s like sweet, but like I can always add more coffee if I want from a Starbucks or a Beans and Brew or whatever. So, it’s like sweet but not.
Oh my gosh, well thank you so much again for coming on. If people want to connect with you and see what’s going on, also see your new baby because when this releases, you will have that baby. Where can people find you?
Just on Instagram, at empoweredbybetty. So it’s empowered underscore by underscore betty, B-E-T-T-Y.
And I will have that linked in our show notes. Thank you so much again.
Yes, of course. Thank you so much for having me.
Licensed Therapist, Certified Nutritionist, and Virtual Wellness Coach
Ryann is a licensed therapist and virtual wellness coach who has assisted individuals worldwide in establishing a healthier relationship with food and their bodies.
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