*Trigger warning to those that are sensitive to ED
(ED = Eating Disorder & BD = Body Dysmorphia)
Managing weight during pregnancy can be hard – whether it’s the food aversions or food cravings – it seems to go from one extreme to the other.
Managing weight during pregnancy with a history of ED can make it just that little bit harder to find the right balance.
As soon as I had found out I was pregnant, I was feeling quite nauseous in the mornings which led me just to eating dry and bland foods – mostly simple carbohydrates that helped my feelings of sickness but just made me feel pretty down right crap about the food that was going into my body.
Even though I had phased out most of the massively problematic buIimic behaviours, I had already concocted my plan of keeping to a strict diet of vegetables, juices and superfoods to ‘keep me in shape’ throughout the pregnancy.
As my typical cycle goes – and i’m sure anyone with a history of ED or BD can relate – You make plans that you almost know that you’re not going to stick to, which sets you up for ‘failure’ in most circumstances.
The idea in my head of never touching a piece of junk/comfort food throughout my pregnancy I KNEW was extreme but I had to set myself these high standards because of my ‘fear of getting fat’
I am a lover of pretty much all foods and prior to falling pregnant I was just getting into the rhythm of finding that balance between eating well and allowing myself to indulge without feeling guilty.
As I moved further along in the first trimester I realised how challenging it was to keep this strict goal into place & maintain a high level of exercise due to traveling, feeling unwell and overall exhaustion.
I think one of the biggest struggles for me in the first trimester was the bloat and the slight belly – as you do not look pregnant yet, so I just felt this awkward chubbiness.
To be honest I was desperately wanting my pregnant belly to show so I could look ‘pregnant and not fat.’
I spoke to many other women in my prenatal classes and friends that had went through this same feeling – their bodies are changing and while they’re in the in-between phase of not looking pregnant and showing – normal clothes aren’t fitting right, feeling too self conscious to go out or even to look in the mirror.
I continued to struggle with my food and desire to restrict to only ‘healthy’ foods – of course this led me to a path of having that afternoon binge that made me feel even worse. I decided to confide in a nutritionist and a few knowledgable friends that gave me that pep talk about eating balanced and well. I felt like I knew this but it just didn’t help shake the ED mind.
I feel really happy with how my pregnancy has progressed, no complications, no problems – just my own little niggling voice in the back of my head fearing gaining too much weight.
Where am I at now? At 27 weeks, feeling the weight gain become more prominent however trying my best to find comfort in my own body.
I felt at the beginning it was harder as I was trying to make it hard on myself, now as I continue to grow and as my baby grows, there’s less focus on my body shape and more about preparing for life with my baby outside of the womb.
I do still that I ‘could be doing better’ with my food control – but in the moment I am enjoying being relaxed more than ever.
The feelings of guilt post food (like the next day when I take a glimpse of myself in the mirror) are probably the most challenging moments.
How am I going to set myself up for positive progression? I’ve continued therapy which helps me be able to reflect on my thoughts and actions.
I really do feel that every day IS a progression however I’m aware that my old ED mindset can still hover around sometimes; encouraging me to body check and be super hard on myself.
The movement towards a positive mindset for me now is to remind myself that I am transitioning into a new phase of life – even though I know and feel everyday a miracle happening inside of me – the past experiences with ED might still hang around in down times. I have GOT to surround myself with supportive people and positive environments to keep my energy high.
Whether it’s just seeing friends, getting outside to the beach (which is one of my fears at the moment because of the weight gain), exercising and releasing endorphins – these habits that I create now to help pick me up will hopefully stick with me post baby as I know that I am of a higher risk of relapsing then.
If you’re feeling this way, pregnant or not; my encouragement is find that SUPPORT and set yourself up for progression to move forward to help you live an easier life.
Dealing with an ED mindset whether you’re in recovery or not is tough – keep those key positive activities and people in your life around to help you ride it through