I’m 30 years old, nine months pregnant, less than two weeks from my due date, and last night I realized that I have relapsed into binge eating in the last few months to cope with the fear, the anxiety, the boredom, the depression that has come along with the end of my pregnancy.
I didn’t know I was a binge eater until I found your site a couple of years ago. At the time, I would say I was in “remission.” In addition to the binge eating, I have the flip side as well: compulsive dieting. It took years for me to realize that the diets were as bad for me as my binges were, but again, when I found your site, I was committed to a “no more diets” rule, and doing pretty well. I looked on your blog as a resource to help keep me on the right path.
All that changed as my body changed with pregnancy. It was so hard to fight the fat feelings and negative voices, even when I knew that a lot of it really was a growing baby. It has been so hard to go to the OB every month and be told I’ve gained too much weight, to stand on the scale and see the numbers skyrocket past my heaviest ever—and then to be told in no uncertain terms that I was NOT to go on a diet under any circumstances.
Foolishly, I deleted all the feeds from blogs like yours from my feed reader, feeling like I didn’t want to be reminded that I was gaining weight all the time, with no recourse.
I tried to be healthy. I tried to eat balanced meals and exercise as often as possible. I walked and did prenatal yoga. I started drinking V8 juices when I couldn’t even look at vegetables my first three months. But in the last couple of months, I transitioned to working from home, part time, and suddenly, I had no more constraints by time or availability on what I could eat during the day. If I was hungry (or sad, or bored), I could have two breakfasts, or two lunches. I could snack all day, go out for fast food, bake cookies or brownies, cook whatever I was craving for dinner. Four or five slices of Italian bread, toasted and slathered with butter; two, three, four glasses of milk; salsa and chips until my heart’s content; a dozen cookies fresh from the oven before my husband even got home from work.
I chalked it all up to pregnancy, to hormones. I even told myself it was OK to soothe myself with food—for now—because pregnancy was such a hard transition in my life. I told myself that it was a special circumstance. When I cried because I was so despondent at all the weight I was gaining, I told myself to let it go, to lighten up, that it was natural, “all baby.”
And then, last night, my husband made an innocuous little joke about my weight as he helped me out of a chair—on our way to go make cookies in the kitchen—and it was like the straw that broke the camel’s back. It didn’t happen all at once; we made cookies, and I ate half a dozen before going upstairs, getting in the shower, and sobbing as my heart was breaking.
I’ve done it again. I’ve allowed myself to be sucked into the vortex of emotional eating, thinking in the short run it would make me feel better. And now I will have to deal with the consequences of the weight I’ve gained—and it is not just baby weight, but weight all over my body. Weight I will have to try, once again to lose. I stood in the shower and my mind immediately raced to all the diets I could try. I tried to think of what would be the most healthy for baby as I breastfeed in the coming months, but that would also allow the weight to come off as quickly as possible. Vegan. Low carb. Stick to exactly the number of calories my doctor says I need per day to feed myself and my child.
And then, I had to cry some more, because I recognized the same old tapes playing in my head, the same old messages that got me in so, so deep before. The very things I had worked so hard to overcome.
So now, I don’t know what to do. My logical, rational brain knows that I need to focus solely on having a healthy baby, and then taking care of both of us for at least six weeks or more after she is born—even though I want to start dieting now, today. But then what? How do I move past these messages that have been etched into my brain so deeply, that even when I thought I had conquered them, thought I had erased them, they resurface, bold as ever? How do I get past this and not pass this disease on to my daughter?? I want so badly to be strong and healthy and well for her, but right now I cannot see how to get there.
I don’t know who to talk to. I don’t want to worry my family and friends. I don’t know that they could do anything for me anyway at this point. I am feeling extremely lost, so I’m turning back to the positive messages I know exist, like your blog. I’m hoping they will help lead me through the dark.