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Struggling to eat properly due to fear of weight gain

(14 Posts)
tableandchairs Wed 26-Sep-12 23:54:23

Have name changed since I'm not proud of this.

Am 19wks with DC2. With DC1 I put on about 25lbs from a healthy starting point. I lost most of it quickly, but a bit hung around until I stopped BF. I didn't really mind the weight gain whilst pregnant since I was exercising daily and eating pretty well. Not losing the last few pounds was annoying but not the end of the world, and I knew I had to eat well whilst BF.

I then got ill and lost a lot of weight - I became quite underweight. I put the weight back on and got a figure I was really happy with: nice and toned, small but not skinny etc. I ate fine: very healthy but enough.

I was slimmer when I fell pg with DC2, but still a healthy weight. I'm really struggling now though to eat enough. I haven't counted the calories I eat in a day but there's no way they can be enough: if I'm hungry I have fruit, and I often have cereal for dinner. I'm not starving myself, but I'm also not eating enough and it's upsetting me. I'm worried for the baby (even though it's measuring fine and I know babies survive through famines), and just don't get why I'm doing this: why I can't just relax and enjoy being pregnant and treat myself to things. We went out for our wedding anniversary last week and I couldn't bring myself to order something really yummy: I went for something small.

I'm also exercising loads. Full pregnancy workout every morning and then walking everywhere with the buggy (no car) during the day. I'm more toned than I was before pregnancy...

I'm planning on BF again, so maybe it's a subconscious reaction against knowing that I'll keep on some of the weight for a while.

How do I snap out of this? Scare myself silly?

Any advice welcome.

panicnotanymore Thu 27-Sep-12 07:34:46

You poor thing, you are putting yourself through it aren't you. I'm also naturally very scrawny slim. When stressed I lose weight very easily. I have make a conscious effort to watch what I eat.

What worked for me was getting a personal trainer for a while (expensive, but cheaper than therapy if you are really struggling). He gave me a rocket, said he wouldn't train me if I didn't sort it out, focussed on healthy toned weight gain, and the need to eat well to give the baby the best possible start in life, and me the quickest recovery time post birth. He is fab - I now love my changing shape, and love my bump. I think it is beautiful, and I think my new curves are beautiful. I feel sad when people on here worry about weight gain and seem proud when they only gain a few lbs.

I also read the nutritional advice in 'What to expect when you are expecting'. It helps to have a guide of how many portions of protein, healthy fat, etc I need per day.

Good luck. If you can't sort this out yourself speak to your doctor or midwife and get some support.

Another piece of wisdom given to me by a friend was 'now is the time to think of your body as something other than your body'! I like that phrase!

squidgeberry Thu 27-Sep-12 07:35:38

Maybe try to think of food in terms of the nutrients it can provide to your body rather than weight gain.

Weight gain is normal in pregnancy as you are stocking up on resources for breastfeeding.

You lost weight before, so you will do it again.

Try to include plenty of nourishing and healthy food in your diet, as your baby will deplete you of vits and minerals, which can make you ill. I had low iron in my last pregnancy and it really knocked me for six.

lljkk Thu 27-Sep-12 07:43:13

Maybe you just aren't that hungry? I go off of food during pregnancy, and I only eat what I feel like. Which can be very light grazing all day for weeks at a time.

As far as I'm concerned, 25 lbs is a low pregnancy gain. I'm surprised you're afraid of that.

Being fat (or merely chubby) is not the end of the world. It's not something that would thrill me, either, but I think you have to stop being so afraid of it. Besides, unlike many people, you have lost it before without resorting to extreme measures. So why wouldn't you be able to again?

panicnotanymore Thu 27-Sep-12 09:41:34

No, fat or chubby is wrong, that's not what you'll be at all OP. There is nothing to be afraid of in being bigger. I like the idea of thinking in food of terms of nutrients - I do that naturally. If I'm going to eat a bowl of muesli I add lots of chopped nuts and seeds, and think: omega oils - good for brain and eye development, not calories iyswim. If you are someone who needs to feel control, switch that control to a positive thing. Control your nutrient intake to make sure you are getting everything you need, and if you feel the need to cut something out, make it something nutritionally empty like chocolate or tea.

Big hug, I know it can be hard. You sound like you are very fit, so your gain will be healthy, and toned, so you won't be facing a big weight loss problem after birth anyway.

Longtalljosie Thu 27-Sep-12 11:56:34

How has your relationship with your body weight been before? Because I've read your OP twice now and you say you weren't too bothered by the extra poundage you retained after your first pregnancy - but by the same token you think it's actually stopping you eating this time?

Do you think your illness might have changed your relationship with your body? I've never been overweight but did lose weight while ill a few years ago and I found the social reaction to it quite sinister - I was constantly being "congratulated" for it. Only people who really cared about me saw it as a bad thing.

PeshwariNaan Thu 27-Sep-12 12:18:50

OP, having had a sudden-onset eating disorder in the past, it sounds to me like your attitude towards your body and towards exercise and food is becoming a bit disordered. It sounds like you know this in your original post.

I agree with Longtalljosie - sometimes an ED can appear under strange circumstances. Perhaps you got used to seeing yourself at a skinnier stage and that has imprinted in some way on your sense of self. EDs can come about for all sorts of reasons.

I don't think MN can provide all the support you need for this. In my opinion it's a medical issue especially since you're pregnant and have another DC. I'd talk to your midwife or GP straight away and be absolutely, completely honest with him/her. You may be able to get antenatal nutritional counselling or CBT to help you through this.

You shouldn't have to deal with it alone. xx

PeshwariNaan Thu 27-Sep-12 12:22:10

Just to clarify, OP: I had a sudden-onset eating disorder in the past, not you. I should've gotten help earlier for it, too.

whenhenshaveteeth Thu 27-Sep-12 12:31:17

Hello tableandchairs,

I agree with PeshwariNaan, it sounds like your eating has become disordered. I've had an eating disorder and I have now become a nutritionist.

It's very common for women to develop an eating disorder/disordered eating after pregnancy, and for some women it occurs during the pregnancy.

You're right, babies amazingly survive on very little but that doesn't mean it's good for them. Plus you have to think of your own body and soul, what you're doing isn't right for either.

You need to get some help before it become too serious - it's great that you've already understood that what you were doing wasn't quite right. Those things are easier to deal with at the start than years down the line so don't wait too long.

Good luck x

theTramp Thu 27-Sep-12 14:03:39

Table- there is a book called eating for two which is full of tasty recipes that are nutritionally balanced and good for Mum and Baby. Maybe you could look at having one of these recipes for dinner every day and then start incorporating some of the breakfast ideas as well? That way you know you're eating just the right amount.

theTramp Thu 27-Sep-12 14:05:36

Sorry I meant to post a link to the book -

If you're becoming a bit disordered don't read the nutrition advice bits, just make sure you pick a recipe and have that for your tea. There's absolutely nothing complicated in here and they all sound delicious (and I say this as a vegetarian). Its seperated into breakfast, chicken, fish, meat, vegetables.

Jojoba1986 Thu 27-Sep-12 15:24:03

I'd also suggest talking it through with your midwife - maybe they can help you come up with a sensible eating schedule so you can be reassured that you'll be eating what the baby needs!
I hardly gained any weight (other than the baby!) during my first pregnancy so I know that you don't necessarily need to get huge! It's just about being healthy!

Take care of yourself & don't be afraid to ask for support from the professionals if you need it! Tis what they're there for! smile

wheresmespecs Thu 27-Sep-12 16:31:27

I think you should ask for professional help with this, but you need to be clear that you feel you have a (borderline?) eating disorder.

Just that I had to read your post twice before I thought - ah, she means she knows she is restricting her calorie intake and worries it is out of control. I can just see you mentioning this to a MW in the same way, and them thinking you are asking for healthy eating advice, which isn't really the problem.

So yes, I would ask for help via your GP - I would also try and see food as nutrition and protein/vitamins, rather than as calories, as someone else suggests. It isn't about eating 'yummy' food - it's about eating healthy food. Fruit and cereal will be low calorie, but will not be cutting it in terms of nutrition.

Yes, you are right babies are born in famines - but that doesn't mean they or their mothers are healthy. If you are not getting enough vitamins, iron and protein then neither is your baby.

Which I know is not what you want.

tableandchairs Thu 27-Sep-12 20:25:19

Thank you all for your lovely lovely messages and recommendations - I was scared to read them to be honest in case you just told me to be grateful I was pregnant and deal with it...

I don't think in terms of nutrients really: more than x is healthy because it's low-fat. What's weird is that I did before with my first pregnancy: I remember spooning nuts into my yogurt at breakfast to get the goodness from them.

So maybe it is the illness which has messed with my head. I don't like putting on weight, even when it's only to bring me to a healthy weight, and it feels like I've been putting on weight for a long time now.

I know logically that I won't end up huge (and, like you said, I got back to my normal size easily last time), but that thought seems to evaporate every time it comes to actually eating. And I don't really get that hungry, but maybe that's because I've gotten so used to not eating a 'normal' meal.

I will contact my doctor because this is constantly, constantly on my mind, and I don't want it to be. I'm meeting her alone next week (my toddler will be at nursery and my husband can't make the appointment), so that seems like a pretty good opportunity.

Thank you thanks

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