So 14 weeks, feeling fine, no weight gained (if anything, a few more pounds lost), barely starting to show. Or not showing? It's hard to tell. I do carry plenty of fat in my abdominal region; my lower stomach looks the same, but sometimes/in some outfits it seems there's a bit of a swell higher up. I think I can get through the summer without maternity clothing, but will need some items come fall/winter.
While my body is trucking along just fine, my mind is up to its old antics. Namely, I'm playing with the idea of complete abstinence from desserts for the rest of my pregnancy. I've had some bad eating days lately and one day last week in which I just flat-out binged on ice cream sandwiches, and after that I felt so fed up and frightened that I wondered if simply walking away from that whole category of food is the smartest thing to do. Not forever, but for now.
See, I've been over this before. Prior to getting pregnant, I had attempts at abstinence backfire enough times that I finally settled on moderation and re-learning as the best way forward. I still think learning to eat "problem foods" moderately is the best long-term solution. I was making progress throughout 2012 with this approach, and before I got pregnant, I viewed my frequent slip-ups with sugar as merely part of the learning process.
I don't feel so easygoing about it anymore. I feel like I can't afford slip-ups the way I used to, and as I'm still fairly new to the moderate eating game, they happen way too often. Some of the things I think about:
1. I weigh 245 pounds about 14 weeks into pregnancy. I'm at high risk for gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia. Can I "afford" binges or episodes of overeating? Even if I don't binge, can I "afford" to eat nutritionally poor, sugar-laden foods on a regular basis? Keep in mind, I do not eat a low-carb diet to start with. My body is processing considerable sugar throughout the day due to my consumption of grains, fruits, dairy, etc.
(As an aside, I am certainly not low on calories and I don't believe my urges to binge/overeat are the result of my body desperately trying to get more energy to support a growing baby, or anything like that!)
2. Eating sweets moderately requires a LOT of mental effort from me. Even on my best days, it requires energy and willpower to stop at a certain point and to ignore the cravings for more than inevitably follow. (Hormonal swings haven't made this any easier, I can assure you.) I don't have as much energy and time to fight these battles as I used to, and think it'd be easier on me, in many respects, to simply cut sweets out of my life for now.
3. In a few weeks, the baby will be swallowing amniotic fluid throughout the day that is flavored by the foods I am eating. Research suggests that certain dietary preferences start to form in utero, largely through this mechanism. (Breastmilk is similarly flavored and believed to influence later food preferences and eating behavior, too.) If family history is any indication, my baby probably has food/addiction/weight challenges awaiting him or her already. Do I want to do anything that might make matters worse?
Even if abstinence is the best route, I don't know if I can maintain it. I've never been able to before, but then again, I've never had to factor a baby into the picture, either. I'd like to try and see. If I sense that it's about to backfire in a big way, I will have to go back to the daily grind of battling for moderation. Even if moderation (with all my inevitable slip-ups) isn't ideal, I CANNOT go through the abstain-binge-abstain-binge cycle while pregnant. One round of the abstinence experiment is all I will do; if it fails, I will not be attempting it again during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
There isn't much research or literature out there on binge eating disorder and pregnancy. All my books briefly cover anorexia and bulimia in pregnancy, not even mentioning binge eating disorder. Yet I know I cannot be alone in this, and I wonder how other women handle it.