I am a big girl (how big, people always want to know – 5′ 8″ 214 lbs pre pregnancy, somewhere between a size 16 – 18). I used to be smaller – around 180, but have been dieting all my life. Have always been considered overweight by myself and those around me. For about a year or so before I got pregnant I had been moving away from dieting and had been experimenting with intuitive eating. I had been in the first stage of intuitive eating – rejecting dieting and learning to make peace with food. I had only been moderately successful because no matter what, I could never really get to the point where I was not worrying about gaining weight. I may not have stood on the scale, and I may not have talked about it, but it was always there in the back of my mind. In hindsight, maybe ‘the year of weddings’ wasn’t the best time to try not worrying about my weight. What with all those dresses that I needed to fit into.

I would say intuitive eating was a mixed bag for me – eating was less stressful and more enjoyable, but I was still fairly stressed about gaining weight. But at least I was eating what I wanted and realizing that if I let my body dictate what and when it wanted to eat it wouldn’t be chocolate and french fries all the time. It was also interesting to shift focus from trying to lose weight, to working on accepting myself as I was. This was a time of tremendous growth for me – fat can really become an easy thing to pin all your problems on – feeling shitty? Must be because I’m fat, here let me focus all my energy on ‘eating right and exercising’. Hmm, what about that job you hate? Want to do something about that? Oh, when I’m thin I’ll be less depressed and everything else will fall into place.

Through all this I still held onto a deep seated fear about getting fatter. I could accept myself at this weight, but no more. This fear just kind of sat there like a cold, hard knot in my belly and made me approach many a meal like it was ticking bomb – was this the meal that was going to send me over the edge and result in 10lbs of weight gain? This kept me from really making peace with food and really exploring food and examining what my true likes and dislikes were.

During this pregnancy, the last piece fell into place. I accepted that I was going to gain weight. Can I say that I’m completely relaxed about the possibility of gaining weight? No. But I do know that weight gain is inevitable (and very necessary – yes, even for fat girls) during pregnancy. This coupled with the fact that the pregnant body has some very definite likes and dislikes seems to have taken away my last piece of resistance to intuitive eating. I have had to eat whatever feels right at the moment. And again I’m often shocked that what I feel like eating hasn’t lead straight to binges or a 10 lb gain overnight.

I am at 23 weeks and I’m sure that that the rate at which I put on weight is going to increase quite rapidly from here on.  Surprisingly, I haven’t put on that much weight yet – 10 lbs.  Maybe this is what happens when you finally get to a point where you allow yourself to eat what you want and aren’t starving yourself on a regular basis?