Tuesday, December 25, 2012


I went in for a prenatal late last week. They did the typical urine test, I've done them a several times before with Duckling. But this time the midwives told me that they had found ketones in my specimen, which meant that my body is in a state of ketosis meaning that I haven't been consuming enough food and so my body has started dipping into its emergency fat stores just to keep going. Well that explains why I was feeling lightheaded all the time. And why I was 16.5 weeks pregnant and had gained only two pounds.

It really didn't have anything to do with the way we eat. (In fact we actually eat more meat and cooked food in the winter. We feel better that way.) You can even eat 100% raw vegan and still have a healthy pregnancy. (Raw advocate Jinjee Talifiero has had five healthy, all-raw pregnancies resulting in healthy babies.) The problem was that I needed to eat more. Lots more.

I knew I wasn't doing the best. My appetite goes a little crazy when I'm pregnant and certain things I loved before become nauseating to me when I'm carrying a baby. But on top of that, I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to only eat things that my husband could eat with his food sensitivities because I didn't want to make him feel bad- which limited my food choices. And I'm still nursing some. And I was keeping up our walking and hiking schedule. I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to keep up a vision of what I felt like was perfect. I've had a history of food issues from picky eating as a kid because I hated almost everything my mom made, to going hungry as a teenager when there wasn't enough money for food, to the immense nausea I experienced with my pregnancy with Duckling.

At first I was hungry all the time, but soon, even though I wasn't eating anywhere near enough, I felt like I didn't need to or wanted to eat anything. I thought I could handle it and get through it. But I was starting to really lose a grip. I was getting really anxious and depressed and irritable. I thought I could take care of everything and became obsessed with trying to keep everyone happy, but I was just making my husband and son more miserable.

So when the test showed I was in ketosis, I got my wake-up call. Malamute and I talked a lot about it. In researching, I found out that the latest research into eating disorders has found that many people who suffer from eating disorders often share similar traits of perfectionism, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive tendencies, being overly rigid and closed to change, and difficulty seeing long-term consequences- like me.

Remember those junior high and high school health classes where they talk about eating disorders? Don't they always make it sound so simple? Girl sees lots of actresses and models who are thin and/or takes up modeling or ballet. She stops eating or starts a cycle of bingeing and purging, then realizes how she's killing herself, sees the light and starts eating again. Then everything is OK. Turns out, the reality is actually much different than that:

  • For many with eating disorders, media images have nothing to do with their eating disorder. If media messages were solely to blame, then all of us would have an eating disorder since we are all seeing the same thin actresses and models. Eating disorders are preached about in secondary schools across America. Even magazines like Seventeen and Cosmogirl regularly run features warning about the dangers of anorexia and bulimia. A recent article in Seattle Woman talked with several women who described how eating disorders were not really about maintaining a certain appearance for them, but about exercising control, about how they feel, many even described it as an addiction. Behavioral tendencies, differences in brain chemistry, and possibly even DNA have been found to be contributors. The psychiatric community has also started to find a greater correlation between sexual trauma and eating disorders than previously thought and therapeutic approaches that emphasize dealing with underlying trauma are being encouraged.
  • It's not just about starving or purging. Many people don't realize that Binge Eating Disorder- where an individual goes through cycles of food over-indulgence and guilt- is just as much of a problem as anorexia or bulimia. People with BED are addicts, but their drug of choice is food. BED can also kill because of complications related to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
  • It's not just "starving girls". Most estimates are that 1-5% of all men have some sort of eating disorder, with a majority of those men have Binge Eating Disorder. Many researchers are even looking into the phenomenon of steroids and obsessive bodybuilding as being a type of eating disorder.
As for me, I've been eating a lot more (regardless of whether Malamute can eat it or not) and allowing him to help me more instead of trying do everything myself. I am feeling a lot better. I've even found myself being happy again. Since it's still pretty early on, I have a lot of time to change things. But things are looking up. =)

1 comment:

  1. Yikes! Glad you were able to become aware and adjust :) I tried to listen a lot more to my body this last pregnancy and it made a big difference! Don't neglect yourself :)