“I never want my daughter, Maya, to see me stepping on the scale and bemoaning my appearance or telling my husband, ‘I look fat today.’” -Melissa Henriquez, Portage, Mich.
After losing 35 pounds, I was elated with my new thin body. But the happiness soon devolved into an obsession with my weight.
In June 2008, I wrote in my blog, “Let There Be Light” (formerly titled “Tales of a [Recovering] Disordered Eater”): “I was ravaged by feelings of guilt, like this body was on loan and if I didn’t exercise one day or didn’t eat well, I’d get fat overnight.”
One of my first blog posts was about fear- ing pregnancy; I feared giving birth, sure, but even more than that I feared getting fat after working so hard to get thin. But by the time I found out I was pregnant in May 2010, I had been recovered from disordered eating well over a year and had a healthy relationship with my body. It was my dream to be a mom and to start a family with my husband.
Even though I had overcome my unhealthy relationship with food, I felt it was important to blog about being pregnant with a history of disordered eating, which so many women struggle with. One entry detailed how I felt surprisingly OK the first time my jeans were too tight to button. It was freeing, in a way, to know that my jeans weren’t fitting for the best reason: A life was growing inside of me.
I told my OB-GYN that I had a history of disordered eating and he thought journaling—a habit of mine since I began Weight Watchers in 2004—was an excellent idea, not for the calorie-counting aspect but to keep track of nutrients. This helped me gain exactly the weight he recommended.
I loved watching my belly grow. In spite of all my body image issues, I loved the physical changes—I had never felt so womanly. To be honest, it was important to me to keep my weight in check when I was pregnant, but I refused to obsess over it.
Now that I’m a mom, I want to set a positive example for my daughter, Maya, and that means being the healthiest I can be.