Weight and Infertility
One of the many courageous women that I know through infertility and fertility treatment posted this on Facebook recently. I like it. It shows respect.
There's been a lot of conversation lately about how we take care of ourselves, in terms of lifestyle choices that we make. That is, about food, liquids, exercise and more. Funny, that respect is not often mentioned in these conversations.
I see this lovely and loving note to oneself as an opportunity. An opportunity to be more loving, more mindful, more compassionate. Not as an opportunity to beat yourself up. Not that. Enough of that. That would just be the next thing that you would need to apologize to yourself about; emotional mayhem.
If you are writing this type of note to yourself, it may be that weight is an issue for you. Far more frequently it is that you weigh more than you would like or think that you should. If you are more than fifteen pounds overweight, I know that you already know it. How come that doesn't make it less painful when someone, like your doctor, brings it up? How horrendous does it feel to hear that part of why you are not becoming pregnant is because of your weight?
And how quickly do we assume that this is something we can easily do something about?
Emotional Eating: We Eat for Lots of Reasons
We eat for lots of reasons, including emotional eating.
We eat because we are sad, we are bored, we are celebrating, we are frustrated, we are happy, we are overdone, we are hopeful, we are tired, we are holding on for dear life, we are relieved, we are off duty, we are feeling stress, and finally, we eat because we are hungry. If we ever get to the point of being hungry, given all the other reasons that we eat.
Is your reason for eating on that list? Is the only one you relate to the one about being hungry? If so, you are unusual. Many of us, most of us, eat for reasons other than hunger. It is a coping mechanism. It is not alcoholic, nor illegal, it feels and tastes good and it alleviates many of the feelings that we are having that cause us to reach for food.
I know for me that there are certain foods that I simply cannot have anymore. And when I say simply, I mean anything but simply. I tried many different things. I tried restricting. I tried only eating those foods on certain days or holidays. I tried eating only a measured portion. I tried having only small amounts within a full meal. It didn't work for me.
If you have heard that having excess weight is part of why you are not able to become or stay pregnant, understand that we know that this is a very difficult thing to hear. And that "simply" losing weight, is anything but simple. There are answers though. Finding them yourselves is not necessary, as they are sometimes anything but simple.
Nutrition for Pregnancy, Fertility Counseling and More
How lucky are we here at RMACT to have CT Nutritionist Carolyn Gundell, MS and Fertility Counselor Melissa Kelleher, LCSW for support, for only the price of a co-pay. Does that sound terrible? I don't mean it that way. We all know how expensive infertility and fertility treatment can be and sometimes having to pay more for other services becomes painfully challenging. So why not be grateful that we have these wonderful resources in Carolyn and Melissa to help with the challenges that we are facing?
Me, I'm grateful. I'm grateful to have both of these amazing, respectful women in my corner. And in your corner.
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Ideal Weight for Women
While we may not all look alike, we have a lot in common--the variation in our body types, the voice of our ideal weight.
We may be tall and thin, short and curvy, rounder than we would like or needing to gain some weight.
As individual as our facial features are, so are our bodies.
Is there an ideal body?
Maybe in our minds.
I know this. I have a vigorous, strengthening yoga practice that has toned my body and built lean muscle mass. I know this too: I can do yoga from now until I'm 105 and it will not make me five-foot-10 and 118 pounds.
What's that got to with anything?
If my vision of ideal is five-foot-10 and 118 pounds, then I will never feel ideal or even satisfied.
If my vision of ideal for me, fifty years old, five-foot-three on a really tall day, 118 pounds, then I'm ideal. And satisfied.
A very short time ago, I was 139 pounds. Still five-foot-three on a good day, forty-nine years old. I was not satisfied; my vision of ideal and my body did not mesh.
You know what? I'm glad I lost the weight. I feel stronger, healthier and more able.
Is Your Body Mass Index Okay?
You know what else? I was okay at 139. I just didn't know it. My Body Mass Index (BMI) was okay enough.
I had this idea, which a lot of us share, that skinner is better--better looking, healthier, even indicitave of more will power and a stronger sense of self-worth.
I discovered the secret. I lost the weight and came to realize I'm thinner.
I'm not better looking, I'm thinner.
I don't have a stronger sense of self or more will power.
I do feel better about myself--absolutely.
The secret though, is that I am still me.
And now I know that was just fine at 139 or at 118.
I'm glad I lost the weight. It is healthier for me.
I just know that my weight, the number on the scale, is not who I am.
It's just what I weigh.
Infertility and Weight
So, yes, lose weight, gain weight, get stronger; do whatever you need to do to feel and be healthier. Infertility and weight--make that connection, learn about fertility nutrition.
And whatever weight you are, enjoy who you are. Because you are you. You are not a number on a scale. That's the real secret.
We may all look different, but the secret is, we are also all alike. We are unique human beings.
We are not numbers on a scale. Enjoy the journey as the scale goes down or up as you need it to.
I’m starting this blog with a disclaimer this morning. Especially if you are new to this blog, I am a real live person who struggled with the challenges of infertility for six and a half years. Occasionally I discuss my infertility treatment in an angry, sarcastic or even enraged way.
Today’s blog is a bit of a rant. About ME. Not you, not your weight. Not calling anyone else out there fat. Really, it’s about how I felt, while in fertility treatment. So if the word fat upsets you, even in relationship to someone else, ME, than please read a blog from last week or last month. Today’s my rant about my weight gain while trying to conceive and my feelings about myself during that time.
I remember the first time that I joined Weight Watchers. It was because I was on infertility medications (we call them fertility medications now; we did not call them that way back then). I had a set of clothes for when I was doing an infertility cycle and when I was not. My weight fluctuated easily 6-9 pounds with months on fertility medications and months off.
I hated it. I hated being “fat”, but not pregnant. I hated gaining weight, always right around my middle, which made me look pregnant even though I was not. I had never weighed so much in my life and I hated it. I resented it. I joined Weight Watchers because I refused to be fat, but not pregnant.
I knew the difference between fat and pregnant. Fat, I would have nothing to show for it after nine months. Fat was something I was supposed to do something about, to prevent. Pregnant, there would be growing anticipation along with a growing larger body, with a baby at the end.
People who would complain about getting “fat” during pregnancy rarely knew how lucky they were that I didn’t say anything. I couldn’t stand hearing their complaints about their weight gain, their bodies changing, and their supposed “fat”. I truly wanted to scream listening to them complain about everything I dreamed about, worked towards and hoped for. They didn’t seem to know the difference between fat and pregnant.
I longed for the curves and the softening of angles, I dreamed about the larger belly that appeared having nothing to do with bloat or excess weight or medications. I imagined how it would feel to have a baby move within me. Everything that the pregnant belly stood for, I wanted.
So I went to weight watchers and lost 10 pounds. Ridiculously slowly, of course, as I didn’t have that much to lose. Lost about quarter to a half a pound a week, if that. But I did lose it.
For those of you who know me, I rarely use language like “fat”, nor do I focus on external appearance. How we look isn’t who we are, isn’t what we are. We are much more than our physical appearance or how much we weigh. Please understand that this blog is about ME. My craziness, twenty years ago. Not a judgment about you and how much you do or do not weigh.
It was the pregnant belly I wanted. Not the fat or even the lack of fat. It was the sense of control that I wanted if I couldn’t have the pregnant belly quite yet. And so I lost ten pounds, very slowly and safely, waiting for the time that I could gain the weight that meant I was going to have a baby.
Dr.Mark Leondires is going to talk about sex and infertility later this week. Yes, really, your sexual practices as related to conceiving a child. How those practices can increase or decrease your possibilities. Some of the questions that he will be answering: Do we have to have sex every day while I'm trying to get pregnant? Does having an orgasm help you to get pregnant? I think my husband masturbates sometimes. Should he stop while we're trying to conceive?
Is it possible there are more embarrassing questions to have to address than these? Of course there are, yet these are pretty intimate questions to address in a blog. Think about it though, what is more connected than sex and conception? I applaud Dr. Leondires for being willing to address what can be an uncomfortable subject, at best.
There are few subjects less comfortable to discuss than sex, especially with a doctor. Another one on the top of the hit list is probably weight. Ugh. As if we needed our doctor to tell us the perfectly obvious, that we need to lose weight. Still, when it comes to infertility and conception and success, it's another uncomfortable conversation that is helpful, even necessary, to have. Statistics and research have shown that losing as little as ten per cent of our body weight, (when necessary) can have tremendous impact on all aspects of our health, including conceiving.
Two uncomfortable subjects being discussed this week on this blog. Luckily, we have two wonderful experts to speak on the subject. Dr. Mark Leondires, Medical Director of Reproductive Medicine Associates of CT and Carolyn Gundell, MS. If you have questions on either of these uncomfortable subjects that you would prefer to ask anonymously, please know that you can post them here and we will answer them. We do not have to, and will not; post your name or any other identifying information, and we will make sure that you get your answers.
Don't let embarrassment or shame get in the way of your conceiving or growing your family. Ask your questions, get your answers. A slightly red face is something we can all get over.