31 Jan How to avoid the Fertility Diet trap
I’m 33 and I’ve been on a diet longer than I haven’t in my life. That means for over 17 years I’ve been counting calories, measuring portions and stripping down to my undies for weigh in day because every gram matters. It’s safe to say I was dieting pro.
Food has taken up a lot of my time and energy in my life. The first time I became aware that food was a “thing” for me, I was probably about 8 or 9. I still vividly remember my grandparents buying me Skips (the prawn flavoured savoury treat) instead of the normal crisps that my sister got, because they had fewer calories.
Their hearts were completely in the right place but that’s where it started, the knowledge that I couldn’t eat what I wanted because I was fat.
The non-exhaustive list of diets that I followed from about the age of 13 to 28 looks like this:
•Rosemary Connelly (fond memories of their line dancing classes!)
•Weight Watchers (obviously! Where it all began)
•The Atkins Diet (meat fest! By far my favourite)
•The Harcombe Diet
•The Cabbage Soup Diet (lasted about 4 hours)
•The Cambridge diet. (This one I had to get from a pharmacist. Wow just wow!)
•The Low GI Diet
•The Food Doctor Diet
•The 5:2 Diet
I’ve never written it down before and this list just terrifies me.The amount of money, energy and time that I spent to make my body thinner. And I bet you can guess what happened.
It didn’t work.
I lost weight on maybe two thirds of these diets but I put it all back on and more once I went back to eating normally.
That’s how the diet industry works! That’s why it’s worth over £2 billion a year in the UK and over $66 billion in the US.
It took me until I was 31 (about 2 years ago) to finally give up on the whole diet industry. I smashed up my scales and made a promise to myself never to weigh myself or diet again. I just had enough.
I was sick of feeling crap about myself all the time. I spent way too much time worrying about what I was putting in my mouth, including hours of time worried about what people would think of me eating one more biscuit at work, eating said biscuit, then spending the next two hours mentally shaming myself for having no self control.
I realised I had much more important things to think about and things to do than worry about food and losing weight.
Diet is a very loaded word but actually all it is, is the food that you consume.
Food is fuel
It is not inherently good or bad. It’s just food. We are the ones that attach so much emotion to it.
But the problems with all eating plans/diets whatever you want to call them is that they do not take into account the most important thing……YOU
Everyone has a different body, live in different environments and has a different health background. It makes absolutely no sense that we would need the same foods. You do not need a fertility diet.
You need a fertility un-diet.
Tools to work out what foods suit your body.
Techniques to understand what eating patterns make you feel great and what habits are killing your sleep and energy.
Sure it’s easy to follow a diet plan for a while, but it just feeds more and more into the mindset of basing your worth around food. When food is good or bad, you give yourself another stick to beat yourself with.
If you eat good foods then you are good, if you eat bad foods then you are a terrible person, your IVF is going to fail and you are never going to get pregnant*
(*This is not actually true but even this thought is harmful to you)
So how can you figure out the right foods for you when you’re trying to get pregnant? What if you need to lose weight?
The good news is that our body already know what it need to feel healthy and therefore fertile. Being fertile is not a different level we need to achieve, eating well for your body will naturally get you there.
All we have to do is listen.
FERTILITY GUIDE – STEP 1
Write it down – This is not an exercise in calorie counting or beating ourselves up about what we’re eating. Use a journal or even just a notepad and pen to write down these things:
•What you are eating and drinking
•When you are eating and drinking
•Any signs and symptoms you experience (eg headaches, IBS, back pain etc)
FERTILITY GUIDE – STEP 2
Look for patterns – Use the information you’ve collected to look for patterns. How does the food your eating affect you energy or mood? How does your sleep affect what food you choose for breakfast? Are there any foods that correlate to particular symptoms?
Food has a huge and individual impact on our health so by learning to listen to our bodies, we are in the best position to make positive health choices.
FERTILITY GUIDE – STEP 3
Notice how you think about food – A lot of our decisions around what and when we choose to eat are based on beliefs we carry about food.
Do you eat when you are hungry or when it’s mealtime?
Do you choose what you eat based on how you feel or what’s easy?
Our thoughts and beliefs play a huge role in how we nourish ourselves with food but most of it is automatic – we have no idea it’s going on.
Becoming more aware of why we choose to eat is essential so that we can choose whether we want that last piece of chocolate or not instead of just mindlessly ramming it into our mouth.
Counting calories and restricting your diet isn’t the quickest way to get pregnant.
Nourishing your body and giving it the fuel it needs, is.
Trust your body and yourself enough to know that you know what is right for you.
Nicola is a specialist fertility coach and acupuncture therapist. Visit her directory page link below.