Ah, a 6 letter word that makes everyone lean in a little closer. A vulnerable word, right? Who wants to talk about weight? Their weight at least. Talking about someone else’s weight is usually a little bit more intriguing. We read about it in tabloids, google pictures of the latest “FAT CELEBRITY WITH CELLULITE”, judgingly watch E! News hoping to find out if that new mom REALLY lost all her baby weight in 4 days. People are advocating for healthier weights, more realistic models, and it tends to be a trending topic on “news” websites all the time.
So when I mention “weight”, you are interested right? Ohhh, what’s she gonna say? Well, I am going to talk about MY WEIGHT. Ohhh, now its really getting good, right!?
Weight has been a struggle of mine for a while. Partially because I love food and partially because I hate exercise. I have done the “ups and downs” with my weight for many years post high school. Up a little in college, down a little for the wedding, up a lot after the wedding, down a lot a few years later, then slowly back up and up. I know bad/slow metabolism is a symptom of PCOS due to the prevalence of insulin resistance. In fact, recent studies done by the US Department of Health and Human Services say that 70% of women with PCOS struggle with obesity. So, no, that’s not an excuse to be overweight but certainly a difficult factor to hurdle.
Anyways, in 2007 I lost about 45 pounds and felt great. Then I started working and stress became heightened. I slowly forgot about healthy, balanced eating and would get to those “10 lbs” next month. It added up. My doctors tried Metformin for about a year, which helps women with PCOS regulate their insulin but my body was resistant to it and it didn’t help me. What I really needed to do was make a lifestyle change but stress, work, and my love for food (mmmm) made it avoidable.
I think the slow weight gain became a reality check for me last November. In September 2011 Josh and I had been referred away from our doctor since we ran out of options through her. She referred us to a few infertility clinics and we made an appointment with one right away. Of course the time to get in was nearly 8 weeks. We waited patiently for our November consultation. Filled out the paperwork. Had charts sent over, etc. The day before the appointment the nurse called and left a voicemail asking me to call her back. When I returned her call, she sounded nervous which immediately made me nervous, certain she would say they reviewed our charts and our case was hopeless. What she said instead was that after reviewing our charts, the doctor said I was too fat to be seen there. Ok, so she phrased it a little nicer, stating that “My BMI is not in the “normal” range and until I lost 25-30 pounds, the doctor would not consult with us.” The message was loud and clear. And it immediately made me feel like I was to blame for not being able to have a child up until that point. (Of course, when I was thinner, we still couldn’t conceive so I know that’s not entirely the truth.). Regardless, it stung – really bad. I was really mad! Who is that doctor to say that I was too fat to have a child!? (Later, in talking with some other nurses not from that clinic, it became apparent that the more ideal candidates he selects for IVF, the higher his success percentage is so it wasn’t personal, it was business. Still, rude.)
That call made me realize that I had to do something. Granted, I don’t feel like I have ever been “obese”. But I have been overweight and had to do something about it. In all my reading, studies say that if a woman can lose even 5-10% of her body weight, it can increase her fertility odds nearly 50%.
I sulked for a bit. A good couple weeks. Until my sister decided she would snap me out of my funk and help me get started on the South Beach phase 1 diet. She literally would package almonds for me, divide little containers with cottage cheese, write out my meal plan for the week. It was exactly what I needed to jump start myself and have accountability. I started on December 18, 2011. I took the holidays “off” which I pre-gave myself permission to do so I actually started on 12/18 and didn’t just delay. Then back on for the beginning of the year. I did good the first 5-6 months and plateau-ed a bit in the summer (ok, gained 10 pounds back). But, as shared in a previous blog, knew I needed to hit it full force September on.
It’s not easy! I don’t have a special, magic diet I follow. I try to eat better. To have breakfast or drink my calories with a Starbucks. A salad with protein for lunch and a normal, balanced dinner. I drink a lot of water. I take a lot of vitamins. I try to walk more but still can’t get myself to consistently exercise. But it’s paying off.
2 weeks ago was the one of the first times someone noticed – they shyly asked me in the breakroom at work if I lost weight. It was such a good feeling! Then another person, and another. Then at my yearly physical, the doctor congratulated me on the weight loss. My clothes are fitting better. People are noticing. I am sleeping better, feel more energetic and am wearing pants I haven’t worn in a while. It’s lovely.
This morning was a momentous one – when I weighed myself, not only did I hit my 10 lb loss for the month a week early, but I also hit my 50 lb weight loss since that “start” day December 18, 2011. I can’t imagine myself weighing 50 pounds more, I am not really sure if I was blinded to the weight or what. Either way, it’s a milestone!
(Now please – I am being REALLY vulnerable here. I respectfully ask that you don’t go through old Facebook pictures of me trying to find my “fat” days or overly scrutinize me now. I am not saying I am “skinny”, I am saying I am getting healthier. It’s tempting to go look, but please, this is humiliating enough! Also, don’t judge my Thankful pictures of pizza or hot dogs, or an instagram photo of French Silk pie. I am not 100% perfect and allowing myself occasional indulgence has really helped me stay on track. So the point is – no cruelly intended stalking or judging. Got that?)
With all that said – weight – it’s tough! I know I am likely going to gain some weight back while on the hormone treatments. I have been told to anticipate up to 15 lbs. My goal is to never see my starting weight again though, even 9 months pregnant. To continue with the healthy eating. To not be afraid to have a cheat meal, as it’s what keeps me sane. To try to start exercising more. And to get into “those” pair of jeans.
On a completely different note – keep us in your prayers as Monday is our last nurse/doctor consult! We will get our personalized “recipe book” based on all our test results. We will get our prescription doses and begin to shop around for the best rates. We get the timeline, pay the full balance, and are on our way. I also have an appointment that afternoon to have a trial transfer done. Education materials explain that as “an important tool for the reproductive endocrinologist in preparation for an IVF cycle. In the trial transfer, we mimic the actual embryo transfer by passing a soft catheter into the uterine cavity to determine the angle and depth of the uterus, and to help discover if there is any difficulty in doing so in advance. This allows us to “map out” an appropriate path for the actual embryo transfer so that this procedure is done as smoothly easily as possible.” So that sounds like a fun afternoon, hehe. But please pray that both appointments go well! We are so excited about all of this and trust that God is in control.
I close with a section of a Proverbs 31 devotional I read this morning: “Perhaps you feel overwhelmed today. You may be experiencing some sadness, loss or worry. You may find that God has called you to a difficult path. “Surely,” you think, “God has an easier road for me to travel.” The truth is, we aren’t wise enough to assume another path would be best for us. Maybe the easier road won’t make us into the person God intends us to be. Perhaps the difficult road is a path of grace—protecting us from the worst. Maybe this road is about learning something new about God or ourselves. Could it be the difficult journey is the path that prepares us for a greater purpose or a greater faith in God? Out of all the possible paths, God knows the best path. Our key verse reminds us, “His ways are higher than our ways. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.” Because of this, we can take the path God has laid out for us today. We can trust, and not fear, in His infinite wisdom and love. And we can be certain that God will never lead us down the wrong road.”
I know this to be true. God has us exactly on the road we are supposed to be on. We are learning more about Him and ourselves every passing day. We are prepared to face this next IVF road, knowing that this is the road laid out for us. Trust. Not fear. What a blessing that is.