Overcoming Unexplained Infertility
I want to help you live a fertile lifestyle. A lifestyle focused on giving you the best chance of falling pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy. A lifestyle full of nourishment, no toxins, free from emotional heartache, with your hormones nicely aligned. The perfect environment to conceive and grow a healthy baby.
I’m going to use my own personal story of how I made a huge dietary change that helped me overcome unexplained infertility, which led to successful IVF treatment and a natural conception to bring my two wonderful children into the world.
My story could start in a few places, taking a leap of faith by leaving home to study nutrition in 2004, training heavily to compete in triathlons or the hours dedicated to helping families and individuals to lose weight. All these points in my life are significant and I like to think of them as key parts in my journey to finding optimum health for wellbeing and overcoming infertility.
However, my story truely began in 2014 when I quit my job, moved out of London with my husband to start a new life in the countryside nearer family and hoping to start a family of our own. Before the move I was training hard, at least 6 days a week and sometimes two sessions a day). I would track all my calories, macronutrients and log my training sessions on the latest fitness app. Working in weight management meant I was fascinated with calorie balance, calculating what my daily calorie intake should be, subtracting the calories burnt from all my exercise sessions and tracking everything I’d eaten to see if I’d managed to balance it or be in negative calorie balance to ensure I was losing weight. I can see how this sounds obsessive, but it really was more for experimental purposes then causing me any risk of disordered eating. I would get so frustrated when I wasn’t losing any weight, especially when the app was telling me I was in negative energy balance (burning off more calories than I was eating) almost every week. What was going on, I needed answers. When I reflect on this time, I was exhausted, my skin was dry, my nails wouldn’t grow and I felt constantly hungry which, if anyone knows how that feels, it is pretty draining constantly thinking about food when you know you’ve only eaten an hour ago. its relentless! No wonder my body didn’t want me to conceive, it wasn’t getting the right nourishment to thrive let alone allow me to safely carry a child. The human body is a wonderful gift, meticulously striving to keep us in balance and giving us signs that what it needs isn’t always what we are giving it.
So along with my move, this gave me the fresh start I needed to overhaul my life. We don’t all need significant change to overhaul our health but assessing the big stressors in our lives can often be the first step we need to bring calm and strength to let our bodies reset and be in a positive fertile health. I started down a road of evidence based reading that always contradicted what I had been taught at university; When I researched “How does the body lose fat?” and “How does the body burn fat?” I came across a consistent message – “sugar is making us fat”. I knew eating too many sweets, cakes and ice creams would cause weight gain, but I wasn’t eating food like that regularly (and still couldn’t lose weight). So, I kept reading, Gary Taubes (an American science and health journalist) and I was drawn to his fourth book called ‘Why we get fat and What to do about it’ (2012). Nina Teicholz (investigative journalist) A Big Fat Surprise and more recently Jason Fung (a Nephrologist, Kidney specialist) on fasting and PCOS. All these experts had one common message – sugar is making us fat! But how? I came across a lot of science behind the impact that sugar has on preventing us to lose weight. When we eat anything containing carbohydrates the body metabolises this into sugar and it doesn’t matter if this comes from a piece of cake or a handful of grapes. The effect of eating sugar raises the production of a hormone called insulin. Insulin has long been known to be a fat storage hormone. It literally works to keep fat locked away so we can use the sugar for energy. The problem with modern diets is we have been told to base our diets on carbohydrates and therefore day in day out our body is running off a short energy intake we’re experiencing highs and lows of energy bursts and we are always hungry. Sound familiar? Things started to make sense. So I decided to begin eliminating foods that were high in sugar in my diet, and this is where it was different this time – I significantly reduced not just the added sugar items like cakes, sweets and fruit yogurts but also the naturally occurring sugars in foods like honey, bread, most fruits, fruit juice, pasta and rice. Only time would tell what impact this would have on me and my health.
Now you can’t just eliminate sugar from your diet and expect to look and feel great. You run the risk of being in a state of starvation because the human body cannot survive just on protein. We need vitamins, minerals and we need fat. So my meals were based around low-starch, nutritionally dense vegetables, high quality red meat, oily fish, chicken thighs, eggs and fats/oils at EVERY MEAL. It wasn’t easy and at the beginning psychologically I felt like I wouldn’t lose any weight switching from low fat to high fat foods. But my body was simply using up the stored glucose (stored as fat) and switching to burning fat as my primary energy source.
My eureka moment came when I realised that if we keep carbs low and fat high, just like our bodies have evolved to function on, we can reach our natural body weight and have the mental clarity to thrive in life and most importantly find internal balance and nourishment that the female body requires to be able to conceive and maintain a pregnancy. I gradually found ways to eliminate processed carbs from my diet and I eliminated all sweets and sugary treats (apart from 85% dark chocolate). I started using only full fat products and anti-inflammatory oils such extra-virgin olive oil and I cook with butter and coconut oil. I’ve lost weight without a gruelling exercise plan, although I really enjoy exercise I now fit activity into my busy lifestyle rather than “having” to exercise to get into that calorie deficit. Ringing any bells yet? The feeling of guilt if I haven’t burnt off any calories has gone, I’ve found my natural body weight which doesn’t take any calorie counting to maintain. Sounds too good to be true.
Creating a new way of eating led me to a state of health where I have no sugar cravings, I don’t get ‘hangry’, my mood swings have disappeared, and I have lost fat in places I could never shift when counting calories and exercising hard. Not just a coincidence.
This brings me to the present day, a mum of two healthy children, sitting here writing this blog for you to remind you that you can be in control of your fertile health and giving you a nudge towards the power that food has in helping you become a mum. Sometimes we just need that helping hand and take it from me I’ve made all the dietary and lifestyle mistakes over the past 11 years which have led me to a place where I can now guide and support you on your journey to optimum fertile health.
An excellent starting point would be to download my free Fertile Friendly Food shopping guide and arrange a call with me to discuss how I can help you become the mum you’re destined to be. Book a free Discovery Call with me here, no pressure let’s chat.