Do you ever have those times during IVF when you just feel like a big, puffy marshmallow? I've certainly found myself at times lamenting the fact that somewhere in all of this crazy hormonal ride I've lost my old physique. It can be easy to get caught up in the cosmetics of it all - so much negativity going on inside your head that it seeps to the outside.
I realised the first step to a change was that I needed to listen to my body. When I finally did just that here's what came up:
- I was physically and emotionally exhausted
- I wasn't enjoying my life the way I should
- I was feeling pretty down on myself
It was impacting everything - particularly my relationship and how social I was being. I certainly wasn't in frame of mind for success with IVF.
My health was a conundrum. In many ways I am much healthier than ever. Goodbye fad diets - I get that living on low fat, low carb is not the way to create a healthy body - even if it does make you skinny!
But even with a new healthy approach to food when you add in injecting hormones, less intense exercise and some (ahem, lots of) emotional eating weight gain is inevitable.
When I took stock I realised that the weight wasn't even the issue. I didn't feel strong in my body anymore. A year of operations, pregnancy losses, IVF drugs, laying off core exercises, and cutting back on higher intensity exercise left me feeling weak and unfit.
I'd worked so hard on the nutrition side of things, but I'd been letting the physical side of things slide.
I'm the first to admit I've found striking the right balance with exercise while TTC hard. Its harder to get into a rhythm. The first two weeks of a cycle I can move more and the second two weeks I am more restricted.
Personally I have to make more intense exercise a habit otherwise I won't do it, so it was easy to let go by the wayside.
This year I've been working to build myself back up again. I've really made it hard for myself by letting it slide so far!
You know that person you see out for a run, red faced, looking like every step is an effort and they are breathing in knives? Right now that's me....!
So what have I learnt when it comes to exercise while TTC:
Feeling strong in your body and maintaining a reasonable level of fitness is important.
- It gives you a better outlook on life by releasing positive endorphins.
- It helps circulate fresh blood and oxygen to our ovaries and uterus
- It helps give you a good foundation to face the IVF cycles.
- It can help detoxify your systems from all the IVF drugs post cycle
- It can be a great outlet for pent-up emotions like anger and frustration
- It is a better base for a healthy pregnancy.
- It helps you feel better about yourself.
- It can be a great way to stay social while TTC
The list could go on and on here!
Its tough when you have to work around cycles. Often more intense exercise is discouraged while TTC and during cycles motivation can be hard to come by! However do try to find ways to build in something physical that works - keep moving even if its a slow walk, gentle swim or fertility yoga.
Take it from me its much harder to build back up from scratch than it is to keep going but dial back to something that is more suited to TTC!
Its never too late to start again!
Seriously! I'll be out there huffing and puffing right next to you!!
What have you been told about exercise while TTC? How do you maintain it?