Fertility

Losing Weight Before Pregnancy – Fighting PCOS

Eloise Edington  |   19 Jul 2020


 


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Sometimes when we’re embarking on our journey of trying to conceive, fertility specialists can advise us to lose weight in order to start our fertility treatment. It’s not unusual for people to need or want to lose weight before pregnancy. This is not always the case, but if it’s what your fertility specialist recommends for you, we hope you find solace in FHH reader, Frances’ story. Hear how she uses running to help manage her PCOS and facilitate weight loss for fertility.

Over to Frances…

I wish I could say that it’s been an easy journey, but if it had been, I wouldn’t be writing this. As you’re here reading this, I’m sorry the universe hasn’t been kind to you either; but I hope we both get there – to that end goal of holding a baby in our arms.


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I wanted to be a mother when I was very young. I am one of three girls and we used to have conversations about the men we would marry, the kids we wanted and would have. My two sisters have no issues with fertility, whereas I seem to have hit the Trifecta for infertility.

I was diagnosed with an under-active thyroid aged fourteen and PCOS when I was eighteen. The highlight of these issues? Weight gain and stubborn weight loss. I have struggled with my weight from the age of ten, as that’s when my thyroid stopped playing ball. There were a few scary years from seventeen to twenty-one, when my relationship with food deteriorated. In fact, it was non-existent: I ended up in an eating disorder clinic.

Then at twenty-two, I met my husband. We married five years later in 2017. I told him from the start we would have issues trying to conceive, due to my PCOS. A month before, I got my Implanon removed (biggest mistake of my life was getting it put in, because I gained five stone despite a healthy diet). I remember the first two months having two regular cycles, I was overjoyed thinking that the last six years had improved my fertility and I thought getting pregnant would be a breeze. Then it all went wrong – little did I know I would need to lose weight before getting pregnant. Over the last thirty-two months, I’ve had fifteen periods. The longest cycle being 264 days!

Related Article – Foods Than Help Fertility


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Starting My Fertility Journey

In July 2018 I went to my GP for tests. It was all routine but then we found an issue with my liver. Fast forward to a year later (2019) and, after getting that under control, I headed back to a fertility clinic for a consult. Wow, I remember this consult like it was yesterday! I had started running two months before this appointment – I was starting to get the ‘bug’, I LOVED it and I had also lost over a stone.

But then I sat in the fertility clinic consulting room. The fertility specialist mentioned anovulatory cycles and BMI. I couldn’t get treatment (Letrozole) until I had a BMI of under 35. So, after getting into the car and spending that WHOLE evening crying, I set goals. I had to lose five and a half stone in total before I could sit back in that room and walk away with a prescription. I started at 17st 7lbs (you’re strangers, so I don’t mind telling you this).

I carried on running and I reduced my calorie intake to 1200 (I’m 4’11” so my recommended intake is 1,700 with a 500 deficit for weight loss). It started sooo slowly. I had only lost two stone by Christmas 2019 (four months in total of running). Then I injured myself on monkey bars in a country park, so had to take three months off (I didn’t put any weight back on). But come April, I was back on track. I started running again and eating healthily. Come July 11th 2020 (today), I have lost three stone in total!

Related Article – Are You Fit for Fertility? How, When & Why Exercise is Beneficial for Conception


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It has been a hard journey. It has been a slow journey. But I persevered. I still have two stone 7lbs to go, but I am over the halfway mark to getting our fertility treatment if I need it. I am on my way. I started Metformin in January 2020 to help with PCOS and insulin resistance. Since starting Metformin, I have had five regular cycles. Between that, a healthy diet and a vigorous exercise routine, I feel the weight melting off. I have a waist now. I can feel my cheekbones and see my collarbone.

So, if You Need It, Here is My Advice:

  • Find an exercise you enjoy:

    Running, swimming, hiking, cycling, aerobics. Just find one.

  • Set a goal, maybe three:

    My first is losing 5.5 stone, then 7.5 stone, and if I can manage it, 9 stone in total.

  • Start slowly and realistically:

    It’s not about how fast you go in Week One or running a marathon by Week Ten, it’s about reaching a goal when you get there.


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  • Go at your own pace:

    Don’t feel you have to be going as fast as someone passing by. The point is you are out there. You are doing something, anything to improve.

  • Persevere, push on, smash that wall:

    You can do it. You can do anything, it’s all mental. Don’t give up. If you can’t up your game just now, then stay where you’re comfortable until you can.

  • If you have PCOS or under-active thyroid It will not be quick:

    I have had so many medical professionals tell me ‘It won’t be easy it’s stacked against you, but carry on, you’re doing brilliantly.’

  • Don’t celebrate with cake:

    When you reach a goal don’t treat yourself to naughty food (technically it’s not a treat and you are not a puppy that needs calorific reward). Instead, buy yourself something, a book, jewellery, a new item of clothing.


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  • You can’t do one without the other:

    If you’re going to exercise then assess what you’re eating. Find your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate, not BMI) and then aim for calorie intake of 500 less than that.

  • Share your victories and your struggles as you will have both:

    You will then get advice from veteran sports fanatics.

  • Listen to the advice given, research it further, adapt it so it works for you.

I wish you luck. Take some Felix Felicis (big Harry Potter fan here). You will get there, even if you too need to lose weight before pregnancy. Like that old saying goes, if I can do it, you can, and I really mean that.

Signing off,

Frances

Related Article – How to Treat PCOS Naturally with Nutrition

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