How Eating More Helped My Fertility

Getting a “period” after the birth control pill cycle in December 2016, was a huge motivation for me and I continued to eat at least 2,500+ calories per day, and often more (3,000-3,200) when I went hiking or when I had an active day.

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Even though I wasn’t restricting anymore and was eating a 2,500 minimum, I began to slowly gain weight. However, I only gained about 5 lbs since October. I gained more weight and in the 3-4 months before I got pregnant I probably gained another 10 lbs. That may sound scary to some and was probably an overshot of where my set point is. I know that if I didn’t get pregnant my body would have eventually found a happy place.

Having a supportive husband and family members was huge for me. Reducing my stress was a big component to getting my body more ready for pregnancy. I told only two close people (my Mom and a good long-distance gal friend whom I wrote letters to) about my journey. That worked for me. I also read lots of books, only went to positive websites. I stopped buying magazines that might trigger me to want to restrict my eating.  I also avoided TV shows and commercials that promoted weight loss.

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To sum it all up…

Here’s what I did to recover from Hypothalamic Amenorrhea:

  • Increased my food intake to 2,500+ calories minimum daily.
  • Only kept to hiking and walking for exercise and increased my calories on days I exercised or felt I had been more active.
  • Managed my stress by continuing to talk out my feelings to Mike and friends, practiced mindfulness and reframing thoughts, listened to body positive podcasts, read daily, blogs and articles and read through fertility forums daily for support to read about what other women were going through similar to myself.

Was eating lots of food and lowering the amount/time spent on exercise worth it? Would I do it all over again?

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Yes, yes, yes! But I was a little different than most women. I hate to paint with a broad brush because I know that this next statement is not true of every woman. Nevertheless, most women’s greatest fear is gaining weight either prior to pregnancy, during then not being able to return to “pre-pregnancy weight” post-partum.

Prior to starting my own fertility journey, I actually knew I was a little underweight. Go gaining weight was not my greatest fear. However, feeling the fullness and discomfort from eating more WAS my worst nightmare. Why? Well, discussing the mental and emotional reasons behind that would take an entire other blogpost. But essentially, what matters is that I have worked through that issue (which stemmed from my childhood environment).

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In any event, I did everything in my power to avoid feeling too full/stuffed. But after making a committed decision that I cared more about getting pregnant, being healthy for myself, my future child(ren) and husband, I realized that gaining weight and feeling full/stuffed sometimes was not the worst thing in the world.  Eating more and lowering the intensity of my exercise allowed me to heal my body and that is such as gift. I realized that I am more than my physical body. I have no doubt that I will be at a happy place in my body after giving birth and I will continue to eat and rest as needed.

*Next: Hypothalamic Amenorrhea vs. PCOS…

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