Sunday, October 3, 2010

Weighty Issues

My weight is not a steady thing. I have been as skinny as a size 6 and as voluptuous as a size 12 over the course of the past 6 years alone. No matter how thin I get, I always have a round belly. I recently found out that this tendency to carry extra weight and carry it in my midsection the way I do can be attributed to PCOS. Other things contribute to my ups and downs too, though--during my first marriage I was very unhappy and ballooned to my all-time high weight.  Within months of initiating my divorce I started to drop pounds--in part because I wasn't under constant stress, in part because I was feeling better and working out more often and eating better on my own. During this time I eventually dropped to a size 6. But, I don't think my body is meant to be a size 6. I went back up to a 10 when I started teaching full-time, but then dropped back to an 8 after going gluten-free.  8-10 seems to be where my body is happiest, but that is impossible to maintain right now.

Here's the crappy thing--carrying extra weight can hamper your fertility. PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) makes you prone to carrying extra weight, especially in the unhealthy midsection of your body that, in turn, makes you more prone to diabetes and heart disease. Then you add in that all the medications you take for infertility, especially at the high doses needed for IVF,  also contribute to weight gain. On top of that, by the time you are getting ready for egg retrieval and your ovaries (once the size of almonds, now the size of large navel oranges) are sore and painful, you can't even imagine going to the gym. Then you go through the extraction process and are unable to exercise because you are recovering and your ovaries are even more sore, and you are bloated beyond what seems reasonable. Elastic pants (or no pants) are necessary and work is not possible. But then it's time for your embryo transfer, and you are put on strict orders to move as little as possible the day of and restrict activity for the next 3 days. Honestly, if you just spent thousands and thousands of dollars on this chance, to not restrict your activity would be just plain stupid. It's smart to protect that investment and fleeting chance at biological parenthood! So, that's at least a couple of weeks that the gym is either not appealing because it will be painful or not possible because you have been ordered to stay sedentary to protect the possibility of implantation. Which is highly irritating because tons of people who work out regularly get pregnant and don't realize it until later--so why do I have to languish on the couch and watch my ass spread out?

This is on my mind because I had frozen my gym membership for September since I wouldn't be going frequently due to the IVF attempt, and I un-froze it today. Going back to the gym felt good, because I have been feeling very pudgy lately. I gained about 10 pounds this summer between the fertility drugs, the procedures and recovery, and the no-exercise period to protect the embryo(s) that decided not to implant anyway. Because I am planning on doing this whole thing again relatively soon, I would really like to try to lose some of that 10 pounds before I feasibly put more weight on with my second cycle. I am perfectly ok with the idea of putting on weight because I am actually pregnant and sustaining a fetus, but putting on weight pre-pregnancy with no payout is frustrating. A little extra cushioning is ok with me since after egg retrieval I have to start progesterone in oil shots, which are very scary 1.5 inch intramuscular needles that go into the muscle of your behind--I feel like it's good to have a little buffer there for that process. But since I gain weight in my midsection and not my hips/butt area, it's hard to gather that cushioning without getting a bit excessively curvy everywhere else.

So, today I went back to the gym and am going to attempt to at least feel better about myself and maybe lose a few pounds before I get ready to gain some more in a little while. Hopefully this time I'll follow that up with some nice, healthy, pregnancy weight gain!


  1. You are just as beautiful and hot as ever my dear. Much love ...

  2. Gosh - I remember you as incredibly skinny! Of course, this was before our bodies changed into woman bodies! :)

    I hear you on the irritation of weight-gain. I've gained about 25 (could be more now...I've been scared to step on the scale) this past year. My pain management doctor says it is very likely due to the pain meds, but once you add in the stress and depression of chronic pain, plus the enforced sedentariness (is that a word?) of post-spinal-surgery times, and I really couldn't accurately pinpoint why it is. I just want it to stop. And reverse. I'd lost 125 pounds with another 20 to go, which now means I've got at least 45 now to lose.

    I wish I could give you the hyper-fertility I experienced when I conceived Katharine. There are no more babies in our future. Shawn's been snipped for almost 20 yrs now, but I longlongLONG to hold an infant again - or go through pregnancy with a supportive partner.

    Anyhoo - probably more than I should type here! :)

    I think of you often!

  3. I hate PCOS for that reason, no matter what I do it seems near impossible to get rid of my belly! Thankfully now that I am aware of the PCOS I am able to eat and work out differently than before because a body with PCOS reacts diff to everything! Have you tried going on a low GI diet? I recently started, its hard but I have noticed a bit of a difference in the past month or so.

  4. Thank you lovely husband for finding me hot even when I feel lumpy and bumpy! Liz, I'm a narrow person but turn me sideways and LOOK OUT! I named my tummy in high school (Marge) and anyone on the track team could corroborate that although I weighed only 125 in high school (and will never see THAT again) I had a quite the buddha belly under my clothes! I'm not big, I'm just unable to flatten my tummy in any way and feeling a bit outsized. Suzie--is GI glycemic index? I haven't, but wonder if by default I'm on a bit of it due to the gluten-free diet I have to follow. I did feel like when I went gluten-free that my body shifted a bit and I carried weight a little differently. PCOS is just so mean because it makes it hard to have a baby AND makes you feel unattractive! (That's another post soon to come). I would love to suck away other people's super duper fertility but unfortunately it just doesn't work that way! But I appreciate the offer. :)

  5. yes a low glycemic index is the best diet for PCOS sufferers. Allot of PCOS women go gluten free because it's easier to stay away from the bad carbs. Also taking out most or all dairy is helpful.