TREAT YO’ SELF: SURVIVING IVF WEIGHT GAIN

WHO THIS POST IS FOR:

  • Women going through IVF rounds.
  • Really caring, lovely partners who want to keep their lady’s spirits up.

UPCOMING POSTS:

  • Winter Fashion ideas PT 1

Meet Annie circa summer 2014.

I was in shape, estrogen free, and on top of the world! I wore vintage dresses, tight tops, and hated pants.

winter 2014
I’m on the right (Oh heyyy best friend- pictured left)

Fast forward to IVF times. I have had to make a MAJOR mental shift around my body and the clothes I wear. For years I have been pretty meticulous about documenting what I eat and what I do to work out. I can say with certainty that throughout 2015 I walked an average of 10 miles a day, worked out 5 times a week, ate 1250 or less 6 days a week AND STILL gained about 25 pounds. My doctor was shocked at how much I gained but the more women I talk to, the more I learn this is the norm. I have a friend who gained 40 pounds over the course of her IVF cycles (1.5 years). Insane amounts of hormones are incredibly powerful. Although my husband reminded me everyday its the drugs, it is super hard to remember this when you are emotionally delicate and your body feels like garbage.

NOW CUE THE FOLKS WHO HAVE NEVR BEEN THROUGH IVF:  They will say, “Be kind.” “Be positive.” I was once one of you and here is what I have to tell ya. It is almost impossible to immediately embrace this mindset and its a hell of a lot easier said then done. When you feel like a slug who is stuck in a tub of mud mixed with melted marshmallows and are sucking down spinach smoothies every day hoping you stay the same size, the last thing you want to be told is to get over it. While your comments may come from a good place, they make you feel like the struggle isn’t real and sisters, it is very real.

I am all about positive self image (Hooray for feminism!) but SHEESH it is nearly impossible to feel good about yourself when you feel like you are insanely bloated, your stomach is sticking out like your are 6 months pregnant, and your body aches. My experience with IVF has forced me to change my style (for now) and show a shit ton of compassion towards myself. Below is my sage advice on how to survive the major body shifts you will most likely face (and if you don’t, count your blessings and say HALLELUJAH!).

  1. Own and accept that this is your reality: As my wonderful therapist said, “Annie you are going to feel like crap until this is all over.” Its’ true and thus, make the best of the situation by indulging in the little things that may make you feel better (even if they are superficial… although putting on pants that fit is pretty darn real!).
  2. REALLY own this is your reality: I was super resistant to buying new clothes at first. I was dead set on waiting until I was pregnant. This was really just a way to divert my energy into admitting what was really wrong. I didn’t want to shop and see a new number on the size tag. While I realize this goes against my values, the number itself doesn’t truly represent the core issue. Going from a 0 to a 4 (which is a perfectly healthy and beautiful size) was the thing I could point to and get angry at rather than admitting what was really wrong. My body was supposed to be the one thing I could control amongst the chaos. My anger wasn’t at my size, it was at the situation. I was angry that I had to go through this experience and my weight was a visual reminder of the unfair circumstances I was/am in.
  3. You may be on a tight budget BUT its important to buy some new clothes. Here is where my lovely therapist comes in again, “Annie go buy pants at Old Navy. Never spend more than $25.00” Do not, I repeat, DO NOT buy expensive items of clothing. Eventually you will go back to normal and when you do, thats when you can buy yourself that gorgeous dress from Anthropologie or that beautiful pair of jeans from Madewell.
  4. This isn’t forever: don’t buy a bunch of new clothes. Try to buy staples. A black pair of pants will take you far. Buy a piece or two that will keep you from being reminded that you can’t fit into your ________. Update your pieces as you gain weight.
  5. Stretchy things are your friends! Buttons, who needs them?! If you are going to buy something with a zipper, get the skirt or dress thats just a little too big. You will thank yourself later.
  6. Flowy is in: It’s cool to look like you stole you boyfriend’s shirt, roll with it. While my aesthetic is all about structure and a solid classic fit, now is not the time. Buy big sweaters and flowy shirts, once again you will thank yourself later.

MINI INDULGENCES:

  • Manicures! You may feel like a balloon but hey, your nails look on point!
  • Lipstick! When the economy tanks, lipstick sales rise. This is not a coincidence, a little color can brighten your day.
  • Massage! You owe it to yourself! You are putting your body through a war, treat yo’ self.

** Yes this is all superficial and don’t really “fix” the bigger problem but damn they fool good in the moment.

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BIG INDULGENCES:

If you have a week off of meds, get the heck out of town. Go to Mexico, find a beach, a bar and LAY.

REMEMBER:

I am in a way better place this round because I know the weight gain is temporary. When I went on my break I immediately lost about 10 pounds. I of course worked hard, but it wasn’t as hard as I would have thought. You really do hold onto a ton of water with the meds and it will go away (Truth: I gained 5 pounds of water just this week, hoorah! and it will go away within the next two). TRUST.

-Annie

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