Fertility, Obesity, and Eating Disorders

January 22nd, 2008
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Chuck's Sign

In my last post, Could Your Weight be Contributing to Your Infertility?, I talked about a new study that links obesity to a decrease in fertility. I also shared that I used to struggle with the eating disorder of binge and compulsive overeating. So, I know how hard of a blow my last post might have been to some of you who struggle with your weight.

Unfortunately, if you have an eating disorder like I did, losing weight is not as simple as going to Weight Watchers. Eating disorders are fueled by emotional pain. For me, each time I binged on food, I was “stuffing down” painful emotions that I was not ready to deal with. When I would diet, I would lose the coping tool of “stuffing down” the pain, so the pain would bear down upon me, and I would feel really, really badly. Because the only way I knew how to control the pain was by eating, I would wind up gaining back more weight than I lost through the diet.

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, then hearing that you need to lose weight in order to become pregnant is likely to fuel the fire and make you gain even more weight. This is doubly true if you have been leaning on your eating disorder as a coping strategy to manage the pain from your inability to conceive a baby. I strongly suggest that you talk with a therapist about the emotional issues that are driving the eating disorder. My therapist assured me that after I worked through my emotional baggage, I would no longer feel the urge to overeat compulsively, and my weight issues would take care of themselves. He was right.

I found that I did not have to diet in order to lose weight. Because of my lifetime of overeating, my metabolism is actually pretty high. So, once I started eating regular-sized portions of food and continued exercising, the weight came off without my having to diet at all.

Even though I have recovered from my eating disorder, I will always remain vulnerable to it. When I go through a stressful time, I often do gain a few pounds. However, I also know that they will come right back off when I get back to caring for and loving my body again. I do not have to “punish” myself through strict diets to lose weight.

Your doctor and therapist can provide you with additional tips for helping you work through your emotional and weight issues.

Related Topics:

Eating Disorders category

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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Related posts:

  1. Overcoming Eating Disorder Before Becoming Pregnant
  2. Fertility and Eating Disorders
  3. Fertility and Eating Disorders II
  4. Could Your Weight be Contributing to Your Infertility?
  5. Weight Gain and Fertility Treatments

One Response to “Fertility, Obesity, and Eating Disorders”

  1. NursePeg Says:

    I’m glad you got therapy for your eating disorder, Faith, but sometimes a person is overweight simply because she’s eating more calories than she’s burning. This is easy to do in our fastfood nation, where no one has time to sit home planning and cooking healthy meals.

    There is a weight management program that works, however–and works fast. (I just lost 20 lbs proving this to myself–I’m back to my college weight!) This plan was created at Johns Hopkins Hospital and was available only by doctor’s prescription until recently. Over 1,000,000 people have used it at this point, 15,000 doctors have recommended it, and Johns Hopkins still uses it in their weight-loss clinic. It has been validated in medical studies to be effective and healthy.

    The plan requires that you eat, daily, 5 pre-packaged meal replacements + one snack + one home-cooked meal consisting of 6 ozs meat and 3 non-starchy vegetables. You have to commit to eating every 2.5-3 hours, but if you do, your hunger stays under control.

    Your hunger’s under control–but you’re eating approx 1000 calories per day, so the weight just rolls off. Women average a 3 lb weight loss per week, and sometimes more if they’re very overweight.

    Another reason it works so well is that you get your own personal health coach, who stays in touch by phone or email to coach you through your weight-loss phase. And then she stays in touch to coach you through your health maintenance phase–we don’t want you to yo-yo; this is weight-loss for life.

    You also get a support system where you can phone a doctor or nurse at headquarters, to answer health questions or give you extra support. And you can also contact an online community of others on the plan for social support.

    Best yet, the plan is cost-neutral for many people, and very low for the rest. It costs 1/4th of what Weight Watchers costs, for instance, and it costs 1/2 as much as NutriSystem.

    If anyone would like to know more, you can contact me at NicholsonRN@hotmail.com

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