Thursday, 10 October 2013

Replacing fertility with fitness

Lots of IF bloggers complain about weight gain at some point.  It's hard to avoid, between the cocktail of hormones you're ingesting/injecting/wedging up your hoo-ha and the sheer depression caused by dealing with infertility.  The last thing you feel like doing after crying your eyes out over your latest BFN is subjecting yourself to the agony of a workout session.  Chocolate feels better.  It's tasty and it doesn't make you sweat.  Did I mention it's tasty?

Against all logic, this year I've found two things that have helped to keep me sane through all our struggles.  Number one is blogging, and you guys.  Number two is fitness.  Here's a bunch of reasons why I think it's been working:

1.  It's something I couldn't do if I was pregnant
At least not to the extent that I can do it now, anyway.  Right now I can do a high intensity interval training workout that leaves me gasping for breath and dripping sweat.  I can do abs until they burn and scream and beg me to stop.  I can push my body and make my muscles and heart and lungs stronger.  I might not be able to make a baby, but I can do this.

2.  It fills the void
Scheduling workouts for the week, finding new exercise routines to mix things up, and searching for new healthy recipes online has replaced a lot of the time that I used to spend Googling infertility-related shit like antral follicle counts and AMH test results.  Don't get me wrong, I still spend plenty of time with Dr. Google.  But not nearly as much as I used to.  Blogging helps a lot with that too.

3.  It gives me non-fertility related goals to work towards
Earlier this year I decided I wanted to try a Spartan Race.   Obviously, if I had become pregnant at some point I wouldn't have done it, and that would have been awesome.  But I didn't, and that was OK too because I had something else to look forward to.  Also, while losing weight hasn't really been a specific goal (keeping a healthy body fat percentage is essential to ovulate and get pregnant!), toning up and having my arms lose some of that flippity-flappity underneath has been a nice bonus.

4.  Endorphins
I've never really gone in for the whole "exercise high" thing.  In the immediate aftermath of a workout, and for a good while afterwards, I feel like shit.  Sweaty, shaking, achy shit.  I don't feel like I've ever experienced the high that some people talk about after exercising and yet...somehow this year didn't suck as bad as last year.  When I exercise regularly, things seem less likely to get me down.  And when I am down, the lows seem to be not quite so low and to not last so long.  If that's what endorphins do, then I'm all about them and want to keep my supply flowing!

5.  Self loathing is a great motivator
I'm kind of only half joking about this.  You know when you're putting on weight, but you can't be bothered to do anything about it until your pants no longer fit and you hate yourself?  Well, I've found infertility to work kind of like that.  As in, "Fuck you, body.  You don't want to work properly?  Don't want to reproduce?  Well then 10 more pushups!!  What's that?  It hurts?  You want to stop?  You can stop when you get pregnant or have some embryos in you, that's when you can stop!!"  Sadly, my body has clearly decided that it prefers burpees to labour.  My body is dumb.

6.  It's good for you
Duh.  

I'll end this with a little disclaimer: obviously, everything in moderation.  I certainly haven't become some kind of orthorexic fitness-obsessed psycho in lieu of having a baby.  I've dialled things back before egg retrievals and have taken breaks entirely after transfers.  Nor am I any kind of athlete.  You want that, go read Jane's blog.  That woman eats half marathons for breakfast.  Seriously, she doesn't even train!  But I have found that shifting my focus to fitness during my waiting cycles (of which there have been many) has definitely helped me to deal with things a lot better than I think I would have otherwise.

As for right now, I'm into my third week on Lupron Depot.  No headaches or mood swings, but holy hell have I been feeling warm.  I haven't exactly been having hot flashes, I don't think, but I just generally feel a little toasty at all times, which is strange as the weather has been getting a lot cooler around here.  I've also been waking up at night overheated and damp, though I haven't been soaking the sheets so I'm not sure if that counts as night sweats.  It's early days yet, though.  I'm sure the best is yet to come!

28 comments:

  1. Exercise is a good escape sometimes. It sounds like you've done a good job of incorporating exercise into your life, which is awesome considering it's not something you truly enjoy. I do think you are right on target when you say it does get easier though! 3rd week of Lupron, what comes next? What is your schedule? I'm over here in my corner, cheering you on!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have to get my second Lupron shot in October, then wait for my period to come back to start meds for my FET. Probably around Christmas or early January, we're guessing. Glad to know you're rooting for me!!

      Delete
  2. That's right....after my egg retrieval 3 weeks ago & now the beginning of a mock cycle, I've also gained an unsightly pudge that calorie restriction and hours of swimming can't budge. So it'll be Crossfit classes until my next retrieval starts. I planned to be toned & shapely for the frozen embryo transfer--that is, if any of them thaw out & survive until transfer.

    --Ellen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Crossfit terrifies me. It just looks so intense, I'm really not sure I could handle it. Good luck (with both the Crossfit and the transfer)!

      Delete
  3. Good for you! It's really impressive that you have used exercise to cope instead of strictly pity parties and chocolate! And I agree that I was happy to have my half marathon to work towards cause it was something I could train my body to do, unlike getting pregnant. Ps. If high have a hot flash you will know!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, to be fair, there's also been plenty of pity partying and chocolate. ;)

      Delete
  4. Yeah, I totally didn't exercise during fertility hell. Its been a bitch crawling my way out of my hole this year... Keep it up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, right? That's how I was in January this year after almost 9 months of doing nothing. I don't want to get that way again unless it's for a baby!

      Delete
  5. I love this! I've always been somewhat in shape, but I never push my body TOO hard. I just like to do easy workouts regularly although sometimes if I am feeling motivated, I will up the exertion level. After a good workout, I always feel great.

    I'm glad you aren't having hot flashes! they really suck...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I don't push myself I end up totally dogging it in my workouts. When I have my first hot flash, I'll be sure to let you know!

      Delete
  6. I've been in such a funk, and using infertility as the excuse for the 20-30lbs I have gained. It needs to change. And fast. This was what I needed to read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hear ya. Do what you gotta do, sister.

      Delete
  7. Such a great list and Congrats on your accomplishments! Thanks for the mention. I'm one week into taking birth control pills and the Labetalol is controlling my blood pressure perfectly (although I just had to increase the dose) but it's kicking my ass exercise-wise! I tire easily and feel that I have no endurance. I have a swim meet this weekend, and plan to hold my AM dose so I can compete!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are such a badass. Seriously, you're my hero. Out of curiosity, what did your RE tell you about exercise during your stim cycle? Mine never really gave me any instruction there so I just listened to my body and dialled it back a few days before retrieval to avoid any problems with ovarian torsion.

      Delete
    2. He hasn't said anything and I haven't asked! He seems to be really evidence based and doesn't seem to promote suggestions (like you have to be on total bedrest) that are conservative recommendations and not based on any research. I'm planning to keep swimming, as we don't be doing any sprinting or diving after the meet, but I'll probably move myself to a lane that swims on a slower interval. I'd like to keep up with Cross-fit, but I'd probably check the WOD and skip it if there are burpees involved.

      Delete
  8. I try to feel this way about exercise, but it only works for two week intervals. I need to focus. I may print this out to help me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know how you feel...two weeks isn't really long enough to see results, but it's plenty long enough to be sore and tired and sick of exercising! If you can keep it up though, it eventually becomes habit and you feel weird if you DON'T do it.

      Delete
  9. I'm inspired, I'm in the "my clothes no longer fit and I hate my body" phase. Now that I'm on a treatment break, I'm determined to work in more exercise. I'm glad that the Lupron isn't making you too crazy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ugh I hate that phase...good luck!

      Delete
  10. Aramis, I have nominated you for the Sunshine Award! If you would like more info, here is the link
    http://oldladynobaby.blogspot.com/2013/10/sunshine-award-part-i.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, thanks! Although shouldn't I be more of a "rain cloud" award? ;)

      Delete
    2. And this is exactly why I nominated you! You make me laugh :) you are not a rain cloud! Lol

      Delete
  11. Way to show that body who's boss!

    Definitely holler if you ever decide to come to SoCal for a race! (I notice that there are two Spartan races in down here in 2014...)

    ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. M has family in LA, and he's always wanted to use them as an excuse to visit. Should it ever come to pass I'll let you know!

      Delete
  12. I think you've found a fantastic way to cope with infertility/break cycles and all the stress that goes with it. I wish I had exercised more before each of my IVF cycles because the pudge that came afterward is not cute. I hope the Lupron continues to treat you relatively nicely!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too...although judging by my RE's reaction when I told her things weren't too bad just yet, I really can't know until a few more weeks in. Fingers crossed!

      Delete
  13. Exercise has been so good for me, too. I just need it after a long infertility filled day. An hour to think about just finishing a set of abs work or a set of weight lifts is just what I need when my mind can't take one more thought about trying to get pregnant!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I have never had the endorphin high, either. Glad I'm not the only one. I thought I was missing something. I do feel better overall when I exercise (even though I really hate doing it). In a few weeks I have to start getting back into exercise and I am thinking I need to find some sort of race/event to work towards. Maybe not the spartan race...but something.
    I hope the Lupron doesn't get too much worse. Maybe you will luck out and avoid the worst of the side effects?

    ReplyDelete

I'm needy and your comments validate me. Help a sister out!