“Shedding weight helped us conceive,” shares previously overweight couple
Joanne* and Brandon* had been trying to conceive for three years, to no avail. Frustrated and at their wits’ end, the overweight couple embarked on an intensive exercise and diet plan to lose weight – and shortly after their Body Mass Indexes (BMIs) dropped to the “normal weight” category, they got pregnant. In this article, we speak to the couple to find out how they did it, and what they took away from the process.
Be Natural: First things first – how did being overweight affect your fertility? Did you feel a noticeable change after you lost weight?
Joanne: Our doctors told us that losing weight would help us get pregnant, but for the longest time, honestly, we didn’t do anything about it. I guess we had been overweight for the bulk of our adult lives, so we got used to it. For me at least – it wasn’t until I lost weight that I realised that I could actually have that much more energy, and be able to enjoy so many more activities in my day to day life.
Brandon: Exactly what Joanne said. When we were overweight, that was our “normal”. The doctors were telling us that it was impacting our fertility, but we couldn’t see it. In hindsight, of course it makes sense.
Be Natural: What was the turning point for you, then?
Joanne: When one of my colleagues at work had a miscarriage – probably due to her advanced age. It was really sad to hear about, but at the same time, it was an eye-opener for me. At that time, I was almost 30, and I realised that if I didn’t start to take this seriously and commit to making certain lifestyle changes, it would be highly likely that I would have similar complications with my pregnancy in the future.
Brandon: We had been wanting to start exercising for quite some time, but there was so much inertia because we were both busy with work. This incident really gave us the push that we needed.
Be Natural: I see, and what was your exercise regime like?
Brandon: When we started, we had the mentality of “all or nothing”, which turned out to be a huge mistake. We would push ourselves super hard at the gym to the point of exhaustion – after a while, it was really hard to keep up, and we realised that we had to find more feasible ways of doing this.
Joanne: Yeah – after a while, we decided to focus on frequency rather than intensity. Our goal was to build that habit of having an active lifestyle, so that it would become second nature. We also read up about it online, and realised that moderate-intensity workouts (such as brisk walking) are actually better for women trying to get pregnant, so it all worked out nicely.
Be Natural: How about your diet? Any drastic changes?
Joanne: Again, we wanted it to be sustainable, so we weren’t looking to embark on any fad diets or dodgy diets that would promise instantaneous results. We wanted to increase our protein intake, and at the same time, reduce the amount of carbs and sugars that we were having – so we did a few things, including eliminating soft drinks from our diet, having more meat instead of filling up on rice or noodles, and keeping desserts to a minimum.
Be Natural: And this combination of exercise and diet helped you to get pregnant?
Brandon: We can’t say for sure that this is what did the trick, but I think that it definitely made a lot of difference. Right off the bat we could feel the effects on our stamina and overall wellness – and I’m pretty sure that this helped us “condition” our body and make it that much easier for us to get pregnant.
Joanne: Yes – and the exercise helped throughout my pregnancy, because I didn’t experience any of the backaches or other pains that my friends complained about. Now that exercise is part of our everyday routine, we’ve really strengthened our bodies and it makes such a difference.
Free 45 minute fertility consultation
If you and your partner would like to learn how to come up with a personalized action plan that will help you to increase fertility levels, Be Natural is offering a free 45 minute consultation with our Fertility Coach, Marie. In this session, Marie will seek to understand the couple’s situation, and offer insights she’s gained through her 10 years of experience in working with infertile Singaporeans. Slots are limited and on a first come first serve basis; contact us here to schedule an appointment!
*Names have been changed to protect privacy.