I mentioned in my first blog that my fertility doctor is a big proponent of eating a low-carbohydrate diet to improve egg quality and results with IVF. He provided me with studies which I took home indicating that women who undergo IVF that have a higher level of protein intake have better outcomes/higher pregnancy rates than women who eat a lower level of protein/higher carbohydrate diet.
Also, my doctor recommends that women begin a low-carb diet at least 3 months prior to beginning IVF, so I figured the sooner the better I should get on board with this way of eating. I want to do everything in my control to help with our outcome.
Monday, October 9th (just almost three weeks ago) I got back onboard with low-carb eating full time in a hardcore way. I plan to continue to eat this way for the foreseeable future and hopefully make it a habit this time. Truthfully, I have never really stuck to it fully and completely, although I have stuck to low-carb better than probably any other diet historically. I really love pizza, and pasta. Other than missing some carb-filled Italian food, I actually really enjoy low-carb eating.
The food is full fat so it is satisfying, and inevitably I don’t eat any processed junk, and I end up eating less. Also, as of October 9th I cut out my drinks with artificial sweeteners, like my daily Diet Coke! That was hard, but I did it. A lot of just plain water now. Oh and La Croix sparkling waters are yummy- no artificial sweeteners, no carbs, no calories. OK, maybe a little red wine at night too. Don’t judge LOL.
I also had mentioned in my first blog that losing my postpartum weight from my pregnancy with Alexander came off eating a low-carb diet, so this way of eating works well for me. I had gained 40 lbs. in my pregnancy and it took me roughly a little over 2 years to finally get the weight back off. I also found that a little bit of intermittent fasting helped me lose the weight as well and keep it off, and I’ll get into more detail on intermittent fasting another time. Pre-pregnancy, I wore a size 4. Post- pregnancy, I was a size 12. I’m now back in a size 4, and it feels good!
Anyway, so now I have the dual motivation of sticking to low-carb: to hopefully increase our chances of pregnancy with IVF, and also to keep my weight balanced as I embark on IVF (which many women reportedly gain weight on) and hopefully a next pregnancy, where my goal is to gain way less weight than last time, since it’s so darn hard to get the weight off after!
A typical day of low-carb eating for me is below. If anyone has questions or recommendations for low-carb recipes/tips, I’d love to exchange!!
Morning: Coffee with heavy whipping cream. I usually skip breakfast as this is my intermittent fasting period. I do a 16:8 intermittent fast most days. Essentially, I stop eating at 8 PM at night after dinner, and then I don’t eat again until noon the next day. Trust me that this was a big change for me and it was hard at first, but it really helped me shave off those last 10 lbs when I plateaued with just doing low-carb alone. I think I was still eating too many calories but intermittent fasting helped me reduce my intake and simplify. I don’t do well with having to cook too much or prep too much as I’m really busy and also travel for work a lot. I always ate breakfast my entire life. But I have grown to love skipping breakfast actually. It’s one less meal for me to think about on my way out the door and simplifies my life, I feel more alert and focused in the mornings, and I savor and enjoy every bite of my lunch so much more! That’s not to say I never eat breakfast. On the weekends we love to go out to breakfast and I don’t intermittent fast, and I enjoy a big omelette with meats, veggies, and cheese!
Lunch: Usually a big salad, with lots of veggies, and some kind of meat with full fat dressing like Ranch or Blue Cheese. I love Cobb salads especially.
Snack: Some days I will eat an afternoon snack. I usually do nuts in the afternoon. They have a lot of staying power and keep me full, and are very good for you. I usually do almonds, or cashews, or I have grown to love Pili Nuts. I’m also currently addicted to Know Foods cookies. Sooo good and low carb.
Dinner: Typically I eat some type of protein/meat and veggie. Lately, I have been cooking more and trying new things. Earlier this week I used some frozen cauliflower rice and mixed it with grilled chicken, cheese, and salsa. It tasted like a Mexican chicken rice bowl and was delicious.
I know a low carb diet is not everyone’s cup of tea. But I feel good while doing it, it worked for me in the past to lose weight, and now that my doctor is recommending it for fertility, I believe in it in that much more.