8 tips & tricks to stick with your fertility nutrition planJan 04, 2022
Fertility nutrition and the right IVF diet is a controversial topic. At the end of the day, infertility is complicated and the right food isn’t going to guarantee that IVF will work. But there are fertility friendly foods that you can add to your diet, and whether you’d like to hear it or not, proper nutrition can only help with your IVF success.
As we all know, no matter what you're going through in life, a well-balanced diet is always a good idea. And when we feel like we have no control over our infertility journey, nutrition and diet is not only something you CAN control, but not eating well can be harmful for more than your fertility. So talk to your doctor or a registered dietician to come up with a plan for the best food plan for you on your fertility journey.
Making changes to your diet is a common area for women to find themselves in when undergoing IVF treatments. So if that’s something you’re about to do, here are some tips to help you stick with it:
1. Get your spouse on board. It completely changes the game to have your partner doing this beside you. You don’t want to have to buy two completely different sets of groceries, or cook meals separately. Knowing you’re in it together gives you a whole new level of support that sets you up for success.
2. Plan and prep. Think about everything in advance. Have a meal plan laid out for the week. Have fresh groceries for the week. And then prep by portioning out snacks or cutting up your fresh fruits or vegetables in advance so they’re easily accessible when you’re hungry. When you’re starving, you often go to something for the convenience factor so having a bag of almonds or cut up carrots ready to go in one serving will be extremely helpful. And to take it a step further, removing tempting food altogether will make it much easier to avoid the treats and reach for the healthy items instead.
3. Bring your lunch to work. One of my go-to strategies is to make a well-balanced dinner with enough leftovers for my husband and I both to have lunch the next day. This way we’re not going out for a quick bite or fast food during the work day (which also saves money), and we’re having that well-balanced meal twice in a day.
4. Think about your future self. When you’re tempted to make an unhealthy choice, the key is to remember how you’ll feel afterwards. In the moment we want instant gratification as we want to feel good. But after that unhealthy decision, you feel crummy. For me, I know the pizza and the french fries taste great in the moment, but without fail every time, I feel crummy the next day. So in that moment, when you’re about to put that food in your mouth, ask yourself, “How am I going to feel later?"
5. Remember your why. You’re reading this because you want to get pregnant and have a healthy baby. Making better food choices is one of the things you can do to help improve the journey, and hopefully improve your success. Sometimes it’s hard to make the right choices for yourself, but it’s amazing what you can do when you think about your baby. Ask yourself, will this help you or will this hurt you on your fertility journey?
6. Look for the “oh well” factor. You will inevitably be in a situation where you have to veer off your fertility nutrition plan. Maybe it’s a birthday party where you feel guilty saying no to a slice of cake, or a glass of champagne for a celebration. There is NOTHING wrong with treating yourself. But make sure you watch out for your mindset shift afterwards. It’s easy to feel like you made the wrong choice and then our human nature causes us to go to this “Oh well, F it” attitude that can totally derail you.
You can change this thought with one simple shift. Rather than thinking “Oh well, I give up,” shift it to “Oh well, I’ll do better tomorrow.” One day, even one week is not going to make or break you.
7. Start small. Sometimes, a big overhaul can feel daunting because you’re changing a lot at once. If you need to practice your “I do what I say I’ll do” muscle, then make a change to one thing. Whether that’s having a balanced breakfast, limiting the snacks that are not nutritious, or taking lunch to work. Try one thing for a week. It will give you the win to see you can do it, and that momentum can help you make another improvement. Sure enough in a few weeks you’ll not only be eating healthier more often, it will feel easier.
8. Use momentum. Momentum is such a powerful tool to help keep you going. Just like how an object in motion stays in motion, making one good choice helps you make another good choice. And on the flipside of that, we can get stuck in bad choices. Turning around and making one good choice makes it so much easier to add on.
Think about if you wake up and work out first thing. It sets you up for success and gives you momentum to do the next good thing, like make a healthy breakfast. Even something as simple as making your bed first thing sets you up for success. Within the first 10 minutes of your day you’ve already accomplished something.
The biggest changes in life–whether to reach food goals or life goals, usually happen with small consistent choices made over and over again. There are so many opportunities to improve your eating. When you get your partner on board, when you plan and prepare, when you remember your why and think about how it will feel in the long run, when you start small, lean on momentum and when you prepare for the moments that might not go to plan it will help you make good choices more often than not.
All of these consistent little steps will make a big difference in going in the right direction. One of the best ways to do this is to track your good choices. Grab my habit tracking sheet below to help you. I print this out and check it off every day when I make a good choice and it is so motivating! Keep it nearby and look at it every time you are tempted to go back to a bad habit.
Remember that once you have a habit, like brushing your teeth or washing your hands, you don’t even think about it so it doesn't use any of your energy. You’re exhausting a lot of energy on this infertility journey. If you commit to going on a walk every morning or having a healthy breakfast, that could be the thing that gets you out of bed, even on the hard days.
Commit to one of these, and then take action. Remember, make more good choices than bad choices and you’ll feel a difference. Writing down your plan is another way to take it more seriously. It’s okay if it’s been hard for you to make a healthy eating plan and stick to it. Your why–to successfully grow and carry a baby– might be all you need for this time to be different.
Use the habit tracker to mark your progress and don’t ever forget that you are worth it.
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