The Diet

Lately it feels like everyone is moving forward and I am standing still. We don’t even know what we’re dealing with yet really and everyone else is calendaring treatments or ticking off trimesters or planning next steps. And we’re just… treading water.

But there is one thing we can do. We can start a fertility diet and stick to for at least 3-4 months. That is the one thing we CAN do. By eating a certain way we can ensure that when we are ready to move forward when the time comes, we will know that we’ve given ourselves the best shot at success.

The problem is, I don’t want to do it.

I hate diets. I spent so many years on them and I grew to absolutely despise them. I hate the feelings of deprivation and insatisfaction. I hate wanting something I can’t have. I hate pretty much everything about a regimented eating plan. I have spent the last five years of my life eating what I want, when I’ve wanted. I have a healthy relationship with food. I don’t want to fuck with that.

The other problem is, I do want to do it.

I know this diet is a good thing. It’s the RIGHT kind of diet. It’s about whole foods and nourishment. It’s about eating what my body needs to run well. It is the only thing I can do for myself at a time when I have absolutely no control over anything else. There is every reason to believe that I will feel better if I eat this way; that I will have more energy and be less moody. I will almost definitely loss weight, which at this point is almost a necessity as even my most “comfortable” pants don’t fit and my trusty skinny (but oh-so stretchy) jeans have a massive hole in the knee that is impervious to patches and gets bigger, and more work-inappropriate, by the day.

I really want to follow this whole food eating plan. And I really, really don’t want to too.

This is the email I sent Mi.Vida about it earlier today.

I totally understand where you are coming from. I have been avoiding this for all these months for the same reasons you mentioned. I know where are stretched to capacity and that meal planning is maybe the biggest challenge and stress that we face. The last thing I want to do is cause more stress to our, and especially your, life

At the same time I feel we have “crossed the Rubicon” (as you so eloquently put it) on this fertility stuff and our tests indicate that both of us could benefit from some help and these kinds of diet changes have been shown to help quite a bit.

Mostly I want to give us the best possible chance of conceiving on our own so that when we turn to (expensive, time consuming) medical interventions we know that we gave our bodies the best shot of succeeding WITHOUT interventions and also that we have the best possible chance of benefiting from those medical interventions when they become necessary.

And who knows, we may feel much better (and lose some unwanted weight) if we make these changes.

. . .

I KNOW we can’t totally overhaul our diet without going crazy. And we don’t have to. But I do think we owe it to ourselves to make some healthy changes. We are on the path to investing a considerable sum on the hopes for our future family. I would hate to look back and regret not doing more to prepare ourselves.

. . .

Thank you for being open minded about this, and for being honest about your concerns, all of which I share. I hope we can make this happen, and even if you don’t end up doing it yourself in the mornings or at lunch, we’ll both benefit from healthier dinners.

Love you,


It sounds so important–and doable–when I say it like that (which was my point) and yet I JUST DON’T WANNA.

I feel so much resentment that this is my life. That I HAVE to do this diet and that I’ll never actually know if it made any difference. I hate how amorphous and hard to pin down infertility is. I hate I have to mess with a VERY hard-won positive relationship with food so that I can avoid future guilt. I hate that I can’t have the small little treats that make my daily existence less grueling and more enjoyable, like cheese and bread or extra-hot hot chocolate with whip or even unfiltered apple juice heated up with a stick of cinnamon. I hate that this will cost us money and time that we DON’T HAVE and create stress in a relationship that is already pushed to the brink.

I’m just feel so much resentment about it.

And that is no way to go into something like this. But I just don’t know how else to do it.

My acupuncturist gave me the website of a friend of hers who is a life/health coach and is starting a group Cleanse* (yes, with a capital “C”) next Monday. I may join that, though it costs a legitimate amount of money and I’m not sure if it will ultimately be worth it. I would appreciate the support, but I don’t want to hand over the cash. I never know if I should invest in these kinds of endeavors and how much. I’m just so lost and I have no energy or enthusiasm to find my way.

Blerg. Sorry for the whiny vent post. I’m just really in a bad head-space about this stupid fertility diet. I know it will be okay, no matter what we do, I just wish it didn’t have to be so hard in the mean time.

*CLARIFICATION: I want to make clear that the Cleanse is not a drastic, all juice diet where I eat only boiled cabbage. It is a gentle cleanse which basically consists of what I’m already trying to do: cut out processed foods and common allergens like white grains, sugar and dairy. Basically what it would provide is guidance and support and recipe advice for three weeks as I get started.

10 responses

  1. This might not be helpful, or what you want to hear, or whatever, but I’m going to say it anyway. Feel free to discard it, I promise I won’t be offended! 🙂

    I did everything I could think of, all the CONTROLLABLE stuff, with our cycles. It made no difference. Charlie’s counts waxed and waned with no real correlation to what we were doing. IVF kept failing.

    The one cycle that worked, where we had a live, take home baby? I ate what I wanted. Drank alcohol even. Didn’t bother with even a prenatal vitamin until I was told I was pregnant. And we have our Lucky.

    Just as your infertility is not your fault, it also means you don’t HAVE to do all that stuff. If it makes you feel better, then do it. But if you don’t want to? Then don’t.

    Because, honestly, when it comes to what’s next, it’s all about the cost and benefit. This diet MIGHT help, yes. But it’s an incremental benefit, and trying to fit the cost into your busy life right now might be more than the benefit is worth.

    You can do everything possible to control the outcome and not get pregnant. You can do nothing to control the outcome and get pregnant. Vice versa, et cetera. Getting pregnant is not under your control. Because if it was? You’d be pregnant already.

    Anyway. That’s my two cents, for what it’s worth.


  2. I love Serenity’s comment above.

    I was totally in the same headspace you are about starting this diet. I was PISSED. Why did I, someone who is pretty healthy, active, takes good care of myself, etc etc have to be so fucking strict about what I put in my mouth? And crack addicts can get KU? And SNOOKI? I mean, wtf, right? It made me stabby.

    But now that I’ve started it, I’m actually enjoying it. I think I’ll incorporate these changes into things even after we’re done with treatments. I let myself eat as much as I want within the diet so I never feel hungry. I won’t be as strict with everything and make more exceptions more often probably, but I still like being gentler to my body and taking care of it better. and hey, the fact that I’ve dropped around 6-7 pounds? Doesn’t hurt either.

    I think with the way you’re feeling about things the cleanse might be a bad idea. Especially if you’re spending money on joining that you could be putting towards food, it might just piss you off more. Maybe start more slowly by eliminating things yourself? Just an idea!

  3. It does suck. I had a bad reaction to the diet and my TCM guy was stumped. I made some mild modifications and it worked. We got knocked up. Was it the diet, the acupuncture, the embryologist who was working that day? I’ll never know. I did it because I felt I had to do everything EVERYTHING I could to make it work. That way if it didn’t, I would know I had done everything I could to make it work. I had put forth every effort to ensure it. And if it didn’t, well, then it wasn’t meant to be…

    Now I’m trying for #2 and I’m no where near as freaked out. Why? because as much as I want a #2 for my daughter to grow up with, I will always have her. The fear of never being a parent is gone. I’m still doing everything I can, but again I’ve had to make some modifications. It didn’t work in September, who knows if it will work again…but for me it was worth the try..

    OH and I totally agree about NOT doing the cleanse. Making minor changes in diet are one thing…starvation is another…can’t be good….

  4. I don’t know what this diet is, but I assume it’s similar to the paleo lifestyle if it’s like Mellow’s diet. My husband and I did paleo for months – strictly – and HOLY SHIT did we feel AWESOME! I would do the diet just to feel better. But I would not do it just because of fertility issues. Does that make sense?

    If you don’t want to do it, don’t do it. So much is out of your control right now and if it makes you happy to eat how you want (I like eating how I want!), then keep doing what you’re doing!

    • “I would do the diet just to feel better. But I would not do it just because of fertility issues. Does that make sense?”

      Yes, exactly what I meant, too!

      I feel like you can’t be attached to the OUTCOME of the diet – oh, this is a way to get pregnant without having to do treatments! I did so many cycles where I changed everything under the guise of “doing everything I can to make this work” – but really it was me trying to work harder to control something I had no control over. And then punish myself when it didn’t work.

  5. I’m so bad at this, I tell myself I’m eating awesome, but that’s based on what I used to eat which was ridiculously unhealthy, so anything was an improvement. I don’t eat awful now, but I do eat sourdough bread and cheese , (oh goodness cheese) and lunch meat. And let’s not forget the peanut butter cups before bed. So yeah, much improvement could be made. But, I just kinda feel like I deserve those 2 mini peanut butter cups. It’s all about moderation, otherwise it all builds up and I get frustrated and angry and eat 20 instead of 2.
    Sending you strength whatever the choice you make.

  6. Hmmm. It sounds like this diet is going to cost you money, time, and stress. And there is no guaranteed outcome at all. If you both aren’t completely totally exciting and motivated about this lifestyle change (i.e. you want to do it for YOU, and not to check off some box that you’ve done it), I would be weary. Keep in mind that the cost & deprivation may all be for nought.
    I just read Serenity’s comment above, and it is spot on, to me. Maybe that money, time, and effort would be better spent elsewhere (either saving up for when you do move forward with fertility stuff, or on something else that may actually be enjoyable for both of you during your wait).

  7. I did, hell AM doing, the diet. The first week is the hardest, after that it gets much easier. Do you want some recipes? We have a ton and most are pretty good.

  8. I really liked the comments here. The thing is, any positive changes you make that help you feel better about ttc can only be good. But feeling forced to make changes, changes that are going to put you under more stress than you’re already under, well, I can’t see the benefit in those. I’m sure you’re not eating so unhealthily that a diet will make that much difference. And I have to say I recently read a comment on cleansing diets that pointed out “that’s what we have a liver for!” But, if you feel you get some control by changing your diet or doing a cleanse, and if that makes you feel better, then go for it.

    But if it isn’t going to make you feel better (emotionally as well as physically), then why do it? It’s just another thing to beat yourself up about. And I guess that’s the main point I want to leave you with. Even if you do the diet, please please don’t beat yourself up if you slip, or if you can’t keep it up, or if you find it hard. You’re going through a tough enough time without feeling bad about keeping to a diet. So be kind to yourself, whatever you decide to do.

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