Home Health Fit Summer diary: ‘I would never have got through the years of...

Fit Summer diary: ‘I would never have got through the years of IVF without comfort eating’

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independent.ie- I am so glad that Fit Summer has coincided with the hot weather. This is the time of year that, like many, I find the hardest in terms of how I feel about my body — avoiding the beach or any activities that involve a swimsuit, and if I can’t manage that, avoiding the camera at all costs.

I was going through some pictures I had downloaded from an old phone recently with my two daughters.

It was so lovely to reminisce through the pictures — which went from the birth of my elder daughter Ava up until she was about five years old.

There were pictures from our summer holidays in Spain when she was about six months old and again, when she was a year-and-a-half.

We looked so happy as we went about our holiday — I was strong and fit and looked totally free. Those pictures were taken before we started trying for baby number two.

I don’t appear in too many pictures after that. And when I do, the difference is marked. I look older, more tired — and sadder. So sad.

The toll of repeatedly failing to conceive is etched into my face. My smile never reaches my eyes.

By the time my daughter is about three-and-a half, you can see it in my body too.

My shoulders are slumped and round and in every single shot I use her body like a shield to camouflage mine.

I stopped exercising at around this point — when I lost a baby at 19 weeks gestation I gave up everything that nurtured my body as I was starting to turn against it. It was letting me down. I hated it.

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If I was going to inject synthetic hormones into myself month after month to no avail, I was going to comfort myself with treats to balance it out.

And it helped. I looked forward to sitting down in the evening when my daughter was in bed and my shots were done, calming myself with chocolate.

I don’t know how I would have got through it any other way.

Even when the miracle happened and my youngest was safely here, I look sad. My body looks sad

My round shoulders, bad posture and extra weight were a testament to the three hard years that had got me to this point.

I looked and felt middle-aged. I wasn’t strong or fit. I was old and depleted.

Following the advice of Anna, Siobhán and Orla has brought my head right back to where I was before I started fertility treatment.

Orla’s advice in particular has set me back on track in a very sustainable and enjoyable way.

I cannot tell you the joy of preparing and eating three meals a day without worrying about carbs.

Of grabbing a snack and eating it, not because it has been three hours since I last ate, but because I am hungry.

And to exercise in a gym again is just pure bliss. To feel that post-workout soreness as opposed to middle-aged stiffness is wonderful.

And I didn’t try to avoid the beach this year because I am a bit out of shape — I went and didn’t give myself a second thought as I enjoyed watching my children splash about in the water.

There was no one to take pictures, but if there had been, I would have been right in there.