Excess weight is linked to both infertility and pregnancy complications, so paying attention to your weight in the pre-conception period is a sensible strategy. Now is not the time for crash diets, however – low food intake and fast weight loss can be stressful to the body. We’re looking to nurture the body rather than shock it!
Here are some strategy tips for gentle, sustainable weight loss and weight management for fertility:
- Focus on nutrient density – eating foods rich in vitamins and minerals will help provide what your body needs to feel satisfied and remain healthy. Think unprocessed meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, vegetables and organic dairy.
- Make protein the focus of each meal and snack. Fill up the rest of your plate with vegetables, but remember that vegetables without protein could leave you hungry and looking for a snack before your next meal.
- Cut down on refined carbohydrates – switch white flour products and rice for brown/wholegrain varieties.
- Avoid filling your plate with carbohydrates – grains and starchy vegetables are best kept to no more than a quarter of your plate. Research suggests that reducing carbohydrate intake in overweight women improves fertility.
- Include healthy fats in your diet by choosing avocadoes, olives, coconut flakes, nuts and seeds.
- Switch out sugary snacks for organic plain yoghurt or fruit – berries are a low-sugar fruit.
- Upgrade your favourite chocolate snack to a higher cocoa percentage chocolate – think quality!
- Make sure that your meals are filling so that you are less tempted to fill up on sugary snacks!
Leidy, H.J., et al., 2015. The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 101(6), pp.1320S-1329
Leisegang, K., Bouic, P.J., Menkveld, R. and Henkel, R.R., 2014. Obesity is associated with increased seminal insulin and leptin alongside reduced fertility parameters in a controlled male cohort. Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology 2014 12:1, 12(1), pp.1–12.
McGrice, M., Porter, J., and Porter, J., 2017. The Effect of Low Carbohydrate Diets on Fertility Hormones and Outcomes in Overweight and Obese Women: A Systematic Review. Nutrients, 9(3), p.204.
Tchernof, A. and Després, J.-P., 2013. Pathophysiology of Human Visceral Obesity: An Update. Physiol Rev, 93, pp.359–404.