New Years Resolutions-do they work ? What is your big one this year ?

Can’t believe how quickly 2013 has come around and how long it is since I posted on this blog.

I have not yet sat down and made my new years resolutions. Every year for the past 10 years I have made the same resolution each year-I wonder if can you guess what it is.

Unsurprsingly it has been ‘to diet & to lose weight’ . In fact to lose 18lbs to be precise. Each year I start off my diet quite well and lose a few pounds then things seem to slip and I am back 12 months later with the same resolution and often more weight to lose.

But last year things were different. I found I had a really good incentive to lose weight -it was affecting my health adversely-it is amazing how much easier it is to lose weight when you have a really good reason to do so. I joined Weight Watchers and lost weight steadily getting to my target last summer. I have been at goal now for about 6 months. The support & motivation I gained from attending the class was invaluable and I found I looked forward and still do so to attending the class.

If you are trying to conceive and you are overweight then you have a really good incentive to lose weight. Being over weight reduces fertility in both men and women and losing weight can improve your chances of conceiving. Being at a healthy weight when you start your pregnancy is also associated with fewer health risks for both mother and foetus and can help you to maintain a healthy weight throughout pregnancy.

If you have quite a lot of weight to lose it may be worth talking to your GP. Some GP surgeries will fund courses with weight watchers or similar groups.

The Fertility Focus Telesummit is underway. but there is still time to join in!

The second interview of the Fertility Focus Telesummit was mine, on how “Creating an Effective Support Network Can Make All the Difference When Trying To Conceive.” I’m really excited by the response I have had, with many listeners emailing me afterward to thank me and/or tell me that what I shared really resonated with them. The Telesummit is completely free to listen to the live presentations, and the replays for 24 hours after each interview. If you didn’t know about it before, it’s not too late to get involved.

The 2nd Fertility Focus Telesummit, created and moderated by Sarah Holland, is running this week.  Twelve fertility experts from around the world, and 3 fertility bloggers, are speaking throughout the week on various aspects of fertility health and support.  Sarah started things off on Sunday, the 20th of March, with an introduction to the Telesummit and an explanation of how to get the most out of it.

Yesterday, Monday the 21st, saw the first two interviews; Dr Marion Glenville spoke on the nutritional aspect of fertility health, giving much of her hour-long presentation over to listeners’ questions and providing really comprehensive responses.  The second interview of the evening was mine, on how “Creating an Effective Support Network Can Make All the Difference When Trying To Conceive.”  I’m really excited by the response I have had, with many listeners emailing me afterward to thank me and/or tell me that what I shared really resonated with them.

The Telesummit is completely free to listen to the live presentations, and the replays for 24 hours after each interview. If you didn’t know about it before, it’s not too late to get involved.  Click here to register for the Fertility Focus Telesummit FREE!  You can listen live, and submit questions for each of the speakers, or listen at your leisure to the recordings afterward.  If you are really busy this week and know you won’t be able to listen in, OR you just want to have all 17 audio files to refer to over and over, Sarah provides the option of upgrading to a Golden Ticket so you can purchase the whole Telesummit’s talks, which will be emailed to you as an MP3 file afterward. This is an incredible value, this week only while the Telesummit is running, at US$67, including several bonuses. You can find all the information at the Telesummit website.

Because I’m a bit late in letting you know about the Telesummit and my own presentation on creating a support network, I’d like to share some of that information with you here.  Having been through several challenging years of recurrent miscarriage and secondary infertility myself, I have the benefit of hindsight telling me that I really could have coped far better if I had been more proactive about getting myself, and my husband, the right balance of emotional and practical support.  Infertility put a big strain on our marriage, and I felt very alone and fearful that I would not be able to have the children I had always dreamed of having.  We are fortunate to have come through those rough times, and to have our two children.  Using my training and experience as a fertility coach, I have developed a system to help each of my clients create a support network for their unique needs, thus easing their experience of infertility and efforts to conceive and helping them to feel less isolated and stressed.

During the call, I explained:

  • Why infertility support is so important;
  • The 5 most essential types of support every infertile person needs;
  • Why your partner is not always the best source of support;
  • How you actually create your personal support network;
  • What you can do is someone you expected to be supportive has turned out to be the opposite; and
  • How to maintain a really effective support network over a long period of time.

I’m also offering a Free Bonus to Callers from the Telesummit! I’ve created a comprehensive Worksheet that takes you through the process of creating your own infertility support network, step by step. So, if you haven’t already registered, don’t let this opportunity pass you by.

I’m listening to the other speakers throughout the week myself. I have to say, I’ve been very impressed so far. I’ve learned a lot already from both Dr Glenville and Andrew Loosely, Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist. Other expert speakers during the week include Sarah Holland on using EFT for conception, Kristin Hayward, Zita West, Gabriela Rosa, Toni Weschler, Sue Dumais, Nicola Smuts, Deirdre Morris and Cindy Bailey. Then, you can listen to talks from 3 prolific bloggers, including the authors of “From IF to When,” “Eggs and Sperm” and “Survive and Thrive.” I’m really looking forward to the rest of the week.

NLP and Fertility

I have recently been using NLP (neuro linguistic programming ) to help me lose weight and have been really impressed with how effective it is a re-programming my brain to approach eating differently.

I did not realise immediately that it was NLP I was using, until I was chatting to my hairdresser at my last visit, and casually mentioned that I was using a hypnosis cd to help me lose weight post christmas, and that it was working ! She them smiled and said ‘Oh you are using NLP. I am training to be an NLP therapist’. We then chatted animately for the next couple of hours about NLP and while I was there I suspect she tested her powers on me, as I had the very bad habit (which I had had for about 10 years) of using my laptop while exercising on my exercise bike  She suggested that I might get more from my workout if I was not surfing the net at the same time. And do you know I have not done so since that appointment . The powers of persuasion. An added bonus is my back has also been much better, which I think may be due to my better posture while I am on my exercise bike.

Anyway I digress. The reason I am writing today is that many cases of infertility or subfertility are unexplained and in these cases NLP may have a positive role to play. The power of the mind to affect our health has been well documented, and the role stress plays in our fertility has also been well documented.

The defintion of NLP according to Wikipedia is

NLP is a controversial approach to psychotherapy and organizational change based on “a model of interpersonal communication chiefly concerned with the relationship between successful patterns of behaviour and the subjective experiences (esp. patterns of thought) underlying them” and “a system of alternative therapy based on this which seeks to educate people in self-awareness and effective communication, and to change their patterns of mental and emotional behaviour”.

Whoo thats quite a mouthful, lets see if we can simplify it

Here is my definition of NLP as I understand it (please correct me if I’m wrong)

NLP is an alternative therapy based on reprogramming your mind, thoughts and words for success.

How can I learn NLP techniques ?

  • NLP book
  • NLP audiotapes or cds or via a download on your ipod
  • NLP workshops
  • from an NLP practioner

I have been using a book that I borrowed from our local library (Hypnodiet), which came with an audiobook on cd, which I loaded on to my ipod. I have found the audio very effective, and listen to it every morning before getting out of bed. Once I reach my target weight (nearly there), I should only need to listen to it once or twice a week or as required, if I feel myself slipping back into my old self defeating habits.

How can NLP help my fertility ?

  1. In cases of unexplained infertility there may be a lot of stress which can iteself impair conception. Trying to conceive itself can be very stressful, and many couples feel pressure for it to happen quickly. There are many cases of couples with unexplained infertility trying for a long time without success and yet conceieving when they give up trying, take a break from trying or are referred for IVF. Using NLP techniques can help to relax the mind and body and prepare for natural conception and may remove some psychological barriers to conception that we are only recently beginning to recognise & understand.
  2. NLP can be very helpful to couples going through IVF. Anyone who has been through IVF will tell you how stressful it is. Manageing the stress of the IVF process is very important and NLP as well as many other alternative therapies can help. NLP  for IVF would focus on keeping an open mind, visualising success and learning relaxation techniques as well as helping to cope with the bumpy ride.
  3. NLP can be useful for couples who are trying again either after miscarriage or a failed IVF attempt when the pressure to succeed may seem all the more intense.

I am not an expert on NLP, and have only recently learned some of the techniques. I am hoping to learn a lot more about this interesting subject, as I have always believed that the mind plays an important role in our health & wellbeing.

If you are an NLP practitioner or have used NLP to help you either with fertility or other issues, then please do get in touch, we would love to hear from you. You can either leave a message in comments or e-mail us.

Thinking yourself slim

We hear a lot about how maintaining a healthy weight can help improve your chances of conceiving if you are overweight or underweight, but not so much about how to actually achieve this.

Like many women, I have been a professional slimmer most of my life. It started in my teenage years, when I developed what my dad lovingly referred to as ‘puppy fat’, and my curves really started to show. I have always naturally had a fairly curvaceous fuller size 14 figure and been on and off various diets for most of my life. Does this sound familiar?

 At some times of my life I have been a very slim size 8-10 but only managed to stay like that by continually restricting my calorie intake to around 1000-1500 calories a day, and exercising every day. In my twenties I was at the gym for 2-3 hours every day after work. Looking back I realise this was verging on the obsessive-luckily I had an understanding husband. My family were quite concerned about my health, and thought I was overdoing it. Looking back I think they may have been right but I was using the exercise as a coping mechanism for a stressful job & I enjoyed it.

Constant dieting & over exercising in this way can also put a huge strain on our bodies, and may impair your chances of conceiving.

 So how do we find this healthy balance ?

I have recently been listening to a series of  audio books by Pete Cohen called ‘Sort your life out Slimming’, that are about the Psychology of slimming which have made me look at things in a whole different way.  I have now stopped dieting and am thinking myself slim ( ie thinking about what I eat & when I eat, but not depriving myself and only eating when I am really hungry -thats the theory anyway) The book also puts a big emphasis on moving more, and keeping our bodies active without obsessing about exercise.

So far I have lost 1.5 lbs which really surprised me. I have not been to my slimming group for about a month now and it feels very liberating not to be ‘dieting’.

I have also given up weighing myself and just weigh myself about once a week-used to weigh myself every day which I now realise was silly and self defeating. Naturally slim people never weigh themselves-the theory is if we think & act like a slim person, then we will be slim. Sounds simple 

At this time of year my mind like many others turn to thoughts of chocolate, so this is going to be a testing time. Think I’d better listen to the audiobook again !

The audiobooks are great fun to listen to , and give you a whole new perspective on the Psychology of being slim and staying slim. Pete Cohen is very easy to listen to and I reccommend these audiobooks if you are trying to lose weight & feel you are stuck in a rut of deprivation and guilt, which so many slimmers experience.

The books are available through itunes as a download or available on Amazon as a cd

Your Weight Could Be a Fertility Issue

Have you considered your weight as one of the possible obstacles to your dreams of having a baby? This isn’t about being fat or skinny; no judgment about your appearance is being made. Your weight can play a significant part in the ability of your body to ovulate, produce quality eggs and maintain a healthy pregnancy, especially if you are extremely underweight or overweight.

You may already have some idea about your weight’s impact on your reproductive system if you have had irregular menstrual periods, the onset of a thyroid condition or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or vitamin deficiencies.  What you may not know is that very overweight or underweight women have a much lower chance of conceiving, even with fertility treatment. As a result, many fertility specialists won’t take on a patient who wouldn’t benefit as much from their help and/or whose unsuccessful treatment would affect their success ratings.

Many clinics will use your weight, or Body Mass Index (BMI), as criteria for accepting you as a patient.  There is no hard and fast rule on this because one athletic woman with developed musculature can weigh more and carry less fat than another woman of similar age and height.  BMI of 19 – 24 is considered normal and 25 – 29 overweight. If either your weight or BMI falls under 19 or above 29, you may encounter a delay in being accepted for treatment, with instructions to lose or gain weight before coming back.  Whether you are still trying to become pregnant naturally, or if fertility treatment is your next step and your weight is a possible issue, here are some steps that you can follow to move forward with your family plan.

Your Attempts to Conceive Keep notes, not only of your weight, but also how often you have a period and how often and when you have sexual intercourse without the use of contraceptive devices. There are books available that provide a structure for tracking essential information for fertility, but any journal or notebook will do.

Identify Your Obstacles See your doctor to identify whether your current weight is a possible obstacle to conception. You must be forthcoming about your pattern of weight gain and loss, your eating habits and any extreme dieting or exercising you have done, even if you find these topics embarrassing.  You may be tested for high or low blood pressure, thyroid function, diabetes, vitamin and mineral deficiencies and the level of oestrogen you are producing.

Eating Disorders Serious eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and extreme compulsive overeating require medical supervision, structured programs and counselling over a lengthy period to ensure and support recovery. Anorexia and obesity can both affect ovarian function adversely and bulimia is linked to PCOS, so pregnancy is unlikely, though not impossible. If you do conceive while battling an eating disorder, it could impact negatively upon the baby’s ability to thrive as well as your own health. Think about everything you eat and drink passing to the baby in your womb, though in a slightly different form. Not only nutrients are taken in by the baby, but also the high calorie/ high sugar and high fat content of your less nutritious food.

Recovery from an eating disorder can be a long and difficult process; it’s not only about what you eat, but also why you eat it that needs to be determined.  The destructive cycle of thought and behaviour has to be broken and relearned in a positive way.  The baby will be dependant upon you and require a fully present parent.

Eating disorders actually require an enormous amount of mental energy, planning the next binge, the next purge (self-induced vomiting) or how to avoid eating without anyone else noticing.  These disorders are nearly always accompanied by some degree of self-hatred. Dissatisfaction with the sufferer’s appearance, social relationships and/or self-belief fuels the fire and that brings on more irrational and dangerous behaviour.

If you think, or know, that you have an undiagnosed eating disorder, don’t waste a minute before you consult a doctor.  I am not minimizing the difficulty in admitting it to oneself; it will take courage and commitment.

Your GP can probably refer you to a specialist medical unit where counselling  and other practical assistance is offered.  There are also many groups where you can meet with people who have experienced similar disorders and receive confidential support.

Lifestyle Changes for Self-CareYour health is vital before, during and after you conceive, carry and deliver your baby.  You can’t breathe a sigh of relief upon conceiving and then let yourself go to pot.  Bad habits don’t disappear overnight, so get working on them immediately.

If your current weight is due to poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking or over-consumption of alcohol, a nutritionist and an experienced personal trainer can advise on necessary changes in your lifestyle.  This is no time for a crash diet or the use of over-the-counter weight-loss or weight-gain drugs or powdered drink mixes. Don’t put all of yourself into a weight-loss or weight-gain scheme just to win the approval of your RE, only to let it all go back the way it had been afterward.  Careless indulgence in bad habits means that you aren’t prioritizing self-care.

How fit you are will also determine how you carry a pregnancy.  Over the nine months, you may be carrying anywhere between 18 and 45 extra pounds, putting extra pressure on your skin, muscles, veins, spine, breasts and joints.  Stretch marks only mar the surface of your body, but varicose veins can result from carrying too much weight and excess blood flow during pregnancy and knee trouble is quite common in obese women.  That’s just during pregnancy.

Then comes the aftermath: life with baby.  Think about how often mothers  have to bend over, crouch down on the floor, get in and out of the car or bus, lift car seats and play cots and balance a baby on one hip.   If you were quite overweight before conceiving, and continue your poor habits, you could easily find yourself 75 to 100 pounds above your optimal weight before you give birth.

Trading One Habit for Another Keep in mind that what you ingest (not just food) during pregnancy and breastfeeding, your baby will too. Do not consider turning to cigarettes, alcohol or caffeinated, artificially sweetened soft drinks to help you avoid eating.  Nicotine and damaged lung tissue stay in your system for a very long time.  Smoking itself can cause low birth weight and nicotine addiction in newborns.  Alcohol could result in your baby being born with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, which could cause low birth weight, developmental problems or epilepsy among other symptoms that could affect him for life. The soft drinks will just fill you up, make you gassy and add no nutrition relative to the volume you consume.  Since you need extra nutrients for optimal health at conception, don’t waste space on junk drinks.

Your Motivation Finding the motivation to change your behaviour should be simple because you already have a goal in mind. You want to become pregnant and give birth to a healthy baby. Use that goal as motivation to change your attitudes and behaviour.  Think of yourself as a healthy vessel for conceiving, carrying and then caring for your child. When you are on the verge of bingeing, skipping a meal or eating junk food, consider how that would impact upon your weight and health and ultimately upon your attempts to conceive.

Your Plan Bad habits take a long time to embed, so they are not going to change over night. If you and your doctor believe that you can make positive weight changes yourself, formulate your own structured plan. Write down your:

  • specific weight,
  • a realistic time frame,
  • a list of quality foods in moderate quantities and
  • the exercise you will do to boost your health and strength
  • other healthy strategies to achieving your goal weight.

Keep track of your efforts and your achievements as you move toward your goal. While there may be other obstacles to conceiving a healthy pregnancy, if you persevere, you will have eliminated weight as one of them.

Lisa Marsh is a qualified life coach in
London, UK, specializing in Fertility and Miscarriage Support. She is dedicated to educating and supporting men and women concerned with reproductive health, infertility, fertility treatment and all forms of family building.

To find out more about Lisa and her work as a fertility coach, visit her blog at  She can be contacted at  for coaching, article writing or speaking engagements.

12 tried & tested tips to prevent unwanted weight gain during the festive season

Here are my 12 tips :

  1. Leave buying the christmas chocolates until as late as possible. Every year I buy chocolate & biscuits as gifts in November & early December, then I have to buy them again as I have eaten them-lol
  2. Make sure you have your 5 portions of different fruit & veg a day. This will help you feel fuller & makes sure you get plenty of vitamins
  3. Eat before you go to parties-this will help you to resist snacking on the crisps & snacks
  4. Volunteer to drive on a night out-this will mean you can not drink alcohol and you are more likely to stick to healthy options (alcohol definitely weakens ones resistance to temptation)
  5. If you are already overweight consider joining a slimming class before Christmas. Many people leave it until the new year which means they overindulge at christmas & have far more weight to lose than if they had joined pre-christmas. The queues to join at slimming classes are huge in the new year-new years resolutions-why wait until the new year ?
  6. Avoid shopping for food when you are hungry. The supermarkets are crammed full of chocolates, crisps, snacks & bumper sizes tins of biscuits & sweeets at this time of year and are very difficult to resist when you are hungry.
  7. Keep the amount of chocolate you buy for family to a minimum so that you wont be tempted to eat their’s.
  8. When at a party or a night out choose long drinks with mixers in tall glasses with plenty of ice-eg gin and slimline tonic, vodka & tonic, white wine & soda, bacardi & diet coke. There are fewer calories in these drinks, and the drink will last longer so you will be less likely over consume
  9. Be aware of evening snacking-the long winter night can mean we spend too long in front of the tv & the temptation to snack in the ads can be huge. Think of little jobs you can do in the ads, or if you must snack put a bowl of fruit in your tv room to snack on so at least your snacking is healthy.
  10. Get active-when ever you can get outside and enjoy some fresh air and sunshine-wrap up warm and go for a walk. Walking is great exercise and costs nothing to do. All you need is a pair of comfortable sturdy & ideally waterproof shoes & away you go.
  11. Consider taking up a new hobby in the evenings that gets you out of the house at least once a week
  12. Try some new recipes-winter is a great time to get out your slow cooker & russle up a casserole or a heart warming soup

Can Feng Shui & decluttering help you lose weight ?

Being overweight can affect your fertility adversely (as can being underweight).

Just read this great article online about how decluttering and a few simple lifestyle changes can help you to lose weight without having to go on a ‘diet’.

Click on link below to read this article

for help and motivation with decluttering 15 minutes at a time