Ep 67: Nutrition, Fertility, and Personal Health with RMA Patient, Nicole
Fertility Forward Episode 67:
There’s plenty of information out there on the health challenges that accompany being overweight, but being underweight comes with its own set of challenges, especially on a fertility journey. In today’s episode, a previous guest, Nicole, visits us to talk about her journey with weight gain and nutrition. She gets real about the role of being underweight as a factor in her fertility journey and tells us about the window you need to be in to support your fertility journey. We touch on false perceptions around weight and health, and how receiving positive feedback on being thin can have a negative impact. Nicole introduces us to the metaphor of a spider web to illustrate food fears and food avoidance and gives us some insights into her own history with food aversions. Next, we dive into the essential role of fat in satiety, and the dangers of faking your health, before exploring the impact that peers and parents can have on food perceptions. Nicole gives us her thoughts on control as a driving force for food choices, the power of being open-minded, and why magazines, shows, and social media should also be showing how diets work. Self-talk is our next topic, and we discuss its impact on those around us, as well as why we all know what it means to be willing to pursue something, for ourselves. We talk about why you should get rid of everything that encourages poor habits, until you don’t have to and what it means to change your perspective to eat intuitively. In closing, Nicole tells us why it is important for her to be an open book and wants to help others, and why she is so thankful for the progress she has made on her journey.
Rena: Hi everyone. We are Rena and Dara, and welcome to Fertility Forward. We are part of the wellness team at RMA of New York, a fertility clinic affiliated with Mount Sinai Hospital in New York city. Our Fertility Forward podcast brings together advice from medical professionals, mental health specialists, wellness experts, and patients, because knowledge is power and you are your own best advocate.
Dara: Hi everyone. I am really happy to get back to recording our podcast and I'm thrilled to have back on today one of the most fabulous people. I absolutely love our last episode that we did together. This is a near and dear patient named Nicole. And we had such an interesting discussion about her fertility journey on the last session, but we wanted to come back, well, I wanted her to come back because I found what she spoke about was super useful. But the crazy thing is we didn't even begin to speak about nutrition. And I feel like that was what started our, that’s how we met originally is that she booked a session with me. And how many years ago has it been now, Nicole?
Nicole: Oh my gosh. Over 4? I mean, amazing. A long time. How time has flown, how many things have changed? How many positive things have happened as a result? I mean, so many things. I can't even, and, you know, having the support from you and the nutrition journey has really, and that's the focus, right? The nutrition journey, the journey that I have taken from where I was to where I am now, you know, no, I'm just saying, I'm just saying it's a big, big, journey.
Dara: It's unbelievable how far you've come. And, you know, we can speak about how we originally met was, you know, the concern around, around your weight and how you can impact your, you know, your fertility in general. And I think this is the one thing that people don't always speak about is that people always assume that or not necessarily make the assumption, but I think there's more information out there in terms of people trying to get pregnant who are overweight or obese. But at the same time, I think there's less discussion spoken about women who are underweight.
Nicole: So well said so well said. I mean, when I first went to, so first my, my journey really started with fertility. So I was having trouble getting pregnant. And I went to see my fertility doctor and she took one look at me and she like, I'm, you know, I'm a skinny person and I was really underweight. And she said, you know, I think you need to talk to somebody. I really think that you need some guidance. You need some support. Would you be open to that? And she suggested I contact and reach out to you. She sat down with me. This was not just a casual appointment. I went in for my check. She actually set up a separate appointment and sat me down and said, listen, your fertility is really going to be impacted by your weight. And when I heard that it was like, everything came crashing down in my head. Like my hopes and dreams were now shattered. My body type is now being called into question as a skinny person now let's just keep in mind. And I just want to, for all the, for underweight, skinny, thin, whatever word you want to associate with it, being on the thinner side, you're often looked at as, oh, everything's just fine for you. It's so easy for you. Nothing is wrong with you. You're just skinny. You know, and I was happy being skinny, but I didn't realize how my thinness was impacting my journey. And I at first took a negative view. Like, why are you attacking me? I'm just fine. And it's not going to... I am justifying the way I am because you know, I am fine. And that's it. I contacted you. And we started our discussion and talks of what I was doing with my, how I was eating, you know, what I was eating and when I was eating and how frequently I was eating. And for me as a thin person, I am thin on one level naturally. But on the other level, I don't eat very frequently. I, you know, I was eating, you know, once, twice a day at most, no snacking. And I didn't realize at the time how important, what I am eating, when I am eating, food combinations, vitamin taking it. I wasn't taking it in vitamins. You know, all of that. How big of a role that plays in our fertility. A lot of times when I read a lot of blogs and I read a lot of my, my Facebook groups, that I'm a part of both thin and heavier people have, what I feel is like the same comments: I don't have to change. I'm fine. My doctor told me that I'm underweight. My doctor told me that I'm overweight. My doctor...weight plays a big role. There's a window that you have to be in.
Dara: It's interesting because, you know, it's, you made a great point in terms of how a lot of us become defensive and that goes, and that we don't often want to admit when we may not necessarily be healthy, whatever healthy means, and to keep in mind that fitting within a healthy BMI range, that doesn't necessarily mean that you're healthy. And that's an important thing to know. But what I also wanted to say is, it's interesting, you also mentioned that, you know, the skinny or the thin and how a lot of people want to be that, but it's interesting. There's a stigma against being overweight or obese. And unfortunately there's less of a stigma being underweight. And in many ways it's seen, I mean, I'm happy to say that in this day and age where we're getting hopefully to a better place in terms of, you know, less about body size and more about focusing on health in terms of, you know, any size, but making sure that just because your outsides may, may look a certain way, that doesn't necessarily mean that your insides are happy or working the way they need to.
Nicole: Correct. And that's a big deal when it comes to thin, skinny, underweight, whatever you want to say, that is a big deal when it comes to us, I'm going to include myself in that, because we are oftentimes perceived as being just fine. If, you know, sometimes the word perfect is associated. Sometimes the word I want to, you know, I want to look like that or, you know, and I have to say, and I can say this. I mean, I feel like I can speak freely, I liked feeling that way because it was a, it made me feel really good in one way, shape or form where I wasn't feeling good in other ways. So it actually was a compensatory feeling like I'm compensating for this lacking in my life, but I have this skinny neck.
Dara: Yeah. Well also when you get that positive reinforcement and that positive feedback from people, people aren't saying it to you necessarily for something good, but a lot of times, you know, I get it too, as I'm, you know, on the thinner side, I think people give you positive reinforcement because of something that they necessarily want to look like. And in many ways that can feed into whether it's eating disorders or disordered eating habits to help fuel and to help keep those comments coming. And it's interesting whether it's, oh, you're so lucky, you're so skinny or, you know, making assumptions, you must not eat, which may be the case, but it may not necessarily be the case. Or even, you know, you don't look healthy or you look too skinny. Sometimes even the word skinny, whether it's too or skinny, can push someone to keep on doing something that's not healthy for their body.
Nicole: Whenever somebody said, and when I got to be, I guess, you know, too skinny with regard to my weight being significantly underweight because in my experience, and I can't extend this to everyone, but with my experience, it became almost addictive to become skinny, to maintain that. So I, well, I can get even skinner than this. And, you know, and being underweight when I then got the comments too skinny, that would also set me off. So it was not just the positive comments that I was receiving. You know, I was also receiving negative comments and just a lack of wanting to address that because I was feeling wonderful. I was feeling this and, you know, just because you're feeling a certain way, like you said, doesn't match, it doesn't necessarily match what's going on in your body. So that was a very real feeling and, you know, fueling on that. I always associated my own and I cannot speak for everyone, but I hope that other people can appreciate, or at least, you know, feel the same way as, I regarded my skinny journey as almost like a spider web disorder disease. Whereby what I mean by that is it's not just being skinny. There's so many other factors that are spider webbing off of this disorder, disease, food insecurity, food avoidance, body weight avoidance, meaning wanting to like meaning I wanted to avoid weighing myself or weighing my body, just not acknowledging my body weight. So there are many other like fears that were associated, food fears, food avoidance because of food fears, those are things and we have certainly addressed a lot of those, but they still manifest. And so I always consider like a spider web because it's encompassing a wide area and these different shoot offs, you know, extend the spider web, you know? And so I always, you know, there are many things that go into my journey, but one thing that you and I had always discussed a lot of was my avoidance and my fear of certain foods because of my history and just a little background on my history before I, you know, got into, you know, pregnancy, whatever, you know, you know, teen and adulthood, I still had these food avoidances from my own family experiences, from my own personal experiences. We can't always blame our families for things. My own experiences that, you know, manifested in myself. I came from a household where I had a grandmother that was particular about weight, always commenting on weight. You know, you're getting very, you know, it was always the heavier comment. So you're, you're getting very heavy. You're getting this, not, maybe you should try to eat and then fill in the blank, less of this and that. When I was growing up, hearing that I developed these avoidances of fat, something that you and I have always talked about. And it's a continuous thing that I work on continuously to this day is the including of healthy fats in my diet because of the fear associated with gaining weight because I'm consuming fat. I've learned and it was a resort result of working with you, is when I, you know, I get hangry, cause I'm sure a lot of this, both heavy, regular, and underweight, all of us get hungry and hangry to some level. I didn't realize that fat is a satiating component of our eating. So I didn't even realize that I was completely avoiding some aspect of my diet that would have made me feel had I had a little bit of that as opposed to a lot of filler, which is what I was eating a lot of, a lot of filler.
Dara: You made a good point in that a lot of people, you know, turn to calories, they look at calories and they, oh, if it's lower in calories, that's going to be healthier for me. And that can help me maintain my weight or make me lose weight. And, you know, instead of looking at calories, which I think when we look at calories, we become quite obsessive. You know, I think it's going for more of the qualities of foods more often than not going for whole foods. But I think the biggest misconception is fat makes you fat. Consuming fats make you fat. That's the reason why there are fats out there is to serve a purpose. I mean, there's many reasons whether it's to help with your skin and your hair and your nails, to help cushion you and also to help satiate you.
Nicole: Yes. You know, there's, I always think of it this with regards to forgive me yogurt, but you know, like yogurt. One of the things that I, my own personal consumption issue with avoiding high calorie things like ice cream, full fat, and I was eating low calorie yogurt, low calorie frozen yogurt, low calorie this yogurt.
Dara: Like a halo top.
Nicole: Like a halo top. Exactly. And there's something so human about taking something great, like ice cream and ruining it just a little so you can have most of it. So ruining that full fat ice cream, making it lower calories so that I could eat more of it. But you know, what I was doing is eating for filler and not eating the, not eating that thing that would've maybe number one made me fuller quicker, but also, you know, that nutritional component of the full fat, you know, having that as a part of my diet. One of the things along my journey that this happened prior to me working with you was losing my hair, losing a lot of my hair, losing the denseness of my hair, my nails being very brittle. A lot of those appearance issues come with diet and having a lack of a nutritionally balanced diet where some of the things that I came to you with.
Dara: And look at you now! Like, Nicole, I wish people could see you cause I'm looking at you right now in our zoom meeting that your hair is full and lush. And that's a Testament to habits that have been changed.
Nicole: You know, don't get me wrong. I love, I love having, you know, extensions put in, but having which I don't have any now, but I really relied heavily on fake a lot of things, because I was fake eating, you know, I was eating fake food. And then I was having to do a lot of fake things to compensate for those things, having fake, like I said, I love extensions, but I had to rely on extensions and hair pieces to fill in my hair. I had to rely on acrylic nails and nail extensions to give me the look of a regular nail. I'm not even talking about extending my nails. I'm just having a regular nail. My nail beds wouldn't even support a regular nail. My nails were falling out, you know, cracking to the, to the matrix. I mean, I was in not good condition, but I was faking it well.
Dara: But that's good that you're aware of it. And I often talk about like, you know, the first step in making any changes, awareness, but it's also, I, you know, and I'm sure you've seen me over the years, you know, discussing the importance of intuition. And I think where, where a lot of us struggle is, you know, even the idea, you said it, I wanted more volume. If I like something, I want more of it. And it's, you know, it goes to the idea of like a dopamine hit when people take drugs and that gives them that, like that addictive quality to it. It's amazing that even food can do that. And, and we end up eating out of habit and out of, of that amazing taste as opposed to being in tune and saying, am I eating this to help fill a void or to help make me feel better? Or am I eating this because I like it without the guilt, without the shame and actually eating mindfully.
Nicole: Correct. I mean, I relied very heavily and I'm sure a lot of us out there have done this, relying very heavily on salads, but not, I know of salads that you and I talk about with, you know, full fat dressing, lots of protein, lots of veggies and lettuce or greens. My salad we're all filler. We're mostly iceberg, being a low calorie food and eating a lot of it and filling up on that. I mean, I did that with a lot of things, low calorie hot chocolate, low calorie ice cream, low calorie lettuce. I mean, you name it. I used it as a filler to fill the hunger and I was avoiding other foods because of it. I had real food fear of full fats. Avocado. I mean, how long did it take me to eat guacamole?
Dara: But you did it! And like nuts and seeds also, which I think I always, I like to mention that too, because I think they get such a bad rap, but the fact that they're a combination of proteins, carbs and fats, they have all three macro nutrients, I think where people have this fear and you can correct me maybe from your personal experience or thoughts that they're fattening, they’re going to make me gain weight. But also I think it's how we eat them. It goes back to our relationship with, with how we're eating them. If you're going to eat an entire bag, you know, where a serving size may be a handful, that could potentially lead to weight gain, but you know, anything eaten in excess. Number one can make us not have as well-rounded of a diet. And number two, it can lead to stomach distress, no matter what you're eating, if you're eating to excess. And then also you have to look at, you know, more internally is, why am I doing this? Am I doing this to self soothe, to help me self-medicate, to help make me feel better? When I'm feeling crappy or fill a void when I’m bored.
Nicole: Big point huge point. And I, there was a big population of people out there that are eating to fill a void. I was not one of those people. I was filling a different void. I was filling a hunger void. I'm not filling up, I'm bored void, or I'm not feeling, but there are a lot of people that are eating for different reasons. And that's a huge thing that I had to stop and think about why I was eating what I was eating, which became so irritating, Dara. I would like, I would like to say that I'm like, why am I doing this? This is ridiculous. Why am I? But it got me to have an internal conversation with myself as to why we go on autopilot a lot when we're comfortable with things and this autopilot where I was comfortable with my body, I was comfortable with how I was eating, what I was eating, the food combinations that I was eating and not thinking about why I was doing that. Now. I certainly knew initially when I was selecting those foods because they were low calorie, let's be honest. They were low calorie. They were low, they were lower, no fat, but I was not balancing. And why I was doing that. A lot of food fear, a lot of food avoidance. And my fears came a lot from childhood, a lot from adolescence, you know, being an overweight teenager, an overweight young adult in my, in my late teens, my and 20, I was considered BMI wise to be on the, the higher end of normal, to borderline overweight, which is not horrible. A lot of Americans nowadays are in that category. However, as a teenager, fitting into jeans and wanting to be liked by the opposite sex and wanting to be fitting with the girl population and have friends, I felt like I was an outsider. Whereas my body weight wasn't necessarily that out of order, I felt like visibly I was. And so, as a result, I went on this huge, in college, I went on this huge restrictive diet, started then, and literally carried through up until my early thirties. And that's like, you know, 15 years.
Dara: But it's amazing that at least you you're aware of that. And also you realize that it's amazing, you know, family habits, comments from, you know, siblings, female siblings, or even male siblings, comments from parents, grandparents, it could be triggered, what someone says at school, a boy or a girl that makes a comment on your weight.
Nicole: Or a parent! And I want to point this out because this happened to my friend and I overheard it. My friend, my friend's mother took us out for lunch. We were, I must've been like 12, 13 years old. And mom said, very harmlessly, might I ad, I'm not eating that. I'm on a diet because that's really high in whatever she said. I don't remember. But it was. And I remember it sticking, you don't know what sticks in kids' heads and why it sticks. But I remember she's not eating that chicken because it must be bad because it must make you fat because it must. So I always, so then here I have now remembered, incorrectly remembered the other way, bad equals bad. Don't eat, avoid. And so like even just passerby comments, how significantly those comments can be taken, it doesn't even need to be a direct comment to a person. It could just be an ambivalent comment out loud. I'm not eating that. Or, and kids hear that and they're like, oh, maybe I shouldn't eat that, too.
Dara: That's exactly it. Maybe I'll, I'll get more attention or be more like, and you even said that I, I want to use like a spider web analogy, which I like is you can make the analogy of oats. If chickens bad, then what's close to chicken? Turkey, and beef. And you know, and it's interesting how one food fear can potentially bleed in or, or trickle down into other food fears over time. And it's crazy how, whether it's a family. a friend, something in the media that we attached to, and that's where I get. so passionately angered by, you know, when the media says, this is the best diet, avoid this, avoid that.It's just further feeding into fear. And almost, I think it goes back to, and this is something that I speak to a lot of patients about and it's a tough one, but the idea of control. I can only speak as a woman from the, but you know, the 11 years working here, we all want to be in control of something. We want to be in control and be in a box.
Nicole: I remember specifically saying to you, I remember, and you said this exactly to me. I said, you said, why don't you try eating your eggs this way? And I said, well, Dara, I don't like that like very much, like I remember you said sometimes Nicole, we don't always eat everything that we absolutely love in a meal. There might be components of it where it's not something we absolutely love, but it's good and it's nutritious and include it because it's a good inclusion in your overall diet. You don't always have to eat everything that you super love. No, you shouldn't eat things that you don't like, but you should include things that perhaps are going to be nutritious for you because they are balancing your diet out for the thing that you do love in that meal.
Dara: Yeah. And being open-minded. I think this is the hardest thing. It’s again, when we have routine and repetition and habit, it's comforting. When we do something that's new and novel, granted, some people are very adventuresome, more power to them, but I've definitely experienced and seen more people who, you know, stick with things that they feel safe with. But when it comes to that, then you don't have as much variety. And it's interesting. I've told you this before Nicole, is that just like kids, we need to try something, I think it's approximately 10 times, before we actually know that we don't like something and our taste buds change. So the idea is, just like you mentioned, sometimes like being open minded to trying something that you maybe didn't like in the past, pairing it with something that you do like. So for example, some people don't like hard-boiled eggs or they don't like eggs scrambled, but maybe I love guacamole or I love cheese. Maybe if you pair it with, you know, a bite of a mixed bite of cheese and the egg or the egg, and the guacamole you actually train your body, if you do it repeatedly, you can actually train your body to like something a little bit more. Maybe not love it.
Nicole: But you like it a little bit more. And then all of those edit other benefits, like your absorption of vitamins that are better absorbed with the inclusion of a fat. I did not even realize that. That was like a big mental breakthrough when you said, by the way, are you adding a fat into that? Because you're not absorbing those, those nutrients. You're not absorbing.
Dara: The veggies. I mean, that's, that's what I see all the time. And it goes back to what you mentioned about this salad that I, I have definitely seen trends of. I'm going to have a salad with no fat, no dressing, just lemon and veg. Number one, that's not going to fill you up enough. Fats and proteins help, help you help fill you up. But also a lot of the fat soluble vitamins that are found in vegetables will only be absorbed or best are best absorbed with a source of fat. So you're actually doing a disservice, which is the point of eating those veggies. If you're not going to get the best bang for your buck,
Nicole: You would always say, well, what was the point of that? And I said, well, I got my...and you would say you didn't absorb anything because you didn't have a fat with it. And that, to me, I mean, across these magazines and shows and social media where they're showing these diets, they should be also showing why things work and why they don't. Because I can guarantee a lot of these diets will quickly go away if they are showing why it works. Because it doesn't. A lot of these combinations don't work because they're not balanced enough. I did not realize that. I came from a place when I first sat down with my doctor, a very incomplete diet, a very unbalanced lifestyle. And it took many years, and this is over and this is not an overnight talk. I mean, we're talking now, and it sounds like all, you know, unicorns and rainbows, but it's a daily struggle. It is a daily struggle. I have a disorder. I have disordered thoughts and I have a disorder that makes me likely to avoid things. And it's a daily job for me to say, I'm going to include that because it's healthy. I'm going to include that because my body needs it. I'm trying to feed my body.
Dara: But Nicole, you made a very great point in that it's that it's an everyday thought. And why is it an everyday thought? And I think of all the addictions out there, food addiction, whether it's restricting or, or, or bingeing is an everyday thing. You can get rid of drugs. You can get rid of alcohol. You don't need those in your diet to survive and thrive, but you do need to eat on a daily basis. So I find it's one of the most challenging things to overcome. And it is a lifelong, I wouldn't say battle or struggle, but it is something that you have to deal with every day. And I think where it really can start with, and, and it's, it's, you know, I think getting support is super important. And number two, this is what I like to speak about. And we've definitely also spoken about this is speaking to yourself more kindly. And I don't think most people realize how much we're in our head on a day-to-day basis. If we actually like were able to record how many times we speak to ourselves unkindly? Oh my gosh. If anyone ever heard that, or you heard that, like it was played back to you. It's unbelievable. You, you would be shocked.
Nicole: I hear that now, as I have my own child and my next child coming along, I never realized how negatively I talk about myself. And when it comes out of my mouth, I have to be super careful because it does come out. I'm not perfect. It does come out. And I immediately regret it coming out of my mouth because I'm coloring the thoughts of others, my child, my family. And I certainly don't need to do that. They can make their own opinions and judgments of me. I don't need to help them along with that. And, you know, and further to the point of working for something, nothing worthwhile is ever achieved without sacrifice and greatness. True helpfulness is only comes from those willing to pursue it. I started the journey saying, yeah, I'll do it. And I really wasn't willing to pursue it. I really wasn't willing. We all know. And we don't know, I don't know what makes you tick. And you certainly don't know what makes me tick or the next person. We all know what willing to pursue it means in our own bodies definition. And so, whatever that is, we all know when we're doing a half butt job doing something. So I knew going into it. I knew that I was half in. They call it going full in, going full in. I had to get to that point. And it wasn't until I truly failed at having implantation. I had failed implantations until I fully was like, all right, maybe there is something to this diet thing and maybe I need to start changing.
Dara: And I think it's good about like checking in with yourself, if you're being honest and true to yourself and you, I think this is the hard part with when it comes to therapy or meeting with a dietician. And I see this often and granted, I'm not in someone else's head, so I don't necessarily know, but I definitely see some cues and signs from people when I know where I feel they're not being authentic to themselves. People are, are yessing, me or people are rationalizing, oh, I did this because, you know, or when they're, you know, recording and emailing and what they're eating, I only see perfect days, whatever that means, what they think is perfect. And, and, you know, the hard part is the only person that's hurting is that themselves. It's not me. And I'm not here to give someone a gold star and an A+. I'm here to support them. And, you know, I think where people can get the most out of it is when they're open and honest with themselves and letting me know how I can best help them. And that's the hard part is everyone has different needs, but I do think it starts being kind to yourself and speaking timing to yourself. Because if we actually, we're going back to like going to the things that we see in ourselves on a daily basis, if we actually heard it and like, you know, it was written down or we heard it, like we would have no friends if we said those things to our friends or the people that we love, but we easily say it to ourselves. I can admit that I do that to myself every day. But the thing is, if you can catch yourself without the shame, and that was something that you said, like, I feel guilty when I speak that way. Okay. You're good. It's okay to feel guilty, but why make yourself feel bad? You're human. As humans, we do that. But if you can actually look at it, so be aware of it and actually witness it with kindness and compassion, and then change that. Instead of saying like, oh, you look gross in that shirt, you can say, oh wow. I'm not being nice to myself. Am I really seeing something accurately in the mirror? Or is this what I want to see? And why would I, would I say this to my best friend? Like, you look gross in that shirt. You wouldn't say that.
Nicole: No. And if you don't like the shirt, change the shirt. You don't have to say anything about your shirt. You just say, okay, maybe next shirt, maybe try something else. My sister had a really great perspective when she was pregnant, getting up when she was having her, I guess when she was pregnant and she was going through body changes. And I remember my doctor first sitting down with me saying, there's no way right now in your head state, that you will be okay with the body changes that will ensue having a normal pregnancy. And then I took that and then I remember my sister who was also pregnant at the same time as I was, she had the best outlook and my sister, I wish more people had this outlook as far as putting on pants and they're not fitting. Everyone has been there probably. If you haven't good for you, but that you thought fit yesterday or two days ago or whatever it was. And they no longer fit. And she had the best idea, oh, they don't fit, better go up a size. And she, it was just as, as, as fluid as that. And I remember my mom almost like she just said that? That's it? She didn't, you know, she didn't say, you know, this or that. No, all Michelle did was put on a new pair of pants. And that was great. And I said, wow, great, great. I mean, I wish I could be more like that.
Dara: Did that trigger you to, to make you think, oh my gosh, why can't I get there? I'm horrible. Or did you judge her by saying, I can't believe she thought that like.
Nicole: I'm like, I couldn't believe she thought that? Why didn't she think that? But then I remembered, I said immediately, almost as immediately as that came out of my head, I said, wow, I wish I, that was the first thought out of my brain because the first thought out of my brain is a self-deprecating thought. And the first thought out of my brain would be what is going on? Do I have to change about fitting in these pants? You know, I want every day to be able to just as easily as, as innately and rotely as she says, well, I guess I have to change my shirt. Or I guess I have to change my pants, or I just have to change this thing without the negative, without the drawback. And without that damage that comes,.You know, I speak to myself in a, in a negative way, oftentimes having to, having to stop myself and pull back and say,
Dara: But you’re aware of that. That's amazing for me. That's how habits are changed is the awareness and catching yourself. I think even the people who have worked on themselves day in day out and are really enlightened, still have situations that are challenging for them. And when you can be a witness and you can be aware of it with compassion and realize, oh, wow, that sounds amazing. I can say, I can do that. And then I think the hardest part is then practicing that. And I think sometimes those habits can change when you actually are aware of it and then actually practice that very soon afterwards. That's how it could be more likely to stick
Nicole: Absolutely. Practicing it. Oftentimes having to look at myself in a mirror and then with regard to, you know, how did I cope with certain things? Well, as our bodies change, especially with pregnancy, yeah. there are certain clothes that I would love to wear that in my opinion, on my body might not work. I have to start thinking about what will work for me because what works for me won't necessarily work for everyone. And every option out there that's available to us, both food, clothing, accessories, whatever it is, doesn't always work for that person, that particular person. I have to, like, manage my own world by including things that are structuring my day for success, as opposed to failure. So let's say, you know, my body is changing as I, you know, eat more healthy. I'm putting on weight naturally. I cannot no longer wear my double zero shorts because they're not going to fit. By keeping them in my closet doesn't help me, you know, and it reminds me of a time that I should not work for. I should be working for a more healthful, healthy body image. So one of the things I worked on, particularly with RMA was, and get those sizes out of there just, just completely get rid of them because they're not something that you should be having in your daily view. Foods that were triggering to me, like a lot of the ice creams and those low calorie hot chocolates, you and I were talking about. Get them out of your, get them out of your refrigerator, get them out of your freezer because they are triggering to you. What is triggering to me is not triggering to everyone. But if there is something that is helping me have poor habits, I should remove them from my environment because it's just not good. It's not helpful to have, you know, that thing that's causing this, this negative, this negative process in my life. I shouldn't have them. So really structuring my, my lifestyle accordingly.
Dara: That does definitely help. And I think what can also be helpful, but this is a longer term, a longer term thing is actually getting to the point where you can have access to it, or you do have access to it, but you're not associating it with an old habit. So instead of saying, I eat a diet hot chocolate any time this triggers me. So next time I'm triggered by something, you know, out loud or to yourself, this will not help me fill the void. Or when I have this, this is I'm not going to ever choose or I'm, I'm not going to choose this when I'm in this situation that could potentially make me not feel great. So I think there's a great book out there. I don't know if I've ever told you this, Nicole, but I've told a lot of patients over the years, it's called Intuitive Eating. It's by, and I, hopefully we're going to have one of the authors on an upcoming, hopefully podcast in the, in the coming months, their approach is all about mindful eating and intuitive eating. And it's a really, it sounds like something challenging and it doesn't have to be, but it is relearning to have a healthier relationship with food, especially your fear foods.
Nicole: I would love. I mean, I would love to be a fly on the wall, or even just to have the opportunity to ask her questions coming from my own place. You know, what you were saying is, you know, coming to a place where you can have those things in your life, I am obviously currently at, you know this day, not there yet. I am still in a place where I can not have those things around because it's just way too way too triggering right now. And I'm not there yet. And like another point that I want to make when being on these podcasts is I am not perfect. And I am going to identify every way that I can identify that I'm not perfect because I don't want to certainly give off the impression that I, here I am the touting, my, you know, my wares to everyone and you know, how wonderful things are now. I am still working on things. I am still very much in a process where I have to manage the way I speak to myself, what's in my environment and how I, how I support my nutritional life and both mental and, you know, food wise. And I am working on that. So that's a great point, you know, being able to.
Dara: Yeah. As we all are, I think we're all perfect in our imperfections and whether it's eating disorder, disordered eating, I think because it's in, you know, it's something that we have to come face to face with every day, we're all works in progress. And I think that's the beauty of it. And I think, you know, and you've kind of mentioned this, you know, in order for us to, to progress in life and to feel more fulfilled and to further ourselves as humans, I think it is always important to continuously reflect and evaluate and be, and to be honest with yourself. What can I do today to be more honest to myself and true to myself and make myself as healthy as I can? And that of course can change and it can manifest in many different ways, but taking it day by day. And I think if anything, listening to our body. Using intuition, which is a really tough thing for people because it's not something you can grasp. It's not one that's in a box, but the idea of listening, our bodies don't lie.
Nicole: No it's having a relationship with ourselves. It's like, I consider, like when I have, how do I start having a relationship, how do I start having these conversations where I stop myself from saying something negative, or I stop myself from doing something negative. It's really identifying myself as my relationship partner and you can't pour from an empty cup. A relationship is an exchange and in order to have a positive exchange with myself, I have to recognize myself as an entity and a valid entity at that.
Dara: Oh my gosh, Nicole, I feel like I could speak to you all day long. Yeah, and I feel like, you know, this could be a great opportunity for our listeners, if there's anything else that you would want us to delve a little deeper in, if there's any specific questions that you may have for Nicole or for myself regarding this topic or that you think might be more interesting.
Nicole: I would love that. I am an open goal from disordered eating to my pregnancy, current pregnancy, to, you know, how I'm managing, you know, I'm really want to help other people from my perspective, because I feel like being an open book I, number one, glean from others that others are out there with similar situations as myself, but also that I can actually help somebody else. And that's really what I love about doing this. So please, yeah,
Dara: But Nicole, you're forgetting the most important thing - by doing this, it helps yourself as well. It's part of the healing process. You may not even realize this, but actually getting it out in the open and being true to yourself is part of the process of healing and, and becoming more your true self. So it's not only a gift to others. It's a gift to yourself. As we have done in the past, I love to end our session with gratitude. I'm sure you've lost to be grateful for it, but is there anything specific today?
Nicole: I am just grateful for being here. Being here, being in the mind space, to have the opportunity to help others, being grateful that I've come this far, being able to look back and see progress. I am so, so grateful to actually be able to see progress. Not everyone that starts a journey makes progress right away or at all. And I am grateful for that. So grateful, thank you for you really.
Dara: As I've told you, you put in the effort, you know, I might be here to guide you, but I think that, you know, you're doing the hard work. And I think because of that, it's really paid off and to kind of piggyback on that. Yeah. I'm grateful for meeting people like you who are open and honest and passionate about really looking into themselves, looking into the healing process and living their life the best that you can to really not only nourish your mind, your body and your soul, but also for your kid for the next generation.
Nicole: Absolutely. And that's wonderful. Thank you. And thank you for including me. And I want to answer a question. So if there are questions out there, please, please ask them because I would love to come back and answer whatever I can answer for you, really. And I love being a part of this.
Dara: So thanks so much, Nicole. I appreciate it.
Nicole: Thank you.
Dara: Thank you so much for listening today and always remember: practice gratitude, give a little love to someone else and yourself and remember you are not alone. Find us on Instagram at @fertility_forward. And if you're looking for more support, visit us at www.rmany.com and tune in next week for more Fertility Forward.