Client of the Month - November
Published: 16 November 2022
Marie’s dream of becoming pregnant was realised after she shed 6% of her body weight and reduced her Body Mass Index (BMI). Now the 32-year-old from Littleover is expecting her first child in June with partner of five years, Paul Sbardella.
Marie suffers from polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition that affects how the ovaries work and can make it more difficult to get pregnant and manage weight gain.
Being told she had to reduce her Body Mass Index (BMI) from 33 to under 30 to qualify for an NHS funded cycle of IVF treatment fuelled her determination to lose weight.
With support from Livewell and specifically her advisor, Casey Baxter, Marie has made changes to her diet and lifestyle in the last 12 months which she says will stay with her for life.
Falling pregnant after her first round of IVF treatment, Marie shares her story:
"In Derby, the NHS funds just one IVF cycle and we’d already started the process when doctors said we couldn’t proceed due to my weight. It was gutting, particularly when they gave me a three-month deadline to lower my BMI to below 30. To be honest it was the most stressful part of the process.
I’ve struggled with my weight for years and tried every diet going including the well-known national groups, but with limited short-term success. Having already joined Livewell when I started IVF, it made me even more determined to change.
The common-sense approach really appealed to me – it’s a lifestyle change rather than a crash diet. I want to be a healthy mum who can run around with my children so getting fitter was just as important to me as changing my eating habits.
Throughout my journey I had regular calls from Casey. Her calming influence and sound advice helped me keep on track and she always left me with positive thoughts and actions to complete. Plenty of times, I’d doubt myself or have a wobble if my weight fluctuated but Casey was great in pulling me back to reality and giving helpful tips about nutrition and exercise. Snacking is my downfall, so Casey suggested healthy alternatives that I have ready prepared when urges strike such as carrot and celery batons, sliced peppers and homemade popcorn.
My gym induction at Derby Arena was so impressive - the instructor made my programme bespoke to me. Taking account of my hip problems, he developed a programme based on stretching and strengthening my muscles in that area as well as other easy functional moves to develop my mobility in every-day life.
It was fascinating to hear how other people were getting on at the quarterly review meetings. It boosted my confidence to talk with other clients about similar challenges and to know I wasn’t the only one struggling at times.
Certain I wouldn’t be able to keep up at Lauran’s Boxwell class, I couldn’t have been more wrong! Being a newbie to classes, I believed I wouldn’t be able to keep up but Livewell sessions are pitched at all levels, and instantly feel more doable. Everyone was friendly and welcoming from the start and Lauran made it so fun that I looked forward to going every week. Before long, I was taking part in her Circuits class straight after and it spurred me on to join spin classes at Derby Arena.
As my confidence grew, Casey encouraged me to push myself, vary my exercise and move things up a gear. Soon I was exercising every day – walking the dog further and at a faster pace daily, doing three classes a week and swimming most weeks too.
I thought I was clued up on healthy eating but the Lose Weight Feel Great course offered surprising snippets that have changed my outlook. It was reassuring to discuss all the different diets we’d all tackled in the first session and throughout the weeks we learnt about each other’s challenges and experiences. For the first time I felt I wasn’t alone or a failure. Advisors, Gemma and Emma made the sessions interactive and thought provoking - I still remember the way hidden salt and sugars in foods/drinks was shown in tubes. I came away with a renewed focus on eating the right portion sizes from the different food groups.
When I went back to the clinic in July, I’d achieved my goal – my BMI was 29 and the cycle was approved to continue. Everything happened really quickly after that, and I managed to maintain my healthy eating and gentle exercise despite the tiredness and mood swings from the hormone injections.
The three-minute wait for the pregnancy test result were the longest in my life. I was so shocked at the positive line that I bought more. I don’t think we actually believed it was real until we saw the scan at 7 weeks!
When I had the push back of not going further with our fertility treatment, it felt a huge hill to climb. But being consistent, sticking to my goal and having the right support got me through. If there’s one message I want to pass on, it’s if you have a bad day, keep going - don’t give it up."
Livewell advisor, Casey Baxter added:
"I know how hard Marie has worked to lower her BMI, particularly when it was only a small reduction she needed, which can make it so much harder! She responded to regular contact and was honest with herself and me when she was struggling. Always up for trying my suggestions, Marie would come up with her own ideas that suited herself and her lifestyle. Engaging in different parts of programme have clearly paid off and she has made healthy changes that she can keep up with for life! I was so pleased when Marie told me she approved for the IVF treatment and absolutely thrilled when she discovered she was pregnant. Huge congratulations and well done Marie!”