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A new normal – trying to stay positive 

It has been 16 months since I was diagnosed with PCOS and Insulin Resistance.

16 months. 36 pounds lost. 9 pills a day. 1 injection a week. 1 chemical pregnancy. 

While I know I have had a battle and I have been a successful warrior, I am feeling…exhausted. Exhausted from feeling like this condition is consuming my identity. Exhausted from frustrations of not being able to start a family. Exhausted from all of it to the point that I don’t even want to be around my own thoughts any more.

Tonight I looked back at photos of my self 36 pounds heavier and am feeling shocked at how I looked. During the heaviest weight of my life I will forever be immortalized in 3 different sets of wedding photos where I was honored to serve as bridesmaid. I look back and can see how far I have come, but wonder how far I have to go.

This blog and this community have given me strength when I have needed it most. Now as I wait (with some super fun GI problems from my medication) on the eve of an endocrinologist appointment, I am praying my levels will be ok. Praying for progress. And praying for the ability to give my husband a family.

I am so thankful I am alive. Thankful for my progress. Hopeful things will continue to get better. This journey really has no end. So I look to you – my strong inspirations- who continue to fight and succeed with PCOS and IR. Thank you for sharing your stories and voicing support. Thank you for reminding me I am not alone.

We can all do this – we won’t stop, we will keep fighting. 

 

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Weigh-in Wednesday: The Roller Coaster of Weight Loss

The strangest thing to me about working to get a hold of your health is how up and down the scale can be…even when you are working your hardest.

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In the last week, I have got back on track with diet (except for a few splurges for the long weekend) and even went to a Cardio Barre class last night. Work made me a little late, but I went in any way and still got in a 45 minute workout (which is well above my 20 minute requirement). Yet today when I weighed myself, I was up a pound from last week.

Even if my scale is going up and down, I am taking a moment to understand the fluctuation which will help me NOT ride the emotional roller coaster (and you shouldn’t either):

  1. Eating Late – I ate dinner much later than usual last night. There has been a big change in schedules and I am not able to do night time workouts. That being said, I am getting home and eating MUCH later than usual (around 9pm) which I know impacted my weigh-in. While I know it is not good to eat so late, the reality of my schedule is that I either eat late with a workout, or don’t workout at all. Sure, sure…I could do a morning workout and bypass this problem, but my class is not early enough in the morning. I have found that even if it isn’t perfect, as long as you are working to be healthy…well, then go YOU.
  2. Working Out – I started working out again. It is a well known fact that muscle weighs more than fat, so with the additional exercise…this could happen.
  3. Too Much Sodium – as I have been working to lower carbs, I have been overcompensating with salt and pepper to season. I absolutely love salt and pepper on veggies, but too much salt is always a bad idea. I remember thinking to myself this week if I should be concerned about how much salt I have had, then told myself with all the water I drink I should be fine. Guess not! All the salt caused more water retention. There is a hormone called aldosterone. More aldosterone = more water retention. When you keep sodium low, the body increases production of aldosterone. So, with already high levels of aldosterone coupled with a flood of sodium, the body holds water like crazy.

In a world where it is impossible to be perfect, I am going to give myself a pass for the pound increase this week and a high five for altering my lifestyle to accommodate exercise. Could I be doing better? Always. But am I doing pretty darn good from where I started? Heck yeah.

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References:

http://www.ontheregimen.com/2014/02/09/what-those-scale-weight-fluctuations-really-mean/

 

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Weigh-in Wednesday: New Year, Back on track

So December was fun. Lots of fun.

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I literally got back with carbs in a way that pretty much evolved us from exes to being married. All the carbs. I mean, I didn’t discriminate. I was an equal opportunity carb monster. Between work gifts, holiday parties, holiday dinners, and overall feeling festive I really went for it. Maybe I was trying to be like Santa and be as jolly as possible for December. Let’s just say I was committed.

One thing I seemed to forget during this food fest was that I had an upcoming Endocrinologist appointment in January and that my blood work results do not come with caveats or forgiveness. Nothing brings cold, hard honesty to your life like blood work. Nothing.

After returning from another ridiculous amount of carbs on a vaca in Orlando, I had my appointment today. Here is how it went:

Pros –  Last visit 3 months ago, my levels showed the start of Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. It is great the non-alcoholic is at the start of this diagnosis because I was about to REALLY regret decisions made in college. And my 20s. And my 30s. And last weekend.

While it is important to limit, alcohol, that is not the cause of this condition. What I did learn on Wikipedia is that this is the most common liver disorder in developed countries (around 30% of Americans) and is directly tied to my lovely Insulin Resistance (or pre-diabetes).

I was also down a couple pounds from the last visit. Down is always good…but when I am doing all I should be, I should be down a lot more.

Cons – My testosterone levels were higher than last visit. Luckily nothing close to what they were before, but definitely not as low as they should be. This brings me closer to needing insulin every day in full diabetes mode and also makes future plans for a family nearly impossible down the road.

PrintAs I work to be more positive this year I am going to take my cons and say the POSITIVE about them is that I have control over these results. These results are directly tied to the amount of carbs I am eating. I know FOR A FACT I have not been anywhere near my goal of 110g of carbs/day for the last 6-8 weeks. I wasn’t even keeping track.

I am happy to say that I also was NOT given more meds this visit. When I am not doing what I am supposed to, my endocrinologist finds additional meds to help make up for what I am not being responsible enough to do on my own. This visit, no more meds…just a pep talk on the reminder of why I need to stick to 110g carbs/day.

So here I am. Back at my desk. Eating a burrito bowl. Ignoring the Chick-fil-A my co-workers are eating. Ready to food journal. And under 30g of carbs for 2 meals and a snack so far today.

Resolutions are important…but this is more than that. This is to be well. This is to help my husband eat a healthier diet. This is for a future ability to have a child (ren). This is bigger than how good that carb dates.

3 months from now will be my next Endocrinologist appointment. Here’s to striving to beat my personal best and to being my healthiest self. We can all do it!

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References:

Wikipedia

 

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#WeighInWednesday: Down 5 pounds from last week!

The nausea is not great. And the vomiting is even worse. And the breaking up with carbs is certainly the ABSOLUTE WORST.

But…

I am proud to say I am down 5 pounds from last week and am at the lowest weight I have been in years! I am down 27 pounds from this time last year! While all of the things I have been going through have been very tough, I have found that writing more frequently to YOU has made me stronger and more accountable.

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As I type this, I realize I was so hungry today I forgot to take a pic of my low carb lunch today for Instagram – but I have been posting a lot more of what I have been eating which has made me even more accountable.

I am sure you can agree…seeing results from working hard is the absolute best feeling. It keeps you motivated and helps you believe again in what you are doing. For me, I know that a drop on the scale means wonderful things for all my other levels which will make my Endocrinologist appointment next month that much more successful. This has been one hard journey with no end in sight, but as they say:

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Here is what I did well this week:

  • Food journaling – of all the things that have worked for staying low carb, the food journal has by far helped me have the most success. It has really helped me keep track of how I am doing and has really translated into results.
  • Delicious breakfast found – Since I have not been eating eggs for personal reasons and I need to stay low carb, I have been really struggling with breakfast options, especially on-the-go breakfast options. I started trying Luna Bars which keep me under my 30g of carbs/meal limit. They are delicious, good for being on-the-go, and low carb. I am pleased to say they help me kick-off my day the way a good breakfast should.
  • Stayed Low Carb, even when it was tough – Of course there were some exceptions with Halloween, but all in all I really watched what I ate and made low carb choices. I have found ways to splurge (like Popcorn or grapes), but splurging in ways that do not completely destroy my carb count for the day.

Here is what I can work on next week:

  • Exercise – a lot of this has to do with the fatigue and nausea I have had, but exercise just has not been happening. I have been trying to walk more around work (which is saying a lot – it is a big campus), but there is certainly room for improvement
  • Booze – While I have cut drinking out during the week for the most part, I really want to cut back on weekends too. As I get older, I have noticed many of my friends are transitioning from our binge drinking 20s to enjoy a nice glass of wine 30s. And there is nothing wrong with that. We are going to a wedding this weekend, so it will be interesting to see if I can keep this goal…but I will try!
  • Manage emotions – I had a bit of a breakdown at work this week…my first since starting this new job 6 months ago. This team is all about sharing frustrations, but I have always been more poker faced in the workplace. I think like most things, there is a happy medium…which I will be working hard to achieve. Like all workplaces, negativity can snowball very quickly, so it is important to me I don’t feed into any negativity around me and continue to identify myself as a positive person…no matter what.

So here is to positivity…and hard work…and being a bad @$$. Cheers to that.

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#MondayMotivation: Good start to the week after Halloween fun

Halloween weekend is certainly a TRICKy time for those of us counting carbs. My stomach has been pretty upset lately from RIPCupcakethe meds, so I did not really do any drinking this weekend, but I certainly got back together with carbs for a Halloween rendezvous. I don’t know about you, but I feel like if I do not let myself enjoy holidays when everyone else is, I go crazy. It is hard enough to order the salad when everyone else has pizza on a normal basis…so I give myself some breathing room for holidays. That being said, I had some chips, bread, fries, and did not go protein style with my turkey burger because…R.I.P DIET for this weekend. I will say that I tried to make healthier choices (i.e. wheat bun instead of white) and I also feel back in love with one of my favorite healthy snacks…red bell peppers with salt and pepper. SO good. SO healthy. All that being said, I certainly did not stick to 110g carbs per day. I am pretty sure a handful of fun sizes helped with that.

But now it is time to get back on track. And even though I am feeling especially irritable today (maybe it is just Monday, maybe it is meds, who really knows for sure…), I have been pretty good at staying on track. It is pushing 4pm and as I type I am snacking on cherry tomatoes and seeing that I am at 48g carbs. I said no to California Pizza Kitchen with co-workers. No to the Indian station in the cafeteria with rice and garlic naan bread. No to ALL the extra candy around the office. I am really trying to commit.

To top it off, I got a slow cooker done before going to work and will see if it is a good one tonight. Definitely staying low carb for this meal…and there is something about having dinner already done as I drove in for work that made me feel ready for anything.

So yes, I am irritable. Yes, I miss carbs. And yes, I really don’t know how I have been so good today. But I have been…and even though this lifestyle is overwhelming, I am living one moment at a time. And in this moment, these cherry tomatoes taste REAL GOOD.

Here’s to a good week!

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Marriage and PCOS

There is an article right? Or a tutorial? Or something to navigate communicating to your partner the pain you feel and why they should understand?

I tried. I even have a post about it. But there is no explanation. There is no way. No one can really understand no matter how much they love you and want to help. It is like anything…until you have been through it, you can’t understand.

So here I am. Out on a date with a man I have been committed to for 10 years. A man I love. A man who has tried. But he can’t understand.

I try to be a blog about positivity. I try to find the silver lining. But I also am honest. Always honest. And I will say – going through PCOS and IR with a partner who isn’t…is lonely.

Please don’t get me wrong. I love him and our relationship. But he just doesn’t get it. He can’t.

So here I am…sitting at a bar…next to my husband  and writing to you. Thank goodness this crazy world has made it normal for a couple on a date to be on their phones next to each other.

But here is the thing. I am SO thankful he isn’t going through this. I am so thankful he doesn’t have the pain that I do and that he doesn’t understand this.

So I will take a deep breath. And another drink of wine (because hey – I feel nauseated anyway) and I will make this a great night. Because I love him. And because we only have this moment we are given. 

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Truth and Thanks – The realities of PCOS and IR 

PCOS and Insulin Resistance have rocked my world. It has been almost a year since diagnosis and I can’t believe how much my life has changed.

For anyone battling a health issue, you can relate to the challenge of preventing said issue from consuming your identity. For me, I have battled mood swings, persistent nausea, vomiting, fatigue…all the things that engulf my life and are impossible to ignore.

Sometimes I feel so frustrated that I can’t get away from these feelings and symptoms. For a short term sickeness or even a diet, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You know that you will get better and all discomforts will be done at some point. I think for me, that’s the hardest part of PCOS and IR – that all this discomfort is permanent and all these lifestyle changes must be permanent as well if I want to stay healthy (and alive).

The human component of fighting a disorder is the part we need to remember. We aren’t machines. We will falter. We will get frustrated. But we can keep fighting.

After a bad stick last night with my Tanzeum that caused a bit of bleeding, after needing to run into the bathroom at work during a meeting to be sick, after being so frustrated that I can’t eat the carbs that everyone around me are eating…I feel discouraged and exhausted. But I know this is what I have been dealt and that I am lucky to be alive. So I am going to keep putting all my energy into finding the positive and being strong. No matter what.

My Carb Breakup has given my strength during the darkest times…times like now. So thank you – thank you for reading. Thank you for commenting. Thank you for your kindness.

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