Weigh-in Wednesday: New Year, Back on track

So December was fun. Lots of fun.

holiday-weight-loss-tips

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!

We_Can_Do_It!

References:

Wikipedia

 

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.

thankyou

Blood work DONE: How to make blood work as smooth as possible

You know how sometimes you finish a major project at work or perhaps there was a big chore at home that had been put off for months and is finally done? Completion of such tasks surely deserve a reward or celebration, right? In my world, getting blood work done  and not having a panic attack is an achievement on the same level as a year end report or reorganizing every closet in your house. Seriously.

Now that it is over, I will wait…wait for Monday and the results that could change my whole life.

In the interim, at least there are fun things to fill the time. Between now and then I will be at E3 (gaming convention) for work, go to a concert I have been looking forward to, make it to the weekend, and celebrate Father’s Day. I am also hoping to spend more time with you…sharing things I have learned to make for a healthier, low carb lifestyle (especially to battle PCOS and Diabetes)

Since I know everyone has to have blood work done at some point, I thought it would be helpful to share some tips I found to help make the draw as smooth as possible. It would have made my Glucose Tolerance Test along with all the other blood work fun I have had much better if I read something like this…so I hope it helps you.

1f3db061265a30289ef6e73a1a2cd3d3.jpgWater is Vital: Drinking water is highly encouraged before a blood draw. Being well-hydrated means your veins are full and easier for thephlebotomist (the person who draws your blood) to find. In essence, being well-hydrated could mean a quicker, less painful draw for you! This will also help your blood pressure from dropping.

anigif_enhanced-875-1423067122-14Get your blood pumping. 
I’ve noticed that my veins seem to be easier to find and the blood flows betterwhen my blood is really moving. To help with this, I always park as far away as possible when I’m going in for a blood draw, and I jog or walk briskly into the office. (Yes, I just admitted how pathetically out of shape I am that that a short jog across the parking lot really gets my blood going.)

9535-Take-A-Deep-Breath-Girl

Take deep breaths. In through the nose, our through the mouth. Seems super intuitive, but it definitely is not for me. All I want to do is hold my breath as I stare longingly at the exit sigh. Deep breaths really did help me today. The lady taking my blood told me to think about being at yoga…a bit of a stretch, but I think her intent was obviously good. I found closing my eyes and breathing really did help quite a bit.

And now…we wait for Monday’s appointment.

Day 1 of new meds: Research on nausea

Day 1 of medication and so far, been nauseated and even vomited…in my work bathroom. Luckily, I was alone…the last thing I need is co-workers thinking I am pregnant! Even though it was rough, I will say I am in much better spirits today. I know the nausea means my body is responding to the medication which means I am that much closer to being healthier.

My hope is this blog helps people going through similar circumstances. I figure whatever I am researching to get through battling PCOS and Insulin Resistance can also help many of you.

So today’s research…how to fight nausea and keep on keepin’ on.

Here are some important things to keep in mind. Reading this made me feel like I wasn’t alone and although this isn’t fun…it is a very common side effect:

  • Many medicines can cause nausea or vomiting.
  • Nausea or vomiting from a medicine is not an allergic reaction.
  • For most people, the dizziness and mild nausea caused by pain medicine often goes away in 1 to 2 weeks
  • If your provider recommends that you follow a regular routine to prevent nausea and vomiting, do not wait until you are severely nauseated or vomiting to start the routine. It is much easier to prevent nausea and vomiting from happening than to treat it after it has started.
  • If you have nausea or vomiting, your provider can prescribe medicines to lessen these side effects. If those medicines don’t reduce your nausea and vomiting, your provider might change your pain medicine so you have fewer side effects.

Call your provider or the consulting nurse right away if you have any of the following:

  • Nausea that lasts longer than 24 hours
  • Vomiting that lasts more than 4 hours
  • Blood in your vomit

Things you can do to help prevent nausea and vomiting:

1. Take it easy for the first several days after you start an opioid pain medicine for the first time, or when your dose has been increased. I am definitely not cancelling my sushi double date tonight, but will be mindful of how much I drink and eat.

2. Take your medicine with a meal or small amount of food. You can also take your medicine with 1 to 2 tablespoons of antacid to help coat your stomach. I definitely did not do this and I think this was part of the problem

3. If you have bloating that makes you feel sick to your stomach, make sure you’re having regular bowel movements (infrequent bowel movements can make you feel bloated.

If you continue to have nausea or vomiting after trying the things listed above, your provider might prescribe medicine to help treat and prevent this side effect. To make sure you get the right medicine to help with nausea or vomiting, tell your provider the following information:

  • Describe the side effect – is it nausea, bloating, dizziness, or vomiting?
  • When does the side effect happen – constantly or within an hour of taking your medicine? o When was your last bowel movement?
  • Have you taken your medicine with food or on an empty stomach?

They say knowing is half the battle…here’s to hoping!

Health update: Scared, but resilient

jour·ney
noun
an act of traveling from one place to another.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have developed false faith that I was better. I convinced myself that December’s visit to the Endocrinologist was so good, that I could get back together with carbs on a regular basis. I have been evolving my diet the way I have in the past…after months of being good, I believed I was on the right track and could afford eating the way so many people around me do indulging in carbs on a regular basis.

I was wrong. Very wrong.

This morning’s appointment was eye opening. When I started this journey back in November, my testosterone level was at 90. The healthy rating for a woman is 30. If I did not get treated, I was on a path to have heart failure. In the next decade. After starting this blog and staying very disciplined in my carb breakup, I got my testosterone level down to 53. This gave me false comfort to allow carbs to creep back into my life…first, when I was stressed. Then, on the weekends. And ultimately, whenever I felt like it. My testosterone level was at 56.

My Endocrinologist is one of the kindest, most talented people I have ever met. Today’s appointment would have been terrifying if it wasn’t for his sense of humor, open dialog, and genuine concern he has for me and all of his patients. Even with his skill and kindness, today was still a very scary wake up call.

I shared with Dr. Marcus that I have been exhausted. I was exhausted from staying on the diet and feeling so limited. Exhausted from taking so many pills every night. I admitted that I have not stuck to 110g of carbs today, had not been regularly exercising 20 minutes a day, and even have been skipping medication on days I am over taking pills. Admitting all of this to him was obviously imperative for him to help course correct, but more importantly, it caused me to be honest with myself.

In addition to staying on track with my carb breakup, Dr. Marcus made the following adjustments to treat my Insulin Resistance and PCOS. Every case is different, but here is how we are approaching my journey to health:

Increased Metformin from 500mg to 2000mg. I am not happy to take 4 times as many pills. (larger pills are available, I am just not a strong pill taker). I have read various posts from many of you about Metformin side effects which had not really been bad for me before. I will be interested to see how side effects progress with this higher dosage.

strong>Exercising 20 minutes a day is imperative. Time to look back at my tips to wakeup in the morning and exercise. The epic battle with the snooze button will continue.

Now for the newest and for me, the scariest change. Once a week, I will now need to give myself an injection. For those of you that have been following my journey, you know that I am terrified with needles which is why the Glucose Tolerance Test was so difficult for me. Each week I will be injecting myself with Tanzeum. My doctor was very open to discussing this medication and we decided it would be the best thing for expediting a cure for my PCOS and Insulin Resistance. I will admit that when he mentioned this, I hit the cap on holding in my emotions. It was hard enough to hear that if I did not get my diet and health in order, I would likely not make it to my 50th birthday in 20 years. Then learning that my results needed pushing and it was time to introduce injections…I lost it in his office. He kindly listened and coached me through how to use this prescription. I was shaking in fear to give myself my first shot…but I did it. I really did. I feel braver and stronger for being able to do this. As much as I hate needles, I will do whatever it takes to be healthy again. For those of you interested in learning more about this prescription, check out this

Insulin Resistance: Best foods for IR

It seems to me that there are a whole lot of articles out there about what you should NOT eat if you have PCOS or IR. Here are some great things to think about from LiveStrong of what you CAN eat if you are like me with PCOS/IR.

Fruits and Vegetables

The Best Foods for Insulin Resistance

Fruits and vegetables are natural sources of vitamins and minerals, including antioxidants which help the body combat and prevent disease. They also contain fiber, which is recommended for healthy weight management and improved digestive health. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can be a helpful means toward reducing one’s risk for insulin resistance. Choose a variety of colorful, fresh fruits and vegetables on a regular, ongoing basis for the best potential results. Frozen or dried fruits and vegetables are a valuable secondary option and can be kept on hand for long periods of time and contain few artificial ingredients or preservatives.

Monounsaturated Fats

The Best Foods for Insulin Resistance
Monounsaturated fats, or plant-based fats found in olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil, avocados, peanut butter, many nuts and seeds, are healthy substitutes for saturated or trans fats–fats associated with increased risk for heart disease. According to research published in the journal of the American Diabetes Association in 2007, intake of monounsaturated fats is linked with decreased fat distribution in those who are insulin resistant. Replace saturated fats, such as butter, whole milk, cream and deep-fried foods with healthier fat alternatives. Olive and canola oil are positive alternatives to butter. Grilled, baked and steamed dishes are preferred over deep-fried foods for those with insulin resistance. Since fat is dense in calories, keep portions sizes modest for best benefits.

Whole Grains

The Best Foods for Insulin ResistanceWhole grains, such as spelt, oats, bulgur, whole wheat and barley, provide a variety of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and soluble fiber. According to findings published in the “European Journal of Clinical Nutrition” in 2007, consumption of whole grains is associated with reduced risk for insulin resistance. Replace enriched breads, cereals, pasta, rice and snack foods with whole grain equivalents. Whole grain breads, long-grain brown rice, oats and snack foods featuring whole grain ingredients support healthy blood sugar management and overall physical health. Consume a variety of whole grains regularly to attain most benefits.

Here is the full article that helped inform this post: http://www.livestrong.com/article/74703-foods-insulin-resistance/

Carbs and I got back together this weekend…and now I am tired and wanting more!

This past weekend carbs and I definitely got back together. In a big way. One of my best friends and her husband were visiting us in LA from Nor Cal, so we were constantly eating out and overindulging. We did get a great hike by the Hollywood sign in, but the weekend was filled with all you can eat brunches, mimosas, and late night pizza deliveries. While this was all fun and good at the time, I have been VERY tired this week and craving more carbs.

Confession: last night I got home much earlier than my husband and was starving. I had a healthy low carb lunch, but by the time I was home I wanted whatever I could get my hands on. Unfortunately for my PCOS and IR, leftover pizza won the no carb battle.

As I explore the challenges of this new lifestyle, it has been helping me to really understand the impact carbs have on my body. The more I know, the harder it is for me to get back together with carbs by staying strong in my decision for  us to break up.

Here is some of the info I found to help me stay strong and just say no to carbs:

Why are carbs making me tired?

Insulin resistance is a process in which the body is inefficient at managing sugars and starches you have eaten in your diet. When you eat a carbohydrate, such as a piece of bread or something sweet like ice cream, your body releases insulin from your pancreas to process that sugar. Without insulin, you would not be able to assimilate this sugar, called glucose, from your blood stream into your liver and muscles. In insulin resistance, your body makes too much insulin for the amount of carbohydrate consumed. This extra insulin is what causes so many of the listed problems, both functional problems (those which precede pathological), as well as pathological problems (those with tissue alterations.) Initially, the extra insulin often ends up processing sugar too rapidly and blood glucose levels are driven too low. This is called hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. This adds stress to the body and causes the production of other hormones (especially adrenal gland hormones like cortisol), which increase blood sugar levels. As CI gets worse, more and more insulin is needed to process a small amount of sugar. The insulin eventually becomes ineffective at driving the sugar into the cells where the nourishment is needed. The cells have become resistant to the insulin.

As CI is developing, the extra stress on the hormonal system, particularly to the adrenal glands, overworks these organs. This results in a complex pattern of symptoms that differ from person to person.

Symptoms of CI include but are not limited to sleepiness, drowsiness, lack of concentration, or a feeling of being bloated after a meal, especially one containing sweet foods or starches. Always feeling hungry or having weak legs or knees after eating is also a symptom of CI. These are just a few of the functional symptoms.

All of this explains why I have been so incredibly tired…especially the more carbs I eat.

Why does eating carbs cause me to want more carbs?

Sugary foods and drinks, white bread and other processed carbohydrates that are known to cause abrupt spikes and falls in blood sugar appear to stimulate parts of the brain involved in hunger, craving and reward, the new research shows. The findings, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggest that these so-called high-glycemic foods influence the brain in a way that might drive some people to overeat.

For those who are particularly susceptible to these effects, avoiding refined carbohydrates might reduce urges and potentially help control weight, said Dr. David Ludwig, the lead author of the study and the director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Also, research suggests that when blood sugar levels plummet, people have a tendency to seek out foods that can restore it quickly, and this may set up a cycle of overeating driven by high-glycemic foods, Dr. Ludwig said. “It makes sense that the brain would direct us to foods that would rescue blood sugar,” he said. “That’s a normal protective mechanism.”

Makes a lot of sense why I am wanting more carbs…my body thinks it is a reward and is wanting to restore low blood sugars when my levels plummet after they spike. I also have heard from a lot of other people that it is hard to change the mentality that a whole day or even week is wasted once you slip up on your diet. Have to take it a meal at a time…

Getting back on track:

Knowing all this, I am proud to say I made a healthy choice for lunch today:

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Greek salad with fresh feta and grilled chicken kabob. I especially love the garlic sauce many Mediterranean or Lebanese restaurants have. It is just garlic, lemon, olive oil, and ice!

Here are some great articles that helped inform this post: