#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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BirthMONTH weight gain is a thing…but here is how I am bouncing back

In my family, it is not a birthDAY. It is a birthMonth. Between family in different cities, cob3656cf7a880f148fe32701c852e025fa7fb1088882c59b826ad08b122dae222_1nflicts with work schedules, and the fact that we love a good celebration…festivities absolutely extend over several days, weeks, the month…whatever.

As we all know, a good celebration calls for a good carb or ten. Carbs and I definitely got back together and while I want to say I regret it, it was a glorious rendezvous. Sushi, pasta, sangria, cupcakes, cookies, fried chicken, french fries, bread…all of it. So. Good.

But then there is the whole consequence thing which is this case is 5 pounds I gained back. While this is less than stellar, I am surprisingly feeling OK about it.

Here is why I am OK with the weight gain during my birthMONTH and what I plan to do to get back on track.

My birthday was amazing. Maybe the best ever.

IMG_2569On my actual birthday, I got to go on a work day trip and was surprised with birthday treats during an important meeting. My husband spoiled me with my favorite restaurant, champagne, and a bag I have had my eye on. My birthday party was at a beautiful outdoor venue and I was surrounded by amazing friends including one of my best friends who came all the way from
Alaska to surprise me. Some of my friends I haven’t seen in a while told me how great I look from my 20 pound weight loss. Basically, I had a lot of reasons to smile. I looked great, I felt great, and really was counting my blessings for the progress I have made and the wonderful people I have in my life.

Now while that sounds all rosy and wonderful and I have a good snapshot I shared, the truth is that I was eating carbs like it was the zombie apocalypse. I really did not discriminate with any carbs and even a week after my actual birthday, I was still doing the same thing.

The truth of the matter is, it is time to get back on track. They say the first step is admitting the problem, and the problem is carbs. It is definitely time for us to breakup again.

Here is my plan to get back on track:

Since our work cafeteria is closed, we have food trucks coming to our campus every day. You know…pizza, tacos, tater tots, grilled cheese. It is basically as if carbs was sending me 2 dozen roses everyday and begging me to get back together. But this cannot be.

Planning ahead seems to be the best way to battle carbs. We will be out of town this weekend, so meal planning will be more challenging. But we will find a way! My husband has also gained a lot of weight…mostly because when my appetite was down from the meds he was eating what I wasn’t and as a true partner, he fully indulged in my birthmonth as well.

To help us both, we have been good about getting in our 20 minute exercise prescribed by the doc each night with evening walks. It has been good for our relationship and great for our health.

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I also just started a food journal today to really count my carbs to keep me aligned with my 110g/day goals. I have food journaled before and I have found it really helps with accountability. Not only do I plan to keep track of the number of carbs I eat, but I also plan to keep track of taking my meds. I have found as things get busier and busier, I have been worse about taking the meds I need to survive. I figure that if I take the time out of the day to commit to this, it will make me pay more attention and not be swayed by the delicious smell of food trucks or office bagels.

I also am planning to write more! I kept making excuses, but truthfully, sharing my journey with you all made me more accountable and ultimately healthier. I also sincerely hope this helps others in similar situations or just looking to be healthier get to their goals.

Here’s to a fresh start. Again.

Weigh-in Wednesday: Down 24 Pounds!

imagesIt is pretty amazing how much progress I have made…since last August, I am down 24 pounds and all of my levels were looking great at my last doctor appointment!

With all the drama and pain this has been to go through, I can’t begin to tell you how pleased I am to see results like these.

To be honest, the results do confuse me a little bit…carbs and I have TOTALLY been back together. In a big way. I do still have some nausea from my meds and don’t quite feel like myself, so I have been eating lots of carbs. I will admit I try to eat carbs that are better than others (like Rye instead of white bread), but I have had carbs with every meal. I was honestly shocked that I didn’t weigh more considering the 4th of July holiday. It seems so crazy to me that I have virtually been eating what I want (including half of a morning donut this morning) and losing weight. And now I am officially one of those jerks I used to hate that could eat what they want and not gain weight. It has been hard – my typical fish and veggie choice has sounded TERRIBLE and salads seem to make me sicker than carbs. So carbs it has been and likely will continue to be.

With this weird carb thing going on, here are my successes from the week and goals for next week:

Successes:

  • Been under control making some healthy decisions, especially with carb heavy meals (we even had brown rice pasta for our mac and cheese on the 4th of July!)
  • Quotes-on-success-List-of-top-35-success-quotes-20I have tried to get exercise in and did a 45 minute hike on the 4th with my husband and dogs. I have also been choosing the cafeteria that is farther from my office to get in a little more walking.
  • I was better about taking my meds this week. There were a couple of days I was really struggling, but I feel like I am getting a better groove.
  • I have been better about worrying less and thinking more positively. Sure, I wish there some things that were different in my life…but I am thankful for the things I do have that I have worked hard for.

Opportunities:

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  • Exercise has not been hitting my goal of 20 minutes a day. I really need to get up and get going.
  • I will be trying to re-introduce healthier eating into my life. Carbs and I just can’t stay together if I want to keep seeing the results I have been having.
  • Be consistent with my meds. The Endocrinologist said almost everything is back to normal…except that I am still ovulating every 2-3 weeks and losing some of my hair. He increased my Metformin, so hopefully within the next 3 months everything will be back on track. That being said, in the words of Fat Amy, “You should really listen to my doctor.”

So that’s that! Let’s see how I do…starting tomorrow? Definitely getting some pizza for dinner. Because. PIZZA.

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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.

Night before blood work: Time for results

It’s 9pm here is California and I am fasting. Isn’t it funny that whenever you can’t have something, you want it? Basically, this is how I feel right now:

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Since I have last posted, I have made major progress as I approach my Endocrinologist appointment on Monday. I am the lowest weight I have been in years and down 15 pounds from my last Endocrinologist appointment which gives me hope that I am winning the battle against PCOS and Pre-Diabetes. Monday is the day we will find if medication has been working.
3 months ago, my Endocrinologist was concerned that my levels were not where they should be and I needed to increase my medication. After tripling my dosage for Metformin, doubling the dosage for Spironolactone, and putting me on a weekly injection of Tanzeum…I have had a rough 3 months.

With all this medication, I have been vomiting 1-5 times a week for the last 3 months. It was bad. Just starting a new job, I was terrified my new coworkers would think I was pregnant or had an eating disorder. I was sick often at work, on planes, on the side of the road…everywhere. Nausea had taken over my week and I was exhausted. On top of that, I went from not ovulating at all to ovulating…EVERY 2 WEEKS.

Things seem to have evened out…last week was my first week I wasn’t sick! I only vomited once and I believe it was due to working a red carpet event and being in the very hot California sun for hours. Wednesdays are my injectable day and I will say I am less afraid going into the next few days with the hope the side effects really have improved.

While my fears for side effects have subsided, I find myself terrified for the blood work tomorrow for 2 reasons:

1.) I still hate needles. Injecting myself once a week hasn’t improved the fear…so starting the day with blood work is going to make it tough to sleep tonight.

2.) I am really worried about what will happen on Monday. While I see weight improvement which I know should indicate border change, I know my food intake has not been great. When you feel sick all the time, all you want is carbs. As a mostly pescetarian, I have been shocked to find that fish has disgusted me in the last few months. All my normal routines and the way I feel about myself have been off. While that has been tough, I am more afraid of what happens if I get bad news Monday.

So what does one do? One remembers…

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Even though I was scared how it would make me feel, I ate salmon today for lunch. And it was delicious.

Even though I hate mornings and don’t want blood work taken, I made an 8:15am appointment. And I will be there.

Even though I am terrified of the results I will have Monday, I will have faith.

And even though carbs and I are breaking up, I had a handful of miniature candy bars tonight. Because I gave myself a shot. Because it was before fasting time began for my blood work. Because I wanted to. Although I know I shouldn’t, I know rewards are important and no one is perfect. But then I remember this:

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I suppose we all have room for improvement.

More to come on how the blood work goes and what I learn on Monday.

Stay happy, stay healthy.

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

PCOS and IR: Not an easy lifestyle

SPOILER ALERT: This post contains the whole truth and nothing but the truth on how the last week and a half have gone.

Having PCOS and Insulin Resistance is hard. As in VERY hard. The last couple of months I have tried to be positive. I have followed the rules the best I could. I try to look on the bright side and take each day with a new level of faith. But it is hard and I have not been doing well.

Sticking to 110g of carbs a day is pretty hard. Especially when you work in an office where there are free carbs around you everywhere and cafeteria options that are hard to ignore in all their carb filled glory. It is hard to ignore the free bread or tortilla chips on a table when you go out to eat and your friends are enjoying the carby deliciousness. It is hard to not take the easy route with food…so many carb filled options are typically the easiest to get when you are in a rush.

And the ovulation. Every 10-14 days. I mean…come on. The cramps, nausea, and exhaustion have been out of control causing me to crave even more of what I shouldn’t eat.

If all this isn’t enough, I am in a new role at work that is BRAND new to me. While it is exciting to learn something new every day, it is also exhausting. I find myself more insecure than I have been in a long time wondering if what I am doing is right. I am working so hard to please everyone and exceed expectations. All while fighting Insulin Resistance and PCOS.

I wish it would all just go away and I can do what I have done in the past…if one diet doesn’t work, choose another one. But that is no longer an option. Insulin Resistance and PCOS are real which no way around them.

So if I can’t go around these challenges…I need to keep fighting and find a way to go THROUGH the challenges. While the last couple weeks have been so hard, I know I am a fighter and I know I will get healthier. Now time to go meet a friend for dinner and ignore the free bread…

Thursday progress: Staying steady

While Thursday morning weigh-ins are typically most joyful when I am down from the last week, I must say I am almost equally pleased that I did not gain any weight from last week’s weigh-in. Valentine’s weekend was filled with a crazy about of carbs and cocktails which ended up snowballing into over carb indulgence for a majority of the week. Last night was also a very late work night, so I ended up not having dinner until almost 9pm. In the past late dinners typically mean a heavier weigh-in.

All that being said, the more I read and hear from many of your stories about PCOS and IR it is clear to me that I need to be patient with myself. The cravings, exhaustion, and pain are all very real things that I believe I (and many of you) are very strong to battle. While I really just want to stay in bed all day with my dogs while cradling a baguette topped with pasta and french fries, I know that I am strong enough to get up each day and fight. Will all battles be won? No. But I am I fighting? Heck yeah.

SUCCESSES THIS WEEK:

  • While I gave into carbs more than I should this week, I also was really strong and turning down incredibly accessible carbs. I don’t know about you, but my office has free carbs. Like all the time. Yesterday I went to get more tea and what did I find? Catering size platters of chow mein. And rice. I mean… Also, while my husband enjoyed a turkey club with waffle fries last night, although I was exhausted and wanted the same, I indulged in grape leaves (a little rice) and had a curry chicken salad for dinner. I call that a win.
  • As a person who struggles with mornings and is typically late if anything is earlier than noon, I was proud of myself that I was EARLY for an 8:30am meeting this morning. I got up with enough time to get myself together and rock my presentation. If I can do it for my company, I should be able to do it for myself with morning workouts. While I truly hate waking up, it does make me feel more prepared for the day when I get an early start. This morning definitely motivated me to get up tomorrow morning (especially since it is a later start) and get my 20 minutes of exercise in.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR NEXT WEEK:

  • Carbs and I are not going to be involved next week. We just aren’t. I really want to commit to the next week between my food, medicine, and exercise to really see the great results I get when I do those things. If my weight stays the same, I am going to need a moderate restraining mechanism to keep me from all the carbs I missed and want to eat out of frustration of no progress…but we will cross that bridge when we get there.
  • Since my weeks for progress start on Fridays, I will plan to wake up tomorrow morning and get those 20 minutes of exercise in. I CAN DO IT.

How did you do this week?

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/