#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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Wednesday Weigh-In: Down 3 pounds!

So as it turns out, food journaling helps. A LOT.

Even though I had a family vacation this weekend and enjoyed more carbs than usual, I still tried to be mindful of what I ate and drank. I have also been sticking to the food journal all week so far. The nice thing about food journaling is I can still have carb splurges, but I am mindful of how big they are and how they impact my carbs for the day.

This morning was a great example of how carbs and I had a brief rendezvous, but didn’t fully commit. Around my office, there are a lot of celebrations. Not the once a month lump all the birthdays together…but a celebration for EVERY birthday, milestones, farewell, you name it. This morning was a farewell…with bagels. Sitting around the table feeling hungry and watching everyone eat carbs, I was dying. So I used my handy dandy “Calorie King” app and realized if I had half a bagel, I would be within my normal 30g of carb/meal allotment. This allowed me to eat, be included, and not break the carb bank. SUCCESS.

All of this seems to be working as I am down 3 pounds form last week! I am still working off my birthMONTH weight, but am only 2 pounds away from where I was at my lowest weight before birthMONTH. Even with the small gain, I am still down 22 pounds from September 2014. I am hoping this momentum will keep me moving in the right direction.

So I guess carbs in moderation is kind of like friends with benefits status…we aren’t fully committed, but we enjoy some great perks of a relationship. Sometimes.

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/

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: