#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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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.

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.

Natural energy boosters

Whether you have PCOS, Insulin Resistance, or a human simply trying to get through all the daily demands…energy can be a hard thing to come by.

I don’t know about you, but energy drinks have never been my jam. Maybe it was too many vodka/red bull’s in college, but there is nothing appealing to me with all the chemicals and what not. I basically feel like this with energy drinks:

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Coffee has not been great since my stomach is more sensitive since I have had PCOS/IR…so there really haven’t been many energy boosting options.

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Lucky for me, my Endocrinologist is amazing and knows I do not want to be on more drugs than I need to be. He listened to my concerns that I felt tired all the time and a little depressed which are common side effects of what I am going through…and living in LA (am I right, Angelenos?!)

Here is what he recommended…this may not work for everyone, but it has been great for me and makes me feel like this:

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I introduce you to…

B-complex vitamin & L-Methylfolate

And now a little more info on both:

B-complex:

Referred to as vitamin B complex, the eight B vitamins — B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12 — play an important role in keeping our bodies running like well-oiled machines. These essential nutrients help convert our food into fuel, allowing us to stay energized throughout the day. While many of the following vitamins work in tandem, each has its own specific benefits — from promoting healthy skin and hair to preventing memory loss or migraines.

Here is a breakdown of what each vitamin does and what foods you can find it in if you don’t want to take the vitamins:

B1 (Thiamine)

B1 helps the body make healthy new cells. It’s often called an anti-stress vitamin because of its ability to protect the immune system. When carbo-loading (either to prepare for a big race or just because pizza tastes that good), studies say this vitamin is necessary to help break down those simple carbohydrates.

Get it from: Whole grains, peanuts, beans, spinach, kale, blackstrap molasses and wheat germ

B2 (Riboflavin)

This B vitamin works as an antioxidant to help fight free radicals (particles in the body that damage cells) and may prevent early aging and the development of heart disease. Riboflavin is also important for red blood cell production, which is necessary for transporting oxygen throughout the body. Several studies suggest B2 can help stave off migraines, but more research is needed to be sure. And be careful, while sunlight does the body good, ultraviolet light reduces the riboflavin content in food sources. Milk, for instance, is best purchased in opaque containers in order to keep this vitamin from breaking down.

Get it from: Almonds, wild rice, milk, yogurt, eggs, Brussels sprouts, spinach and soybeans

B3 (Niacin)

One of the primary uses for niacin is to boost HDL cholesterol (i.e. the good cholesterol). And the higher a person’s HDL, the less bad cholesterol he or she will have in their blood. Vitamin B3 deficiency is very rare in developed countries, though alcoholism has been shown to lower B3 levels in some individuals. Niacin, used topically and ingested, has also been found to treat acne.

Get it from: Yeast, red meat, milk, eggs, beans and green vegetables

B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

Small amounts of vitamin B5 are found in just about every food group — its name even says so. Pantothenic comes from the Greek word pantothen, meaning “from everywhere.” In addition to breaking down fats and carbs for energy, it’s responsible for the production of sex and stress-related hormones including testosterone. Studies show B5 also promotes healthy skin with the ability to reduce signs of skin aging such as redness and skin spots.

Get it from: Avocados, yogurt, eggs, meat and legumes

B6 (Pyridoxine)

Along with fellow B vitamins 12 and 9, B6 helps regulate levels of the amino acid homocysteine acid (associated with heart disease). Pyridoxine is a major player in mood and sleep patterns because it helps the body produce serotonin, melatonin and norepinephrine, a stress hormone. Some studies suggest vitamin B6 can reduce inflammation for people with conditions like rheumatioid arthritis.

Get it from: Chicken, turkey, tuna, salmon, lentils, sunflower seeds, cheese, brown rice and carrot

B7 (Biotin)

Because of its association with healthy hair, skin and nails, this B vitamin also goes by “the beauty vitamin.” It may help people with diabetes control high blood glucose levels, too. This B vitamin is especially important during pregnancy because it’s vital for normal growth of the baby.

Get it from: Barley, liver, yeast, pork, chicken, fish, potatoes, cauliflower, egg yolks and nuts

B9 (Folate)

This is what my doctor gave me an additional prescription for.

You may have heard another name for B9 — folic acid — which is the synthetic form used in supplements and fortified foods like cereal and bread. Studies suggest folate may help keep depression at bay and prevent memory loss. This vitamin is also especially important for women who are pregnant since it supports the growth of the baby and prevents neurological birth defects.

Get it from: Dark leafy greens, asparagus, beets, salmon, root vegetables, milk, bulgur wheat and beans

B12 (Cobalamin)

This B vitamin is a total team player. Cobalamin works with vitamin B9 to produce red blood cells and help iron do its job: create the oxygen carrying protein, hemogloblin. Since vitamin B12 is only found in animal products, studies show higher rates of non-meat eaters with a deficiency. “But unless you are a strict vegan or vegetarian,” Zuckerbrot says, “it’s not hard to get enough of this vitamin in your diet.” For those who are deficient, it may be necessary to supplement the diet with B12.

Get it from: Fish, shellfish, dairy, eggs, beef and pork

Now let’s get some energy going for the weekend!

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Thanks to this great article from Daily Burn that helped inform this post!

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.)

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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.