Thursday Progress: Up 2 pounds, but optimistic for change

When I woke up this morning for my Thursday weigh in, I knew this was going to be a rough week. Between stress and not feeling well, this was certainly not a good week for exercise and low carb eating. As I have said before, this blog is not about a false lifestyle that keeps moving forward perfectly. This blog is about me and the true challenges that I am facing every single day.

Would I have loved to be down this week so I feel extra lovely in my Valentine’s Day dress this weekend? Absolutely. Do I wish that I was not doubled over in pain and able to stay on track? Of course. Do I realize that this is a marathon and sometimes I am going to need a water break? Definitely.

  • To be honest, it is a success that I did not call in sick to work every day this week. The pain has been so intense with cramps and discomfort with nausea that I find it a small miracle that I only missed 1 day of work this week. Success comes in all forms, so this is definitely a win.
  • While this is not a health success per say, I feel like I have been a pretty good friend to those important to me this week. I had a wonderful dinner with a childhood friend last night where we had real conversations about fears, anxieties, and dealing with life. I have a very good friend coming to my house this weekend and I am thrilled about the gift I found for her. A college friend is moving to Europe and I feel like I have been a good support for her as she prepares for this major change. My husband’s birthday is not until June and I already found a perfect gift for him. While these wins are not low carb or fitness related, I feel they bring so much to my life and those around me.

  • Carbs and I definitely got back together this week. In a big way. Pizza, crackers, brown rice pasta, pita chips, rice…it was a love fest for sure. All of this was mostly due to the nausea I have been feeling and the fact that I feel eating carbs really is a floodgate. Once you do it, it’s hard to stop. This weekend will be challenging with lots of celebrations and I know I will do my best…but am also aware that I will slip with food and alcohol as we celebrate a birthday and Valentine’s Day.
  • Exercise did not happen. Since I am calling getting myself to work due to pain I was  having a victory, it is not surprising that I did not pull myself out of bed for 20 minutes of exercise.

Thank you all for your support and encouragement. You inspire me to be honest and to stay steady on my journey. Every day is different, especially when faced with a major lifestyle change. Here’s to the journey…

PCOS and Insulin Resistance: Remedies for cramps and nausea

It has been a few days since I have written which is mostly due to how I have been feeling lately. While my medication has been wonderful and side effects have been minimal, the main side effect I have been having of menstruating every 2 weeks is starting to take a major toll on my body.

In chatting with my doctor, since the medications I am on increase my estrogen levels and I have an excess of eggs in my ovaries for the months with PCOS that I went without any menstruation, it is normal that I would be experiencing 2 periods per month. While there are clear logistical problems with this, the worst part has been that I have had the most painful cramps accompanied by headaches and nausea with these cycles.

I know that it is great that my ovulation has come back and I am so thankful the medication is working. I will admit that it has been very hard for me to deal with the pain which means I have not been exercising. On top of that, all I have wanted is carbs and sparkling soda to fight through the pain.

Today is better…I am certainly trying to fight mind over matter on this one and get back to my low carb diet. My guess is that the pain will continue to flare up and that this very thing might be something you are dealing with as well. Luckily, most of the abdominal pain and nausea have improved…but today I have been fighting a headache all day.

Whether you are like me with PCOS and IR or if you simply have a really tough time with cramps when Aunt Flo is in town, here are some things that helped me through the pain yesterday.

Peppermint green tea
Throughout the day, peppermint tea from Trader Joe’s really helped. There is something about a good cup of tea that comforts and heals…especially on a day like yesterday when cramps were unbearable. There are so many great health benefits of green tea as well that were added benefits to the comfort it brought me.

Sprite Zero

This was one of the lower carb items that made me feel better. Bubbles on ice always seem to work wonders. Normally, I would have chosen ginger ale, but we did not have any in the house and I was in no shape to leave bed.

Crackers

Basic table water crackers helped me get something in my stomach that didn’t make me feel sicker. I nibbled on these throughout the day. While these are clearly carb heavy, they were exactly what I needed when I had to eat something.

Brown rice pasta

Before knowing that carbs and I needed to breakup, pasta was my go to whenever my stomach was upset. Brown rice pasta was a wonderful alternative…it is still a higher carb food (comes in at about 34g a serving), but really is wonderful those times you need or crave pasta. This is also a great alternative for people with gluten allergies.

Bubble bath

Since moving into our new home, this was the first time I have broken in the bubble bath and it was so worth it! Soaking my stomach in the hot water really helped and really was the best I felt all day, especially since I brought some of my peppermint tea with me. Heating packs are also great, but I cannot recommend a bath enough.

Here are some other great things to eat and drink to help naturally combat menstrual pain:

Fresh Dill
Fresh dill is packed with calcium and can add flavour to any bland salad or dip.

Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds are packed with calcium and can be easily made into a tasty paste.

Parsley
Parsley is not only high in minerals and vitamin C, but when used in a tea, it can be a great way to help your body relax from aching.

Celery
Celery can also help fight fluid retention during your time of the month.

Salmon
A plate of salmon is high in Omega-3 and helps fight inflammation.

Sacha Inchi Seeds
Dacha inchi seeds, a plant found in the Amazon, is rich in Omega-3. No idea where you can find this, but I guess it works!

Dark Chocolate
If you’re craving chocolate, make sure it’s over 70 per cent cocoa. This bittersweet treat will help you relax your muscles.

Water

We all know fluids are essential when your body is cramping or bloating. Smart recommends drinking two to three litres of water during your period.

Tea
Tea is an easy way to replace your caffeine craving. Smart recommends green tea to soothe cramps. now, even though green tea contains caffeine, try decaffeinated green tea instead — but be aware, you may lose some health benefits if it is decaf tea.

Hummus
Chickpeas are not only full of nutrients but eating hummus during your period can result in a good night’s sleep and help uplift your mood.

Avoid: Dairy
Avoid getting calcium from dairy products. Milks and cheeses can actually trigger cramps.

Avoid: Caffeine
Caffeine is another no-no. Drinking lots of coffee or pop during your period can increase higher levels of tension and anxiety.

Avoid: Too Much Sugar
Excessive sugary foods, even when you’re not menstruating, can also trigger cramps

Avoid: Alcohol
Anything that can damage your liver should be off the list.

Avoid: Red Meat
Red meat is also know to cause stomach upsets and cramps.

Here are some helpful links that helped inform this article:

Morning workout: 1, Snooze button: 2 = Let’s Be Real

Have you ever noticed that everyone always shares the best version of themselves in social media? While I understand that to an extent, I find it frustrating that people can’t be honest when things are not going as great as they would like. We live in a world where perfection is king…even though it is so unattainable.

That being said, I will honestly tell you that I did not get up and workout today. I don’t even have any excuses, except I was just not as motivated as I hoped. The rest of the week is out for morning workouts, so I am hoping I can get back into the groove this weekend.

As many of us journey to be the best versions of ourselves, I think it is important to be patient with ourselves. Between what we wear, what we eat, how we act, how we perform, how we make others feel…there are several challenges we face every single day. Even though Facebook and social media says you should be perfectly killing it with all these items, the reality is that we are strong women with a lot on our plate.

Next week is a new week. Instead of drowning in disappointment, I plan to celebrate my victories this week like being really great about sticking to 110g of carbs a day.

For those things that have been more challenging (like waking up and working out for me…):

What are some of your victories this week?

Exercise: Getting into the groove is harder than I thought

You guys know I am trying to workout. The doctor says 20 minutes of exercise a day…and I am still struggling. While I had some success following these tips to get up in the morning and exercise, I have had a difficult time maintaining the routine.

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Writing to you guys about working out motivated me to get up in the morning and do it…hopefully, this post will help inspire me and some of you to keep that fitness motivation going.

Need an instant dose of inspiration? Take this quick, healthy-habit quiz. (I’ve used diet as an example, but you can plug in any behavior that you’re trying to maintain). Answering these questions often helps to boost motivation just enough to remind you of why you started the diet in the first place…

If I stop my diet, how will I look in six months or one year from now?
If I stop my diet, how will I feel in six months or one year from now?
If I stop my diet, what will my health be like?
If I stop my diet, how will my family and friends be affected?

This mini-quiz definitely puts exercising into perspective for me. If this isn’t enough, here are a few more tips to keep that motivation going:

Drink more water.

This is something I can do throughout the whole week to help set me up for success.

For years, dieters have been drinking lots of water as a weight loss strategy. While water doesn’t have any magical effect on weight loss, substituting it for higher calorie beverages can certainly help.

Food with high water content tends to look larger, its higher volume requires more chewing, and it is absorbed more slowly by the body, which helps you feel full. Water-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, oatmeal, and beans.

Cells that don’t maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes shrivel, which can result in muscle fatigue. “When muscle cells don’t have adequate fluids, they don’t work as well and performance can suffer,” says Guest.

 Drinking enough fluids is important when exercising. Follow the American College of Sports Medicine guidelines for fluid intake before and during physical activity. These guidelines recommend that people drink about 17 ounces of fluid about two hours before exercise. During exercise, they recommend that people start drinking fluids early, and drink them at regular intervals to replace fluids lost by sweating.

If you think you need to be drinking more, here are some tips to increase your fluid intake and reap the benefits of water:

  1. Have a beverage with every snack and meal.
  2. Choose beverages you enjoy; you’re likely to drink more liquids if you like the way they taste.
  3. Eat more fruits and veggies. Their high water content will add to your hydration. About 20% of our fluid intake comes from foods.
  4. Keep a bottle of water with you in your car, at your desk, or in your bag.
  5. Choose beverages that meet your individual needs. If you’re watching calories, go for non-caloric beverages or water.

Change your perspective

Shift your thinking from couch potato mentality to thinking like an athlete. This may sound like a big challenge, but it’s not as big a leap as you think.

Try to think about exercise as a blessing rather than a sacrifice. Find inspiration in others—looking outward for extra motivation. Take inspiration from everyone you meet—even people who can’t be physically active.

Here are some great articles that helped inform this post:

Insulin Resistance and PCOS: Medication

I am not a doctor. Or even close. But I have been blessed with amazing doctors who are helping me get my PCOS and Insulin Resistance under control.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS FEEDBACK IS NOT ADVERTISING…trust me, these drug companies have no idea about this blog. This post is just my pure, honest feedback on my medication.

That being said, I do want to say that the combination of medications I have been placed on (along with my 110g a day of carb diet) has turned my life around. I am currently down 11 pounds in 2 months and have regained a menstrual cycle…both of which seemed impossible 2 months ago.

Overall, I will say my side effects have been very minimal. It is hard to pinpoint what medication is causing these effects..but as you can see, the list is pretty short:

  • Nausea- this was probably the worst during the 1st month of medication. My doctor explained that PCOS was causing increased testosterone making my 30-year-old body think I was going through menopause. These medications helped balance my testosterone and estrogen levels, so body basically went from thinking I was in menopause to thinking I was pregnant. When I told my doctor of this side effect, he was happy to hear this because it meant the medication was working.
  • 2 periods per month – this one has been extra fun. My guess is that since PCOS stores up your eggs (since you are not regularly ovulating), I am thinking that now my estrogen levels are normalizing, my body wants to ovulate as much as it can. This is definitely something I plan to discuss with my doctor in my upcoming appointment. This side effect could be considered a benefit for anyone trying to get pregnant!
  • We are not trying to get pregnant, but if we were…my doctor mentioned all these medications are OK for pregnancy except for the diuretic (Spironolactone)

Here is a rundown on the medications I am prescribed based on info I compiled from Drugs.com. Please check out the links at the bottom of the article for risks and side effects…AND PLEASE DISCUSS THESE OPTIONS FOR YOU WITH A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL AS I AM NOT A DOCTOR.

My doctor said that while medications help, diet is the most important factor in managing Insulin Resistance and PCOS…so more info to come in later posts on healthy, low carb recipes I love!

Metformin (Primary use for me: Type 2 Diabetes treatment)

 Metformin is an oral diabetes medicine that helps control blood sugar levels. Metformin is for people with type 2 diabetes and sometimes used in combination with insulin or other medications, but it is not for treating type 1 diabetes.

Spironolactone (Primary use for me: diuretic)

Spironolactone is a potassium-sparing diuretic (water pill) that prevents your body from absorbing too much salt and keeps your potassium levels from getting too low.

Spironolactone is used to diagnose or treat a condition in which you have too much aldosterone in your body. Aldosterone is a hormone produced by your adrenal glands to help regulate the salt and water balance in your body.

Spironolactone also treats fluid retention (edema) in people with congestive heart failure, cirrhosis of the liver, or a kidney disorder called nephrotic syndrome. This medication is also used to treat or prevent hypokalemia (low potassium levels in the blood).

Trazodone (Primary use for me: taken at bedtime to help me sleep)

Trazodone is an antidepressant medicine. It affects chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced and cause depression.Trazodone can be used to treat major depressive disorder.

Propanol (Primary use for me: beta blocker taken as needed when PCOS/IR causes rapid heartbeats from stress)

Propranolol is a beta-blocker. Beta-blockers affect the heart and circulation (blood flow through arteries and veins).

Propranolol is used to treat tremors, angina (chest pain), hypertension (high blood pressure), heart rhythm disorders, and other heart or circulatory conditions. It is also used to treat or prevent heart attack, and to reduce the severity and frequency of migraine headaches.

Here are the resources I used to help inform this article:

Blogging while working is TOUGH: 4 Survival tips for balance

“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” ~Thomas Merton

So…what’s up, friends? It has been a while. I promise I didn’t want to breakup with you…this breakup is about carbs, not my followers!

It has become painfully clear that blogging and working makes for a very difficult life balance. I found that my time with my husband and pups was getting majorly impacted and if it wasn’t that, then my sleep hours took a hit.

Like most things you love…I felt like something has been missing these last couple weeks without the happiness that writing to help others was giving me. With the hope to keep my account of my carb breakup in tact, here are some helpful tips and tricks to keep the blog going. For all you writers out there…hope this is helpful for you too!

1.) Carry a notebook with you. Sometimes you can get an idea for an excellent post when you are at work, hanging out with your friends or when you just woke up. While you won’t always have the opportunity to write this post right away you can jot it down in an old-fashioned notebook or even on your smartphone. When it is time for your next blog posts you will have an excellent idea waiting for you. I have found keeping a running list of upcoming topics has also been helpful

2.) Develop a routine that is non-negotiable. So much of my life is focused on schedules and deadlines. While I hate to hinder my passion for writing, I need to realize that to have balance…a set schedule for blogging will be key. My hope is to make this time either Friday afternoons (I am lucky enough to work for a company with early release every Friday) or Sunday nights. Since life is a moving target, I will be flexible with when I will write…but will commit to 2 hours at least every week

3.) Schedule daily posts. Once the content is written over the weekend, schedule the posts throughout the week so they are up and running without distracting from my day job.

4.) Work on your dream every day, knowing there are no guarantees and that it may take a long time to make the kind of progress that allows you to devote your full-time energy to your passion.

Here are some awesome articles from other bloggers on how to balance writing and working:

#MyCarbBreakup Recipe: Baked Cheese Chips

Since breaking up with carbs, I have really missed chips and crackers. I prefer salty over sweet, and love a good crunch. I have mentioned before that cheese has been my saving grace to get me through my breakup…and cheese comes to the rescue again with this delicious, easy, low carb snack.

Pinterest is amazing and my saving grace. This (and likely all the recipes I share) will be brough to you by Pinterest.

In the original recipe, she shreds the cheese and adds seasonings. You can go all out and shred the cheese if you so choose, but I am all about simplifying, so I just took the cheese and sliced it into small circles.

Here is what you will need:

  • Cheese of your choice. This time I used mild cheddar
  • Parchment paper-must be parchment
  • Baking sheet
  • Paper towel
  • Sour Cream
  • Salsa

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. While the oven is doing its thang, cut up your cheese. 
  2. Lay the parchment paper on the baking sheet and place the cheese on the parchment paper. Don’t over crowd them, they will spread out.
  3. Bake until bubbly and brown, about 10 minutes. Once you take them out of the oven, place the crispy cheese on paper towel and blot with another piece of paper towel. You don’t realize how greasy cheese is until you cook or bake with it.

You can dip these in sour cream mixed with your favorite salsa!

Here is where I found this recipe:

Insulin Resistance and PCOS: Glucose Tolerance Test

Once I was diagnosed with PCOS, the next step was a visit to my Endocrinologist. In that appointment, we discussed the confirmation of my PCOS test results  and all the symptoms I had been experiencing. Like most doctor appointments, it is imperative that you share everything you can to give the doctor as much information as possible. While it is never fun to admit all the things that are wrong with you, it is so important to get the best possible diagnosis. Seems easy enough, but I know many people who struggle with communicating this type of information.

After we chatted and he completed a brief physical exam (heart rate, blood pressure, joints) he wrote an order for some blood work. Now, I will tell you that I AM TERRIBLE WITH NEEDLES.  (Triple emphasis definitely needed for this point). Going into the test, I really didn’t know what to expect. In my case, that was probably better so that I didn’t chicken out when it came time for the appointment, but I do wish there had been a better resource on the whole procedure.

Here is a breakdown of what exactly a Glucose Tolerance Test is, how my experience went, and tips & tricks to make your experience as good as possible.

What is a Glucose Tolerance Test?

Though no longer routinely used for diagnosing diabetes. The oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) was the gold standard for making the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. It is still commonly used during pregnancy for diagnosing gestational diabetes.

With an oral glucose tolerance test, the person fasts overnight (at least 8 hours, but not more than 16 hours). The next morning, the fasting plasma glucose is tested. After this test, the person receives a dose of oral glucose (the dose depends upon the length of the test). Usually, the glucose is in a sweet-tasting liquid that the person drinks.

Blood samples are taken up to four times at different time points after consumption of the sugar to measure the blood glucose.

The classic oral glucose tolerance test measures blood glucose levels five times over a period of three hours. Some physicians simply take a baseline blood sample followed by a sample two hours after drinking the glucose solution. In a person without diabetes, the glucose levels rise and then fall quickly. In someone with diabetes, glucose levels rise higher than normal and fail to come back down as fast.

People with glucose levels between normal and diabetic levels have so-called impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). People with impaired glucose tolerance do not have diabetes.

What about glucose tolerance testing and pregnancy?

While this was not the case for me, the glucose tolerance test is used for the diagnosis of gestational diabetes (diabetes that develops during pregnancy). It may be used if there are equivocal fasting or random blood glucose results, or to screen for gestational diabetes in pregnant women between 24 to 28 weeks of gestation who are not known to have diabetes.

You have an increased chance of developing gestational diabetes if you:

  • Have had gestational diabetes during a previous pregnancy.
  • Have previously given birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 lb (4.1 kg).
  • Are younger than age 25 and were overweight before getting pregnant.

The test may also be used in the postpartum period to detect diabetes in women who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Women who had gestational diabetes do not always develop diabetes later in life, but they should undergo diabetes screening at least every three years throughout.

My experience with the Glucose Tolerance Test

Fasting is no fun. At all. I live in Los Angeles and drove down to Orange County where my Endocrinologist is located the night before and had dinner with my family. At the time, I didn’t know what to expect for the test…I just knew that not getting to enjoy my normal Friday night vodka sodas throughout the evening was a bummer.

We woke up very early the morning of the test and the hunger had to be ignored. No caffeine was also pretty rough.

Once we arrived at the Lab, some initial paperwork was filled out (signing away that you won’t sue the hospital in case something goes wrong is always super reassuring, especially when you hate needles.) We were then escorted into a room for testing. At this point, I am dead silent and look like I have seen a ghost. As a typically talkative person, this was a very different behavior for me. I was terrified.

Since it was early in the morning and my fear was empty with no upcoming appointments, they placed me in a room typically used for children. That’s right. I am that much of a baby. I will say they private room with comfortable chair was fantastic, all baby behavior aside.

The technician then described the procedure to me. I will tell you that either by my mother’s intelligence, an act of an angel, or likely both…I had no idea what I was in for. When the technician explained it was going to be 3 hours and I was going to get poked for a new blood draw every 30 minutes, I wanted to bolt. Every 30 minutes?! A new draw?! 3 hours?! Oh man.

At that point, there was no going back. An initial draw was done and I lost it. I started hyperventilating and crying. I know this is quite dramatic for many strong women who have gone through this, but I think that the reality that I had a health concern was really clear at that point. Days of eating nachos at 2 in the morning, drinking whatever I wanted, and just ignorantly cruising through life with carbs were certainly numbered.

After the initial draw and some time, the technician game in with the super sugary glucose drink. I chose the lemon lime flavor and it basically tasted like she dumped a pound of sugar into a Sprite. I was not into it. My stomach definitely hurt from the sweetness, but we had to keep going.

The remaining draws did not go well for me. In 2 of the draws, my difficult veins did not cooperate causing the need for a redraw after redraw. On the last draw, the nurse suggested we place a heating pad on the location of the draw to help the blood vessels to expand so the process would be easier. She was right, but it would have been nice she shared that info earlier on in the process. This is now a tip I will use any time that I need blood work.

Once the test was over, I was exhausted and pretty loopy. My mom ran to the hospital cafeteria and brought my some crackers which were the most delicious crackers I had ever tasted. I wish we had brought something with us from the get go.

After the test, I was exhausted. Initially, we were planning to go out to lunch and then have me go right back to LA. Instead, we went back to my parents’ house for lunch and I went back to bed. For 4 hours. After that, I was mostly back to my normal self, just tired.

What I wish I knew before the Glucose Tolerance Test

Ideal patient preparation and behavior before the test:

  • For the glucose tolerance test to give reliable results, you must be in good health (not have any other illnesses, not even a common cold).
  • You should be normally active (not lying down, for example, as an inpatient in a hospital)
  • You should not be taking medicines that could affect the blood glucose.
  • You should eat and drink as they normally would the day before.
  • The morning of the test, you should not smoke or consume caffeine.

What to plan during and right after the test:

  • The glucose tolerance diagnostic test may take up to 4 hours. Since activity can interfere with test results, you will be asked to sit quietly during the entire test. Do not eat during the test. You may drink only water during this time. Definitely bring something to entertain yourself like music, books, anything to help pass the time.
  • If you are like me and have difficulty with needles along with challenging veins, be prepared that multiple attempts for the multiple draws may be needed. I wish that we applied heat to the draw area from the start. If you can, let the technician know you struggle with needles and would like a heating pad. Or simply bring your own heating pad to help be sure that you will be set.
  • After all that fasting, you will be hungry. Be sure to pack a snack that you can eat right after the test. Cheese crackers were my saving grace.
  • You are going to be tired and perhaps light headed, so have someone come with you who can drive you home.

What to expect after the test:

Each year, 1% to 5% of people whose test results show impaired glucose tolerance actually develop diabetes. Weight loss and exercise may help people with impaired glucose tolerance return their glucose levels to normal. In addition, some physicians advocate the use of medications, such as Metformin (Glucophage), to help prevent/delay the onset of overt diabetes. Studies have shown that impaired glucose tolerance itself may be a risk factor for the development of heart disease, and whether impaired glucose tolerance turns out to be an entity that deserves treatment itself is something that physicians are currently debating.

  • Normal response: A person is said to have a normal response when the two hour glucose level is less than 140 mg/dl, and all values between 0 and 2 hours are less than 200 mg/dl.
  • Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT): A person is said to have impaired glucose tolerance when the fasting plasma glucose is less than 126 mg/dl and the two hour glucose level is between 140 and 199 mg/dl. This is sometimes referred to as “prediabetes” because people with IGT have a higher risk of developing diabetes.
  • Diabetes: A person has diabetes when two diagnostic tests done on different days show that the blood glucose level is high. This means either the two hour levels is greater than 200 mg/dl or the fasting glucose is noted as greater than 126 mg/dl. A glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) level of 6.5% or more also supports a diagnosis of diabetes mellitus.
  • Diabetes during pregnancy: A pregnant woman has diabetes if she has a fasting plasma glucose of over 92 mg/dl, or a two hour glucose level greater than 153 mg/dl.

More to come on my follow up appointment and the medication I was prescribed!

Here are some of the great resources that helped inform my article:

Progress Check-In: Eating late and weight gain

It has been my routine to weigh myself every Thursday, first thing in the morning, to check on my progress. As I continue down my journey of fighting Insulin Resistance and PCOS, I hope to document my progress every Thursday along with tips that can hopefully help you as you journey toward a healthier, happier you.

Before I jump into the specific progress of this week, I think it is worth capturing the progress I have already made. When I was first diagnosed with Insulin Resistance and PCOS, I was overweight and my testosterone levels were at about 90 (an average woman is about 40 and below). Since being on a low carb diet and taking medications prescribed by my Endocriologist, I am down 9 pounds and my testosterone levels went from 90 to 40 in one month. To keep this momentum, I have been working on the following goals:

  • Stay under 110g of carbs per day
  • Consistently take my medication (post coming soon on medication I am taking)
  • 20 minutes of exercise per day

We all know the holidays are a time for joy, love, family, and…weight gain. I was on a great path before the holidays of being down 12 pounds, but alas. All that egg nog and holiday cider caught up with me.

I have been on a great path this past week, but I am sad to say I was up 2 pounds since my weigh in last Thursday. Here are the successes and challenges of the past week that I believe could have led to this weight gain:

  • Got back to exercising for the first time in MONTHS. I committed to begin exercising yesterday and continued momentum this morning with another workout!
  • Cut out alcohol during the week. Trust me, this is a BIG success because nothing makes me happier than a glass of wine after a good day. Or a hard day. Or any day.
  • Stayed low carb for virtually every meal. That includes saying no to some delicious and free office treats

  • Continue the momentum of this week’s workout success and work to meet my goal of 20 minutes of exercise…every day. For next week, I will aim for 4 out of the 7 days. If 7 happens, then AWESOME…but in my experience, going from 0 to 60 is not very maintainable
  • Last night was an especially late night, so I did not eat until after 9pm. I think this is a BIG reason I was not down this morning’s weigh in.

Since eating late from time to time is a reality for most of us busy people, here is some info I found on weight gain and eating late to help keep me motivated that I am moving in the right direction.

Eating late and weight gain:

The truth is…

“A calorie is a calorie,” says Mass. “If your total calorie intake for the day is greater than what you are burning, this can lead to weight gain regardless of what time it is.” But if you eat healthy, regular meals throughout the day and typically have dinner around 8 p.m., there’s no reason to stress.

Problem is, research suggests that many women take in nearly half of their daily calories at—or even after—dinner. One study found that a third of people consume 15 percent of their calories after 11pm.

What’s more, binging close to bedtime can increase your blood sugar levels for a full 24 hours, according to one study in Obesity of Research & Clinical Practice. Meanwhile, research in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicineshows that noshing on high-calorie, high-fat snacks at night can make for restless sleep. The result: Overeating the next day in a feeble attempt to boost your energy levels, says Mass.

There’s nothing wrong with eating a light, healthy snack after dinner as long as you plan for it as part of your daily calories. To keep from overeating, pay attention to your food while eating, avoid eating in front of the TV, and choose a portion-controlled snack.

When you’re trying to lose weight, eat regular meals and consume 90% of your calories before 8 p.m.  The benefit of eating meals every three to four hours is it helps regulate your blood sugar, and thus control hunger and cravings. That should leave you about 150 to 200 calories to play with for a late-night (and guilt-free!) snack.

What this means for me: Hopefully, late night eating will be prevented as I learn more about my new job AND find a way to balance the blog with work. I will NOT get discouraged about my weight today and will keep on keeping on.

Here are some great resources on eating late and weight gain I referred to in this article:

Insulin Resistance Diet: 110g of Carbs a Day

If you are like me, you have tried multiple diets from some carbs, to all carbs, to absolutely zero carbs. It seems that most diets are hard to maintain and really vary in results. It can be so frustrating to work hard and long for a change in your body, especially as you watch most of the men in your life scarf down an entire pizza or 10 chicken soft tacos for dinner while you are eating what they affectionately call, “rabbit food.”

I have come to learn that dieting is a reality for almost every woman I know. It is fascinating how different everyone’s bodies react to food and even more interesting as I learn more about how my body reacts to carbohydrates.

Diets and I have never been the best of friends. I struggle with the self control, especially during celebrations, weekends, stress, work trips, restaurants…you get the picture. I am happy to say that the diet discussed with my Endocrinologist really has been significantly more manageable than anything else I have tried in the past.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a Dietitian or Doctor, but I am someone who has spent a significant amount of time wondering why I could not lose weight and am now happily to report I have found an attainable approach.

Here are my rules of the road for food when it comes to food while battling Insulin Resistance and PCOS:

Stick to 110g of carbs every possible day

Let’s be real…not every day can be perfect and slip ups certainly happen (I have no idea how those chips and guacamole ended up in my mouth last night.) However, it is important to try to stick to 110g of carbs (this is ALL carbs including veggies) whenever I possibly can.

My Endocrinologist broke up the 110g of carbs like this for me: 30g of carbs per meal and 20g of carbs for snacks.

This can be tricky, but with the right tools, it really is quite manageable. Here is the app I use to get a ballpark amount of carbs in each thing I eat:

Whether you want to lose weight, manage your diabetes or improve your health; there are no quick fixes and fad diets don’t work. It’s your everyday food choices that count. That’s where there reliable and convenient guides come in.

To make the smart food choices that lead to permanent weight control, you must become aware of what you eat on a day-to-day basis. The CalorieKing Calorie, Fat & Carbohydrate Counter is the most accurate resource for calorie, fat & carbohydrate counts.

Take it everywhere; look up foods before you eat, when eating choices count the most! With over 15 million copies sold, this pocketsize guide consistently receives the highest average reader rating of all books of its kind and is recommended by health care professionals.

If you are like me and love your apps, you can download the app for free!

The app icon looks like this:

The user interface looks like this:

These are some of the great features:

  • Calorie and carb counts for 70,000+ foods
  • Most accurate and up-to-date database
  • Includes 260 fast food chains and restaurants
  • Great for people with diabetes tracking carb intake

Over time, you will find that you can remember how many carbs are in some of your favorite foods. You will get very good at counting the carbs in your head and making the right choices accordingly. This may seem tedious, but you will find that it gets easier over time and that there still are many delicious foods with no carbs.

Enjoy the carb free/low carb foods 

Comparing this low carb diet to other diets I have tried in the past, I have found myself enjoying foods that were restricted before and that my friends on low calorie diet cannot eat. Remember, for people with Insulin Resistance, it is more about carb monitoring than calorie monitoring.

Protein

All naturally-occurring meats contain no carbohydrates; however, pre-packaged and deli meats are often processed with a sugar and salt solution or seasoning blends, conferring carbohydrates to the meats. Processed and cured meats, such as sausage, ham, bacon, and frankfurters regularly contain small amounts of carbohydrates. Reading package labels is essential to learn if pre-packaged products contain carbohydrates. In their natural state, the following contain zero carbs:

  • Beef
  • Veal
  • Lamb
  • Pork
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Fish (such as salmon, trout, and halibut)
  • Duck
  • Goose
  • Fish
  • Shellfish (such as crab, shrimp, and lobster)
  • Mollusks (such as oysters, mussels, and clams)
  • Game meats (such as venison and elk)
  • Exotic meats (such as ostrich and emu)
  • Eggs

Condiments, Seasoning, and Oils

Most condiments contain carbohydrates. Likewise, salad dressings and mayonnaise often contain some carbs because they are made with vinegar and may contain herbs. The following oils and condiments do not:

  • Salt
  • Vegetable, nut, and fruit oils such as avocado, grapeseed, safflower, canola, and olive oil
  • Animal fats like fish oil and lard
  • Some brands of margarine and shortening – read package labels

Sugar Substitutes

Aspartame, sucralose, stevia, and saccharine are all advertised as low-carb alternatives to sugar. Because they are so highly sweet, it only takes a little of a sugar substitute to go a long way. While these are likely to contain trace amounts of carbohydrates, you can effectively consider them no-carbohydrate foods; however, sweeteners may affect insulin in the same way sugar does, so proceed with caution. Additionally, sweeteners in granular form may contain carbohydrate-containing fillers.

Beverages

Many beverages contain zero carbohydrates; however, if they are sweetened with artificial sweetener, they may have some of the same caveats as listed above. Along with diet soda, Crystal Light, and other sweetened beverages, water, coffee, tea, and distilled alcohol contain zero carbohydrates. Use alcohol with caution, however, because your body prioritizes the alcohol first. This means that you burn alcohol before utilizing other fuel, including fat.

Don’t completely cut out carbs

Although reducing your carb consumption — when coupled with an increased protein intake — can help you control your overall calorie intake for weight loss and healthy weight management, your body does need carbohydrates on a daily basis to function properly. Consuming too few carbs can lead to nausea, headaches, dizziness, constipation, weakness and fatigue.

How carbs impact the body:

It is interesting to think abut carbs and how they play into the body.

You can appreciate this a lot more when you realize that there are eight essential amino acids and eight essential fatty acids required for life. These same nutrients are used all over the body for normal and constant metabolic processes such as repair of hair, skin, bone, muscle, red blood cells. Fat is used for energy purposes, protein only in ketosis.

Compare this to carbs, which have a very limited role around the body, in fact it’s only the brain that needs carbohydrates as a fuel source, most cellular processes are happy using fat. That’s one of the reasons why we are designed to carry so much of it around with us.

Carbs do provide us with fiber and minuscule but essential amounts of vitamins and minerals which are very difficult to store (unless they’re fat soluble), and if they’re not used at that time, they are passed through the body very quickly.

This means the main role of carbs is to top up the liver and muscles which are not as big a store as some people would realize. A closer look at the anatomy of a person reveals that the human liver can hold approx 80-100g of carbohydrates and the muscles can only hold 1-2% of carbs by volume, known as glycogen.

Be patient with yourself

Any change in your lifestyle takes time. Be patient with yourself and keep exploring trial & error as you navigate a diet that is best with you. With some patience and discipline, you will be on your way to a healthier you before you know it!

Here are some of the great resources that informed this post: