Category: PCOS

Perfect Saturday

So I’m a very social person but to me the perfect day is one that combines activities and ‘veg’ time as I like to call it.  Today is a perfect example.  I woke up early and then went to pick up my bountiful basket.  The last few have been a bit skimpy but not this week.  It is huge!  We went with the tropical and blackberry addition but it ended up being still just under $40.  Pretty incredible.  The tropical basket has little tiny coconuts.  I’m not sure how to use them but that’s part of the fun. The blackberries are divine.  I’ve already eaten 2 containers!

All of this for under $40!

It was funny when I was picking up my basket a girl looked at the artichoke and said ‘What the heck is that?’.  I guess spending a lot of time in California I was introduced to artichokes from an early age.  I can understand never having tried them but to have no idea what they are?  Funny.

After picking up my basket I went to Boxing is for Girls and it was intense but awesome.  They have you do around a half hour of circuit training and this time it was relays with various tasks.  Its amazing how something that looks so easy like moving on your feet and hands with your but in the air is super hard. Wow! The last half of the class is punching practice and its my favorite.  You do some sets to practice your form and then they bring out the punching bags and you can go at it.  It really is a blast.  My friend Polly came last week and I didn’t know if she was really liking it but after the punching she was psyched.  She even signed up for a pass.

Love this photo
Jab Jab!

After boxing I came home, made lunch and watched my DVR of Say Yes to the Dress (the Atlanta version really isn’t as good!).  Then I made some almond flour cheese crackers.  I was reminded of them by my friend Jill who had them when I taught my class on low glycemic cooking.   This time I didn’t have quite enough almond flour so I had to use some brown rice flour.  I also tried a spin on the recipe and added some Tabasco.   Yum!

cheese crackers. Loaded with protein and flavor. Don’t overdo it because they do have a lot of calories from the almond flour. Still delicious.

Cheese Crackers with Almond Flour (Gluten Free)
(Makes about 30 crackers, recipe from The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam. This recipe is half the amount in the book, so double it and make the full recipe if you prefer.)

2 1/2 cup blanched almond flour (not the same as almond meal) (I use honeyville farms made right here in Utah).
1/4 tsp. salt (I used fine grind sea salt)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup freshly grated cheddar cheese (I used extra sharp cheddar and lightly packed it into measuring cup)
3  T  grapeseed oil (or olive oil works great if you don’t have  grapeseed)
2 large egg

 Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Grate 1/2 cup cheddar cheese.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine almond flour, salt, baking soda and cheese. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the egg and oil. Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until well-combined.Cut two pieces of parchment paper the size of your baking sheet. Put one piece of parchment on cutting board and put dough on top, or half the dough if baking on small baking sheet. (I made the dough into the shape of the parchment.) Put second piece of parchment on top of the dough and roll out with rolling pin until dough covers the parchment sheet.Remove top parchment and cut dough into pieces 2 inches square.  Slide the parchment with the cut dough onto baking sheet and bake crackers 12-15 minutes, or until lightly browned.Let crackers cool on the baking sheet for 30 minutes (or if you need to bake another batch like I did, carefully slide first batch off to cutting board to cool while you use baking sheet to bake the second batch.)

I had kind of gotten out of my low glycemic baking.  Not sure why but I think I’m going to dive into it again.  Elana Amsterdam certainly has lots of recipes for me to try! :).

Now I have the rest of the day to relax, rub essential oils on my wounds (another banner exercise week, 4 workouts.  Next week I have one planned every day except Sunday.  If I can pull it off it will be one of the only times I’ve done that.  It’s the home stretch.  My swim is coming in 14 days!)

To me this is the perfect Saturday.  Got enough busyness to feel productive but enough relax time to feel relaxed.  After the week I’ve had I need to feel relaxed. Maybe I will even read for a while.  Luxury!

(I was just reading over the post and wondered- who is interested in the various activities of my Saturday?  Well, maybe nobody but there it is. Enjoy!)

Calmness

So this week has been tough.  Lots of drama from lots of sources including most prominently myself.  I think when it comes down to it seeing that 289 scared me.  It made me feel like 3 years of effort was all for not, and that’s a scary thought.  Everyone likes to think that their life has value and that they aren’t wasting time on a fool’s errand. For it to seemingly all go away was almost more than I could process.

It still scares me but I’ve made some progress-

Well, I went to my gym today.  Met with the dietician and it was actually pretty helpful.  We have some good plans that I’ve already implemented and we will see how it goes.  Then I met with my trainer who has stood by me for 2 years through it all.  I’m not going to lie there were tears and frustration and then smiles. The good news is I weighed using the fancy scale at the gym and it said 277.  Still a gain but only 4 lbs.  That I can live with without a panic attack!

Now I’m moving forward and going to do all I can to be successful.  If the meds make me gain despite all I can do than so be it.  My journey will still have meaning even if I get back to 313.  If that happens I can start again and keep trying.

Facing that fear of regression is actually a huge victory.  I’m sure anyone out there that has lost has had to face a similar fear.

Thanks in advance for all your support as I  get ready for this race and achieve greater health in my body.  I know it will be a rocky road ahead but I am determined to push forward, and try again.

I still wonder what it is that God is trying to teach me and why does this have to be so hard? I’m not ashamed to say I don’t know the answer but someday I will.  He knows and He is guiding me each day.

I thought of my favorite author today.  The book, aside from scripture, that I read when I feel sad or hopeless- A Gift from the Sea by Anne Marrow Lindbergh.  I just love it.

Here are some quotes from it that I love and felt strongly today.

Don’t wish me happiness – I don’t expect to be happy it’s gotten beyond that, somehow. Wish me courage and strength and a sense of humor – I will need them all.

“I would like to achieve a state of inner spiritual grace from which I could function and give as I was meant to in the eye of God.”

The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith.

For happiness one needs security, but joy can spring like a flower even from the cliffs of despair.

I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable.

I feel we are all islands – in a common sea.

Anyway, hope you all have a great Memorial Day.  Hugs from your smilingldsgirl.

Pain or Fat?

So recently I’ve been presented with a question- would I rather be skinny or free from pain?  The answer is undeniably free from pain.   Last year I started having chronic pain in my ribcage and chest area.  After over a year of doctors and misdiagnosis I finally found something that helped with the pain- turns out I have a low thyroid.

In February the doctor put me on levothyroxine and the results were amazing.  My pain was reduced almost immediately.  I can’t tell you what a relief this was for me.  It was like a nearly 2 year monkey was finally off of my back.  My recovery from exercise improved considerably; thereby allowing me to push harder in my sets and train more frequently.

Last week, for instance, I had 5 days of intense training, one right after another. These were no ordinary workouts and yet Sunday came around and I felt pretty good.  A little bit of pain but nothing compared to the overwhelming, almost debilitating pain I experienced last year.

This was all very exciting! On Tuesday I went in for my second follow up appointment.  My trainer had noticed I had gained weight in February but I had dismissed it as one of those things.  You can imagine my shock that I was back up to 284! I blame the medicine because its the only major change that has occurred during that time period.  I was so frustrated.  Don’t most people lose weight when taking thyroid meds?  Naturally my freakish body can never have a normal reaction to anything.  It always has to be complicated.

Basically my doctor told me that the thyroid meds mess up your metabolism in good and bad ways.  Unfortunately they make you super sensitive to bad carbs and sugar.  Now I was not eating much sugar previous to this appointment but I was trying to work it in with moderation.  Evidently with this medicine I can’t have any of it. 😦

Its frustrating because in many ways I feel like I am setting myself up for eventual failure.  Nobody is perfect all the time in a diet and clearly moderation is not good enough.  I gained nearly 15 lbs since I started taking the meds despite my careful eating and training!

The thing is that I feel great! I feel energetic and healthy.  I think I look great.  So why does the stupid scale matter?  Maybe it shouldn’t.  Its just I worked so hard to lose that weight.  Took 3 years out of my life and to see it go away was so disheartening.  Thank goodness for my music because it was the lift I needed this week.

I also get frustrated being on the extreme diets because I feel like they make me super self-critical and over-introspective.  I feel guilty for everything I do, nothing seems quite good enough.  That’s why I avoided dieting for so long because it turns me into this person I hate.  People say ‘don’t diet.  Just make small lifestyle changes’.  Well, I’m sorry but small lifestyle changes don’t work.  I gained 15lbs on moderation and lifestyle changes!

For some reason going hard core is the only thing that seems to work and I refuse to have weight loss surgery. It seems like I’m stuck. Ahhhh! And then I think of that woman on the plane who wouldn’t sit next to me and I remember that so many people still see me as a fattie who disgusts them.  The whole thing makes me crazy and feel so frustrated.  I don’t know what to do but to try with the sugar fast and not give up.

In the end, I feel like I have to chose between feeling good and pain free and losing weight.  That is a really lame decision to have to make.  At least with the sugar fast I can tell my doctor confidently that I am doing all I can to eat right and exercise.  If I can’t keep it up forever well that’s a choice for another day.  I can do my best today and if I still gain what else can you do?

I just have to keep reminding myself that I did not start this process to improve my appearance.  I really didn’t.  I started this process because I wanted to have energy, to do more, to be more active.  I think anyone would be hard pressed to say I haven’t achieved that goal.

If it was the choice between looking a certain way and feeling pain what would you pick?  Be honest! Maybe God just wants me to look like this for some reason?  He’s gotten me to a healthy point but getting below 250 (my dream) seems to be an impossible task. I’ve been working so hard for over 3 years. Maybe I need to try something else? I don’t know but I am trying my best to not feel defeated and to keep trying. That’s all I can do- keep trying.

Still, its been a bit of a downer of a week.  Thanks everyone for your support no matter my size.  Thanks for reminding me that I’m still a good person and I’ve still accomplished great things no matter my weight.  Forget the stupid scale! (or at least try to…Sigh)

https://smilingldsgirl.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/body-image/

https://smilingldsgirl.wordpress.com/2011/08/24/maggie-goes-on-a-diet/

https://smilingldsgirl.wordpress.com/2011/07/28/skinny-skinny-skinny/

What a Week!

Do you ever have those weeks where you think- “How did I survive it all and stay sane (or relatively so)?”

This has been such a week for me.  I feel like I’ve been collecting medical diagnosis’- like a stamp collector but with doctors! It reminds me of a carnival barker yelling “come one, come all- get your diagnosis while they are still hot!’

The thing is I don’t feel like anyone has given me much of anything.  I am the health detective on the case of ‘Rachel’s Body 2011’ and while I’m deeply grateful for my doctors, none of them would have gotten to this weeks conclusions without my copious notes, my obnoxious questions and my stubborn insistence on finding a result.

You see, the problem is many of my symptoms for both the diabetes and the eyes can and have been explained in a variety of other ways. Over the years I’ve heard everything from chronic fatigue to fibermyalgia, to dyslexia and the common cold.

My favorite diagnosis is when the doctor says ‘Just the lose the weight and you will feel better!’  As if I can waive a magic wand and ‘oh the weight is gone!’.  If reading this blog over the last 14 months has taught you anything, you should be well aware weight loss is not an easy thing for me.

The most frustrating aspect to such a flimsy diagnosis is it made me feel like my lack of health was my fault, that somehow I was misusing, neglecting or hurting my body.  For years I subtly bought into this idea but felt there was nothing I could do to solve the problem.  For some reason 14 months ago I decided I was tired of the low energy and the fatigue and that I was going to do all in my power to fix things.

Naturally I started on the obvious route- watch what I eat and exercise.  While this had some marginal results for weight loss it was not what everyone had told me would happen.  In 14 months of exercising I never once felt energized, excited or good about working out.  My body was constantly tired and worn out- even more so then when I had started.  I expected such results for a few weeks but after nearly a year it didn’t make sense.  The weight loss was also slow, slow, slow.

Let’s just say it certainly wasn’t the simple solution to a new me that everyone promised.  Knowing I had done the traditional route and it still wasn’t working I began seeing my endocrinologist in January.  He has been amazing and his entire office has been great at listening to how I actually feel.

In January things started to move with my PCOS diagnosis and treatment.  I still believe in this diagnosis and feel strongly it is something I was born with.  If you look at the symptoms they match up perfectly with the story of my life. Early maturation, unexplained weight gain, inability to lose weight,  energy problems, hormone problems etc.

While this was a significant piece of the puzzle I still felt like something was missing.  I still didn’t feel good. A side of me said ‘well, maybe that’s just how my body is- tired, haggard, weak?’ .  However, I was not willing to give up just yet.  I continued to keep track of my blood sugars and be super strict on my diet.  After 3 more visits with my endocrinologist we finally had the revelation of diabetes on Monday.  Like I said, the doctor may look at it as his diagnosis but I look at it as mine- my victory for my body.

The same story can be told with the eye problems.  I always wondered if there was something wrong with the way I saw things but when you see a certain way since you were born its hard to doubt it.  For some reason this year I asked the questions and have figured out the answers.

If you can learn anything from me don’t accept the lame answers like ‘just lose weight and you will feel better’.  How lame can doctors be!  Be your own health detective and don’t give up!

I can’t tell you what a comfort it is to know that this behemoth of a trial in my life was not solely my fault.  I’m not saying I was perfect in my food and lifestyle but NOTHING I could have done would have solved the problem without this week of diagnosis.  It really is a 20 year burden removed from my shoulders.

A burden I have felt since the first time my parents sat me down at around the age of 9 and told me I needed to lose weight and that I ‘weighed as much as some grown men’.  I will never forget that moment as long as I live- immediately I went from a floating little girl to someone who was unwillingly inflicting an evil on her body.

It seemed out of my control, yet somehow the world told me it should be in my control? I will also never forget the jabs, mockery and frustrations that came in each year that followed.  Eventually I worked out a self-confidence I wish all big girls had but I still deep down thought the weight and the fatigue was my fault.

Ahhh! It wasn’t.  I can’t explain how much that means.  I feel like shouting for joy and wish I could tell the whole world.  (thank you blog for allowing me to do that!).

I still have a long road ahead of me but today I am focusing on having the most calming relaxing day I can have.  After the chaos and emotions of this week I could use it!  I am listening to my Enya cd and enjoying the beautiful spring day (while working of course!). I feel like I’m in the ‘vacant and pensive mood’ described by Wordsworth in his poem Daffodils.  I did it! As crazy as this week has been I know it is monumental in my life and I did it! Wow!   Thank you to everyone who believed in and loved me regardless of my size, energy level or other problems.  You will always be my treasures.

I wandered lonely as a Cloud
That floats on high o’er Vales and Hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd
A host of dancing Daffodils;
Along the Lake, beneath the trees,
Ten thousand dancing in the breeze.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee: —
A poet could not but be gay
In such a laughing company:
I gazed — and gazed — but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude,
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the Daffodils.

PCOS Product Recommendaitons

In recent weeks I have benefited greatly from the blogs of other PCOS patients.  One of the best has been the PCOS Diva written by a woman named Amy Medling.  She is an amazing example of a woman with PCOS who has learned to thrive.  Her blog is rich and full of weekly menus, book reviews, product suggestions etc.

I thought I would follow her example and begin sharing some of the great products I have discovered that help me with my PCOS.  After all, I’d like my blog to help other’s like Amy’s does and not just be a source of venting and complaining.  If I can inspire one person then all the struggles will be worthwhile.

I also want to say a thank you to the companies that make products that I can eat/use.  To them, it may be simply a business but to me it is like a gift. Finding something that works for me means a lot and each time it happens the grin on  my face is irrepressible.  Thank you!

I will try to do these product updates on at least a monthly basis and please continue to share with me your recommendations and thoughts.  Thanks so much for all your support.

Here we go:

1. Luna and Larry’s Organic Coconut Bliss Ice Cream-  Look for this in the organic ice cream section of your supermarket.  There are 16 flavors and all of them have been good, but I particularly like the mint galactica (I know silly name. ).   It is made with organic coconut milk which is full of Omega 3 oils.  It is sugar-free using only agave sweeteners and organic dark chocolate (a little organic cane syrup in the chocolate).   I love it as a milk shake.  There are so few deserts I can have that I am grateful for this ice cream.

16 different flavors but my favorite is the chocolate mint

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.coconutbliss.com/

2. Ezekial 4:9 bread-This bread is amazing.  It is flourless, low glycemic and a complete protein.  I defy anyone to eat it and taste a difference between it and other whole grain breads.  In fact, I think it tastes better than most.  I must say I tried their pasta and was bitterly disappointed.  It was gummy, gritty and disgusting (so far my attempt to duplicate the flavors of Italian food have not been successful.  It is possible I just like it too much.).

The bread is available at my supermarket in the organic frozen food section.  It is highly perishable and must be refrigerated/frozen at all times.  Naturally it must be toasted to taste good (and thaw).  I am grateful to have the ability to eat sandwiches again.

http://www.foodforlife.com/our-products/low-glycemic/diabetic-friendly

3. Clif Mojo bars- One of my problems has been breakfast.  I just don’t have an appetite in the morning but it is crucial I eat something.  Thankfully I have found a protein drink and energy bar I love.  These bars are low glycemic, packed full of nuts, protein and are delicious.  I can also keep them in the car, which has helped keep my blood sugar regular as I work. They aren’t the highest protein bar but they are still enough and they actually taste good. If you go on the Clif bar website you can get 15% off your order using code CLFCB8.

http://www.clifbar.com/food/products_mojo/