Tag: diets

Foods I Fantasize About

So today I am starting Jenny Craig.   You see,  I’m a tricky dieter because I love to cook but 60-90% of the time I don’t have time to cook.  Plus, I spend all my day at home which means I want to be out, not tempted to work, in the evening.  I finally decided I needed to find something that was easy.

I had always been skeptical about meal diet plans but what sold me is that with JC you get to supplement the meals with your own dairy, veggies and fruit from the very beginning.  You also only eat exclusively JC meals for about 4 weeks and then you reduce to 6, 5, 4 days ect.  I can still have the bountiful baskets with fresh fruits and vegetables along with the packaged meals. A nice combination.

I also thought the weekly consultations was very attractive, at a great price (for a 8 weeks consultation at my gym you get a year at JC).  The meal is personalized.  Like because of my goals and exercise regiment I’m actually eating 1800-2000 calories a day.  This surprised me but gels with what my trainer has been telling me (my reflex is to starve myself when I get diet desperate).

We will see how things go but I’m pretty determined.  I am still going to eat socially but you work that out with your consultant.  Like I had a treat at the wedding I went to tonight but that was discussed and worked into the plan.  Next Saturday I will have breakfast with book club and we will work that into things.   Love!

So, in the meantime I thought I’d tell you about some food I routinely fantasize about when dieting.

1.  Any food from New York including bagels with shmeer, greys papaya hot dogs with grilled onions and sauerkraut, deli sandwiches, pizza (one time I had a thin crust pizza with homemade mozzarella ricotta and sliced meatballs! Been dreaming about it since)

2. Hawaii food- shaved ice…., Ted’s Bakery, Dole whips, anything at grass skirt grill, or cafe haliewa. Shrimp truck shrimp,  fresh pineapple, mangos and coconuts cut open from the stand, thai food, more dole whips

3. All food Italian- maybe it was going to Italy when I was 17 but I love Italian food.  I love pizza, spaghetti and meatballs (my favorite food and they kind of saved my life at one point…), stuffed shells,just good pasta with butter and garlic, caprese salad…sigh

4. Indiana food- pork tenderloin sandwiches that the pork is twice as big as the roll, Mug-n-bun, frozen custard, homemade noodles, chicken and noodles, sweet cream pie, tomatoes with cottage cheese and salt, goulash, cheesy potatoes, lots of potatoes! Love really hot crunchy french fries (and yes Dad I’ve occasionally dipped them in my ice cream!)

5. Other favorites- asian noodles (ramen, pho, whatever), Bombay house Indian food (where I’ve always wanted to go on a date and haven’t to this point), crispy moist fried chicken (harmons is so good),  Cafe Rio pork salad, good sushi (love this place in Midvale called Nagoya Sushi), good barbeque that isn’t too fatty with a good tangy slightly sweet sauce, biscuits and gravy, perfect grilled cheese, light fluffy buttermilk pancakes, fresh baked bread with butter, tacos in almost any form, Maryland blue crabs, all thanksgiving food, my Mother’s pie- any flavor, greek food.  A really good burger or sandwich.  I think I could eat jamba juices every day of my life and never get sick of them.   Our German Christmas meal, pastries, good cheese and ice cream.

6.  A really good steak medium with herbed butter and a baked potato, perfectly roast chicken, turkey.  Love me some meat (could never be a vegetarian).

Oh and I love the scotch kisses at See’s.  Could do without everything else but I love those scotch kisses…

Ok.  Those are some of the best things I’ve ever eaten. There you go! That was fun and I didn’t eat a thing…

Diet Before 10

I shared this with my facebook community but thought I’d do the same with my blogging community.  I think this photo tells a lot.

I can relate to this photo because I was on diet before I turned 10.  I have almost no memories of not being on a diet in my life.  In fact some of my most vivid memories are being put on diets or being told I was fat by kids or even coaches, other adults.  As all my readers know I was also bullied for nearly 2 years (4th and 5th grades) because I was overweight.

I have to say compared to some of my overweight friends, my parents have actually been pretty great.  They did put me on a diet when I was young but overall they tried to be supportive and loving.  I did not get a ton of pressure from them to lose weight and I certainly was never told that I was ugly, embarrassing, fat, whatever.  I hear such stories from some of my friends and I’m grateful for good parents.

So what is my advice to parents who have a heavier child and don’t know what to do? Here goes:

1. Set the whole family on a healthy lifestyle regiment so that one child is not singled out. Then everyone wins.  It could even be a fun project to do together.

2. Explain that it really isn’t about appearance. Its about health, energy, happiness.  Perhaps give them examples of athletes, other adults who maintain a healthy weight.  (show them my blog about my swims 🙂 )

3. I think a lot of parents feel guilty about their overweight children and that just makes the child feel worse for failing their parents.

4. Do not EVER be embarrassed by your child.  This will only teach them to be ashamed of their bodies and could lead to behaviors later on that are far worse than being overweight such as self-abuse, eating disorders, and addiction.

5. Try to avoid using food as a reward or a punishment.  It will happen on occasions such as birthdays or at a party and that’s fine but in general find non-food related rewards

6. Avoid equating food as a sin.  Do not make a child feel guilty for what they eat.  Just encourage the good and move on from the bad. I still struggle with feelings of guilt and even sin when I stray from my diet and I don’t think that is a healthy behavior.

7. Introduce your kids to new food experiences so they don’t think that healthy food=boring food.

8. Involve your kids in the cooking process so they can see what goes into it.  A processed packaged meal will never give your children any excitement for fresh, healthy ingredients.  Also take them to farms, have them learn how to milk a cow, see where eggs come from, how to make cheese, whatever.  This may be a drag for some kids but in the end it will help them build healthy eating habits and a love for good food.

9. Be positive, positive, positive, positive!  Even today, I find I need overwhelmingly positive feedback from my trainers and other support.  I know what I could improve on.  In fact, I’m usually beating myself up more than I probably should and don’t need any help in that department.  Any added ‘tough love’ just makes me feel depressed and hopeless

10.  Make sure you explain all aspects of health to your child.  Meaning physical, mental, spiritual, emotional whatever.  All of these aspects are important for a healthy person.  Writing in journals, meditating, having honest discussion, learning new things, reading, prayer, other worship,  and learning to manage stress are all AS IMPORTANT as our weight.

11. Make sure they have correct information about weightloss, health, etc.  Despite all my dieting I never learned that type 2 diabetes was curable.  When they diagnosed me as border-line a few years ago, I honestly thought I was going to die. I was petrified.  Instead of just scaring kids with words like cancer, heart disease, diabetes.  Let’s explain what they really are and how they can be prevented and overcome.

Recently I did a wellness challenge where there were 10 categories of health including 15 minutes of spiritual reading and setting daily goals.  I think this type of overall wellness would be a great system for kids.

Now some of you may scoff and say ‘she’s single.  What does she know about raising kids?’.  Well, I was a kid once and I know intimately what it is like to grow up as a fat kid. I also have kids in my life who I want to support in the right ways; therefore I have given the topic much thought.

Its important to understand that as adults, we are all fighting an uphill battle when it comes to the health of the kids in our lives.  They have so much coming at them from the media and even other children and adults at school.  We must conscientiously work at fighting this messaging or our kids will get their self-worth from the myriad of other sources trying to claim it.

Unfortunately sometimes people that mean well can be a destructive influence.  Celebrities like First Lady Michele Obama have started a ‘war on childhood obesity’.  I really wish Mrs. Obama would rethink this wording.  I wish she was more focused on health of all children whether they happen to be heavy or skinny.  I certainly am proof that an active heavy person can do things that a lazy skinny person could not do.

Health, health, health not weight, weight, weight.

The Food Trifecta

So here’s the deal with food.  Over the years I’ve learned that all foods and recipes fall into three categories- it is either fast, cheap or healthy.  What I’ve found is you can usually get 2 out of 3 but the 3 out of 3 foods are very rare (egg dishes almost always fit all 3 but its still hard to find)

For instance, ramen noodles are fast and cheap but definitely not healthy.  A salad is usually fast (depending on chopping time) and healthy but isn’t cheap.  Homemade veggie burgers may be healthy and cheap but not fast.  Macaroni and cheese is fast and cheap but not healthy. Seafood like crab and mussels are healthy and fast but definitely not cheap. You get the idea.

In the end I think you have to pick which 2 areas you are going to focus on most.  If you have the budget than you can focus on fast and healthy.  If you don’t than focus on healthy and cheap.  If health isn’t as big a deal focus on fast and cheap.  Etc.

I just find this type of prioritizing to be helpful. You cannot focus on everything.  Perhaps with kids there is a fourth factor of ‘kid friendly’.  I’m not sure.

For me, I focus more on fast and healthy and less on cheap. Not that I’ll be buying caviar or lobster daily but its just where your focus is. To make things faster I may pay more to buy some salad bar items or prepared items from the deli.

I guess my trifecta doesn’t apply to deserts because let’s be honest 2 out of 3 would rarely apply.  I would just focus on taste for that category.

Taste is a given for anything I eat.  Above all it should be tasty! This is true except for protein drinks which I detest but drink anyway because they are good for me.  (And yes, I’ve tried ALL the brands…). Aside from protein drinks,  I prefer to not have an instant gag reflex when I swallow food. 🙂

What do you think of my trifecta?  Where do you fall on it?

Btw, I’m going on a diet tomorrow.  Not looking forward to it at all.  Please forgive me if I’m a bit grumpy.  Stupid diets…

Before and After Scams

So how many times have you seen an ad for a diet and it shows a before and after photo of a participant with amazing results?  All the time.  Well, 20/20 had an expose on the diet industry on Friday and while most of it was old hat to me this segment stood out.  Evidently its an internet sensation with over 8 million hits but I’d never seen it.  I just had to share it with all of you:

I personally hate dieting and I know lifestyle changes are the important thing but let’s be honest to have significant results you do need make changes, which could be interpreted as a diet.  I sometimes feel resentful of all the sacrifices and things I have to give up. I’ve got a bit of a rebellious streak and I hate being told no.  I have friends who don’t eat dairy, grain, all meat, red meat, all starches,  fruit, all sweeteners, are vegan, vegetarian, eat raw, only organic etc. Not to mention no fast or processed food ever.  I even have a friend who won’t eat mushrooms because of some perceived health problem.  It sometimes makes me a little crazy.  You are going to take all that away from me and mushrooms…

I think most of all I miss baking.  I never make anything with yeast or that smells nice any more.  I never get out my cake decorating supplies.  In fact, my fondant has gotten all hard.  A sad, sad site…

Anyway, I do the best I can and am happy with my progress.  I’ve been training really hard for the upcoming race in the Great Salt Lake and I’m confident I will finish.  (First practice in lake this Wednesday!).  I’m certainly giving it my all.  This week I did 4 intense training sessions (I got a massage today and the lady said my upper back was total tightness.  That’s a swimmer for you!).  I also ate very well, including attending a raw food class on Tuesday that was a lot of fun (it was exactly what you would expect a raw food class to be like in every way.  Kate and I even got scolded for talking in class!)

You just have to keep plugging away day-by-day, try to make good choices, and don’t by into the quick fixes, trends and scams.  It will only lead to depression and a rapidly decreasing pocket book.

 

PB and J Pancakes

Lately food has been a pain in the neck.  Everything just looks gross and I’ve had no appetite to eat much of anything.  I am sure that sounds peachy but it is kind of a pain.  I have food, healthy food, and I’m not eating junk but just looking at my fridge makes me feel nauseated.  I can’t explain it. The odd thing is eating these super small amounts I feel great!  I feel alert, happy, light.   This whole month I have felt really well.  I’ve had painful days but not as many as in other months (I think part of it is this amazing weather we’ve had.  I feel weighted down when the weather is cold and gray).

Anyway, as I bird-eat I find that I have to freeze a lot of what I make because I’m just not very hungry.  Its hard to make meals for 1 anyway but even if I do there is still at least one portion left these days.  Some things freeze better than others.  Like the other day I made these thai peanut noodles.  They didn’t reheat well and kind of turned black.  Still tasted good but looked gross.

The pork I made Sunday has saved well and will be nice to have frozen for quesadillas, pizzas, omelets ect. I am working to come up with recipes that I can freeze so that hopefully we can have a healthy, low GI, freezer meal party.  A couple of my friends are already interested.   The problem is a lot of freezer meals contain creamed soups and preservatives which I do not want, especially hanging around in my freezer for months.  If any of you know of good freezer meal recipes that are low in sugar and white carbs send them my way.  Does anyone know how quinoa freezes?

So, today I decided to make my whole wheat pancakes as previously posted https://smilingldsgirl.wordpress.com/2011/09/23/whole-wheat-pancakes/.  This was a recipe given me to my internet friend White Lilly .   These are not the heavy whole wheat pancakes you are used to but are light and fluffy.  (This time I used Stevia instead of sugar.  It didn’t really work.  I would use agave instead.)

Anyway, to shake things up a bit I decided to make PB and J pancakes.  So, I took a bag of frozen strawberries on the stovepot, melted them down (didn’t need any liquid because of the ice but if you made from fresh might need 1/4 water), and a tbsp of stevia.  I let it cook until the strawberries were wilted.  At this point you could blend it to make it smooth but I kind of like the hunks of strawberries.

Strawberries, raspberries, peaches and cherries are all considered LOW GI fruit. Having an index of 32 or below.  Kiwi’s, figs, mangos and bananas are nearly double; however, they can still be valuable for other reasons if used sparingly.

With the finished strawberry topping I spread a layer of creamy peanut butter on each pancake and then poured the strawberries on top (the strawberries will be good on yogurt or ice cream.  Nice way to use frozen fruit, which is cheaper and lasts longer)!

PB and J pancakes. I've been trying to have better food photography on my blog. What do you think? I honestly couldn't eat all of this only 1/2. It was really good though.

And look at all I was able to save, enough for 5 more breakfasts.

5 Breakfasts in the freezer! Ziplocs work the best to stuff things in my little freezer

I’d like to get another smaller freezer because mine is always crammed full.  If anyone has a deal let me know.   This is the kind I would like:  I am hoping to find one used, on sale.  We will see.

Anyway, enjoy the pancakes and start experiencing with freezer meals and please send me your successes. Love ya!

Fat Stigma

fat shame: stigma and the fat body in American Culture by Amy Erdman Farrell

I want to tell everyone about a book I am obsessed with- Fat Shame: Stigma and the Fat Body in American Culture by Amy Erdman Farrell.  In this amazing book Farrell goes back two hundred years into the history of what she calls ‘fat denigration’.  In other words, being ‘fat’ has become a way of dismissing people for a variety of reason that have nothing to do with health.  Even more interesting she examines the history of the diet and anti-obesity movements to show how the have always been about profit rather than health.

The Goodreads description summarizes the book well:

“Tracing the cultural denigration of fatness to the mid 19th century, Amy Farrell argues that the stigma associated with a fat body proceeded any health concerns about a large body size. Firmly in place by the time the diet industry began to flourish in the 1920s, the development of fat stigma was related not only to cultural anxieties that emerged during the modern period related to consumer excess, but, even more profoundly, to prevailing ideas about race, civilization and evolution. For 19th and early 20th century thinkers, fatness was a key marker of inferiority, of an uncivilized, barbaric, and primitive body. This idea—that fatness is a sign of a primitive person—endures today, fueling both our $60 billion “war on fat” and our cultural distress over the “obesity epidemic.

Farrell draws on a wide array of sources, including political cartoons, popular literature, postcards, advertisements, and physicians’ manuals, to explore the link between our historic denigration of fatness and our contemporary concern over obesity. Her work sheds particular light on feminisms’ fraught relationship to fatness. From the white suffragists of the early 20th century to contemporary public figures like Oprah Winfrey, Monica Lewinsky, and even the Obama family, Farrell explores the ways that those who seek to shed stigmatized identities—whether of gender, race, ethnicity or class—often take part in weight reduction schemes and fat mockery in order to validate themselves as “civilized.” In sharp contrast to these narratives of fat shame are the ideas of contemporary fat activists, whose articulation of a new vision of the body Farrell explores in depth. This book is significant for anyone concerned about the contemporary “war on fat” and the ways that notions of the “civilized body” continue to legitimate discrimination and cultural oppression.”

I don’t know if I an explain it any better. It is brilliant book and has validated many feelings I have held since I was a little girl.  I can’t agree with Farrell more when she says:

“we often associate certain diseases with specific types of personalities, blaming the victims and shaming them into silence.  In a similar vein I would argue that we have imposed equally dangerous cultural meanings onto fatness. Fatness in the United States ‘means’ excess of desire, of bodily urges not controlled, of immoral, lazy and sinful habits.  Much more than a neutral description of a type of flesh, fatness caries with it such stigma as propels us to take drastic extreme measures to remove it”

She then goes into various dangerous measures some go to rid themselves of their ‘fat shame’.  “Clearly, fatness is a discrediting attribute for which people will go to extraordinary extremes to eliminate.  One has only to think of tape worms and arsenic of the early 20th century or the debilitating gastric bypass surgery of today to recognize these extreme measures. It is a physical stigma or an ‘abomination of the body,’ one that is clearly visible.  Fat people cannot hide their stigma…Because our culture assigns many meanings to fatness beyond the actual physical trait- that a person is glutinous, or filling a deeply disturbed psychological need, or irresponsible and unable to control primitive urges- it also has the traits of a ‘character stigma’…fat people are treated as not quite human, entities to whom the normal standards or polite and respectful behavior do not apply.”

There are so many examples from pop culture of fat stigma it is hard to know where to start.  Everything from Chris Farley to Homer Simpson reiterate that fat=stupid, lazy and incompetent.  (I love the Simpsons btw).  Even a child’s film like Walle reinforces that fat people are irresponsible, lazy and idol.

Now there may be some of you who think ‘she’s reinforcing unhealthy obesity’ but she’s not.  She is meticulously chronicling the history of what it means to be fat in America.  Our society puts all kinds of limits  and stereotypes on overweight individuals including ‘the unfair treatment they receive in employment, medical care, and social life.”

She also shows a number of studies that argue with the direct link between fatness and ill health. “They (diet establishment) argue that studies with headlines that tout the ‘dangers of obesity’ usually demonstrate that a sedentary lifestyle and a diet of processed food result in ill health; and that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and an active lifestyle will improve health, but it may or may not result in weight loss”

Even presentations that on the surface seem to encourage the right kind of weight loss, like the show ‘Biggest Loser’, subtly make the connection of weight loss and increased health.  They also subliminally imply an individual who does not lose weight is a ‘loser’ in their quest for health.

The most impactful part of the book for me is a study she mentions by UC Davis.

“In this study, a group of fat women was divided into 2 groups, one receiving coaching in restrictive eating (diet) and exercise, the other being encouraged to eat a healthy diet, listen to their bodies cues, to foster ways to engage in fun exercise and take part in a fat acceptance discussion group.  Significantly group 1- the traditional diet/exercise group- initially lost weight, but by the end half had dropped out; most had regained weight; blood pressure, cholesterol, and other metabolic measures had not improved and self-esteem levels had dropped.  In contrast, group 2 hadn’t lost any weight, but most stayed with the 2 year program; their blood pressure, cholesterol, and other metabolic measures had improved dramatically; their self-esteem levels increased substantially; and they exercised regularly.  Encouraged to pay attention to their bodies, to stop restricting calories, to fight the discrimination they experienced as fat people, and to enjoy their bodies through physical movement and eating well- the non-dieters showed significant health improvements.  But, and this is the key point, they never became thin.”

Please forgive the long quote but isn’t that fascinating?  I was blown away.  It reminded me of why I started this whole journey.  Losing weight was part of it but a small part.  I wanted to have more energy, to be able to do more of the athletic activities I saw around me.  I may still weigh over 250 lbs but there is no doubt I am healthier now than I was a year ago.  This was such a great revelation for me because I was becoming too focused on the weight loss- seeing it as the full marker of my success.  The fact I hadn’t lost the 100 lbs in one year, despite practically killing myself, made me feel frustrated and a little depressed.  (I might add that these feelings were entirely self-imposed as I have received nothing but praise and encouragement from family and friends).

For some reason I have always found it comforting to read about the history of philosophies and trends.  Through understanding how our culture got to where it is helps me understand those around me and my own feelings at the same time.  It was this sense of understanding the world that caused me to eat up philosophy and political science books in college and it is something I still love to this day.  Farrell’s book helped me to understand my own feelings of inadequacy in a new way and to finally get why a nation saw me as a fat person through a particular lens.   After all, they’ve had over 200 years to develop these bad habits and judgements!

It also makes me want to prove the haters wrong and be a shining light to those who feel depressed over their weight.  I want them to know they do have value, even if society says they are worthless.  I see the worth.  I know how hard it is to get healthy, but getting healthy should be the goal and if weight loss comes with, so be it!

Here’s a clip of Amy Farrell on the Colbert Report talking about her book.

http://t.co/7jiT9Ox

I couldn’t embed it because of comedy central’s copyright.

I know this is a long post but I really wanted to get the word out on this book.  It is a bit academic (incredibly well researched) but I wish that everyone would read it.

The D Word

I don’t normally post twice in one day but in my last post I mentioned an appointment to the endocrinologist this afternoon.  I thought it would be a standard check up but it turned in a memorable direction quickly.  As part of the check up the doctor asked me some questions in regards to my general health, and I explained my continuing symptoms of fatigue, light-headness and inability to lose weight.

For the last month I have been keeping track of my blood sugar and most of the time I have been in normal ranges; however, I did not feel normal.  He said I was having hypoglycemic responses to normal levels.  This was a red flag of more serious problems.  Then I told him that only twice had it been over 200.  One time as a test I ate candy to see what a high would be and it was 309.  The minute my doctor heard this he said “you have diabetes.  That’s it.”

This is the diagnosis I’ve been dreading and as the words exited his mouth I felt shock, despair and surprise.  Why had this not come up in all the blood work we did?  Well, its hard to say for sure but I had already been on the metformin for over a month when I did the work so that could be part of it (as well as already working out regularly and dieting).

I got a bit emotional as he talked and as he noticed my reaction he said “no, no, this really is a good thing.  It really is.”  He also said the PCOS was probably still a correct diagnosis but this was a new level added to it.   (He explained a lot that was over my head especially because I was so overwhelmed with the diagnosis.  I mean to ask many more questions next time).

The good news is with the diagnosis we can get more aggressive with medicine and treatments.  I’m a little scared but there are two injections I will need to give myself after I am trained next time.  They are shots in my abdomen and  the doctor said they are a tiny needle and you don’t have to find a vein.  I’m still a little freaked out but we’ll take it a day at a time.

He went on to say this diagnosis could be the key to helping me finally lose weight and once that happens my body will be able to self-regulate. I won’t have to take the injections forever and may get to a point where I am down to just metformin.  At the very least I should finally see results from all the work I’ve been doing.

The other good thing is aside from injections the diagnosis does not require lifestyle changes.  I’ve already made those changes- no white carbs, no sugar etc.  Hopefully this will help me to feel good and experience the benefits of this healthy lifestyle, instead of feeling haggard and tired all the time.

To tie into my earlier post I think there is a side of me that was a bit embarrassed when I first heard the news.  There seems to be this stigma associated with diabetes that it is caused by neglect of the body and binge eating.  While I have had my moments over the years, in general I have tried very hard to improve my body to no avail.  This is where the insulin resistance made life more difficult for me.   I couldn’t lose the weight; therefore, I couldn’t radically change my insulin levels.

There may be people who cause their own diabetes but for me I know it is mostly genetics.  I just have to work through these feelings and I feel confident in the end this diagnosis will be for the best.  As my bishop said ‘it could wind up being the best thing that has ever happened to me.’  I hope and pray he is right!

Anyway,  I have tons to learn and absorb but I’m trying to remain positive and take each day as it comes.  I will keep you all posted as I go on this journey.  Thank you for all the support and for everyone’s calls/emails/facebook posts expressing love and concern.  It means everything.

PCOS Venting

I'm working on making this a reality. Come a long way. Its a transition!

This post is a bit of a vent so please bear with me. I am writing exhausted from a long week full of interesting, new experiences.   It has been intense with work, activities, a date (yes a date on Tuesday- just a first date but was fun), and trying to manage my health. Every day I learn more about insulin resistance and PCOS, but I still have a long way to go.  The hardest part is knowing how to manage my new insulin requirements.  My body is having a tough time adjusting to the low GI diet/metformin because my insulin levels can be low causing sudden fatigue, body aches and light headiness.

I have been very strict with my diet and the affects seem to be so different day to day.  It would be one thing if I could figure out ‘oh this food makes me fatigued’ or ‘this food helps me feel better’ but there doesn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason?  It’s a serious problem because when I say sudden fatigue, I mean sudden fatigue.

Yesterday I ate 2 pieces of whole grain, whole wheat toast with a little bit of butter.  Then I rushed out the door.  (I hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before which I’m sure didn’t help but still it was weird).  So, as I was driving to Syracuse I got about 20 minutes and I became very tired- my eyes burning, my head feeling fuzzy.  It was all I could to pull off the exit and into a parking lot.  I knew I needed to eat something and unfortunately had nothing in the car.  Across the street was a McDonalds and I figured it would have to do.  I debated about what to order and finally went with a Diet Coke for the caffeine and an order of chicken nuggets (not the best but I figured mostly protein and fat, no big carb loaded bun).  The strangest thing was almost immediately I felt better.  My mind felt alert, my eyes stopped hurting and I was able to feel good all day.  Isn’t that peculiar? The other question is why did the toast cause the reaction?  I had a good low carb, whole wheat bread and no sugar  or jam on the toast?

Maybe some of you, online world, have ideas or have experienced similar experiences.   These episodes are  not regular and don’t seem to fit any pattern either in the source or solution?  Honestly nothing seems to make me feel better aside from sleeping and who has time to sleep for 2-3 hours in the afternoon?  I have gotten a myriad of suggestions including  peanut butter, protein bars, shakes, candy, juice,  agave syrup, and other foods to reverse the low insulin (I’m pretty sure the attacks are hypoglycemic- meaning caused from insulin rates that are too low).  I also can’t figure out what particularly triggers it and why sometimes it does/does not happen? It’s so strange.

I’ve called my endocrinologist (who is the best) and left a message (they are closed Friday’s).  I am meeting with him next Thursday, and you can bet I will have a lot of questions.

It has been a struggle and I must say I have not done great this week exercise-wise (only 3 times this week).  I have been so exhausted it is hard to move.  Its an adjustment but don’t worry I’m not off my game for long.  I am meeting with my trainer Wednesday (trainer Wednesday, doctor Thursday- busy week!).

One of the hardest things is my new feelings that food is an enemy.  When you don’t know if a food will send you into an episode or cause other problems it is hard to enjoy it.  I have not learned to anticipate, like or crave my new food requirements. I’m really trying but nothing tastes as good as it used to. Excuse my language but it kind of sucks.  I used to love cooking but it seems like everything I know how to make is not allowed for various reasons. In addition, the whole wheat/low carb varieties of food just aren’t as good or satisfying, and I’ve never been a huge ‘hunk of meat’ person.  I am starting to uncover new recipes, cookbooks and websites that look promising but right now nothing I can eat looks good.

I try to remind myself that ‘its just food’, which helps but it’s still hard.  Its tough to go to FHE and see people eating cake, hard to go to dinner and not eat the free bread, its hard when a food I think is OK seems to cause an episode.  I also don’t want to be one of those annoying dieters that everyone has to tip-toe around.  I want them to feel comfortable eating whatever they want to eat.   I’m keeping a journal of everything I eat, and the symptoms I experience, but I just miss things.  It feels like I miss everything.

Anyway, please excuse a little complaining on my part.  Changes are difficult, but I know I have to be successful.  This is it.  This is the moment where I grit down and change my life.  This is where all the challenges I’ve had since I was a little fat 8 year old girl make sense and fall into place.  I’m getting answers but along the way adding more questions…It’s a journey!

Lately I’ve been reading the experiences of other PCOS patients and it is comforting to see how their experiences mirror mine.  It is also nice to see them persevering through the tough times, making amazing progress, and eventually achieving full health.  It gives a girl hope!  Its also nice to know the diagnosis and treatment are not easy for anyone. Every PCOS patient struggles with regulating insulin levels, changing their diets and controlling symptoms.  Reading the blogs does make me happy I’m not trying to have a baby because the women that are experience even more struggles with their PCOS.  I feel bad for these women and their struggles. With both PCOS and endometriosis I may not be able to ever have a baby, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it!

There are also PCOS patients who suffer much more then me- some practically losing their hair and others experiencing large painful skin conditions. I guess that’s part of the reason I wanted to write this post- I’ve been benefiting so much from reading the blogs of other patients and feeding off of their stories.  Hopefully someone will feed off of mine.  I thought I had experienced all the hardships of this fitness quest but the last few weeks have been tough- on one hand thrilling and mind-opening, but on the other difficult, confusing and both mentally and physically trying.

Thank you for letting me vent a little bit and for the support.  I’ll get through this and be a better person at the end. I can already see it happening. Take care and have a great President’s Day weekend.

A Good Moment

All of my friends, family and blog readers know I have done a lot of whining as I’ve ventured down the road to physical fitness.  While I would like to bear all the difficulties with gentile grace, the stresses and struggles have at times been more than I can endure alone.  It’s all I can do to keep from screaming with  frustration.   (Seriously, if you only knew how much I want to complain and don’t, you’d find me restrained). Thank you in advance for your continued support and patience with my struggles.

It is with this history in mind that I share a perk of my weight loss I experienced today.

First some background.  As I have mentioned on this blog I am a member of the Tree house Athletic Club in Draper.  This is a nationally award winning gym- the best in the state with amazing personnel, incredible facilities and a serene spa environment.  I could not have experienced half of my success at any other facility.

In fact, the gym is so great a special program called Real Life Fitness trains there.  This is basically a fitness boot camp (or a fitness retreat as it is called on their website) where people from around the country come for stays ranging from 2 weeks to 4 months.  From what I’ve seen of the program it looks pretty good.  It’s a bit too military for me (sometimes their trainers are out on the floor yelling and it makes me crazy! I hate that kind of trainer.) I have never watched the show but I guess its designed to mimic The Biggest Loser.

Anyway, the process appears grueling and difficult.  As I have not been a participant, it is tough for me to comment on its effectiveness, but I have noticed improvement in some patients as I work out with them each day.  My only worry is whether they can keep up such a difficult routine when they get home?  Some of them are doing 7 hours or more of exercise a day!  I am glad I decided to go with the steady-as-she comes approach instead of something like Real Life.  I don’t think I will be as fearful of gaining once I achieve my goals.

Now getting to today- I did a quick workout this afternoon (had voice lesson so I had to hustle).  As I put away my gym clothes and water bottle in my locker I noticed a woman who looked depressed sitting in the lounge area.  I could tell she was a new Real Life’r and I said:

“Rough workout?”

“Yeah, I felt like I was going to pass out.” she said

“How long have you been here?” I said

“Just 2 days. You been here a while ?” she said (I must have looked in pretty good shape for her to say that!)

“I’m not in Real Life.  I live here in Draper but I’ve been working on losing weight for the last year.”

“Really?  They just told me I need to lose 67 lbs” she said her face filled with despair.

“Well, don’t over do it.  You can only do so much.  Your body will fight back big time- especially at the beginning”  I continued “People have no idea when they say ‘get off your butt and work out how hard it is going to be.  You are talking about 3 years of your life 2 hours a day with other major lifestyle changes.  It isn’t just get off your butt. ”

“Seriously” she said. “I’m so sick of hearing that.”

“I’ve been working hard for a year and lost 40-some pounds and still have a long way to go.  If I can do it, anyone can do it.  Don’t get discouraged. ” I said.

“I appreciate that.” she said as tears welled up in her eyes.  Of course, this made me cry!  Unless you’ve been where me and this nameless woman have, you don’t understand.

“Really. It feels impossible right now but you can do it!”

I had to rush off to make my lesson but as I exited the gym I shed another tear or two to marvel at where I’d come in 10 months time.  Back then I’d never have been able to give that woman advice.  I wasn’t going to Tree house until August!  It was a sweet moment of victory- one which I hope to repeat many times in future years.  I also hope a few people are similarly inspired by this blog- despite the complaining.  It would make it all worth it!

Some people when they change their life they look at the discarded versions of themselves with disdain and maybe a bit of anger.  I promise to all of you that I will not do it.  Talking to that lady today made me realize I can inspire people and lift them up.  Believe me, those struggling with weight-loss get enough negative feedback- they don’t need to hear any from me.  I hope I am the first one with a hug and a word of encouragement.  I hope I always see people’s potential and accept them for who they are now, while never doubting their ability to change.  This is my goal and mission statement.  You guys better help me keep it!  If I get out of line remind me of my commitment and give me a bit of a wake-up slap!

Today was a tender mercy I will never forget.  Too many more…

First Check Off the List

As many of you will remember a few weeks ago I had post entitled the Too Fat For List.  This is a list of 17 things that I am either unable to do or don’t enjoy doing because of my weight.  As I am working to get in shape I plan on checking off items on the list and then reporting the experiences on my blog.  I may not be successful in all of them but I want to at least make the attempt.

Today was the beginning of checking something off of my list.  In fact, it was the #1 item on the list.  This morning I made my first attempt at climbing the rock wall at my gym.  My trainer met me and surprise the harness fit! I don’t know if it could have in March- it was close now and that’s 35 lbs lighter (that’s right, as of last week down 35 lbs!).   I was nervous the rope would break or that my trainer would be catapulted into the air because I’m so much heavier than her.  I know such thoughts are irrational, but I guess sometimes I am irrational!

Anyway, I got harnessed up and then attacked the ‘easy’ part of the wall.  It was harder than I thought it would be but after three attempts I made it about double my height on the wall.  I didn’t get to the top or even half-way but for a girl that couldn’t do a pull up if my life depended on it I think it was pretty good. My trainer was so amazing and encouraging.  She didn’t even charge me for the hour she spent with me (not to mention helping Sammy and Madeline climb the wall.  They had a lot of fun at the gym, and I was glad they were there to cheer me on!).

I must admit that when I finished, despite having not made it to the top, I felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment.   Here was something which for years I felt was impossible.  It’s not that I felt bad or depressed about it but it was just an accepted reality- an activity I passed over without much thought. I’ve been working so hard and I can already feel my world-changing as a result.  It’s difficult to explain but since I have been heavy from 10 years of age on there are certain messages that I’ve been feeding myself for nearly 20 years.  I think there are few heavy girls that have the self-esteem and confidence I have but even still there are barriers to break down.   It’s like all of the sudden the athletic world I’ve been staring at all these years is starting to enter my world…I can’t think of any other way to explain it.

The most exciting part is that my trainer said we will climb the wall once a month and that I should get higher each time.  I can’t wait for that day when I reach the top!  Even after today it still seems a little impossible but I’m working on believing…

Sammy took some photos with his phone and once he sends them to me I will add them to this post.  If he forgets then I will take photos next time- hopefully at a higher spot!

Check #1 off the list! Wahoo!  (I think I will go ice my arms and legs.  I’m sore!)