PCOS Challenge Symposium 2016

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PCOS Positivity support group pic

This past weekend I had the privilege  of attending the PCOS Challenge Symposium and Bolt 5K in Atlanta, GA (a Facebook support group I’m in raised the most money for the 5K!) My very supportive husband joined me and we made a quick vacation out of it. We both learned so many new things that will help me along this journey of treating my PCOS and wrangling in my health. We also heard a lot of things we’ve heard before, but hey, sometimes you just need to be hit with the same information over again to help it stick. At least I do…often.

PCOS is a syndrome that has many symptoms and they’re not all the same for everyone. There is no one official way to treat it and treatment plans can vary from traditional medicines to holistic and natural approaches. Every person with PCOS must have a personalized plan and it takes a lot of time, energy, and trial and error. Not to mention finding a team of doctors who are supportive, knowledgeable, and willing to work together to find the right treatment.

At the symposium there were several breakaway sessions with different topic choices. Dustin and I focused on the integrative health and nutrition/fitness tracks. There were also some on emotional/mental health and fertility but we didn’t do those since we’ve got to get a hold of my health before starting a family. There were also Q&A panels with leading PCOS experts that included health professionals and advocates. It was definitely a wonderful experience and I hope to attend the next one.

I purchased an awareness bracelet and was entered into a raffle. There were several prizes, including books, cookbooks, fertility treatments, fitness packages, electrolysis, and even a very popular detox program. Guess who won one of the detox programs?! C’est moi! That’s right! I was surprised because I never win anything in raffles and I almost didn’t even buy the ticket! While I’m not one for “detox” programs and living off of shakes I figured I’ll give it a try and report my results to my fellow cysters (probably via my instagram). I prefer real food but I’ve never tried a shake program so let’s see how it goes. This program consists of 2 weeks of shakes and supplements geared towards women with PCOS. We tend to have insulin resistance/metabolic disorder so sugar can be really bad for us. This program focuses on getting all the necessary nutrients and a little extra of the vitamins and minerals that can help with insulin resistance. It also helps to cut back the amount of processed sugars in the body.

So far I’m halfway through day 2. The shake tastes alright. I’ve done protein shakes before so I’m ok with the texture and taste. It’s a mild berry/vanilla flavor. My husband tried a sip and didn’t like it. He said it was chalky but then again, he doesn’t like protein shakes either (and he likes nato which is fermented soybeans so his palate can’t be trusted sometimes haha). By dinner I was a tad irritable and hangry. But I get like that whenever I start lowering my carb and sugar intake. It takes me a few days to adjust. So, for the next two weeks I’ll be doing two shakes a day and a well balanced meal with healthy snacks (as necessary). Fitness-wise I’m planning on going for walks during my lunch hour at work and I’m in a few daily and weekly step challenges via Fitbit. I did so much walking and hiking during our trip that I managed to lose over 4 lbs! But I also don’t trust my scale…She can be sketchy. I’ll try to update again when I’m done with week 1.

Peace out, y’all.

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Japan Day 3 – A Relaxing Day

Who’s been waiting to read the next installment of our Japan trip? I’m really enjoying writing about our trip one day at a time. It helps me relive the moments and kind of extends the trip in my mind. I think I did a fairly good job of keeping a mental travel journal. The next trip we go on I plan on having an actual journal to write in.

Day 3 started out much like day 2. The three of us (hubby, sis-in-law, and myself) had breakfast at the hotel. We met up with our friend shortly after. His family was going shopping and we were going to be adventurous! He took us a few blocks down to an onsen, or public bath house/hot springs. This was definitely an experience that anyone visiting Japan should try out. Basically, you get naked, wash yourself, and relax in one of many hot baths. There are separate areas for men and women and there were indoor and outdoor baths. Hubby said there was a sauna as well, but SIL and I had no one to guide us through so we were lost little ducklings.

There are a few important things to know when at an onsen:

First, you get nekkid! Everyone is nekkid, so you have to throw any body issues out the window. Embrace yo self! Believe me, I know it’s difficult. As if I wanted SIL and all the little old Asian ladies to see me in my big ol’ birthday suit. No. Not in America. That is not a part of our culture, but we weren’t in America so as I said before: when in Rome… Besides, we’ll never see those people again. I was not about to miss out on the experience over my personal insecurities. Going in, I knew hubby would have no qualms about it. He’s a free spirit and a guy so I figured he’d fit in (I was correct, he loved it.).

Second, no hair in the bath water! Oops. SIL and I didn’t know this little rule but there was a kind lady who quietly came over and informed us. So ladies (and gents with long hair) don’t forget to tie it up. Also, you have two towels: a regular towel to dry yourself off with after (leave that in your little locker with your clothes) and a smaller wash towel you use when cleaning yourself before getting in the bath. This second towel should not be in the bath either. You can leave it near you outside of the bath, or place it on top of your head. It also comes in handy if you want to cover your secret bits while walking around the bath area – as long as you’re small. Otherwise, you have to decide what you’re more comfortable exposing to the cold, cold air after getting out of the warm water.

Third, the baths have different temperatures and colors. That’s because different springs will have different temps and minerals. Us girls didn’t know so we only tried out two baths. One inside that seemed more like a hot tub and one outside. We were probably only in the water about 30 minutes or so before we got too warm and decided we were done. We probably should have cleaned and rinsed the minerals off us after but we didn’t.

The onsen pretty much set the mood for the day. It was a relaxing start to our Saturday. Sis and I waited for the guys at the eating area and found water to sip on. That’s another important tip: stay hydrated! Sitting in a hot bath for a while can make you really thirsty. When they were done we headed back to the hotel to grab our stuff since we were staying in another part of Tokyo for the rest of the trip. But not without a stop at our friend’s house! And a good ol’ cookout!

We all made the journey to the house and walked by a small bakery. I did not pass up the opportunity to try another pastry in Japan. I wasn’t sure what the etiquette was for buying items, so I just grabbed a bag of pre-wrapped donut holes? Yes, that’s a question mark because they looked like it but I dunno Japanese. There could be surprise banana for all I knew (or wished…)! Surprise banana – yea, that’s a thing now. Hmm. Maybe not. Before I get too off-topic…they were delicious! We continued onward and checked out the house.

Shortly after arriving we learned that a trip to the grocery store was called for. While I didn’t really want to go (so much walking), I tagged along because that meant more time spent with our friend. I mean, he was the reason we were there in the first place, so this little piggy sucked it up and went to market. The grocery store was cool. The meat section had ALL parts of the animals available. Maybe not all, but a lot more than you’d find at a typical American grocery store. Then there was the deli/freshly made food section…Oh my goodness. It smelled amazing and looked good! We knew it’d be a while before we got to eat so we gathered up some sushi and onigiri. After finishing up our shopping trip and getting back to the house we chowed down. Om nom nom.

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This is what I’m calling Japanese Mike’s Hard Lemonade. 7% lemony alcohol

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Here’s a flattering photo of my handsome hubby and adorable sister in law. Oh, and a not so flattering photo of me. Oh well, at least I look taller than I am.

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Grocery store sushi and onigiri (it was prettier but shifted in transit)

I’ve never been one to try sushi – California rolls are my only adventure into that world. The thought of eating raw fish just never sat well with me. In America. But (repeat after me) when in Rome… I tried several different things. And I liked them all for the most part. Gosh, I’m hungry just thinking of all that rice. I love rice. We watched Japanese TV for a little bit after and headed downstairs to rejoin the family while the food was grilling. Drinks were poured and stories were told. Lots of drinks. It was a blast getting to know our friend’s family better. We even met his Japanese host dad from the time he had studied in Japan a few years before. We also enjoyed some ice cream and smores before we headed out. We still had about an hour of travel to get to our hotel so we kind of left in a rush so we could catch the train.

It was a long day, kind of like this blog post. After getting settled into our room, we all kind of passed out again… Goodnight, Day 3.

 

Hello, 2016!

We are a few days into the new year and I have yet to take some time to truly focus and write down my resolutions for the year. Several have been bouncing around in my head. You know, the usual ones: lose weight, eat healthily, exercise more, etc. However, these need to be broken down to be more specific and doable, and I have a few others for this year. I’ve even got some that are already planned and I know I will accomplish! That may be cheating a bit but oh well.

2016 Goals and Resolutions
1. Get my real driver’s license (without restriction B)
2. Travel and go on adventures
3. Increase net worth, lower debt, pay off car early, maximize Roth IRA contributions (finally opened one)
4. Be more present and work on relationships with family and friends
5. Try a new activity at least once a month
6. Read more, get out more, basically less technology dependency
7. Truly work on getting control of my health: exercise at least 3x a week, meal plan and stick to it as much as possible,  take my vitamins, supplements, and medicine consistently, avoid binge eating (Sorry, cinnamon rolls. You ruined it for the rest of the sweets.)

These are enough for now. I have plans to go into a bit more detail on some of them because I don’t want this to be a novel so stay tuned.

What are some of y’alls resolutions? 🙂

The Year Was 1989

I’m reflecting on this past year because yesterday was my birthday, y’all! And Thanksgiving week is my favorite time of the year. Mostly due to the food and cake I get. 😉 Who doesn’t like cake? Weird people, that’s who.

Anyway, a lot of great things have happened this past year, as well as not so great. I married my best friend, I’m back down to the weight I was at the end of last year (I went up post wedding/Christmas), I’m up for a raise at work, and I’m figuring out how to be healthier. The not so good: didn’t buy a house like we wanted to and I was diagnosed with insulin-resistant PCOS (kind of good though because I can make a plan to deal with it before it gets worse).

And here comes a sad bit of this post. Sunday was a bittersweet day for me. It was a lazy day but that also meant I had plenty of time to do some thinking. 26 years ago my childhood best friend was born 2 days before me, but it’s also a sad day because she passed away in 2009, just a few months after turning 19. Until we were about 14 or 15 we celebrated our birthdays together at church since we were only 2 days apart. We would go shopping for our birthday outfits together and got the same thing a couple of times. Our brothers are also close in age by a few months so we’d always be at her house hanging out and her whole family is an extension of mine. She was a trip and I’m just super grateful I had the chance of having her in my life for as long as I did. But I also have this guilt when I celebrate my birthday because she doesn’t get to.

Which leads to my plans for this upcoming year. My goal, as usual, is to be a healthier, better version of myself. I want to focus on experiences and the people in my life because ultimately that’s what matters. The difference this year is I am determined to put my words into action. I’m already doing some research on local running groups and plan to sign up for a 5K in a few months. I’m not sure which one just yet, but I will kick off my training this week! That’s right. I’ll be starting off my 26th year of life with positivity and momentum! I’m restarting Couch to 5K as part of my training. I made it to week 5 last time. 3 weeks short of completing the program. I also hope to start date nights again with hubby, girls night with my ladies, hanging out with our friends more, and going to see my mom more often. It’s hard because everyone’s been busy this fall so we’ve got to plan in advance!

When all is said and done, I’m ready to kick this year in the butt and make it fantastic!

Friendsgiving 2015

This past weekend we celebrated Friendsgiving! We had a great time. Everyone brought amazing food. Soooo much food!

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Missing in photo: lots of turkey and our desserts

We had turkey, mashed potato casserole, green bean casserole, corn bread, rolls, salad with delicious dressing, rice & quinoa stuffing, mac and cheese, and an oh-so gooey pumpkin pecan cobbler with ice cream. My mouth is watering just thinking of it again.

The day started off with the hubby and I grocery shopping and hitting the liquor store. Hello, bourbon. When we got home we dashed to cleaning the living room, dining room, bathroom, and kitchen. I had to make as much countertop available as I could. Unfortunately, in the process of clearing out the dining room, our bedroom and closet got stuck with all the random stuff we had. Our room looked like a tornado hit it. It didn’t help that our dogs LOVE taking out the stuffing from anything that they can (mostly from their doggy bed), so there was green and white stuffing everywhere!

Our friend Steve was the first to arrive, hours ahead of time. All hail Steve, bringer of the great turkey (and extra plates/bowls/other stuff)! We got the turkey in the oven and then watched the Evil Dead movies along with Dean. Dessert and wine was next to arrive. I mean Leslie was. 😛 We downed a couple bottles of fruity wine down before the festivities even started. Oops. Everyone else arrived around the time we had originally set so our apartment was super lively!

Friendsgiving had its hiccups: I forgot about the bacon for the potatoes (I know, how dare I?!), we didn’t have enough appropriate utensils so Steve and I ended up with spoons, my timing for the sides I made was off so we started later than expected. But, I’m so thankful to have such wonderful friends. They pitched in to make it an overall success. It doesn’t matter that we had to cram 11 people into our tiny apartment because we were together and got to spend some quality time playing the world’s worst game ever. Cards Against Humanity. It’s always good fun.

 

My Obsession Monday: Coconut Bake

Warning: I’m about to brag a little about my husband. 😉

My man is pretty hot and he’s been working his butt off weight training all summer. He definitely motivates me to keep going. Gains, yo! Because he’s working on building muscle, he eats a lot of protein and because he loves me, he gets up most mornings and makes us breakfast. I am sooooo lucky! However, there are days when he wants to sleep in or I have extra bananas I need to use so I have an easy breakfast alternative to our usual eggs and bacon (at least for me – he’s allergic to coconut – yes, his life is a little bit darker because of it). Drumroll please.

*drumroll*

Coconut Flour Breakfast Bake!

Photo credit: Evan at thewannabechef.net

I found this recipe on Pinterest, of course. It is super easy to make, very quick, nutritious (low carb, gluten free, AND dairy free), and tastes a little like banana cake. FOR BREAKFAST!

Seriously, it takes about 5 minutes to whip this baby up and then yell “Get in mah belly!” (Am I the only one who still does that?) Ingredient list is minimal: eggs, coconut flour, banana, and a few other things for flavor. I’ve even added nutmeg and ground clove to it. You can top it with peanut butter like the original, or maybe some whipped cream and fruit? Boy, that sounds good.

Check out the recipe at thewannabechef.net (the photo is also linked), try it out, make your own version, and let me know what you think.

August 2015 Goals

Well there goes another month. “Summer” is almost over and we’re already one week into August! Where does the time go?? Although without school, Summer is just another season of the same – gotta work, work, work. Anyway, this past month somehow I have been so busy at work and at home. I feel like I haven’t had much time to sit alone and read a book or blog much. I’m not sure where my time went. Weird.

I did notice I was more social than usual in July. We went swimming almost every weekend and then hung out with friends. A friend/sorority sister invited me to a fun event one night as well and I was completely free and said yes! Best decision ever. I get to catch up with her, have fun, and we meet new people. Every week there’s been some interesting story to tell. I think it’s becoming a weekly tradition so I’m adding it to my August goals. Be more social.

Speaking of goals, here’s how an update for July.

July 2015 Goals

  • Continue with C25K running program – Success! I didn’t do it every other day as I thought I would, but I did keep going. I am now on week 4!
  • No more fast food. I said realistically I’d try to cut back and do no more than once a week but that didn’t happen. However, I did eat less fast food than the month before, by a lot. I had also wanted to cut back on carbs this month but I didn’t do a great job at that either. There was a lot of ice cream outings after going swimming…it’s summer…and I couldn’t say no to toasted coconut ice cream. It’s da bomb dot com, yo.
  • Seriously start house shopping. This was the biggest disappointment of the month, possibly the year. We got our pre-approval and were trying to get info on some houses but everything was getting snatched up quick. Even a small 2 bedroom house was out of our reach!! So once again we’ve decided to hold off on this goal. We’re looking into moving to an apartment with a small fenced in area or leasing a house with a friend. This is probably the best move financially and hopefully the real estate market cools down some by next year. I was really sad because I was looking forward to home improvement projects and having our own real place.
  • Mid-year Spring cleaning. We did not even get close to tackling the living room closet. That thing is overwhelming. I don’t even know where to start. I did go out and buy a mop and finally gave our floors a real good scrubbing as well as the baseboards. Small steps…right?
  • Yoga date, rock climbing date, movie date, any kind of date. We did it!! On the last day of the month, but still. We tried a neighborhood burger place and had a nice time just chatting. Earlier in the month we also went to the library and spent time finding books together. Nerdy, but fun.

On to my goals for this month. We’re already a week in so I’m kind of late on this, but there’s no better day to start than today.

August 2015 Goals

  • Fitness/Health: Continue working the Couch to 5K program (3 days a week) & continue improving on weight training; Walk the dogs more (I stopped going on longer walks with them because it’s hot outside but that’s no excuse to deny them of exercise as well. I will just need to do the longer walks once the sun starts setting. I also finally had my follow up visit with my doctor and she confirmed that I have PCOS. In the two months before my follow up, I managed to lose over 10 lbs and lower my blood pressure. However, without the longer walks in July and eating more carbs, I ended up only losing about two pounds last month. I kept fluctuating between the same two or three pounds most of the month.
  • Diet: Stay under 100 g of carbs a day and stay away from dairy/gluten (inflammatory). When I go over in carbs or eat dairy or something containing gluten my PCOS symptoms flare up and it can get pretty bad. I haven’t stopped biting my nails all this past month and as I mentioned before, my weight loss kind of stalled. The hubster and I also want to do a fast food-free month. This requires advanced planning, including meal prep and having quick grab-and-go foods.
  • Home: Now that we’re putting our home purchase off we need to find a new place to live. I’ve already contacted a few places about renting a house and we’ve also checked out a few apartments. We also need to declutter and start packing. I do not want to wait until the last few days like we’ve done in the past.
  • Relationships: This month I want to continue seeing friends and not be anti-social. Hubster and I need to plan another date night and plan our anniversary vacation/honeymoon. He wants to go to Hawaii!
  • Emotional/Mental Health: I want to actually post on this blog at least twice a week. It’s nice having some time to just think and write but I don’t do it often enough. I also want to stop biting my nails and get my anxiety back under control.

This month already sounds busy if I actually manage to schedule my time efficiently. I should really get started on planning everything out while I have some free time.

What are some of your August goals?