PCOS Challenge Symposium 2016

pcos-bolt-5k

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.

Namastay In Bed

It’s been a while since I wrote anything. There’s no particular reason, I just have been lazy about it. We are a quarter of the way through the year already, which is hard to believe. Wasn’t it just January??

A couple of things have happened since my last couple of posts. I took my driving test and am now a fully licensed driver. Woopee! I don’t get on the highway yet, but I don’t really go anywhere besides work, grocery store, and gym. I have yet to get back to riding my bike. However, I do think my knee is finally getting strong enough to do so.

I have been to the doctor a few times already this year. I did an at-home sleep study to test for sleep apnea because I have trouble sleeping and wake up more than I’d like. Turns out I’m ok on that front, so my doc referred me to an ENT specialist. I paid my copay and after about a 10 minute visit, I was diagnosed with a deviated septum. It’s probably not the cause of my sleep issues, but I’m sure it doesn’t help. As for one of my other doc visits, I wanted to talk to him about my thyroid. PCOS comes with many, many different symptoms. Many of these symptoms can also be shared with/caused by thyroid problems. Several women with PCOS also have thyroid disorders, so after a lot of webMDing and Google searches I wanted to rule out any thyroid dysfunctions. Luckily, all is well there too. My doctor simply reminded me how important sticking to a low carb diet really is for my health and weight loss. Darn.

As for exercise, hubby and I joined a new gym last month. My membership includes 12 sessions with a team weight loss class that meets three times a week. The gym has tons of group fitness classes throughout the week as well. There are spin classes, yoga classes, dance/Zumba classes, and strength group classes. I’ve tried out a few of them and as part of my New Year resolution to try something new each month, I finally went to a couple of yoga classes. I am in love with them! As a beginner, it was intimidating the first time because I was afraid of being judged for not knowing the pose names or being as flexible as others. None of that happened (that I know of). The classes I checked out were all relatively easy and great for a beginner like me. The teachers talked us through the poses and adjusted us as needed. The lights were also kept pretty low in the room to add to the relaxation. My goal is now to go to at least two yoga classes a week. I sure could use the stretching, especially after sitting at work for hours.

That’s a little bit of what’s been going on around here. I’m slowly working on pushing myself out of my comfort zone because change and growth can’t happen if I do nothing. One of my new favorite quotes that helps is: “Waiting for someone else to make you happy is the surest way to be sad.” – Jeffrey Benjamin. I don’t want to be sad and stagnant. Gotta keep moving and improving. 😀

 

 

November Late Update

It’s been a while since I made any kind of update. I’ve been in a bad rut lately. The only thing I kind of stuck with in October was biking to and from work a few times a week. The rainy weather doesn’t help much. Otherwise my diet and exercise goals flew out the window along with any kind of motivation I may have started out with.

I did get to go see a new doctor for my annual physical exam who I found via a local PCOS support group. He was great, took his time to explain PCOS and insulin resistance to my husband and I, and he prescribed some new medicines. I started low on one and had to slowly increase the dose over three weeks. I did get sick from it when I increased it twice but so far it seems to be working. I had bloodwork done and I no longer seem to be anemic for the time being but I have to continue taking iron supplements until I see the hematology specialist again in December. I’ve lost a few more pounds with the new medicine which is great but I know I could kick it up a notch if I really watch what I eat and get out to exercise.

Now for a more fun update… Hubby turned 26 a few weeks ago and we finally got around to celebrating with a few friends. This weekend we went paintballing. I didn’t think I was going to enjoy it as much as I did. The weather was great for the day and it wasn’t terribly crowded. I got shot a good number of times and am still hurting. Maybe I’m just too old for this haha. It was fun being active and hanging out with friends outside of the apartment. We are definitely looking forward to going again soon. Up next is my birthday in less than 8 days so I need to figure out what I want to do.

Any fun suggestions?

October Goals 2015

 The most wonderful time of the year is finally upon us! Fall is my favorite season of all. But, because I live in Texas, I don’t get to experience the beautiful leaves changing and crisp air for very long. It’s kind of a bummer. Thankfully, with shortening days, the heat is going away and the chilly weather is making a run for it. 

The past few days have been perfect for getting out and getting some exercise in. And I definitely need it. This past week we were in the process of moving apartments. Although it was so much better than our past moves, it was not perfect or anywhere near it. We were able to get rid of a lot of junk we had and donate other things we didn’t use often, but we still had a lot of things to move. Unfortunately, we ended up eating a lot of fast food during the week because we didn’t want to buy groceries. When we were finally done with the move and got back on our regular diets, hubby and I both started feeling so much better. We are still settling into our new place, but we really love it. Not only will we be saving money because rent is less, but we are also right next to a major trail in the city so we can commute to work by bike!

This month I will be bicycling to my job and back most days. I will sure get in my cardio! I also want to get back into the gym and pick my weight lifting up again. Since hubby injured himself on the bike early in September, we haven’t done any lifting. We think he had cracked ribs. I know I could have gone without him, but I didn’t. He still won’t be lifting for a while but I’m tired of not progressing in my weightloss journey. The only way to see results is to put in the work! For this first week, I will be trying out this 3-day strength training plan from Greatist. I am excited to get started. This, along with my cycling, should have me seeing results again. However, my diet has to be better than it has been to see maximum results. Sticking to what is supposed to be my new lifestyle/diet has been my biggest downfall. I just want all the crispy, fried things and cheese! And I have yet to try a pumpkin spice latte…

Please share any tips on how to stick to a healthy diet. 🙂

Finding the Motivation to Keep Going

I admit it. This month has been terrible. I lost my motivation to push myself at my workouts, to be consistent, and to eat healthy. For the month of July I didn’t lose much weight, especially in comparison to the month of June. It was discouraging and this month was worse. I did gain strength through my weight training so I’ve seen some progress but I want to see the pounds coming off. I want to be as close to 200 as possible by my birthday. I know I can do it. I just need to be consistent!

Last night I started working on planning meals for the week. This included trying to plan around any activities I might be doing so that I don’t end up eating bad when I’m out. I used Pinterest to search for Whole 30 and Paleo meal ideas. I like the whole 30 program because it focuses on real food and Paleo because it helps avoid gluten and dairy. I can definitely notice a difference in how I feel when I avoid both versus when I don’t. The symptoms range from digestional issues to having a constantly stuffy nose, which is really annoying. 

This month I was also told I was pretty anemic. I had to go to a hematologist and received an IV infusion of iron just to try to bring my levels up to normal. Usually this is done for people with severe kidney disease! I’m also having to double up on my supplements, and if I can tolerate it I was told to triple it. My body is having problems absorbing the iron. Dietary changes would probably help so I really need to do this for my ultimate health. I’ll have to go back in December to see if my levels go up and if they don’t I’ll have to do another infusion. That’s something I’d really prefer to avoid. Due to my anemia and the fact that my blood cells are smaller than normal, my veins are super thin. I was poked four times. Four extremely painful times. My veins kept moving or just simply collapsed/disappeared. It was not a good experience.

As for exercise, my plan for September is to be consistent and step it back up. Coincidentally, Camp Gladiator had a sale this past week for their 7th birthday. I was able to scoop up a 4-week camp session that starts next Monday for a great price. I signed up because there’s one right across the street from our apartment and you can go to as many sessions a week as you want! I’m really looking forward to meeting new people and pushing myself.

To keep myself accountable, I’m going to try and post often on one social media platform or another what I’m eating and/or what my exercise plan for the day is. I can’t give up. I may not have the motivation I would like but you gotta fake it till you make it! 

Have you ever lost your motivation and how did you get past it?

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?

Mid-July Goal Check-In

We’re basically halfway through the month already. Why won’t time just stop? Earlier this month I posted my goals for July. I figured I should check in and keep myself accountable and on track.

July 2015 Goals

  • Continue with C25K running program
  • No more fast food.
  • Seriously start house shopping.
  • Mid-year Spring cleaning.
  • Yoga date, rock climbing date, movie date, any kind of date.

I am still on the C25K program, but I did fall behind by a few days. My body needed rest after I started trying more heavy lifting during my workouts last week. I’m very impressed by the leg muscles I’m feeling and my goal is to get awesome quads! Have you SEEN Carrie Underwood’s legs?? They’re pretty awesome.

I also got fast food over the weekend. Surprisingly enough I didn’t have bad stomach/digestive issues like I had expected. However, my weight loss has stalled. I’m sorry I caved to the cheesy buttery bun goodness that is Whataburger…and it’s fries. Eating a higher amount of carbs than I’m used to now really made me crave more! It’s a terrible cycle to be in. Back to eating home-cooked meals it is! Later this week I think I’ll share a typical day of my meals. One friend has asked for meal ideas as she’s trying to make healthier choices.

Earlier in the month, I said my goal was to pick up on the house shopping by now. I’m happy to say we got back in touch with a lender and are working on getting an updated pre-approval letter. We’ve been keeping an eye on the supply of homes in DFW and it’s not looking great for us. We did decide that if we are not able to find a home for purchase by the end of our lease we will try renting a home so that our puppies can at least have a yard. More than likely we will be renting with one of our closest friends, our best man. The guys are already talking about making one of the rooms a home gym. Men…amirite??

Summer cleaning and date night have not even come up yet. The past few weekends we decided to go swimming instead. I have to build up my tan. Winter is coming. Forget this whole “summer body” thing. I’m working on my winter body. Can’t be lookin’ pale all winter long. Gotta get ready to hibernate! 😀 Unfortunately, hubby has become a lobster because of this. Wear your sunscreen, people!

So that’s my goal update for now. How are you doing on your monthly goals?