Thursday, February 12, 2015

Where I'm At

This post is based on an email I sent today to a MyFitnessPal friend who I am also mentoring – though the support definitely goes both ways! (Hi, Dina!) I've been having kind of a hard time lately but also trying to keep in perspective. Here's what I said, after she commented about noticing that I seemed to be PMSing a lot (which I have mentioned in my posts on MFP):

"Anyway, I promised a story to you about my periods. I'm sure you have been dying to hear it! ;) Basically, I have always had really bad ones, irregular, too. I was diagnosed with PCOS years ago and have been on birth control since. Generally what happens is that it either regulates it pretty well, or I just don't get one, which is what happened for much of last year.

My doc decided to take me off it for three months last fall just to see how my body reacted, after not having a period for several months. I started getting them again, no problem. Once I went back on the pill, things were still fine, but last month's lasted forever (almost two weeks!) and was a nightmare, and now I'm getting another one when I am supposed to so it's like a double whammy. It seems like this one is going to be a bear, too, unfortunately.

So, I think my body is kind of freaking out over this and I can't help but think that it is affecting my weight loss – along with the wicked cravings I've been getting and fulfilling. At least I do that in a controlled, portioned way for the most part.

Hanging onto the things that I can easily do like logging food and weighing in every day, and keeping up on the exercise have been my saving grace these past few weeks. Hopefully things will normalize soon. I am really enjoying yoga and running – the 11-week 5K training program with my local Fleet Feet store starts on Sunday! Yay!"

And that's about it in a nutshell. I looked over my weigh-in history and see that it's been at least two weeks that I've been stuck playing with the same few pounds now. Looking back farther, I also saw that back in October I was dealing with the same thing and it lasted almost a month. The funny part is how much that is a distant memory for me now – I didn't even remember it happening, to be honest. What that tells me is I got through it just fine and that I will get through this thing just fine, too.

The hardest part about all this is that it's happening right around the 300 mark – I've been as low at 297 and today I'm 301. There is something really big about making it under 300 for me, and there have been so many times where my efforts have just died around this milestone as well. It's a really scary place to be. It's why I am all the more determined to get past it, keep doing what I am doing, and above all, be patient!

Here's an NSV to share: I was put off by the weather to attend the yoga class I was planning to go to last night. It would have been easy for me to sit back and relax the rest of the evening, but instead? I looked up one of my high school classmate Lesley Fightmaster's free yoga videos on YouTube and did that instead.

I had to modify a bit more, and rest during several sequences, than I do during the classes I've taken so far, but it is great to know that I have a home-based alternative now, or can try to fit yoga in daily as a home-based practice to supplement the classes I attend at the gym.

Also, Lesley has a lovely, soothing voice and is a pleasure to watch move through the poses – so lithe and effortless she makes it look! Thanks for sharing your gift with us, Lesley!


  1. Sorry to hear you are struggling. I've been watching My Big Fat Fabulous Life, which stars a woman who also has PCOS, and it made me do some reading on that. I found several references online to PCOS being either caused by or just associated with insulin resistance - which was a "wow" moment for me, because insulin resistance (IR) is something I know that can be dramatically impacted by dietary choices. Doctors often don't know this, though, or appreciate it, and if you look you'll find even diabetes counselors giving people pretty bad food advice about what to eat to impact their blood sugar and insulin.

    In fact, learning about IR (and visceral fat) from Dr Lustig in his "Fat Chance" book is what got me moving on changing my eating, myself.

    It sounds to me like many IR people (such as I was) are helped by a lower-carb diet. The first thing Lustig recommends is cut out all foods with added sugar, and then switch processed carbs to unprocessed carbs - like swap brown rice for white, sweet potatoes for white, whole wheat bread for white, etc. Essentially a lower-carb diet. For me, I've gone further than this, into Wheat Belly and lower-carb circles, but I had huge improvements JUST doing Lustig's recommendations. I've read many people with PCOS have really big improvements in health and weight switching to lower-carb.

    Have you ever tried lower-carb?

    For me, I have found that eating less carbs cut out my blood sugar roller coaster, so it cuts off the intense hunger cycles and cravings I had. For real.

    I'm definitely not trying to lecture or anything, just share information, and the medical profession is so poor on nutrition advice I just wonder if you tried this. It seems like it could really help your symptoms and, no one may have mentioned this to you in connection with your PCOS. What if it helped you really get control of your symptoms?
    There's a Low-Carb Dietican I follow and she mentions using lower-carb to control/improve PCOS, several times:
    just a thought. hope this helps, and hope you start feeling better.

    1. Argh, Wendy, I replied to your comment, but it looks like it got lost in the ether! Just wanted to thank you for taking the time to respond in such a thoughtful way – I really enjoy your blog and hearing about your successes and all the research you do. Yes, I have tried eating similar to what you're suggesting before. A few years ago my GP recommended that I do no white stuff – i.e. flour, sugar, potatoes, only lean meats and fish, fruits, and veggies. Fortunately I love all things whole wheat/brown and sweet potatoes, so it's not really too hard to make that adjustment. The biggest thing would be corralling my love for sweets in more, which I probably should do anyway. Maybe I will have another look at that and try it again for a few weeks and see what happens.

    2. ARGH Blogger ate my comment, too! So frustrating!
      Anyway, I am glad and relieved to hear my comment came across in the spirit in which it was intended.
      I can relate to the love of sweets, I sure had that, too, and always had chocolates and/or cupcakes and/or other treats around. One thing about Lustig's suggestion that appealed to me was he didn't say "never" on sweet treats, he said "once a week" which seemed much more do-able to me. Also, I now see that it may be important to ensure you do actually do it once/week, to create an insulin spike as that may help insulin sensitivity the rest of the time (YMMV on this). I think his recommendation of once/week is what other people try to create with carb nites or carb refeeds to improve insulin sensitivity and in turn weight loss and just health.
      Also, another thought occurs to me and that's Zoe Harcombe's writings where she mentions that, when we crave a food it can actually be because our bodies are intolerant of it. I haven't dived deep into this (still reading her book) but the idea intrigues, and I do think I've learned that my body is not very carb-tolerant and of course carbs were always what I craved. Check out her site if this idea interests you - she is an intelligent and well-researched dietitian.
      All best to you, Amy! Sounds like you're feeling better and I hope that continues.