So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

~ Matthew 6:34

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Something's rotten in Mudville ...

I'm here. Still alive, but I'm barely breathing ...

After a rough two weeks, I have been down and out with some craziness called "viral syndrome" for the last week. As we say in our house, it is SO beef! 100% pure Grade A beef. 

Thus, I haven't been around. This is the first day I have spent more than a half-hour sitting upright. It's the little things, right? 

So, not much to report as I've not been following my meal plan due to my illness and I have stopped my supplements while I'm ill as well. 

But, always one to look for the silver lining, I do have an accomplishment to report. 

Actually, I'll let Cher do the talking for me.

Yep. One victory won. More to go. Big victory though for PCOS and a cycle that's been asleep for almost a year. Holla! Forgive me for the TMI.

I'll be back when I can resume the regularly scheduled programming. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

First week in review and what's new on the horizon

So, I'm just a couple days past my first week of my health journey to weight loss and alleviation of my PCOS. I feel like I have learned so much thus far; it's quite amazing to me.

After many failed attempts in the past at altering my health, this time around, I decided to be more methodical in my approach. I ditched the Superwoman notion (trying to start modifying diet, exercise, and lifestyle all at once) and opted for a slower route to welcoming change into my life.

Last week, I focused solely on getting in a routine with my Insulite Laboratories PCOS System supplements. It may sound like I was being lazy, but let me quantify this for you: there are 18 supplements per day in the program. Yes, 18. There are varying times of dosing and they are spread throughout the morning, day, and evening for proper effect. This takes some getting used to and planning. I have a tendency to start strong and then fizzle out, so I really wanted to make a good go of it this time around.

I did not really focus on altering my diet as much as I thought I would the first week. I made healthier choices overall, but did fall back into some old habits a time or three. Want to know one thing I'm not doing this go-round though? Shaming myself for what I did "wrong." I knew I fell back into some old habits and instead of beating myself up about it and quitting (like I have SO many times in the past), I decided that it was all part of the journey.

Something astonishing happened to me this first week. I welcomed back into my life more pure, unadulterated energy than I have had in YEARS. Honestly. By midweek, I was thinking more clearly, sleeping better, and able to get through the day without literally falling onto the couch at 3 p.m. unable to move without a nap.

In short, I felt alive again. *Cue the robe-clad choir shouting, "Praise Him! Praise Him!"*

I realize this all sounds so dramatic. Like, come on, did you really not feel "alive" for years of your life? Well, no, I didn't. And I would venture to guess it's a sentiment most women with PCOS or health problems would second in a heartbeat. I literally thought I had lost my vim and vigor; I thought it was just a byproduct of growing older, parenting, etc.

Then, BAM! The fog cleared and I woke up. Now, I don't want to place too much emphasis, but I do like to give credit where credit is due. I think a majority of the improvement was due to the supplements. I need to add that I am in no way affiliated with Insulite Laboratories. Heck, they wouldn't even know I exist except that I paid them a grip to help me with my PCOS in the form of supplements.

Needless to say, I have noticed a great difference in myself over the last five days or so. With increased energy came a better mood, less mental fog, and reinforcement that I can do this. I can overcome my PCOS.

This week, I have thrown another iron into the old fire. Nutrition. I have struggled for a long time with what appropriate nutrition is for PCOS. I once read a natural PCOS diet book that was a very enlightening read, but the "diet" it put you on left me feeling I'd failed before I'd even started; it was that restrictive. I know myself better than that. You tell me to go left and I'm going right, baby. I'm a nonconformist through and through.

So, I had assumed there was nothing out there to help and I was on my own in creating a nutrition plan for myself. However, I stumbled upon a wonderful resource in my research this weekend. The website PCOS Diva offers paid meal plans tailor-made for PCOS. This find was truly an answer to prayer. There are meal plans for each season of the year that focus on seasonal produce and eating to the way your body functions in each particular season. For $34, you get a six-week meal plan for the season you choose (I chose summer, obviously) that is broken out into five days of breakfast, lunch, AND dinner meals. Snack ideas and shopping lists are also included for each week. All of the recipes are included as well. It is seriously the best thing since sliced bread (gluten-free, whole grain sliced bread, of course).

It is easy to read, the recipes and shopping lists are concise, and Amy (aka the PCOS Diva) even gives you notes on why you are eating certain things from a nutrition standpoint and info on where to obtain hard-to-find items.

I just began Week 1 of the Summer Meal Plan and I am loving it so far. There are no weird recipes and they don't require 100 ingredients like some fancypants recipes I've found. I will say that it is an adjustment if you are moving to these meal plans from the Standard American Diet, so be prepared to restock your pantry with an arsenal of good-for-you staples and snacks. I believe it will be worth it in the long run.

Might I mention that I am also not affiliated in any way with PCOS Diva. I simply found the site through some nutrition searching. It was a Godsend.

I'm looking forward to spending more time in my kitchen now, preparing healthy, PCOS-friendly food for myself and my family. It would be nice to see my checkbook get more full and my pants get more loose from less eating out as well. I'm not gonna lie.

With that long diatribe, I'm going to leave you with a little dose of love from Kid President. This kid is seriously hilarious. Given that PCOS is linked to diabetes, I figured this is apropos. Enjoy.

Note: From 1:11-1:18 of this video, I nearly pee my pants every.single.time I watch it. Where'd they find this kid?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Please stand by for a Public Service Announcement ...

This is my contribution for today. Well, maybe not the only one, but at least for now.

I know some might look at this photo and laugh. It's cute. It's funny. But, it's not.

It's sad. Can I be honest? Well, I can't help but be honest and transparent to my own detriment, so I'll let fly anyway.

I have been asked MULTIPLE times over the last three years when I am due. Seriously. I have been asked at the grocery store, dry cleaners, on vacation, and at a HIGH-IMPACT AEROBIC CLASS. No  joke. The lady that asked in the aerobic class is lucky she didn't get clubbed with a pink dumbbell.

Friends, Romans, countrymen: lend me your ears. DO NOT ask a woman if she is pregnant or when she is due. Under NO circumstances. Please. Even if you have the sweetest intentions. Don't. Just don't.

I can't speak for other women, so I'll speak for myself, which I'm really good at doing.

Asking someone if they are pregnant or when they are due when they are not expecting hurts. It's like a dagger in the heart. Honestly. I'm not being dramatic.

Here are two reasons it has hurt me in the past (which I assume other women would associate with as well):

1. Weight ~ It's no secret on this blog that I have a weight problem. Unfortunately for me, most of my extra weight gets carried right in my belly. Yay me. So, at any given time if I'm overweight, I look pregnant. Three months, seven months, ten months, whatever. I have bad posture to boot, so that doesn't help me look any less expecting.

In essence, if you ask someone this question and they're not expecting, they instantly move to a place of insecurity and shame. It's like, "Well, you OBVIOUSLY must be pregnant. Otherwise, why would your gut be THAT big?" If you've never had weight problems, you won't get this. But trust me on it.

2. Infertility ~ Many times, weight problems and fertility issues go hand in hand. Due to my weight and PCOS, I have been unable to have a second child thus far. My heart aches a little every time I allow myself to go there and think about how much I desire to be a mother again. I'm tearing up typing this.

As a woman, fertility issues really jack up your mind. It's like you're broken. I mean, you can't do the one thing a woman is supposed to do: bear children. It is so very traumatic. Imagine asking someone if they are expecting when they cannot even have children. Awful. Painful. Devastating.

So, that's my PSA for today. Just don't do it. It's likely that if you do, the person in front of you won't break down on the spot, so you'll be saved the misery. However, it IS likely that they will absorb the errant comment, internalize it, and fall into pieces later, long after you have gone about your day.

Sensitivity to others is important. We owe it to each other. Keep your question to yourself.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Bring out the gimp

This is really hard. Can I just say that? 

You know why it's hard? Because I'm a spoiled, selfish brat. That's why. I want what I want when I want it. I'm like a grown-up Veruca Salt who's definitely gotten too big for her knickers. 

"I want a golden goose, Daddy. I want a goose to lay gold eggs for Easter. I want a golden goose now, Daddy."

I want to eat what I want when I feel like it, exercise when it's convenient, and still have a healthy body. What's that you say? It doesn't work that way? Well, I guess it doesn't. 

Turns out this journey is going to be about SO much more than weight loss and PCOS symptom reduction. Looks like I'm facing a complete personal overhaul here. Aye aye aye! 

Side note: If you haven't noticed yet, I pepper any hint of seriousness with humor. That's just how I roll. It gets me through life. I'm an "emotionally fragile" being, so I fall back hard on humor to keep me from crumbling into a gazillion tiny pieces at any given time of day when subjected to the right triggers.

Anyhow, as I'm thinking through the day and contemplating my choices, I have noticed that there is so much more to this journey than "What will I eat?" and "When will I work out?". I have to change my habits here. I have to change my life. 

To create lasting change, I have to dig deep into my soul and search out my motivations or lack thereof in my daily life. 

In short, I'm a mess. Frazzled, tardy, overwhelmed, lazy, self-deprecating, self-sabotaging Mommy Dearest. There's a reason we own no wire hangers, people. Total joke. Seriously. Don't call CPS. 

I think this is good. I'm realizing there needs to be restorative change, from the inside out. I used to be a highly motivated person: driven, focused and goal-oriented. If I had a goal, you bet your sweet behind I would achieve it and then some. Somewhere along the course, I lost that fight. My firecracker fuse went out. I told my husband recently that I don't know how I became a person who literally feels like my goals are too big and my will is infinitely smaller. I simply quit believing in myself.

Feeling defeated is an awful emotion, isn't it? I think it's terribly dangerous. You run the risk of dying while you live. Floating through life just waiting to be put in the ground. Tremendously dark and sad.

I'm not sure how just yet, but I have got to find that drive and focus, the ambition I used to harness my dreams with and make them a reality. This realization is the first step. The next step is to quiet the peripheral noise of the world and life and to create a list of goals covering what I want for my life and the kind of person I want to be. 

It's time to switch gears from passive to active. It's time to get back in the race.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Oh Mr. Sandman ...

Health journey lesson 1: Get sufficient sleep. Period.

I always learn lessons the hard way. I hope I'm not the only one like that in the world. Last night, I got less than six hours of sleep. How'd that work out for me, you ask? No bueno.

I have suffered from insomnia for years, probably due to my PCOS. Nevertheless, I have not been one to have a sleep "schedule" or get the same amount of hours most nights. I am a night owl and can stay up well into the morning hours of the following day if I don't watch myself.

I know that lack of sleep, fragmented sleep, etc., are all helpers in the weight retention department. I'm not entirely sure how many hours of sleep I require per night, but I would assume I hover between seven and eight.

So, from now on, at the tender age of 36, I will be instituting a bedtime for myself. My goal is to get between seven and eight hours of sleep per night. Hopefully, with consistency, a sleep schedule will aid me in achieving my goals.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Coming Out of the Dark

Today's post will be light because, frankly, it's just been a great day. I'm celebrating a couple of small victories today: I didn't have any soda or eat out once today. I know that may sound silly, but those are good steps for me. I had gotten into a rut of at least one to two regular sodas on a daily basis, which was contributing to my mood swings and bad health. I had given up diet soda due to the artificial sweeteners, so I thought I was justified in drinking the "real" stuff. Go figure.

Also, I have fallen prey far too often over the past couple of years to choosing the convenient route when it came to eating. I have been known to eat out three meals a day at times and never would those three be good quality food choices. All of this convenience food has left me frumpy, bloated, gassy, and miserable.

Today, I drank mostly water all day, save a cup of coffee and a glass of milk. I am on day two of my Insulite supplements and I honestly had more energy today than I have had in months. I don't know if it's the freedom of finally committing to this journey, the supplements and dietary changes already starting to take effect, or a combination of both, but I'm liking what I'm feeling so far.

All day long, I have had this song in my head:

I truly feel like I am coming out of the dark. Out of the darkness of depression and infertility. Into the light of whole living and balance.

I am also following along with a video series called "90 Days to Freedom From PCOS." Here's the link if any readers happen to be fellow PCOS sisters of mine: I assume some of the info will be redundant because I have done so much independent research on PCOS, but I truly want to delve all the way into my treatment and not leave any stone unturned. I am excited to listen to all that Katie has to say about the topic because she has walked in my shoes and overcome PCOS naturally and holistically.

Lastly, I would like to add a disclaimer of sorts. I am coming at this journey with a desire to treat and hopefully overcome my PCOS in the most natural, holistic way possible. I am probably going to talk a lot about using natural methods to treat my PCOS. I do not desire to utilize western medicine in my treatment. This is simply the path I am choosing for myself. As I get more into nutrition, I will be touting organic and minimally processed foods because that is what me and my family choose. In no way am I seeking to downgrade anyone's experience with typical healthcare methods to treat PCOS and/or the eating of conventional foods. I just felt I should put that out there because I would never want to make anyone else feel bad for what they are doing to help themselves or how they are going about their own treatment.

With that, goodnight. Apparently, beauty sleep is a crucial part of my PCOS treatment, so I must get at it. ;)

Saturday, June 1, 2013

My Plan of Attack

I am posting early (at least for me) today because we have a much-needed family day scheduled today and I am not sure if I will get to post later. 

I am, for once, super excited to undertake a new endeavor. I can't remember the last time that I was enthused to have a goal and press on toward it. I feel like this day-by-day approach will be good for me. 

I'm going to post my plan of attack so I can reference it along the way (which God knows I'll need to do) and in case anyone happens to be reading this and wants to know where I'm going with this. 

Even though I'm doing this journey one day at a time, I realize the need for a bigger picture scope in how to take on this endeavor of weight loss and optimal health. 

Since I have the tendency to overcomplicate and overanalyze things, I am making the scope simpler than I might've in my past failed attempts. 

Here is my plan of attack:

1. Nutrition ~ No restriction per se, as in "I can't eat x, y, or z ..." However, I will be limiting those foods, additives, etc., that are sure to make my PCOS flare up. The biggest beast being sugar. I have a sweet tooth that is undying, and I believe my condition causes me to have sweet cravings that are nearly impossible to overcome at times. 

Sugar and processed foods are my targets for limitation. Otherwise, I plan to eat moderately and definitely eat to my Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). I really like this calculator for figuring your TDEE because it is easy to use and self explanatory. I know this TDEE business may seem odd because, at least for me, it's WAY more calories than I typically take in daily. However, I have researched metabolism and PCOS extensively and truly believe this is the way to go. I have learned so much from this amazing lady in the short time following her. She is truly revolutionary in her thinking and it is so freeing. I digress ...  

2. Exercise ~ I currently work out three times a week doing a one-hour cardio barre class. I love it. I'm hooked. It covers all my bases: keeps me focused, allows me to be creative, and puts me in tune with my body and what it's really capable of. I would like to incorporate some kettle bell workouts as well, with a lot of dancing on the side. Dance is my go-to passion, so I am planning to incorporate it more into my week in an effort to be creative and free my mind and body to explore their musicality. 

3. Supplements ~ I am going back on a supplement system that I originally tried, but didn't really "try," if you get my drift. Meaning, I took the supplements, yet still continued to eat out of control and with no real direction. I'm taking the Insulite Laboratories PCOS System. I chose this supplement system because I desire a natural, holistic approach to treating my PCOS. I tried Metformin for a month or so, and to be honest, the side effects scared me off of it for good. Dizzy spells, no thank you. 

This summarizes my three-pronged plan of attack. I will delve more into each prong as the days go on. I am hoping to treat this as an experiment of sorts where I will learn what works best for my body and helps me to function at the highest level possible. Wish me luck!