HELP. I’m nauseous….

Rocko Nauseous

That pretty much sums up my week. NAUSEA. I freely admit that I don’t always take my Metformin. You know that feeling when you know you are about to get the flu? It starts in the pit of your stomach, your joints ache, you are running for the bathroom – its like that but you never just get the flu and get over it. So I usually skip a morning dose every now and then. I was lucky enough to get my period on Christmas eve and again on 01/24 so I have been taking it regularly enough to balance things out.  Unfortunately, this week I was a bit too diligent and I took my medication as scheduled for 5 days straight – not a good idea.  I was throwing up in the morning, dry heaving –  it was a nightmare. It seems like a cruel joke that the medication to help alleviate my PCOS symptoms ends up causing other problems.

I called my mom (an RN) who drilled me on what I had eaten. She thought that an interaction with the medicine could be to blame. I racked my brain remembering everything I ate (which wasn’t much since I wasn’t all that hungry). I realized that I had eaten something that I hadn’t since I had started Metformin…

subway eat freshI believe their motto was supposed to read: Subway eat fresh bread loaded with chemicals fresh from the rubber factory – or that is what is trending in the media. In October a co-worker and I had split a morning flatbread and egg white sandwich and suffered the wrath of Subway. I hadn’t eaten there since before I received my diagnosis and started the dreaded Metformin routine. I needed to grab lunch and remembered I had some Subway points and wanted to get out of the office. Looking back, things had gotten worse after eating that sandwich. It was only a 6″ but I suppose sometimes that’s all you need. (That’s what she said – sorry I make these jokes at least 2x a day.)  I do have to give credit to my job which supplies free pepto tablets.

I am happy to report that the subway(or whatever the problem was) is out of my system and I no longer start my mornings green tea,  seltzer water andpepto.

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P.C.O.S. because knowing is half the battle

PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)

It has been a while since I have sat down to blog about my weightloss journey. I have had a tough go at it in October 2013 I was diagnosed with PCOS, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (see Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Fact Sheet). I hadn’t had my period in about 4 months, which had happened to me during  a stressful time in college.  The only difference was that I wasn’t double majoring in sciences and the only stress was coming from my amenorrhea. It turns out that a lot of my struggles with my relationship with food and resistance to losing weight are linked to this condition. Truthfully, at the time I was crushed. One of the complications of PCOS is decreased fertility and receiving the news of this condition as a turned 30 was not easy. Insulin-resistance is also a part of PCOS, and along with my family history I found myself also facing  the chance of developing diabetes.

After asking a million questions of my OB/GYN I followed up with an endocrinologist and nutritionist. I am working on reading as much literature as I can to be an informed woman living with PCOS. I had a close friend who helped me find support networks on-line. I was amazed to see the diversity of shapes and sizes and backgrounds of women like me trying to figure out how to thrive in spite of our unique condition. It was a relief to know that it wasn’t all in my head – the fatigue, pain, difficultly losing weight – there is solid science behind all of it.

Growing up, I got my period at nine years old at Christmas. Looking back, my periods were irregular then, at puberty I had significant weight gain despite always being active in sports. It feels good to finally t and be able to put a name to what I was experiencing and get access to the tools information that will allow me to get my life under control.

My nutritionist gave me great advice – letting me know I needed to limit my carb intake to under 15 grams every 2 hours to reduce insulin spikes. The insulin-resistance caused by PCOS causes hormonal imbalance, dark skin patches, skin tags and can ultimately lead to full-blown Diabetes type II without intervention. The endocrinologist prescribed metformin at a low dose and thankfully my period has returned. Metformin has some icky side effects, but if it will keep me fertile and help prevent diabetes I willing to put up with the nausea and bathroom runs.

All of this is to say, if something doesn’t feel right – head to the doctor. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or get second opinions. I went through over 2 decades of being told “It happens to young women” “don’t worry things will even out” when that wasn’t what was happening. In a quest to lose weight, sometimes we lose track of the true goal – being healthy.

I look forward to blogging as an informed young woman living with PCOS determined to get her health on track.

xo

Rhoda

Fighting the Cravings

I am working on finding a new gig and the whole idea of job searching is making me queasy. After reading about the horrors of poor eating I am focused on clean eating. I have a goal to drop 40lbs by my 30th birthday but the stress of everything has me dreaming about dropping my 4 quarters into the vending machine and being rewarded with a poptart.

But I am now aware that “artificial strawberry flavor” is in fact 20-30 chemicals, sugar is poison, and items with a long shelf-life mean a shortened life for me. I ate all of the mini-clementines I brought from home and I am stuck. I now realize how much I use food to monitor my mood. Grrrr. I do have a lemon left, so I am going to just tough it out with some green tea and hope the antioxidants kill my poptart-sized cravings. In the off chance that boiled leaves don’t do the trick I will seek Pinspiration from my Pinterest Motivation board – No pain no gain.

I’m Baaaack

After a waaaay too long hiatus I am back to blogging about my journey. Regrettably, I lost focus and put way to much emphasis on things in my life I could not control. My health and my personal well-being need to be my priority and blogging is a good way to keep it honest!

So my mother calls me with tidbits of advice that she comes across. She is an RN with 30+ years of experience and a love of NPR so I regularly receive calls during her breaks for weightloss tips. The week started with a text suggesting to draw away your cravings. For example: Are you salivating for the newest cupcake from the local bakery? Just grab a pen and paper and draw what you crave! This should satisfy the urge. Admittedly, I did doodle a cookie that afternoon and at lunch I was able to avoid grabbing one in the cafeteria.

The next text I received was one to avoid bad thoughts. The advice was to wiggle your eyes back and forth whenever bad memories floated the surface. My mother added her own spin “You should probably close your eyes so people don’t think you are crazy” (Thanks Mom).

The last call that I got from my mother changed my life. NPR featured Dee McCaffrey author of “The Science of Skinny” and she shared her story of being an overweight chemist who used her scientific knowledge to get herself healthy. I was a chemistry major so I headed to Google Books to get a copy.  This. Book. Rocks.

I sped through chapter after chapter that covered the history and chemical process for making sugar, artificial sweeteners, and white flour. I was astounded by what I read and could finally understand why I was so sickly and troubled with asthma. I was eating myself sick. I didn’t realize all the chemicals I was eating on a DAILY BASIS. No wonder my body struggled to lose weight, it was working overtime to try and handle the toxins.

Since reading this book I find it easier to avoid unhealthy foods as I know now EXACTLY how they destroy my health. It was the right message at the right time. Thanks mom.

xo- Rhoda

So far so good this week…

I am on my way and sticking to this one day at a time. I have tracked EVERYTHING I have eaten on Loseit and things are going well! I did end up eating at Wendy’s for dinner BUT I substituted a baked potato for fries, no mayo on the spicy chicken sandwich, and by drinking only water and hitting the living room floor with my stretchy band I came in 43 calories under for the day. I also met my 10,000 steps a day goal!

The next thing I need to tackle is being sedentary at work. I can get glued to the screen and work without taking enough breaks. A few months ago I developed excruciating pain from lower back to through my shoulder blade. I went to the doctor and after an X-Ray of my back I was told that I have a rare condition called cervical ribs, I have an extra set of ribs located in my neck (the name threw me off too…). Sitting for too long can have horrendous consequences for my nerves so I cannot afford to be still.

The pain went away with therapy but returned on the opposite side of my body a month later. Thankfully, my office has walking stations that allow you to walk on a treadmill while you work on your laptop. I need to be at my desk for certain files, but I need to make it a priority to hit this station for at least an hour a day. I should be able to rack up at least 5,000 steps during my 9 hours here at the office!

I hope everyone got out the vote today! It has only been 52 years that ALL people in this country have had their rights to vote protected by federal law.

But I digress, I thinking working out before bed is a great stress reliever and good for the metabolism. This is the first time I have woken up hungry in years! Back to the daily grind…. it is about time I rekindled my affair with the walking station down the hall….

And so it begins…

I am on a quest to lose a minimum of 80lbs by my 30th birthday. My 29th birthday is this upcoming December and I want to give myself the gift of “A Smaller Me” for my “dirty 30”. I have been a big girl my entire life. It didn’t stop me from being an athlete, dancer, singer,  and all around eccentric lovable goof but it has kept me from being my best and healthiest me.

The weight loss is not my only or primary goal, but I know that I cannot help others until I help myself. I am excited and scared. I know we live in a society that looks down on obese people as if we are lazy and that is hardly the case. The countless hours I sit glued to a laptop working certainly do not help the situation. However, I do take full responsibility for where I am  number-wise on a scale. I freely admit that I have an unhealthy addiction to sugar, mainly when I am stressed out.  The funniest thing of all is that I usually forget to eat! I always have some saintly soul at work reminding me it is breakfast, or lunch… or time to go home. This usually translates to “making it all up” around 9:00pm which is not a good thing at all. I need to create a healthy relationship with food PRONTO.

This leads me to my PLAN. I would like to preface this section by admitting that this plan is in beta stage and is likely to be tweaked and changed as I acquire more information on my journey. Sharing means caring to please feel free to drop any helpful links or advice in a comment.

My plan is to utilize technology to keep me honest and accountable for my goal.  To monitor my food intake I am using the app Loseit to monitor everything that goes into my mouth (keep it clean folks). One of my best friends sent me a copy of Eat to Live that I will read cover to cover (as this is an electronic copy this turn of phrase may not technically apply) over the next week. I will not eat out (this also will save me a ton of moola) and take a daily vitamin. This will require strategic meal planning on the weekends but I am up for the task!

I currently use a FitBit (an electronic pedometer) to track my steps (which syncs to my Loseit account) to make sure I get up from my desk enough and make the minimum 10,000 steps a day. For exercise, I am starting off the the “Walk Away the Pounds” DVD from Leslie Sansone. I have a tendency of doing too much too soon and I want to make sure I am consistent (I know steady and slow).

I am also looking to incorporate 2 more fitness apps Fitocracy and Nike+ into the mix. I took a phenomenal  course on Gamification on Coursera from Prof. Kevin Werbach (Wharton). It opened my eyes to the immense power of motivation that can be derived from apps, so I am going to see which one works best. To keep my motivation in tip-top shape I am using the wellness game/app SuperBetter created by visionary and New York Times best-selling author Dr. Jane McGonigal (check out her TEDtalk when you get a chance). As a self-confessed video game aficionado the thought of gamifying life-improvement really hit home for me. Check this game out, it is free for iOs users, truth be told it is a reason I finally broke down and got an iPod Touch.

For some reason I purchased “Insanity” in a late night guilt fit about being fat.  I was all pumped up to dive right in when I read the disclaimer that basically says (don’t even open the case unless you can do 12 chin ups, lest ye perish in fit of injuries and spontaneous combustion… something close to that).  Hopefully after 6 months I will be able to attempt something so strenuous and intense without puking my brains out or ending up in an ER –  until then it will be me, Leslie via my PS3, and my Nikes sweating it out, one step at a time.