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I’ve been doing this experiment for a week now, and can say that I really like the path my life is on.  It’s the way I wanted things all along, but I could not achieve it for many reasons. I feel like I seized this opportunity at the perfect time and I am grateful for the stroke of inspiration that fueled this decision.  What else could I accomplish if I were to act on my inspirations more often?  I also feel like I am finally taking advantage of having the privilege of being a stay at home Mom.  It took a lot of personal sacrifice to make staying at home with Jude a reality, but I have not been able to fully embrace it lately.  When you are not feeling well, caring for a child all day feels more like a life sentence.  After a week, my hypoglycemia seems to be better and I need fewer snacks to feel ok with the lower carb diet.  I am also not running to my emergency Bumble Bar sweet like I was at the beginning of last week.

We finally traded out Jude’s bottle for a sippy full time yesterday and it was extremely trying.  Both my husband and I had a hard time listening to our son scream and cry and basically beg for his “ba-ba” – something that we would have once been happy to get for him.  The problem is that Jude is drinking a lot of milk via a baby bottle, to the exclusion of his meals and he is quite thin for his age and height.  I knew we needed to make this transition for a while now, but I did not feel strong enough to do it.  I made up my mind that Sunday would be the day and we were able to get through it without caving in.  I feel so relieved and proud that it’s done and this experiment is responsible for part of it.

Exercise – 30 minutes of fast strolling and 1 hour at “open gym” time at Gymboree.

Mind/Body – Took a 20 minute soak in an Epsom salt bath to help my sore back that I got from swimming this weekend.  It felt so good that I was able to really relax and breathe in the lavender and geranium essential oils that I added.  I was also able to fit in a short nap before Jude woke from his nap.  I fell asleep after getting through a few pages of a good book. I woke up feeling happy and re-energized.  I really love this midday mommy retreat.

Diet – 114.5 lbs.

Breakfast – 2 fried eggs, 2 chicken breakfast sausages, 1 large scoop cottage cheese

Lunch – Huge salad with veggies, cheese, and fruit.  Leftover beans/corn/pepper medley.

Dinner – Two broiled lamb chops with mint pesto, 1/3 of a baked sweet potato with cheese, butter, and green onions, sauteed baby spinach with garlic and lemon

Snacks – 1/8th cup edamame, 1/2 plum, cashews,  1/8th Bumble Bar.

Aside from one or two bitchy episodes, I felt more even today emotionally and less hypoglycemic and in need of snacks.  I am wondering if it has anything to do with my hardier breakfast this morning, containing very few carbs.  I’ll have to further investigate this theory through the week.  I got a few new things to wear and I’m actually really excited about that.  Caring about my appearance had really dropped down in importance while feeling so lousy on Metformin.  I miss that aspect of my life and am happy it’s back.

Exercise – Swam for about 30 minutes for exercise and played with my husband and Jude in the pool for the rest of an hour.

Mind/Body:  Woke up still feeling happy for pregnant friend and not dwelling on my problems or feeling jealous of her.  I’m happy that this progress seems not be a one day thing.  I got to do a little shopping by myself today – something I have not done in so long, I can barely remember.  I think venturing out of the house while my husband is home with Jude is something that needs to happen with more regularity.  It’s freeing and leaves me to have new thoughts and less constant responsibility.  Everyone needs a break, even from those you love.

Diet: 115 lbs.

Breakfast – 2 fried eggs, 2 chicken breakfast sausages, 2 scoops cottage cheese, tea with milk, coffee with milk

Lunch – leftover shrimp and white bean cassoulet, leftover sesame slaw

Dinner – one flank steak, avocado, cheese, and salsa taco in corn tortilla and one without tortilla.  had a black bean, corn, red pepper sauteed medley on the side

Snacks – cottage cheese, cashews, 1/4 Bumble bar.  Needed fewer snacks today.

Woke up feeling a little muted today and later found myself getting a bit short tempered.  This is about par for the course for me, I’m afraid, as I reach about half way through the luteal phase.  PMS sets in early, when I actually do ovulate that is, and that is incredibly infrequently.  A stable mood is one of the goals in this experiment that I am hoping to enjoy some day.  My acne is bad still, but that’s also normal for this point in the cycle.  In more uplifting news, the fam went to the pool today and my tummy looked dramatically smaller than it did two weeks ago.  I could see my silhouette in the windows and was not horrified like last time.  I actually feel less puffy and large all over my body, despite a small weight loss thus far.

Exercise – Swam for exercise for about 20-30 minutes and played with husband and son for the rest of the hour.

Mind/Body – Had a truly staggering emotional breakthrough.  An old friend came to visit today and announced she was pregnant.  Because she is a sweetheart and sensitive to my troubles in the past, she called my Mom beforehand to see if she thought I would be able to handle the news.  To my amazement, all I felt was surprise and excitement for her and absolutely no jealousy.  This is HUGE for me.  I can finally say that I have let go of some of the pain and grief from losing my first baby and the fear that I may not have another baby after Jude.  I am no longer willing to do ANYTHING for another baby, especially at the sacrifice of my health and the well being on my family.  I feel happy and content with what I have.  I started this experiment to heal my body, but it’s my heart that was the first to heal.

Diet – 114.5 lbs.

Breakfast – tea with milk.  two black bean, cheese, avocado, and bacon breakfast tacos on corn tortillas

Lunch – Huge salad with fruit, veggies, cheese, and a tad of avocado.  lentils.

Dinner – Shrimp, veggie, and white bean cassoulet

Snacks – cottage cheese, 1/3 Bumble bar, cashews, freeze dried apple

Had a very interrupted night of sleep due to Jude’s horrid teething pain, but yet I woke up with energy and a positive attitude, and not trying to beg out of our stroller ride.  Lost another half pound and my enlarged, fertility med tummy seems to have calmed down and my clothes are fitting better again.  Hit a major lull in energy around 3:30, so I guess the lack of sleep (and the harrowing stroller ride) has caught up to me.  Continued to feel worn out the rest of the day, but I pushed through despite it.  This just feels like good old tired from a busy day, not fatigued like I have been feeling prior to this experiment.

Exercise – My normal 30 minutes of fast walking and pushing the stroller was abbreviated by a screaming toddler.  I had to carry him, kicking and struggling,  from about 8 blocks from our house, so I guess I got an arm workout today too.  Did some ab work and later a truly epic trip to the grocery store all on my own.

Mind/Body: Spent some time during Jude’s nap writing and working on this blog.  Feels good to get my thoughts out there in hopes of helping others, and at the very least, so I can have a good record for myself when I need the information and inspiration to keep going on the path to health.  Took a quick Epsom salt bath and did some deep breathing exercises, but it was interrupted by Jude crying and so that sort of undid the zen I was trying to cultivate.  Some days the mind/body thing just ain’t happening.  There’s always tomorrow.

Diet:  114.5 lbs.

Breakfast – One fried egg, 2 pieces chicken breakfast sausage, one piece of gluten free toast, tea with milk.

Lunch – leftover day: meatloaf, peas/carrots, portobello mushroom with cheese, broccoli

Dinner – open face uncured ham and part skim swiss cheese sandwich on gluten free bread with mayo, avocado, and tomato.  sesame slaw, fruit salad

Snacks – cottage cheese, 1/3 Bumble Bar, freeze dried apples, cashews, tea with milk, 1/2 plum

1) Small, protein snacks in between meals – Eating lower carb that you are used to can lead to a shaky and hypoglycemic feeling, even if you are not actually feeling classically hungry.  Snacking keeps your blood sugar stable and that shaky feeling at bay.  It also helps you from having sugar cravings and from binging on high carb foods.  Drinking a full glass of water with each snack makes it seem more substantial.

2) Small, protein snack before bed – I know this goes against all conventional wisdom in regards to general health and losing weight.  When I had Gestational Diabetes, I learned that your blood sugar can become dis-regulated during the night and you need some protein for it to work on to keeps things stable.  I had to monitor my blood sugar many times a day, and on the mornings after not eating my before bed snack, my blood sugar was high and out of the normal range.  I was also more likely to cheat on the GD diet that day because my body was trying to find stasis all day.

3) Beans/Legumes/Pulses! – Beans are indeed the magical food.  Yes, they do have some carbs, but they are low on the glycemic index, fiber rich, high in protein, and very filling.  They are the perfect starchy element for a PCOS diet, especially when are seasoned nicely and with a little Feta or goat cheese crumbled on top.  They take the place of rice or potatoes in a meal.

4) Sneak in fruit wherever you can – It gives your mouth that sweet bite that it wants without eating something high in sugar.  I don’t eat fruit for breakfast, but I put several fruits in my daily salad or eat some after a meal, like a dessert.  Combined with some protein such as some roasted nuts or cottage cheese, they are also the perfect in-between meal snack.  I try to stick to the lower glycemic ones, such as berries, stone fruit, and apples.

5) Have an emergency pre-portioned “sweet” at hand. When I am having a particularly hard time with sugar cravings, I pinch off a quarter sized bite of an energy/nutritional bar and try to savor it.  I like Bumble Bars because they are made with low glycemic, but natural sweetener (brown rice syrup), have decent protein, and are not so high in carbs that 1/4-1/3 of a bar/day (4-6 active carbs) will wreck the diet.   This stops me from looking elsewhere for a sugar fix and tastes sweet enough to fool my brain.

For more info on my PCOS diet, click here.

In this experiment, I will attempt to heal my PCOS through all natural means – diet, exercise, mind/body work, acupuncture, and supplements.

How will I know if this experiment is successful or not? Here is the list of criteria that I am looking for:

1) Ovulation and Menstruation – My number one goal for the experiment is to regain  a real menstrual cycle, where I ovulate in a timely enough manner that pregnancy is possible.

2) Stable weight and body measurements – Along with this is a reduced waist circumference and little to no bloating around mid-section.

3) Little to no acne without the use of any medicated acne products.

4) Stable and positive emotions (and general sense of well being) that are not otherwise upended by hormone fluctuations.

Weighed this morning and I lost another pound, bringing this week’s total to 2 lbs in less than a week (3-4 days), all done with absolutely no hunger or counting calories or fat grams.  Amazing!  My acne, though, is on an upswing.  Acne is one of the criteria for deeming this experiment a success, so I am hoping this is only a rebound from stopping the Metformin, or even cycle related.  It seems that I did ovulate after all from my last round of Femara, just really late (cycle day 22).  I’m still taking my temperatures so I have an idea of what is happening with my cycle, just not formally charting for conception.  I would think it highly unlikely that I could get pregnant this cycle as the timing is just not right across the board.  I must say again how much better I feel off of the Metformin.  I am, well, functional again and I can get so much done during one day, regardless of having a toddler wrapped around my legs constantly.

Exercise: trimmed plants and played outside with Jude, ab work, light weights for arms, push-ups.

Mind/Body – Took a salt bath and read a little of a very fun chick lit. book that I had half finished many months ago.  Jude had a short nap today, so that was all I could fit in.

Diet : 115 lbs.

Breakfast – plain oatmeal with butter and milk

Lunch – Huge salad (see pic below) with leftover chicken, fruit, veggies, avocado, and cheese.  4-5 yucca crackers

Dinner – meatloaf, steamed broccoli, lentils with crumbled cheese on top

Snacks – cottage cheese, handful cashews, 1/3 Bumble bar, leftover avocado from lunch, 1/2 plum, handful cashews

my HUGE salad

Woke up feeling different.  I feel more positive and as if all things are possible.  The negative inner voice that has become the norm feels nicer as well.  Got in a 30 minute walk and then took my son to Gymboree for the first time, which had me sweating as well.  I have been wanting to do this for Jude, but I did not feel strong enough to accomplish it, until now.  I am really loving the diet portion so far.  While on Metformin, I have not been able to eat as low carb and light as I can now.  I found that I needed a heavy meal to cushion my stomach and body from the side effects.  This diet feels like what my body needs for optimum health.  I had been gravitating towards easy and convenient foods since feeling bad, and while they were mostly healthy and organic options, fresh, simple and non carb laden foods are a welcome change.  I am still getting hypoglycemic episodes in between meals, but the small snacks help.

Exercise – 30 minutes fast stroller walk, Gymboree class with Jude

Mind/Body – Read a few online articles about “Functional Endocrinology” and “Restorative Endocrinology” recommended by my acupuncturist, and it has inspired me to no end about the body’s ability to heal itself in the very ways that I have designed for this experiment.  This IS possible.  Heck, this is PROBABLE!

Diet – 116 lbs.

Breakfast – tea with milk,  one egg, one chicken breakfast sausage, one piece gluten free toast (need to find a better alternative with more fiber), tablespoon or so of low fat cottage cheese

Lunch – lentils, salad with fruit, veggies, cheese

Dinner – Roasted, bone in chicken breast, green peas and carrots, portobello mushroom topped with cheese, pan roasted asparagus

Snack – 1/4 Bumble bar, small handful cashews and dried fruit, 1/4 cup low fat cottage cheese, 1 oz cheese and 4 crackers, 1/2 plum and small handful cashews

Had my regular acupuncture appointment with Sarai at Axis Acupuncture, but today I told her about my new plan – to ditch the medicated treatments and to switch to an all natural approach.  She was surprised, and very happy.  She told me that in the two years since I had first visited her, she had learned a lot more of the nutritional side of infertility and had had a lot of success with restoring the endocrinology and ultimately the fertility of her clients.  This was exactly what I wanted to hear.  I had planned on incorporating the PCOS formulated supplements from Insulite Labs for this experiment, but this is even better – a customized supplement regimen.  She is going to take my chart and do a little research and present the new plan to me at our appointment next week.  Hope restored.

In other news, I was able to have the energy to get the kitchen cleaned up right after dinner, get Jude bathed, and was still bright and bushy to work on this blog until midnight.  It’s been a long time since I was not dead on the sofa by 10-10:30 pm.  I love that my energy seems to be rebounding from the Metformin really quickly.

Exercise – cleaned out rest of large flower bed, ab work, push-ups, never got to the weights

Mind/Body – Epsom salt bath and meditation, read an article in the New Yorker that I had been meaning to read for a while, acupuncture appointment/meditation during

Diet:  117 lbs.

Breakfast – tea with milk, plain oatmeal with milk and butter

Lunch – lentil soup, salad with fruit, veggies, and avocado

Dinner – roasted salmon, spinach with white beans and raisins

Snacks – 1/3 Bumble Bar, low fat cottage cheese, mixed nuts with dried fruit

I know that true healing cannot take place without having depression, stress, and anxiety in check.  It’s easy to get too busy with the needs of a child to take a daily breather and reconnect to source, God, whatever you want to call it.  However, when I do, I always feel better for it and feel open for healing and change.  One of the main ways that I reconnect is to have a short relaxing bath during Jude’s nap time where I can lay back and quietly meditate.  When I am feeling particularly stressed or anxiety ridden, I use Bach Flower Essences, a few drops under the tongue.  I also find reading to be a good stress reliever.

I record my daily Mind/Body connections in the Daily Status/Progress section.