You are currently browsing the monthly archive for November 2010.

I was able to survive Thanksgiving with my weight and this experiment intact!  I decided to eat everything I wanted (and then some), including pie, for my Thanksgiving meal.  I just did not eat leftovers day after day like I normally would have.  I had a couple of pieces of pie in the days following, but nothing else really naughty.  I exercised a little while we were away and even tried jogging for about 15 minutes one day.  I have never been able to run for very long before, but all of my work-outs from the last 3 months must have helped my endurance a lot.  When we returned home (11/27/10) the D-Chiro-Inositol that I ordered a few weeks back was in the mailbox and I took my first dose that evening.

At my acupuncture appointment prior to Thanksgiving, I told her about the constantly positive saliva microscope results and she agreed that it was time to start some supplemental progesterone to balance out my estrogen dominance.  I will continue to take the Symplex F/Ovatrophin until tomorrow, making it a two week course, and then I will start an oral natural progesterone called Progon B for two weeks, or until I get my period.  I asked her about natural progesterone cream and she said she did not prescribe it anymore because studies have found it to accumulate in fatty tissue and then it releases into the blood stream when you may not want it to – definitely not something she wants someone with mixed up hormones to use!

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Three months are now completed in this PCOS Experiment!  This month the experiment went from a highly regimented plan to a sustainable way of life.  I’ve been so self-disciplined since this experiment began that I no longer felt the need to record my progress daily, and so I ditched my daily format.  I was feeling stressed until I could stop and type out everything I had eaten for the day, and with a toddler, finding the time was getting tough.  The new, free-form blogging is much better suited to where I am in my progress.

I decided to take my exercise requirements down just a slight notch, from 5-6 days a week to working out every other day, alternating cardio and strength/resistance training.  I also started adding in a little bit more complex carbohydrates in the form of gluten free rolled oats a few mornings a week.  I made these changes in the hopes that I will be able to not only finish this six month experiment, but to keep it going for the rest of my life.  I’ve been afraid of burning out as things in my life become more complicated and prevent me from adhering to a strict lifestyle.  I have only seen the scale go down since I made these amendments to the original plan.  I started the month a solid 115 lbs and now I’m seeing the scale hover around 113 lbs most mornings.   I’ve continued to find my clothing slowly getting looser and more comfortable.   I just did my body measurements since the last monthly report and I have dropped more inches (see below).  Wow, that is satisfying to see!

Since last month I’ve noticed my weight being less vulnerable to restaurant meals and changes in my diet.  This weight stability gives me a lot of confidence when we do have a family dinner out or I want a glass of wine or a square of dark chocolate as a treat.  I might have seen the damage to the scale a few months back, but I have come far enough now that it’s no longer a problem.  I’m assuming it’s because I have raised my metabolism and healed a fair amount of insulin resistance.  The other more noticeable change since last month is the appearance of my face.  I have a quite naturally fleshy/full type face and even at times of being thin, it looked chubby, especially in photos.  I can see the reduction in puffiness and fullness in the mirror and can see it in photos too.  What an awesome and unexpected side effect of this experiment!

Since I am not reporting on my diet and lifestyle daily anymore, I want to give a synopsis of the things I am still currently doing on a weekly basis to help control my PCOS symptoms and to help my body heal.  I continue to add a splash of apple cider vinegar to every glass of water I drink.  I have half a grapefruit several days a week.  I drink green and spearmint tea once or twice a day.  I work out every other day, doing both cardio and strength training.  I go to acupuncture once a week.  I try to reserve a few minutes a day for a relaxing bath, usually with Epsom salts and essential oils.  I’m still eating very cleanly, with an emphasis on low carbohydrates and whole foods.  I eat small snacks that contain protein in between meals to keep my blood sugar stable.  I take a wide range of daily supplements prescribed by my acupuncturist to help my body heal my PCOS.  I record all info about my supplements here, including changes as they occur, and there is lots of change monthly.

So, I guess we should take a look back at the success criteria for this 6 month experiment, noting my progress since last month:

1) Ovulation and Menstruation – This month I started having almost daily fertile signs and symptoms which has lead both my acupuncturist and myself to believe that I am now experiencing some Estrogen Dominance (a build up of estrogen that is never balanced by progesterone because of the lack of ovulation).  I started experimenting with a saliva microscope and it shows that I am in the presence of increased estrogen every time I use it.  A week ago, I started back on Symplex F for two weeks to try to stimulate ovulation.  I had my first high temperature this morning, so this is not proof of ovulation, but a girl can hope.  Suffice it to say, this goal is an ever evolving work in progress.

2) Stable weight and body measurements – Overwhelmingly, this goal has been met and exceeded!  I started this experiment at 117 lbs, went down to 115 lbs for a while, and I’m now around 113 lbs consistently.  My abdomen is pretty darn flat and not reactive to eating.  See my reduction in body measurements below.

3) Little or no acne – I’ve experienced both total clarity and an upsurge in acne at different points this month.  I had not experienced a completely clear face at any point in the months prior, so I would say that I have had at least some success in this department.  When I don’t fuss about and pick or squeeze on my face and keep it clean and doctored up with my various acne preparations, I can now have relatively clear skin.  Even with that though, I still had some breakthrough pimples that surfaced no matter what I did to prevent them.  This goal, while I’ve seen moderate improvement, is still a work in progress.

4) Stable and positive emotions – Like my acne progress I spoke about above, my emotional health has been both very good and wavering at times as well.  I’ve had some mild depression and reduction in motivation in regards to this experiment during this month, but I really think I solved this problem by changing the parameters of this experiment as I mentioned earlier.  My self-assurance and confidence has been quite good and I have felt more like reaching out to people and less introverted.  I am going to call this goal accomplished for now, especially since I’m no longer dealing with rocky emotions on a daily basis, just in isolated drips and drabs.

Body Measurements:

1) Natural waist:
a- 27″ on 10/7
b- 26″ on 10/23
c- 25″ on 11/23

2) Lower abdomen (around fattest part of tummy):
a- 32″on 10/7
b- 29 1/2″ on 10/23
c – 28 1/2″ on 11/23

3) Lower hips (around largest part of butt):
a- 35 3/4″ on 10/7
b- 35″ on 10/23
c- 33 3/4″ on 11/23

4) Individual thigh circumference (around thickest part of one thigh):
a- 20 3/4″ on 10/7
b- 19 3/4″ on 10/23
c – 18 3/4″ on 11/23

Without getting too graphic, I’ve noticed my body gearing up to ovulate for many weeks now, but yet no rise in basal body temperature .  Every week I report to my acupuncturist the same hope, that ovulation is probably on the horizon.  Last week she gave me a saliva microscope to experiment with to see if I could make some sense of my constant fertile signs.  Sure enough, I have seen at least some crystalline “ferning” every time I have used it.  This is not normal.   You should only get it before a true ovulation.  We also discussed the possibility that I am suffering from “estrogen dominance” and a constantly positive saliva ferning test proves that my body is pumping out estrogen, and androgens along with it, to mature an egg that never actually ovulates, and therefore does not produce any progesterone to mediate and balance the estrogen and androgens.  This explains the acne, spotting, and headaches.  When I was first diagnosed with PCOS in 2002/2003, I had low estrogen, as shown with a blood test, so this is a different pattern than I have had in the past.  Based on online research, this is a much more typical PCOS presentation.  My acupuncturist has not wanted to prescribe any natural progesterone cream because she has wanted to give my body a chance to try making some on its own.  I’m going to ask her about the possibility of trying some when I see her the day after tomorrow.  Again, from online research, this seems to be an appropriate natural treatment for estrogen dominance, especially since I’ve not had a period in a while.

Also at my last visit to my acupuncturist, she started me back on Symplex F for two weeks, to try to replicate a normal 2 week luteal phase.  The goal being to get a sort of induced period at the end of the two weeks.  A day after I started taking it, I started waking up with headaches and nausea, pretty much the same symptoms that I had on it last time.  I stopped taking it for a day and I started it back again today to see it I am right in my suspicions.  I’ll update this info on my PCOS Supplement Page.

Other than that, I don’t have too much to report.  The three month anniversary of this experiment is on Tuesday!  I’ll be doing my monthly progress report in the next few days.

I am really enjoying my new and less structured approach to this experiment.  I am finally starting to experience a little balance that I’ve been after.  “Letting go” of control is the central theme in so much Eastern and spiritual teachings, but this concept has always been a challenge for me.  I intensely start a project with bull-dog determination, holding myself in contempt of my goal at all times.  Obviously this gets old fast and within a few months, I revert back to an easier life.  This time however, I’ve kept all of the tenants of this experiment, but just turned down the flame a little.  What I’ve discovered is paradoxical.  I stopped posting everyday, and the traffic to this blog has flourished.  I’ve been exercising every other day, rather than 6 days a week and I’ve lost weight!  I’ve incorporated more fat (organic pasture butter and some raw whole milk) and beneficial carbohydrates (such as oatmeal more regularly) into my diet and I’ve lost yet more weight.  The yoga pants that used to slide down my hips when I was breastfeeding are doing the slide yet again.  I think this proves that stressing and fussing excessively over something only crowds out the inherit growth and potential within it.   This is shaping into a plan that I can stick to for life, I sincerely hope.

Finally feel back on track after feeling derailed for a few days – the toddler nap/bedtime strike has seemed to come to an end!!  I have not been eating bad, and I even got in 3 work-outs this week, but I guess I mean derailed in my optimism for this PCOS experiment.  I got in a super intense work out today and went back to my daily salad.  I know this sounds crazy, but I just have not been feeling as optimistic and happy since I stopped the salad lunch.  The holistic doc that I take Jude to for his teething pain and allergies says that we should be eating a good mix of cooked and raw foods and the daily salad for me is the only time I really eat raw foods, besides fruit at snack times.

My acne is terrible again and I had a certified, PMS-type, hormonal bitch fest yesterday that I am not proud of.  It only lasted a few hours, but it was BAD!  My body continues to try to ovulate with no success.  I am really excited to start the D-Chiro-Inositol powder coming from Australia within the next week hopefully.  I bought a three month supply.  Reduction in symptoms would be nice (acne for one), but what I am really after is ovulation and a natural period.  DCI is super, duper expensive though, especially in addition to my other supplements and acupuncture, but if it works, I really don’t care what it costs.  I am willing to sacrifice almost anything in my quest for ovulation/period.  Period!

Jude is having a very hard time getting down for a nap lately and I am not getting the time I need to relax, exercise, and prepare a thoughtful lunch every day without fail.  This makes me feel really stressed out.  I’m definitely NOT just throwing in the towel, but I think I need to loosen the reigns a little with this experiment so I don’t feel such a sense of failure when life gets in the way.  A good friend once reminded me that a watched pot never boils and so I think I need to change the format of my daily status reports to something more informal.   I am ready to just have this become a way of life without constant monitoring.  I will continue to make notes along the way as necessary and do my monthly progress reports, but I don’t need the added stress of reporting everyday anymore.  I feel confident that I can stay of track without it.

I had one of those days where I felt impatient regarding my PCOS progress, and when this happens I always spend a bunch of time online, looking for the next thing to add to my PCOS plan.  I have taken D-Chiro-Inositol before, but only for a month.  You see it mentioned in so many articles and blogs about PCOS that I just feel like I need to give it another try.  I asked my acupuncturist yesterday about it and she hates for me to add yet another supplement to my already long list because DCI is expensive and it takes a while to see results.  I agree with her, but I feel like I need to give it a try.  I found a slightly cheaper place to order it in Australia, so while I’m waiting on it to get here my acupuncturist started me on regular, and cheaper, inositol.    I’ll update that info on my PCOS Supplement Regimen page.

Even since the time change a few days ago, I’ve felt like a chicken running with it’s head cut off.  I was so tired from the weekend that I almost talked myself out of exercise today, but I had some green tea instead and got my butt moving anyway.  I am really going to have to work on my motivation to get through the rest of this experiment.  My routine has really been trying to run off course lately and I keep nudging it back, trying to salvage it.  Jude is requiring more and more from me – I feel like I’m running in circles most of the day just to keep up.

Had a tiny more bit of spotting and felt bloated after dinner for the first time in months.

Exercise – did about 3/4 of Crunch: Burn and Firm Pilates DVD with 3 lb. weights

Mind/Body – Had a very brief few minutes to soak in the tub and read while Jude watched a video.  He did end up joining me within a few minutes to splash his arms in my bathwater, so my time-out was shortly over.  Good while it lasted.

Diet – 114 lbs

Breakfast – large iced green tea with milk, 2 fried eggs, 2 chicken breakfast sausages, 1 scoop of cottage cheese

Lunch – leftover butternut squash bisque, collards with black eyed peas, braised red cabbage,  and about 1/2 cup cottage cheese for protein

Dinner – Half a grilled NY strip, half a roasted acorn squash with butter/honey/cinnamon, leftover braised red cabbage, and a wedge of iceberg with homemade blue cheese vinaigrette dressing

Snacks – green tea with milk, half a grapefruit and a handful of raw almonds

Feeling a bit sluggish on the second day of no exercise.  With everyone in town, plus trying to stick to this experiment, plus getting things done on a usually busy weekend, and I’m running in circles all day.  Started spotting a tiny bit again and boy, oh boy, my acne is HORRID!  What the hell is going on with my hormones??  A period, ovulation, or just plain screwed up??  I wish I knew.

Exercise – took the day off

Mind/Body – Got to hang out more with my friends from out of town and see their miracle babies.  Due to the time change, I got a few extra minutes at the end of the day for a relaxing bath and some reading time.

Diet – did not weigh

Breakfast – black/green/spearmint tea with milk, 2 fried eggs, 2 chicken breakfast sausages, 1 scoop of cottage cheese

Lunch – leftover butternut squash bisque and about 1/2 cup cottage cheese for protein

Dinner – Chicken Parmesan cutlet topped with marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese with sauteed portobello mushrooms/thyme/butter/sugar snap peas, and lima beans on the side. very small glass of red wine

Snacks – green tea with milk, red grapes and a handful of raw almonds

When we began in earnest to try to conceive Jude with fertility treatments (early 2008), I became part of an internet support group for thin women with PCOS who were also trying to get pregnant.  Over the years most of us have remained friends and have shared the ups and downs of our pregnancies, births, and our adventures in mommy-hood together.  We arranged a little get together this weekend in Austin for four of us and our babies (plus 3 husbands).  It was so weird and wonderful to finally get to meet everyone after sharing so much online.  What a miracle to see all of the babies after some of us had such a hard time getting them here.  I know I will eventually meet everyone in the group in real life because these women are my true friends – friends that were really there for me through some of the hardest times in my life, and continue to be there during the happiest.

Exercise – took the day off

Mind/Body – I had such a good time getting to meet and visit all of my friends and their babies.  It was good for the heart and soul.  Also got a badly needed date with my husband where we were able to talk, laugh, and have fun.

Diet – 114 lbs.

Breakfast – small latte and one black bean, bacon, cheese, and avocado breakfast taco on a corn tortilla

Lunch – did not feel great so only had an almond Bumble Bar

Dinner – date night out – tortilla chips and salsa, 3 mini al pastor tacos, and a few bites of refried black beans. One top shelf margarita on the rocks!!

Snacks – iced tea

I forgot to mention that at my visit this past week, my acupuncturist wanted me to try halving my Gymnema dose to only one tablet, 3 times a day rather than 2 tablets, 3 times a day.  I wrote about Gymnema in depth here, but in a nutshell it helps regulate sugar metabolism and makes me have virtually no sugar cravings despite eating low carb and almost no sugar, except for in fruit.  I started feeling sugar cravings by the end of the first day with the reduced dose (11/2/10).  I tried to fight the urge the next day, but I decided that I needed to up my dose again and just modify it a little.  Since I eat almost no carbs at breakfast, I will not take any after that meal.  I will take 2 after both lunch and dinner.  So far this seems to be working.

Exercise – Crunch: Super Slim Down DVD

Mind/Body – Got a quick and very hot bath where I was able to lay back and meditate for a short while.  It really helped to both relax and invigorate me at the same time.

Diet – 114 lbs.

Breakfast – black/green/spearmint tea with milk, 2 fried eggs, 2 chicken breakfast sausages, 1 scoop cottage cheese (which Jude ate most of)

Lunch – leftover red cabbage, collards/black eyed peas, and a scoop of cottage cheese for a little protein.

Dinner – Roasted butternut squash/veggie soup (pureed) topped with cheese and cilantro chicken sausage

Snacks – half an apple and a handful of raw almonds, green tea with milk, small juice glass of raw milk