Category: PCOS – Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Weight Loss Update -2.5

elevator going downphoto © 2006 Alessandra Cimatti | more info (via: Wylio)Well, things have been moving along. I am enjoying being more active and I find I miss the exercise on the days I can’t fit it in. I’m also starting to see some results. I stepped on the scale this morning to discover that I’m down two-and-a-half pounds. YEAH!! Clearly, I have a ways to go, but I’m headed in the correct direction.

I’ve been using the Lose-It app on my phone to track calories in and calories out. It has been very enlightening.

I knew that olive oil is the “better” fat, but I didn’t know that two tablespoons of EVOO is 252 calories! Yeowch! Especially since I really could have gotten away with much less on my tortellini and broccoli.

I knew that exercise is good for you, but I didn’t know that an hour of rollerskating will burn 533 calories! Whoo Hoo, Laconia Skate Escape, here I come!

I knew that I had a sweet tooth that wasn’t going to magically disappear, but I didn’t know that most of the time I can fulfill my need for chocolate with a tablespoon of chocolate chips to the tune of 50 calories.

Given my history of PCOS, and insulin resistance, I think it is time to see a nutritionist. I’m eating better than I have been, but I think with some tweaking, I could shed the pounds more efficiently. I have a call into a highly recommended nutritionist to set up an initial consultation. I’m looking forward to the next step.

Speaking of steps, I’ve been exercising relatively regularly, anywhere from three to five times per week. I was hindered slightly by a heel injury, but I transferred my workouts to a local pool and was able to burn without further aggravating things. I’ve also dusted off my bike now that spring has sprung, here in New England. I’ve been out for a few rides (the longest of which was eight-and-a-half miles in an hour). I’m also excited because a friend recently purchased a bike and we’re hoping to hit the trails with the kids.

Sailor crawls through the mud of Guantanamo Bay during 1st annual Seabee mud run. annualphoto © 2010 Official Navy Page | more info (via: Wylio) I’ve kept up with Couch 2 5K at least once a week and I’ve learned the hard way that even if you are doing other forms of exercise, you regress if you aren’t running at least a couple of days a week. The first few runs in a C25K session are always tough, but even when I get warmed up and into a groove, I find that I really don’t like running. It is jostling and I get more of an endorphin rush from biking or water aerobics. I’m enjoying the camaraderie of training for The Renegade Playground Challenge, but I don’t see myself continuing to run much after that.

So that’s the update for now. Basically, I’m feeling good, and making progress.


Weight Loss Check-In

Bathroom Scalephoto © 2010 Paul H | more info (via: Wylio)Thank you to everyone commented on my this post both here and on Facebook. I appreciate your support and I liked hearing your stories. If I am to believe my scale, I’ve already lost five pounds. I think my scale is fudging just a little. First off, no two scales will ever give the same reading, even if you step off of one and immediately step on to the other. I’ve weighted myself on three different scales in the last ten days (only once by my own choice, long story). The other component of this weight loss is most definitely attributable to monthly water loss if you know what I mean. I do think I’ve lost some “real” weight, but I’d guess it is closer to a pound or a pound an a half. Either way, I’ll take it.

Exercisewise, this week was rough. It was a combination of things, Daylight Savings Time kicking my butt, a sore throat bug and stress. Since I’m thinking all three of these things will continue to occur on a regular basis, I need to find ways to overcome.

On the bright side, I’ve been good about my food journal but I haven’t eaten as well as I could have. One night I ate four Do-Si-Dos (Peanut Butter Sandwich Girl Scout Cookies) because I was so hungry and it was the only snack I that “appealed” to me. At times it is as if a part of me is fighting this new way of thinking and I sabotage myself. It is as if, that part of me realizes I’m serious this time and change is imminent and that part is pouting with fists full of chocolate bars and stamping it’s feet like a child saying “HELL NO I WON’T GO”!

20070928 thai wraps 02photo © 2007 Jennifer | more info (via: Wylio) Odd, because overall, I’m feeling positive about exercising more and finding ways to feed my cravings without completely depriving myself of the foods I love. To the latter point, I ordered myself some Choffy this week (an awesome low cal caffeine free way to fulfill my “need” for chocolate) and I’ve discovered that lettuce makes a pretty good holder for sandwich stuffin’ like tunafish with veggies.

I had a major epiphany this morning while updating a friend on a family member’s health. I say of the family member, “he talks a good game, but she is just making excuses” (pronouns changed to protect the guilty :)). It hit me like a board in the face this morning, OMG, am I doing the same thing? At times, yes. I should have skipped the !#%@ cookies and had some almonds. There is no law on the books that says you can’t have the same healthy snack two times in one day and seriously six almonds would have most assuredly been better for me than the four cookies.

On the bright side, I have run three days of Couch to 5K and enjoyed it every time. I love being outside again. I found a few videos on Netflix that I like and I have one of Leslie Sansone’s walking DVDs waiting to be tested (Hat Tip to The Blog Antagonist for the Leslie Sansone reco). I rode my bike for 3 muddy miles with my daughter last weekend too.  Can’t wait to do more of that!

In case you hadn’t guessed, I am an impatient perfectionist. If I read this like a friend wrote it, I want to hug her and cheer her on and say “Great start! Good realization, do something constructive with it! Keep up the good work”, and yet here I sit annoyed that I ate four cookies the other night. Sometimes I guess I’m my own worst enemy! One battle at a time I guess.

My Infertility Story Part II – Cliché

This post is part two of a follow up to an earlier post I wrote about at Self Magazine article on how isolating infertility can be. You may also want to read part one.  I was blessed to have a circle of friends who had experienced similar situations. NO ONE should feel alone in the infertility process. Part Threes will be the story of another woman who didn’t have that support.

Clichephoto © 2010 Tom Newby | more info (via: Wylio)We survived round one, and were rewarded with a beautiful, happy healthy daughter. Fast forward two and a half years. I was ready for a second child. My husband was happy with one, but willing to discuss making a sibling. I am an only child. I always wanted a sibling. I wanted my daughter to have someone to gang up on me with. We decided we’d try for a second, but as with the last time, there were limits to how much medical intervention we’d tolerate. In other words, no IUI or IVF for us.

About the same time, my husband managed to convince me that it would be a good idea to pack up everything we own, put it in storage and move in with his mom and her husband. We bought land from them to build a house and make a new life an hour and a half North of my support system. Stress + new doctors + limited privacy does not a pregnancy make.

I was still making frequent trips South for business commitments and to be with friends. During that time, we were actively trying with no success. My cycles felt as though they were random. I opted to switch my care to a practice nearer to our new home. I thought it would be easier to manage the daily ultra sounds without the hour and a half commute. Ultimately, the new doctor did confirm a clinical diagnosis of PCOS. We had a cause, but still no baby.

During this time, the other two women I’d been pregnant with the first time both conceived again. I was happy for them and they were both very gracious about sharing my pain at their news, but inside, I was frustrated and horribly jealous.

I was on Clomid for a total of 9 months without success and I was at the end of my rope. We had just moved into our new house and I was ready for a new beginning. My husband supported my decision to stop infertility treatments. I stopped taking Clomid. I gave up the mini-van in favor of a smaller car and I accepted a several work commitments and a major volunteer commitment.

The doctor wanted to try and get my cycles on track again. I refused birth control pills so he prescribed progesterone. The prescription said take once a day for the first ten days of the month. Since I hadn’t had a period in a almost two months, I thought he meant calendar month (as a way to be able to keep my dates straight). Turns out he meant cycle month. DUH. I was told to take a pregnancy test and when it came back negative to start taking the medication.

My husband left for work early in the morning. So I dragged my butt out of bed and peed on the stick. I hadn’t even turned the light on, but after I washed my hands, I picked up the test and thought I saw two lines in the faint morning light. I turned the light on and looked again. Oh My God, this can’t be real. I ran downstairs and said “Don’t leave!” and then flew back up stairs grabbing my glasses and a magnifying glass (you can’t be too sure about these things you know).

Son of a gun, there WERE two lines. As he walked into the bathroom I said, “I’m pregnant, is that ok?” He hugged me, laughed at me and said “It’s a little late for that isn’t it.” I had become a cliché. I stopped trying and got pregnant. It was hard to let go, but once I really let go, my dysfunctional body, to over.

Later that day, I called the OB practice and asked for a blood test to confirm the results. I was told that blood tests weren’t standard procedure. I explained that I was an infertility patient and that I wanted an HCG count. I wanted to insure that there was just one. It took some persuasion, in the form of my going and sitting in the waiting room until someone talked with me, and offering to pay for the blood test out of pocket if my insurance didn’t cover it (it did), but I finally got confirmation that there was only one fetus. Nine months later, Mim was born and our lives are all the richer for his presence.

Even with the distance, my circle of friends was crucial to my survival during the move, the trying and the subsequent pregnancy. I am confident we wouldn’t have had Mim if they hadn’t been around to cheer me on and pick me up. No one should have to go through infertility alone. Online support groups have grown in popularity since then and even face-to-face groups are being offered by infertility practices. If you are pursuing infertility treatments, please seek out a support network. I could mean faster, results.

Let’s talk about infertility

Child holding a Megaphone
Image Credit Hebedesigns

I recently read this article in Self Magazine. . According to the article 1 in 8 couples will be affected by some type of infertility. That statistic doesn’t really surprise me, it seems everytime I turnaround, I bump into someone who has or is struggling with fertility. The article goes on to state that 61% of women seeking infertility treatment do not share their struggles with friends and family. Really? People don’t talk about infertility? I would not have survived infertility, my marriage would not have survived infertility, if I hadn’t talked about it.

She talks about infertility, so does she.  I talk about it and in light of this article, I will blog my story soon.

I remember the pain and frustration as I waited for my body to do what it was supposed to do naturally. As you are going through it, infertility is stressful which doesn’t help matters any. But, in hindsight, I can say infertility is biology, and failure to conceive is not a character flaw. I did not choose this, I refused to feel ashamed.

The couple in the Self story took extensive measures to hide their infertility treatments. They went so far as to rent an apartment in New York City (closer to their doctor) and when their deception almost came to light, they were forced to concoct outrageous stories about surviving last winter’s blizzard in Washington D.C. even though they weren’t there. Wow! Infertility is hard enough without adding layers of lies that you have to keep track of. I’m not judging them. I feel sadness for them that they felt had to go to such an extremes.

I was fortunate to have a supportive husband and family and a great group of friends (many of whom were touched by infertility in one way or another). I was also fortunate to have conceived two children. Not everyone is as successful.

Like other women’s issues before it (rape, breast cancer), infertility needs to be dragged into the spotlight. So that IVF and Clomid become as understood as chemo and radiation.

As the article highlights, if infertility treatment is successful, the result is new parents (sometimes of multiples). I speak from experience when I say new parents barely have time to shower never mind rallying the troops. If the treatments are not successful, the feelings of devastation, loss and depression can force a person to withdraw completely from the topic. I understand and respect both perspectives. My kids keep me busy, so I can’t jump out and lead the charger either. Still, I wouldn’t wish infertility on anyone and I can do my small part to spread the word.

I’ll share my stories soon. If you have a fertility story you’d like to share or know someone willing to be profiled, please leave a comment here and I’ll follow up with you privately.

Here are two resources I found helpful when I was dealing with infertility.

Resolve a support group for couples dealing with infertility.

Dr. Alice Domar is a well known specialist focused on the mind/body connection and women’s health issues, specifically infertility.  I’ve met her and heard her speak severa times. She is a passionate and delightful woman. I also highly recommend her books.


My infertility story part 1 and part 2.

Photo credit Hebedesigns


Allow me to set the scene. It is the end of the day. I’ve spent the afternoon at swimming lessons and grocery shopping with Mim and have just picked up Fish from Girl Scouts. She’s giggly with her friend while we walk to the car. As we get in the car, Mim asks Fish if her friend has an younger brother. “No, she has an annoying younger sister like you.” I call foul on that comment. Once we buckle up, she’s moody and stares out the window.

“Ok, what’s up?” I ask at home as we get out of the car. I’ve sent Mim into the house in an effort to grab a minute of one on one time.

“It’s HIM she nods her head towards the house. He’s just so . . . embarrassing! He acts so cool and he’s not! He embarrasses me in front of my friends. I want the old Mim back.”

I’m immediately defensive. “Oh” I say, walking away. “I thought something was really wrong.” Oh yeah, there’s my nomination for the mother of the year award.

I’ve heard this is standard faire between siblings, but I have no personal experience in this area. Here in, lies the rub. I was an only child. I would have liked to have had a sibling but for a variety of reasons, it wasn’t meant to be. When A-man and I talked about having kids, I was clear, that I wanted kids but that I would entertain the idea of not having kids. However, if there was one, there would be two. I didn’t want to raise another only child. It was a bit of a lonely childhood and frankly a royal pain in the a$$ in adulthood. I have PCOS, so we had to work to have one. We tried unsuccessfully for a year an a half to have a second. Ultimately, I resigned myself to raising an only and I moved on with other life plans. Six weeks later, I was pregnant with my Mim (yes, I am one of THOSE annoying fertility stories).

They are four years and two months apart and all in all, they get a long very well. At times the age difference is a challenge, but mostly it works. A-man and I make a conscious effort to have quality time with both kids alone and together. Fish generally is an awesome big sister. She looks out for him and he worships the ground she walks on. I also try to be sure she has alone time with her friends.

After I collected my thoughts, I went to talk to her. I know her brother can be frustrating. That child frequently stomps on my last nerve. I wholeheartedly agree he can be embarrassing. Fortunately, he’s young enough that the expressions and attitudes he regurgitates from his favorite video game (Cars) are still considered cute. He can be loud and bossy and short tempered. But, he’s her brother and he’s not going away.

So, dear readers, what advice do you have for me? I hope that overall, they will continue to get along, but I suspect as we meander through the teen years this is going to be minefield we revisit regularly. To some extent I want to validate her feelings, but lets face it, he’s a little brother. From what I gather, it is his JOB to embarrass her.

Suggestions? Cautionary tales? Anecdotes I can use to illustrate that she’s not alone in this? HELP!!

Photo credit: Target Portrait Studios.  FWIW, they do an awesome job!

Runner’s High, it’s the real thing

I have friends who run marathons (Hi, K&E).  Not only do they run marathons, they raise thousands of dollars for charity in the process. I’ve always thought they were nuts. Good hearted and generous, but nuts all the same. Lately, thought, I’ve begun to experience the rush, that comes with running (and exercise in general) and I think I’m starting to get addicted.

I have PCOS (a hormonal imbalance that reeks havoc with my endocrine system) and as a result, I collect weight in my mid-section.  That plus two c-sections and a passion for chocolate, has lead to being 40 and 40 pounds overweight.  I’ve tried to lose weight before but only ever half heartedly.

Last spring, I was diagnosed with diverticulitus, not a huge shock, my mom had it too.  It is an inflammation of the intestine and when it strikes, it is damn painful.  Avoid seeds, nuts, popcorn and eating high fiber diet can help stave off, attacks, but I’ve recently learned that a tight abdomen that supports the walls of the intestine is also a plus.  It was time for the weight to go.

I eat fairly well already (chocolate aside).  I don’t drink a lot of soda, I use wheat bread, and I like fruits and veggies. I use Splenda in my tea and avoid an excessive amount of carbs (a must for the PCOS), still, I’ve been maintaining the weight for the last 4 years.  It was time exercise more.

Slowly but surely, I’ve been getting more active. I hate to admit this, but it feels good.  I genuinely feel better mentally and physically.  If I’ve lost 2 pounds, I’d be surprised, but my clothes are fitting a smidge better and that’s a nice feeling.

I exercise right after I get the kids off to school. If I don’t do it then, it never happens.  Typically I wake up and I think “Nah, not today, I’m  not in the mood, I can skip a day.” But then I get back from the morning drop off and something is nudging me to move. Yesterday was just such a day.  It was gray out, so one voice was trying to talk me into staying in, but I finally decided to go for a walk.  I wasn’t walking 2 minutes when another voice was urging me to run.  The body grumbled as I set into a light jog, but the mind was flying.  I’m in better shape than I was, but still can’t run full time, I  need to resort to intermittent  walking, but I’m told this is the way you build a running habit. Wow does it feel so good when I run.  It clears my mind and I am able to truly think about some of the projects I’ve been working on lately.

By the time I get home, I’m red faced and a little winded, but my mind is clear and I feel exhilerated. I guess that’s what they call the runner’s high.  Personally, I always thought that was a term the exercised nazis used to lure in the naive, but I’m here to tell you as a recovering couch potato, there is something to it.

I’ve been alternating wogging (walking and jogging) with biking and even free weights. Someday, I hope to move on to rogging (running and jogging), but I’m taking it one day at a time. The reality is that very soon, the outdoors here won’t be fit for woman nor beast, but I have a plan B.  If mother nature cooperates and gives us some snow, I’m going to finally invest in some snow shoes.  If she doesn’t I’m going to get a six month membership at the local indoor pool and work out there (I love the water, so I may do that anyway).

I’ve started down this road before, but never have I felt so compelled to exercise, as in I’m edgy if I miss more than 2 days in a row. I really hope this is the start of new habits for me.  I don’t need to be Hollywood thin, nor do I need to run marathons  I just want to be in better physical shape.

Wish me luck!

Right after I wrote the draft of this entry, Kathryn posted her story and I got the warm, fuzzy, oh-I’m-not-alone-feeling. So, here’s to us may we both be on the way to better health!

The Tides The Are A Changin’

… with all due respect to Bob Dylan.

For the past two weeks I have been light and airy. Motivated to exercise and eat well. My kids have been their normal selves and when the dust kicks up, I’ve been able to deal with it.
Oh, and let’s just say my husband has found the last seven days or so to be to his liking too.
No more.  In the language of two year olds “All Done.”
Without even looking at a calendar I can tell you I’m on the down side, headed towards the Red River.
There are the two rocks sitting at the base of my spine, within 5 days they’ll feel like oranges. There is my short temper. I’m annoyed by people talking (not even to me).  Oh and then there is the craving for sugar and salt. Oh those dark chocolate covered potato chips just hit the spot.
I have polycystic ovarian syndrome.  Time was it would 3 months in between my periods, but ever since the birth of my second child and the subsequent remove of a cyst from my ovary, BOOM! My cycles have been like clock work and the PMS has been equally as predictable.
I can control the pain with Motrin, but I can’t seem to control the crankiness. Please don’t suggest The Pill, been there done that with disastrous results.  I’ve been exercising more regularly and I’m going to TRY and keep that up this month.  My doctor says soy, might help, but I have a hard time with soy.  It makes me want to gag.
I’m of the age were peri-menopause is on the horizon and my biggest fear is that when my hormones burn themselves out that I will be stuck with permanent PMS.
Oh well, it’s time for a big glass of water and maybe a little TV.