Thursday, December 29, 2011

Change is not a Destination, It is a Journey

I can't believe I haven't posted in my blog since October. Things have gotten a lot better for me personally. I had a bout of depression after finding out I have Interstitial Cystitis. The wellbutrin just wasn't cutting it so they added cymbalta to the mix which made a big difference. As far as eating healthy, while I did still manage to take one Metformin a day, I pretty much ate like crap for the past 2 months. Think I have gained back about 10 of the 25 that I lost. I guess its just part of journey I've been on my whole life. When you have PCOS if you slip up even for a small amount of time you can put on a lot of weight very quick because our bodies don't process insulin the way a normal person's body does. I'm not crying over the 10 lbs. I expect I will probably always gain a few pounds during the holidays. We should just accept that instead of beating ourselves up about it every year. I'm not entering any beauty competitions any time soon. My focus is just on my health. Women with PCOS have a huge risk of diabetes, heart disease, and infertility. I would like to prevent those as much as possible.

So the plan for the new year. Is to make small changes every day that will hopefully within a few months equal up to me dropping the holiday weight I gained and hopefully more from there. So I am going to start with breakfast. I am going to make it a habit to eat oatmeal and eggs every morning. Also I am going to start taking my Metformin two times a day. Eventually I will work myself back up to three times a day. Here are other changes I will be making slowly over the next couple of months.

. walking 20-30 minutes each morning
. figuring out what kind of healthy meals I can eat for lunch and dinner that adhere to my IC diet
. waking up earlier to give myself more time in the morning for myself
. cutting out processed sugar except for maybe one day a week
. trying Yoga and meditation
. adding a fish oil supplement to help my cholesterol levels and my overall heart health

Those are just some ideas. It's not a crazy diet or a insane workout plan. I will slowly introduce 1-2 things each week or two, until hopefully I have made doing them all a habit. If I feel myself getting overwhelmed I will take a step back. I also will only weigh myself once a week at the same time. I don't want to make this about numbers on a scale, but I do need to weigh myself to track my progress. I read somewhere that those people who weigh themselves at least once a week have on average lower BMI's than those people that don't. Makes sense.

So change really is not a destination, it is a journey. There is no time limit on this change. Of course I have goals that I want to reach, but along the way new goals can come up. You don't get to a point and say "ok I am done". We are never done changing. Every day cells in our body die and new cells are born. We by our own nature change constantly. We are creatures of change and I am learning to embrace that.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Day 100/ Learning Acceptance

Today marks' the 100th day of my most recent adventure in change. I find my biggest challange is acceptance. I find that I am angry most of the time, and I realize this anger comes from fear and this fear is my fear of losing control. See contrary to how I would have it, I just can't fix everything. So, when my husband or I get sick, or if we have financial issues, or if a crazy relative decides to be themselves or whatever the trigger I just loose it inside. I pray every day for God to teach me acceptance. There are things I can change and there are things I can't change, and its up to God to help me accept the things I cannot change. I have accomplished a lot in 100 days. I have lost over 20 lbs. I have given up alcohol, ciggarettes, chocolate, caffiene, tomato products, citrus, most fruit, vitamin c, artificial sweeteners, and sodas. Sometimes I get angry that I had to give up those things. For instance fruit. Fruit is supposed to be good for you, but not when you have Intercystial Cystitus. Anything harsh you eat or drink can cause what are called flare up in your bladder and pelvic floor muscles. Same thing with having PCOS. I take metformin, therfor I can't drink and I can't eat high fat foods without feeling sick to my stomach. These things that make me angry, these things that are out of my control, I must learn to let go.

"And acceptance was the answer to all of my problems today. When I am distrubed it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation - some fact of my life - unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly as it is supposed to be at that moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God's world by mistake.I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in this world as what needs to be changed in me and my attitudes."

Sometimes I have to read that quote over and over again until I calm down. You can't just reverse 28 years of thinking in 100 days. I will never know why God created me the way I am with the illnessess I have, but I can only trust that I was meant to be this way. For some reason, or no reason, I was meant to be this way. I can change only what I can change, and the things beyond my control I must accept and let go. When it comes to your health I say be your own advocate. Fight for answers. Do everything you can in your life to make things better, by no means do I think we should give up and give in. But, what I am saying, is that in order remain sane in this really chaotic world, which likes to throw things at us daily to deal with, we have to accept that we cannot control everything. Somethings just are, and will be, and all you can do is build your life arround them.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Casey vs. Blue Bell

About 3-4 weeks ago I had a really terrible week. I was in awful pain an I pretty much layed in bed all that week. Basically I had a little pitty party for myself. I lost 4 lbs that week, because I pretty much didn't eat anything. When I got to feeling better the next week, I somehow stopped working out and started eating lots of carbs after work. Now mind you I have given up alcohol, ciggarettes, caffiene, chocolate, spicy foods, sodas, carbonation, artificial sweeteners. Basically I'm a nun. I've even given up shopping, as I realized I was using shopping to make me feel better. So I find myself craving carbs like you would not believe. My biggest enemy right now is blue bell ice cream of the homemade vanilla variety. It's a love hate relationship. I love him my scale hates him. I don't want to break up forever with Mr. Blue Bell but I know I've got to stop buying a pint after work or before you know it all that hard work to lose almost 25 lbs so far will go down the drain. It was this time exactly last year that I started slacking and before you know it I regained the weight I had lost an then some. PCOS is tricky that way - very hard to lose weight very easy to gain weight. It's not fair but crying about it won't change it (I tried that) so you just have to deal with it. So the first thing I need to do is set a limit. I think me and Mr Bluebell should only get together once a week maybe twice, and I think I need to quit sleeping in and get off my grumpy butt and walk in the mornings like I had been doing. Now is the moment. I have to get back on track before I start going backwards again. One day at a time.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Headache in the Pelvis

I am learning slowly all about intercystial cystitus. I had my pitty party last week. I was in horrible pain. At times as high as a 9 on the 1-10 scale. I have gotten myself down to a 2-3. How you may ask? And in such a short time? Well, I can say it was quite the adventure. First thing I did was call my doctor crying. She immediatly prescribed me elmiron a blood thinner and Urelle an oral antiseptic. I did a bunch of reading and found out that no one had told me to change my diet. So I cut out all caffiene, chocolate, citrus, multi vitamin, spices, vitamin c, etc. Un-benounced to me it is not a good idea to cut out caffience cold turkey when you drink 5-10 servings a day and are being prescribed two new high powered medications. The result was acute caffiene withdrawel on top of my already present IC pain. I couldn't get out of bed, I was dizzy, blurried vision, crying fits, headache, you name it. I thought I was dying. I was thisclose to having sean drive me to the hospital. But by Monday of this week the pain and the weird symptoms went away. I also got off the high powered meds after researching them on my own and consulting with my doctor, after finding out they only work in 50% of patients and have side effects like bleeding, bruising and hair loss. As hard as I worked with my PCOS and my hormones to get my hair to grow back the last thing I want to do is take a drug that makes it fall out. This week from hell really made me re-evaluate my life. 65% of people with IC do not work, and I don't want to be in that 65%. I am truly humbled. I have a new found appreciation for my job, my life, heck even my health insurance. I ordered two books on IC I plan on reading in the up coming weeks. Also I must note that many doctors believe that PCOS, IC and Endometriosis are all inter related. My goal is to find the most holistic, non invasive, treatment that I can find to manage these three conditions. ( Although I don't have a 100% diagnosis on the endo, my dr. is convinced I have it) So I need to learn about that too. As a patient you have to take ownership of your own medical treatment. Sometimes doctors will forget to tell you some or assume someone already told you, like in my case no one told me to change my diet and when I did after a week my pain went from a 9 to a 2-3. I can live with a 2-3 and give up coffee, even chocolate. Sometimes in life you have to sacrifice, and humble youself. You can sit around feeling sorry for yourself, but it doesn't change your reality, and in most cases only makes it worse.

Courage is not the lack of fear, but action in the face of fear. .........The goal is not to be pain free, but to manage the pain well enough to live a happy and fullfilling life.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Possible Sccondary Conditions

Secondary conditions names: Endometriosis of the bladder and Interstitial cystitis (IC)

Won't have all the answers until I have an endoscopy of my bladder. Appointment to see urology specialist not until Dec. 6th. That's a long time to sit and wait for answers. I've spoken to my doctor about treatments and I know what the possibilites are. They aren't worth talking about unless the urologist and the gynocologist agree together this is what I have 100%. Until then I keep living. Here are some links to more information on the two disorders and how they are linked.

this article is about endo and ic

Post 107... New Dr. New Hope?

My eyes opened this morning for the second time at 5:30 am. Unlike yesterday I was able to go back to bed until 8 am. So happy. Then I weighed myself. 218!!! That means I've lost 19 lbs. in 67 days. Very proud of myself. I ordered some clothes online from old navy. I had been up to a size 18 ( tight) and ordered some size 16 jeans and some XL shirts and to my wonderful suprise they all fit loosely. This is also very positive. My next goal is 200. Which should take me another 10-15 weeks. Should be back down to s size 14 then.  I am much more recognizable when I am 200 lbs or under. When I get over 200 lbs I've had people walk right on by me and not even say hi because they don't recognize me. I don't wish that feeling on anyone ever. But, I accept that this is what happened to me. I got sick. I had an underlying untreated medical condition for years and I went back and forth up and down on the scale while my hair was falling out and other weird symptoms and I got passed from dr. to dr. and finally about 3 1/2 years ago it got so bad that in a span of 2 years I gained 80 lbs. Finally I got taken seriously by a dr. It is sad I had to gain 80 lbs in 2 years for a dr. to say "yeah there is something wrong". But, I can't change the past only the future. So today I see a new dr. I hope she can answer some of the more puzzeling questions. Like, my recent extreme pain. Do I have what are called "chocolate cysts"?Do I have endometriosis? Do I have a secondary medical condition that would explain why my estrogen levels are at a 9 and not the normall 300-500? I have so many un-answered questions. This dr. may not be the one to answer them, but she is a starting point. They say you have to be your own health advocate, and that is so true. I want to be healthy and I am going to give it my all to get there.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Post 106...The Good in The Midst of the Ugly

If you've been reading my blog, then you are aware of the challenges that I have been facing recently. I'd like to take today's blog entry to talk about the good things happening in the midst of the ugly.

  First off as of today I have lost 17.5 lbs in 63 days. Here are the adjectives I would use to describe this: miraculous, awesome, fantastic, amazing, magical, profound, life changing, exciting, empowering, etc. For a woman with PCOS to lost 2 lbs a week steady for over 8 weeks is awesome, just plain awesome. Crazy enough - although the PCOS causing the extreme weight gain, the first line treatment (besides hormone therapy) is good old fashioned weight loss. They recommend a woman try and lost 5-10% of her weight and ideally 20%. I have so far lost 8.2 % !

My goals are as follows:
 200 lbs = 37 lbs = 15.6 % 
180 = 57 = 24%
150 = 87 = 36.7 %

These are of course just goals. I do not strive for perfection just progress. I am only 5 lbs away from the low I got to last year of 214 before I gave in and gave up in October 2010. I have a destinct goal. I want to start trying to have a baby January of 2012. That gives me about 16 months, which I feel is plenty of time. If I can get back down to my normal weight of 150 I will be back into a healthy weight class and have a much less risky pregnancy than is I were still over weight. Although if I don't reach my goal I am still going to try. I will be 29 and a half. I feel this is a very good age to have a child. I've had time to enjoy life without the responsibillity. I've gotten all of my partying days out of my system. (I still haven't had a drink in now 63 days) And I will hopefully be at a place financially that I can support the child - or hopefully children. Two would be nice. Nice is an understandment. One would be a miraculous gift from God and two would just be more than I could ever hope for grateful. I always wanted to wait until I was 30 to have a baby, and timing worked out exactly that way. That is if I am able to get pregnant. If not then adoption here I come. My dad said he would buy me a baby. I told him I wanted a Black one, a White one, and Asian one and a Mexican one....he laughed and called me Angelina Jolie. I said well then that makes Sean Brad Pitt and we all had a good laugh.

The biggest thing is although there is a lot of ugly health issues going on right now with both Sean and I, I still have hope. I have to focus on the good things that are happening. Like the weight loss. Or the fact that I keep getting compliments on my hair looking thicker. Or compliments on how nice my skin looks. I believe I am getting better. I believe that I am going to manage this PCOS. And if I have a baby then I can say "I beat it". Although I will forever live with PCOS (until menopause I guess), I will win if I achieve my goals. My words to my disease: You do not own me. I own me. You may have hitched a ride, but I will not let you dictate the outcome of my life. I am stronger than you.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

post 105 ....The Pain Went Away

Well as of yesterday the pain went away. I am sure it will come back, it always does. Almost monthly and at randoms times during the month. They describe it like labor pains or like you are roller skating and you fall flat on your ass. My mother equates is to the pain she had with her gallbladder. I don't know how you want to describe it other than it starts with a cripple over stab in the stomach fall to the ground and then you hurt for up to a week. And then it goes away. Sounds to me like a ruptured cyst. And I think my Dr. is right probably a big one. But, we didn't catch it on the last ultrasound. The way my Dr. described it, when you have large cysts they rupture but the sac remains and will fill up with fluid again and rupture again. And then repeat. I was happy I was able to work yesterday. I am thankful I get to see the specialist on Sept 12th. I'd like the pain to go away forever. Is that too much to ask? My mom and I were joking trying to make light of the situation and we decided that the pain was good cause it meant my ovaries are still there. I love my mom. Talking to her during this time has meant the world to me. Pain is our body telling us something is wrong. Just like pain is our minds way of telling us something is wrong. I've got enough pain in my body and my mind to last me a lifetime, but every day I am working at chipping away at that pain. I don't expect to ever be pain free. It's not about perfection, its simply about progress. One day at a time.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Post 104.... Signs of Inspiration

I had one hell of a week. I left by doctors office Monday thinking I was having surgury to remove either cycsts or my ovaries all together, to today being humbled and grateful the ultrasound revealed nothing except my normal multitude of small cysts. No surgury for now. I follow up with a specialist on Monday the 12th after thinking I wouldn't be able to see one until Nov. 7th. Then last night a woman overheard me talking to her friend about my situation and she said "you see those two beautiful little blond headed girls. I had them when I was 33 and 35 and I have PCOS. And I was a lot heavier than you at the time." I didn't know what to say. I really can't express how much those kind of stories give me hope and signs of inspiration. Even from friends of facebook I know of women with PCOS who have been able to have kids. The women even told me she couldn't take the metformin, it was just too hard for her stomach to handle, and she still had 2 little girls. I feel inspired not to give up hope. That when I am ready, hopefully I can start trying right after Dec. 2012 (which would be Jan 2013) after Sean and I finally have our wedding ceremony. I'd start earlier but I'd like to look good in my wedding dress. So that would make me 29. And I would have been preparing my body for a full year and a half to get primed and ready. LOL I sound like a racehorse or something. I think when you can't find inspiration within yourself you have to ask God to show you and look around and you will see Hope all around.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Post 103.... A Break

Finally I feel like I caught a break. After this morning disasterous attempt to schedule and appointment with a women's doctor ( the receptionist hung up on me and they couldn't see me until Nov. 7th), my doctor finally called me back. She said that the pelvic ultrasound absolutley showed what we already knew that I had PCOS, but that it didn't show any large cycsts or endometriosis, which she suspected would show. She is afraid more testing is needed. I feel grateful they didn't find anything, but I still need to figure out what is causing my extreme pain. I caught a break and will be seeing the doctor my doctor went to for the same thing. Dr. Grewitz. She warned me she is very firm and to the facts, but that she is good. If she is good then I am good. I see her Sept 12th. Thank you HP, so much better than Nov 7th!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Post 102 ... Same Old Same Old

I'll keep this post short. Doctor called said they got results of ultrasound and there was nothing there. I think she meant no large cysts or endometriosis. I need to call her and get more info, but she is passing me on to a specialist. A group of gynocologists who she used to practice under at the hospital she worked for who now have a private practice. Some days I feel very frustrated. When you know something is wrong with you, but no one can tell you what. I still believe I have PCOS. I have all the symptoms except the estrogen levels. Maybe I have Casey's Disease. LMAO. Meanwhile I am in pain almost daily. But at least I am eating healthy, taking my meds, and losing weight. That is a big step in the right direction. Lost 15-16 lbs in about 2 months. Been walking every morning. Been working on me. Haven't had a drop to drink in those same two months. I am serious about getting better, I just need to find the right dr who has the right answers.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Post 101..... When things get scary.

I have been having extreme pain over the past couple of months. Being me, I just tried to ignore it and brush it off. But, my better half kept telling me to go to the dr. Well I went to the dr. to drop off some FMLA paperwork and I casually mentioned my pain to the receptionist and before I knew it I had an immediate appointment. So fine. Looks like I can't ignore or pretend the pain isn't real anymore. So today I had a pelvic ultrasound, focusin on my ovaries. There are too many possibilities to worry about any of them. My dr's fear is that I have endometreosis or larger cysts called "bloody cysts" on top of my normal PCOS cycts. The only good thing out of the dr. visit was I got some vicodin for the pain. I was a wreck, most of what my dr. said included the word sugury in it, and I want so badly to have natural kids if I can. (Although I am always open to adopt) So today I left work early and went to the imaging center at the hospital off Stone Oak. Big props to STRIC number 15. Brand new facility super nice building super nice staff. The ultrasound tech isn't supposed to tell me anything, but I did manage to get out of her that 1. she didn't see any large cysts (meaning over 5 cm in size) Yay! and 2. That there were many many many cysts in my ovaries. I still don't know about the endometriosis yet, I have to wait for the radiologist to read the ultrasounds, and then they tell my dr. and then my dr. tells me. It is scary. The thought of having another problem on top of the problem I already have is just crippling, but I think God waited to throw this at me until I was stronger. Had he given me this burden this fear a few months ago I don't think I could have handled it. I am going to keep a positive outlook, although my reaction so far to those who have told me to not worry about it and think if sunshine is to want to tell them to shove the sunshine where the sun don't shine, but I know they mean well. How can they empathize with something they've never had to even think about? Most women take their ability to have kids for granted. Then there are those of us who would give anything for just the chance to have one. I write this because it gives me comfort to tell my story, but I also hope that if there is anyone else out there going through the same thing they know they aren't alone and in return I am not alone. Optimistic thoughts. God doesn't give us anything we can't handle. Strength is born from adversity.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Estrogen Mystery

I found this article online and it talked about the high levels of androgens (testosterone) are not converted to progesterone (the hormone needed for menses and ovulation). So maybe for some reason I am also not converting androgens to estrogen. I'm not sure but here is the article I found:

(Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) is one of the leading causes of infertility in women. Approximately five to ten percent of women of childbearing age have PCOS. Most women with PCOS don’t even know that they have it. In fact, less than twenty-five percent of women with PCOS have actually been diagnosed. Most women do not get a diagnosis until they begin trying to get pregnant. Some of the symptoms of PCOS may be overlooked until a woman starts trying to conceive a baby.

What is PCOS?

PCOS, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, is a medical condition that affects women’s menstrual cycles, fertility, hormone levels, and physical appearance. Women with PCOS produce high levels of insulin. Researchers believe that excessive insulin production causes their bodies to respond by producing high levels of male hormones or androgens.

During the first half of a normal menstrual cycle, several follicles will develop. Each follicle contains an egg. As the menstrual cycle continues, only one follicle will remain. This follicle will produce the egg during ovulation. Once the egg has matured, LH levels will surge causing the egg to burst from the follicle. This is when ovulation occurs.

Excess male hormones produced with PCOS affect the production of female hormones necessary for ovulation. A woman with PCOS does not produce enough hormones to cause any of the follicles to mature. They may grow and collect fluid but none become large enough for ovulation. Some of these follicles may develop into cysts. Because ovulation does not occur, progesterone is not produced. Progesterone is what causes the lining of the uterus to thicken. A woman’s cycle will be irregular or absent without progesterone.

Symptoms of PCOS

•Irregular or infrequent menstrual cycles


•Increased hair growth on face, back or chest

•Multiple cysts on the ovaries

•Thinning hair


•Elevated insulin levels or Type II Diabetes


•PMS or pelvic pain

Monday, August 22, 2011

Good News .... Weird News

I'll start with the good news. I went to my main doctor today; (I had 3 Dr. appointments today it was very exhausting) and I lost another lb. I am down to 222 that means I have lost 15 lbs in about 7 weeks. I talked to my Dr. about this and my lack of appetite and she feels it is safe. It is mostly attributed to 3 factors Wellbutrin, Metformin, and not drinking. I am really pumped. I didn't ask to lose weight this fast, but I'll take it. Every lb. I lose is one step closer to my goals of being happy, healthy, feeling confident again and someday having children.

Now the weird news. I had always known from what I read that women with PCOS are supposed to have super highly elevated levels of estrogen. Say upwards of 600-800. Normal is 300-500. Mine is 9. I finally found out that when I saw the specialist he had noted that I no doubt have PCOS, however I have something else that is causing my estrogen to be so low. My Dr. thinks it is the environment, such as the food we eat and the toxins in the air, etc. At this point, all I can do is take hormones. I take a super high dose of estrogen and progesterone. I am hoping that if I lose weight, don't drink, and take all my meds as prescribed I can get my
PCOS under control and then maybe the estrogen will level out or maybe then I will go back to the specialist to find out more as to why my estrogen is so low.

In the mean time I choose to focus on the positive. 15 lbs. is AWESOME and AMAZING. And, for the first time in a long time I really feel like I can do this. I can do this.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Getting A Little Excited...

I weighed myself this morning and I am down to 224 from 237. That 13 lbs lost in 46 days. And here is the kicker: I haven't really been trying. Now I am not going to pretend my life didn't change dramatically. I learned where I went wrong last go round : I had to let the inside change before I could let the outside change.
Note, when I say that, I say let. Another thing I did was surrender. I gave up control. My way wasn't working. I'm not a very religious person, but I have become a much more spiritual one. When I surrendered, I gave my pain, my control, my baggage, my whatever to the universe. To my higher power. And I have found that although it doesn't make sense, life starts to get a whole lot better when you do.

I have started walking every day. I don't tell myself it is for "weight loss", I tell myself it is to reduce my stress levels. I find that makes exercise seem more like a reward than a punishment. I also am simply not as hungry since i stopped drinking. Yes, it's been 46 days since I have touched a drop of alcohol. I've sold my kegarator. I'm about to sell my wine hutch. And, I've packed up all my glass ware to be given away. If I could have just that one healthy glass of wine each night, that would be one story, but I can't. I don't miss it. And, I don't miss the 13 lbs that i have lost in just under 7 weeks. I am so very proud of myself, in a good way. I am happy and excited about the future. I can't wait to go to the Dr. and get my next round of blood work done to see where all my hormone levels are. If they are good then great, if they aren't then I will keep trying. If I am meant to have children I will, if i am not I won't, and will look into adoption. And that even goes for this weight loss. If I never get back down to 140 lbs again, then se la vie, but all I can to is try. And keep trying. I know there is no such thing as perfection, but there is such a thing as doing our best.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Creating a Low Stress Environment

Stress. Baby you know I got it. I love these tips so much I have them tacked up on the wall in my kitchen.

1. Have a predictable schedule.
2. Maintain a calm atmosphere in the home.
3. Avoid excessive stimulation in the home (frequent visitors, loud music, etc.)
4. Practice calming activities ( quiet music, lit candles, etc)
5. Ignore the annoying but unimportant things (pick your battles, don't sweat the small stuff)
6. Define clear expectations for every family member.
7. Share family rituals (exercise together, church, meals)
8. Schedule and participate in regular family meetings to discuss issues as they arise.
9. Use your support networks and take breaks from each other.

Warning Signs of Increasing Stress

1. Significant changes in your sleep patterns.
2. Significant changes in your eating habits.
3. Skipping your medications.
4. Increased levels of agitation.
5. Increased depression and/or mood swings.
6. Social withdrawal from the family.
7. Increase in arguments or fighting.
8. Change in interest in intimate relationships.

Thank You

To the woman who I feel saved my life: what I wrote her in my thank you card :(for Tara) "Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying "I will try again tomorrow". You gave me the courage to see the truth and make the choice to get better. You showed me I was strong and that I have the power to shape my life into something beautiful - one day at a time, sometimes, one breath at a time. ♥ Tara, I want to say thank you for all that you have done for me, but I feel like the words don't do you justice. I hope you go to bed each night knowing what a wonderful, amazing, beautiful human being you are. You work so hard, and your work truly saves lives. I feel like you saved mine. You deserve more good than could ever be given. I will never forget you. I am forever grateful to you. - Casey

More Progress...

I have now lost 10 lbs. Down to 227 from 237 in a month. That's my biggest, quickest weight loss in years. Last year when I went from 232 to 214 it was real slow, about a lb a week. I am attributing this to the following factors.

1. Not drinking. I am saving hundreds of empty calories a day, and my liver. ;)
2. Taking my medication. My doctor suggested I break the Metformin in half and just take it more through out the day, to help prevent side effects, and it has worked. Less side effects, means I don't skip my medication and in turn the medication actually has a chance to work.
3. Loss of appetite. Now this one I am not sure of. It is either from depression or the medication, or a combination of both. I am still eating 3 meals a day, but I'm just not as hungry. I find often I don't finish a whole meal.

Now there are going to be a few changes.

1. My doctor has changed the Metformin I take to the ER version, which is the Extended Release kind, this should also help with side effects. Hopefully I can get to a point that I can take a whole pill at once and not get sick. They do say you build up a tolerance for Metformin over time for the side effects, but most people I have ever spoken to who are on or have been on Metformin simply hated the drug, but loved the results of weight loss and restored fertility.
2. My doctor has increased my spironolactone from 50 mg to 100 mg. This is the drug that lowers my testosterone levels. Last time I saw her she raised my estrogen and progesterone to a .5 mg and 1 mg pill, which is a very high dose. It took a while to get used to, imagine going from have an estrogen count of 9 when the normal is 300-500. My doctors goal is just to get my estrogen to 100.

So we are back to the balancing act. I had to stop and take care of myself. I had to admit my demons and take care of me. Next week I go back to work. I am armed with lists and lists of coping skills. I know there will be hard moments, but I have to just keep on trucking. I have 5 things that are my top 5 things: Sean, Sobriety, Health, Work, and Gardening. These are the things that come first in my life, and need to be carefully balanced in order to keep me healthy - mentally and physically.  Health is very important, and definitely belongs in the top 5. PCOS would fall under that health category. So there are things I must do to keep healthy. Eating right. Exercising. Taking my medications. Stress management. Using healthy coping skills. Relaxation. Meditation. Journaling. Etc. As much as the superficial part of me is so ashamed of how I look, and how let myself get to out of control, more importantly, I want to be healthy. I want to prevent diabetes, heart disease, infertility, hair loss, obesity, depression, etc. I try not to even think about the fact that I may not be able to have children. I figure what is the point in future tripping. But, the fear is there, in the back of my mind. I hope this year - 28 - is better than 27. I hope I keep to my resolve to make these changes, to do the daily things I need to do to make them happen. I've got on all my gear, and I am ready to climb this mountain. The right mountain.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Progress - Forward Motion

I am happy to say I have lost 7 lbs. Sadly I had gotten up to 237. It's amazing with PCOS because it can feel like you go to bed wake up and the next day you've gained 10-20 lbs. Or you walk by the ice cream isle in the grocery store and you go up a pants size. So I am down to 230, which is 2 lbs less than when I originally started this blog July 4th 2010. Sometimes the journey is just longer, harder and more complicated than we originally planned. Sometimes we have little mini journeys within the bigger journey that we have to deal with before we can get back to moving forward. I feel like for the first time in months I am moving forward again. Let me repeat that since it sounds so damn good to say: I feel like I am moving forward again! Not backwards, not sideways, not standing still ----forward!!!! And forward is the exact direction I need and want to go. My wonderful Dr. had this ingenious idea to break the 500 mg tablets of Metformin in half and just take them more through out the day. So I now take 1 250mg half tab of Metformin 4 times a day and the side effects ( nausea, tiredness, diarrhea, throwing up, etc) have been minimal. In fact almost non existent. I also think not drinking a bottle of wine a night or whatever awful thing I was doing to myself to try and drown my depression is helping me lose weight. A bottle of red wine has between 500-600 calories in it. That's a whole whole lot of calories right there. I don't miss drinking, I don't miss the calories, and I don't miss the hangovers. I am learning how to deal with life's problems sober. We come into this world sober, I don't know why we choose to poison our bodies when we get older. Then again why do people smoke, do drugs or stuff their faces with processed junk? Life's hard. Life isn't fair. Things that bring us instant pleasure are hard to say no to. That is part of my journey. Learning to say no to the things that give us instant pleasure, in return, looking forward to a goal that is much greater and much more meaningful. I'm moving forward. I am exactly where I need to be right now.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


"Grieving is a necessary passage and a difficult transition to finally letting go of sorrow - it is not a permanent rest stop" - Dodinsky

"Give Sorrow words: the grief that does not speak whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break" - William Shakespeare

When people think of grief they think of death, but grief can exist in many other forms. Most of us take our grief, from whatever cause, and stuff it down like a magnet, collecting more pain and grief along the way. At some point in our lives we have events or losses that trigger our grief. I have learned that there are 5 stages.

1.Denial — "I feel fine."; "This can't be happening, not to me."

Denial is usually only a temporary defense for the individual. This feeling is generally replaced with heightened awareness of possessions and individuals that will be left behind after death.

2.Anger — "Why me? It's not fair!"; "How can this happen to me?"; '"Who is to blame?"

Once in the second stage, the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person is very difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy.

3.Bargaining — "I'll do anything for a few more years."; "I will give my life savings if..."

The third stage involves the hope that the individual can somehow postpone or delay death. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. Psychologically, the individual is saying, "I understand I will die, but if I could just do something to buy more time..."

4.Depression — "I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"; "I'm going to die... What's the point?"; "I miss my loved one, why go on?"

During the fourth stage, the dying person begins to understand the certainty of death. Because of this, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time crying and grieving. This process allows the dying person to disconnect from things of love and affection. It is not recommended to attempt to cheer up an individual who is in this stage. It is an important time for grieving that must be processed.

5.Acceptance — "It's going to be okay."; "I can't fight it, I may as well prepare for it."

In this last stage, the individual begins to come to terms with her/his mortality or that of a loved one.

The above example uses death. But again death is not the only thing people grieve.We will all at some point in our lives face grief. Whether is be the loss of a marriage, the death of a loved one, or a major change in our lives we cannot control.  I think it is ok for people with PCOS to grieve. In fact I think it is important. To acknowledge the loss of control we have over our bodies. To possibly not be able to have children. To likely develop obesity, heart disease, diabetes, etc. The cycle of grief is in itself a beautiful thing, because in the end there is peace and there is acceptance. And along the way we face our demon. We recognize it. We mourn it. And then we let it go. I am not giving up on getting better, but I think before I can get better I need to find that peace. Maybe the act of searching for that peace is in itself getting better.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Eating Healthy - Eating In vs. Eating Out

Sean and I were "discussing" the cost of eating healthy. Sean and I grew up in two different worlds. My world was full of home cooked meals, no soda, no junk. We weren't rich, and my mom pinched pennies and clipped coupons like a pro. Always had her calculator out to decipher which was cheapest by the ounce. Sean grew up on more cheap foods. Ramon was a staple. Hamburger helper.Beans and rice.  Fast food when they could afford it. ( I would have been so jealous as  a child). So in these tough economic times, when we are all looking to save where we can the question arose - what is really gets you the most bang for the buck? Eating out costs Sean and I on average $30-50 at a sit down restaurant. Going through a drive through cost us $10-20. So eating out 3 nights a week is $150. Driving through 5 times a week is another $100. So that's $250, plus whatever small amount of food we have laying around the house. I'd estimate $300-350 a week on food for 2 people. I went through our recent transactions on my debit and credit cards and 70% were food. So we decided ok it is time for a change. It is no secret we both need to lose a large amount of weight. We have both had success in the past only to fall. We have also tried every "diet" out there. Really what I have decided is the smart way to eat is as follows:

1. eat lots of lien protein with every meal
2. limit carbohydrates, and when you do eat carbs eat high fiber carbs because at least they are more filling
3. Don't deny yourself any food. If you have a craving so bad then have a little. But be conscience of the portion size.
4. veggies veggies veggies
5. fruit is good but should be more of a dessert than part of the meal because it is very high in sugar
6. Remember " A calorie in a calorie out" if you want to lose weight you've got to eat less calories than your body is burning and lastly
7. Exercise. Our ancestors didn't sit on their butts 8 hours a day then go home and sit on their butts until they fell asleep. No they worked physical jobs. They walked places. You have to find exercise you find fun, but we've all got to do it. Walking, biking, dancing, yoga, whatever - just do it. I think (even though I am not in good enough shape yet to do this) we should all probably aim for an hour of "exercise" a day.
8. if you have PCOS and you are taking medications like Metformin then take your medication. Don't stop cause you want to cheat. If you cheat let the medicine make you sick. You will be less likely to cheat the next time.

And that is my unlicensed unprofessional opinion on what works. So today Sean and I spent about $200 at Sun Harvest, Sam's and H-E-B stocking up on enough food and snacks to last us the entire week so that we should not have to venture from our home when we get hungry. Or call the guy who delivers either. $350 vs. $200 is big savings. And, you get much more bang for your buck, Because the food is healthy. So let's see how this up coming week goes and if Sean and I can resist the temptation of fast food, take out and dinner's out. This is our goal for the week.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Hard Climb Back Up The Mountain

"I took my love and I took it down, I climbed a mountain and I turned around, and I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills, well the landslide brought me down" - Stevie Knicks

I know obviously "Landslide" is a song about love, but we can also get our own messages out of songs that the author never intended. That's one of the beautiful things about music and art, we the receiver can perceive however we please. I thought over a year ago July 4th 2010 when I started this blog, that I was going to climb that mountain. And when I got to the top I was going to do a couple of back flips and then throw a huge party. I did well. I worked my ass off for months losing almost 20 lbs (which for a person with PCOS is no small feat). I thought I was climbing that mountain. But, then I started loosing sight of the goal. The stress of life began to overwhelm me. My drinking got out of control. I chose to drink rather than to take the Metformin, the very medication that was helping me get better. I maintained my weight loss for many months. And, I lied to myself that I would pick it back up next week. When I would try and take the medication again, I would get sick as a dog. The thing about Metformin is that you can't stop and start it. You've got to stay on it. And you sure as hell shouldn't drink. It says so right on the label in BIG BOLD LETTERS. But an addict can rationalize anything in their minds. Make and excuse. Find a way around. Drinking became more important to me than any of my goals of losing weight, looking great for my wedding, getting healthy and having a baby. And so I started to climb the wrong mountain. This mountain I will call the  "Pile of Shit Mountain". Excuse my french. This was a mountain of pain and denial. Of excuses and making the wrong decisions. A mountain filled with late night runs to the convenience store for ice cream, candy bars and wine. Things I thought were making me feel better. Right between the Good Mountain and the Mountain of Shit there is a dam and behind it is the biggest lake of emotion you will ever see. We all have one. Each time a hole would appear in my dam I would fill it with the wrong crap. Food and alcohol. Now crap food and excessive alcohol do not make good cement. In fact if you read the back of a bag of cement they are definitely not listed in the ingredients. So my wall was weak, and eventually my wall broke. And just like Stevie Knicks says " I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills and the landslide brought me down". All the holes I patched with the wrong ingredients burst and my dam started crying. And this is where I find myself today. I have gotten off the pile of shit mountain. I haven't had a drink in 22 days. I waved the white flag. Or for Stevie's sake I'll say I sent a white dove. And I hopped a ride over the right mountain. So today I stand at the bottom of the mountain. And I have never been so thankful in my life, because this is right where I am supposed to be. Every day I am mixing the right cement patching the holes in the damn that holds back my emotion, but not before I let a little more of the bad emotion go as not to put too much pressure on the dam. When I see my reflection I'm not going to lie, I still don't love what I see, but I know this will take time. It will take time to climb the right mountain. It will take time to learn to love myself. And every day that I make the right decisions I take another step up the right mountain. I know along the way there will be bridges over to the Mountain of Shit and I will have to make the choice not to walk across those bridges.  But every time I do I will be stronger. Every day I stay on the right mountain I get stronger. And, someday I will reach the top of my mountain. And I will write my own song. One where the landslide doesn't bring me down. And when I look at my reflection in the snow covered hills I will see a beautiful, strong, loving, wonderful person who deserves to be exactly where she stands.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


There are times in life where we have to realize that our problems are bigger than ourselves. Sometimes we have to surrender to outside help. One of the things that PCOS causes is depression. When they put me on the higher estrogen I literally could no longer function. I am getting help seeing a slew of doctors. I am starting out with Wellbutrin once a day and Klonopin four times a day.I am not allowed to drink at all, which is a big change for me.  I am also taking some time off work. I can't make it more than a few hours without having some kind of break down and crying. The simplest tasks seem impossible. So right now my main focus is getting back to a good place, and when I get there I will start working again on loosing the weight and getting healthy so that I can have a baby and live a long healthy life.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Broken Record

Sometimes I feel like a broken record. We went on vacation for Sean's birthday so I decided not to take my Metformin so I could cheat a little. One month later I am still cheating and have missed a whole month of Metformin. I gained 10 lbs in just a few weeks. Amazing. I started taking my meds again yesterday. I also went and saw my doctor. Had to hand my head and own up to  my failure. I figure all I can do is keep trying. I am adjusting still to the estrogen. I am going to take half doses of metformin until my body gets used to it. The goal is to get me up to 3 500 mg pills per day. My doctor says many of her patients who have diabetes can't handle the metformin, but unfortunitaly there is no other medication out there for PCOS. I don't know why PCOS doesn't get more funding or research. I think mostly because it isn't life threatening, although it leads to life threatening diseases such as diabetes, heart diseas, obesity, etc. Most women with PCOS don't find out until they have problems trying to have a baby. I guess I should consider myself luck to have found out at 26. At least I know what I need to do to get healthy, now I just have to make myself do it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


I don't know what is the more frustrating part of PCOS. There are many crappy things, but I think the most frustrating for me at least at this moment is gaining weight even though I am dieting. Yes, it is true women with PCOS become insulin resistant and go into what is called Metobolic Syndrome and they will gain weight even when they stick to diet and/or exercise plans. Now 2 weeks ago the weight gain started right about the time I started my new quadrupel strength estrogen/progesteron pill. Now in theory this pill is supposed to help, but in the meantime it is turning me into a crazy woman who is apparently also gaining weight. So now I am in survival mode. I am just trying not to gain weight. I don't know how long until my body adjusts to this pill. I would think 1-3 months, but I will ask my dr. the next time I speak to her. Having PCOS you have to find a magic balance in order to lose weight. I've done it in the past, but it is really hard. I haven't lost faith and I don't plan on stopping the slow carb diet but I just wanted to vent how frustrating it is to be eating so healthy and still be gaining weight. Welcome to the world of PCOS.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Four Part Balancing Act

I have a read what feels like a million articles on PCOS. I have seen many doctors and I think I finally have it norrowed down the plan that is going to get me back to healthy. It is a four part plan. A balancing act if you will.

1. Diet
2. Exercise
3. Medication
4. Supplements

1. Diet

  Since people with PCOS are insulin resistant, the best diet to follow is a low carb high protein diet simlar to the kind of diets doctor's reccomend for diabetics.

2. Exercise

  Exercise helps with insulin resistance. It also helps with cardiovascular disease, which is a side effect of PCOS.

3. Medication

  Metformin, Progesterone, Estrogen, and Sprinolactone

4. Supplements

 I am still researching this further, but definitaley fish oil to help fight inflamation caused by weight gain and insulin resistance. I want to reseach more into homeopathic treatments for PCOS, which may include natural hormone supplements.

Also important is accountability. Seeing my doctor every 3 months to have lab work done and to monitor my progress. Also accountability to myself. There is no magic pill that fixes PCOS. The treatment is a combination of medication and lifestyle changes. In order to get better I have to get myself better. No one is going to do that for me. It will take sacrifice and discipline. It will be a hard and slow process, but the reward is so much better than the alternative. It isn't just about weight. It isn't just about fertility. Its about my overall health in general, and in the bigger picture my over all happiness.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Slow Carb Diet Slowly Working

My mother has lost 30 lbs in 3 or so months in the slow carb diet. I am very inspired ! This marks the 3rd week of the slow carb diet I am down 6 lbs. So that is 12 lbs from where I originally started about a year ago. Not the progress I wanted. I hoped for more, but I failed to deliver. There are days I wake up and I feel very motivated and I tell myself it doesn't matter how long it takes or how many times I have to start over. And then there are days where  I feel sorry for myself for having PCOS for having gained 80 lbs and for having to even eat a certain way. For having it be so damn hard to lose weight. I just want to be better. Time goes by so slow but its gone too damn fast. I don't want to live the rest of my life this way. I want to be happy and I want to be healthy. For anyone thinking of doing the slow carb thing here are the pros and cons.

The Pros

If you are taking metformin like I am you no longer have sugar interaction with the drugs and therfor will see a dramtic decrease in nausea vomitting and other unpleasant stomach problems

You don't have to count calories you simply stick to certain foods

Meals are simple one lean protien one bean/legume and one vegitable

Results -- the average person will lose 2-3 lbs per week

Cheat Day! One day a week you get to eat anything and everything you want - its like a celebration of food and you still lose weight

The Cons

you have to give up fruit, carbs, dairy, etc.

Beans at every meal is very strange and hard to get used to

Cravings - if you have a sweet tooth there is only so much sugar free jello you can eat before you find yourself with a pint of Ben and Jerry's in your hand

Sometimes cheat day seems so far away .......

I plan on sticking with this way of eating if for no other reason than I am no longer sick off the Metformin. To me the weight loss is an added bonus. They have quadrupled my estrogen pill so other than making me crazy while I adjust, I am hoping it doesn't put a stall to my weight loss. This first week on the new pill I didn't lose any weight. The two prior weeks I lost 6 lbs. 4 lbs the first week and 2 lbs the 2nd week. My body may just need time to adjust. I am hopeful. I appreciate all the kind words from friends and family who have been through this rollecoaster ride of diet drugs and fertility issues. It is good to know we are not alone.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Society and Weight

I think society needs to get its story straight. Society says it is shamefull to be overweight, yet society says the same about caring if you are overweight. Example you gain weight you say to people "I am so unhappy I feel awful" to which they instinctually reply " you shouldn't care what anyone thinks" or " you look good big" or "don't say that, its what's on the inside that counts". Meantime there are 20 infomercials on each night telling you how your dreams can come true if you buy/use their machine/product. The diet and exercise industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. And those same people who weigh more than 50 lbs less than you later can't help but mention how they themselves would love to lose a few pounds. C'mon world we've got to get our stories straight. How can something be not ok and ok at the same time? I told our therepist that I gained 80 lbs in two years which was caused by PCOS and that I don't feel pretty anymore, to which she replied "but Sean still thinks you are pretty". Is that supposed to fix the problem? The problem isn't Sean, the problem is me. I don't feel pretty. Sean can think I am the Queen of Sheba, but that isn't going to change my self image. I don't know the secret to feeling better about myself. I don't think a lot of us do. That is probably why there are a million self help books out there. When I say this is a journey, man am I ever not kidding.

On a positive note. The Slow carb diet has been going well. On an unexpected, yet positive, note I have found that cutting carbs has pretty much gotten rid of the stomach problems I was having with the Metformin. This is good because now I am more likely to actually take my medication 3 times a day like I am supposed to. The slow carb diet is strange in a way because you have to get used to weight fluctuations due to the once a week cheat day. The first week I lost 4 lbs. Then after cheat day I gained 2 lbs back and now I am still waiting for that weight to drop off and to lose more. I don't expect to lost 4lbs every week. I would be thrilled with 2 lbs per week. And, now that I have discovered the added benefits of my stomach feeling better I plan on sticking with this way of eating for a long time. At least until I am healthy enough to get off of the Metformin. Oh that will be such a happy day. I appreciate medication for the wonderful things it can do, but most medications have side effects and Metformin for me has been the worst medication for side effects I have ever taken.

So just to re-cap. Society is strange. Metformin is bad. And the slow carb diet is good.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Slow Carb Day 3

Woke up this morning feeling pretty good. for giggles I weighed myself this morning and I've lost 4 lbs. But, I am 99% sure that is just water weight. I am optimistic that my total weight loss for this week will be very motivating. I have had some carbohydrate withdrawels. Yesterday at work I caved and got a skinny vanilla latte which has like 110 calories. I was 7 hours into my 9 hour day and I just wasn't going to make it without something. I figure that was a lot better than the sushi I wanted to buy downstairs. Note to self put sushi on my cheat day meal list. Better yet one of those cheap chinese buffets that serves all the yummy fried foods and half decent sushi. mmmmmmm........ So day 2 and Sean was already complaining about beans. It's funny I wonder why it is the beans you seem to get sick of first? Well over time the carb withdrawels will go away and Sean and I will learn to accept the beans on the simple fact that we are hungry and they have energy in them.

I took measurement this morning. Wow that was depressing and eye opening. My once always 28 inch waist has now ballooned to 41 inches. Here are my starting measurements.

Chest 45"
Waist 41"
Hips 50"
Theeigh 29.5"
Knee 20.5"
Arms 15"

I am going to conintue to not only weight myself but to measure in case there are weeks that I don't lose weight I may lose inches and that will keep me motivated.

Motivation. Motivation. Motivation. That is the key right now. It's just another phase in a long journey. You don't win by getting there fastest - you just win if you get there.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Today I came into work, and a co-worker greeted me with such enthusiasm. She had read my blog. She was so excited. I said, "Well I haven't lost any more weight yet" and she said "That's not the point. The point is just put it all out there. You said this is where I am this is where I want to be and this is what I am going to do." It made me smile. It feels good to have people support you.

Day 1 of the Slow Carb Diet went well. Today we are having a pot luck and work. I have a plan. They are having tacos. I will just make a taco salad. Lettuse meat beans guacamole tomatos etc. I cooked my eggs and turkey bacon this morning and put it in some tuppaware and ate them once I got to work. Yesterday Sean and I actually went into the work out room and proceeded to exercise. On purpose mind you. I had to open the air vent. It must have been closed for 4 months.

You get one cheat day per week on the slow carb diet. I think it will have to be this saturday since we are going to a wedding and they are having an Italian food dinner. But, normally we will have our cheat day on Sunday. Any time I get a craving for something I shouldn't eat I write it down and tell myself I can have it Sunday. Its a great way to prevent cheating or binging.

The truth is there are a million diets out there in the world. The best diet is simply the one you stick to.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A New Plan And Some Catching Up

I realized the other day that I have never met one of my best friends growing up son's even though she made the attempt to see me. Why? Because I was too emberrassed for her to see me grossly overweight. That really makes me sad and it makes me angry - angry at myself. I realize more than ever that more than just losing weight for health reasons I also ( many of us) need to change the way we feel about overweight people - including ourselves. We are after all - all just people. So I think I will make that call.

Speaking of calls I got a call from my dr. about a week ago and my estrogen is at a whopping 16. Yes normall is 200 or more. My worst ever was 9. Basically the estrogen level of a dead person. I have been taking metformin for a year now and I have taken the spironolactone and the estrogen pills, and I really don't feel like I have made the kind of progress that I should be. I realize and I blame 90% of it on me. I was doing so well losing weight until November of last year. I lost 17 lbs. From 231 to 214 but I have alas gained 10 of it back. I am almost back where I started.

So the game plan is a follows. A higher dosage of estrogen. Metformin 3 times a day. Continue with the spironolactone. (If I could state one positive I have notices a great improvement in hair re-growth combining the spironolactone and just over the counter Rogain) Exercise goal is 3 times per week. And, following the great success my own mother has had losing 30 lns in about 3 months, the Slow Carb Diet.

My goal according to my dr. is to get my estrogen up to 100. My goal as far as weight loss would be to try and lose 50 lbs on the Slow Carb Diet. I would say in the next 7-8 months. The ultimate goal is to get pregnant in the next 2-3 years.

No matter how many times you fail or fall down, getting up is what matters.  I may have to "get up" 100 times - but as long as I get to where I want to be - that is what  really matters.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Long Hard Month

I haven't written in this blog in over a month. It was a hard month. Sean was hospitalized with 5 blood clots in his left leg. Then shortly after his beloved grandfather passed away. I have spent the past month taking care of him. I know he would do the same for me. During the past month I comforted myself with food. There were days I didn't take my medication for want of not feeling sick. I realize that it has been months and months, since before the holidays, that I was on track like I should be. I know that I have two choices at this point. 1. I can feel bad about it, feel sorry for myself, and give in and give up or 2.  I can learn from my mistakes, pick myself up by the bootstraps and take it from here.

The video below is from spring of last year, right around when I hit my heaviest. It is really hard for me to watch. I honestly barely recognize myself. I have actually ran into people who don't recognize me either, and it hurts and its emberassing. But, my feeling about the way I look are truly superficial in the big picture. More than anything, I just want to get healthy. Nothing drove that point home more than watching Sean get so sick at the age of 29. I know that if we let ourselves fall back into old un-healthy habits, that we will both end up being very sick un-happy people. We both have a choice in the matter. It isn't easy to live healthy. Obviously this is something most people struggle with. I always wonder why the things in life that are bad are the easiest things to do? I guess you get out of life what you put into life. We are both working hard at putting more into life to get the most out of the precious time we have. I remain optimistic. =)

The Whipple Family - Live at The Woodzie 2010 (Part 2 of 2)

Monday, January 24, 2011

50 Things To Make Your Life Better

I read this and I loved this. Plagerism is the highest form of flatery ;) Nothing against religion, but if people read this every Sunday instead of pretending to follow along in church (not you of course) then the world would be a lot better place. People preach that in order to have "salvation" all you have to do is believe in God and Jesus. Well I say that's great - go and get your holey salvation, but while you are stuck here on Earth you might as well try your darndest to be the best happiest person you can be. I think that is what God would really want. I doubt he created us to be mean, guilt ridden superficial beings. So go be wonderful! Start by reading this.......

from the High Existence website

1. Memorize something everyday. Not only will this leave your brain sharp and your memory functioning, you will also have a huge library of quotes to bust out at any moment. Poetry, sayings and philosophies are your best options.

2. Constantly try to reduce your attachment to possessions. Possessions do end up owning you, not the other way around. Become a person of minimal needs and you will be much more content.

3. Develop an endless curiosity about this world. Become an explorer and view the world as your jungle. Stop and observe all of the little things as completely unique events. Try new things. Get out of your comfort zone and try to experience as many different environments and sensations as possible. This world has so much to offer, so why not take advantage of it?

4. Remember people’s names so that they feel appreciated and for your own future benefit when you want something from that person. To do this, say their name back to them when they introduce themselves. Then repeat the name in your head a number of times until you are sure you have it. Continue to use their name in conversation as much as possible to remove any chance of forgetting it. If you’re still having trouble, make up a rhyme about their name: “Dan the Man” or “Natalie flatters me.”

5. Get fit! It’s ridiculous to think that we have one body, one sole means of functioning, and people are too lazy to take care of themselves. Fit bodies lead to better health, confidence and more success with the opposite sex. I’d say those are 3 very good reasons to get in shape.

6. Learn to focus only on the present. The past is unchangeable so it is futile to reflect on it unless you are making sure you do not repeat past mistakes. The future is but a result of your actions today. So learn from the past to do better in the present so that you can succeed in the future.

7. Even more specifically, live in THIS moment. Even 10 minutes ago is the past. If you live purely in this moment you will always be happy because there is nothing wrong in this split-second.

8. Smile more often. Whenever you get a grin on your face, your brain is releasing serotonin, the happy hormone. Smiling is the natural way to force yourself to be happy. Many people even smile for five minutes straight in the morning to get themselves in a great mood for the day. It is a very powerful tool that is utilized less and less as we grow older and need happiness more than ever. Just remember that while happiness leads to smiles, smiles also lead to happiness.

9. Drink water. Hydration is tremendously important for overall health. Soda has absolutely ZERO nutritional content; it’s like pouring a punch of sugar and syrup into your cup. Instead, fill it with life-replenishing water. It may taste plain at first if you’re coming off of a heavy soda-drinking streak, but you’ll soon find yourself addicted to it. 10 glasses per day is optimal, how many have you been getting lately?

10. Don’t take life so seriously! Learn to laugh at the little things and this whole “existence” thing will be a whole lot easier. Be amused by your mistakes and failures and be thankful that you learned your lesson and won’t mess up like that again. And most importantly do things that you enjoy! Life is not strictly business, it can be mixed with pleasure.

11. Think positive thoughts. When you find yourself thinking a negative thought, stop it immediately by any means necessary. Slap yourself in the face, yell something positive at the top of your lungs or jump up and down. Do whatever it takes to get back to a positive mindset as such is essential for continual happiness and success.

12. Read books. No explanation needed.

13. Get in the sun. Superman was completely re-energized when he flew out to space and soaked in some rays and you can do the same right outside your front door (if you live in a constantly dreary place, my apologies). The sun feels amazing: your entire body will be coursing with warmth and life.

14. Help others. I’ll just give you a plethora of reasons why this is a MUST

* Helping people has a ripple effect.

* You grow by giving and helping others. It can change you in ways you never expected

* Your relationship with that person will become stronger

* It’s the most fulfilling thing you can do on this planet.

* You might be able to call in a favor later when you need some help

* Karma (if you believe in it)

* Because there are more people in this world than just you

15. Set aside a specific time to worry each day. Ponder all of your problems and anxieties during that time so that they will not distract you during work or moments of pleasure. This way you can be extremely efficient with your time and avoid focusing on negative things as much as possible. If you get all of your worry out of the way and have the mental fortitude to keep from reverting back to them, you will be much happier on the daily.

16. Be honest at all times. Lies lead to nothing but trouble. Being known as trustworthy is an excellent trait to maintain and essential to having integrity.

17. Sleep less. Fully adjusting to a new sleep cycle can take up to 21 days so don’t give up if you feel tired after switching to 5-hour nights. The “required” 8 hour/night is for normal people. If you’re reading THIS article on THIS site, you are not normal. So figure out how much sleep YOU really need and adjust accordingly. As enjoyable as sleep is, waking existence is much more fulfilling and efficient. IF this really sparks your interest, check out alternate sleep cycles with which you can be fine off of 2 hours of sleep per day.

18. Read “Bringers of Light” and “Conversations with God” by Neale Donald Walsch. These books will help you decide what you want to do in this life and how to get to that point. They will also profoundly change the way you look at the purpose of existence. Read them!

19. Figure out what your goals and dreams are. So many people wander aimlessly through life simply go for whatever small thing they want moment by moment. Instead, decide what your perfect life consists of and begin to put the steps in motion to reach that place. The most satisfying thing in the world (yes, better than sex, much better) is overcoming a challenge and reaching a goal. We are the happiest when we are growing and working towards something better.

20. Start your day off right. Wake up and set aside an hour for personal development activities (meditation, self-introspection, observing nature, etc.) Do the things that make you feel blissful, optimistic and empowered so that you can set a positive tone for your day. I guarantee that once you start doing this, your days will be more enjoyable and fulfilling. Today is going to be the best day of your life. Duh.

21. Utilize ‘The Burning Method.’ Whenever a fear or worry or complaint comes to mind, close your eyes and imagine writing down the thought on a piece of paper. Then proceed to light the paper and fire and watch it disintegrate. Even better, actually write it down and burn it. You won’t have any problem ridding your mind of the thought after doing this.

22. Travel. Frequent Flyer Master Anyone who has ever gone anywhere will tell you that traveling is one of the most exciting and life-changing activities that you can do. Observing a different culture will expand your mind while making you further appreciate the life you already live. This goes back to becoming an explorer: this world is your jungle so go explore! Who knows, maybe you’ll find a place you love so much that you decide to move. Imagine the positive repercussions a new environment could have on your life.

23. The Rubber Band Method This is the third and final way to rid yourself of negative thoughts (hopefully by now you have figured out that this is very important!). Place a rubber band around your wrist and snap it against your skin anytime a negative thought finds its way into your head. This classical conditioning technique associates a slight pain with negative thoughts like Pavlov associated food/salivation with the sound of a bell. Sounds a bit cruel at first but it only stings for a second, I promise. Plus the outcome, having only positive thoughts, far outweighs a little slap on the wrist here and there.

24. Learn to be unaffected by the words of others. Most people get very upset when they are called negative names by others, but there is a simple trick to overcoming this. Here it is: If I went up to you and called you a fire hydrant, would you be upset? Of course not. Obviously you are not a fire hydrant, you are a human being. The same concept applies to when someone calls you something that you know you are not. They are foolish for saying such things, so why would you react with such anger? The only exception is when someone calls you something that is true! In this case, you should thank them for alerting you to a weakness, one that you can now work on changing.

25. Read “Zen and the Art of Happiness” by Chris Prentiss. This book will give you the knowledge and instruction to be happy at all times regardless of the circumstances. Yes, this sounds like an oversimplification of happiness, but I assure you that this book will change you in an amazing way.

26. Develop the ability to forgive. Forgiveness is something that most people fail miserably at even thought it’s so simple. Grudges only bring more misery to those who hold them and prevent good relations with the target. YOU makes mistakes all of the time so why not have mercy when other do? Remaining angry feels horrible while forgiving someone brings a refreshing sensation to the mind and healing to the relationship.

27. Be the person that makes others feel special. Be known for your kindness and sympathy.

28. Learn to lucid dream, or to realize when you are dreaming so that you can control your dreams. Sleep feels good, but its rather boring and unproductive. With lucid dreaming under your belt, night time can be even more exciting than when you are awake. You can do anything: fly, travel to other planets, party with a celebrity, get intimate with your dream boy/girl, etc. Many lucid dreams have also reported being able to speak directly with the subconscious during dreams by demanding to be taken to it after becoming lucid. For those that know a thing or two about your subconscious, that is a BIG deal.

29. Visualize daily. It has been said and proven time and time again that what you focus on is what you get. If you complain all of the time, you will run into more of the things you complain about. The same goes for good things like health, wealth and happiness. So spend some time in the morning imagining yourself achieving whatever it is that you currently desire. Focus is key in this exercise, so choose a quiet environment where you won’t be disturbed. If you’re having trouble focusing and continually find that your mind has wandered to something else, read about meditation in the following life tip. There is a lot more to this concept, so check out the full article on visualization and the law of attraction here.

30. Meditate everyday for at least 20 minutes. In this modern world where everyone is so connected to everything else via cell phones, TV and internet, most people rarely enjoy the beauty of silence. The ability to quiet your mind and relax your body is an art and skill that everyone should develop. Simply sit somewhere, preferably in nature, and focus on your breathing or try to think about nothing. This is going to be extremely hard at first! You might find it boring or just plain impossible to think of nothing, but you will get better and you will learn to love it. Post-meditation, you will feel extremely clear headed and.. well, just plain wonderful. The only way to really understand this sensation is to try it.

31. Learn to control your mind. What kind of skilled human are you if you cannot even control your own thoughts? While the human mind is described as being a stream of consciousness, that does not mean you can’t decide where your stream flows. Techniques like meditation and the 3 ways to flush out negative thoughts will aid you immensely in learning to control your mind.

32. Learn to control your emotions. The only person that can make you unhappy is you! You are the one that decides to be affected by the words and actions of others. Realize this so that the next time you experience a negative emotion, you can find the strength within yourself to overcome it.

33. Take a class in speed reading. Books are full of information that can enhance your knowledge-base, vocabulary and yourself as a person. Speed reading is an easy way to get at this info faster so that you can have more time for other endeavors.

34. Relax! This one is for you work-o-holics out there (myself included). Yes, work is very important and productive but you need to take some time to chill out everyday or you are going to burn out faster than a candle with no oxygen. Additionally, you need to reward yourself for a job well done. What’s the use of doing all of that work if you can’t have a little fun from time to time anyways?

35. Work on making good first impressions. Practice a strong, firm handshake and the small talk that generally goes along with meeting someone for the first time. People won’t know what to think of you if you have nothing more to say beyond “My name is _______, nice to meet you.” Also make sure you remember names, as mentioned previously. Who knows, you may be going into business with or marrying this person you’re meeting for the first time if you make a good impression. Be sure and make an excellent one.

36. Learn to use your eyes to their full potential:

* Make constant eye contact when in conversation. Looking away (especially down) is a sign of inferiority and unsureness. Instead, look at your conversation partner dead in the eyes and keep them locked on

* Master the piercing stare. You know when someone looks at you and it feels like they can see into your soul? Well that’s not a hereditary characteristic, it just takes practice. Work on sharpening your gaze in the mirror. You’ll know you have it when it’s intimidating to continue looking at yourself

* Master the one-eyebrow raise. This one isn’t necessary by any means, but hey, why not? Pick a brow to learn with and go look in a mirror. Raise both of your eyebrows but use your hand to hold down the brow that you want to stay down. This will probably feel very stupid at first but if you keep trying, you will eventually pin down the muscle you need to flex to get that one brow up

37. Be mysterious. Don’t let off everything about you and definitely leave out some major details. There is something both alluring and mesmerizing about someone that no one knows fully about. I’m not saying to confide in no one or to alienate yourself. Just think James Bond.

38. Come up with a life mantra. You know, like “Carpe Diem” or “Live life to the fullest,” but not as cliché. Make it something that really hits home with you so that you will actually stick to it. Make sure it’ not so specific that it rarely applies but also not so general that it’s not personal.

39. Get good at something. Call it a hobby or a passion, whatever it is, just get damn good at it. Your occupation does not count! Make it something that you can practice often enough to excel at. Examples: Magic tricks, surfing, ping pong, creating short films, and unicycling. It can be anything but I would recommend choosing something that: 1) You are passionate about 2) You can bust out at any moment to display your skills for any discerning crowd. My mind goes immediately to aerobatics and break dancing, but that’s just me.

40. Work out those abs. Above any other muscle group in the entire body, the abs are the most important AND, for guys, the most impressive to the opposite sex. They constitute your core, the center point of your body. Your ability to balance comes almost completely from the strength of your abdominal muscles and balance is vital to performance in any physical activity. Summary: they’re very important. For more info on how to work out your abs, check out this video.

41. Keep your brain sharp. The majority of people are stuck in ruts. They go to the same job everyday, hang out with the same friends and eat at the same places. While that may feel safe, it’s not the most stimulating lifestyle for your brain. Those synapses have been built up enough, so try something that you do NOT know how to do! Buy a model car kit, master the art of sudoku or crosswords, or go pick up another major at your nearest college. The point is you need to be learning new things to keep your brain honest. Form new synapses by forcing your mind to work in ways it has not worked before. Just like physical workouts, doing too much of the same exercise will eventually give no results. Switch it up!

42. Read something inspirational right before bed and after waking. This will set get you in a great mood for sleep and for the day. Read anything from a famous speech to your favorite self-improvement book. Try to read something that get’s you really excited in the morning especially so that you’ll leave your house beaming with energy and wonder.

43. Do what you love.Working for Yourself Guide There is a huge difference between making a life and making a living; which one are you making right now? So many spend their entire lives trying to make as much money as possible so that they can afford to do what they really want later. It makes no sense to settle in life until you’re 65 so that you can retire and do what you want when you’re already WAY past your prime. We only live life once so why wouldn’t you want to spend it pursuing your bliss? To do anything else would be a tragic waste of the freedom you are allowed if you are reading this right now. Follow your bliss and you will be a thousand times more happy than your retirement date and 40+ years younger.

44. Choose your friends wisely. You are affected far more than you think by the people you spend your time with. Do your friends share your values? Do they encourage you when you speak of your goals and dreams or do they scoff? Make sure the people around you are conducive to the lifestyle you want to lead or you will find yourself being dragged again and again into behavior that distances you from your desires. Friends with a habit of producing negative thoughts will especially hinder you. This can be a hard task to follow through with if you realize you good friend is one of these saboteurs, but you must be firm! Don’t let anyone get in the way of you being all that you can be.

45. Don’t burn bridges. By that I mean maintain your relationships with people even if you think you are never going to see them again. For example, if you are quitting your job, don’t chew out your boss before leaving! You might run into him/her again later and life and wish you had never severed ties so harshly. You never know when you might need the help of someone you knew in the past. Plus there is already too much hatred in this world, why add more towards the people you interact with?

46. Keep a journal/diary. It sounds like a very monotonous habit at first, but when you get into it, that little book will become a great way to organize your thoughts and track your growth over the years. Most of us already stay awake in bed at night pondering the events of the day anyways so why not document those thoughts in an organized fashion? That will allow you to look back and observe how your way of thinking has changed over time.

47. Read “New Pyscho-Cybernetics” by Dr. Maxwell Maltz. This book will explain why the content of your thoughts has such a profound effect on your life through religious, philosophical and scientific arguments. A must read for completely understand who this life thing works.

48. Learn to use and trust your subconscious/intuition. When you spend time in silence everyday, listen not for words but for a feeling that tells you to do something. Do not mistake your own reasoning and thoughts for those of your subconscious. If you can track where the thought came from, (this thought led to that thought which led to this thought, etc.) then it was not from your subconscious. Learning to accurately discern between the two will allow you to tap into knowledge that you don’t consciously have.

49. Develop a charismatic personality. You know, the kind of personality that is surrounded by people constantly and is the life of the party. Start visualizing yourself as THAT person. Maybe take a short course on dynamic speaking and learn some jokes. Take the time to learn some party tricks and sleight of hand. Most importantly, believe that you already are charismatic even if you fail at beign the center point of the next party. Lie to yourself constantly and tell yourself that you are more warm and gregarious than Ronald Regan. Belief is the first step! Reality will come soon after.

50. Love is all there is. If you truly want to be a master of life, let love be in your every action. Love your friends, family and enemies alike. This is the most difficult thing to do out of this entire list, which is why it is listed at #50. But if you accomplish this, you will be seen as a leader among everyone that allows hate, envy, disgust and all other negative emotions into their lives. Think Gandhi. Love is so rare in this world when compared to the massive presence of hate that by exuding love, you will immediately see yourself and the people around you change. Love. Love. Love.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

1.36 Is The Magic Number

329 days to go until the big wedding. Talk about motivation. New goal - lose 1.36 lbs per week for the next 47 weeks = 64 lbs lost = ultimate goal weight of 150 lbs. It's time to kick this up a notch. After I lost the first 17 lbs, I have just been coasting along with no real weight loss for almost 3 months now! It is time to get moving.....literally!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Good Bye Holiday Weight

So yay! I lost the 4 lbs I gained over the holidays. I am back down to 214 - that is still 17 lbs lost. Now it is time to really focus on pushing over this plateau. My next big goal is to get down below 200. So 14 lbs - 14 weeks. Which should be right around cruise time in May. Also need to get into an exercise routine so I can wear shorts on this cruise. So far increasing my met formin to 3x per day hasn't been too horrible. The first couple of days I was very lathargic. One night I went to bed at 8:30 pm. My biggest problem is consistance in taking my medications. I even have one of those daily pill boxes, which helps, but I still have to remember to take them 3 times a day. Well onward we go !