Friday, October 18, 2013

PCOS Symptoms, Treatments and Weight Loss

If you want the facts on PCOS :

Common symptoms of PCOS include:


PCOS is a heterogeneous disorder of uncertain etiology.[1][2][9] There is strong evidence that it is a genetic disease. Such evidence includes the familial clustering of cases, greater concordancein monozygotic compared with dizygotic twins and heritability of endocrine and metabolic features of PCOS.[1][2][3]
The genetic component appears to be inherited in an autosomal dominant fashion with high genetic penetrance but variable expressivity in females; this means that each child has a 50% chance of inheriting the predisposing genetic variant(s) from a parent, and if a daughter receives the variant(s), then the daughter will have the disease to some extent.[2][14][15][16] The genetic variant(s) can be inherited from either the father or the mother, and can be passed along to both sons (who may be asymptomatic carriers or may have symptoms such as early baldness and/or excessive hair) and daughters, who will show signs of PCOS.[14][16] The allele appears to manifest itself at least partially via heightened androgen levels secreted by ovarian follicle theca cells from women with the allele.[15] The exact gene affected has not yet been identified.[2][3][17]
The clinical severity of PCOS symptoms appears to be largely determined by factors such as obesity.[3][7]

I have taken the pill. I have taken metformin. It didn't work. What did work, is a low GI Diet. 

The glycemic index is a useful aid for diabetics and other people who wish to control their blood glucose levels. A diet based on foods with low glycemic response has been associated with diabetes management, improved blood lipids (cholesterol), reduced risk of heart disease, and weight management[2][unreliable source?]. Not only will foods with a low glycemic index take longer to digest (therefore prolonging satiety) they will also maintain blood glucose levels at a relatively constant state. Foods with a high glycemic index not only digest quickly, but they also can cause extreme fluctuations in blood glucose.
There are some specific factors to consider in foods that can indicate their glycemic index: Low glycemic foods contain fat, protein, fiber, whole grains, raw starches, legumes, vegetables, fruits and dairy products. High glycemic foods contain refined grains, refined sugars, and increased amylopectin: amylose ratio.
There are other factors that contribute to a food's glycemic index, such as plant variety, ripeness, food processing, cooking method, and the other foods served with it.
There are criticisms of the glycemic index, including how impractical it is. The preparation and combination with other foods can alter its glycemic index. There is no requirement to display the glycemic index of a food product, and it is not always easy to predict the glycemic index of certain foods. Switching from a high glycemic index diet to a low glycemic index diet can be made relatively easy. Switching white bread and pastas to whole grain, eating breakfast cereals from oats, bran or barley, adding more fruits and vegetables when cooking, and reducing potato consumption can all aid in lowering glycemic index.

So to sum things up. Even if you don't have PCOS, and you want to lose weight, especially if you have insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome, I recommend the following steps. 

1. Go see a doctor. Have you hormone levels checked. Have your thyroid checked to rule that out. You may need to get an ultra sound. It is not fun, but it can confirm the severity of your condition.

2. Eat low GI. I do 6 days on and 1 day off. Try and eat organic whole foods as much as possible. Always keep healthy food stocked in the house. Never let yourself go hungry. Hunger is the enemy. It is all about regulating your insulin levels, which will in turn regulate your hormone levels and control the never ending cycle of the PCOS nightmare. 

3. Be patient. My doctor describes PCOS like a freight train. You have to stop it before you can reverse it. At first your weight loss may be slow, don't give up. The first week I started my low GI diet I gained 5 lbs. Then it was a slow 1 lb per week. But, I didn't give up, and now I have lost almost 70 lbs. 

There is absolutely no cure for PCOS. There isn't a magic pill you can take. You have to change the way you eat for the rest of your life, or you will be plagues with obesity, heart disease, diabetes, infertility, hair loss, acne, depression and so on. PCOS will not go away on its own. You must change the way you live. Should you choose to do the work, not only can you manage your PCOS, but you can live a very healthy and happy life. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

How I Lost 64 LBS So Far

It is hard to imagine going from this....135 lbs.

To this.....283 lbs.

To fight an upward battle that I have been fighting for the past decade. I am proud of each and every one of the 64 lbs I have lost over the past year. Here is a most recent picture at about 125 lbs.
As of today I am down to 219 lbs. So how does a person who has PCOS, metabolic syndrome, interstitial cystitis and sever depression achieve something like this?
I must have tried everything. Every diet. Every exercise plan. Every medication. It felt like if I even looked at food I gained weight. It was a nightmare. I gained weight so fast and uncontrollably, that almost every month I would have to buy bigger clothes. Now I have the opposite problem. My clothes are too big, and that is okay with me.
It seemed like I would be able to stick to a diet for about 3 months, lose 20-30 lbs and then give up and gain the weight back -plus more of course. Last fall, my husband and I came down with Mono. For three months we were sick. So sick in fact I ended up losing my job. We each lost about 30 lbs. However by May of 2013 I had gained 15 lbs back and was back up to 165 lbs. That is when I joined this website.
I learned a lot about PCOS, and I used the knowledge I gained to come up with a healthy and holistic way to get control back. The first step was radical changes in the way I eat. Six days out of the week, I eat low glycemic. Meaning I don't eat processed carbs and stick pretty much to organic lean meat, veggies, fruit, nuts and whole grains in moderation. On day seven I eat whatever I want. I think having that cheat day has helped me not give up. If I have a craving I eat it. I don't beat myself up over it. I just have a small portion and move on. I also take organic supplements from NewChapter. If you buy them at the health food store they easily cost $80, but if you buy them on they only cost around $30. I take a women's multi vitamin, fish oil, and calcium supplements since I don't eat much dairy. As far as medications, I am off of Metformin and the Pill. I take spironolactone to combat my high testosterone levels. I take lamictal for my depression. Xanax for my anxiety/panic disorder. And Adderall for my hypersomnia. I have found a beautiful balance. It took two years and over a dozen different medication combinations to find something that worked for my severe depression and anxiety. If you suffer from mental illness, like I do, don't give up. Mental health is so important. Let go of the stigma and get help, and don't give up until you get healthy!
So since May 2013, I have lost 46 lbs in around 5 months. At first it was hard. My body was fighting losing weight. My PCOS was hanging on for dear life. But, I didn't give up. There would be times the scale would not move, and times I would weigh less each day I weighed myself. There is no right or wrong way to lose weight. You have to find what works for you. I know that since I started eating low glycemic, my sugar craving are all but gone. In fact at this point I pretty much have to force myself to eat a cheat meal.
I have set a goal finally. I want to lose a total of 100 lbs. I truly believe this is something I can do. I am motivated and I am ready. I will keep you updated on my progress. Thank you to everyone who has supported me and cheered me on through this big life change.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

I Have Lost 60 Lbs

I am officially down 60 lbs. Words cannot describe how happy I am with myself and my progress. PCOS is not just a disease you get when you are trying to have a baby, PCOS is a chronic condition that 5-10 % of women have, many of whom don't even know. And, they won't know until they try and have a baby and can't. I have been battling this condition for over a decade. I knew something was wrong with me, and I spent 6 years banging on different doctors doors, being told time and again nothing was wrong. But I know my body, and I knew something was wrong. I kept gaining and losing the same 50 lbs over and over and over again. My hair was falling out. I had no energy. I was depressed. Finally 5 years ago I went to a reproductive endocrinologist, who after blood work and ultra sounds told me "you have PCOS, take the pill, call me when you want to get pregnant". That was it. I was furious and I felt helpless. So I took the pill, but that didn't help. I gained 123 lbs over the next 5 years. It wasn't until a year ago, that I finally started on the right path to getting healthy. I had been trying for years, but I guess I just hadn't figured out quite the right way about it. Now I know, that for me, what works is a low glycemic diet/lifestyle. I no longer take metformin or the pill. I take an organic multi vitamin, fish oil and spironolactone. And I eat right. I feel like my life, although it has its ups and downs, is finally on track to getting where I need to be. I want to be healthy, and I am 60 lbs closer to that !