PCOS: An Update.

*[Word to the wise, there will be a lot of talk about periods, ovaries and other such things – feel free to skip this if that isn’t your cup of tea.]

I’ve had it on my mind to write an update on this whole PCOS thing for months now. Each time I sit down to write about where I’m at, what I’m feeling, what I know and where I’m going… I just clam up. I don’t know how to adequately put it all into words – the ups that make me feel like this is all just pretend, a flash in the pan – the downs that leave me swirling, scared and anxious.

In case you missed the first post on my diagnosis, you can read it here

When I left off last August, my main goal was to try and work on treating the PCOS naturally. Now, when I said “treating it” I meant more specifically that I would be working to balance my hormones enough to have children in the not so distant future. There are, of course, the long-term repercussions of this illness that I should probably be working towards as well.

Side note: what do you call it? An illness, a disorder, a sickness, a problem? I don’t even know.

This past fall, I started working out (sporadically) and really tried to clean up my eating. I’d go in spurts of extreme strictness to barreling toward a gluten-filled cheesy pizza at warp speed. The bottom line is that I wasn’t consistent. For every salad I’d pile high with chopped veggies, I’d snarf through a piece of rum cake. It wasn’t pretty.

Initially, I set a deadline of Jan. 1. If things weren’t moving in the direction I wanted (re: weight loss, resumed period etc.) then I would look at going on Metformin after meeting with my doctor. As January 1 neared, I realized that the month of Christmas cookies wasn’t doing me any favors and I decided to push back my “deadline” to January 31. I hopped on the Whole 30 train and busted my butt to eat cleaner than I ever had for 30 days. I succeeded and ended up losing 12 lbs.

——

On the period front…

I had my first, natural period right after Thanksgiving. This was a BIG WIN and as much as it sucked, I felt lucky that things seemed to be getting back to normal. Then December came and right along with it came the absence of my period which felt like a BIG FAIL and a reminder that things weren’t really headed in the right direction.

As I rounded the end of the Whole 30 challenge, I got my second natural period in a little over a year — January 22, to be specific. But, here we are in March with nary another visit from Aunt Flo — so I’m not sure where that leaves me.

——

At the end of January, I scheduled an appointment with my lady doctor and went in fully intending to start Metformin the next day. They had prescribed it to me in August and I figured that they would just continue with the current plan, even though we were starting 6 months later. I can’t tell you the number of nights I laid in bed researching Metformin, the results I could expect, other people’s stories… instead of sleeping, I devoured any and all information that would give me hope that Metformin was the solution.

That’s why I was surprised to hear from my doctor that they had changed the protocols for fertility with PCOS to skip completely over Metformin. All of the build up, anticipation and hopeful certainty — gone. In it’s place Clomid and a discussion on what that means for my chance at having multiples. Say what? The odds are 7% for twins and less than 1% for triplets and more. God help us all if that happens — my Mom (or Christian’s parents) will most certainly have to move in to help me maintain my sanity.

My instructions, leaving the office, that day were this:

1.) Make an appointment with Sally Jobe for genetic counseling — due to the high occurrence of cancer in my family, there’s a slight chance that Clomid will increase my risk of cancer (in addition to the increased risk with PCOS) and I needed to discuss testing with the counselor.

2.) Buy LH ovulation test strips — her exact words were, “might as well spy on what’s happening in there”.

3.) Pick up your prescription for Clomid.

4.) Begin taking in on day 4 of your next period (day 1 being the first day with heavy bleeding) — if I didn’t have a period within the next few weeks I was supposed to call and they’d prescribe Provera to jump start things.

5.) Stay on a slightly more relaxed version of Whole 30.

As soon as February 1 hit, my Whole 30 ended and the start of “must eat all things I was deprived of for the past 30 days” commenced. There was pizza, there was mashed potatoes, there was cake. It was glorious and, also, stomach ache inducing.

I’ve spent the last 1.5 months trying to navigate a “healthier” and yet less restrictive way of eating. The good news is that I haven’t gained back all the weight I lost, but the bad news is that I did gain back a little and have eaten horribly in the interim.

So, that’s where I am. This post was actually started about a month ago (takes me forever to spill these things out) so I have more updates (Sally Jobe, Provera, Clomid and more that I’ll find time to post about in the next couple weeks). But for now, that’s at least an update!

Whole 30: Week 4

It’s the last week, meaning we’re in a single digit countdown to the end of the Whole 30 Challenge.  I, almost, can’t believe it took this long while simultaneously wondering where the last 30 days went.

Looking at the Whole 30 Timeline, I would say that I’m pretty on track. I’ve had the worst cravings – so far – over the past 3-4 days (ramen noodles topping that list) and I’ve, also, wanted to give up on meal planning/eating because it all just sounds like too much work. I believe the exact line from the Whole 30 Timeline is:

In fact, if Iron Chef Bobby Flay were to walk into your kitchen right now and offer to cook you any Whole30 compliant meal you wanted, you’re not even sure you could think of one.

That about sums it up.

After a weekend in Vail with my friend Jacqui who eats a pretty Paleo compliant diet (and provided lots of inspiration) and the purchase of a new paleo cookbook — I’m armed and ready to take on some new recipes this week (which will hopefully spice up the repetitiveness of the past few weeks). Here’s what I have on tap:

Whole 30: Week 4 Meal Plan

I made a humongous pot of the broccoli, cauliflower and bacon stew that should last us through three meals each + snacks. Christian isn’t a huge fan, but based on the fact that he ate it, it’s got to better than cooking something else for himself. 🙂

Here’s to 4.5 more days of no corn chips.

Whole 30: Week 3.5 Meal Plan

Technically I’m on day 18 which is still week 3, not week 4. This does mean, however that I’m only 13 days from finishing this.

This week was really tough. I came down with Cold-Mageddon and I’m still not 100%. I was completely down for the count on Thursday/Friday/Saturday and today my big ambitious goal is to go to the grocery store to commandeer more cold medicine and some food for the week.

I cheated ever so slightly by drinking cup by cup of fruit juice with chipped ice (my throat hurt so bad and it was oh so good). I also had a small bowl of chicken soup that did have a few peas and corn kernels in it… it was delicious and at the time I was just thankful that I didn’t have to say “no” to noodles or cook the soup myself — if you know what I mean. Considering that I didn’t have any milk, sugar, gluten or weird oils… I’m going to go ahead an excuse myself. You know, sickness and all.

I’m hoping that things will go more back to normal this week, but last week’s chest cold feels like it’s moving more to my sinuses and I sound like a croaking toad. Ribbet.

Here’s what I have planned meal wise this week, you’ll notice that many are the same and that’s only due to the fact that we never had them last week since I was so sick.

Meal Plan  - Week 3.5
(Don’t judge my, again, horrible photo quality… uploading photos from my phone is about all I have energy for.)

We’re actually going to be having burgers with spiraled sweet potato cakes and brussel sprouts for dinner tonight… and I accidentally forgot (call it foggy sickness brain) to pick up a whole chicken, so hopefully I feel motivated enough to pick one up before Wednesday.

Then Friday night, all-day Saturday and then part of Sunday will hopefully be spent in Vail visiting my friend Jacqui — I was supposed to go a couple of weeks ago but due to weather and a friend coming to town from Philadelphia we decided to postpone. Let’s hope that the snow holds off enough for me to get up there this time.

Whole 30: Week 3 Update.

Dreaming of DOTS Candy

This is going to be a quickie, but I had to put it down so I’d remember it if I ever did the Whole 30 again.

Remember that timeline I posted on Sunday? The one that told me I’d have tighter fitting pants (good to know I’m not alone) and that I’d go through all these crazy emotions/feelings/cravings etc. Well, I only sort of bought into it. The day #’s weren’t the “exact” fit for my fat days and it all seemed a little vague. Take this paragraph excerpt from days 12 – 15:

You’re dreaming. Not crazy nightmare or strange surrealist dreams, either. Incredibly normal and realistic dreams – about donuts. Or Twinkies. Or Snickers.* In your mind, sometimes you get caught and feel guilty. Sometimes you just brazenly eat the contraband. But then, the feelings start following you into the waking hours. Suddenly, you’re craving things you don’t even like. (For me, it’s Diet Coke and Twinkies, for Melissa Hartwig, it was fast-food cheeseburgers!) Your co-workers’ heads transform into giant Girl Scout Cookies as you gaze on in disbelief. Seriously, you’ve almost hit the halfway mark, and now this?! 

I didn’t really think that was going to happen. I love food and may dream about it from time to time, but this just felt a little weird. How were these people going to tell me how to dream. A couple of days went by and nothing. No weird dreams about food (there were weird dreams about my Mom doing shots, but that’s another story entirely).

That is, until last night.

I dreamt that I found a box of DOTS in a bathroom drawer. And, I ate them one-by-one.After emptying the box I proceeded to feel guilty and anxious about what that meant for my Whole 30 timeline. Did I have to start over – could I add extra days at the end – did I derail the entire thing?

All this to say, they were right. I dreamt some pretty weird stuff in the midst of this 30 day journey. The funny thing is, if I were to go crazy and cheat it most certainly wouldn’t be on DOTS. Hand me a warm brownie sundae or a fresh from the oven homemade slice of pizza and we may have a bigger problem on our hands. But DOTS, not so much.

I’m on track — meaning I must be doing something right, right?

Did you have any weird dreams during your Whole 30 journey? What foods did you dream cheat with?

Whole 30: Week 3 Planning.

We’re onto week #3.

This past week was great on the food front, seriously delicious meals and snacks. Here’s a snapshot of some of my favorites this week:

Week #2 Meals!

 

This photo includes Zoodles (zucchini noodles), butternut squash soup, garlic chicken + brussel sprouts, salmon cakes + broccoli + sweet potatoes, almond crusted chicken fingers + sautéed kale + sweet potatoes. 

The big downside to this week was feeling like I’m gaining weight rather than losing it… I’m no stranger to strict diets, but this one (limiting my nightly square of chocolate) is probably the strictest. Normally I feel like I’m thinning up, but this week I just felt like I was packing on the pounds and wandering around like a bloated balloon.

I was pointed to this timeline that explains day 8-9 as “pants will fit tighter days” — so I guess I’m on track? Other than the weight blahs, I feel pretty good. Since I’ve been on a semi-strict diet the past few months, I don’t think I’m noticing the “WOW I FEEL AMAZING” high that a lot of other participants are probably starting to feel. Though, I do feel so much better than when I’m cheating like crazy (like I was, ahem, over the holidays).

With all that in mind, here’s what I’m planning for this week: Week 3 Meal Plan

 

Sorry for the crappy photo — I didn’t have my big camera nearby when I took it. Anyways, instead of snacking for lunch today, I decided to make this Sweet Potato Chili instead (I left out the hot sauce). It was delicious and now we have extra soup to fill in for snacks or extra meals as needed!

As far as I’m concerned, this meal plan is just as exciting as any other meal plan I’ve ever created and it should be a good week on the food front. Here’s to happy, healthy eating in week #3!

Finally Friday.

You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips.

It’s still the start of the year, so the majority of these articles are still applicable. I had planned to post this last Friday, but got caught up in the ways of Whole 30 and decided to postpone a week.

This week was pretty good — not too crazy, but I still had enough going on that I didn’t feel like a bum. Know what I mean? We went to a Nuggets game on Tuesday night and have officially finished season 3 of White Collar on Netflix (have you seen it? I can’t stop). Other than that I’ve been cranking out innumerable Whole 30 meals and re-started a hopeful 2014 yoga practice. If I could hit 1 time per week (on average) this year, I’d be happy.

I, also, in full new years resolution gusto bought a Groupon for 1 month of unlimited visits to our local CrossFit gym. I’m simultaneously scared and excited. I’ve had friends that love it and I’m secretly hoping that I do too.

This weekend we’re having dinner with friends followed by a showing of Saving Mr Banks (have you seen it, what did you think?). Then we’re taking it easy and having a family dinner during the Broncos game on Sunday. Low key and just what I need. Christian’s going to another Nuggets game on Saturday, and during that time I’m hoping to paint my nails, meal plan and watch the something girly on TV. Wish me luck! Hope you have a fabulous weekend!

Here are my finds from around the interwebs:

I’m a bit of a vision board junkie, or at least I have been the past couple of years. With the advent of Pinterest, it’s made it that much prettier and that much more addictive. However, I always dread putting them together in photoshop… that’s why this tutorial on creating a fast and easy vision board caught my eye. Do it, I did… and I promise that you’ll love it.

Since I’m in the midst of the Whole 30, this list of Whole 30 approved recipes really caught my eye. There are some delicious looking meals on there and one or two of them might end up on my meal plan for next week.

Did you make some resolutions for 2013? Big ones? Small ones? Somewhere in between? Either way, here is a list of fifty “bite-sized” resolutions for the new year. Some of these are so simple you could easily add them into your daily routine.

I think that sometime around your mid-20’s and up you start to realize that all those things you were waiting to make you happy — won’t actually make you happy. Kids – marriage – house – car – savings account…. they’re all nice, but life doesn’t begin at your next milestone.

Purging all the needless crap in my house makes me so happy. I love it and could spend countless hours each week weeding through drawers, closets and boxes looking for things to trash/give away. This article was full of great things you could donate or toss — 21 things you should get rid of today!

Each of these rules was so great that I want to print it out and hang it up so that I can see and review it every day. If nothing else, these 24 rules for being human are a great read through.

And, lastly, to stick with the theme — new year, new start. Here are 15 great ideas to give you a fresh start for this year… even if I’m a week late in posting them! 🙂

Happy Friday to all, and to all a goodnight!

Whole 30.

Whole 30 Logo

It’s no secret that I’ve been playing around with my diet over the past year — most recently giving up gluten, dairy and sugar. I did really well and responded really well to that diet and for the new year decided to take it one step further and give the Whole 30 a spin. Whole 30 is essentially a cleaner (I know, how much more strict can you get?) version of what I was already doing. The big “no-no” highlights for me were: no beans, no rice (or any grains for that matter), no honey, no alcohol, no corn, no peanut butter, no paleo-ified desserts etc.

Let me tell you — unless you’re getting it directly from the produce department or the meat counter (both of which have their own set of recommendations) it’s going to take some research. Lucky for me, I’m already pretty familiar with these limitations and don’t feel particularly cornered as far as what I eat.

I thought I might, semi-track, my version of the Whole 30 for two reasons:

1.) To remember what I ate and how it went.

2.) To attempt to track something for the blog – of which I’m absolutely horrible at doing.

So, we’ll see how this goes – I’m not promising anything.

I started yesterday, so in true Megan fashion, this post is coming to you a day late and completely devoid of photos. Mostly because I forgot to take them. [disclaimer: I have the ability to take pretty decent food photos, but since I’ll be sharing meals that I may or may not have packed in a jumbled Tupperware, don’t expect anything award-winning ;-)]

Here’s my meal plan breakdown for Thursday – Saturday:

Thursday:
Breakfast: Boiled Egg
Lunch: Canned green beans + Can of tuna (aren’t you glad I didn’t photograph this?)
Dinner: Chicken breast cooked in avocado oil with garlic and shaved brussel sprout salad with balsamic dressing

Friday:
Breakfast: Handful of almonds (only because I left my egg at home by accident)
Lunch: Chicken + Brussel Sprout leftovers
Dinner: Out to dinner — will order a salad, no dressing

Saturday:
Breakfast: Boiled Egg
Lunch: Out to Lunch with a friend
Dinner: Crockpot chicken tomato soup

In between I’ve been snacking on nuts or apples if I’m hungry. I’ve also been drinking green tea and other herbal teas at night. I’ll be back on Sunday to cover my meal plan for the upcoming week. Hopefully I’ll actually take some pictures moving forward.

If you’re interested in trying out the Whole 30, here’s some information (and key posts) to get you started:

What is the Whole 30?

Whole 30 Shopping List

The official Can I Have Post

Pantry Stocking PDF

Meal Planning PDF

I, also, want to note that you don’t have to pay to do the Whole 30 — the majority of the information is online for free. You can, of course, by their book or opt into some of the paid additions, but it is absolutely not necessary. There aren’t any supplements you need to take, you’ll simply be spending money on the food you eat.