Tag Archives: PCOS

Your Questions Answered, Part 2

31 Jan

I’ve just launched myself into comp prep.  This is day two.   My friend asked me earlier, “How is the chickening coming along?” to which I responded, “So far, so chicken.  I mean so far, so good”.   Mmm chicken, vegetables and rice.  My new best mates.  They will be with me throughout this whole journey and they are with me right now as I type this post.

I wonder when I am going to get sick of eating this?  One week?  Two?  Will I be able to switch off that part of my brain entirely and just man up and eat it every day without complaint?  Time will tell, my pretties, time will tell.

So, onto the next instalment of Your Questions Answered.  I am still so surprised at all the questions that cropped up!  You know, it is so incredibly humbling to have so many people behind me throughout all of this.  The continued support I get from my online followers is nothing short of astounding.  I feel as if I know many of you personally now and have formed great bonds and friendships!  You guys rock!  And I won’t let you down.  🙂

12 weeks out from first comp!

@monstar1984 asked:

Any insights you can share on the positives will help my motivation!

The positives I have found from losing weight are endless.  It’s really not just about physicality – sure I get a kick out of looking better, wearing nice clothes, feeling more comfortable in a bikini and so on and so forth but it’s the absolute mental clarity that I have experienced that has been the biggest positive for me.

I think once you push yourself to succeed in anything in life you get an enormous sense of self-worth.  You begin to realise that you are actually worth something, that you can do anything you put your mind to.   And from that you gain a lot of respect for yourself and your inner-strength begins to shine through.

I now feel more positive, more focused and more at peace with myself.  There’s no more internal battles in my mind about feeling uncomfortable in my own skin.  Yes, I do have my moments with self-doubt but they are not hanging over me every waking moment of the day like they used to.

It has taken the better part of 2 years for me to get this far, but it has been worth it.  I am beginning to love who I am, which is not something that I have ever felt before.  It’s  a good thing.  🙂

@IndianaHolley asked:

Would love to know whether you struggled with PMT/hormones during this time and how you over came that?

I think pretty much the whole time I was losing weight I struggled with hormones due to my PCOS.  The weight loss was PAINFULLY slow and it was hard to envision the slender light at the end of the fat tunnel!

There was not much I could really do about that.  I could take the pills the Dr gave me that made me feel nauseous, I could whinge, cry and complain and insist that I’ll be fat forever OR I could basically put some belief into myself and tell myself that I can and WILL do it.  Which option do you think I went with?  😉

It was hard work (still is) and at times I felt like I had to work harder than anyone else to lose weight.  But I never gave up.  I visualised the end result – the healthier, fitter, smaller version of me and I never lost sight of that image.  It’s quite easy to re-route your thinking once you get in the habit of it!  Even if you don’t believe yourself at first, you eventually will.   The mind is a very tricky and powerful thing!

@jadegrrrl asked:

Was there a turning point diet wise when you started eating clean or was it gradual?  Did you have slip ups?  I’m struggling.

If you go back over my blog and through the recipes and meal plans, you can see my eating habits gradually change to be cleaner and cleaner.  I first started with just counting calories and not paying too much mind to being “clean” exactly, but rather just trying to be as healthy as possible.  Every time I would plateau, maybe every 4 – 6 weeks, I would change up the diet and make adjustments.

Eventually I found the most success with just being as clean as possible – no additives, no sugar, no artificial flavours or colourings – just fresh, whole, natural produce.  I actually LOVE eating this way.  It tastes so much better!

Yep, I’ve had slip ups – definitely!  I’m no saint, I guarantee you!  There have been times where I have found myself shovelling junk food into my face with careless abandon and I would fall into a deep depression after that, scolding myself for letting my resolve drop for those few moments.  But afterwards I would always simply dust myself off and start again.

Those moments then became few and far between as I noticed more and more changes within myself and the respect for myself grew.  I didn’t want to disappoint myself!  If I failed, I only had myself to blame.  And there was no way I was going to fail!  That’s how I feel to this day, especially as comp time draws near – failure is not an option!

I’m not saying that people need to eat like a body builder to get results.  But I do advocate eating a healthy, clean and balanced diet at least 90% of the time.  Don’t deprive yourself of a treat now and then!  You really appreciate them when you don’t have them so often.  Keep up your exercise, fuel your body with nutritious and whole foods, switch it up when results lag and just give it TIME.  It WILL happen if you work hard at it.

As they always say, “I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy, I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it”.

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The World’s Shortest & Most Exciting Blog Post EVER!

23 Mar

This is all I have to say:

Note:  Apologies for shitty photo.  The zoom on the iPhone is terrible.  But YAY!  Under 70kg!  I haven’t been that in ten years!  My excitement is out of control right now.

 

🙂

Fitness Tests, Red Dresses and Reflections

7 Dec

I have been a bad blogger.  A very very bad blogger.  Feel free to give me a good spanking – clothing optional!  Did I just say that?! Oh no I didn’t!  Oh yes I did!  Grrrraaoowww!

You see, I forgot to update you all on what my results were for the second part of the fitness test I undertook in September!  And I don’t remember what the results were either… I did have an email saved at one point but it’s gone to email heaven.  That shit happens sometimes, even to highly efficient people like yours truly.

But never fear dear bulge battlers!  I did ANOTHER fitness test 12 weeks ago and completed the follow up test on the weekend and I have the results in my hot little hand or rather at my hot little fingertips!

25/09/2010 5/12/2010
Squats 54 60
Pushups (on the knees) 47 55
Plank 1:40 mins 2:19 mins
Run (approx 1.5km) 13:15 mins 11:58 mins
Burpees 24 28
Lunges 46 62
Tricep Dips 80 98

 

I improved in all areas of the fitness test!  I am incredibly stoked with myself.  Plus, over that 12 week period I lost a total of 7cm from my navel!  I’m excited now (but still nervous) to see the rest of my measurements on Friday.

Another extremely satisfying thing that I wanted to share was that I have borrowed a friends dress to wear to a wedding on Friday.  That might not sound exciting to some but for me it’s a huge deal.  I haven’t been able to just ‘borrow’ an item of clothing from a friend in a good ten years.  Nothing ever would have fit me!  But I am borrowing my best friend Chanel’s gorgeous red size 12 dress and it fits me well!  Maybe even a little roomy!  Mind you I should add that it’s now miles too big for the svelt Miss C!  Here’s a sneak peak:

Strike a pose! Don't mind the messy bedroom!

I’m feeling so happy and confident at the moment but I still have a lot of work to do!  The year is winding up and I’m starting to feel the strain.  I’m exhausted both in body and mind.

This year has been HUGE for me.  The biggest year of my life.  I’ve changed so much – physically, mentally and emotionally.  But all the pain, sweat, tears and tiredness has been worth it.  Not just for aesthetic reasons but for also for my health.  It’s been almost 2 years since I was diagnosed with mild insulin resistance and PCOS and I’m happy to report that I conquered insulin resistance earlier this year and my PCOS is now under control.  That was my main goal this year and I achieved it.  Now to get to 68kg!

If you had to reflect on your health and fitness regime over the last year would you say that you have achieved your goals?  If not, what do you need to do to put your health first and how will you do it?

P.S. Have you become a fan of my Facebook page yet?  See right and click away!

I’m Famous! FINALLY!

25 Aug

The day has finally come where all my hopes and dreams about fame and glory come to fruition!  My name will be on billboards, a movie on my life will be on the silver screen, a sitcom will emerge based on my tales, a perfume and clothing line will ensue!  The possibilities are endless!  Because, my friends, SOMEBODY wrote their assignment on ME!  Weeeeeeeee!

Okay, so maybe I have gone overboard with the fame and glory stuff but seriously, first comes the assignments and then comes the Oscars.  Seriously.  I’m pretty sure that’s how Kim Kardashian got famous… oh… wait…

Marieke approached me via my blog and asked if she could write her journalism assignment on me.  Of course I said I would be delighted and so she sent me a list of questions for me to answer.

I asked Marieke if I could share her piece on my blog so please enjoy!  I’m almost certain she will get full marks.

“Fighting the Flab

HOW many times have you looked in the mirror and told yourself, this is it, today I am starting a diet?

So you have your muesli with lite milk for breakfast and pack yourself a salad for lunch, confident you will make the change.

Morning tea time comes. You forgot, today is your work mate’s birthday. Perched on the tea room bench is a moist chocolate cake with “Happy Birthday Mark!” piped across the top of rich chocolate icing. Suddenly you find yourself thinking that maybe that diet of yours should start tomorrow. After all, you can’t disappoint him.

Most of us are guilty of it at some time, falling into the trap of ‘just one piece’ or ‘I promise I’ll be good tomorrow’.  So how do you beat that little voice in your head and finally make the decision to fight the flab once and for all?

Nutritionist, Matt O’Neill, says there are four common types of eating triggers that cause people to break a diet; sensations, locations, emotions and relations.

Sensations involve the biochemical changes that occur in response to eating food, or not eating enough.

“Beware of depriving yourself too much and eating too little food,” Matt said. “Avoid skipping meals which can leave you hungry and prone to overeating.”

Matt also says it is important to be aware of your physical location, and identify those that challenge people the most.

“Don’t shop hungry,” adds Matt, “and try to keep high calorie snacks out of sight or out of the house.

Emotions can also subconsciously influence our eating habits, triggering us to turn to food to satisfy an emotional need. Matt suggests teaching yourself positive ways to manage your emotions, such as going for a walk if you are anxious or finding something to occupy your mind if you are bored.

Matt says for many the final eating trigger, relations, can often be the most difficult to overcome.

“Partners, family members and friends can unwittingly influence you to eat when you don’t need or want to.” He suggests asking for support from these people or just having the confidence to say no.

“You are number one and declining a second helping should not offend the cook,” he said.

It sounds simple, so why then are Australians putting on weight? Australia’s most recent National Health Survey showed that almost half of all men and around one-fifth of women who were overweight or obese according to their BMI, considered themselves to be at an acceptable and healthy weight.

What’s more, when people decide to make the change many will turn to quick fix diets, such as meal replacements or a detox.

Dietician Alison Collogan suggests, however, that strict diets such as meal replacements may cause more harm than good.

“There are a number of health risks associated with these diets,” she said. “People need advice to understand the balance of food they are putting into their body and using these diets doesn’t provide them with education. Once people start eating real food again they put the weight back on as they haven’t learnt the skills of balancing their food.”

Alison said that many of her clients have a history of dieting and then regaining the weight. As a result, she tends to focus on behaviour modification and education about food to create new healthy habits for people.

“Most people’s excess weight is the result of bad habits or becoming comfortable in their routine. My job is to provide them with the knowledge and the skills to make healthier choices.”

For many, she said, motivation is their greatest barrier. “Clients with strong goals will do better than someone who has just been sent from the doctor to lose a few kilos. Having goals provides them with something to motivate them and they tend to see better results.”

Alison also suggests a regular exercise plan to help people reach that weight loss goal.

Personal trainer, Gerrard Rider, recommends at least an hour of activity a day for anyone, particularly those trying to lose weight.

“People often turn to fitness when trying to lose weight,” Gerrard said “and if you have gotten great results for people, people will come to you.”

A consultation with a personal trainer can involve a number of measurements including Body Mass Index and body composition. Though Gerrard says he prefers to use body composition as he finds BMI’s to be too inaccurate.

“A lady may come to me with a BMI of 35 and to say that she needs to be between 19 and 24, well the reality of that is she can’t get there,” he said. “I tend to make an initial goal rather than focus on the long term where it seems impossible to get there.”

The most important element of exercise, according to Gerrard, is the enjoyment factor. “If their ultimate goal is weight loss and you can provide the environment that they can have fun in, then the health benefits of being active can possibly outweigh that fat loss benefit for the time being,” he said.

After battling with her weight for ten years, Amanda Weekes, 27, says she has learnt the hard way that weight loss does not happen overnight. Now she has created a blog called Me vs. The Bulge, detailing her personal battle with the scales.

“It makes me feel accountable,” Amanda said. “Publicly announcing my intentions to the blogosphere keeps me on track. It’s very therapeutic.”

Being called ‘skeletor’ throughout school was not easy for Amanda.  So when she gained ten kilograms in one year after being prescribed antidepressants to help her deal with anxiety, she embraced the change. “I was a very bony and gawky looking teenager and I hated people always pointing that out. I wanted womanly curves. I got them, but I just couldn’t stop gaining,” said Amanda.

By the time she reached 19, everything had changed for Amanda. Between the effects of her medication and her lifestyle, Amanda saw her weight creep up to 92 kilograms.

“I would cry in frustration trying to pull on a pair of shorts. I simply had no idea how big I was,” she wrote in her blog.

“I finally went shopping to buy some new clothes and picked up my usual size 12. They wouldn’t go up past my thighs. I went to store after store thinking they were just a small 12 and I would find another pair that fit. No success. Finally…I picked up a size 16, zipped it up successfully, bought the damn thing…and vowed I would never buy a size 16 ever again.”

After yo-yo dieting for years, Amanda finally sought the advice of a nutritionist and was soon medically diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome as well as mild insulin resistance.

Now under the careful guidance of a personal trainer, Amanda has finally begun to see results she can be proud of.  “She really makes it personal…She tailors it to me and what my body requires and also she is there for support,” Amanda said of her personal trainer.

She also attributes her achievements to the constant support she receives from those she is closest to. “I receive a lot of support from my husband who even pays for my personal training sessions,” she said. “He keeps saying though, how he doesn’t want me to get too skinny because he likes my curves.

The biggest change Amanda has noticed is her attitude toward weight loss. She has now set herself short term goals to reach so that she can feel rewarded at each milestone. “I’m more positive and focused,” she said. “I found that consistency and patience is the key. This is now a lifestyle, not a quick fix.”

So next time you see a birthday cake at work, wish them a happy birthday and give yourself a real treat. Just say no, maybe this time your diet can make it to day two.”

Thanks again Marieke!  You have truly inflated my ego.  This is dangerous yet incredibly pleasing.

I have it… and 1 in 5 of you will have it too

23 Jun

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is the most common hormonal disorder affecting Australian women.  1 in 5 women have it but a shocking 70% of women have no idea.

PCOS can cause acne, weight gain and excessive body hair.  Most women are too embarassed about seeing a doctor about any of these conditions so they are left untreated.  PCOS also carries an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and endometrial cancer and it also a leading cause of infertility.

Unfortunately, when women do end up going to the doctor, their symptoms are treated individually rather than investigating the underlying problem.  Personally, I went to the doctor several times spanning over a few years trying to get to the bottom of my weight problem.  Instead of looking into any possible hormonal issues I was advised to try Xenical (a horrible weight loss drug), exercise more and eat less.  Eventually a doctor advised I see a nutritionist and it was only then that the nutritionist suggested I get tested for PCOS.

PCOS is a confusing syndrome.  Not all sufferers have cysts on their ovaries and some women who do have cysts do not have PCOS.  In Australia you must have at least 2 of the following to be diagnosed with PCOS:

1. Infrequent or absent periods

2. High blood levels of male hormones or visible signs of facial hair, acne and male pattern balding

3. Ovarian cysts which show up on an ultrasound

If you have any of the above it is important that you see a doctor as they can offer you treatment which will in turn lead to a better quality of life and prevention of future diseases.

A few common theories around what causes PCOS are insulin resistance (which I have a mild case of) and high levels of male hormones.  Importantly, not all women who have PCOS have insulin resistance nor do they all have high levels of male hormones.  Another cause could possibly be genetics.

Sadly, 50% of PCOS sufferers are overweight or obese.  Overweight PCOS women rather than thinner PCOS women are at a greater risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and metabolic syndromes.  Therefore it is especially important to reduce body weight (hence my my own weight loss journey!).

Evidence has been reported in the American Journal of Sports Medicine that if a women sheds fat (in particular around her middle) she significantly lowers her insulin resistance and therefore may start ovulating as well.  Losing just 5% of total body weight decreases insulin and testosterone levels and can improve excess hair and acne.  Also it will give fertility a mighty boost.

It’s not easy though.  Many PCOS women report that after dieting solidly and working out regularly they lost minimal weight in comparison to what their non-PCOS counterparts would lose.   This rings true with me as well as according to the diet and exercise regime I follow I should be losing a lot more weight at a much quicker pace.   This is because insulin promotes fat storage in the body.  Unfortunately, experts say that there isn’t enough evidence that PCOS makes losing weight harder but I would like to invite them to live a day in my shoes and see what they think after that! There has been recent evidence though that fat tissue (which secretes hormones that influence metabolism and appetite) acts differently in PCOS women regardless of their weight.  Hopefully this will lead to further discoveries in this area.

After many failed weight loss attempts I finally signed up with a good trainer who is knowledgeable in the field of womens health.  She suggested I stop taking the pill.  This seemed to be a good first step as slowly the weight started to shift.  It’s not at a fast pace but I believe the key to keeping weight off for good is to do it slowly.

PCOS is extremely frustrating no matter what your symptoms are – infertility, weight, acne or excess hair – however with the right diet (low GI, fresh and whole foods), medical support and adequate exercise you could reveal the key to happier and more fulfilling life.