The Graceful Skinny

A homeschool mom of one sharing my thoughts, curriculum reviews, organization techniques, and planning ideas with others in the homeschool community.

Happiness All Around! January 6, 2012

Baby @ 9 weeks

 

I am pleased to announce that after two long years of trying, I get to now share the happy news that…. I’M PREGNANT!!!!!!!!! Over the life of this blog I have made subtle hints to the fact that we were actively trying for a child.  Many of the tests and medications I have been put on through this time have been in relation to solving the fertility issues that go along with PCOS and Hashimotos. .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Quick Heads Up June 15, 2011

First off, I do apologize for practically falling off the face of the earth these past few weeks. Now that summer is underway I don’t have as much time to post as I do during the year. Know that I still think of every one of you even when I am not posting.

As I write this I am not on my usual computer so please forgive me if this is not up to my usual standards. I promise to put out a better, more detailed post soon.

However, I wanted to give you guys a quick update on what’s going on and ask that you keep me in your prayers today.

We have reached the point in treating the PCOS that my doctor has to now check my Fallopian Tubes for blockages.

I am going in to the doctor this afternoon for a new procedure that will allow the doctor to inspect my tubes in real time and give us his findings during this appointment.

Apparently they are going to catheterize through the cervix and shoot saline and air into my fallopian tubes. Supposedly the only side effects from this procedure are the occasional menstrual like cramps. So it shouldn’t be too big of a deal.

However, I have to say that I woke up feeling more than a little bit nervous today. Luckily my husband was able to take the day off to come with me to help support me. Knowing he will be at my side the whole time is a big comfort to me.

Please keep me in your prayers today. I don’t know if this is intuition or just pessimism showing its ugly head, but I just have a feeling that our news might not be so great.

I’ll be sure to come back and post later tonight about how things go!            

 

UPDATE: The appointment went great! The doctor was very pleased with the condition of my uteus as well as my Tubes.  He and the Ultrasound technition said that the procedure went so well that my results should be used in textbooks! I have now had my meds increased and hope to see positive results soon.

 

A Deeper Look into the Medical Issues in My Life- Part 1: Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) March 8, 2011

Image Source: The Mayo Clinic

It dawned on me lately that I have been so busy focusing on getting the weight off and just dealing with my medical issues that while I have a basic understanding of the issues in my life I have yet to take a deeper look into a lot of them.  It is so easy when dealing with medical issues to get caught up in your own struggle that you forget that there are so many others who are dealing with them too.  That being said, I have decided to take the next few weeks and take a deeper look into my different Conditions and Diseases that I have been left to deal with. It is looking at being a 3-4 part series.

In my initial research for this post I started my search looking for lists of celebrities that have been confirmed to have the various medical issues.  I found many blogs full of bitter women discussing rumors of celebrities.  I quickly became very grateful to God for protecting my heart from that negative view point.  Seeing those women belittling and bemoaning the world around them because of their condition makes me grateful that I am filled with the ability to look at everything with a positive perspective.

After looking a little deeper into the subject I stumbled across some good websites with some wonderful information.  This post is for the many readers who follow along not just for the weight loss journey but also find themselves Sisters (or Brothers) in arms in the battle with one or more of my medical conditions.

POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME a.k.a. POLYCYSTIC OVARY SYNDROME a.k.a. PCOS

So what is PCOS? PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) is found most commonly in women with some sort of hormonal imbalance.  The unbalance of the hormones causes the development of follicles in your ovaries to cease the development process mid way through. The would be egg then dissolves leaving small little pockets in your ovaries called cysts.  This then causes your periods to become irregular or non-existent.  The problem in my understanding is that these cysts aren’t just empty pockets. With each cyst comes an extra dose of hormones that further throws your body out of whack.

According to my gynecologist in a recent appointment, women with PCOS have two healthy states for the body to be in, option A: on birth control, option B: pregnant.  The in-between of no birth control and not pregnant is bad because it increases the chance for more cysts to develop on the ovaries.  The more cysts the harder it is to deal with the syndrome.

In most cases the common first step for a woman suspected to have PCOS is to have her loose 5- 10% of her body weight. This is because studies have found that fat cells are carriers for extra amounts of hormones such as estrogen. The fat cells release these extra bits of hormones causing a vicious cycle of making the problem worse. However all those extra and unbalanced hormones wreak havoc on a woman’s ability to lose that weight.  It is almost a catch 22 and is very discouraging for a lot of women.

So what are some of the issues that are commonly found with PCOS?

  • Insulin Resistance
  • Adult onset/ extreme acne issues
  • Hair issues (excessive hair growth/ hair loss)
  • Thyroid issues
  • Irregular/ Non- existent periods
  • Weight issues most commonly obesity issues
  • Excess levels of androgens (a.k.a. male hormones)
  • Multiple small cysts on the ovaries
  • infertility

In poking around for this section of this article the fact that I came across that was most surprising to me was that even though PCOS is not something that is very well known or talked about it actually affects 1 in every 10 women. I think that what keeps women from opening up about it is the infertility, especially for the single ladies out there.

The word infertility brings with it lots of big bad and downright scary connotations with it. I remember sitting at the computer when I was first looking into PCOS and was trying to figure out what it was and why I was being recommended diabetic medication to treat it. The terror that set in my gut at seeing that one little word was significant. It was only with my husband by my side that I was able to face that fear and put it past me.  If I had been diagnosed while I was still single I am not sure what I would have done.  The day I was sitting in my Gynecologists office and he confirmed that I indeed have PCOS my heart sank into the deepest pit of my stomach convinced that meant that I could never get pregnant. There were a few moments there where I was swimming in guilt and shame convinced that because I had allowed my weight to get out of hand that I had created my own down fall.   It was then that my doctor reassured me of two very important things; number 1: my issue with my weight was NOT the cause of the PCOS just an effect, number 2: of the different ways women become infertile this by far is the easiest to undo.

Why it is important to not ignore this or attempt to face it alone?

The journey and battle with PCOS is a hard one. I doubt that even the strongest woman could face this issue alone without breaking down.  The path to getting everything balanced is rough and challenging.  Everyone is different and every case reacts to treatments differently.  Because of this there is always a bit of a guessing game in the process to find the right meds at the right levels to balance out your case. And because our bodies are forever changing that small window of happy balance will change from time to time as well.  Having that support around you while you go through these ups and downs makes all the difference.

As far as why it is best not to ignore this goes, there is  the obvious that the longer you go without balancing this out the worse the long term effects can get.  However there is an even bigger reason to face this and get treated and monitored that is the insulin resistance that very commonly tags along for the ride with PCOS. If left untreated that insulin resistance could develop into Pre diabetes or Type II diabetes.

For a condition in women that is so common there are so few who actually openly talk about it. Don’t let yourself feel ashamed about it. You never know who you might be helping by opening up. And if I can help just one  person to feel that they are not going through this alone all the better.

Who are a few well known people who suffer PCOS?

From what I could find of a few rather reliable looking websites here are a few that seem to have confirmed PCOS:

A few websites that I have found informational:

Final Thoughts:

After taking some time to really look into PCOS I find that while being diagnosed with it can seem very scary and daunting, it is not something to be ashamed about nor is it something to hide in the closet. Too many of our Sisters in Arms don’t speak out about it making it this big dark black hole to many as they are diagnosed.  For something that occurs so commonly in women, knowledge of this syndrome should be more common place.  If you are one of my readers who happens to be a sister in arms with this syndrome know you are not alone! I am here to stand beside you and we can get through this!

If you are just learning about PCOS and are in the process of figuring out whether or not you have it know this, It is not the end of the world. With proper treatment and monitoring from the doctors PCOS is very manageable and you can go on to lead healthy normal lives.  And yes, my doctor assures me, it is very possible to get pregnant with this condition. It just means you have to jump a few more hoops to get pregnant then other women.  But in the end, it just makes those babies that much more special to us.  Are there hard times ahead? Yes, but aren’t there always hard times ahead. The best thing you can do is to is to trust in God and remember that he is always in control and that PCOS is VERY treatable.

For those out there that wish to reach out to me with questions about PCOS and feel uncomfortable about posting in the comments thread, feel free to contact me at PCOS@thegracefulskinny.com .

 

Cautionary Tales and Reading Between the Lines February 24, 2011

 

Caution diet "Weight loss" "Thyroid issues" "medical issues" hernia IBS PCOS "Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome" blog life lifestyle "corn sugar" myths "diet myths and facts"

 

 

So here on my blog I have no problems sharing my view point and all that I have learned. This is especially true when it comes to High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).  But recently I was watching some tv with one of the kids that I nanny and yet another of those stupid “Corn Sugar” adds came on.  Well, this ad and my skeptical annoyance at it raised the curiosity of the teen and she decided to poke around and investigate further.

 

In her poking she found the following website that can be found HERE .

 

At first glance my alarm bells started going off. It is very apparent that this is a commercially produced blog like sight. Yet when we looked for a name to see who runs the site we found that it is run by some official looking agency called The Center for Consumer Freedom. Their website can be found HERE .

 

They raise interesting claims that all of the hype about HFCS is false.  And on the Sweet Scam site under the Myths and Facts Section there are a lot of very broad statements about what is myth and very specific word bending with the counter point facts.

 

Still the sites do bring up the question, who in the end is right and how much of what they say is indeed true?

 

The big key for me is both sites repeated statements of any sweetener is fine moderation.  But the big issue here is, HFCS has found its way into every food imaginable.  It’s in so much that if you don’t do your very best to avoid it you quickly become inundated with this said harmless “Corn Sugar”. To avoid this junk all together you either have to spend a fortune buying expensive high end organics or you starve.  And for someone on my kind of budget high end anything really just isn’t an option for daily life.  You have to fight for moderation.

 

So dear readers, what are your thoughts on sites like these? In your opinion who is indeed the real “sweet scam”?

 

I for one will take the words of caution from my many doctors and my nutritionist as well as the many articles I have found myself, including an article done by Princeton. (If you missed that Blog post, you can find it HERE . The more I look into these new sites the more I see the falsity in them.

 

New Year- New You! January 6, 2011

New Year New You Snowman Weight loss diet blog

Congratulations, you have made it to the beginning of yet another year! And if you are like a large portion of the world’s population then you have probably made some sort of New Year’s Resolution about your weight.

I have a theory on why we as a population are always so focused on healthy eating and diets in the New Year.  From Halloween through the end of the year we become surrounded by all manners of unhealthiness. We even have let ourselves get programmed to believe that we must have certain foods for it to be a holiday season.

For about 6-8 weeks we find ourselves justifying all manners of naughtiness in the name of “The Holidays”.  We fill ourselves with crap and trick our minds into thinking that makes us happy and call it a good time.  By the time that New Years Day finally gets hear all of that junk has finally caught up to us and we have packed on more than a few pounds and we now feel like crap.

So why is it that I think there is a spike of interest in diets around this time of year? My personal opinion is that it is a lot of over compensation. However, this desire to lose weight is not necessarily a bad thing.  According to the CDC (source: http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.html) a large portion of our population is overweight and obese. I think the problem lies with this idea that diets are something to go on.

The problem with that thinking is that if you spend so much time depriving yourself you can only go so long before you end up cheating or going off the diet all together.  It’s like putting a bandage on a cut that needs twenty stitches. Yes that bandage will help in the moment, but it isn’t enough to fix the whole issue.

The true meaning of the word diet has been lost on today’s society.  We all have a diet. Your diet is the food that goes into your mouth on a daily basis. The concept of making small changes that make a big difference has been lost on people.

The reason why people don’t stick to diet plans is because it is not realistic to think that anybody could stick to deprivation and extreme measures for long term. There is a rule, everything in moderation.

When starting any journey it’s always good to remember this: When at the top of a mountain there are only two ways down.  You can chose to turn and use the path that will take you slowly one step at a time, or you can jump off the edge and see how that works out for you. Both ways will get you to the bottom, but that doesn’t guaranty what shape you are going to be when you get there.

So if you really want to make this year a New Year and a new you, don’t go on a diet, CHANGE your diet.  Make small but important changes in your diet that will stick with you.  Make the decision to permanently alter your daily habits in a way that you can stick to. It’s the only way that will actually do you good in the long run.

So if you are one of the many trying to lose weight in this new year, go ahead and push forward with that resolution, just don’t let yourself get burned out in the process.

 

My Christmas Battle Plan! December 22, 2010

With the count downs nearing zero I know that I am not the only one with the challenges of weight loss on my mind. In the months since I have changed my diet I have learned that in situations like the holidays, the route to best success is to have a plan of action.  If you go in knowing what to expect then you are better likely to find success.

So what is my battle plan for Christmas?

I have come to terms with Reality and the Facts of Life

So in light of all of the events of Christmas colliding with my body’s adjustment period for the new meds I am setting my sites low. It is not realistic to expect me to show significant weight loss with these factors coming into play. I may gain this week. I can be okay with that.

 

I will NOT ignore my regular check ins

My ensuring that I still have to step on the scale and post up my results for the week no matter how I have done I am re-enforcing my need to stay on track. It may be Christmas, but that does not mean that I have to throw EVERYTHING out the window because of it.

 

I CAN make good choices and still indulge in the Christmas goodies

I feel I am saying this a lot lately, but it doesn’t change its truth. I have CHANGED my diet; I am not ON a diet.  That subtle difference is the key to everything. Going ON a diet is not a permanent, at some point I will go off. My change in diet is forever. It is not realistic to expect me to never indulge in the goodies of Christmas ever again. Instead I will make good choices where I can not worry about the times where I can’t.  It is all about portion control.

 

I will NOT skip meals

I am realizing more and more the dangerous effects of skipping meals. Not only does it make you feel crappy but extreme hunger makes your thought process foggy and increases the chances of a bad decision.

 

I WILL remember that Christmas is not about the food

While the food does make Christmas that much more special, the real reason Christmas is so great is because it means spending time with friends and loved ones. I don’t need to be eating to enjoy that.

 

And finally,

 

I WILL NOT let the stress of the season get to me

Letting myself get stressed will get me nowhere but sick. I will stay relaxed and enjoy myself without over taxing me or my husband.  I will remember that God is in control and take a deep breath and relax.

I am hoping that with these tactics in play that I will be successful at having the best possible holiday that I can.  Have you thought of what YOUR battle plan is going to be?

 

I Laugh In The Face of Illness! December 15, 2010

 

 

 

 

 

There are so many people who are so confused when they see me laughing and joking about bad news. So why do I laugh?  I laugh so I don’t cry. Because if I did not laugh the only other option is to let the stress get to me and cause more issues.  I laugh because everything is always easier to handle if you throw a joke at it. I have always felt that laughter was good for us, but recently I have come across an article that verified just how good laughter is for us.

 

Did you know that laughter doesn’t just affect us mentally but it has physical benefits as well? Apparently when we laugh it not only increases serotonin but it also decreases stress hormones. By decreasing our stress hormones our immune system works better.  Laughter also improves the heart by increasing blood flow and helping to decrease cholesterol and blood pressure.

 

It also works your stomach. And because it takes muscles to laugh and smile you are burning calories while you boost your mood.

 

I have found that it is just so much easier to keep a clear head and deal with all that is coming at me when I can find a way to laugh at it.  Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of stress. Laugh your way out and life will look so much better.  I promise!

 

So while you are going through all of the stress of Christmas Craziness, give it a try. Let out a laugh. You will be amazed at how much better you will feel.