The Graceful Skinny

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

Weekly Update:Glad to see Spring! March 18, 2011

 

So I’ll fess up now, I had a bit of a re-laps into laziness for a bit there. It was so bad I just completely brushed off my weekly updates. For that I am sorry. I think part of it was that I had a bit of a gain period and I hadn’t fully lost it last week. I don’t think I really wanted to face it. However I am proud do say that I was able to kick myself back into gear and I got a 30 minute workout done this week. Did pretty good to!

 

For those that don’t know, I use my Wii Fit to track my weight and to do my exercise. I like it because it keeps track of everything from your BMI (which is actually a bit more accurate then my Doctors office calculations), it also keeps track of my activity and how much time I spent actually moving.  It then calculates out how many calories you burned. It makes exercising feel less like a chore and more like a fun game. My favorite activity as of late is the 30 minute free ride biking one.  To move you step with your feet on the board just like you would when you are riding a bike.  You work the same muscles but from the comfort of inside your own home which takes away all weather based excuses to avoid the workout.  Not only that but it keeps score for you. It has become my challenge when I do it to do my best to match or beat my high score. This forces me to keep pushing myself and work myself harder and harder. I am also noticing that the more I do it the easier it is to go further. I almost always end with my legs like jelly and exhausted beyond belief but it amazes me that when I started out my high score was 4-5 miles. I was overjoyed when I finally hit seven miles. Now? Well I actually hit 11.4 miles this week.  And on that ride I was shooting for 10.6 miles.  Part of me wonders if I could actually pull that off on a real ride. It might be something I would have to try sometime.

 

Well I have to say that when I hopped onto the scale this morning I was not expecting much. It is a rare day indeed when I show any kind of loss the morning after Aunt Flo rolls in. It’s not uncommon at all for my weight to go stagnant throughout the period.  I was overjoyed and immensely proud of myself when I saw the numbers for the week. It just goes to show myself that if you actually get off your butt and do the work the results will come. (Don’t you just hate it when logic comes back to rub it in your face?)

 

So on to the results for this week:

 

  • This Week: 1.4 pounds down!!!
  • Total Weight Loss: 31.4 pounds down!!!

 

I am very much not ashamed to say that I did a bit of a happy dance around my living room when I saw that number.

 

So dear readers it’s your turn to update me! What is your favorite way to get in exercise? What do you do to kick your butt back into gear when the laziness attacks? How has your week gone?

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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 .

 

What does 30 pounds look like? March 7, 2011

"Rachael" Gracegul Skinny weight loss diet blog medical conditions thyroid issues PCOS

In honor of FINALLY hitting the 30 pound down mark I thought I would take a chance to celebrate with what has become one of my favorite things about this blog.  That’s right folks! It’s another round of what does the weight look like!

So what is thirty pounds?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.

 

30 pounds down weight loss graceful skinny blog

 

 

My new Sewing Machine! This baby rings in at whooping 33 pounds. It’s heavy enough that my family has made it a rule that I am not allowed to carry it on the stairs. The first time I tried to pick it up it took me 3 times because it wouldn’t even move the first few.

 

Just think and I have been carrying that around! Crazy!

 

 

 

 

 

2.

 

 

What does 30 Pounds Look Like? Weight loss blog The Graceful skinny diet

 

If we talk in terms of Butter we are looking at 120.5 sticks of butter!  That’s more butter then even Paula Dean could cook with! Can you imagine walking around carrying 120.5 sticks of butter? I sure can’t! Yet, that is what I’ve been doing! I can’t believe it!

 

 

 

 

 

3.

What does 30 pounds look like? Thirty Pounds weight loss blog the graceful skinny

 

If we calculated out into M&M’s that would be 150,000 M&Ms! Holy cow that’s a lot of chocolate!

 

 

 

So now it’s your turn dear readers! What objects can you come up with that are 30 pounds?

 

Weekly Update: Dancing through the Potholes on the Road of Life! February 25, 2011

Birthday cake the graceful skinny diet wieght loss medical issues asthma pcos hashimotos celebrations blog diet

 

Well dear readers my week has been quiet interesting and busy. Due to my birthday on Monday I spent the weekend celebrating with Friends, family and loved ones.  I refused to deprive myself and even caved and brought a few special treats to munch on throughout the week.  I set my expectations low for the scale and relaxed and enjoyed myself knowing that this is a rare occurrence.

 

My birthday was wonderful! It was filled with my wonderful friends and family and some great food. The best part of it all was the beautiful sewing machine that my husband gave me! I have been wanting to learn to sew for the longest time.  He conspired with my friends and family and I now have everything that I need to learn to sew. I am almost done with my first project!

 

But alas, it wouldn’t be my life without a few trips to different doctor’s offices and yet another referral. I had my physical on Tuesday. It was probably a mistake to go in for a physical the day after my birthday but I wasn’t thinking about that when I scheduled my appointment.  So yet again I had all the fun of fasting and giving up 4 vials of blood to the Vampires to test. I was subjected to an EKG and a Breath Test due to my asthma. The EKG was good. The breath test however, came back with results showing I have the lungs of an 84 year old. It is possible that the test was not accurate however I am being referred to a pulmonologist just to be sure.  Oh yeah we also get to tack on yet another medication to help with the asthma.

 

My blood work came back with a mixed bag of results. It would appear that my TSH levels (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) are perfect. Both my general practitioner (GP) and my gynecologist were happy with those numbers. However, apparently my cholesterol levels are still high.

 

My GP wants me to consider medication for it, but my gut tells me strongly not to.  This gut feeling was re enforced when I went to the drug store to pick it up and the pharmacist explained some very likely complications this cholesterol medication would cause with my treatment plan for the PCOS.  Needless to say I have declined the option for this medication.

 

It just goes to show you that when it comes to your medical issues, you can’t just sit back and assume everyone else knows what they are doing 100% of the time. You can’t relax. You have to stay on top of things. Sometimes that might mean you have to get annoying, others it might mean that you have to get stubborn. But always falls back on you to fix the issues of the day.

 

Needless to say, I have been busy this week. Which is frustrating, because it means I haven’t had nearly as much time with my new sewing (to me) machine as I would have liked.  And while I could have easily have let all this negative news get me down I choose not to. I am choosing to focus on the good side of things.  But enough with that. You probably are just sitting there anxious to see the damage all that celebrating did right? I know that I was when I stepped on the scale this morning. It took me a moment to actually peak at the screen and see my numbers for the week.

 

Imagine my absolute shock and surprise when I actually did take a look at the numbers!

 

The Results for the week are:

 

  • This week: 1.1 POUNDS DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!
  • TOTAL WEIGHT LOSS: 30.5 POUNDS DOWN!!!!!!!

 

 

In all honesty, I think that is the best birthday present I could ever give myself! And it goes to show that you can indeed have your cake and lose weight to! I can’t describe how great it feels to finally break through the 30 pound wall. And in just 4-5 pounds more I will officially be out of the obese category! How great is that!

 

So dear readers now is the time I hear from you! How has your week gone?  Anything exciting going on with you?

 

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.

 

Weekly Update: Aunt Flo takes a visit….. WILLINGLY! February 18, 2011

Graceful Skinny, "weight Loss" diet blog  "Thyroid Issues" "medical Conditions"

So I am slightly frustrated that I have yet again come so close to reaching my 30 pound mark one week just to yet again swing back the other way slightly. However, there are a lot of factors in play this week and for the most part I feel pretty good.

First of all I woke up Saturday morning to the arrival of Aunt Flo. While usually we women would groan about that for me it was a rather good sign.  The royal mess up of blood work from a few weeks back had my doctor’s office swearing that there was no chance for a period this month and said I might as well go forward with a 5 day round of Provera .  However my spidey senses were tingling and despite the nurse’s confident assurances that the 5 day delay in taking the blood had nothing to do with the resulting low numbers, I had a feeling that there was a strong possibility that they were wrong and that the pregnancy like symptoms I had been experiencing were just a very strong PMS reaction due to the fact that this was my first naturally induced period in over a year.  Needless to say my skepticism paid off and Aunt Flo arrived upon her own accord on Saturday.  Boy was it nice to see her arrive willingly!

So on top of the fact that I have been on my period (and have always shown a gain the weeks were that occurs), we also had Valentine’s Day.  And Lastly I have been rather busy this week running errands and doing chores getting ready for my Birthday Party tomorrow night. (My Actual Birthday is Monday.) And when I haven’t been doing chores I have been outside enjoying my wonderful Birthday weather!  So I haven’t been able to get my usual workout in.

So what were my numbers this week?

  • This Week: 0.2 pound Gain
  • Total Weight Loss: 29.6 pounds down

Overall, it’s not too bad all considering.  Especially considering that usually when I have a week of Period Gain the spike is a lot more significant than 0.2 pounds.  I almost don’t even count numbers that small as a  gain.  So this weekend is my Birthday celebrations, and because of that I am not expecting much next week on the scale.  But I did learn from Christmas. This year instead of going to Costco for large amounts of over-processed crap, I went to my favorite little sandwich place that does some catering and have placed my order to let them prepare everything. It turned out a bit cheaper and it will be significantly better quality and will taste miles better. I even get the added bonus of not having to bake everything and deal with a dirty kitchen with guests arriving. I get to just sit back relax and be the Birthday girl.  I have to say it’s a win all around.  Not to mention that this place is always great about proper portions so by just giving them my head count they helped to ensure just enough food. This makes me less likely to have portion control issues.  It also leaves me with fewer leftovers after everything is all said and done. And while some of you might not see this as a good thing, it actually is.

So readers, anybody else have exciting plans for the weekend?

 

A New Discovery for Those Days When You just really Want a Soda! February 17, 2011

Graceful Skinny "Mexican Coke" "High Frutose Corn Syurp" "Corn Sugar" "Cane Sugar" soda "weight loss" diet

One of the first things that I learned when I started on this weight loss journey was to be weary of anything with High Fructose Corn Syrup (a.k.a. Corn Sugar). There are more and more studies that are finding strong addictive tendencies in this evil substance.

Princeton did a study on the substance and the results that they came up with were enough to raise eye brows. You can find the article that talks about this study here:  http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S26/91/22K07/

It is definitely an article worth your read.

In the study, they found that the rats who were given High Fructose Corn Syrup laced water gained significantly more weight than the rats who were given table sugar.  Not only that but they also found that the rats who had the High Fructose Corn Syrup ended up not just gaining more weight than the table sugar group but that the animals in the High fructose corn Syrup group ended up gaining 48 percent more weight!

When I stumbled across this information I started to try to do my best to avoid it, only to come to the realization that it is found in almost everything we eat.

It’s not practical to think that you can avoid ever eating it again. And the saying is always true, Everything in Moderation.  The problem however, is getting that into moderate amounts of your diet.

So next time you decide to go pick up that soda can or candy bar think twice! Rid yourself of the constant craving for it and you will quickly find that things that are loaded with it are overly sweet.

After only a month I got to the point were most sodas and soft drinks are just revolting to me.  Just try to go a while without the processed foods and then taste them again. They just aren’t as tasty as we thought.

But there will be days when you will miss that soda. And for those days, my husband and I have found a great compromise.

This bottle of coke isn’t any normal coke, and you more than likely are not going to find it on your regular soda aisle.  No folks, this coke is Mexican coke! What makes it better than the normal stuff you ask? Let’s turn the bottle around and take a look.

"Mexican Coke" Coke Graceful Skinny "Weight Loss" diet Soda "Cane Sugar" "Corn Sugar"

The red box believe it or not is the ENTIRE ingredients list.  That’s right there are only 6 ingredients in this bottle.   And let me tell you, there is a huge difference in flavor alone to justify the extra cost.

All of that being said, you should be aware that there is a bit of the “Corn Sugar” that may find its way in here.  I went on to coke’s website and found a Ingredients Glossary. According to their website  Caramel Coloring is defined as:

Caramel Color

Caramel color is made by a process involving the heating of corn or cane sugar and other carbohydrates to achieve the desired color.

http://productnutrition.thecoca-colacompany.com/ingredients

Because they don’t clarify if its indeed Corn Sugar or the better option Cane Sugar you should still take caution and limit the amount you drink it. But if you are just looking for a special treat every now and then, I would have to say that is a great way to go.

So as you go about your day, be weary and warned. Keep your eyes out and pay attention you might just be amazed at just how much of the High Fructose Corn Syrup is making its way into your diet.