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: Getting back to the Swing of Things May 6, 2011

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I have decided that I am going to flat out refuse to let this wall that I recently splat against take me down.  It may have taken most of a month and practically 10 pounds to do it but there you go.  I have already lost about 4.4 pounds since my doctor’s visit last week.

After realizing the amount of weight that I was starting to gain I went through a mired of emotions.  I will be honest here and admit that I came very close to letting myself succumb to the helplessness and dejected feelings. But then I started noticing that not only was I not helping myself, but I was re-gaining the weight and fast.  I realized that if I didn’t snap out of it soon I was going to be starting back at the beginning of this whole process all over again. I couldn’t let myself do that.

So I have decided that I am getting myself over this stupid wall even if it’s the last thing I do.  I am going to make this happen! And today, for the first time in month and a half I got in my 30 minute biking activity in on my Wii Fit.  I didn’t hit the same top mileage that I was hitting but today’s score was within the top 4, which is a bit better then what I set out to do for the day.  I knew it was going to be hard so when I started I set a goal to at least make sure my mileage made the top 15 scores.

Imagine my surprise though when I got halfway through my workout and realized that I had missed it. I finally get how people say they enjoy their workouts, because to be honest, I have never really understood that before now. I mean really, who actually finds themselves actually enjoying the all out exhaustion and sweaty grossness that you get from workouts? Well, much to my surprise, me apparently. There is something truly gratifying about taking things into your own hand and taking control over the mess that is your weight. There is a message that the work out speaks.  The workout acts like a microphone that announces to the world and yourself that you are going to refuse to stand down and let the fat and the pounds win. I not only can do this, I am doing this! I can lose this weight and it is going to come off.

So to all of you out there struggling or feeling defeated like me, join me in the rebellion! Don’t let this crap win. We CAN do this and we WILL do this! And in the end, we will feel so much better because of it!

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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

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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?

 

Weekly Update: Snowed In! January 14, 2011

Snowed In Weight Loss The Graceful Skinny diets

 

I officially call this week a throw away. From the fact that there has been crazy amounts of snow and Ice EVERYWHERE to the fact that I had to fluctuate a few of my meds to make them last till I could even consider getting out of my apartment, to the Provera and the ensuing period, it shouldn’t come to much surprise that I haven’t had the greatest week weight wise.

 

This week I discovered the only thing more dangerous for a waist line then hormonal cravings would have to be hormonal cravings while snowed in for a week.  We were finally able to get out for a tiny bit yesterday, and let me tell you, I have never been more elated to be going to a drug store!

 

I do want to apologize for not posting much this week, but with the snow my husband has had to work from home the week.  He had to take over the main computer area leaving me with only my broken down old laptop to get internet access.  Without access to my normal work environment I haven’t been able to get much done.

 

I will go ahead and admit, I haven’t made the best decisions food wise but being ADHD and trapped in a two bedroom apartment without much contact to the outside world got me real twitchy real fast. That plus all the other things going on with me has made for almost unavoidable bad cravings.

 

The upside to all of this is that I have gotten a week of rest right when my body needed it. My husband and I got some extra time together and most of the problematic ice should FINALLY start to fully melt away today and tomorrow.  The only thing to make this better would have been to have the Christmas boxes in the apartment with me so that I could have used the stranded time a bit better. But let’s be realistic here. With the way my body treated me this week, I doubt that much of it would have gotten done anyways. Ah well.

 

I’ll get back on track next week. I promise this time!

 

New Year- New You! January 6, 2011

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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.

 

Weekly Update: 10 Things I have learned in 2010 December 31, 2010

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So in honor of the fact that it is New Year’s Eve; instead of reflecting back at just the week that was (I was certainly lazy and spent my week off resting. I did get one great workout in though), I thought I would take the time to instead look back at the year that was and come up with 10 things that I have learned from it.

 

1.       Hashimoto’s is not just some bad anime series and it can wreck havoc on your weight.

2.       It is always better to step on the dog. Trying to avoid the dog will end up just causing you larger and more expensive problems.

3.       Taking medication is like learning to walk a tight rope. You have to find just the right balance or else you will fall off.

4.       If you go to your doctor’s office enough you make friends with the staff there. This, as it turns out, is a good thing.

5.       A lesson that apparently needs constant re-teaching: No matter how you think you have your life planed out, God always has a way to come in and remind you that you don’t have a clue about what is going on.

6.       Drinking water with meals and eating raw fruits and veggies is not a good thing.

7.       It is important to remember to eat veggies at every meal including breakfast.

8.       Forgetting meals leads to bad things.

9.       Eating the right foods in the right portions goes a long way to getting you healthy.

10.   If you stay away from sugar long enough it starts to lose its appeal.

 

 

Of course, it wouldn’t be a weekly update unless I posted up the results, although I very nearly almost didn’t post them.  I’ve been lazy this week. I have forgotten work outs and meals. And for all of my oaths and swearing that this was going to be a good week. I didn’t do a great job.  I munched throughout the week and forgot more than one meal.  Add in the lack of activity and well, I am surprised that the damage isn’t worse.  I didn’t want to post today but I am kicking my butt, because if I allow myself to slip then I might as well give up. I haven’t gone through the B.S.  to get where I am just to give up now. I WILL keep going.  And things will improve.  So as much as I don’t want to, it’s time to face the music:

 

  • This Week: 1.1 pounds Gained
  • Total Weight Loss: 26.7 pounds down

 

 

So there you have it folks! It’s like I said, it hasn’t been the best weeks weight wise, but that is okay because I expected as much. And honestly, these past two weeks have done less damage than I anticipated, so in the end, I count that a victory! So here is to the New Year and all the new things that are to come with it! And I leave you with one last lesson that I have learned this year,

 

If life hands you lemons, laugh. You will enjoy the lemonade a lot better if you do!

 

Happy New Year everybody!