Changing my Body in a Healthy Way

These are my TOP 10 Lifestyles that have changed my body for the better:

  1. Drink 80+ oz of water a day
    Water drinking has been the bane of my existence for a long time. Even when Sesame Street was telling me to have 8 glasses of water a day, my five year old self was like, “…Really?? nah. I want Dr. Pepper.” But last winter when I did Unicity Transformation I was told 100 oz of water a day!!! And I had no clue how to do it. Which is funny, because I’m sure I could do 100 oz of DP any day. So factoring in my soda addiction, I got a water bottle that came with a straw and looked like a fountain drink. The rest was flipping history! I had a 24 oz one I filled up four times a day. And it was just that easy. I also tried to drink all of that before 5 pm. So that way I wasn’t peeing all night long.
  2. Eat Wheat not White Flour
    Another requirement of Unicity that I had no clue my body wanted so bad. My body seriously has problems with white flour. It makes me bloated, constipated and miserable. I didn’t realize until I started putting white flour back into my system that my body had the toughest time with it. Wheat flour tortillas, wheat whole grain bread, wheat flour… made the biggest difference for my stomach. I attribute getting rid of white flour as one of the main reasons my tummy got flatter.
  3. Keep Treats to a Minimum
    I think one of the biggest failures of “dieting” or “new eating lifestyles” is that people NEVER let themselves indulge. Or they have major guilt about any sort of indulgence. And it’s SO important to have a “reset” button on your week (as my coach, Mel) would say. I mean at the peak of my “transformation” challenge I had one 60 minute reset meal a week. But that doesn’t have to be your choice. At first it could be having several pieces of dark chocolate at the end of your day. Or having a cup of Chocolate Almond Milk. And honestly, the occasional ice cream sundae or Dr Pepper, isn’t the end of the world.
    My sister Amelia and I were talking about our NEED for treats. And how there is something in my brain that thinks at the end of EVERY meal I need a dessert. Ok I had a good breakfast, so let’s have a donut. Ok I had a good lunch, let’s eat a cookie. And I just finished dinner so I get my dessert! It’s such a funny and juvenile mentality. My body doesn’t need to have dessert with every single meal or every single day! But! Rewarding yourself is crucial, just don’t let it erase all your hard work.
  4. Avoid Processed FoodA few years ago I attended “Education Week” at BYU. And I took a class with my sister from Chef Brad. Chef Brad is so cool and so funny. And so many of the things he taught in that class changed the way I do food. And one thing he mentioned was that when you’re grocery shopping, along the edge of the grocery store you have produce, dairy, and meat products. And once you go down the aisle you’ve ventured into the processed foods section of the store. If you’re spending more time on the aisles than the edges, take a second look at your grocery list.
    Now folks, I love top ramen and frozen foods. They are my peanut butter and jelly. But man are they just so bad for you. Starting to minimize their existence is a good idea. Every now and then, having top ramen when you don’t feel good or a frozen burrito when nothing else sounds good– go ahead. But again, just like treats, this should be a minimum. Not an every meal every day choice.
  5. FitBit
    • My FitBit has changed my life. I got it December 2015 and before I did my Unicity Transformation it helped me lose 7-10 lbs! Simply by having this little watch tell me that I’m not walking at all during the day. I didn’t realize how stagnant I was. So I started moving and walking more. And the thrill of having my watch buzz when I got my 10k steps or when I was in contests with other friends on FitBit, totally launched a whole new way of walking around. I’m so O.C.D. about having things ticked off on a list and my FitBit is a whole new list of things I have to check off.
  6. Food Journaling
    • Another weight loss tip that everyone has heard. Keeping track of your food helps you remember what you’re putting into your body. Another thing I’ve been famously bad at. I tried literally writing it down in a journal type thing, I tried MyFitnessPal and nothing stuck with me. So  here is another plug for FitBit, you can log your food and water consumption on it. So it’s my all around app and device I use to track my fitness. Love it!
  7. 30 Min 3x a Week of Being Active​​
    • I was always under the impression that I had to workout 5+ hours a week to see any results and anything less than that was not acceptable. And I mean, if you can or do workout that much, go you! But that was not a reasonable goal for me. Starting out by doing 30 min 3x a week was so great for me. I then upped it to 30 min 5x a week and try and solidly do 3 to 5 30 min sessions per week. And this includes taking my dogs out for a 30 min walk. Or if I have a really vigorous afternoon of cleaning, weeding, organizing; I call it good! The most important thing, again, is to just move!
  8. Had a friend hold me accountable.
    This was another game changer for me, during Unicity Transformation not only did I log in my food; but I also would text my coach and let her know what I was eating and also– when I had temptations. And this girl is the sweetest ever, but she is a bad a$$ when it comes to health. I was so scared of telling her I had slipped up and ate a candy bar or something. And that genuinely helped me stay away from candy bars! And in reality, when I was having a tough time, she had great ideas and encouragement. She was never mean or nagged me over decisions. Grab a good friend to help you out (also, someone who wont dismiss your cravings either. You need someone who will encourage and not enable you).
  9. Didn’t weigh myself everyday
    • I weigh myself once a week. Usually on Sunday or Monday, right in the morning. I get naked and make sure that I’ve gone to the bathroom. That is your true weight. People weigh themselves at night after they’ve ate food all day, with all their clothes on– that isn’t accurate at all. Dummies. For me, the scale was not always a friend. It was just a sad reminder. When I do it weekly, it gives me an idea of where I’m at and I can move on. Also– it’s just a number folks. Obsessing about it is going to make you go crazy. I “weigh” myself by how much energy I have and by how my clothes fit. You know your body better than any ol’ scale.
  10. Grocery planned and shopped like a Master Jedi
    • My husband totally makes fun of me for how much I plan. And since we’ve been married, I’ve mastered the grocery list planning. I write down all the meals I’m planning on having for the week and try and stick so hard to my list. I have a little bit of wiggle room, but when I don’t adhere to that–I spend so much more money on junk. Since trying to eat healthier, I make sure to stay out of the aisles as much as I can and stay on the edges. And I try to go to the grocery store once a week and after I’ve eaten. It can’t always be like that, but when I do that I don’t buy cravings.

OK! There you have it! My List! It may not be anything extraordinary, but it works for me! I hope you’re having a fabulous summer so far! Get out there and enjoy the sun! But if you’re like me, put on as much sunblock as possible and wear big hats.

This is us enjoying our summer holiday…. with a Bear photobombing the photo

 

 

When the Baby isn’t here yet.

This is a hard post to write. And I don’t want to hurt feelings… But I have really wanted to write this for awhile. So I took some Tina Fey advice:tina

Every woman’s journey with children is different. Whether you have infertility or not, your journey will not be the same as mine. And that is A-OK.

Currently I’m at this phase: My husband and I have been married for 3 1/2 years and have no children. I’m working and Mike is finishing his Master’s. We’re in the late 20’s early 30’s age group. We’re worried about saving up for a home. We are stoked to finally be done with school and are planning lots of fun adventures.

Quite frequently, we get asked, “Do you have kids?” To which we answer, “No we do not.” Which is usually followed by, “Are you planning on having kids soon?” Now I’m lucky because I’m a very open person and I don’t shy away from telling people, “I have PCOS which causes me to have infertility problems.” Which kind of kills the conversation.

Because of this blog, lot of friends, family and acquaintances know that I have infertility. Which has put a spotlight onto one small part of me (I recognize that I put that spotlight on myself). So now, sometimes people feel nervous announcing that they’re having a baby around me, in fear that I will be upset. To which my response is, “YAYA!! Congratulations! So Excited for you!”  And then I want to know all the details about when the baby is coming and just how many clothes is it okay for me to buy? Whether or not I get upset doesn’t matter. You’re having a baby and that is a joyful thing.

An assumption is made that: because I have infertility I’m in this continuous phase of being sad when I hear about babies. And that I’m not happy for you. I appreciate people being sensitive to couples who are having trouble conceiving. Because I know that is a burden that some people bare. But sometimes being so worried that every woman will break down at baby announcements can do more harm than good. (And vice versa, it’s sad that we can’t announce good news without having some sort of guilt.)

For example: I had a friend text me on Mother’s Day, “I know this is a hard day for you, but you’re so brave. Know that I love you!”  Which, good intentions or not, all of it was pretty insulting. Mostly because at that point in my life I hadn’t written this blog. I hadn’t talked to this person in a long time and I hadn’t personally told them anything about my PCOS.

Assumptions were made: Since I had been married for 2 years and didn’t have children, this person assumed that I obviously couldn’t have kids; therefore “Mother’s Day” was salt in the wound to me.

I went into a rage! I showed my husband the text and soap boxed:
Um,  I have Mothers in my life that I celebrate! So now on this day, you’ve reminded me of something that you in NO WAY can relate to!
Have I told you personally, “I’m having such a hard time with babies and having my own baby?” No? I haven’t? Well then don’t assume I’m going through that just because I have infertility. Do you even know that I’m trying to have a kid?
Maybe Mike and I have made our own very personal decisions about when we want to have a kid. JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER COUPLE! Maybe I want a few years to myself!! Etc.. Etc…

And then I calmed down and moved on.

But! Because of that friend’s “good intentions” I spent the rest of that day in those hot angry thoughts. It genuinely ruined my day.

Now that was a little while ago and I’m no longer mad. I’m no longer upset. I’ve forgiven that person… and the numerous others for their good intentions. Hurt usually stems from a lack of knowledge and a desire to connect.

Connecting with someone who is going through something that you can’t relate to is hard. Which makes people nervous. So they say things that are laced with good intentions, that make them feel good. But usually end up being hurtful. I’m positive I’ve said things to people going through some sort of personal trial that hurt them. That’s why writing this post is so hard!! I’m desperately trying to connect with other women but continually in the fear that I’m going to offend people. It’s bound to happen. The main thing to do is to  learn from those mistakes and the mistakes of others to create rules for myself. Knowledge is key to treating other people the way that they desire to be treated.

Treat women with infertility like normal people. Because that’s what we are. We are going through some major internal stress; but we also are just trying to figure out what to make for dinner. If you have a CLOSE personal relationship with them, you probably have a little more grounds to say something. BUT if you don’t, I wouldn’t say anything at all.

This has been a pretty serious post, so here is some more Tina Fey:

 

 

Transformation

Hello all!

I hope your Christmas and New Years was joyful and wonderful! Mine was great. I did nothing and slept a lot. And got a new Louise (Bob’s Burgers) Jacket from my husband.

louise

Don’t you love my Jacket? Louise is my soul sister.

So I’d say my Christmas was a total success. Right before Christmas break I participated in a program called Unicity Transformation, where I lost weight and started working on a healthy lifestyle. I posted my “Before and After” pic on Insta and Facebook and I promised to talk about my experience so here we go!

HOW IT STARTED:

I have an amazing friend named Mel, who works as a personal coach for Unicity, a health company. She contacted me and asked if I would like to participate in this 30 day trial called Unicity Transformation (https://shop.unicity.com/). It was right before Thanksgiving and Christmas so I hesitated for like a second and then went, “YES PLEASE!” The basic things I knew was that I would not be consuming white sugar, white flour or processed foods (among other things).SCARY!

We’ve all had people who have done things like this before. My favorite satirical portrayal of what people will do to look thin is in this clip from “Devil Wears Prada”

I don’t have enough dedication to be like Emily here, but you know what I mean! Starving yourself from all happiness so that you can be that size 2. And I just love food too much to do that. This wasn’t like that, but I usually put anything like this into that category. And whenever I heard of someone restricting themselves, in the past, I would think “You’re so brave! I could never do that!” I would walk off and tell myself: My body would hate it, I would be miserable and mean, I literally NEED Dr. Pepper. Excuses and reasons. But for one glorious moment I felt fearless, so I jumped in!

Mel gave me the plan to follow (specific things to eat and drink. specific things to avoid). Basically I was going to be eating whole foods and making sure that I had plenty of protein and veggies. I would have specific fats and carbs that I could have and then others to avoid. I would be doing protein shakes and a glucose health support supplement. I was all set and had a friend to talk to about any questions. And I was given tools, advice, tips and a paper to write my “Vision” on. I love Vision’s or Mission Statements, Mantras, goals, outlines; those are my jam!! And especially for changing a life habit, you NEED a mission statement. What is the real “WHY” of why you’re doing this?

mantra

I knew going into it my results would be different than others because PCOS bodies are difficult. So I didn’t set a weight goal at all. Something I was proud of because I wasn’t doing this program to drastically lose weight. I was doing this program to make my body healthier. I thought about being able to develop a relationship between my emotions and my eating. I wanted to have more mind over my actions. I wanted to learn discipline and my biggest one was “To love the body I was looking at in the Mirror”. vision

HOW IT WENT:

EATING

The body is an amazing thing. And it can do things that you don’t think it can do. The first thing I noticed is that my body loved not eating sugar. Which, I mean, DOI! PCOS bodies obviously have issues with sugar so having less of it made me feel so good. My body started having more energy with less sugar… what?? I mean the thing I gave myself to have more energy was the culprit to zapping my energy!

My first week was a challenge because I was doing a protein shake for breakfast and lunch and then having a meal for dinner. I had a hard day the first day because after working for 8 hours with a lot less food than I am used to, I then had to spend an hour making food. So I was starving and then didn’t eat until like 8pm. I made adjustments for me (with the help of Mel) and I felt a lot better the rest of the week. So major lesson learned: MEAL PREP. So that my healthy lifestyle wouldn’t conflict with my work life.

Once a week I was allowed a “reset meal” for 60 minutes.

melting-pot

This was at my second reset meal at the Melting Pot. I fit into these new clothes and felt sooo freaking sexy.

When I was struggling, I would plan every single minute of that 60 minute meal. I wanted to go to Red Robin, have an appetizer, chicken sandwich, endless fries, endless Dr. Pepper AND a dessert! Those thoughts helped me when my 1-2 cups of vegetables did not look good. Not surprising though, after eating my reset meal, I got full FAST and my body was like, “WHY YOU EAT THIS?? IT HURTS US PRECIOUS!” (I frequently think my voice talks in Smeagol/Gollum voice from The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The next 21 days,  I ate a protein shake for breakfast and then two meals a day. I got creative with recipes, vegetable options and craving solutions. Some were a major success… others were a total flop. Sometimes there is no substitute for Mac and Cheese. There just isn’t. my-plate

EXERCISING

The program asks you to exercise for 30 min 3x a week. Which is pretty standard. The weeks leading up to this I was doing 2-3 hours a week between walks with my dogs, weightlifting and running. But mind you, this was right when winter hit so my options became shorter and more limited. Exercising in the winter is SO hard for me. The days are shorter, I work all during the hours of the day and then it’s dark outside. So I don’t want to pack up my stuff and go workout. I want to go home, eat and hibernate.

I talked with Mel about my struggles (I talked to her a lot about a lot of struggles… poor Mel) and she created an at home or gym workout for my legs, abs and arms. Then she also said this, “You just gotta do it.” And I loved her honesty and real attitude about it. So, little by little I did it. I would do my leg workout at work in the back. I would crash home at night and force myself to do a workout.

I think the biggest take away about exercise is that…. it will always be a struggle for me. BUT! I love the results and how I feel. Ultimately, “you just gotta do it”. It’s choice and consequence. If you aren’t going to exercise the consequence is your body wont be as strong and the weight you complain about will never leave. Plain and simple. If you’re willing to accept that consequence then you can skip ahead to the end of this post because there is nothing here for you. upper-body lower-body

CHALLENGES WON

Now there were so many little things that were won during this challenge, that it made “weight” superfluous to me. Healthy living is an emotional road and I wanted to come out conqueror. I didn’t always win, but when I did it was SWEET!

  1. One day during the challenge, all my planning went out the door when a massive storm rolled through Utah. I work about 30 minutes away from my home and right when it was time to go home a humongous snow storm fell down on my commute. My car was sliding everywhere. Getting on to the freeway (something that normally takes me 7 minutes) took me 1 hour. I finally got on the freeway to go home and it was just covered in wet snow. I was going 15mph and decided to pull off and just sleep over at my bestie’s house. I didn’t have any of my meal prep for that dinner or the next day for lunch so I had to improvise. I am so lucky because Kristin (my bestie) is so supportive and had protein shakes and tried to make my life easier in any way she could. FYI: Those are the kinds of people you want in your life, the ones who will support you and help you make your life better. She didn’t say, “Oh just take the night and day off! Just have some of this pizza!!!” She said, “This is what I have, how can I help you?” I could talk about Kristin all day long… I’ll stop now.
    salad

    That’s the face of someone who conquered their stomach.

    With Kristin’s help, I went to work the next day in her clothes and with premiere protein shakes in hand. I lasted all day long but on the way home I was STARVING. All I wanted was a quick meal so that I could go home! I hopped in a nearby Dairy Queen drive-thru. I pulled up to place my order and my mind went blank. I searched looking for “healthy” in all the wrong places. I said out loud to myself, “YOU DUMMY!” I pulled out of the drive thru and went to my favorite salad bar place at the grocery store.  I was so proud of myself. I listened to my heart and brain and they both were able to control my stomach and get me away from my fast food addiction.

  2. The holidays did not beat me! Thanksgiving and Christmas I usually have this attitude of, “I’m throwing the towel in and eating! This is my only time to eat this fudge!” And I make myself ill over all the goodies offered at Christmas. And I mean, the goodies are freaking everywhere! You have a family party, neighborhood get together, BUNCO extravaganza, girls night, date night, etc! And food is just a major part of that universe. I was able to politely decline. I was able to resist. I was able to replace with something healthy. I was able to make it to my 60 minute meal. I mean… I had struggles and cravings. But I’d say overall I beat the holidays.
  3. I was able to be an example to family and friends
  4. I was able to sleep better
  5. I was able to save money not going out to eat as much
  6. I was able to surprise myself.
  7. I was able to fit in clothes I hadn’t for a long time.

The Results

So I know, I know, all you want to see is that before and after. I mean when I read these blogs I usually skim through to just the pictures! So I can’t give you inches results because I don’t think I measured accurately… have someone else measure you if you’re going to do that 🙂 I lost 11 pounds and gained a whole lot of confidence!before-after

(**cue cheesy music and flag unfurling behind me). But it is true!! I slowly felt like I was becoming more and more me. Aches and pains I’ve been feeling for years went away. Energy just blossomed into my soul and a happiness that comes from dedication to a hard task just bubbled over.

When I had completed the 30 days, I needed to be done for a moment. But I knew I wanted to incorporate this into my life naturally. I needed to put more veggies into my life. I needed to take out the refined carbs and sugars on a regular basis. I needed more water! So I took a two week break and now I’m at it again!

And it is hard! I recognize that I have major emotional eating habits. I had a horrible day yesterday and I broke down wanting anything but the Turkey chili I had made. I wanted donuts, cakes, burgers and pizza. ALL AT THE SAME TIME! I texted Mel and said, “HELP!” Which she did! I got through it and I’m alive today.

I think that is the biggest result to talk about. Not drastic weight los1s. But drastic health habit changes. I recognize that I still have a long way to go. But that’s okay. This life is long and good. I have many opportunities to make my life better. It’s just time to stop letting those opportunities fly by for one excuse or another.

So that is my challenge to you. It’s a new friggin year! Anything is possible and you’ve just got to fly into those fears and prove them wrong. You got this, I know you do. And if you need a Mel or a Kristin, I’m here for you.

Let’s kick some 2017 butt and transform ourselves into the best us.

 

Motivation during the Holidays

Hello All!

It’s been a minute! I have had this blog in the back of my mind, not really knowing what to write. I know I wanted to continue to share life’s joys. And anything to help with PCOS/Women’s health. But I could not think of anything! I have written about everything that was on my priority list. And I can honestly say I wasn’t sure I’d even get that far. So now I’m here, wondering what could I possibly to say to all you fabulous humans.

So an update on what I’ve been doing for the past few months. I performed in a play, The 39 Steps. And I got promoted to a 40 hour supervisor position at my work. So my life started to fast forward and go by very quickly because of how busy I was. My husband has been doing his rotations for PA school and any chance we could, we’d spend time with one another on weekends.

With being SO busy, I found it so hard to exercise. Then winter time hit…. and the motivation just continued to drop. I’d come home from work and it was late and dark. All I wanted to do was eat pizza and lay down and watch Bob’s Burgers. And I did do just that. Many a night. But slowly I started thinking of everything I was preaching…. and the seed of guilt began to grow. Then I’d look at my poor puppies who were used to me giving them exercise too and I went, “FINE!!!” And started out doing my baby steps again. (remember what I said in “Afraid to Run”? even 15-30 minutes of being active a day is better than nothing!) So I would listen to a Bob’s Burgers episode during my cold walk with my Dogs. I went around the block, close to lamp lights, with my pepper spray because it was already so dark. And it felt so good.

Which has revolved into this thought, “HOW DO WE STAY MOTIVATED DURING THE HOLIDAYS?” There are so many REASONS and not excuses why we fall out of our regular fitness plans from October 1st-February 14th! There are so many get-togethers, parties, special dates, traditional meals, plans and plans and plans! Grabbing a pizza is quicker than preparing a meal. Going shopping for Christmas Presents seems like a work out in and of itself. We know we need to be healthier but making that choice during the holidays seems ridiculous!! But all the Halloween candy! What about Thanksgiving dinner? And I mean, how can I say no to those special Christmas cookies and treats that only surface once a year?? No…. I’ll start later.

I have had every one of these scenarios and thoughts float through my head. And unless you have this rock solid healthy lifestyle, chances are the holidays will throw you off. Now I don’t know a single person with a “ROCK SOLID LIFESTYLE” so go ahead and take that perfection worry off your shoulders. Now let’s brainstorm, what’s going to keep me and you going?

Well! As you’ve heard before, I’m a visual person, and seeing something everyday to keep me going, really really helps. I have a whiteboard Calendar in my room. And every time I work out, I write it down on there. And it really helps me realize just how much I’m doing out of the week. It helps me stay accountable, more so than “My Fitness Pal” or even my precious “Fitbit”.

I also really love Motivation Boards!! I first fell in love with this idea when I was reading a book and doing a program by Connie Sokol: http://conniesokol.com/ . I was doing her program with my sister, “Back to Basics” and I read the idea and LOVED IT! It is something I’ve done off and on for the past few years. I have either a whiteboard or a cork board in my room, or in our office. I plaster it with pictures and quotes. Motivating me with positive images. Now, I’ve tried a negative enforcer, showing a picture of me at my heaviest…. not helpful! And a picture of me at my skinniest, also not helpful! Instead a mirror, has been the best cheer leader. It’s showing me what I look like today. And I’m striving for the best me, right now. I’m not going to be 21 year old Caitlin skinny. I’m going to be healthy mumble mumble year old Caitlin. Whatever weight that is!

 

 

 

Support Groups. I’ve been fortunate enough to be added to several Facebook support groups that are about encouraging and helping one another. There is extreme power in friendship. Days when I need help, validation, ideas and just love… these people are there. I also have my close friends and family that I talk to about what I’m going through, cravings and triumphs. Find someone to root for you. In a positive and happy way. Not someone who is going to make you feel awful for eating a donut one morning.

Now for the answers to the WHY! Why are you working out? Why are you eating healthy? Or why are you attempting to do these things? Write a mission statement for your health. My mission statements change depending on what phase of life I’m in. And right now, my mission statement is,

“I would like to be happy with my reflection in the mirror. I want to feel energized throughout the day because of how I’m treating my body. I want to look gorgeous in all those family and friend photos. I want to have energy when I go on family outings, dog walks and activities with friends. I want to physically play with loved ones around me. I want to be nourished by the food I choose to put in my body. I want to stay healthy and not feel ill because I binge on junk food. I want to prepare my body to be a healthy mom. I want to be an adventurous soul who has the energy and strength to do what is asked of me.”

Notice*** I did not say “I want to lose 50 pounds and be a size 2.” Does that sound encouraging, hopeful and happy? Nope, not to me. And besides, our goals should be to be healthy not “skinny”.

I hope these tidbits have helped you! It’s not too late to correct course. Resist eating every single treat that is brought your way! Maybe walk in place for every commercial during that holiday special you’re watching. Instead of bringing chocolate cake to the family dinner, bring a veggie plate instead. Ask for healthy snacks to go in your stocking. We can do hard things, friends! I will be writing soon about a new lifestyle I’ve been trying out that has helped me so much! Stay Tuned!

In the mean time, Merry Christmas, Happy holidays and a Happy New Year and a Happy New YOU! Loves!

All the Colors of PCOS…..

Hello All!

It’s another week to do great things! And that means forcing myself to blog, because I’ve been very lazy about not writing. But!  I’ve had a lot floating on the top of my mind that I want to talk about. So buckle up!

The main thing I will be talking about is PERIODS! I know, I know, reading about a stranger’s intimate flow cycle is exactly what you wanted to do today, huh? But Periods are a huge part of what makes PCOS, PCOS! You have all these cysts on your ovaries that are preventing you from making an egg. So your periods can be sporadic, non existent, or incredibly painful because a cyst is deciding to burst. Needless to say it’s all pretty painful.

gandalfBut this is where you get into the nitty gritty of PCOS because, every single woman has a different flow and not everyone has the text book definition of a PCOS period. Which can be very frustrating! Your period should be every 28 days, systematically that’s how a lot of women’s work. But for PCOS women it can be a couple times a year or just whenever your body decides for you to have one. Which can lead to the worst kind of surprises.

I started my period in 4th grade. That’s right, you heard me, I was 10 years old! It was Valentine’s day and I was wearing Jeans, a purple shirt and my favorite yellow fleece vest from Old Navy. I was walking home from dropping off a Valentine’s when I felt something happen; like I had peed my pants. I ran home and went to the bathroom and was terrified at what I saw. I remember sticking my underwear in a plastic bag and waiting for my mom to come home so I could tell her that I needed to go to the doctor. I’m sick, something is wrong.

“No, you just started your period.” My mom proceeded to hand me the twin size mattress maxi pads and moved me along. It was horrible being that young and having a period. I had so many “leaked out” accidents, at school, home, church; it was terrible. Especially having other people notice. Boys, also don’t quite understand what is going on so they are naturally inquisitive. Which is horrifying.

Life goes on and now I’m grateful for whatever period comes. It’s so weird having that kind of perspective. I’ve found myself at times, praying for a period to happen on time. I’ve had a mostly regular period my whole life. Every now and then it is not 28 days, it is more like 42 days. But for PCOS, that is really good. Then I know several friends with PCOS who hardly ever had periods their whole lives.

That is what I mean when I say not one PCOS woman is like another PCOS woman. I’ve known PCOS women who are super thin and have no acne or facial hair problems. But they do not have a period at all. Then there are a lot of women like me who gain weight simply by looking at a donut, have facial hair and acne and my period is pretty darn regular.

I’m being repetitive but it is because I want to emphasize a point that any sort of symptoms you may be feeling, is always worth talking about. Talk with trustworthy family and friends AND a Health Care Professional. Do not put it off, do not assume you’re fine. Please involve someone in your journey.

So some Period Tips:

Track your periods! A lot of women used to have a special red marker that they would dot their planners with. That never worked for me. Some women just have it internally memorized! I do not fit into either of these categories. I found this great app OVIA. And it is the best period tracker ever! And it has tips for helping you get pregnant, healthy living, women’s health. The best part: It’s free!!! Check. It. Out.

Secondly, if you are young, talk to your mom about your periods. Make sure you find a way to track it. And don’t keep things to yourself. Be careful with tampons, do not leave them in all day. There are new awesome things that I wish were around when I started my period. More discreet tampons, more environmentally friendly tampons, panty liners, etc. There is underwear that is magic period underwear. I don’t get exactly how it works… but here is a link: http://www.shethinx.com I would love to hear if these actually work.

cupThirdly, to help with the environment and also with toxins staying out of your body, a Diva (Or Menstrual) Cup. This is something I will be trying in the next couple of weeks because I love the idea of not having to buy a million tampons, having something reusable (as gross as that sounds) something that is better on the environment and healthier for my body.

So I’ll be trying out some new things and following up with you! It’s an exciting time to be alive! In the meantime, I’m going to take a poll…. How do you track your periods? Just answer below in comments if you would like to!

Have a happy fall week!!!


 

When your body is against you.

Hello Everyone!

It has been awhile. For a multiplicity of reasons, I’ve been extremely busy the month of September. Working full-time and rehearsing for a play, while working full time, kind of takes up all your time. And any little extra minute I had to myself I was trying to be healthy and spend time with my hubby before he starts his rotations next month.

I kept thinking to myself, I’ve written everything I’m passionate about with PCOS. What else could I possibly talk about? And truth be told, I was not in the mood to write.

And then a reality I’ve been pretty good about stomaching lately, slapped me in the face this weekend. Sometimes you do everything you’re supposed to and it still doesn’t work. You eat right, exercise (mostly)  and take your medicine. And your body still has problems and still does things that drive you crazy. Like not losing weight, or growing way too much unwanted hair, or not ovulating and not getting pregnant.

“But I did everything right!” I hear myself saying whenever I step on that scale and am sad that the number hasn’t changed. It feels so unfair and I get so angry. But then I was reading through one of my favorite blogs: Brave Little Lungs. And this particular post I was reading, was so what I needed to hear. Mack has an extremely rare lung diseases that effects 1 in 6 million people and she is now in California waiting for a double lung transplant. She is the most inspiring woman. And her post was all about healthy living and how hard it is to make those choices. And crying over a bagel…

After reading it, I just thought, “PREACH!!!!” I wanted to AMEN her afterwards because the struggle is real! Being so sad about how my body feels. Knowing exercise and eating right is what I’m supposed to do but then having a complete melt down over the chocolate brownies in the break room. I mean, I can not imagine the pain that she goes through with this disease. But I admire her tenacity, humor and genuine positive outlook.

Sometimes, no matter how many fitbit challenges I do… I still feel sad that my body can’t seem to stop misbehaving. And it is ok! It is totally reasonable to be sad and accept those feelings. I think it’s genuine grief. And pushing grief further inside of you, instead of dealing with it, can make it so much worse.

But, it’s a double edged sword! Because I definitely feel that we need to be fully and completely morose, yet, we can not dwell in our misery. One of my favorite angsty movies I used to watch embodies this fact so well. “Elizabethtown” with Orlando Bloom and Kiersten Dunst. Orlando’s character is thrown into despair after a business idea goes awry, when trying to commit suicide, he get’s a call from his family. His father has passed away and he has to take care of bringing the body home. He plans to do just that and then come back to his dirty work.

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But this is when the whimsical heroine waltzes onto the screen, thank you hippie Kiersten. She helps give him perspective throughout the whole movie and when it comes to him not being able to get over his personal tragedy, she says this, while listening to the best melancholy music:

“You have 5 minutes to WALLOW in the delicious misery. Enjoy it, embrace it, discard and proceed.”

I have always loved that quote because it simplifies grief for me. Mind you, we do need to absolutely wallow (definition: indulge in an unrestrained way in; something that creates a pleasurable sensation). Now weight-loss, infertility, PCOS, diseases, tragedies cannot always be a 5 minute grief session and then we can just discard and proceed. But I do not think they should be a 5 year grief session either. We need to pick ourselves up and move forward. But make sure you’ve given your brain and body the chance to WALLOW.

Now I know I’m going to have to continue working on all my symptoms. PCOS will not just go away. It’s a way of life. But that doesn’t make it a bad life. My body will throw me curve balls and I will have to deal. That won’t stop me though. And it shouldn’t stop any of you. Keep going. Keep trying. Laugh. Cry. Shake it off. Wallow. Rinse. Repeat.

Friends, I’m gonna talk to you soon. I promise. But in the mean time, chin up! We got this!

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Stressed. Out.

Hi everyone!

I love Disneyland with my hubby.

It has been awhile! I would apologize but I was in Disneyland so…. not sorry.

Thank you so much for all your comments and responses to my posts so far. You guys are just the coolest people and it makes it so much easier to post. You inspire me and it makes me better. So thank you for being you!

So this week I would like to talk about STRESS. Every single being on this earth has stress. And we all deal with it in different ways. Being “stressed out” is a common phrase that we all use.

“Oh how’s work going?” “It’s fine, I’m stressed out, but it fine.”

“I just got a new puppy and it’s stressful, but fun!”

“School stresses me out!”

#stressedout is added to so many people’s lives.

Unfortunately stress never leaves us. And for PCOS ladies it is a very bad thing to have in our bodies (go figure). Stress makes us become more insulin resistant than we already are. So on top of your medical provider telling you you have to exercise all hours of the day and only eat kale; you also have to remain in a Zen like state.

WHAT?! Who in the world can function like that? It’s so hard. When I was first told that, I laughed in my head and was like, “You know nothing about me! I am Queen of Stressland!” But when I saw just how quickly my stress made things worse…. I knew I had to change how I was doing things

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Stress needs to be conquered with Peace. But how do we find that peace? There are books, articles, movies and lectures all about that question and what answers to give. I just want to give you a quick (ok…it’s kind of long) list and maybe a few sentences about which ones I do.

  • Read a book. I love this one, and I like reading actual paper books instead of ebooks… I think that tactile wise-it’s soothing
  • Take a nap. My husband swears by this. Nothing long! 15-20 minutes. And if you’re like me… I can only nap in 2 hour intervals… So my 15-20 minutes is laying down in a dark room with no phone or TV. I close my eyes and focus on breathing.
  • Exercise. I cannot harp on this enough. Sometimes knowing I have to exercise… stresses me out. But I feel so much better when I exercise. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjrBdKXgYFY
  • Meditate/Yoga
  • Go for a Walk. This is my jam! You can ALWAYS walk.
  • Positive self-talk. Be your biggest cheerleader. Stop being mean to yourself and audibly cheer yourself on! 
  • Get off your phone for a few hours/few days. Everyone could detox.
  • Write a list of things that make you happy. You’ll be surprised how much is on that list; and the act of writing something down on a piece of paper can be very therapeutic. (harping on getting off technology every once in awhile)
  • Write a list of things that stress you out. Now with that list, how can you change it? With your Perception, environment, attitude? My therapist had me do this with my anxiety and it was amazing. Then seeing which ones I could control, which ones were out of my control. It gave me closure over so many things. 
  • Go to bed earlier. Your body needs 6-8 hours of sleep. I know sometimes that can’t happen every night with kids, but if you’re not getting that on a regular basis…. something has to change.
  • Establish a routine.
  • Probiotics. If your colon is stressed…. you’re stressed. Get to Poopin’!
  • Healthy eating.
  • See a therapist. Hand’s down one of the best things I did. I did cognitive therapy for 6 months and it was just what I needed to gain perspective and get help from an outside source.
  • Herbal tea. Lemon, lavender and peppermint are my favs.
  • Go for a hike. http://www.sunkissedhiker.com/blog/5-ways-hiking-relieves-stress/
  • Rub some lavender oil on your wrists
  • Hot shower/Hot bath with Epsom salts
  • Drink water! Put the soda bottle down and hydrate yourself with some H2O!
  • Do not procrastinate. We talk about this at work all the time. There is always that one task we all hate. Right now, for me, it’s memorizing lines. And I can find all sorts of things to do before that one task. Instead–devote the first part of your day to that task. Then it’s done!!! Then your stress can be relieved and you can reward yourself with more fun tasks!
  • Write in a journal. I do this every Sunday while I’m at church. I don’t do it everyday… but church is a place where I can reflect and look at my week in a good perspective.
  • Be Thankful 
  • Pay compliments to those around you
  • Make your bed. My husband is a pro at this and it makes our room a haven.
  • Get a massage.
  • Listen to some instrumental music (don’t get distracted with lyrics)
  • Have a nibble of dark chocolate (like a Hershey kiss)
  • Chew Gum. This one surprised me but consistently on articles I read they said chewing gum helps people relieve stress.
  • BREATHE. My therapist taught me the best technique for calming down. It takes some practice, but it works. 
  • Close your eyes
  • Give yourself feet or hand massages
  • Stress rock/ball/puddy
  • Be alone. Even adults need timeouts.
  • Vitamin D (sunshine and/or supplements)
  • Clean and Organize your space. How can your mind be clear if you’re surrounded by a mess. I’m maybe a tad bit anal about this… but clean your room! Clean your counters, desks, offices, closets…. those areas that you look at and go, “OH NO!!!” Just do it.
  • Stretch
  • Dance
  • Do a puzzle/brain teaser/mind game
  • Smell citrus smells or flowers (fresh flowers is best)
  • PETS. Cuddling. I have two doggies that I spend lots of time petting and giving love to. It is so therapeutic.

    This is Zoe, she is the best at helping me relieve stress.

    http://www.webmd.com/depression/features/pets-depression

  • Laugh! I’m such a visual person and so I love finding funny things on pinterest, reddit, etc. And when I need a pick me up– I look through that board! Pull out a funny book or listen to Jim Gaffigan for an hour. I have a friend where we are constantly laughing. So when I’m feelin’ down– I talk to her… because I know I’ll be laughing in about 2 minutes. Which leads me to the next bullet point.
  • Talk to a friend. Don’t bottle it up. Just talk. And listen. Venting is ok… but don’t let it get out of control. That’s when your friend can feel dumped on. If you feel like you don’t have someone to talk to, send me a message 🙂 I got your back!
  • Make goals and plans that make you happy! The act of planning a trip can be so exciting! I know that I’m not going to Europe in the near future, but I still like to look at landmarks and restaurants to go to. Then I make goals to get there. It’s all about positive thinking.

    I couldn’t resist throwing in another Disneyland picture…

  • SMILE
  • Get a hug.
  • Make a Good Thought Board. (Pinterest makes me happy)
  • Get dressed up. Do your hair, put on makeup and feel pretty. Even if you aren’t going anywhere… getting dressed and feeling presentable can ease your stress.
  • Make some good food.
  • Start a new hobby.
  • Be with family or friends.
  • An easy card or strategy game. My favorite is Solitaire. But I have to set a limit for myself of how long I will play.
  • Practice out loud communicating in your car. Sometimes we let things bottle up inside and we never express it. Even saying it no one in your car while driving… Let your brain just talk it out. My car is my pensieve.
  • Crying. And sometimes. You just need a good cry.

Ok! That’s it! I could keep talking about this, but I know this is long. What I want you to take away from this is that there is power in positivity. And that your stress can be managed in a healthy way. Love you all!

 

 

 

Afraid to Run.

Hello All!

Sorry it’s taken me so long to write. I knew exactly what I wanted to post, but I struggle so much with this subject that I felt like I didn’t have the “right” to write about it. Which is silly. But, writing this blog has helped me be more accountable to this invisible friend audience. Super therapeutic and terrifying at the same time. So HERE WE GO!

Today I would like to talk about my least favorite thing to do: EXERCISE. I know it’s good for me, I know I feel good when I do it, I feel more accomplished, my body is happy… blah blah blah. That being said, it has ALWAYS been the bane of my existence. It’s uncomfortable, I get hot, I’m self conscience, and most of all, I have 20 pound boobs that give me black eyes when I do any sort of movement!! Now that last one is an exaggeration but seriously… exercising when you have anything over a B cup– it’s a whole new type of misery.

I could do a comedic sketch of what it is like to exercise with big boobs and make millions, because it is just hysterical!  When I cycle… my boobs hit my knees, which in turn hit my face. When I do floor workouts and lay on my back, they come up and choke me, and when I run & jump– it’s all hands on deck! In desperation I ordered this sports bra on Amazon that in the description it said it had a built in hydraulic system. My boobs play a big part in why I don’t like exercising. I’m constantly afraid people will watch and oogle.

running laugh

I don’t  know if you have your own fears (or none at all) when it comes to exercising. And even more, exercising in public. I have had a lot of women tell me they struggle exercising in public. The fear of being made fun of, watched, laughed or hurting themselves because they don’t know what to do. I have a deep fear of being ridiculed because of my body and it comes from years of self doubt, sensitivity and a little bit of bullying.**Disclaimer: I reminisced a lot about bullying in “The Bearded Lady” post and I had so many people tell me their own stories; that it’s this kind of free therapy session for us all to talk about in a safe environment.**

In 4th Grade, we had field day and I was a part of a girls relay team that ran with batons. My first time running in an outdoor race. Afterwards, a boy in class told me I looked really funny when I ran. He said my cheeks jiggled… although, let’s be real, he wasn’t looking just at my cheeks 😉 I had people tell me I looked funny when I ran all through Elementary School: your legs bend weird, you have really big boobs, your whole face jiggles! Kids are the worst, sometimes. So you know what I did? I stopped running. I did as little of it as I could. When we did the mile run in Junior High, I would walk most of it. I didn’t want to be made fun of! And it’s very possible that I wouldn’t have been teased. I was just so sensitive (like most tweens/teens are) that the idea of running terrified me.

I slowly had this mantra in my brain: I can’t run because I will be made fun of.

It is so self defeating and narcissistic to think that way… but I did. In high school I was somewhat active. I loved dancing and acting. I liked playing softball with my sister. All of those activities, I was able to get out my head and enjoy being active.

In college, I became a little braver and tried new things. My friend Lex invited me to Zumba and I loved it! I lost so much weight doing Zumba! It was dance/aerobics/acting silly for an hour with a friend and I loved it. It was an hour long… 3x a week. And it was great for my body. I gained some more confidence and started running 10 minutes on the treadmill, spending 30 minutes on the bikes (for my knees) and then spending 10-20 minutes in the women’s workout room at Gold’s Gym. Those were my happy places. It felt private and I could focus on me and listen to Broadway show tunes in peace! (yes I work out to Show Tunes and Soundtracks–Nerdy and Proud).

Then I had a guy I was friends with tell me, “Cate, you probably shouldn’t do the bike for as long as you do. You have big thighs already. Do something else to lose your weight.” WHAT??? And now that I listen to that, I know it is absurd. What he said wasn’t worth my time. Frankly, he wasn’t worth my time either. But again, I’m so sensitive about that… I listened. And slowly… I just stopped exercising.

It was depressing. I felt crappy. I always had a couple weeks where I would get enthusiastic about it and then drop it all together. I mean, I had good intentions. I would go on this excellent heart pounding walk… then reward myself with a burger and fries. Earth to Caitlin– that’s not ok! And for some reason I couldn’t lose any weight… I wonder why! 😉

You all know the story of what happened next, I got diagnosed with PCOS. And what is one of the major combatants of PCOS, class? Exercise!! It seemed like no matter what I did, the simple fact was: my body needed me to exercise. For emotional, spiritual and very physical reasons– exercise was the answer.

Being diagnosed helped me be able to gain a little perspective about my body. I didn’t need to exercise so that I could be a size 4 again, impress that guy, look the same as my friends… I needed to exercise to be healthy. To stay away from diabetes, to be able to be an active Aunt to all my nieces and nephews, to go on adventures with friends and loved ones and so that in the future.. I could have children and be an active part in their lives. I needed to exercise for me. Exercising so that I could love how strong my body was. And marvel at what it could do.

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Fast forward to now. I’ve been able to mentally exorcise the rude little self defeating demons in my head. I created a support group, removed the toxicity out of my life (people, things, thoughts) and started to be on team Caitlin. This will be cheesy to say… but my husband, Mike, played a huge part in getting me to where I’m at. I needed him in my life the minute he came. He helped me realize just what I am: a Daughter of God. A goddess with endless potential.

I now exercise more regularly. I have found happy places for me again.  It is still an active thing I have to push myself to do. And hopefully that won’t always be the case… but if it is, it’s ok. It’s about trying my best and feeling good about my progress. I can lift, push, carry heavy awkward things because of my wonderful muscles. My legs are huge, powerful awesome womanly parts of me. And even though I have extra padding that needs some thinning out; it doesn’t make me any less beautiful or weak.

I STILL HAVE UPS AND DOWNS. I have days where I don’t want to exercise, and I don’t. I get barely 1500 steps… and feel crappy that my scale won’t budge. But then it passes and I move on. Which we always will have to do in this life. We need to be nicer to ourselves, give ourselves a break and say, “You know what Caitlin, you’ll do better tomorrow.” And then the next day, wake up with some determination and purpose. We’ve got to live with that hope. Hope that we’ll do better. Don’t get discouraged, friend. You can do it!

Last week I completed my first official 5k. Something I thought I would never EVER participate in. I usually do a 5k inside on a treadmill, in the dark, with air conditioning. Doing it outside with thousands of people was a little daunting and a bit discouraging with how slow I knew I’d be. I had to get rid of all those memories of discouragement and sorrow and focus on improvement. Having the right mindset, which is the hardest thing for me when it comes to exercising.

Luckily I had two wonderful cheerleaders with me: my sister Helena and her daughter Ava. I wouldn’t have been able to have the courage to do it without them. Helena (who is a running champion) helped me with encouraging words, advice and laughter. And Ava stopped with me whenever I needed a break and helped me feel good about myself. So by the end of the race, I felt so proud of myself. I did it. I was slow, red and out of breath. But I did it.

Mike always says: The best exercise… is the one that you’ll do.

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So if that means, walking my dogs in the evening for an hour. That’s what I’ll do. If it means, biking around the block to my hearts content, that’s what I’ll do. If that means playing full heartedly with my nieces and nephews until I’m all sweaty, that’s what I’ll do. And if that means running, dancing, hiking, weight lifting, playing sports, aerobics, zumba, at home, at the gym, outside–That’s what I’ll do.

So if you’re feeling at all discouraged about exercising… I’m totally in your corner.

Can’t afford the gym or a fitbit right now? Just go for a walk outside. Feeling overwhelmed with the motherhood life? Get active with those kids for an hour. Playing red light/green light with my niece for 30 minutes… wears me out. Exhausted from working 40-50 hours a week? Maybe try walking around your work building during lunch. Challenge your co workers to a dance off. My co workers and I have fitbits and we do challenges with each other: “Let’s try and get 3000 steps before we leave!” I’m literally dancing with my co worker right now to Justin Timberlake’s new song. He’s so wonderful.

Don’t be afraid to make those first steps. It wastes time. Let’s put aside those fears and start today! Sometimes we think that we can lose all the weight by focusing all our attention to what we eat. Which is awesome, but for PCOS…. you have got to exercise. Just start a little bit at a time. 15-30 minutes of being conscientiously active a day. That’s what I challenge you to do! Baby Steps! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Little improvement is better than none. Then when you feel like you have mastered that, increase it.

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Things that have helped me be more active:

  • Fitbit. I got my Fitbit because my work offered to pay for half of it. I have LOVED it. Mostly because it made me very aware of just how much I wasn’t moving. It also brought out this competitive nature when I started doing challenges. I love seeing myself hit 10,000+ steps. It’s so great. I would definitely save up for some sort of pedometer. There are a ton of great ones out there.
  • The App: 7 minute workouts. Who doesn’t have time for 7 minute workouts? The days I know I can’t fit in a big workout, I know I can fit in at least 7 minutes. The app suggests doing it three times a day. Which is 21 minutes total. One right when you wake up, one at lunch and one after dinner; or whenever floats your boat. Anyway you can get that 15-30 minutes! I never get too sweaty doing it and it is still a great workout. **There are tons of Apps that help with working out. I choose whatever is free, because I’m cheap.
  • The App: Running. It’s basically this little coach that talks to you while you run and helps you pace yourself. They have beginning, intermediate and advanced running. It’s been perfect for me because I’m a little derpy when it comes to running. I need a hand to hold.
  • Pinterest Motivation Board. I have a board on my Pinterest that is titled “Motivation” and I look through it every time I need a boost! I’m a visual person and it really helps. Along with Pinterest, I use  Instagram, Reddit, Facebook, Google– and follow things that inspire me or encourage me. **This is where you can remove some of that toxicity from your life too… make those places more inspirational and encouraging; instead of a place where negativity resides.
  • Friends & Family Support. Find that friend or loved one who uplifts you and holds you accountable. The person who is going to encourage you and not make you feel guilty for your choices. Someone who will celebrate your triumphs and also remind you to not eat that second helping of ice cream and go for a walk instead. This can be hard to find. If you currently don’t have someone you can think of… contact me 🙂 I’ll help!

This has been a humongous post. I’ll stop writing now! But I’ve got your back friend! We can do hard things and push away our fears and just run!

Being a Bearded Lady…

Let’s talk about hair baby. Let’s talk about you and me! Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be. Let’s talk about hair. (you just sang that song in your head, didn’t you?)

Hagrid usually embodies how I feel about my hair.

Yeah…. for all who know me, you obviously know that hair is the bane of my existence. I came out of my mom looking like a little monkey: cute and hairy. I vividly remember one day in first grade, playing outside at recess, wearing shorts. I was drawing with chalk on the asphalt and a little boy named Taylor came up to me and said, “Caitlin! You have such hairy arms and legs! Ha! Ha! Ha!” I looked down and noticed, as if for the first time, I did have hairy arms and legs! I was so sad. It’s a memory that imprinted on my brain permanently.

Fast forward through elementary school (where having people make fun of my arms, legs and face became common place) to junior high. Mix in noticeable facial hair, hormones and having crushes on boys…. life was a little painful. People can be so cruel about those sort of things. Even in the name of “joking” I had friends that I adored, tell me to “shave my arms! geez!” I had a friend lean over laughing and pluck a hair off of my chin in front of a boy I liked. No amount of waxing or shaving could stem the mocking I got. Then in high school I had a guy friend, while we were walking down the hall laugh and say, “You have more sideburns and a mustache than I do!” I was so mad and sad… I ran outside to my mom’s car and cried all the way home.

Thank you Cousin Nikki for portraying my life perfectly… Even though I’ve never bleached my mustache….

My parents were obviously aware of how hairy I was. A large part of why we thought it was normal was because I was Greek. My sisters had some facial hair, we all had hairy arms and legs…. I just also happened to inherit my mom’s Scottish white skin. So it was way more noticeable on me. I got tested (remember a few posts back?) they said I had high testosterone, but that was normal…. idiots. My mom waxed me constantly. And then they started taking me to do laser hair removal. Back when it was first becoming a thing. I would sit in this chair for an hour and this very nice lady would go across my face, twice, with this red hot laser. Afterwards my face would be red and swollen and sunlight hurt it. I would have an icepack and a towel in the car, cover my face and go home.

I’ve done laser hair removal for my face 4 times. Not 4 sessions. I mean I had about a year+ worth of treatment at different facilities 4 different times. Do you know how much money that is? My dad paid for 3 of them, then I paid for the last one at Ideal Image (which was the most expensive…I was making car payments on my face–around $200 a month for 2+ years). I discovered I had PCOS in the middle of my treatments there, which they have you sign a waiver for. Basically… it’s not their fault if your hair grows back. And sure enough, the minute my treatment was over, it did.

He's the cutest

He’s the cutest

I had this huge fear growing up that no boy would ever like me because he would figure out how hairy I was. And you know what? I was right. No boy ever did like the hair on my body… rude and insensitive comments abounded! It was horrible and discouraging… But, my husband is not a boy. He’s a man. And he didn’t care one bit. From day one, he’s been so supportive and kind. He knows how sensitive I am about it. He has helped me wax and Nair everything. He drove me to my laser appointments in Missouri… the closest Ideal Image was 4 hours away. Genuinely… he is the best husband for me.

 

It has taken a long time for me to be in a good place about my body hair. It was always the thing I looked at in the mirror and hated about myself. Even as I wrote this, it was on a week where I was growing out my facial hair so that it could be long enough to wax. It’s embarrassing and I still hate it a lot. But I don’t hate myself because of my facial hair. It’s just a tiny little part of me. I have dark gorgeous hair and I’m so grateful that I have the hair that I do… even if that means I have to be the bearded lady every once in awhile.

Now that I have therapeutically talked about facial hair…. I’m going to talk to you about my favorite products I use to combat it. I have been around the block when it comes to getting rid of unwanted hair… and this is my schpeel!

  • LASER HAIR REMOVAL. This is by far the most effective thing with unwanted hair. It really is. My results were wonderful whenever I did this. BUT!!! It is very expensive. And if you’re getting it cheap somewhere (which I did, once) it’s going to grow back, very quickly. The best place, for me, was Ideal Image. They have more medically certified people holding a laser to your face. They have great plans, and then after you get a treatment done, you have a lifetime warranty. So you can go back in, pay a copay (usually $100…) and they’ll laser you. I loved my experience with them. And my results lasted awhile before it grew back.
  • WAX. If in doubt, always wax. I find that girls who start to have a facial hair problem think, “Oh… maybe this one time I’ll shave it real quick.” NO!!! do not put a razor to your face unless you’re laser plan has you do that. I have been waxing…. forever. I used the green sugary wax with fabric strips forever, hot wax, wax strips, etc. My favorite and most cost effective thing for me is “Sally Hansen’s wax strips” They’re usually around $4-7 depending on which store I buy them from. I use the face strips and it takes me about 30 minutes to do it. It lasts about 1-2 weeks. So I buy 2 little boxes twice a month. I also love being waxed in a salon because it’s quicker and my skin gets way less irritated. But… it costs about twice as much for me to do that as regularly.
  • SPRAY/CREAM HAIR REMOVERS. I use a Nair spray for most of my body. It works just fine and isn’t too expensive, I usually use one bottle a month (if that). That is usually $8.99. But sometimes I catch great sales.
  • THREADING. My sisters are awesome brave souls who get their faces threaded at the mall. It isn’t too expensive and their brows and faces look beautiful afterwards. I have never done it… because I don’t want to. Ha! That’s really my only excuse. There are also tools you can buy so that you can thread yourself. My sister gave it to me and I have used it a little. I’m just a bigg baby, it makes me cry. I think it’s because I have so much hair that I don’t do it fast enough for it not to hurt.

Besides shaving…. those are the only things I know. And again… please never shave your face. It will bring nothing but regret… Just watch this Jerry Seinfeld clip…. it describes it perfectly:

All, in all… being a bearded lady has it’s moments. But the best thing to do is laugh about it. Wax it off and move on! Love you all! Have a fabulous week!

Food! Glorious Food!

He narrates my life....

He narrates my life….

Hello All! It’s been another fabulous week! I had to take a bit of a rest from how hard core I was exercising (hard core, for me) and focused my efforts on eating better. Which was hard because it was the 4th of July and then I went on a Girl’s Vacation with my bestie, Kristin. I don’t know if the rest of you have a hard time during trips and holidays, But this quote by Jim Gaffigan pretty much sums up how my usual celebrations go. However, I did better than I thought! Which was a nice pat on the back.

One of the hardest things with PCOS is just that, conscientiously eating. After being diagnosed my doctor printed off this huge list of everything that I shouldn’t eat… I’m pretty sure in his eyes I’m only supposed to eat 2oz of flaxseed oil and 5oz of water from an organic German Spring. I looked at that list and was like…KungFU

It’s so hard to eat healthy. And whatever form of healthy is thrown at you. We’re constantly bombarded with food fads: no Carbs, no Gluten, low fat, no sugar, etc. What in the world are you supposed to do? Where do you even start? I genuinely didn’t know how to start for a year or two. I was newly married and I wanted to make every single food item from scratch and experiment with dishes my family never made. I LOVE cooking and it is so fun to try new things and express love in making food. I wanted to be an adult and buy pizza and burgers whenever the heck I wanted! Needless to say 10 lbs later I was so miserable.

All the sudden I had heartburn after every single meal, my joints were killing me and I was breaking down every other week with how my clothes didn’t fit me anymore. When you eat like crap, you will feel like crap. That’s the plain and simple truth. Both my husband and I hated how we looked in pictures and had no energy.  We tried different exercises and food restrictions multiple times and it never stuck. It would be this cycle of food restriction, weight loss results, reward, indulge, no more weight loss, food restric–give up.

Then when my husband started his second Master’s Program… we decided to be a little more accountable for our food choices. We packed lunches and made sure to have fruit and vegetables. We both brought water bottles with us everywhere and started regularly going on walks with our dogs. And things started changing, in short, I felt better. I had more energy, I was happier and Mike and I had a fun time being active together.

 

breakfast

One of my favorite meals: no sugar Norway yogurt, organic granola & blueberries

This is an important fact: I did not lose a bunch of weight making diet changes. Which was sad. PCOS really really really doesn’t want to say goodbye to chub. They’re pals and enjoy the warm comfort of each other. BUT!!!! I felt accountable for my eating choices. I didn’t feel guilty at the end of the night knowing I had been a slob about food. I felt happy and enjoyed the endorphins that came from an active lifestyle. And that doesn’t mean I won’t lose weight in the future. It won’t be immediate gratification weight loss, and that’s ok!

I also have continued to do better (sure I have bad days–but I don’t have bad weeks or months). I’m far from perfect and I still have a long healthy food road ahead of me. But I enjoy the limits I set and I don’t feel like killing people around me because I’m SO hungry.

image

Here are some of my Baby Steps I took:

  • I LIMIT MY SODA INTAKE. The goal is eventually not having it at all. But I’m not emotionally ready to let go of my Dr. Pepper yet. So Mondays and Fridays I’m allowed to have some and  if I’m going on a special trip. This way, I’m not spending a bunch of money getting soda throughout the week, my teeth are healthier, I don’t have so much sugar and caffeine flowing through my veins, and I drink more water. Some weeks I’m perfect at it, other weeks…. not so much. But it’s this wonderfully attainable goal, that I’m really benefitting from. And I’ll adjust it when it is time.
  • I HAVE A FEW MEATLESS MEALS. Somewhere in the great scheme of things people have come to think that meat is the only way you can eat protein. WRONG! Your body could definitely benefit from maybe a meatless Monday, or maybe meatless breakfasts & lunch. The latter is what I’ve been doing on the days I have work; then I come home and have whatever sounds best.  But if you aren’t having meat, make sure you’re still getting the 2-3 servings of protein in other ways. http://www.cookinglight.com/food/vegetarian/protein-for-vegetarians That is a great website with just a few of the things you can eat instead of meat. And believe it or not, I really am full without the precious meat. And it’s nice on my wallet not having to buy so much meat.
  • I MEAL PREP. Like I said earlier, I pack lunches for Mike and I. It’s another step before bed, but I find that I’m able to really throw together a relatively healthy meal if I prep. If I’m left scrounging around in the fridge– I’m never going to eat carrots or bell peppers. I will have bread and cheese forever because that is all I crave. What is awesome though is that a lot of the foods that are great for PCOS are some of the tastiest things ever!!! Like strawberries, avocados, chicken, lentils, almonds, hummus, sweet potatoes, zuchinni, etc… So we’ve got some tasty options. The hardest thing (by far) is watching my breads and cheeses. Dairy is not really my friend. This blog http://hellopcos.com/ has so many ideas about food and all around just PCOS, looking for more info? Go enjoy Chris, the author.
  • I LISTEN TO WHEN I’M FULL. When Mike and I first got married and started eating meals together he was blown away with how fast I ate. He looked up at me during one dinner and started laughing and said, “Honey! Slow down! That food isn’t going anywhere!” And it occurred to me, just how fast I ate. I always have! Growing up in a big home, you had to eat fast or your brothers and sisters ate it all. And then at school, I ate lunch fast so I could go to recess/rehearsal/do homework. When you eat fast, you are not giving yourself enough time to register how full you already are. I’ve been doing a lot better and all the sudden one serving is plenty! And dessert doesn’t sound like a good idea. The hardest next step for me is realizing when one serving is too much and not finishing. It’s a big mental game for me.

Those are the things I’ve started with and I add to it accordingly. But I didn’t want to bombard everyone 🙂 The most important thing is making SMART (Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Bound) goals with your food. Deciding you’re going to do NO SODA, NO BREAD, NO DAIRY, NO SUGAR and go cold turkey…you’re setting yourself up for failure. Sure, starve yourself, be cranky, lose water weight and have it all come back the minute you stop dieting. Better yet, train your metabolism and cravings, just like you have to train muscles. It’s going to be a lot longer of a road and harder… but the end view is going to be fantastic!

Here’s to the journey everybody! Go have a fabulous week!