I just wanted to take time to let all of my subscribers know that I transitioned by blog into an Instagram, @keelielyn. I post about four times a week updating my followers about anything and everything from my meal prepping to struggles of PCOS, and even my favorite workouts😊 I hope you give me a follow. I want to thank each and everyone of you for your continued support and encouragement throughout my journey!!
If you know me, you know how determined I am. When something is impossible, I’ll be the one to make it possible. For women with PCOS, it’s nearly impossible to lose weight. From endocrinologists to bloggers, they all drill into the minds of patients, like me, that in order to drop the pounds we have to go on a strict diet with minimal carbs and no fruit, take a lot of medications, and workout with ease.
With all my pent up frustration, I wish I could just yell at all of the doctors I’ve encountered, telling them to stop treating every woman that walks through their office door identically. Ever since I was a little girl, I was taught that each of us are different, unique individuals. Well, that doesn’t change when it comes to this syndrome. There is no set formula to “cure” our symptoms.
Of course, professionals know that not every woman has alike hormonal issues. Yet, they tend to treat us like we are just another person with PCOS, prescribing us with the same medications and diet plans without really cracking the surface. PCOS is difficult enough to deal with, so why do people who are specialized in it make our lives harder? It’s not fair to women who want to get their life back on track. Here’s a perfect example–Looking back to last October, it almost seems as if my PCOS wellness nutritionist had a master plan to sabotage my mental health, body image, and taste buds by putting me on her cure-all diet. Then during my first check up back, she accused me of sneaking food and cheating after I gained twenty pounds on her cure-all diet. I wish she knew the truth– her meal plan she swore was “the only way to lose weight with PCOS,” actually made everything worse.
Okay– I’m done with my mini rant. Now onto the positives 🙂
In every blog post I write, I’m pretty sure I talk about visiting a new doctor… but, when there’s little research about ovarian cysts, finding a knowledgeable professional is a hefty task. My whole journey with PCOS seemed to be a never-ending cycle of driving straight into dead ends. As my frustration increased, just like my weight, I continued to search for answers, but every article I read was dull with little confidence about PCOS. But, I never gave up…my search continued and led me to a gynecologist, Dr. Birken, who turned my life around.
Here’s where I am now…
If you have been following this blog these past eight months, you might recall the insane amount of medications I was prescribed to. I’m ecstatic to say those days are over. For the past three months, I’ve been on four oral medications: Armor Thyroid, Birth Control, Progesterone, and Vitamin D. When I first visited Dr. Birken, he knew something with my thyroid was still out of wack since my weight continued to spiral out of control. Dr. Birken decided to switch my Thyroid medication from Synthroid to Armor in addition to raising my dosage to 60 mg. Here’s a lesson to everyone reading this– if you’re taking a prescription and still don’t feel like everything is just right, look into it! Don’t just assume you’re stuck and hopeless. There are always alternatives to medications that may work wonders with your body’s chemistry. I’m still having a few problems with my BCP as my period remains irregular and spotty. My crazy PCOS hormones may need a pill with more Estrogen to establish a regular cycle. But, I honestly can’t complain. Since the reductions of my medications, I have definitely had more energy and a greater functioning metabolism. It’s almost as if all of those pills were weighing me down, making it tough to reach my full potential.
In addition to my oral medications, I’m on a daily injection, Victoza! If it sounds familiar, you’ve probably seen it advertised on TV hundreds of times. Just how Dr. Birken changed my life, Victoza did too. Although Victoza is a Type Two Diabetes medication, my weight getting so out of hand that I needed to get on something strong, fast. It’s a 1.8 mg daily injection to the stomach that helps to control blood sugar, insulin levels, and assists with digestion. Most patients on Victoza inject in the morning as it acts as an appetite suppressant throughout the day. Since I’ve never had a huge appetite, I inject at night, allowing for my appetite only decrease in the early mornings. There can be some pretty crummy side effects such as dizziness, nausea, and diarrhea but they only last, on average, ten hours after you inject. My previous doctors were always nervous to put me on Victoza due to the side effects. But let’s face it, literally, all medications have a downside. Sleeping has really helped me avoid those dreaded side effects. When I first started, the injection was probably one of the most painful things I have ever experienced. You’re probably thinking I’m going to say the pain has dwindled down. Wrong! It’s actually gotten worse since I’ve started to lose weight around my stomach, resulting in less fat to put the needle into. But hey, weight loss and temporary pain are a pretty good trade off if you ask me.
Some would say I’m on a diet, but I like to think of it more as a lifestyle especially since I’ve finally found a way of eating that’s compatible with my body. I eat a clean paleo based diet, with a minimal amount of processed foods. I make sure all I consume is dairy and gluten free as well as low on the glycemic index. The glycemic index doesn’t necessarily correspond with the amount of sugar in a food. Instead, it refers to how sugar is processed once inside the body, basically how much your blood sugar rises after food is ingested. For people with Insulin Resistance, like me, we want the least amount of glucose (insulin) inside our bodies.
I don’t count calories or macros. In fact, I don’t count anything. I eat whatever ratio of protein, carbohydrates, and fats I want. I would say my diet is lower on the fat side, but that’s only because I have a gag reflux towards healthy fats like avocado, nuts & seeds, and olive oil. This reflux started to occur after I was on the Leptin/KETO diet, or what most of you know as the “shake diet”. My taste buds still haven’t fully recovered.
One of the number one tips women with PCOS are given is “stay far away from carbs.” I think we can all admit to being a little hesitant when it comes to our carbohydrate intake. I ate close to no carbs for multiple months, listening to the doctors, as I felt lethargic and unmotivated. I was so deprived, I would dream of eating cupcakes at night, which I have never been a fan of. I continued to think about all of the foods my friends were eating and I was missing out on. I didn’t necessarily want to pig out on unhealthy foods. Rather, I wanted to be set free of my restrictive diet to eat quinoa cocoa cereal or maybe a cinnamon honey NutThin. I knew nothing worse could happen if I started slowly introducing all of the food groups back into my lifestyle. So I gave it a try…
Soon everything clicked! My overall mood started to improve and my brain fog finally vanished. I didn’t feel deprived or different than my friends. Through this process, I learned that our bodies need carbs to function properly and give us fuel throughout the day. Throughout my PCOS journey, I felt like a failure when I had no energy to workout. All I wanted to do was take a nap, and sleep the day away. Of course, the lack of energy had a little to do with my unbalanced hormones and thyroid. But, I think the real thing that was unbalanced was my diet. It’s not healthy to completely eliminate a food group from your diet unless you have an allergy. Try moderation instead of elimination 🙂
You’re probably wondering about the title of this blog post. Hmm…Well, I am proud to say with a balanced diet, the bare minimum amount of medications, consistent physical activity, and a positive attitude I have lost over thirty pounds. That means I’m over halfway there. Just to put everything in perspective, I was nearly 175 lbs when I published my Key West blog post. Here I am now, exactly nine weeks later at 141.8 lbs. I never thought I would be able to say I lost weight, let alone be in the 140s. I knew with my resilience and perseverance, I would lose the weight one day. I just didn’t know how close that one day really was. Finding the perfect keys to success was a process full of multiple trials and even more errors, but I never gave up. I wanted to lose weight. I wanted to be healthy. I wanted my life back. In order to achieve something, you have enough drive, dedication, and you have to want it more than anything. For me, all I had to do was listen to myself, but more importantly, my body.
To all the girls out there that continue to gain weight with PCOS, Insulin Resistance, or Hypothyroidism… I’ve been there! The best piece of advice I can give you is… listen to your mind, body, and soul. You are your best doctor. I know it may sound vague and well, sorta cliche. But, I promise you that if you really get in tune with your body and how it reacts to foods you eat or medications you’re on, your mental health and overall wellbeing will improve. I repetitively told myself I couldn’t have oatmeal because it was a carb. The doctors drilled into my mind that I would gain weight, but I was on their intense diet and I still kept gaining. Although doctors have gone to years of school and have even more years of experience, they are not us! They don’t know how we feel and how what they’re putting is through is affecting our mental health. Remember y’all, your mental health is far more important than weight loss. You have to take care of your mind and the rest will come naturally as long as you’re in the right place.
Xxx Keelie Lyn
P.S. You’re probably wondering why I didn’t include exercise in this post. Well, I’ll have a special post out in the next couple of weeks talking about my May Workout Challenge along with a weight update and photos of my progress. I’ll talk about how working out has changed my life and helped with my PCOS journey. In addition, I will highlight the amazing gals who survived the month of May workouts. If you have any suggestions, questions, or ideas for a future blog post, feel free to reach out and let me know.
Quote of the Post: “If you listen to your body when it whispers, you will never have to hear it scream”
Social Media: I’ve been posting a lot lately, including weekly weight updates. Please take the time to follow me on Instagram, keelielyn. I post blog and life updates in addition to positivity posts. I also have a personal Instagram,keelie9.
Although this post differs from the others, I promise it’s a good one! A couple weeks back in my American Literature class, students were assigned to write a two-page essay titled “This I Believe” and later develop it into a speech for the class. Of course, my mind always refers back to my journey with polycystic ovarian syndrome whenever a creative writing opportunity pops up… so that’s what I wrote about. Except, I took a slight spin on the whole “This I Believe” prompt. Instead, I chose to write a letter to my future daughter describing what it’s like to gain a large amount of weight in a short period of time while receiving inspiration from my previous blog posts. Grab some tissues guys because this one is deep! Here it goes…
Dear Beautiful Daughter,
I write to you years before you will step foot on earth and an even greater number of years before you will have the symptoms. The symptoms that I have suffered from. The symptoms I’ve endured the past two hundred days and will have to endure until the end of my life. I remember the exact day of my diagnosis when the endocrinologist pointed at the ultrasound in front of my worrisome face saying bundles of cysts were taking shelter inside my ovaries. But, she stood there stunned as I was the first in my family to have them. With a deep passion for children, I left the hospital troubled that you, my daughter, would experience the physical and mental pain just as much or even more than I have… and still do.
I know how intimidating and frightening facing the unknown can be. Not knowing how much the number on the scale will rise, how the side effects of your medications can negatively impact you, or the number of puddles that will form from your tears can be terrifying. A fatigued daze may come over you during school as assignments seem to eat you alive. Please don’t worry. I hand you this letter on the day you’re diagnosed to instill a sense of bravery and hope in you as we, together, embark on our odyssey.
From experience, I can tell you the roughest miles of your journey will spurt from the weight gain. There will be mornings when you rise from the comfort of your bed, you weigh, and you’re suddenly two pounds heavier. And, weeks when you notice your hips have gotten a bit wider and your stomach slightly pudgier. When you stand in front of the mirror observing your new curves, your panicked eyes will notice channel of lines crawling up and down every inch of your body, like spiders forming a web. Stretch marks may not be the most attractive accessory a girl can wear, but embrace those unwanted tattoos as if you paid for them yourself. Act as if they’re battle scars that you’ve received, winning war after war.
The reminders of your transforming body may cause more heartbreak than the physical presence of the weight. It’s those subtle reminders that always get to me–smalls turn into larges, stretch marks span a further distance, working out is a greater task, thighs begin to cause friction, and judgment become more prevalent. People will make assumptions as to why your size had increased at such a rapid pace. It’s guaranteed people who don’t know your story will judge you. It’s also guaranteed that people who do know your story judge you too.
As your body adjusts, your mindset needs to as well. Trust me with this, I’ve lived your life. Actually, I’m living through it this exact second. I’m not going to sugar coat things… gaining sixty pounds in six months can take a toll on your body and brain. There will be days when endless tears flow down your pearly skin. And days when you want the world to stop revolving.
But, no matter the glances you observe. No matter the whispers you hear. No matter how high number on the scale rises. You have to continuously reassure yourself that weight does not determine beauty. In order to survive this emotionally draining process, accept yourself for who you have evolved into, knowing that your model-like appearance may never return. Be patient with yourself. Regardless what leg of the journey you stand in, how confident you are, or how involved you are with promoting body positivity, at some point or another you will likely compare an aspect of your body to someone else’s. Shy away from that behavior to accept yourself as your own.
Daughter, the trail you hike along will seem never ending with sharp twists, turns, and unwanted surprises. Some portions a more exhausting trek than others, but nothing you can’t handle. Along the way, you will feel like you’re no longer in the presence of God. You will feel as if the devil has kidnapped you, taking you to the shadiest, most horrifying spot in hell. But, I can promise you will escape.
Just remember, you have been given these struggles by God, who believes that you possess the mental toughness to handle all thrown your way. He chose a special young lady like you, knowing you would be the utmost perfect person to combat your way through. Remember, He doesn’t do things to us, but rather for us.
Xxx Keelie Lyn
Quote of the Post: “If only our eyes saw souls instead of bodies how different our ideals of beauty would be”
I sit on my couch snuggled up with my little YorkiePoo, Gizmo, wondering where to even begin when writing this blog post. I’ve been home for less than twenty-four hours, but couldn’t wait to share my vacation and accomplishments with y’all!
Let’s rewind to a couple months ago…
I was invited to Key West for Spring Break by one of my best friends, Amanda, at the start of the new year. Immediately, I wanted to say no. Not because I didn’t want to go or was scared of being away from home for a week, but because I didn’t want to be seen in a swimsuit. Or even summer clothes for that matter–shorts and tank tops. Even though I have become such a body positive person, I still have my insecurities when it comes to my weight, cellulite, and stretch marks that continuously multiply. I didn’t say yes to Amanda right away especially because a few of my others friends were invited, meaning more eyes to judge me. Deep down, I know everyone would be supportive and complimentary. But, everyone is a lot skinnier and more fit than me, naturally causing my insecurities to surface.
A few weeks passed and everything started to fall into place. The other girls invited already had plans for the break, so that meant it would only be Amanda’s family and I. I’m sure I would’ve eventually said yes if my other friends would have been able to make it. But, when I found out I was the only one that could go, it made it that much easier to commit to the trip with less anxiety surrounding the whole clothing and swimsuit situation. Now came the challenging part, finding clothes and swimsuits that were flattering, but still stylish.
In the couple months leading up to the vacation, I made several runs to Nordstroms primarily purchasing from their BP and TopShop sections. I have to admit, I was a bit frustrated when I was forced to buy almost all large or extra-large, but at least they fit properly, and I felt confident. For a girl that’s 5’4″ and nearly 170 lbs, Nordstroms offers a wide variety of clothing options for the warmer months. The swimsuit portion was a bit more laborious. Since I’ve always had a thin and athletic build up until these past few months, I have never had to go out of my way to find a swimsuit. After researching plus size swimsuit brands, I finally settled on the brand, Swimsuits For All. Their swimsuits are both fashionable and complimentary to curvier bodies, just what I wanted! I noticed that plus size model, Ashely Graham, was a spokesperson for the company so they must be cool suits. I ordered six different suits to try, some bikinis and others one piece, but all in size fourteen.
I knew this was too good to be true… none of the swimsuits fit. I couldn’t pull some of the bottoms up over my hips and a couple of the tops wouldn’t latch in the back. The devastation set in and tears began to rush down my face. After a few (maybe more than a few) tears, I had to remind myself that the number on the tag did not matter. Just because I didn’t fit into a size fourteen, didn’t mean I was fat or ugly. It just meant that I needed to go up a size, and that’s exactly what I did! I shipped all of the size fourteens back and ordered sixteens. Guess what? They fit my body perfectly–excentuating my curves and keeping my tummy tight in place. Having not put on a swimsuit since the summer of ninth grade, I was strong, confident, and certainly proud.
Now onto my fabulous trip…
Not to brag, but I have been on a good amount of vacations and I have to admit this one was probably one of my favorites. We stayed off of the coast of Key West on a private island, Sunset Key. I thought Amanda’s parents were joking when they said we had to take a ferry to our own island…to my surprise, they weren’t! Amanda and I shared our own spacious bedroom on the first floor of the cottage, where a lot of room service was ordered and memories were created.
After waking up at 3:30 a.m. along with two flights, multiple car rides, a golf cart ride, and a ferry to our island, we spent the first day relaxing. Our second day started out quite memorable. Y’all won’t believe what I did… I wore a bikini! I know some of you can relate and others are wondering what’s so challenging about wearing a swimsuit in public. Since I started gaining weight over a year ago, as anticipated, I’ve become more self-conscious. Although I still dress nice and stylish, I don’t expose too much of my body in fear of judgment. So, wearing a swimsuit hasn’t always been ideal. That morning, I “consulted” Amanda about my swimsuit options and she chose the bikini. I wasn’t expecting that, that’s for sure. I was certain she would choose the less revealing one-piece. She always gives great advice, so I listened. As the day went on, I kept pleasantly surprising myself. We both had mini photoshoots in our bikinis, not to show off our bodies, but rather to celebrate them. I even posted a candid photo of myself on @keelie9 on Instagram (now my most liked photo). Remember a couple blog posts ago where I didn’t think I would ever post a picture in a swimsuit? So proud of how far I have come.
Amanda and I continued to create wonderful memories as we went parasailing south of Key West and took a seaplane to Dry Tortugas Island. We even toured Ernest Hemmingway’s house… I think I was more interested in the cats than the actual history of the home haha. After a visit to the Southernmost Point and a trolley Ghost Tour to see Robert the Doll, I think I can say we did it all. My feet are still sore from all of the walking we did!
Y’all are probably wondering what diet I have most recently jumped on. Well, after about a year of straight of jumping from diet to diet, I have decided to not be on a diet at all. I made this decision a couple weeks ago after I found myself spending my Saturday meal prepping for over two hours, trying to get my macros just right. I’m not saying that counting your macros is a terrible method, for some people it works. And, who knows… maybe it would’ve worked for me. I’m saying that as a teen, I have realized that I need to devote my time to better things, rather than thinking about food the whole day. Of course, I still eat healthily, but I don’t worry if I accidentally have too many carbohydrates or proteins in one sitting. Instead, I eat when I’m hungry and stop eating when I’m full. I guess you could call it intuitive eating (I know Amanda hates this word, but I couldn’t find another word to summarize my eating patterns). I recently started a Type Two Diabetes injection called, Victoza. I’ve been loving it. I can be a little painful and make me a tad bit irritable afterward, but it’s totally worth it because I haven’t gained any weight since starting it. It does leave tiny scars on my stomach, but those go away fairly quickly. Thanks to Victoza and my new mindset regarding food, I was able to enjoy myself in Key West, trying key lime pie and maybe a bite or two of rum bread pudding 😉
My vacation in Key West was by far more than just a vacation. I learned that overcoming my fear surrounding wearing a swimsuit and “revealing” clothes is possible. I’ve always had the courage to take on literal adventures such as parasailing, but on this trip, I donated some of that courage to my mindset surrounding my body. I definitely became more confident with the help of the most supportive friend, Amanda. I learned, once again, that I am not alone as I had a lovely conversation with Amanda’s grandma educating her about PCOS soon learning that she too had Hypothyroidism and Type Two Diabetes. I want to encourage all of you to gather enough courage and bravery to overcome your fears and to knock down those boundaries. Times like Spring Break are when you’re supposed to take on new adventures–small or large. Be yourself and learn about yourself while challenging yourself to do new things, try new foods, and overcome your anxieties surrounding your apprehension towards a fear of yours.
I want to thank Amanda for inviting me on such a fabulous trip and being so supportive along the way. We had so many laughs and a now a crazy amount of memories (& photos) to share. Thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Howard for all of the outstanding accommodations and for taking me under your wing for a week. I know, I can talk a lot 😉
And thank you to all of y’all that commented lovely compliments on my Instagram photos. It truly brightened my day!
Cheers to more adventures ahead….
Xxx Keelie Lyn
Quote of the Week: “Live life by the ABC’s. Adventure, Bravery, and Courage” –Walter Mitty
Links: Swimsuits For All
Who knew losing weight could be such a challenge? Definitely not me.
At the beginning of September when I was first diagnosed with PCOS, Insulin Resistance and Hypothyroidism, I set a goal to get back down to my original 115-120lbs by January 2017. I was backed with a tremendous amount of support, including my mom, who agreed it was an achievable goal. If only we knew that people with PCOS have the most difficult time losing weight out of any other condition.
I sit here today at a little above 160lbs wondering where I went wrong when achieving my goals. I know I hit a bump in the road when I found out I had two genes of gluten intolerance, but other than that I feel like I have done everything absolutely perfect and to the best of my ability. Actually, I know I have done everything to the best of my ability, whether it’s following a diet, working out, taking my medications, or even getting the proper amount of sleep… I have followed everything to a T.
So what have I been doing wrong? Why have I not achieved that revenge body yet?
Let’s start with my diet. For a while, I was on that horrendous shake diet… I honestly don’t want to ever speak of it again. No matter if you’re referring to a delicious chocolate milkshake or my shake diet, I will always cringe when I hear the word “shake.” Although I was put on the diet by a PCOS nutritionist, I learned that I needed to listen to my own body and feelings telling me that this approach was both unrealistic and unhealthy. I then switched to the 21 Day Fix by Beachbody, which I actually did last summer. It’s an extremely healthy way to diet or in my case establish a healthy sustainable lifestyle going forward. There’s no calorie counting, macro recording, and there’s practically no food restrictions. It’s all about portion control and maintaining the correct ratio of food groups. I did this, and still do this, by using the fix portion control containers measuring out my food allotments each day. Although the specific diet doesn’t include many restrictions, I personally had to create some specific to my health related issues. I had to cut out dairy and eggs due to the potential of the additional hormones messing with my already messed up hormones. In addition, I had to cut out all gluten in response to my recent diagnosis of a double gene gluten intolerance as well as cut significantly back on stereotypical carbs and grains. I also have to be careful with soy products, as soy, in general, isn’t the best for women and a vast amount of soy products contain gluten. I had to cut back on the amount of fruit I was consuming and switch to only eating berries in the afternoon when my insulin levels typically dropped, between the hours of two and four. For me, these were all simple changes to my diet since I’ve always eaten clean, with minimally processed foods. I’ve learned to treat diets like a game. Being a competitive person, I love to achieve a good challenge. Every night, I mark off another successful day of the 21 Day Fix. If you’re on a diet or trying to make lifestyle adjustments, like me, I highly suggest having a visual to help you track. It’s motivating and rewarding to look back and see how far you have come.
The diet portion of PCOS is pretty simple and remains fairly similar for every woman across the board. Then, there’s exercise, which is a completely different story. Various endocrinologists, OBGYNs, bloggers, and ordinary people express polar opposite opinions when it comes to the combination of exercise and PCOS. The majority of doctors agree that women suffering from PCOS should work out a maximum of one hour a day. But the question of what to do during the workout still remains. What’s the proper ratio of weights and cardio? How intense should the cardio be? Interval training? How heavy should I be lifting? What areas should I target? What time of day should I exercise? Those are all important questions that I wish I had the answer to. Unfortunately, studies show that every individual varies and success is based on trial and error. That was definitely not the answer I wanted to hear. This is where massive amounts of frustration came into play. At the beginning of my journey, it was a challenge to vary my workouts at all. I stuck primarily to short workouts, walking with an incline on the treadmill. This worked for a while but got quite repetitive and boring. I continued to do my research and learned that lifting weights and building muscle was the best form of exercise for a woman with PCOS-IR. But, I couldn’t lift with my chronic fatigue. Extreme fatigue is a symptom of everything I have, making it nearly impossible to survive throughout the school day, let alone work out after school. I was miserable day in and day out, only wanting to sleep and even nearly falling asleep for the first time at school. My mom and I both knew we had to solve this problem…
After hours upon hours of research, the only hope we received was from acupuncture. Since I’ve never been a fearful girl and I a high pain tolerance, I wasn’t hesitant to try it. I mean if my wimp of a mom can do it, so could I! As I went to an acupuncturist, Dr. Kim, to solve my fatigue problem, I soon learned he could cure a lot more. We started out my first session by taking a thermal x-ray of my whole body in order to detect inflammation and areas under stress. It was incredible how accurate the reading was as every area I have a problem with showed up red/white on the screen. Those areas included my thyroid, stomach (ovary area), spine, and portions of my back where I have recently experienced pain. The more red and white on my body, the worse. And, the reading was fairly full of those colors! My first session started with my lying on my back, meaning Dr. Kim would place the needles on my front half. A few areas were a little sensitive, but nothing intolerable as the pain goes away fairly quickly. I had about eighty needles in me, in places I didn’t even know needles could go, such as between my toes and in the outer side of my hand. Dr. Kim would turn down the brightness of the lights, play soft relaxing music, and allow me to rest for thirty minutes with the needles in me. After thirty minutes, he took the needles out. After just the first session, I felt like a new person. I felt like I could function again. I was more alive, awake, happier, and my stress level significantly decreased.
***I would’ve included photos of me actually getting acupuncture done, but by state law it’s illegal***
For the past month, I have been visiting Dr. Kim three times a week, rotating between my front and back sides in order to target my fatigue, inflammation, PCOS, Insulin Resistance, gluten intolerance, hypothyroidism, stress, and my back problems. I know, that sounds like a lot. But, if anyone can cure all of that, it’s Dr. Kim. In addition to the acupuncture, Dr. Kim prescribed me natural herbal pills from Korea to specifically clean out my liver, eventually resulting in weight loss. I have to take fifty of these pills on the weekdays and seventy-five on the weekends. Unfortunately, weight loss had not yet occurred but that comes with time. Dr. Kim said that PCOS is one of the most difficult things to cure and target with acupuncture, especially as he has to focus on numerous problems at once. But fortunately, Dr. Kim has decreased my inflammation, fatigue, back pain and stress levels. As my time with acupuncture continued, Dr. Kim hooked up electrical wires to the longer needles that go about one inch deeper than the regular needles. These electrical wires send pulses through those particular areas, speeding up the process. I personally think the pulses feel like a mini massage, but Dr. Kim and the rest of his patients seem to disagree, finding them painful. Even if I found acupuncture painful, I would still go as it has definitely changed my life!
Thanks to Dr. Kim and his acupuncture practice, I have now been able to workout harder, vary my workouts, and be physically active for an hour straight. I know that may sound short for some people, but for me, it’s a miracle! I’ve finally begun to enjoy working out again. I really believe that when you fall in love with the gym and your workouts, it makes it so much easier to succeed. If you’re having trouble getting back into your gym routine, remember to do what you love and you enjoy at the gym. In fact, you don’t even have to go to the gym. You can walk, do an at home workout video, or even attend a dance class. Just remember to always listen to your body and stay active for the overall health of your body, mind, and soul.As I mastered my diet and started exercising again (notice I didn’t say mastering exercise because I am still looking for that perfect routine that produces results and works for me), I needed to figure out the proper medications and supplements to take. I finally figured out that my original supplements prescribed by my nutritionist and wellness doctor were causing me to bloat and really weighed me down. My mom and I made the mutual desicion for me to stop all supplements and to only incorporate those necessary. As of right now, I am still taking quite a bit of medication and additional supplements. But as I continue acupuncture and improve my health, I’m hoping to start eliminating some of them.
Here’s my daily medication routine:
Before breakfast: Synthroid (1, 50 mg), birth control (1), zinc (1), vitamin c (1, 2000mg), DCI (1)
After Breakfast: Metformin (2), Dr. Kim’s mystery pill (50), Glysen (1), probiotic (1)
Midday: Dr. Kim’s mystery pill (50)
Before dinner: DCI (1), omega-3 (1), vitamin c (1, 2000 mg)
After dinner: Metformin (2), Glysen (1), vitamin d (1, 10,000 mg), Dr. Kim’s mystery pill (50)
If you include all of the pills Dr. Kim gave me, I’m taking just over seventy-five pills through the school week. Then, a little over one hundred on the weekends. That may seem like an awful lot, but I’ve mastered taking ten at a time so the pill taking process really goes by fast. That is unless I gag them up. Then, that’s a whole different story. I’ve learned to stay organized by creating a schedule that’s taped on my mirror so I don’t miss any of my medications. I’ve also emptied out a drawer of clothes in my dresser and replaced them with all of my medications and water bottles, so I’m always prepared to take my medicine.
You’re probably thinking after following a stringent diet, proper exercise routine, and taking the correct medications, I would be in incredible shape. With PCOS, it doesn’t exactly work that way. I wish everything would fall into place overnight or realistically in a couple of months. Sadly, a couple of months isn’t even realistic. PCOS requires consistency and finding the perfect combination of food, exercise, and medications. I’m still trying to figure out just the right amount of calories to consume, workouts to take part in, and I’m even still waiting for my hormones and body to balance out with all of the medications I’m on. I recently switched birth control pills and haven’t been on a lot of my medications and supplements for even a month, which means my body still has to adapt.
I cannot tell you how many tears I have shed and how many long talks I have had with my mom about how frustrating this process is for both of us. I am so thankful to have a mom that does continuous research to help me in any possible way. She continues to book what seems like never-ending doctors appointments and invests in supplements and products to help me throughout this process. I’m aware that there are worse things in the world than having three metabolic disorders and a gluten intolerance, but sometimes it really does seems like the sky is falling. Going from underweight to “just right” to 50 lbs over my natural weight does awful things to the mind. It’s been difficult to stay positive but I firmly believe my positivity has helped me tremendously through this whole process.
Whether referencing politics or our least favorite class at school, it’s so easy to get wrapped up in all of the negative that surrounds us each and every day. I’ve learned to really focus on the positives in my day. For Christmas one of my friends, Brittany LaVergne, gave me three notebooks labeled: goals, notebook, & inspiration. At first, I wasn’t sure what to do with them, but now I use them each and every day. At the beginning of this year, I started a positivity book in the “notebook.” Every night, I write down all of the positive things that have occurred that particular day. I even write down positive things that have happened to my friends and family that put on a smile on my face. Even though I’ve only been writing in it for a month, I love to look back and reflect on all of the wonderful things that have occurred thus far. Living a positive life is so much more rewarding than a negative one. No matter what hardship you’re facing, focus on the best aspects of every day, and I can promise you that hardship will become a little bit easier.
You’re probably wondering why this blog post is titled “Revenge Body.” Well, one day I will get revenge on PCOS and all that is hindering my ability to lose weight. I will achieve a revenge body, maybe even greater than Khloé Kardashian 😉 Not only to be “skinnier” and feel more confident in my body but primarily to be healthier. As I lose weight, my symptoms will all decrease, ultimately leading to a happier and more successful life ahead.
I want to let you know that you are not alone. Even though some struggles are more visible than others, everyone is going through or has gone through a rough period in their life. I want to encourage y’all not to get
discouraged. I know it’s so hard not to, especially when you have set realistic goals you think you would have achieved, but it just doesn’t happen. Trust me, I have been in that position more than one time throughout my life and most definitely on this journey. For the whole month of January, a feeling of discouragement rushed over me every week as I weighed. The number on the scale didn’t budge or even crept up a bit. I’ve had to learn that discouragement doesn’t help anything but only hinders my progress as my stress levels increase. I’ve learned to get motivated by my defeats caused by PCOS. I’m now even more motivated to take revenge on that awful syndrome. Even though the physical changes haven’t set in, I know that ever single effort is changing my body on the inside. And hopefully, soon it will be from the inside, out.
At the start of the new year, I thought that if I got everything right and worked my hardest, I would begin to lose weight. But, that wasn’t the case. I wasn’t wrong, but it will definitely take me more time than I ever imagined. I’ve always viewed myself as a patient person, but I’m going to have to learn how to be a little more patient with this whole PCOS thing. I told myself back in September I would lose weight to be confident enough to attend Winter Formal. There are a couple events coming up that I would like to be a bit thinner for such as my sister’s wedding later this month, a vacation to Key West with my best friend, Amanda, for Spring Break, and hopefully prom. But, I have to prepare myself to face the harsh reality that my hormones and medications may take a while to balance causing my weight to take a bit longer to come off than I would have liked. A little progress is better than none!
As I look forward to the future and my life going forward, I know I will have to deal with this as long as I live. It won’t be easy, but I truly believe that the toughest times allow us to learn about ourselves, getting stronger each and every day. Just remember, God only gave us these challenges because he knew we were strong enough to overcome them. I’ve developed the mindset that problems don’t happen to us but rather for us. I’m so thankful to have family, friends, and football to keep me sane as I fight my way through all of the battles. To be honest, I think I cried more when the Cowboys lost in the playoffs than I have total over PCOS in January… so I would call that an accomplishment 😉
And who knows… maybe one day I will be able to make a blog post truly about my revenge body…
stay tuned 😉
Xxx Keelie Lyn
Quote of the Week: “Defeat should never be a source of discouragement, but rather a fresh stimulus” –Robert South
Note: If you know anyone with extensive knowledge or personal experience with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, please encourage them to reach out to me. Anyone I can relate to, learn from, or bounce ideas off of helps me tremendously.
Social Media: Please take the time to follow me on Instagram, keelielyn. I post blog and life updates in addition to positivity posts.
I don’t always love the reflection I see in the mirror or even the way I see myself in pictures. We all have those days where we think we are fat or maybe even too skinny. We don’t find ourselves beautiful or handsome enough and are scared of people judging us for our appearance rather than looking deep inside to discover our stunning personalities.
As a sixteen-year-old girl, I feel like pressure to be thin is at an all time high. I want guys to think I’m attractive and I, of course, want to fit in with the rest of the beautiful girls. I am by no means calling myself ugly nor am I ashamed of myself for my size. But, I do think it is very hard for all ages and genders to be physically accepted into the world that focuses so much time and effort on their appearance. It’s difficult to remove ourselves from such criticism when we see magazines body shaming women for putting on a little weight. And we live during a time where mothers are putting such unfair strains, specifically on their daughters, to look and act a certain way as if they are living vicariously through them or are using their children to “compete” with other mothers. I have noticed, more with girls, that we tend to bring each other down, rather than build each other up.
I feel like more recently body image has become such a heated topic as more women begin to stand up for themselves. I admire model, Ashley Graham, for her bravery to stand up for the community of so-called thicker women. Graham has been under such scrutiny with her weight. She has been called fat numerous times. Although I wouldn’t categorize her as “fat,” even if she was… why do people bother to judge someone by their looks? I understand modeling revolves around your outside appearance, but I know for a fact you don’t have to be skinny to be beautiful.
Body image has always been a bit of an issue for me. I remember looking at pictures of myself as early as ten years old, thinking that I was overweight… when in reality I was a stick. As mentioned before, by the end of freshman year I had dropped down to 75lbs as a result of excess exercise and severe undereating. I remember not being able to see myself clearly and always thinking I had more weight to lose. I look back and somewhat regret working out as much as I did. I wasted so much timing working out for two hours a day, often intense cardio. My body was a complete robot, doing the exact same routine every day just to achieve that perfect body containing abs and a thigh gap. I did achieve that, but I wasn’t happy and definitely wasn’t healthy. Looking back I don’t know what I was thinking, but it taught me a lesson that there are more important things in life than working out excessively just to please society. Although I am not 100% satisfied with my looks now, I can confidently say I am a healthy girl who is more than happy to be nearly 100lbs heavier than I was in ninth grade. I mean it’s good to have a little meat on your bones, right? 😉
I have recently come to the realization that I have shed way too many tears over my appearance. I am at fault for bringing on that sadness as I continue to compare myself to fitness gurus, YouTubers, friends, and even my family. I will admit to scrolling through my old Instagram photos wishing I looked like the past me when I should really be focusing on the present and future. Although I might not be as in shape as I use to be, I can proudly say I am a better person on the inside than I once was.
Body image is such an easy thing to both obsess and get upset over. At one point these past couple of months, anytime someone would mention PCOS or my weight I would begin to cry. I am not a sensitive person when it comes to myself so I knew I needed to snap out of this mindset of constantly beating myself up. We are all guilty of bashing our own bodies. It’s not healthy for our minds to constantly critique ourselves and wish that we were different. It’s also not fair to ourselves when we already have so much on our plates, but continue to add more by treating ourselves poorly.
Body image can be extremely frightening with a negative connotation when everyone wishes they looked liked someone else or something was different about their bodies. I encourage all of you to embrace the body you were given. Next time you look in the mirror or see a photo of yourself, pick out the features you love about yourself instead of all that you hate. That mindset has helped me a lot these past couple of weeks. I have grown to love my body and to embrace my curves, stretch marks, and even learned to love my cellulite. I have realized that my body may never be that stereotypical model-like figure ever again. I have worked so hard chugging through so many diets over the years, just to fit into a perfect mold. I have always had the mindset that skinny meant healthy. But, I was completely wrong. Healthy comes in all shapes and sizes. As long as you are mentally happy with yourself and treat your body right, you are healthy.
Along the way of gaining weight and hitting long plateaus, I have discovered what’s truly important about a person. This might sound cliché, but it’s what’s on the inside that truly matters. This whole PCOS journey has been more of a learning process than anything. I use to somewhat judge people for their weight, making assumptions as to why they were so large. I now realize how cruel that was of me because roles have been switched. I am now that curvier, 160ish lbs girl who cannot lose weight. I guarantee people who don’t know my story judge me. I can also guarantee that some people who do know my story judge me as well. These past couple years, but mostly these past couple of months, I have worked hard to look past the outer shell of a person and really focus on their personality. I’ve learned that a person’s character is what truly makes a person beautiful, not their looks.
That open mindset has allowed me to develop deeper friendships and I’ve gotten to know people on such a more personal level. Every time I caught myself judging someone for their hair, makeup, or even clothes I would remind myself that that’s the complete opposite of what matters. After repetitively reminding myself, I noticed that I judged people less from the outside and more from the inside. When writing this post, I tried to think about the last time I made a negative mental comment about someone’s physical characteristics and I couldn’t even remember. This little system I created to “judge” people less really works!
Although most teenage girls probably don’t envy my body and I may be considered overweight on the Body Mass Index scale, I can tell you for a fact that I am a healthy girl who takes pride in herself, but who’s also at a bit of a standstill with PCOS. In the meantime, I will be promoting body positivity and continue to brag about my perfectly round butt to my mom. P.S. I don’t even squat 😉
Next time you hear someone talking bad about their body, put a stop to it. Or next time you hear someone judging someone else because of their appearance whether it’s their weight or mismatched clothes, put a stop to that too.
We all need to develop a more positive mindset around both our own body images and those around us. We need to stop judging by physical traits. We are all in this together. Just remember that no matter your age, weight, racial ethnicity, or gender you too are beautiful and handsome.
What really matters is what lies in the heart.
And what one of my best friends, Brittany Lavergne, always says… we all need to practice more self-love!
Xxx Keelie Lyn
Quote of the Week: “To all the girls who think you’re ugly because you’re not a size zero, you’re the beautiful one. It’s society who’s ugly.” –Marilyn Monroe
Social Media: Please take the time to follow me on Instagram, keelielyn. I post blog and life updates in addition to positivity posts.
Sneak Peek of my Christmas Break so far:
I never knew something could take such a punch at my confidence. Something that was not even visible to the average person forced my self-confidence to plummet. The evil appearance of stretch marks hindered my ability to be happy with my image.
I still remember a couple years back at a normal weight of 115 lbs, looking down at my right inner thigh absolutely devastated by that single one-inch purple line, barely visible to my own eyes. That single line has now multiplied by I don’t know how many. My stretch marks spread like a contagious illness as more appeared on my inner and outer thighs. Then “spreading” to my butt, hips, and lower waist. Soon crawling from the tops of my legs down to the insides of my knees. Most recently they have jumped to my breasts, appearing as if they are fireworks, bursting outwards. Ironic, since my experience with stretch marks has been quite the opposite of fireworks.
P.S. My worst stretch marks couldn’t be photographed due to their location… butt and breasts.
With rapid weight loss and rapid weight gain occurring various times throughout the past two and a half years, the elasticity of my skin hasn’t been able to keep up. This caused an excess amount of stretch marks… some long, short, purple, red, white, deep indentations, and even some without color, making them hard to photograph.
I was honestly quite confused as my body began to tattoo itself with these markings. I hadn’t ever seen any of my friends with stretch marks when they were wearing tank tops and shorts. I hadn’t even seen them when we were hanging out at the pool. I have to admit, I was a little bothered by this and envied their smooth, flawless skin. More recently, I remember complaining to my mom about my stretch marks and how it seemed as if nobody else my age had them or if they did, they weren’t nearly as unappealing as mine. Unfortunately, I compared myself to Kim Kardashian and her extreme weight loss and weight gain. I couldn’t believe she didn’t have any stretch marks from her pregnancy nor her transformation. My mom reminded me that she had undergone numerous laser treatments to remove the marks. I now felt a little better about myself…I guess.
This past summer was probably the most difficult time I had with my stretch marks as I avoided wearing a bikini let alone any skimpy attire (even though I’m a modest person anyways and tend to keep it classy haha). I remember an instance this past summer that really resonated with me. I finally managed to gather enough courage to wear shorts after reassuring myself multiple times that my stretch marks on my inner thighs weren’t visible in any shape, form, or fashion. My mom drilled the notion in my head that nobody would even be able to see them, let alone make a comment about them. Well, what do you know I went out in public with shorts on and a girl asked me if I had been self-harming, referring to cutting myself on my inner thighs. I was of course quite offended but shook it off immediately after looking down and agreeing with her that they did kind of remind me of possible scarring from a knife. My ,what I thought confident self, made a complete 180, back to square one of being self-conscious.
I’ve always been an open book when it comes to my personal life, constantly telling people I’m not really even friends with about my struggles and what some would consider secrets. I am that girl that simply doesn’t have any secrets. But the whole stretch mark thing has always been a touchy subject. I more recently began to bring up the topic in conversations with my girlfriends learning that they too had stretch marks… maybe they weren’t as visible as mine or they didn’t have the great quantity that I did, but they still had them. That’s all that mattered to me, at least knowing that I wasn’t alone.
Before, I thought stretch marks weren’t the most attractive accessory a girl could wear. Maybe a guy wouldn’t like me because of them or girls would judge me at the upcoming pool party… those thoughts were constantly swirling through my head causing a minor anxiety to build up around them. I feel like I have matured lately, especially with all my health issues constantly in the back of my head. This maturity has allowed me to accept my stretch marks and embrace them knowing that I don’t have them because I’m “getting fat”, but rather because I am dealing with complications that are somewhat out of my control. Plus, stretch marks can occur when you lose weight, get taller, or even pregnant.
Every time I dwell on my noticeable markings, I try to remind myself that almost everyone has them… some, of course, more than others, but we all have them somewhere. And if you don’t, consider yourself lucky! Every time I battle my sadness surrounding my stretch marks, I think of the struggles behind them that I have overcome and should be proud of. Although I am still in the middle of some struggles, I consider these stretch marks like battle scars that I’ve received, winning war after war. I have diligently used practically every stretch mark cream and oil on the market, spending hundreds of dollars trying to get rid of those hideous lines. But, I have to remind myself that they’re beautiful and make me unique. I guess you could say I’m kind of like a snowflake because nobody has the same stretch marks that I do.
If you have scars from an accident or self-harm, bruising from a recent fall, a pimple from not washing your face for one night, or even stretch marks like me… Let’s all embrace the imperfections that we have because they make us who we are as the individuals God made us out to be. The next time you fear showing your blemishes, relax and remember that we all have our imperfections, some are just easier to cover up than others. We need to work together as individuals to accept what makes people who they are. The next time you catch yourself judging someone based off of a scar or stretch mark, switch your mindset to admire how brave they are to display that piece of them. And maybe follow in their footsteps and do something you personally consider brave.
And if you are wondering… to this day I have not worn shorts in public. And when I wear shorter dresses, I am always sure to put on a pair of tights with good coverage:)
Next summer I will hopefully be rocking shorts and maybe if I work up enough courage, a bikini. And when I do, you may see some stretch marks now knowing exactly what they are from, symbolize, and how much strength and determination it took me to put them on display with the rest of the world. But, I wouldn’t expect a bikini Instagram post just yet…;)
I hope you can all relate. Whatever you’re covering up or hiding because you’re afraid of embarrassment, judgment, or gossip just know…you’re not alone. We all have something we don’t want the world to see. But if you reveal it, I guarantee others would be hiding the same thing too…
Love them, embrace them, and know that you are never alone.
Xxx Keelie Lyn
Quote of the Week: “Those scars you have accumulated are the markings of a warrior.”–Darla Evans
Social Media: Please take the time to follow me on Instagram, keelielyn. I post blog and life updates in addition to positivity posts