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.