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.