Tuesday, August 28, 2012

{more} bracelet's of love...

As I said in a previous post I have been wearing a bracelet basically every single day since January 20th, 2012. It's like I have this extra layer of love that I'm wearing. I look down at them and think about people or events that make my happy and that helps lighen my heart!! Well, since my last post I have acquired a few more bracelet's!!! I've linked back to where I bought them or recieved them to help if you're interested in any of them. The first two are each handmade so they could be made to fit any needs - not just PCOS. Enjoy!!!

When I got the Shades of Awareness bracelet it was a little but I do have tiny wrists. I had to take a few links out which was easy enough to do. It's a bit more of the "statement" in the fact that it is about 1/4" think so I don't wear it as often as some of the others but I love it none-the-less.
I had this PCOS bracelet specially made for me :) The woman who made it was very efficient. The only thing about it now {3 months later} is it is really stretched out and doesn't quite fit...I'm debating seeing if she could just remake the corded part...
This little beauty I'd been eyeing for well over a year. My husband had gotten multiple emails about it! He finally got the hint and got it for my 29th birthday. It's aquamarine which is both my birthstone and teal is the color of PCOS. Funny coincidence.
This last bracelet was given to me by one of my parents {I'm a teacher}. It is from Stella&Dot and I don't think it is available any more but I really love it. She gave it to me as an end of the year present and it means a lot to me. The link above is to her direct S&D website...go and support her! She is an amazing person!!!
Fingers crossed {and bracelet's on}...

Monday, August 27, 2012

tears in the dressing room...

I went back to school clothes shopping with one of my best friends today. We have an odd shopping relationship which we always talk about as we shop. I don't really fret about prices - if it fits and I like it, I buy it ~ simple as that. She is a bit more frugal with her money. The funniest part is when we shop we have to head to different areas of the store - I used to head to the Plus Size department while she will head to petites or juniors... You don't get two people who are completely different body types and sizes that often - I was a size 18W at my heaviest and she is a 0 ~ or 00 if we are at The Loft ;).

Today though, was a good shopping day for me. As I posted in my GOALS back in July one of my goals was to wear a size 12. It was kind of just a number I'd thrown out there. Just about that time I had bought some size 14 pants that were pretty tight so I figured that it would take me a while to be a size 12...but I got there today!!! I know it was just in one brand of jeans but I WILL TAKE IT!!!

These are the same brand and style of pants {Coldwater Creek Natural Cut Trouser Jeans}. The pictures were taken on the same day, so they aren't a real before/after pics. The jeans on the left are my jeans I wore at my heaviest and I guarantee I filled in every inch of them {plus some}. The ones on the right are a size 12. I LITERALLY had tears in my eyes and if I'd been by myself I probably would have cried.
I think it is even more amazing because it is the same pants. I can't even express in words what it really means to me. It means the work is paying off, the stress and anxiety is worth it, the tears and trials and lettuce. Worth it. I feel better, I look better, I work harder, and I want to continue on this journey.
Fingers crossed.
PS. I am super excited to wear my size 12's out in public ;-)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

my 6 month blood draw results...

I hate getting my blood drawn {like, I've passed out before} but through all the labs and OHSU visits this year...I'm getting used to it, I guess. When I had my 6 month blood draw labs done a week or so ago...I didn't even need to hold a little teddy bear. Big steps, I tell you!!

Myself {and my general doc} were very happy with the results. I haven't heard back from my Endo but I'm guessing she'll be pretty happy too. I saw my Endo about 6 weeks ago and she was very happy with just weight loss. Ha, just the weight loss. Like that was easy ;-)

I have spent the last 8+ months eating right, exercising, and trying my best to head off any disease or illness {diabetes, heart disease}. While there is still a chance I could get them based off the past years of my lifestyle ~ 80% of the time doing everything in my power to help myself. Because I am not a doctor I am not going to go too much in to the "numbers" of all the tests {but I will post mine and what my doc considers "normal"}...but there was one test of concern but all the rest of the main ones we've been watching are within the "normal" range. And for that I am grateful.

Thyroid - Normal Range.
Vitamin D - Now in Normal Range. Went from 17.6ng/mL --> 63ng/mL. The range is 30 - 100 ng/mL. This is GREAT improvement!
Glucose - Low lower within the Normal Range. Went from 96 mg/dL DOWN to 85 mg/dL!!! The range is 65 - 99 mg/dL.
Cholesterol - This is the ones we are focusing on for the next 6 months!!
Total Cholesterol- 180 mg/dL {range 15- 200 mg/dL}
HDL {Good Cholesterol} - 53 mg/dL {range >50 mg/dL in Women}
LDL {Bad Cholesterol} - 99 mg/dL {range for women with Insulin Resistance/Endocrine Syndromes (PCOS) according to my doc is 70 - 80 mg/dL.

The LDL is the one that we are going to be focusing on for the next 6 months. It is known that women with PCOS have a higher risk for heart disease and having high levels of LDL {bad cholesterol} can also lead to heart disease. Those two things together are a cause of concern for me and my health and my doctors. I am going to be going on a very, very low dose of a HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins). This medicine can be used many ways. For me it will hopefully lower my LDL count which will likely decrease my likely hood of getting any type of heart disease. I will be monitored monthly for the first 2 months and then I'm not sure after that. They monitor me at first to make sure that my body is reacting well {quickly} and that my liver is doing okay. It just requires a few fasting blood draws and a quick 10 minute appointment in 2 months.

When talking to my doctor about options she did say that I could continue with the diet & exercise but since it is a personal goal of mine to have all this *ISH* figured by the time I'm 30 {on 3/16}and I'm obviously not opposed to medications - we decided to go for it. It's such a low does that the side affects should be very minimal.

I've been on Metformin for the past 6 months to help control the insulin resistance that I have. We are going to stay on it for another 6 months. I have my 1 year appointment with my Endo scheduled for January 2013!! Wow. Hard to think that I'll have been {knowingly} battling this for a year in just 5 months.

The only part of me that is really worried about all of this is that hopefully there is going to be a time when I will be off all the " weight/helpful" meds {Metformin, Pravastatin} and what will happen to my body then? I supposed when it is time to go off all the meds hopefully my body will be in the normal range and ready to rock-and-roll medicine-less?!? Will the weight loss continue or maintain depending on what stage I am in when I go off the meds?? Will I gain weight back?? Will I be on some kind of medication forever? I know I will be monitored by an Endocrinologist yearly for the rest of forever. I get physicals AND annuals {did you know there was a difference?!?!?}? I have no doubt that it will all be examined and a thoughtful process and I look forward {hopefully} to a day where I am medince free and managing my PCOS and Insulin Resistance on my own accord.

Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

7.5 month measurements...

I have to say that having my measurements has been one of my favorite things about this journey. Sure, the weight loss is AMAZING, but the measurements are just so visual both to see in numbers and in pictures.

In all I've lost -27.5 inches total from the following places: neck, chest, bicep, forearm, waist, hips, thigh, and calf. It will be interesting to see if I hit -36 inches {which is 3 FEET}...

Once again, my two favorite measurements are highlighted and are of my waist and my hips. To me, that is the most noticeable. And I think it is to others too. In true PCOS fashion I gain the majority of weight in my waist and hips. Thank you overactive pancreas!!!

This feels really, really freaking good.

Fingers crossed.

why I Barre3...

I'm sure many people out there haven't heard of Barre3. Barre3 was founded in the great PNW {Pacific Northwest} so it's even more exciting!!! Someday I want to go take a class from the founder, Sadie Lincoln {seen below teaching}, I think that would be amazing...good thing she's only 20 miles from me!

I was first introduced to Barre3 by my physical therapist and went to my first class on December 29th, 2012. She knew I needed to really start working on strengthening my core because for so long I'd focused all my energy on the pain in my back and my core was getting really really weak. She gave me a free pass and I went on my little way...I was SO nervous on my first day but I was taking a class from the owner, Carrie, per my PT's instructions. I'd contacted her to let her know where I was coming in from and we talked a bit before hand and she made me feel so comfortable when I was SO far out of my comfort zone.

I was SSSOOO sweaty and I was SO sore but I feel in love. At just about that time I had just started personal training too and was going through all my tests and was just spending WAY too much money on everything so after that I waited about 4 months to start going back. I think my brain just couldn't handle another new thing on top of everything else.

From April - July I went 10 times which was about once a week or so. In August, Carrie was offering teachers deal on a month unlimited for $99 so me and my two friends Sabrina and Alisha decided to take her up on this offer!! I've been 11 times in just 3 weeks and I can most certainly tell a difference and can't wait to finish out the last week-ish of the month. I also took some before pictures so we'll have to see the difference after a month ;-)

Now, I will say that Barre3 can be spendy BUT it is SSSOOO worth it!! I have to think about it as I am paying {good} money to have caring, friendly, and fun people teach me how to better use my body! I have seen it and felt it and handled it. I feel stronger and more toned and I really just love being there. Everyone knows my name or if they don't they ask it and make sure to use it next time. The clientele is lovely. It really is a place where I don't feel intimidated and I feel PROUD about what I can do!!!

It helps me...
MIND ~ it makes me focus on myself and my body and what it is doing.
BODY ~ it is toning and changing my body.
SOUL ~ it makes me happy. Plain and simple.

I have also introduced a few people {okay, 13} to Barre3 over the last 4 months. I think that if I refer two more I should get a free class or two ;-) Heehee. But, in all seriousness, I am happy to do it. I am happy to pass on to other people a place that I am growing to love and enjoy!!

This place has given me confidence, strength, and hope for a future. I doubt I'll ever actually leave teaching but if I do - I could see it being for a place like this. I will most certainly be buying many, many more sessions of Barre3!!! They actually have something called myBarre3 which for about $15/month you can get Barre3 workouts at home which is a spectacular idea for people who don't live near a Barre3 or have a busy schedule!! They are certainly a growing company with a friendly and solid background to be about to be around for a long, long time to come. I'm proud to be a Barre3 babe!!

The PCOS & Insulin Resistance Connection: Like walking uses slow twitch muscles - so does Barre3. You do such tiny and effective movements that often you don't even feel like you're working out some major muscle {but you sure feel it the next day}!! Since many of us with PCOS struggle with IR too, so slow twitch muscles are the best to use. At my Barre3 there are so many types and ages of women it is a great place to workout. Don't be afraid!! I started going there when I was 220 pounds...and I struggled and sweated and thought I was going to die but I also felt like that walking up a flight of stairs!!

The OSTEOARTHRITIS Connection: Since I have osteoarthritis in my lower back and 3 of my toes I was nervous about too much strain. One of the BEST things about Barre3 {besides the fab workout} is the amount of care and attention the instructors give each student. Many of the ones at Barre3 Vancouver know about my back and are more than happy to help me with modifications. They never do it in a "pointing me out" kind of way unless I directly ask for it. I don't know how many times they have gotten down on the floor and modeled positions for me to me more successful with my time.

Finger crossed {that I can keep it up}.

Monday, August 20, 2012

everyone is on a journey...

...and it'd be good for us all to remember that.

Myself included.

I am so guilty of judging others and I trying my hardest not to anymore. It's tough. I see people and thoughts come in to my head and lets face it, it's usually about people's appearances. But I know, in my heart, I need to stop. I wouldn't want someone to do that to me - though I am sure plenty of people have.

Well, something has been happening in my consciousness, especially since I have been going down my path. Everyone does have a struggle. Everyone is somewhere they might not want to be, might not have expected to be, or might not be able to save themselves from.

For a while I've been trying to consciously change my thinking. When I see people that are overweight I wonder if they have an endocrine disorder like I do. When I see someone with acne I wonder if they've tried certain products. When I see homeless people I wonder what path they went down to get where they are - did they lack family support, drugs? I'm trying really hard to describe people by the clothes they were wearing of their hair color or their personalities when explaining a situation to others.

I want to talk, and often do, about what I am going through. It is my hope that by doing that maybe I'll be able to help someone. That's one of the ways my change started, meeting K. Talking about my troubles with my friends led to me finding the right doctors and eventual diagnosis.

This last weekend I met someone who really got me thinking about thinking. I was at a country fest and some friends of our friends had an RV that we ventured down too. This lovely woman had some visible scars on her chest that could have been from a multitude of things. She also had a little service dog. Eventually we got to talking and I asked her what her service dog was for and she went to on explain about multiple car accident's she'd been in and the degenerative arthritis that runs in her family. I shared with her a bit of my history with arthritis and some of the PCOS. We started talking about "invisible illnesses" and how it can be to live with one. She has electrodes inside her body to help manage her back pain because it is so bad she cannot down anything (sit or stand) for longer than 30 minutes in the same place. You'd never know that by her friendly disposition. She was telling me how she often gets weird looks when she is using a motorized cart at a store or getting in or out of her car in a handicapped spot. If you looked at her, she doesn't LOOK hurt. But she is.

It really made me think about how I really want to be as non-judgemental as I can. It takes all types of people to make the word go round. It takes overweight people and hairy people and loud people and people of every color. It takes control freaks and stoners and teachers and athletes. My world isn't going to drastically change (or likely not even be affected) by the way others look or act - especially not people I am passing on the street.

The hardest part for me is when I am around others who constantly judge. Part of me wants to agree but that part that does is getting smaller and smaller. I've started to say things to try to make my people think about what they are saying. Yes - that person is overweight - let's think about how they got there. Maybe they just had a baby? Maybe they have a disorder they don't know about? Maybe they got pregnant at 15, had a baby, and worked at McDonald's to support themselves and their food was free and they gained weight because all they ate at McDonald's? DOES IT REALLY MATTER?!?! It shouldn't but for some it does and for that, I am trying to change myself and others around me.

It is my hope that when people see me they don't judge me by my big breasts or my simple hair or my size or my acne or my overbite. I know they do but I hope they don't.

Fingers crossed {that I can be judged by who I am not what I look like}.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

-40 pounds ~ the proof

Left: Sept 2011 - Probably about 215lbs or so...
Middle: 5.9.12 - 191.8lbs
Right: 8.1.12 - 179.6lbs

-27.5 inches!!!

Since 12.21.11 I have lost 27.5 inches off my body. That's over 2 feet!!!!

Friday, August 3, 2012

-40 pounds....

...and a bit of looking back and forwards.

My exact words {out loud & alone in the bathroom} were F*** YES when I saw this on the scale...

I've been fighting this last 5 pounds for about 7 weeks. I know, it is good to lose 5 pounds in 7 weeks, but it was a struggle and I am happy to be there.

Why I struggled: Right after school got out I spent 5 days sitting in front of my computer working on my state ProCert, then I went to Spokane/Pullman for a long weekend to visit friends. I did okay when I came back from that and I've worked out also every single day but I was definitely snacking a bit more. Though not on too much bad stuff because I refuse to buy it! It was probably all the wine and cheese I bought while in Pullman ;-) Last week we were in MN for 9 days visiting family {ie. eating out}. But I think I did pretty good. I only had fries once and macaroni once. I skipped dessert multiple times. And I got fruit with my cheeseburger!!!

How I am going to MOVE FORWARD:

~ I need to focus on the food I am putting in my body. I want to go to a Dietitian. Not to be put on a "diet" but to really start to understand food. My PCOS specialist said I should watch the documentary called Knives Over Forks. He cautioned me to really thinking about trying to cut milk & cheese. That I am not mentally ready to do right now but I am ready to cut it back.

~ Working out. Our local Barre3 had a deal for teachers that we could pay ($99) for a one month unlimited for classes {normally $150}. My goal is to go to Barre3 3 - 4 times per week, depending on my back. I am going to still continue to train with my trainer but might start doing every other week. It is very expansive but it has been very helpful!!

~ Focus on a goal. My next weight loss goal is 170 pounds. My reward for that goal is going to be a Nike Fuel Band or a FitBit. I need to do more research about which one I want - more on that to come! They both are devices that help you monitor your calories and steps and all that good stuff. I figure when I get to the -50 pound mark I'm going to need something to keep me going.

On a positive note...I went to try on a bridesmaids dress for my cousin's wedding and I was a size 14...

almost exactly one year ago I was buying another BM dress in a size 18W and it was TIGHT.

WOW. I haven't compared these two pics before. It's harder to see because it isn't full body but man oh man I can tell {ps I"m wearing the same gurtle bra in both these pics}. My cousin's wedding this fall will be 1 day less than a year apart from when I was in my brother's wedding (purple dress). I can't wait to see those comparison pics!!!