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I'm a compulsive binge eater.

I don't even know where to start. I don't think there is a formal introduction better than the title. I don't know what else to call it, how to sugar coat it, or how to put it in a way that could make me feel better or worse right now. Or in a couple days when this happens again. Or in the few days after that.

I have lost control.

I've lost control of my body, my ability to say no, and my subconscious. I don't know when it started, how it happened, or what triggered it. All I know is that I've let it become me, and overcome everything I do. 

 I don't know if it's sugar, fat, salt, or carbs that I crave. Sometimes I crave something so specific and if I don't have it, it flings me into a fit of depression and anger. Sometimes I'm just hungry for "good food" (tastes good, not feels good) and I don't really care about my diet. I call them 'cheat days', I call them 'maintenance days', I cling to the fact that 'tomorrow is a new day', and 'I'm doing awesome this week, I deserve a few extra calories'. Sound familiar, MFP? I'm fully aware that this sort of support doesn't help me. I've never had a sound support system in my life, so I'm not totally sure what that is.. all I know is that 'it's okay' doesn't really help.

 "Stay away from trigger foods." But what is the trigger? Is it a slice of pizza, or my inability to control myself when it comes to eating a bad food? I can't, in all good conscious, blame the food. It's an inanimate substance that my or may not supply our bodies with the nutrients and energy it needs to stay alive; I blame ME. I have an addictive personality, I lack willpower, and I've let my 'food addiction' become the better part of who I am. 

Please don't get me wrong. I've struggled with alcohol addiction, still do (it's 10AM, queue the wine). I don't think this is the same. Don't ask me how it's different, even though studies show that food addiction is sometimes directly linked, I don't believe it and I won't. I believe that I have the FULL ability to walk away, and I CHOOSE not to. It's not so simple with alcohol and narcotic addictions, is it? 

I've been doing this most of my life. It's moreso now, but it's been this way for as long as I can remember. I've spent a good majority of my life being sad, lonely, depressed, upset, angry, stressed, and confused. I eat when I'm mad, I eat when I'm happy, and I eat when I'm numb.

My point is that I don't have a trigger feeling. I'm usually always a mixture of these things at one time. (No, really. Ask my friends, I'm a time bomb). I've found no better definition to the term 'hot mess', well, minus the hot. 

Before you ask: Yes, I eat enough calories in a day. It happens when I'm drinking, but more when I'm sober. I'll just start thinking about food, healthy or unhealthy (usually this) as an indulgence, somehow convince myself I deserve it and just binge. I can eat more than a grown man! Sometimes (like last night, go ahead - check my diary) I dont even realize what I've done or that I am trying to lose weight and shouldn't be eating this stuff until I am already done with it and my stomach feels like I ate a brick.

I don't have a solution. If I did, this would be something more than a rant and rave about the many reasons I have to feel hate and resentment towards my sound body and mind. 

If you go through this or have overcome this, feel free to message. If not, don't. I have too many messages (friends, family, MFP, etc) telling me 'just dont do it' or 'have you tried this' or 'its okay, tomorrow is a new day' - it doesn't work. I appreciate the support but it just doesn't work. I am not asking anything from anyone, this is really in hopes I'll read it the next time I'm hungry.

The only thing I'm a victim of is myself. Have a good day, MFP. I'll be trying my hardest.

Eating 'Healthy' at the Office

Man, I've been sitting here for 8 hours already.. Sandy, hand me another donut! I need the energy. It's going to be a long night.

Something that bugs more than it should, is the food consensus around the office. Why not just let people eat what they eat, who cares? Good question, reader. Honestly - I don't; however, if you've got a job slinging paper like a majority of us, you know the one dreaded day that seems to always take place in the midst of a good diet run - the potluck day.

Potlucks can either be a really good thing, or a really bad thing. They can happen 2-3x per year, or like my office, 8-10x per year. Occasionally, towards January and February, the 'resolutioners' will  bring in salads, veggie/fruit trays, and other cheap natural foods. While it's true that every office has the person who spent hours making lasagna, tacos, and cheese dip, generally potlucks consist of a great variety - when everyone brings their own dish.

At my work specifically, we cater in food. A lot. Cheesecake Factory, Olive Garden, Fazoli's, Subway, local BBQ - a little bit of everything. Sometimes we do get a good find, like Jimmy John's or some other sub/deli shop, where those of us who don't prefer loads of gluten/sugar can choose something healthier, but it's seemingly few and far between. What's more, is that it goes right behind my cubicle specifically. Paleo has changed me a little, so now the smell just makes me cringe.. but I'm not sure how much better that is. At least I'm not binging, right?

Usually I can find something to nibble on, as I'm sure we all can, that will work into whatever diet I am experimenting with. However, the main problem is the people voting on where the food comes from (i.e., the rest of my co-workers) have such a blind view towards what 'healthy food' really is.

Fazoli's, for example, is U.S. fast-food Italian restaurant chain. It's main dishes contain these main 'ingredients': gluten, sodium, and dairy. With more than half of the menu being based around pasta, breadsticks and pizza, it's hard up to find something that is considered 'healthy'. At our very last 'food day', as they're commonly referred to, we had Fazoli's catered in. Here's a recap of the menu:

1 pan of 4-cheese Lasagna, 1 pan of Creamy Basil Penne with Chicken, 1 pan of Creamy Basil Pesto, 50+ breadsticks, 2 bowls of salad (hidden under cheese and bad dressing), 10 slices of cheesecake and 10 slices of chocolate cake.

...Yeah. Not so healthy, is it? At first glance, a typical American (a.k.a, my co-workers) can look and see that it's not very healthy. If they are health conscious, the first thing they do is what? Look up the calories.

"Hey Cupcake, did you know that 1/25th of pasta choice A has only 250 calories? I'm going to have two slices, then I'll have enough for breadsticks and cheesecake since my goal is 500 calories per meal!"

Well, standard american co-worker, that's... hmm. Where do I begin? One slice at that measure is the equivalent to 2 fork fulls, yet you're cutting them into 8 whole slices. Two slices? You're looking at 900+ calories at this point. Breadsticks are 150 each. "Wow, that's not bad!" is what you might be thinking, because our brains equate calorie contents to meals and not side dishes. Now you're at 1050 calories. Cheesecake? Yeah, let's slap one slice of that on there. 1500 calories is your total, ma'am... nowhere near that 500 you were banking on.

Let's backtrack a little, though. Let's say the above meal was (by some grace of any God) only 500 calories off your daily calorie total. You're forgetting some important things here. Carbs, sugar, sodium, protein, fiber, and cholesterol. At the end of that 'healthy' meal above, you've loaded yourself up to more than 110% of your daily goal for carbs, and 250% of your daily maximum of sodium. No wonder you're not losing any weight.

Remember when I talked about diseases caused by obesity? With this meal alone, you're looking at a few of the main causes. Makes you wonder why nutrition isn't taught to children, or even our M.D.'s out there.

For now, I think I'll stick to nibbling around. My rants on office nutrition can only take me so far, and it's time for me to hang up my healthy hat - until next 'food day', that is.

So I'm reading this old blog post and..

http://www.myfitnesspal.com/blog/jaimrlx/view/pcos-the-symptoms-and-how-they-are-ruining-my-life-278757

 I’m realizing how far I’ve come in this short time on Paleo. I can hardly believe it!

On June 18th, 2012, I was feeling very down and probably just as miserable as the last 22 years, so I logged onto MyFitnessPal and wrote a blog post to describe how I felt. I was depressed, frustrated, and a little heart-broken that I ‘couldn’t’ lose weight anymore. I was eating well, but that diet consisted of gluten and dairy. For the longest time after starting my diet originally in April 2010, I was still feeling terrible.. just not as terrible because of the portion cuts. My calories went down, and I originally lost 26 lbs, gained 20 back, lost 30, gained 20 back, and then plateaued. I was working out, but I couldn’t ever really figure out the problem was. My research told me it was PCOS.. but I never really knew why. Well, here is that blog post from June 18th, 2012.

 

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PCOS: The symptoms and how they are ruining my life.

What is PCOS, and why do people keep whining about it? PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome, is a common hormonal disorder in women that with interferes with the growth and release of eggs from the ovaries, or ovulation. It is the most common cause of infertility among women. PCOS occurs when a woman’s body overproduces sex hormones, called androgens. The hormone imbalance prevents fluid-filled sacs in the ovaries from breaking open and releasing mature eggs. The fluid-filled sacs bunch together, causing many tiny cysts. Symptoms of PCOS include missed periods, abnormal facial and body hair growth, acne, and weight gain. PCOS may run in families. Source: http://women.webmd.com/pcos-directory

What does this have to do with me?

As you could have probably gathered at this point, I am a long-time sufferer of PCOS. I was diagnosed 9 years ago through a family gynecologist, a diagnosis solely based on hormone levels. After my very first cycle, I had two more and then they stopped. They warned me that might happen, and I had a mild form so I didn’t really do anything about the loss of it; in fact, I embraced it! It was amazing. I could do whatever I wanted and didn’t have to worry about spotting or bleeding through my white shorts and colored swimsuit bottoms. For relevance to MFP, I’ll mention that I was 115 lbs and loving every minute of it.

At my next annual visit, they asked the inevitable question: “When was your last cycle?”.. I had no idea. I couldn’t even remember! After surfing through my teeny-bopper beachy memories, we narrowed it down to two periods in a year! I was given Yaz birth control and told to follow up in three months. My doctor seemed to think that the progesterone would jump start a cycle. Three months went by: nothing.

At my follow up visit, I was taken off the Yaz and given lower-hormone Nuva Ring. It was very comfortable, I didn’t have any troubles. However, still no period. After six months on the Ring and no menstrual cycle, I decided to make a follow up appointment. This is when they had to ‘scrape’ my uterus. Shortly after that, I cancelled all birth control and decided that I wanted to test my body’s natural ability to be… well, a woman.

Let’s skip to a few years and unsuccessful exams later. I’m 16 years old at this point, and sexually active. In the last three years, I’ve  had 2 cycles. Now that I’m active, I start to think I’m pregnant.. all the time. Every single test negative. So, I decided to go back to the gyno. We tried Nuva Ring again, still nothing. I’ve given up and realized that this is my life and went into grin-and-bear-it mode.

That’s when the ‘weird stuff’ started happening. I started getting disgusting hair growth. Though it wasn’t much, it was devastating to a teenage girl. I have not been on birth control since, after being told at this point that there was less than a 10% chance of being able to concieve.. ever. Not to mention that the chances of fertility will lessen every year.

I’m 22 now. I’ve been dealing with this for far too long, and it’s only the beginning. A sample of my symptoms include:

  • Hair Growth on my jaw, neck, upper lip, chest, back, feet and hands. I have to remove this on a DAILY basis, just to feel like a normal person.
  • Weight Gain. Mostly in my stomach. I’ve been asked “When are you due?” and “You’re such a cute pregnant woman, how far along are you?!” too many times to count. I went from 115 lbs to 105, then straight to 199 lbs with virtually no change in my eating habits.
  • Uncontrollable Mood Swings and Depression. Every month, I go through bouts of depression that used to be suicidal. I ‘freak out’ at the smallest things, I’m extremely unpredictable. I have been on and off medication to control the hormonal discrepancies and have yet to find something that works.
  • Adult Acne all over my face, neck and back. I have been using ProActiv and Clearasil spot treatment for ~4 years and nothing has ever changed.
  • Hypoglycemia/Insulin Resistance that attributes to the weight gain. I feel lethargic after every meal, and have days where I can’t even make it through work. I was put on Atkins and other low-carb diets, none successful.
  • Infertility. I can’t honestly say I’m too worried about this one right now, but I’m only 22. I can only imagine what happens when my already crippled biological clock starts ticking.
  • PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease). Normally you get these from STD’s, so you can imagine the looks I get when I have to tell doctors and other relevant people. Essentially, the build up in my uteran wall becomes infected when I go too long without a cycle and causes extreme abdominal pain, vomiting, and muscle cramps. I have a PID flare every month, and my uterus is scarred from years of infection. I’ve never had an STD, but I am cursed with like symptoms and excruciating pain.

Most of the time, (in the words of my lovely friend, munkey418) I feel like a fat man. It’s humiliating, crippling and has forever ruined my self esteem. I’ve been on countless anti-depressants and even Metformin.. nothing has ever worked for me. My doctors are trying to hold off on further medications, because the insulin resistance has caused Auto Immune Liver Disease. Essentially, PCOS is trying to ruin my life.

I’m constantly working through this hurdle that life has thrown in my way, but it’s going to be a long process. It affects every friendship/family relationship I’ve ever had. I’m the only woman in my family with PCOS or PID, and often times have nobody to go to. I am too busy at work to go to a group, but I know that there are tons out there like me. Please feel free to share your stories in the comments for support!

Thanks for listening.. err, reading. -Jaimrlx.

/end rant.

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This is how I felt after 2 years of dieting like a normal person. Eating ‘clean’, moderate calorie foods and exercising regularly. Let’s recap:

I feel like a fat man. It’s humiliating, crippling and has forever ruined my self esteem. I’ve been on countless anti-depressants and even Metformin.. nothing has ever worked for me.

I’m constantly working through this hurdle that life has thrown in my way, but it’s going to be a long process. It affects every friendship/family relationship I’ve ever had.

To compare, I’ve been eating primal for 11 days. December 26th, 2012 is when I committed to making a positive change in my life. But why is it so different? Because even though I was dieting ruthlessly, I was eating food that was bad for my system. Gluten, sugar, dairy; all things that I could have cut had I known that they were halting the process. The only question left, is why didn’t I know sooner?

/end rant.

Primal Steak Salad, a Paleo Super Lunch!

I'm not perfect.

Whew. Now that I've got that off my chest, we can go back to the topic at hand. Sometimes, I don't have the hunger or time for three meals and two snacks per day. That's not necessarily a Paleo guideline, but more or less a metabolism maximizer. In order for me to get all my calories, fat, carbs, and protein in order, I usually have to make large meals that are fatty and packed with protein. They tide me over for hours, and give me the nutrients that Paleo says I need. Today, I made this ridiculous steak salad, it was so good. I'm licking my fingers as I'm typing this to you on a now greasy keyboard. It's that good.

salad shot
End product, but we'll get to that.

Want the recipe? Yeah, I figured. Before we get started, I'm not a photographer, so sorry for any blurry pics. I take them in my kitchen with a Nikon D40x while I'm cooking, I'm not down with that stock photo bullshit.

What I used:

  • 6-8 oz Beef Chuck-eye Steak
  • Trader Joe's Applewood Smoked - Uncured Bacon Ends & Pieces (Nitrite/Nitrate Free)
  • Trader Joe's - Romaine Salad Chopped Romaine Lettuce, 1 cup
  • Trader Joe's - Organic Broccoli Slaw, 1/4 cup
  • Benissimo - Mediterranean Garlic Oil, 1 tbsp
  • Botte Piccola - Aceto Balsamico Di Modena, 1 tbsp
  • Dried Bay Leaves, 1 pinch
  • Lawry's Garlic Salt, .25 tsp

First, add the oils to your skillet. You'll need 1 tbsp each. Let them simmer for 1-2 minutes, heating enough to cook the meat thoroughly without burning.

oil in pan

 

After the oils have heated, add your meat. This is when you'll sprinkle the garlic salt and bay leaves on the meat, giving it a salty, herby flavor. I've found that rosemary and sage also go well with balsamic vinegar.

Now, comes patience. Let your steak simmer for 15-25 minutes, depending on your stove's heat and cookware quality. As you see here, I use old skillets - but cookware is definitely something to invest in when you're cooking with meat so much.

In another pan, sizzle up some of that delicious bacon. In true primal fashion, I'm using Trader Joe's uncured, nitrate free, applewood smoked bacon ends and pieces. It is fantastic! For all of you regular bacon lovers, this doesn't taste any different, it's just better for you. Its thicker, which is good - I've never been one to like thin, crunchy bacon.

When the bacon has sizzled to your desired tenderness (or crunchiness, I'm not here to judge), take off the heat and let it dry. For this, I use a small plate with a paper towel. There's no need to get fancy now, save that for later.

At this point, your steak should be done (or almost, anyway). I like my steak medium. If you're not grilling, it's harder to gauge. This steak turned out a little medium-well, but the flavor made up for the extra done-ness.

 

At this point, you're ready to tear up the meat. Don't be a girl (unless you're anatomically inclined, in that case, be a greasy goddess) and get your hands dirty! Rip the bacon apart, and cut the meat. You want chunks that are about 1/2 an inch, or if your mouth is bigger, go all out.

 

While the meat is cooling, and trust me - it'll need a minute or two, get your salad ready. Some leafy romaine will do the trick! This is also good with kale, iceberg or spinach. I've noticed that spinach tends to wilt faster, so make sure your greens are very cold and your meat is thoroughly cooled if you'd like to go that route.

After you've got your greens on the plate, add the cut up meat. Throw some fresh, raw broccoli slaw on top - this provides and crunchiness that is just to die for.

End product? Awesome.

 

Pair that sucker with some fresh brewed, un-sweetend iced tea (in a wine glass, because now it's time to get fancy) and you've got yourself one delicious meal.

 

Well kids, that's how you do a super lunch - primal style. Enjoy making this, it's not quick - but it's cheap and gets the job done. You may not even be able to eat it all, I mean, sometimes my eyes are bigger than my stomach is. Pop the remainder in the fridge, update your calorie counts and take that to work on Monday. Let your office mates be jealous while they heat up their sodium laden lasagnas and gluten filled breadsticks...

Let's not be bitter friends, we're the ones getting results.

I know what you guys are really here for, the nutrition facts. I know you so well. I added the this to the recipes database on MFP. If you have difficulty, please let me know and I'll provide!

Sometimes, I am feeling frisky and upload my recipes to Allrecipes.com, like this one! Check them out here: http://allrecipes.com/cook/187208321/profile.aspx

Have recipe ideas or suggestions? Not sure how your friends and family will react? I'll review a recipe of yours for free. Fill out the form below, and let me know! - email me at paleocupcake@gmail.com

Another day, another pound lost.

Quick update, I promise.

I am so far from a morning person, really.

Let me start with my quick just-out-of-bed routine: Open eyes. Frantically look around for water. Chug it. A lot of it. Grab kindle. 10 minute ceiling stare. Surrounded by hungry cats. 10 minutes of ‘Shut up you guys, seriously’. Roll out of bed. Stand up. Stretch. Pee. Grab scale. Step on. Usually: Disappoint. Sometimes: Victory dance.

Despite my morning exhaustion, I danced today.

It is said that you should not weigh but once per week due to sodium levels, water weight, muscle gain, etc. I agree, but I have to monitor a trend because my brain needs to know the science of everything. Trust me, it’s both a blessing and a curse.

As far as counting weight lost, I only use my weekend measurements. Last Saturday, I was at 186.5. Today, I’m at 185.

Paleo for life, bitches!

For science! Well, for health at least.

On Halloween Day 2012, I underwent surgery on my wrist to remove a nasty Ganglion cyst. Roughly three years ago, I did the same thing – along with the three years prior. Trust me, we’re only scratching the surface of my medical history.

During the very last run, it took my wrist about 7 months to completely heal. That’s a long time of adjusting to using my right hand solely for most things. Throughout the last three surgeries, I was eating the same… some could compare my diet to that of a garbage disposal. Or a garbage truck. You get it.

This time around, things are a lot different for a couple reasons. To start, my cyst was much worse than expected. The cyst was larger and had moved around, leaving gaps in tissue. Because this was not my first excision, or even second for that matter, my tissue was comparable to Swiss cheese. I quickly ended up with a mass of donor tissue, physical therapy, and a plaster cast for six weeks.

It’s a fun little experiment, really. Though this time around was considerably worse, I was a tad smaller and eating worlds better. I hadn’t converted to Paleo just yet, but was in the midst of a low-carb/high fat diet. Total heal time: Nine weeks.

You read that correctly, from 7 months on a general hand surgery to nine weeks on a tissue graft. For my fellow nerds, that’s essentially three times faster. In fact, I followed up my last doctor’s visit with a trip to the gym. I was lifting just like I used to in no time, with no problems. I couldn’t even believe it!

I really do believe my success, in addition to physical therapy once per week, was attributed to the changes in my diet. “You get out what you put in” had never been so astoundingly accurate. For me, I’m counting this as a food success and I’ve really got Paleo to thank for it.

Anyone heard of the '3-day hump'?

Really, it's not as grossly perverse as you probably expected.

I'm talking about the first three days of withdrawal. Whether you're weaning yourself off of cigarettes, alcohol, medicine, or other bad habits, you've experienced the '3-day hump'. However, giving it a name makes it too shiny. 'Three days and you'll be back to normal..' or 'Anyone can do this in just three days..' makes it sound like a scam. Well, for some it's this easy - but others, it's a bit more complex.

When I transitioned to a primal diet, my '3-day hump' was a '6-day crap-fest'. I was tired, achy, groggy. Also, a complete pain in everyone's ass. I initiated a fight with my best friend, and drove both my roommate and boyfriend up the wall. Here's a little what it was like:

Day 1 - "I feel awesome. Nothing will stop me." I was light headed, and obviously delirious. I felt tired, lethargic, and food didn't satisfy my hunger. I denied my hunger! I lied my way through it, and dove head first into motivation mode.

Day 2 - "Alright, okay. Now I want some sugar." I was dying here... at least that's how I saw it. Despite all the other low carb - high protein diets I had been on before, I wasn't craving carbs. I wanted sugar. I wanted to stick my face deep into a pan of lemon bars and probably bathe in it. By the end of the day, I had to lock my desk drawer and throw the key so I wouldn't eat a sugar packet. Yeah, that bad.

Day 3 - "CARBS. Please, somebody.. anybody?" The carb flu hit, and it hit hard. The mere sight of bread in my refrigerator made me salivate. Honestly, I'm not sure what was worse - sugar, or this. On top of all of these withdrawals, I was frustrated, light headed, and most certainly not in the mood for social interaction. I spoke maybe 5 words at work, the entire 8 hour shift. Get the hell out of the way, and let me die here alone.

Day 4 - "3 days? 3 DAYS?! Why I oughta.." Day four sucked. Just, sucked. I wasn't craving anything at this point. While proud of my progress and motivated to continue, I was also too weak to cheat. I was hiding under depression and frustration. I didn't know what to eat, I didn't know what to do, it hurt to exercise - hell, it hurt to move, but my pride won't let me quit. I was still picking fights, I just wanted to sleep.

Day 5 - "I don't think I can do this anymore." It's NYE at this point, and I was having a party. A BYOB-and-food party. Despite my ungratefulness towards the world and all of my friends, everyone showed up. Luckily, Paleo allows me a couple gluten-free ciders per night. It takes the edge off, but the food is just too good to pass up. I gave in to temptation (remember this is a journey) and had 5 multi-grain chips with queso. It was to DIE for, but totally not worth it.. but we'll get into that in a minute.

Day 6 - "What happened last night.." Yep, it hit me.. like a truck. Now I know what's been causing me pain the last 22 years! It is dairy. For some unknown reason [to me], I cannot handle it. I was bloated to the point where I was almost in tears. The constipation was terrible, and to top it off, I was hungover from the ciders I had. I had too much sugar, gluten and dairy the night before, and I spent most of my New Year's Day sleeping off the pain. At least I've learned my lesson, and it can only go up from here... right?

Day 7 - "Today is a new day." I'm feeling awesome at this point. The light-headedness is gone, the carb/sugar/dairy flu is over - because I'm not making that mistake again - but I'm still having withdrawal symptoms. I'll admit to dreaming about tortillas and lemon bars, and I don't believe that's [totally] insane. I'm so motivated, but I've got this headache that's dull and annoying. 'Detoxing' myself from all the junk, then moving right back to it - even if only for a day, really screwed me up here.

Skip a few days, and we're on number 10. I'm feeling awesome, and not to mention, I've lost 5.5 lbs... and that's not even as much as most people stepping into this lifestyle change. I can easily walk by cupcakes, cookies, and bread without a flinch. I don't yearn for them anymore. As for sugar? I cut my processed foods down by a ton, and I'm seeing it. According to MyFitnessPal, I've cut my sugars down by about 75%. Granted, not everything I eat is strict Paleo just yet, I'm getting there. Have I mentioned that grass-fed beef where I live is a whopping $6.49/lb?! I've got some work to do before I spend that kind of money.

If you're here to help decide whether you should take the plunge into Paleo, I'll be an advocate for it. Just make sure you're ready. I hope my short journal above has given you some insight, just know what you're getting into. With all that said and done, I love Paleo, and I wouldn't trade that for the world.

Hi there.

If you’re new to my story, go read the ‘About’ section. It’s got everything you need to know.

I’ll start you off with a little somethin’ fresh.

Today is my 10th day on Paleo. It’s not entirely strict, although my first seven days were. When you’re jumping into something, you’ve got to give yourself time to adjust. I’m not one of those girls who tries to diet for a week and gives up the minute she sees a cupcake - oh, no. I’m one of those girls who struggles with something until I just convince myself it’s not worth it anymore. That’s something I’ve got to overcome, and my new lifestyle is keeping me in check.

I’m not all for putting my stats online, but I’m trying to make a change here. I’m a 22 year old female, 186 pounds, and ready to start over.

Here’s as little about what I’m doing.

The ‘Paleolithic’ Diet [wikipedia.org]

The paleolithic diet (abbreviated paleo diet or paleodiet), also popularly referred to as the caveman diet, Stone Age diet and hunter-gatherer diet, is a modern nutritional plan based on the presumed ancient diet of wild plants and animals that various hominid species habitually consumed during the Paleolithic era—a period of about 2.5 million years duration that ended around 10,000 years ago with the development of agriculture and grain-based diets. In common usage, such terms as the “Paleolithic diet” also refer to the actual ancestral human diet.[1][2]

Centered on commonly available modern foods, the “contemporary” Paleolithic diet consists mainly of fish, grass-fed pasture raised meats, vegetables, fruit, fungi, roots, and nuts, and excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, potatoes, refined salt, refined sugar, and processed oils.[1][3][4]

First popularized in the mid-1970s by gastroenterologist Walter L. Voegtlin,[5][6] this nutritional concept has been promoted and adapted by a number of authors and researchers in several books and academic journals.[7] A common theme in evolutionary medicine,[8][9] Paleolithic nutrition is based on the premise that modern humans are genetically adapted to the diet of their Paleolithic ancestors and that human genetics have scarcely changed since the dawn of agriculture, and therefore that an ideal diet for human health and well-being is one that resembles this ancestral diet.[4][10] Proponents of this diet argue that modern human populations subsisting on traditional diets allegedly similar to those of Paleolithic hunter-gatherers are largely free of diseases of affluence,[11][12] and that two small prospective studies of the Paleolithic diet in humans have shown some positive health outcomes.[13][14] Supporters point to several potentially therapeutic nutritional characteristics of allegedly preagricultural diets.[10][15]

So here starts my journey into hunter-gatherer consumption. Wish me luck!

PCOS: The symptoms and how they are ruining my life.

What is PCOS, and why do people keep whining about it? PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome, is a common hormonal disorder in women that with interferes with the growth and release of eggs from the ovaries, or ovulation. It is the most common cause of infertility among women. PCOS occurs when a woman's body overproduces sex hormones, called androgens. The hormone imbalance prevents fluid-filled sacs in the ovaries from breaking open and releasing mature eggs. The fluid-filled sacs bunch together, causing many tiny cysts. Symptoms of PCOS include missed periods, abnormal facial and body hair growth, acne, and weight gain. PCOS may run in families. Source: http://women.webmd.com/pcos-directory

What does this have to do with me?

As you could have probably gathered at this point, I am a long-time sufferer of PCOS. I was diagnosed 9 years ago through a family gynecologist, a diagnosis solely based on hormone levels. After my very first cycle, I had two more and then they stopped. They warned me that might happen, and I had a mild form so I didn't really do anything about the loss of it; in fact, I embraced it! It was amazing. I could do whatever I wanted and didn't have to worry about spotting or bleeding through my white shorts and colored swimsuit bottoms. For relevance to MFP, I'll mention that I was 115 lbs and loving every minute of it.

At my next annual visit, they asked the inevitable question: "When was your last cycle?".. I had no idea. I couldn't even remember! After surfing through my teeny-bopper beachy memories, we narrowed it down to two periods in a year! I was given Yaz birth control and told to follow up in three months. My doctor seemed to think that the progesterone would jump start a cycle. Three months went by: nothing.

At my follow up visit, I was taken off the Yaz and given lower-hormone Nuva Ring. It was very comfortable, I didn't have any troubles. However, still no period. After six months on the Ring and no menstrual cycle, I decided to make a follow up appointment. This is when they had to 'scrape' my uterus. Shortly after that, I cancelled all birth control and decided that I wanted to test my body's natural ability to be... well, a woman.

Let's skip to a few years and unsuccessful exams later. I'm 16 years old at this point, and sexually active. In the last three years, I've  had 2 cycles. Now that I'm active, I start to think I'm pregnant.. all the time. Every single test negative. So, I decided to go back to the gyno. We tried Nuva Ring again, still nothing. I've given up and realized that this is my life and went into grin-and-bear-it mode.

That's when the 'weird stuff' started happening. I started getting disgusting hair growth. Though it wasn't much, it was devastating to a teenage girl. I have not been on birth control since, after being told at this point that there was less than a 10% chance of being able to concieve.. ever. Not to mention that the chances of fertility will lessen every year.

I'm 22 now. I've been dealing with this for far too long, and it's only the beginning. A sample of my symptoms include:

  • Hair Growth on my jaw, neck, upper lip, chest, back, feet and hands. I have to remove this on a DAILY basis, just to feel like a normal person.
  • Weight Gain. Mostly in my stomach. I've been asked "When are you due?" and "You're such a cute pregnant woman, how far along are you?!" too many times to count. I went from 115 lbs to 105, then straight to 199 lbs with virtually no change in my eating habits.
  • Uncontrollable Mood Swings and Depression. Every month, I go through bouts of depression that used to be suicidal. I 'freak out' at the smallest things, I'm extremely unpredictable. I have been on and off medication to control the hormonal discrepancies and have yet to find something that works.
  • Adult Acne all over my face, neck and back. I have been using ProActiv and Clearasil spot treatment for ~4 years and nothing has ever changed.
  • Hypoglycemia/Insulin Resistance that attributes to the weight gain. I feel lethargic after every meal, and have days where I can't even make it through work. I was put on Atkins and other low-carb diets, none successful.
  • Infertility. I can't honestly say I'm too worried about this one right now, but I'm only 22. I can only imagine what happens when my already crippled biological clock starts ticking.
  • PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease). Normally you get these from STD's, so you can imagine the looks I get when I have to tell doctors and other relevant people. Essentially, the build up in my uteran wall becomes infected when I go too long without a cycle and causes extreme abdominal pain, vomiting, and muscle cramps. I have a PID flare every month, and my uterus is scarred from years of infection. I've never had an STD, but I am cursed with like symptoms and excruciating pain.

Most of the time, (in the words of my lovely friend, munkey418) I feel like a fat man. It's humiliating, crippling and has forever ruined my self esteem. I've been on countless anti-depressants and even Metformin.. nothing has ever worked for me. My doctors are trying to hold off on further medications, because the insulin resistance has caused Auto Immune Liver Disease. Essentially, PCOS is trying to ruin my life.

I'm constantly working through this hurdle that life has thrown in my way, but it's going to be a long process. It affects every friendship/family relationship I've ever had. I'm the only woman in my family with PCOS or PID, and often times have nobody to go to. I am too busy at work to go to a group, but I know that there are tons out there like me. Please feel free to share your stories in the comments for support!

Thanks for listening.. err, reading. -Jaimrlx.

/end rant. 

Change, it's a wonderful feeling!

Holy cow! I had a great day today. My stress levels were at an all-time low, I ate so many healthy foods, and had an awesome night at the gym. THIS is what I've been wanting for the last couple years and was never able to get. THIS is who I want to be!

Although today was the first time in a long time where nothing has really gone wrong, I have had a pretty good month. Needless to say, MFP has brought me so much motivation and knowledge.. I have the most amazing motivators and I couldn't be happier!

I'm starting to feel and see the physical changes, as well as mentally and emotionally. I'm saving money because I'm not eating out 5x per week, I'm going on walks during my work breaks, and I'm actually excited for the gym after work! I can look at a cheeseburger or a piece of chocolate and make the decision that I don't want it. I have the ability to look myself in the mirror and feel that I'm worth something. I am eating foods that I've never thought I would enjoy, and learning about the right type of diet to have. I am beginning to create a better relationship with food, which I am so very passionate about. I'm coaching and supporting others the best I can, and doing research to make sure my macronutrients are in order. I haven't felt this way in a very long time, but I can do this! I will do this!

In closing, I would love to say thank you to MFP and my amazing friends, for helping me outgrow this 199 pound security blanket. I am on the right track here, and I've never felt better about it. 

 <3

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