Progress Update – as of June 9, 2014

Height: 5’7″
Current Weight: 284 lbs
Gain: 10.7 lbs
Current BMI: 44.5
Gain: 1.7

So. Obviously, since the last time I weighed myself, I have gained some. I knew that I did, but in truth I wasn’t expecting it to be that much. But oh well, live and learn. I’m still down, overall, and that’s what counts! 

What I Did Well This Week:
1) Uh, well I guess not much. The last time I was actually able to weigh myself was 6 weeks ago or so, so in that time I thought that I was doing fairly well, but I guess that I wasn’t getting as much exercise as I thought. And I know that my eating habits kind of tapered off in the past couple of weeks. Ah well. 

What I Can Improve On:
1) Getting more exercise! I have been exhausted lately (thanks jetlag!) so I haven’t really been exercising, except to walk with my dogs. I’d like to get into good habits, definitely. 
2) Eating better is the key. Food has always been my nemesis. For the next two weeks, I am going to try something new: eating “clean”. That means no processed food, no fast food, no refined sugar or flour. It is going to be HARD folks, hard. But I think that sugar and processed food are my major weaknesses, so if I can break my addiction, then hopefully I’ll have an easier time eating well. 

How I Feel:
A bit bummed about the gain, yes, but still hopeful for the future. I am stoked that I have still managed to maintain most of my loss and the only way to go from here is forward. 

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Progress Update – May 5 and 12, 2014

Height: 5’7”
Bust: 49 in.
Waist: 54 in.
Hips: 50 in.

Sorry for the delay in posts, but I have been travelling around again and so once again, I have not had consistent access to wifi or a scale. But I’m doing what I can!! 

What I Did Really Well This Week:

1) Well I have been walking around more, so that’s a plus. Still not as much as before though, especially since a lot of the things that I was travelling around seeing were too far to walk. But doing what I could!

What I Can Improve On:

1) Eating. I did okay this week, I think, but there is certainly a lot of room for improvement. I bought fruit and yogurt and good bread and milk, so I was doing that, and then I stayed at my cousin’s place for a couple of days and had lots of veggies and such, but on the road trips that I took I think I indulged in a few too many cookies. Oops. Better luck next time!

How I Feel:

I am feeling pretty good, but I am getting very, very sick of surviving on toast, sandwiches, fruit and yogurt. Thankfully, after Thursday, I will be staying with friends and relatives until I return home (which will be in early June, change of plans) and so I will finally be able to COOK, really cook. I haven’t done that in a hostel thus far because I can’t shake the distrust I have towards other people’s dishwashing skills. It just skeeves me out. So I am looking forward to making healthy meals when I have access to a kitchen (3 days and counting!), huzzah.

Until then, adieu.  

PCOS – Let’s Talk About It

Warning: I’m about to get all biological and anatomical when discussing lady business (like Aunt Flo), so if that makes you squeamish, I suggest you not read on. 

About two years ago, I was diagnosed with a medical condition called polycystic ovary syndrome, commonly known as PCOS.

What is PCOS?

It is an endocrine disorder that affects hormones (among other things), meaning that women who have it can produce too many androgens, (or “male” hormones) which can create all kinds of problems. It is estimated that between 5-10% of women of childbearing age have this disease.

What are the symptoms/effects of PCOS? 

The main thing that PCOS affects is ovulation and the menstrual cycle. Women who have PCOS often have cysts on their ovaries (hence the name) and often have extremely irregular or non-existent menstrual periods, which can affect fertility. Women with PCOS also have a higher chance of miscarrying or giving birth prematurely, and pregnant women with PCOS are more likely to develop gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. 

Besides affecting reproductive health and the menstrual cycle, women with PCOS can also suffer from ovarian cysts, hirsutism (increased hair growth on face, torso, feet, hands, chest, stomach and back), acne, oily skin, dandruff, weight gain (usually gaining weight around the middle), thinning hair or male-pattern baldness, thick and dark patches of skin on the neck, arms and breasts, skin tags, pelvic pain, anxiety or depression and sleep apnea. 

Women with PCOS are also more likely to have high blood pressure, to have a heart attack or to have high bad (LDL) and low good (HDL) cholesterol. Additionally, 50% of women with PCOS will develop diabetes or pre-diabetes by the age of 40. Scary, scary stuff. 

Why are you talking about this on a weight loss blog? 

Well, because polycystic ovary syndrome has lots to do with weight. It is currently not known whether being overweight or obese can cause PCOS, but it is known that having PCOS can cause a woman to gain weight (and make it much harder to lose). I accept that my life choices have caused me to struggle with my weight, but I do wonder whether having this condition has caused extra weight gain. 

The point is that PCOS is very much related to health. Reproductive health and fertility, of course, but also general health. Truthfully, not a lot is known about the causes of PCOS and, as of right now, there is no cure. Some researchers believe that it has something to do with insulin, but there really isn’t a lot known about this disorder. 

What is known, however, is that exercise and a healthy diet can help immensely. Even just a loss of 10% body weight can help to regulate the menstrual cycle. Birth control pills can help as well, but being at a healthy weight seems to be the most effective treatment at the moment. I am lucky that I have only experienced a few of the symptoms that I mentioned above (and those have been relatively mild) and that it has not affected my general health, but I am scared that in the future I might develop heart problems, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes, or that it will affect my ability to have children or to carry a baby to term. Staying at my current weight is not an option. Unfortunately, PCOS can make it more difficult to lose weight, but I think that I have been doing very well so far and I am hoping that my journey will continue as I go forward. 

If you have PCOS and are reading this, I hope that you know that you are not alone. There are many, many women out there who suffer from this disease. Unfortunately, I find the medical community at large to be very hush hush about women’s health issues, particularly reproductive health. For example, I started having issues when I was 14. I was dismissed by several doctors (none of whom ever bothered to run tests) before I finally found my current doctor, who put me through a battery of tests so that I could finally get a proper diagnosis. It infuriates me that it took so long for someone to finally take me seriously enough to fully investigate, as opposed to telling me to just go on the pill and not addressing the root cause. 

I wanted to talk about this because it is extremely relevant to my weight loss journey and, to be honest, it’s nice to talk about it. It’s not something that I feel comfortable sharing with most people in my life, so the veil of anonymity that I have on the World Wide Web makes it easier. Thanks for listening. 

If you have PCOS and you feel comfortable, please feel free to share in the comments. Cheers. 

Progress Update – as of April 28, 2014

Height: 5’7″
Current Weight: 273.3 lbs
Loss: 1.7 lbs
Current BMI: 42.8
Loss: 0.3

As I thought it would, my loss has definitely slowed down. However, a loss is a loss is a loss, so hallelujah for that! Let’s hope that I continue on this downward slope.

What I Did Really Well This Week:

1) I have been eating very well, for the most part. As I mentioned last week, I am currently staying with my aunt and uncle and my uncle is a health nut. He has all kinds of um…interesting beliefs about nutrition and health, some of which I agree with and some of which make it very difficult for me to keep my mouth shut. But that’s another story.

Anyway, I have been eating well. Lots of salad and fresh, organic food (and he makes amazing smoothies, which he has been sharing with me every morning, yum!). And NO sugar. Sugar is persona non grata in their household. I will confess that I went to the grocery store and bought myself some sugary treats, but I only bought the “snack size” variety of some amazing cookies called Toffee Pops (and the snack size is mini cookies) and then another little snack packet of orange and chocolate cookies. So I didn’t go bananas, good job self. It made it quite obvious that I’m addicted to sugar though. Sad…

What I Can Improve On:

1) My walking routine has come to a bit of a halt this week. I have done some, but not nearly as much as I did previously. And then yesterday I was going to go outside but it was kind of grey and dreary so I didn’t, and then today I wished I had because it poured rain all day long. But oh well. I will try to make more of an effort to do more exercise this week because I don’t have a car and frankly, being cooped up inside all day today drove me a bit loopy.

2) I should get more sleep. I have been staying up later than I normally would, mostly because I have been engrossed in reading some good books lately and so often I’ll read into the late hours of the night (or sometimes the wee hours of the morning) and thus, my sleep is being compromised.

How I Feel:

Pretty good, in general. I am super happy about the loss so far (although I need to buy more pants now, because mine are practically falling off even with a belt) but I am conscious that it could easily creep back up again, so I can’t slack off just because I’ve had a great couple of weeks. Onwards and upwards!

Progress Update – as of April 21, 2014

Height: 5’7″
Current Weight: 275.0 lbs
Loss: 9.4 lbs
Current BMI: 43.1
Loss: 3.0

Holy guacamole!!! I figured that I would see another loss this week, but to lose almost 10 lbs in a week is crazy! I don’t anticipate that this trend will continue for long (and I don’t want it to, as it’s not healthy) but hey, a loss is a loss!! And it’s possible that this isn’t totally accurate anyway, the scale that I weighed myself on last week is a different one from this week, so it’s highly unlikely that they are exactly the same, I find that most scales tend not to be.

What I Did Really Well This Week:

1) Getting lots of sleep, once again. I did a lot this week, sight-seeing and such, and I prefer to get up early and start my day so that I make sure that I take advantage of being in a foreign city. Plus, I didn’t know anybody in Wellington (where I was) so it wasn’t as though I was out and about socializing into the wee hours.

2) I did a fair amount of walking this week as well, sightseeing and the like. I have never had trouble just walking around on flat surfaces, but hills and stairs (not to mention running) are the death of me! I think it’s getting easier though. There is less cursing under my breath when I have to climb a big hill or walk long distances, so yay me!

What I Can Improve On:

1) I didn’t really eat that well this week. I tried to make healthier choices, like choosing a sandwich and milk for lunch instead of a burger, but I was still rather lacking in fruits and vegetables intake. However, I am now at my uncle’s house for the next week or two. He is a health maniac and so I think that I will be eating very well for the time that I stay with his family. He bikes 15 km every morning, for example, and then has a fruit smoothie for breakfast, chock full of healthy stuff. So I think I will do well this week…

How I Feel:

I feel really good! I am feeling a lot better mentally (although travelling is fun, being by yourself in a strange city can be very lonely) and so I think that just being with family and kind of feeling more at home here, as opposed to living out of a suitcase, will be good for me. I don’t anticipate losing 10 lbs again next week – and I wouldn’t be surprised if I gained some soon, as it’s possible that some of this weight is water weight – but I’m on the right track and that’s all that matters.

Cheers, happy losing!

Progress Update – as of April 14, 2014

Height: 5’7″
Current Weight: 284.4 lbs
Loss: 9.9 lbs
Current BMI: 46.1
Loss: 1.6

WOOHOO!!! As you can probably tell, I am super ecstatic at this number. I haven’t actually been able to weigh myself for 3 weeks, but boy it is nice to get on the scale and see that! Since the beginning of this journey, over 5 months, I have lost 18.8 lbs. I am disappointed that it isn’t more overall but I haven’t been consistent with my efforts over these 5 months, so that’s to be expected. At the end of the day, I am thrilled to be down almost 20 lbs and it makes me want to go more more more!!!

What I Did Really Well This Week:

1) Well, over the past several weeks, I have been walking a lot. I do take public transportation, but most of that doesn’t drop you off exactly where you need to be, so I’ve had to hoof it around a lot. I’ve also chosen to walk for monetary reasons. For example, the hostel that I was staying at for a while did not have free wifi, so I opted to go to the library instead. Walking there, a 15 minute walk, saved me the bus fare and meant that I could come and go as I pleased, instead of waiting on a bus schedule.

2) I have also been eating as well as I can. I have been staying at hostels and due to my intense germophobia the thought of actually cooking in a hostel repulses me (I don’t trust anyone to clean dishes properly, especially not with the dish brushes that appear to have been sitting out since 1993, gross), so I have been relying on staples like PB&J sandwiches and ramen noodles. Ramen are not that nutritious, I know, and neither is PB&J (although I have only been using good, whole-wheat bread, natural peanut butter and no sugar added jam) but I have had access to a fridge, so I’ve also been eating fruit, yogurt, veggies and milk. It’s not an ideal diet, but I’m attempting to make it work anyway. And when I go out to eat (which I have been trying to avoid doing, because it’s ridiculously expensive) I have been trying to make better choices, like having sushi or a sandwich over a cheeseburger.

3) I have been getting lots of sleep. I don’t drink or smoke and I find that a lot of the activity that goes on at hostels later at night tends to be of that variety, so instead of participating, I will usually read and go to bed early. I like going to bed early when I’m travelling, actually, because I like getting up in the morning and doing stuff, instead of sleeping until noon like I often do when I’m out really late. And bonus, it’s good for you!

What I Can Improve On:

1) Getting in more fruits and veggies. I was really good for awhile about eating apples and carrots and veggies that don’t need prep, but I’ve slacked off a little in the last week or so and not done that well, so I’m hoping to get back to my earlier, better habits.

How I Feel:

Pretty awesome!!! I have been feeling really down lately, to be honest, because I have kind of been stuck in one city for awhile and I was really missing home. However, this weigh-in certainly boosted my spirits (as well as Skype sessions from home, I love you Skype!) and I am hoping that it continues!

Progress Update – as of March 19 and 26, 2014

Height: 5’7″
Current Weight (March 19): 296.3 lbs
Gain: 0.3 lbs
Current BMI (March 19): 46.4
Gain: 0

Current Weight (March 26): 294.3 lbs
Loss: 2.0 lbs
Current BMI (March 26): 46.1
Loss: 0.3

Sorry for the delay this week folks, my life has been a bit of a whirlwind for the last couple of weeks. As you may know by now, I am in New Zealand! I wanted to take time to write on here, but the sun was shining and there were lovely beaches calling me, so I found myself putting the computer down and going outside. Ah well. I will try to keep up this week, but I am no longer staying with relatives, as I’m bouncing around the countryside and the wi-fi is a bit spotty.

What I Did Really Well This Week:

1) I have been eating really well. I am staying in hostels at the moment, so it’s not like I’m cooking up sumptuous meals (and I’m a germaphobe, but that’s another story) but I’ve got apples and carrots and yogurt and milk and good bread and PB&J (all natural, no added salt or sugar or other crap) so I’m doing okay. However, before I started travelling around, I was staying with relatives. Relatives who happen to grow a whole bunch of produce in their garden and who have their own chickens and who are very health-conscious and only buy the best (meaning organic) of everything, so meals with them were lovely, always really healthy, high-quality ingredients with tons and tons of vegetables and fruit.

2) I have been exercising like crazy. Not like what I normally do, which is weights and rowing and treadmill, but just walking everywhere and being an active tourist, as opposed to sitting inside and watching television all day. New Zealand is also very hilly, which has meant some hiking with STEEP climbs (which either means hundreds of built-in stairs or steep stretches of path), which of course makes my legs burn and makes me sweat like crazy. By the time I go back home (for Christmas), I am going to have a butt that you can bounce quarters off. I also find that I am really enjoying the exercise. (Well, mostly, let’s not get carried away here.) For example, just today I went on a 3 km hike around Wai O Tapu, which is a “geothermal wonderland” (their words, not mine). Basically, New Zealand is a volcanic country with lots of geothermal activity and so there are lots of places where you can hike around huge pieces of land and see geysers, boiling mud pools, sulphur caves, mineral lakes etc. etc. That is what I did today and, because I wanted to see everything, I did the longest hike. I was swearing a blue streak under my (heaving) breath at one point, as I was confronted with what seemed like a thousand stairs, but for the most part it was really enjoyable. I like being outside and hiking through nature, so I’m hoping to do a lot more of that in the future.

3) I have been getting a lot of sleep. The time difference has really helped me, to be honest. At home, I would often stay up late at night a) talking to friends (thanks Facebook!) or b) watching Netflix. Here, I am five hours behind, so if I’m talking to people at night, they have usually gone to bed by 8:00 here. And you can’t get Netflix here and I have yet to find something to bypass that hurdle that doesn’t make my computer slow to a crawl. So I’ve been going to bed at a decent time and then getting up early in the morning to SEIZE THE DAY and see and do as many things as possible. This going to bed at a good time and doing a lot during the day has changed my schedule so that I’m actually tired by 10:00 pm and I go to bed. It’s a good system.

What I Can Improve On:

1) There is always room for improvement, of course, but I have been doing so well that I think my goals for the upcoming weeks are just going to be to keep doing what I’m doing.

How I Feel:

Great! And my stress level is back to normal, since now I don’t have to worry about packing or cleaning or all that stuff. I am normally one of those people who has trips planned to the last second, but this time around I am just kind of going with the flow. I have so much time here, I’m just allowing myself to relax and not feel like I have to cram absolutely everything in, it is lovely.

As of right now, I no longer have access to a scale. I suspect that this will be the case for the next couple of weeks, so I will just continue to post as normal, without the weight. I am hoping to buy a measuring tape though (something I forgot to bring!) so that I can do measurements, but we’ll see how it goes.

Bye for now!