Originally posted March 25, 2012 on the now abandoned waitingforfable.com. This was to be a blog that focused mainly on my health (specifically weight and fertility), but I only posted twice and then let it lapse.
Like most of my projects, I put a lot of “need to do’s” before the actual content is ever produced. I registered this domain in December and planned on writing in this blog as part of my New Years Resolutions. But.. first I had to design the site. And install WordPress. Oh, and move it to new hosting..
It’s March. And not early March, either.
But, I’ll count it as a win that it isn’t January 2013. Years can just slip right on by when I have pending personal projects. I’m easily distracted from the easiest of tasks and have a hard time getting the ball rolling on anything that doesn’t involve another person. If there’s someone relying on me that gets me moving. But this? This is mostly for me.
My name is Katie.
Today I am twenty-nine years old. I live in Winchester, California with my parents, my husband Bob, and too many pets. Bob and I were victims of the economy and lost our home in October of 2011. I prefer to think of it as forcing us into a more frugal and downsized lifestyle, though my yarn stash is little evidence. I’m an accounting administrator by day and an over-enthusiastic knitter, fledgling yogi, recreational writer,
vegetarian vegan pescetarian by night. I have an over-active imagination that has a hard time shutting down at night and makes me afraid of silly things like ghosts and alien abductions, but also very real things like the state of our food and infertility.
I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I was diagnosed, finally, in August of 2009. I don’t like to think of it as being such a big part of me, but it is. When my doctor gave me the news, I felt like I finally found the last piece to the puzzle I’d been working on for thirteen years. What I didn’t realize was now that I’d finished that puzzle, there would be a larger, smaller-pieced and more intricate one thrown in front of me. I like having a name for my issue, as it makes me feel less crazy, but I hate that it’s a catch-all for a variety of separate problems that really deserve their own classification.
The best word I can describe this entire experience with is “lonely.” At first, I was delighted to have a name and an easy Google search term. Books I could turn to. Message boards. The more research I did, the more I realized there isn’t one answer. Hell, there aren’t even five answers. All any doctor seems to do is take a handful of possible remedies and throw them at each person to see what sticks. It’s incredibly frustrating. And yes, friends and family are nearby to lend an ear, but how long can one talk about their menstruation cycle? How many people want to hear a daily update on whether or not I’m feeling normal? Since it’s a constant preoccupation, sometimes when someone casually asks me in conversation how I am, I almost answer with a PCOS-update, because that’s how I am. That dictates my emotions most days.
Lucky for me, I’m on a PCOS vacation. After a rather harrowing experience that should have sent me to the emergency room, I ended up on birth control pills to see what it’s like to be a normal girl for the first time since puberty. I’m ending my second month and my doctor suggested I stay on them from three to six months, just to relax a little. I’m not a fan of pills. I feel like I’m highly sensitive to them, no matter if they’re hormonal or just pain killers. So, despite this being a vacation, I’ve still had a lot of weirdness throughout the months while my hormones get used to being pushed around and told what to do. Each month has been easier, though. I expect less crazy in the third.
The downside to this? Bob and I are trying to conceive. I’m turning thirty this August and my life plan had me having children long before this. We will have been married four years this coming October and have been trying for a baby for nearly three years. Though, when I say “trying” I don’t mean setting an alarm and watching the calendar. There hasn’t been too much of that since I’ve known in the back of my mind for a long, long time that this would be a struggle.
Fable is the placeholder name we’ve given our stubborn future baby girl. It came about from a friend of mine telling me about a blogger she reads who named her daughter Fable. I took that home, semi-jokingly announced it to friends and family that we’d decided on a future baby’s name, and it just stuck. For giggles, sometimes we add “LaMyra” as her middle name (it was my grandmother’s name). Bob and I got so used to playfully defending our tease that it’s grown on us, but chances are we will revisit the baby name books when it’s time (though I lovelovelove it!).
So, the reason for this blog is to give me a place where I can muse about new developments in PCOS, cry over infertility fears, complain about the side effects of birth control or whatever is next in my doctor’s bag of tricks, or to simply chronicle what my body and mind are going through as I approach my 30′s with a diagnosis and an empty womb. I want to be able to talk about everything without worrying about bringing the party down or feeling like I’m boring anyone when there isn’t any news, but just the need to re-hash the old.
But also? I want to celebrate. My journey started long before there was an acronym to pin to my symptoms. In October of 2004 I weighed somewhere around 310 pounds. I don’t have the old Weight Watchers papers to prove it, but I know I crept up into the 300′s at my heaviest. I loved cheese and full-fat, full-sugar coffee drinks and bread. Carbs. I ate loads of red meat and desserts and fast food galore. I’d given up soda five years earlier, but whatever weight loss I’d achieved from that had been erased and then some. The ballooning I will happily attribute to hormones and an unhappy marriage, though I’d been struggling with my weight for as long as I can remember. Puberty wasn’t kind and my cycles never came monthly like they should have. When I got engaged to my high school sweetheart at sixteen, I spent the next year eating only enough to stay on my own two feet so I could drop weight for our November of 2000 wedding. For reference, I’m 5’11”, so when I say my lowest weight was 187 you can get an appropriate mental picture. I wore size 11 juniors jeans my senior year. My foot size went from an 11 to being able to fit into most 10′s. It felt amazing to get compliments at the video store I worked at or from teachers or fellow students in the hallways. But I had no idea how to handle it.
The week before I married in 2000 I ate an entire box of Oreo cookies. I was nervous. I’d learned nothing from losing weight except that less food equaled a smaller waistline, but the quality of food was lost on me. I didn’t exercise. How could I? I ate one Lean Cuisine french bread pizza between school and work every day and the occasional candy bar to boost my blood sugar levels when I needed it. Vegetables were not on the menu. I’m not even sure I took a daily vitamin at that point. Whatever havoc that pesky PCOS was working on my body was only made worse by my poor nutrition. So, it would only make sense that four years after we married I blew up to my heaviest weight. I wore size 20 jeans and could only shop at Lane Bryant or in the Woman’s section of any department store. I was twenty-two years old and very unhappy unless I was eating my problems.
I did begin to work on my weight loss while I was still in my first marriage. First it was Weight Watchers. Then it was Jenny Craig. Then it was back to Weight Watchers. I don’t have exact numbers, but by the time we divorced in 2006 I was wearing size 18′s. I belonged to L.A. Fitness but had little to no idea what I was doing there every day. Still, it was more movement than I’d get at home watching television.
In 2007 I met Bob. Once he moved down here and we married in 2008, we tried Weight Watchers together. That moved me farther down the scale but still nothing would stick. Thinking about food in terms of points doesn’t make sense to me. It’s not intuitive enough. A piece of bread is not the same everywhere. Nor is a piece of cake or a salad. It wasn’t until we started Fit for Life January of 2010 that my eating habits started to change. That diet plan is based on food combination. Yes, there’s a chart, but it’s effortless after the first week or two. Plus, we totally had pancakes and vegetables for dinner a few nights which is absolutely on plan and we lost weight. From that point there was a year’s worth of changing that brought me to where I am now.
There’s still work to be done. I’m still out of my healthy BMI range (and yes, I know for a lot of people BMI doesn’t work, but I’m not a weight lifter and don’t have any crazy dense muscle mass or gigantic bones, so I’m aiming to be closer to the high-end of the optimal BMI range). The weight loss has a lot to do with curbing those pesky PCOS symptoms and I hope, at the end of this extraordinarily long tunnel, I’ll find myself at my fittest, happiest and.. pregnant-est.
Today I am 205.6 pounds. I’m in size 14 jeans. My BMI is 28.6 and in the “overweight” range. That makes me 26 pounds away from hitting my mark, but for now I’ll absolutely settle with getting closer to that magical high school weight. And when I’ve come so far over so many years, 26 pounds doesn’t sound like an awful lot to me at all.
The best part about all of this? I will have done it by learning how to eat properly. I will be able to maintain my weight without counting points or starving myself. I’ll know that a few bites of cake are just as good as a slice or two. I’ll continue to reject food that’s mishandled by big corporations and take pride in eating out of my own garden or the farmers market. I’ll keep reaping the benefits of clean eating and control my waistline without having to obsess over a food log. Not that any of these tools aren’t helpful, but in the end I’d like to live like a person without a weight problem.
Which brings me to this blog. I intend to check in with my weight to keep me honest and motivated. I’ve tried blogging about dieting before but without the real numbers staring me and anyone who stumbles by in the face, it’s easy to keep sliding by. Last year I reached 215 pounds and then went back up to nearly 240 before I turned around again. I don’t want that to happen again.
May 28, 2013: And So We Start Again
It’s been nearly a year since I paid this any attention. A year, as you may remember, of me taking a PCOS vacation. While it wasn’t all sandy beaches and paper umbrellas floating in tropical drinks, it was sort of comforting to schedule my weeks according to the color of my upcoming pills. It gave my body a chance to find and, hopefully, memorize a routine that it could keep up by the time January came around and it was time to take off the training wheels.
Fast-forward to this January. where I rip off the training wheels and enjoy about oh, three weeks of normalcy before my body subjects me to another mass-bleeding episode that sends me, embarrassingly, home from work at 11 o’clock in the morning. So, February, March, April and May are spent back on the birth control with the idea that I have to choose between living a normal, working life or throwing in the towel to focus on my body. Resigned, I opted for road that kept me employed because that seemed like the responsible thing to do. People live with issues a lot worse than this one, I’d tell myself. I’m not missing a limb or battling cancer or spending my days hooked up to a machine that makes my organs work when they’ve forgotten how, yet it’s still an issue. It’s a book that I don’t know whether to close and shelve or to keep a bookmark handy, just in case. And that makes me awfully sad.
So, when I’d just about given up for this year, my boss and friend gave me the information for a holistic doctor her friend went to for help getting pregnant. Willing to try about anything, I made an appointment as soon as I could. The appointment was on Saturday and already I feel heaps better. A lot of that feeling-better comes from being off of the birth control pills, because they make me apathetic and boring, but the rest is from the hope she’s given me.
It was the first time I sat down, explained my story, and had someone listen, nod and not tell me to get on birth control or start researching infertility options. She understood perfectly, because not only is she seasoned in her field, she also suffered from this, too. She made the solution sound easy, but probably because I’ve already done a lot of the footwork in changing my diet and exercise. She showed me my blood under the microscope — it’s stressed blood. Stressed! Apparently my adrenal glands are taxed, among other things. The best part was, in my reading and research, I’d brought myself to these solutions already but did not know exactly how to carry them out. With her help, I think I’m going to learn how to finally manage this and feel like a human being again.
. . .
Checking in, a year later. I’m still hovering just over 200 (my lowest being 200.5 — C’MON BODY!), but I’ve dropped down between a 10 and a 12 for jeans/pants. In the last few months I’ve started lifting weights with my husband, curbed my diet further, and have revisited my love/hate relationship with running. I will make strides to reincorporate yoga into my life, along with my schooling, work, and too-long commute. The doctor says stress management is a huge part of healing my body, so that will be a focus, too.
Another change: no soy. I’d already cut out dairy years ago and gluten and sugar for the last few months, but the fourth member of this evil foursome is, apparently, soy. I have too much estrogen as it is, we don’t need to give me any more!
So, if anyone has any tips on how to make coffee taste delicious without soy/dairy/sugar, I’d be happy to hear it. Coconut creamer is not my favorite.