Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Low Carbing

My weight loss journey began as an uphill battle. I literally did everything by the book, yet all my efforts were met with frustration. I was breaking my neck exercising, counting calories, not eating fried foods, drinking lots of water, chomping on fruits and veggies, yet, I was still struggling.

And even worse, I would loose a pound today and gain it back the following day. Or loose four and gain back two. My weight was see-sawing all over the place and after struggling on my own for so long, I decided to seek professional help.

I went to see my GP. I told him despite my lifestyle modifications I still wasn't seeing any results. He recommended that I increase my protein intake and cut down my carbs and put me on Orlistat. It's a drug that gets rid of a third of fat from foods. It wasn't until I got home that I realized I forgot to tell him I don't eat fatty foods. I rarely eat fried food. At most once in two weeks. Well, this got me thinking... if I don't eat fatty foods, where is all the fat coming from?

I started researching and came across the evils of sugar and refined carbohydrates. I discovered that most sugars and simple carbohydrates get converted to fat. And all of them are empty calories; with no nutritional value whatsoever. Not only that, they mess with the body's hormonal system, and that's the last thing you want if you have PCOS.

Thus I had absolutely no problem eliminating the 'Empty Foods' from my diet. But I was still eating white rice, potatoes, pasta and bread, on a daily basis (evil, evil whole wheat bread!). And my situation didn't change much until I was introduced to the Low GI/GI Load diet. Suddenly it clicked, and everything made sense. It wasn't until I kicked this food group out that I really suffered from carb/sugar withdrawal syndrome. It seemed while I had eliminated sugar, the white rice, et al, were still padding my body's cravings... because they are essentially sugar!

Thanks to Crystal Tulips for introducing me to the Glycemic Load Diet by Rob Thompson. It was he that made clear the link between excessive sugar & starch intake and the worsening of PCOS symptoms. The way he put it me made me understand that the GI diet wasn't just another fad diet out there. And that for one who is serious about loosing weight and keeping it off, it is the ONLY sustainable, long-term diet!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Sugar Begone!

I haven't had sugar for almost a week now and I feel fantastic! I never thought I would see the day, but it finally came. The day when I am actually repulsed by that grainy white stuff that it is as desirable to me as eating raw sewage. The day when I can have my cereal without sugar and not feel like I was chewing  on cardboard. I would completely delete it from my grocery list if M (The Darling & Totally Devoted Husband!) wasn't still into it. All I can do for him now is hope my secretly projected brain waves for sugar hatred have an effect on his grey matter.

To say I had a sweet tooth was an understatement. I used to be a sugar addict. As a kid and well into my teens, I would routinely stuff my face with sweets. I loved them so much I didn't do it one at a time like normal people. No. I would stuff five to ten at once, until my cheeks were as rotund as a saxophone players' and my jaws ached from chewing.

Even I knew I had it bad. So much so that I didn't enjoy drinking pap or garri or custard because I know if there wasn't a 3:2 ratio of pap/garri:sugar, I wouldn't enjoy it. Same goes for tea, coffee or hot chocolate.

I must say it has taken me a while to get where I am today. I didn't just wake up one morning and slash sugar in the throat and watch it bleed to death at my feet. It was a gradual process. One that was fought with many headaches and cravings. I eliminated the foods that required me to marinate them in sugar before I could enjoy consumption. Doing so spun my my view on food around on it's head. Because I now eat food that are wholesome and flavoursome and hence, more natural, less processed and healthier. I no more wolf it down because it tastes good. Also, because I value what goes into my tummy, I only eat what I need.

I can't help but wonder if my sugar addiction set the stage for the advancement of PCOS. Because when I was a sugar chumping teenager and young adult, I was also physically active. But when my activity levels dwindled and my sugar consumption didn't my body began to rile against me. 

I highly recommend this video Sugar: The Bitter Truth by Dr. Robert H. Lustig. It really opened my eyes. It also made me appreciate being a geek in uni and not snoring away during my classes in metabolic biochemistry. If you found yourself patting yourself on the back for actually  understanding the bit about metabolic pathways, raise your hands up! 

If you have PCOS and indeed if you want to loose weight and lead a generally healthier life, PLEASE drop sugar from your life. Drop it like a pair of shit stained underwear and I promise you will never look back with regret.

Monday, 19 April 2010

'What is PCOS?'

PCOS also known as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is an emotional, physical and physiologically debilitating illness with a wide range of symptoms that range from hirsutism (excessive hair growth) to infertility. It is a hormonal disorder that affects roughly 1 in 10 women of child bearing age with varying degree of seriousness. There is no definitive cause of the disease (no one to blame!) and no definitive one-pill cure for it (shit!).

I was diagnosed in January 2010 after a scan that showed both my ovaries were covered in multiple cysts, along with other symptoms. It was the conclusion of several investigations that ensued over a course of two years when I still wasn't dropping any babies three years into my marriage. Before I went about pulling my hair out, and throwing myself against the wall I decided to find out as much info as I could about PCOS. As soon as I got home I got online and ordered "PCOS: A Woman's Guide to Dealing with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome" by Colette Harris.

When it arrived I buried my head into it, and as I flipped page after page a calm sense of realization came over me and I knew there is light at the end of the tunnel after all. I knew what I needed to do, to not only enable me conceive, but to live a healthy and fulfilled life, thereafter.

There is no cure for PCOS. The symptoms can however, be managed by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.