Wednesday, August 15, 2012

life, liberty and the pursuit of great food: My Story (the diagnosis)

I usually don't share anything too terribly personal on this blog, because, well, this is a food blog. And I am a person, not a meal.
**Side note: I have given this a lot of thought, and if I WAS a meal, I think I would be broiled asparagus (olive oil. salt and pepper. heat.), these potatoes, and a gourmet burger, à la The Snake Bite. With a freezing cold Coke in a glass bottle. Seriously. Think about it.

However, since this is a food blog and I am a food lover with a food-related problem, I thought I'd share this for anyone out there who, like me, may be struggling to help (...okay, force) their weight and their love of food co-exist. I feel like I can't do this properly without sharing just a bit of my story. Now, it has been said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. For me, writing this down feels like a step in the right direction. I honestly have a lot of trouble putting myself "out there" and sharing personal things, but I feel like sharing this is an important part of my journey. That being said, read on if you dare!

Me, at my heaviest. Feb 2012
Early this spring, while training for my fourth triathlon (my first Olympic-length race), I found myself putting on weight like crazy. I was at my personal heaviest (and gaining) while training 6x a week for hours at a time. Looking at the scale one morning I knew that something was wrong. I think I had known for a long time, but I was finally ready to face up to it. My husband and I had been trying to get pregnant with another baby for six months with no success, I was tired all of the time (a normal side effect from the amount of work I was putting in, or so I thought), and things with me just weren't right. I scheduled an appointment with my doctor. He ordered tests. Lots of them. And then he told me the news. 

I was diagnosed with Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome and moderate Insulin Resistance in March of this year. The two diseases, it seems, go hand in hand, being linked as hormone imbalances. One was leaving insulin (a hormone) floating around in my blood stream, unable to enter my cells. When that really started getting out of hand, the PCOS kicked it and began messing with my cycle and weight and other fun things like that. You have heard of insulin resistance because it is a precursor to diabetes. I'll say that again: DIA-FREAKING-BETES.

Sorry for the near-curse there, but, seriously. There are dirtier words than the one that "freaking" is a substitute for. Cancer. Stroke. Diabetes. Kardashian (not sure what this one is, but it really sounds contagious).

Needless to say, a lot of things in my life have changed since this March. The options were laid out to me like this: (A) I could go on medicine to kick-start my lady stuff so I could get knocked up and continue along with my life like nothing had happened. (B) I could change my diet, lose 10-15% of my body weight and try to get my hormone levels evened out. After all, both of these diseases are 100% reversible. What to do?

However unappealing option A was to me, option B has always scared the holy crap out of me. And I am really ready for another baby. Really. But (and this is THE BIG but [a seperate entity entirely from my big butt, just to clarify]) I am a health fanatic. There, I said it. And that means that it is more important to me to do things the right way, both for my own health and the health of my potential future spawn. How can I be overweight and a health fanatic at the same time? ...Listen, don't ask me silly questions, alright? I know it doesn't make sense. So I have jumped in with both feet to option B, and have tried not to look back. 

I am a very competitive person, but having an actual number goal for weight loss (and one with a whole lot more than a cute bathing suit riding on it) is so intimidating to me. If only I could compete in a reality show for chubby people. I would call it, "Moderate-sized Loser" or "Salad Bar Survivor" or "Pound Puppies" (in this one, contestants would have a large and semi-ferocious canine work-out buddy to bark at them while they are on the treadmill. I figure NBC could save a bundle on loud and scary trainers this way- dog biscuits have got to be less expensive than paying for all of that spandex). Alas, NBC refuses to green light "Pound Puppies" because of animal cruelty laws (the dogs would be forced to share their chain-link home in the pound with their fat human friends, and ASPCA says that it would really hurt the dogs' reputations around the shelter if they were seen with such disgusting roommates), so I am on my own. And, five months into this thing, it is still scary.

I am not at the goal that I have set for myself yet. I have, however, lost 24 pounds {nearly 15% of my body weight at the time of my dooms day doctor visit), completed that fourth triathlon (although just a Sprint distance instead of my originally planned Olympic), started and finished a 19-credit semester of school, and continued to raise my two beautiful daughters and pursue healthy and delicious meals for my family. My personal goal eclipses the doctor's weight loss goal for me by about 30 pounds. I am still working every day and am determined to succeed. I want to write more about the things I have been doing to lose the pounds so far (really simple things that feel really ground-breaking to me, and maybe they will to you, too!) and more about my history, so please check back for more posts on my PCOS/Insulin Resistance journey!
Me a few days ago, trying on clothes at H&M -24 lbs.
For now I will sign off with just a few thoughts that are weighing on me as I write: 1) Being 27 and having a "diagnosis" really, really blows. 2) Celery is God's way of letting you know that a diet is going to be okay. Like a rainbow. It is the Noah's Ark of diet food. Just pile two of anything you love onto it and ride out the storm. 3) Food Network and Pinterest are the devil when you love to cook but can't eat anything. 4) Why am I still tuning in?

11 comments:

  1. mandy!! wow. i am so impressed with you. you took control of a bummer situation and made stuff happen. i mean 24 pounds down!! amazing! you look awesome. i look forward to reading more updates...

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    1. Thanks so much Kristine! You and Jane taught me so much about food and health and everything- I envy you guys your amazing lifestyles and health-savvy eating. You're my heroes!

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  2. i love this! so glad you are sharing. and keep sharing! that is a hard diagnosis to hear. I'm glad you are using it as motivation, cause wow you look terrific! keep it up and let us know your secrets!

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  3. Mandy girl. This post was so wonderful to read. I always appreciate a bit of insight into the personal lives of bloggers, and even better, My Friends! You are inspiring! I have a few friends suffering from PCOS and I want to hook them up with your blog and your journey. I am excited to take your weight loss tips and cooking suggestions to get rid of this baby weight. Love ya. and seriously, THAT PICTURE IS RIDONKULOUS!

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  4. Mandy, way to turn lemons into lemonade. You're just incredible and I know you will reach all of your goals. You look beautiful! Love ya.

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    1. Thank you cuz! Love you too! Can't wait to see you and your beautiful family sometime soon!

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  5. You look so good! Please let us know your secrets!

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  6. Dear Mandy - I read your 'chubby kid' post and love it and wanted to say 'Thank You' for sharing and for being real and for making me laugh! Then I read this post and I thought - Wow! Mandy is so cool and I'm so proud of her! And honestly, who can't love a blog that can get away with quoting both Homer Simpson and Orson Welles in the same breath!!!! Excited to keep up with your journey, you truly are the 'real deal' - Much love!!!

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    1. Juliet, this comment made me smile for days!! Thank you so much for the support and right back at you, sister! You are going to kill the Mrs. USA competition this week!!!

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  7. MT. You're not alone in this. However, you're rocking it. I'm wallowing in it. I have no hope of the kid thing...so, I think I would like to be skinny. I love you and I love that you are such an inspiration to me. This post made me cry because sometimes, I really do feel like I'm alone in this. And...you look hot. I love your guts girlfriend.

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    1. Sister From Another Mister, I feel so hopeless sometimes, too, but, honestly, watching you kick butt through life helps me keep going. Being skinny, if I'm honest, feels like such a pipe dream to me, but being in control feels like the only thing that will keep me going. I don't want to be ruled by this anymore! I love having you as a friend and inspiration. Don't forget my new motto goes so well with our old standby- Dignity. Always dignity.

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