Last week was a struggle. I went back to work after being off for two lovely weeks. I was extremely tired every day, I was moody every day, I was hating waking up going to work, I wasn’t interested in much interaction with anyone….it was rough.
I couldn’t necessarily pin point one specific reason why this was happening. I could think of the many small stressors I was personally dealing with but its atypical for me to be mentally affected by that. Typically, I can handle stress and not let it effect me in my day to day.
Through healing my PCOS, I have created a plan that addresses issues holistically and that most definitely includes my mental well being as well. With that said, it is important that i recognize this was a low point in this past week, but also, what did I do to over come it? There were a few things that I made sure to remain constant since I have realized, I do not have control over everything.
- Sleep. Super important for me. As most people know, my job requires me to rotate day and night every six weeks. It is very hard to get a sufficient amount of sleep when you are on a rotating schedule. This was my first week on day shift, as I had just come off of 6 weeks of working nights. So this past week I set a bed time. I said 10:30 pm I am shutting my phone off, turning out the lights, and closing my eyes. No further activity after 10:30pm. With a 5:30 am wake up time, that gave me a good 7 hours of sleep, which for me is fantastic. In order to relax and settle at night, because this tends to be my issue, I got an essential oils diffuser. Ahhh so amazing and relaxing
- Next thing was my healthy meal planning. Each night after work, before going to bed, I prepared for work for the next day with my meals. If I didn’t do it the night before, It possibly wasn’t going to happen at all and I’d end up eating something not so tasty and beneficial from the cafe. This took much motivation because after being on my feet for 13 hours, the last thing I wanted to do was stand in my kitchen and put together a meal. But it was super important that I made this a priority.
- Staying organized with my planner. My mind tends to wander on the many things that I have going on or that I am thinking about but with my planner I can just stop and realize what is most important for that moment, and sometimes it is absolutely nothing at all, but my mind tends to worry when I don’t have to.
- Lastly, I took my supplements every day. I am usually really bad with taking my supplements daily, but I have made a conscious decision to make this apart of my daily routine so I found a system that has helped me to take them every day.
I think an important take away for anyone but especially for myself is that, I won’t always feel 100% happy and energized, and I will not always have control of my surroundings, but I can have control of my self environment and so I must take advantage of that when I am most vulnerable. Controlling the amount of sleep I get, the type of food I eat, and my daily organization allowed me to keep moving forward in my healing. And more importantly over any of that, putting my health (self) first. It is okay to be selfish.
That moment when you land back in Michigan and realize you are no longer in 80 degree and sunny weather and it’s time to get ready for the work week…sigh. Ah such a sad moment! I had 9 beautiful days in sunshine and warm weather but as the good saying goes, all good things must come to an end.
Being back from vacation isn’t all bad of course. I can finally get some grocery shopping done, cook in my own kitchen, and not live out of a suitcase anymore. Top priority, grocery shopping and cooking a good healthy meal because my goodness, how much crap did I intake in 9 days. Don’t get me wrong…I have no regrets but there is nothing like the feeling you get after being able to eat your own food from your own kitchen with your own wholesome ingredients.
Today I spent a good portion of my day jumping right back into my routine and that started with grocery shopping and updating my supplement supply. Lucky for you (wink wink), I vlogged a great portion of my grocery shopping. How fun! You can check it out right here!
There are a few things that are odd, for example, I typically do not go to three stores for shopping but I was gone for 9 days and I needed to get a lot of things. Also, I totally skipped filming in Meijer because what I got in there was unimportant things like Tupperware and an essential oil diffuser (because sleep goals).
The RN in me thought it would be fun to put my goals into a nursing care plan and share it with you guys so here we go…
Assessment: 29 Year old Female, without a period for 7 months now. Unable to lose weight and constant acne break outs.
Diagnosis: Polycystic ovarian Syndrome
Date: February 15, 2018
Plan/Goals: After 3 months of consistent interventions, Felicia will be able to demonstrate success by having a normal menstrual cycle, clearer skin, and weight loss
- Will eat foods that are best for her body including mostly plants (fruits/vegetables), Lean and grass fed protein and healthy fats. Decreasing the intake of sugar and being mindful of portion control while continuing the goal of not stressing when the diet isn’t perfect. It is food.
- Will exercise with a goal of 3-4 days a week at Orange Theory Fitness and with self created circuit workouts including a great mix of cardio and weight training
- Finding the supplements that will best help with the success of accomplishing the stated goal. Supplements that support balanced hormones, healthy gut, increased immunity, improved skin, and maximum energy.
- Daily skin care: wash face twice daily and use Mia for exfoliating. (I do still need to find a hydration/moisturizer. I prefer something natural. But that is TBD.)
- Keep a journal (or blog) of progress and set backs.
- Realize she will not be perfect in this journey and know that it is okay to learn along the way
- Be sure to have outlets for life stressors (such as work)
- Do yoga at least once a week
- Embrace all feelings and know that it is perfectly normal to be happy, excited, sad, mad, etc
- Use those around you to keep your uplifted and supported
- Set daily positivity goals and give yourself positive affirmations each day
- Get sufficient amount of sleep each day… 7 hours at least. (This is a joke since i rotate day/night 12 hour shifts every 6 weeks)
Now that I’ve told you, we can keep each other accountable on this wonderful journey. I will share what is working, what isn’t working and the progress I am making.
Get ready for a dramatic scenario….
You’re so ready for a fun Saturday night. You’re playing some jams, getting dressed and….Oh man….The dress isn’t zipping. Downward spiral begins. You get sad, upset and depressed. Say you’re gonna go on a diet the following day after finding the frumpiest outfit to get you through the evening while being sure to cover every fat roll that is controlling your ever being. Next morning comes you start the diet and, shoot, it sucks and the food is tasteless. You want something good to eat. After 24 hours you’re back to eating everything in sight only to feel horrible and like a big slob again. Dang now you gotta start the diet again…..
Does this sound familiar? Yea, horrible right?
Unnecessary torture that we put ourselves through.
Diets fail because we call them diets. We see them as a short term thing instead of making it part of our lifestyle. We set unrealistic goals and throw in the towel when we can’t reach those goals. We let our mood be determined by the number on the scale. We let unrealistic instagram bodies of women be our motivation when most of them paid for their bodies. I was that person. I let what the scale said determine how i felt that day. I would wake up in the morning, weigh myself before eating or drinking, be unhappy with the number and realize oh wait i haven’t used the bathroom yet….use the bathroom and hop right back on the scale in hopes of a magical difference.
That is why i failed at diets. One because i called it a diet, two because i didn’t see it as a long term change. It was something i was doing for the moment. Lastly, I let the scale determine my progress instead of focusing on how i felt.
Try this instead;
- Make small changes at a time
- Do what feels good
- Eat like you love your body AND your soul
- Don’t be so hard on yourself…It’s just food
- Don’t strive to be perfect…we have one life to live
- Enjoy every choice you make
- Be proud of each milestone of progress that you make
Yea…this is hard for people to wrap their minds around. They look for the cookie cutter tips. So I guess you want me to tell you to eat 6 meals a day, no carbs after 6 pm, only drink water, and never drink alcohol. Well sorry friend, you won’t get that from me. I am in no way bashing those that live those lifestyles. This advice is for those that are just regular people trying to create better lives for themselves each day. This is part of the beginning of a holistic, balanced and healing life.
Let’s be real with ourselves here. Most of us are busy and being too busy is one of the top reasons for not sticking with your healthy eating right? I am here to tell you, health eating doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. I made this lunch in about 7 minutes. You know the saying “keep it simple stupid”. Or did i just make that up? Oh well. Here ya go
- Unthawed frozen or fresh shrimp.
- A head of cabbage
- Marinated onions
- Honey garlic seasoning
- Pink himilayan sea salt
- Olive oil
- Warm two small skillets with olive oil
- Prepare the shrimp to your liking. Cleaning, removing tails, seasoning etc
- Shread about 1/4 of the cabbage (if you’re making for your family chop the whole head up)
- You may season your shrimp either before or during cooking. I don’t have one specific way of doing this. This particular day i added my seasoning before cooking. Also feel free to add what flavoring you think will be tasty. My seasoning of choice was honey garlic rub I bought from fresh thyme (loveeee that store) and pink Himalayan sea salt. Super simple. Don’t complicate it
- 5. In one skillet add the chopped cabbage and in the other skillet add the shrimp.
- Cook cabbage until soft and cook shrimp until they are pink and lightly browned through out
- Add shrimp on top of cooked cabbage
- For added flavor and don’t you dare skip this step because they are amazing, i topped with marinated onions.
I broke the steps down to be as detailed as possible but seriously this meal is so quick, easy and tasty!
When we talk about eating for healing, the main thing we must begin to focus on is gut health. This form of living can be applied to anyone but i am specifically focusing on my PCOS-ers because it is SO SO important to have a healthy gut in order to have healthy and balanced hormones.
Gut health research, in relation to hormonal balance, is still on the rise. But it makes sense that let’s say you eat dairy and it causes bloating and discomfort. That in turn is causing a negative and inflammatory response in the body which in turn causes the imbalance in the body’s hormones. Gut health is one of the most overlooked elements of hormonal imbalance.
For me and my experience, gut health can be determined by feel. How do I feel when i eat certain food items? Do I feel sluggish, energized, bloated, normal, gassy, skin full of acne or eczema?…This is where the term “listen to your body” comes in. It sounds silly but it is very true! No one knows you like you. No diet can tell you how you feel. This is why I am not going to claim being on a specific named diet because I can pull foods from each food group and feel fine but there are certain foods that i just know will trigger sluggish feelings, cause me to be bloated and leave me with a face full of acne.
Heres some questions to ask yourself to determine the health of your gut:
- After you eat, are you feeling bloated, crampy and/or gassy
- Is your energy constantly low despite the amount of sleep you may get
- Do you have acne or dry skin (i.e. eczema)
Consider looking into your diet if you have answered yes to any of these questions.
There are certain foods that make these symptoms worse and it is not the same for everyone. A few common ones are (not an inclusive list)
If you are wanting to make changes but find it difficult, the most important thing to remember, if you don’t like it then don’t do it and if it doesn’t make you feel good then don’t do it! Let’s say you love ice cream but it makes you feel horrible. Instead of saying i can’t have ice cream, switch your wording to saying, ice cream does not make me feel good! Switching your mindset will make a huge difference in the end, especially for your mental health! If you want to try this but have no idea where to start, consider trying Whole 30 with (the most important part) the reintroduction phase. I do not have plans for a whole 30 soon but I have done it before which is why I am an advocate for this. The reintroduction phase allows you to slowly add food back in and you can tell if your body reacts poorly or if your body does fine, and from there you will know what food your body responds to best and which is best for you and your long term healing.
Healing with food begins with being in tuned to our bodies. After all, this is about holistic living.
Stay happy and healthy 🙂
PCOS….the inspiration to this blog. Let’s talk about it. Why is it such a big deal? Well hopefully if you are unfamiliar you have checked out the info page that gives a simple and brief explanation of what it is all about. I also gave a wonderful story of what led up to me realizing I even have PCOS on my about me page. Fast forward to now…Cue the sad violin song..I do not have a period, I can’t lose weight, and I got hair growing in places i rather it not be showing up to! I decided to stop my birth control because some day I want to be able to have some beautiful babies. I stopped using my birth control summer 2016 and since then I have had one period on my own. Oh man and at that one time that I did, I was sooooooo excited to get my period. I just knew that it was the start of normalcy for me. It came, it went, and never came back again without the help of medication. I was prescribed progesterone (provera) one time, got my period maybe 7 days after finishing the 10 day pill and that was that. Just a few months ago, my doctor gave me the choice of either restarting my birth control (refusing refusing refusing!!!) or starting metformin. Metformin is typically for diabetics and I questioned my doctor because why would I take metformin if I have a perfectly normal A1C? Due to the capability of PCOS causing insulin resistance, metformin is the so called magical drug. It magically give you a stomach ache. Flat out. No thanks! So that leaves me with…diet and supplements! Some diets I have tried are paleo, keto, high carb, low carb, vegan…you name it. The problem with trying is it was only a try. Nothing worked because I didn’t stick to anything. It is known that because of (heres that work again) Insulin resistance that PCOS causes, anything that has high amounts of carbs are not good for the treatment of PCOS which is why keto checks out to be one of the best diet cures. I personally am not interested in keto but I highly encourage you to try if that is what works for you. My favorite diet of them all was paleo. I enjoyed all the food and didn’t feel as restricted as other diets, while still focusing on whole food and lower carbs. The hope is to eventually adapt paleo-ish lifestyle…stay tuned in future blogs for progress on this…i hope :-). In addition to trialing diets, I have tried certain supplements known to specifically help women with PCOS. Ovasitol and Maca powder are two that I tried. Ovasitol…throw it in the trash. My goodness, stomach ache was way worse than the metformin. Curled over on my couch type of stomach pain. I spent a lot of money on that so i was pretty bummed I couldn’t give it a fair go. Maca powder, funny thing is when I took maca powder for about a month is the one time I got my period. I ran out and never renewed my supply. I plan to repurchase that and continue it again. The ultimate and biggest issue in the end, I cannot have kids without medical help if I do not find a way to solve this soon. Infertility is the biggest issue most women with PCOS have. The chances of becoming pregnant without help is low and the chance of miscarriage after conceiving is very high. My biological clock is tick tick ticking away so I would love to resolve this, holistically!