(Twisting-what I am currently unable to do…)

Thanks for the song title, Elton John, that just about fits in with my PCOS series! Yes, this cyster, is currently unable to twist (well, go to the gym,) because of flipping back pain… I’ve had back pain on and off since I was a teenager-too much dance practice, and then a career in nursing, has meant that a few times a year, my back just says ‘um, no. F**k this, we will not let you stand up straight, you will  hobble around like a lady approaching 100, with extreme scoliosis, and you will have shooting nerve pains in your arse and legs that will make you feel sick-until I say otherwise.’ Which is usually for about 2 weeks, then off it trots again.

It’s been two weeks, and it’s only really marginally better. I’m not sure whether I’ll be able to make it to the gym next week or not. I’m making a massive deal of this issue, because I have only ever been able to shed weight, and maintain it, by exercising myself almost into oblivion. I’ve never been one of those people who can do it from good diet alone. So I’m massively pissed that this is hindering my weight loss, which was coming along much better than expected. It also makes looking after small, planky, tantrummy humans difficult too, but it’s the exercise I’m most bothered about.

I have lost 2lbs, taking the total up to 20lbs, but I really wanted to be well over 21lbs by now. I’ll just have to be patient, and wait until next week to see what happens. I also may have hindered myself a bit, by using alcohol for, erm, medicinal purposes a few times in the last 2 weeks of enforced resting. That’s another reason the gym is good for me-I find it really hard to train, if I’ve even had one drink the night before. Gone are the days where I could drink till the early hours, and still get up early and work out (the thought of that is making me dry heave,) so I need that extra incentive to avoid my relaxation and sanity juice.

I’ll leave it there, short and sweet, but I will add in that meal and recipe planner that I promised last time, sometime next week, for those who have messaged to ask for them!

Ok, so this week has been a bit up and down… The good news is, I have lost 2lbs-YAY!! Which takes my total amount up to 10lbs. And 2lbs a week was what I was aiming for anyway. The down side is, I kind of feel like I’m killing myself to do it, but that’s also the frustrating reality of PCOS and insulin resistance.

By the end of this week, I will have done 4 spin classes, 1 Sh’Bam class, 1 combat class, and 2 circuits classes. I’ve also not touched any of the foods that are on my ‘avoid’ list, and just had 1 gin and tonic after a God awful day yesterday…. As yet, although I feel stronger, my head feels clearer, I’ve been having fewer afternoon ‘if I don’t sleep I might actually die’ feelings (which used to happen every day to me, without fail, regardless of how much sleep I’d had the night before,) I can’t actually see any physical differences yet, but I seem to be hurting, all over my body, at all times. And it’s annoying me quite a bit.

(Seeeeeeeeeriously, those seats…. It’s like a vajayjay massacre…!)

I also had the classic (but definitely unintentional on the part of the person who said it,) ‘but I don’t understand why it’s not falling off. If it were me, I’d have dropped stones by now.’ It’s just one of the ways insulin resistance likes to kick you in the teeth unfortunately.

There was also a bad day where I broke my own rule (again!) of not googling shit, and spent a large part of a day googling shit-and driving myself into a right old panic. I read some blogs and sites dedicated to insulin resistance, and of course, ended up with conflicting information. It ended with my husband coming home from work, and me almost sobbing ‘carrots and peas! I’m not supposed to be bloody eating them! Carrots and fucking peas, how can they possibly reverse all the work I’ve done??’ And my husband telling me I needed to get a grip, and that carrots were not going to jump out of the fridge and kill me.

Another site I found said that basically lentils were the work of the devil for insulin resistance, and even linked to a piece of research that alleged that they were really bad for you. My husband is right, I do need to get a grip-I’ve written a dissertation, and I’ve worked in a job where I’ve had to analyse research in order to identify the wheat from the chaff-it all needs careful analysing, and a lot of it can be proved to be bullshit. Blogs, like this one, are also opinion. Some of the stuff I read was based purely on opinion, and what had worked for that person. Although what I write about in this section of my blog is based on science as much as I can possibly research properly, some of it will be opinion, and will not work for others.

So I calmed down a bit, and looked at the Diabetes UK  site, which is where I should’ve gone first, because of course, it only contains actual solid evidence based answers. So, some of the veg I’m eating should be limited-Beetroot (I was aware of this already) parsnips, peas, sweet potato and sweetcorn and butternut squash should all be limited. That means that some of the meals that are on my Fab list, need to be modified-anything that has spiralised butternut squash (squashetti) I’ll now need to make courgetti instead. Note: carrots weren’t mentioned, but I’m going to eliminate them anyway, just to be sure…!

Apparently, the jury is still out on lentils (not the food of the devil then!) and they can affect some people, but not others. The advice from Diabetes UK is to have a very small handful, if you’re going to have them. So, the prawn lentil curry that we love, will have to be changed, as it’s just curried lentils with prawns-waaaay too many lentils.

So here is a modified list of what I’ve cut out, and next week I will include a meal plan of our now modified favourite meals!

What I’m NOT Eating:

All fruit (I was eating apple and pear in small amounts, but I’ve cut that too.)

All dried fruit.

Maple syrup (I was using this to sweeten things, but I’m cutting it.)

Sweet potato

Butternut squash

Carrots

Peas

Beetroot

Parsnips

Quinoa (boooo, but I’m saying goodbye to this too)

Lentils-kind of-I’ll keep going with small handfuls, but may cut completely.

Bread (ocaasional slices of rye bread only.)

All dairy (replacing with coconut/almond based products. Also tried to vegan dairy free cheese-#VOMWORTHY)

Oats

Pasta of any variety

Red meat (that’s mainly personal choice, it could still be eaten with IR)

I think it goes without saying that chocolate/crisps/biscuits etc are all definite no gos, but I’ve included them anyway!

Wish me luck for next week…!

(They look innocent, but caused me no end of mental anguish…!)

I was booooooooooooorn by the river…! Ok, as I’d used that song title in the title of this post, I really felt I had to throw that in there! And as this series is called Cysters Are Doing It For Themselves, I also feel the need to carry on with the song title theme!

Anyway, I’m writing this from my bed, in a sweaty mess still, after going to body combat at the gym. I know, it’s gross to be in bed with sweaty gym stuff on, but I am going to change the sheets when I’m done. So anyhoo, body combat. I loved it-but I thought I would, because back in the day (when I went to the gym every day-gosh, can you imagine?) body combat was my favourite of all the exercise classes. And my gym also does virtual classes, which, judging by the fact there’s only ever 3 or 4 people there, are really quite unpopular. I can see why, I suppose it’s not much different to doing an exercise DVD in your front room, and going to an instructor led class is a lot more personal, and probably more motivational. But while I’m getting my fitness back up, I’m liking the virtual classes, because at least there’s space, sprung floors, and less self consciousness about everyone around me being super fit and super toned.

So body combat is a win! My friend also dragged me to circuits this week-NEARLY DIED. But refused to die (well, not complete the class,) as I was adamant I was going to push my physical limits, and not look like an unfit try hard who should be laughed out because they can’t cut it (oh yes, that is me really, but I was damned if others were going to know that!) It was really hard, and not my usual type of thing, but I am going to keep going.

Spin! Oh yes, spin, you absolute fucker! I’m still persevering with this too, because although this is another one that is like the reaper, trying to kill me, it is such a brilliant calorie burner, and all around fitness improver.

I am trying Sh’bam, and Total Toning next week, as well as the others above-I know…!

That’s that’s this weeks exercise talked about, lets talk about FOOD!!!! A while ago, I tried the paleo approach to eating. It’s incredibly low GI, and cuts out most foods that are considered to be gut/digestive tract irritants. Essentially, it’s perfect for people with insulin resistance. BUT, I do find it VERY restrictive, and as absolutely everything has to be made from scratch, it can be just one massive faff.

So I’m using some principles of paleo (although a lot of people who follow paleo are like Baby Led Weaning Puritans-there is no give or take, and you absolutely can’t call your diet paleo if you aren’t following every single rule.) Well, come get me puritans, because I’m following your rules, but I will still be eating lentils and quinoa (because I like them, and I need fibre.) At the moment I’m drawing inspiration from 3 cookbooks-Juli Bauer and George Bryant’s The Paleo Kitchen, Dale Pinnock’s Diabetes: Eat Your Way To Better Health (The Medicinal Chef) because an insulin resistant diet is the same as a diabetic one, and Niomi Smart’s Eat Smart. Yes, I was dubious about getting the book of a young Youtuber, but my brother (a ridiculously avid #cleaneater,) recommended it to me, and it’s actually amazing!

 

So here is a list of changes I’m making:

Everything organic where possible.  Can be expensive, but a lot of PCOS is to do with hormone imbalance, so minimising hormones in food by buying organic, seems a good way to start.

No Dairy. I’m using coconut or almond milk instead-they are fine to me! BUT everyone knows how much I like cheese-it’s only a matter of time before some Pilgrims Choice will have to be consumed! I was thinking of looking into dairy free cheese (Niomi Smart recommends something called ‘nutritional yeast’, which sounds rank, but I haven’t tried it,) as a cheese replacement, but I’m sure it’ll have the same affect as drinking non alcoholic wine during pregnancy-it’ll just leave me frustrated and angry, wanting the real thing.

Cutting out carbs and some grains. So everything becomes courgetti, squashetti, etc. Vegetables are spiralised the to within an inch of their lives, as a replacement for pasta. Favourite vegetables for this include sweet potato, butternut squash, courgette, carrot, and celeriac. My favourite so far, is butternut squash, tossed in oil and thyme. And like I said earlier, no grains except lentils and quinoa.

Being careful with some fruits. Tropical fruits are out, and I’m sticking to apples, pears, and a handful of berry fruits as the GI of other fruits can be too high. A lot of the desserts in the above books, use dates and other very sweet fruits, as sweeteners, but I’m avoiding these too, and using a small amount of maple syrup if I need something sweetened.

No alcohol… I know, impossible when you have kids, right? So I will still be having some occasionally, just not the nightly glass or two I was having…! And when I go out with friends too, because I refuse to be a diet bore, and I need to live a little!

I’m leaving it there for today, but will doing a breakdown of what I’ve been eating-what is totally rank, and what is really fab!

Stats for this week:

Headaches: less frequent

Muscles in agony: Too many to mention.

Weight lost: 6lbs… Not a bad start, and a lot more than I was expecting. Although I am expecting it to slow down from here…

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Part of my new quest for a life that doesn’t include constant stress headaches, random all over full body tension pains, coupled with a need to feel better about myself, and to quell an insatiable appetite for wine (well, anything that contained alcohol really, I wasn’t fussed. Even the out of date Saki I found in the back of the cupboard would do, after a bad day,) was to step up my gym routine.

Thus far, my gym routine consisted of a bit of cross training, a bit of uphill walking, a bit of running if I had any energy left, then a few weights. I’d only do the weights section if it was free of large, sweaty, beefy, scary looking men whose muscles looked ready to explode in a steroid induced eruption, leaving muscle fragment and steroid residue splattering the gym equipment.

I wasn’t sure this routine was actually doing anything for me, I was doing it purely based on equipment that was free, and stuff I liked-there had been no consulting anyone. So I consulted someone. The general consensus for someone lacking in time, wanting to maximise calorie burning, was to do spin classes. I sought a second opinion. The second, toned, tanned gym beauty sadly, agreed with the first-with the results I wanted + the time I had + exercise recommended for my medical issues = spin was coming up trumps.

Even in the pre children days where I went to the gym a lot, I gave spinning a wide birth. It seemed to be an hour of no fun, and 100% torture. The people who did it seemed very serious. I’d always thought it wasn’t for me. But, as I’d asked, and it had been recommended, I decided to give it a go. So, for anyone wanting to give spin class a go, here is a definitive guide of how not to do it!

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(NOT what I looked like doing it…)

  1. Do not spend the time you should be getting ready for spin class, dicking around on Instagram.
  2. Do not forget that because you dropped your children off at nursery what seemed like hours ago, that when you leave for spin class ‘in plenty of time,’ it will still actually be rush hour traffic.
  3. Do not run into the gym, and ninja roll to the place you think the class will be, only to waste more time galloping back to reception to ask where it actually is, because it wasn’t where you thought it’d be.
  4. With due diligence to not dick around on Instagram, and think that there will be less traffic at 9.30am, you won’t be two minutes late. If you are, the spin instructor will not ‘wait for five minutes for everyone to arrive,’ like you had anticipated.
  5. Don’t expect the very serious spinners in the class to not look at you like you’re an intruder, and have ruined their spin experience by being late-they will.
  6. In your haste to get dressed for spin because of the pregnant women frolicking in the sea, sleeping newborns in baskets, and Blake Lively stalking that you got caught up in, don’t choose a pair of workout bottoms that have a couple of holes in the bum area, thinking that if you wear knickers in the same colour underneath, it won’t notice. Just f***ing don’t.
  7. Don’t expect that the vest you choose, to go over the top, will hide the camel toe you thought you noticed on your way out of the house. It won’t.
  8. Do invest in some serious sports bras, not some you bought in Giles Sports in 2002, when your boobs were 10 times smaller, and stood up by themselves.
  9. Don’t assume that the serious spinners will all want to be at the front of the class, and you’ll be able to slip quietly into the back. It seems that even geek spinners like to be cool at the back of the class. Expect the only seat to be near the tanned, impossibly toned instructor, who will be cross with you because you are late.
  10. Don’t assume that even though you aren’t as fit as you once were, you won’t struggle to keep up with the torture being inflicted on your legs and arse-the struggle will begin in the first five minutes, and you’ll be faced with the dilemma of walking out and being shamed in front of the class, or staying until the end, thus risking probable death.
  11. Don’t expect that the whole class will be done sat down-most of it is done standing up on the bike. Therefore, your arse, wobbling enough to cause a minor earthquake, will be wobbling in the faces of everyone else in the class. This will make you go red and want to bring the imminent death brought about by exercising at a level way above what your heart rate can take, forward, to ease your embarrassment. At least your face will already be puce from the exertion, and nobody will know which one it’s red about.
  12. Don’t pick up your water bottle if your hand is sweaty. You might want to pretend you need a drink, just so you can sit down and slow down for a moment, but when your hand is sweaty, and you haven’t secured the top of your bottle properly, you will drop it, and the contents will go all over the floor.
  13. Don’t pray that the instructor won’t notice that you are pretending to move up a gear when she is screaming ‘if you’re lower than gear 18, and not feeling the burn, THE ONLY PERSON YOU’RE CHEATING IS YOURSELF!!!!!!’ whilst looking straight at you-she has definitely noticed. So has the person next to you, side eyeing your failure.
  14. Don’t mutter ‘thank f**k for that’ when the instructor is turning the music off. Everyone will hear.
  15. Don’t think that you will walk out of the class with any dignity intact. Your leg muscles, in protest at the unnatural process you have just forced them to endure, will liquidate. They will render your dignified and graceful dismount from the bike useless, when they fail to take your full weight, and you collapse in a heap on the floor.

*There you have it, a definitive how NOT to guide!

**Sorry to anyone behind me in spin class that day, I’m sorry that your eyes won’t be able to unsee my gym bottoms splitting and revealing my granny pants-I truly apologise for any nightmares this has caused.