PCOS

If you can put vegan and vegetarian on labels you can slap the GI number on there too!

I started a petition to help get GI labels put on our food in the UK in stores and restaurants to help make life easier for people with diabetes and insulin resistance in the UK.

I am part of the 1 in 10 women in the UK who have PCOS and a lot of us struggle with our weight (whether we can’t lose it or gain it) because of problems with our insulin. Food is seen as our medicine and only when that fails are we told to go on to drugs to help it.

I’m Hyperglycemic which means when I eat something high GI I get ill. It can cause me to vomit, shake, get migraines and suffer from chronic fatigue which meant before my diagnosis I spent about 70% of my life asleep. I’ve done okay on the diet so far, but life is still very much a guessing game. I once ate something that was on the low GI list given to me by the NHS but the brand I bought made it with a lot of sugar… my bathroom was covered in vomit from it and it lead to sugar induced heart palpitations. Hyperglycemic Insulin Resistance can damage the capillaries in your eyes, legs, brain and kidneys and leads to Type 2 diabetes and in some cases heart disease in later life.

The NHS provide those of us who need to rely on this diet as much information as they can but it’s not enough. Food needs to be labelled in stores and even in restaurants (mad as it sounds, chronically ill people still like to eat out with their friends,
you know?)

Bellow is a screen-shot taken from Glycemic Index Foundation that literally states that GI levels cannot be guessed from the food packaging we already have.

Image may contain: text

According to Diabetes UK statistics, 3.7 million people were diagnosed with diabetes last year and if nothing changes it will have risen to 5 million by 2025. Some countries, such as Australia already have Low GI labels and their diabetes diagnosis rate is significantly lower than ours (1.2 million to be exact).

So, what have I done about it? I wrote to my local councillor at home, Bridget Phillipson, and where I go to university, Preet Kaur Gill MP, to ask them to make a change. I also discussed it highly with the charity Cysters – Women’s Support and Awareness Group who all agree it would make life easier.

Please support the cause, not only will this help improve the lives of those who have diabetes, you will also help to improve the lives of those fighting to never let diabetes take them.

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitio…/225047/sponsors/new…

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“I wasn’t ill because I was fat… I was fat because I was ill.”

I have blogged a lot about my weight-loss over the last 9 months and my struggles with getting that smaller waist due to PCOS.  Call me stupid… but despite almost being at my goal weight, ‘fat-shamers’ on the internet still piss me off because they think that bullying and belittling someone for their weight will help them fight it… don’t be so stupid guys.

For a start… you can’t fix your body to fix your mind, as I have said in a previous post. You need to love yourself if you want to be able to make a change and take care of yourself properly… why would you want to care for a body you hate? Exactly, you wouldn’t… so how exactly did you think that making someone hate their body will help? If anything, even if they did try, your years of damage from calling them fat will probably result in them being unable to see any results. Body dysmorphia is a very real thing and I can tell you that the second someone calls me fat, I see myself as the 5 stone heavier woman I was in September 2017.

The next thing is where I point out the biggest flaw in the statement ‘just lose weight’…

I tried for three years to get my weight back down to a healthy weight after my HORMONAL IMBALANCE caused by my ILLNESS made my INSULIN mess up and resulted in me gain 5 stone in the short space of three months. The most I was ever able to lose in that time was 2 pounds. 2 pounds after going the the gym 3-5 days a week and clean eating, it was pathetic. I was still sugar crashing every afternoon and my weight barely budged.

I begged and pleaded with doctors, crying in their offices and was always told to ‘just try harder’ before eventually, 3 years later I was diagnosed with PCOS and sent to see a specialist dietician who diagnosed me with Insulin Resistance (Hyperglycemia), eventually this will result in me having Type 2 diabetes. Only then was I be able to have the answer and get the results I want… even then, it’s not without its struggles. Low GI diets are beyond restrictive and unreasonable, not everyone can commit to it if they have such a busy, eat-on-the-go type of life style.

After seeing New Look’s Fat Tax (which I am 100000000% disgusted by despite the fact that I’m not effected by it) I was shocked to see that many people are so uneducated when it comes to the human body. Dieting is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution… every persons body works differently, needs different things and has varied metabolisms and if you can’t understand why some people can’t ‘just loose weight’ then keep your comments well away from the internet… There are millions of people out there struggling with their weight because of hormonal imbalances etc. and everyone is on a journey, if they haven’t found the right path for them yet then it’s no ones business but there’s and companies like New Look have no right to charge anyone for that.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fbbcthesocial%2Fvideos%2F1478905848886500%2F&show_text=0&width=476

I didn’t get ill because I was fat, I got fat because I was ill. A hormonal change in me caused problems with my insulin which meant the food I used to be able to process, I couldn’t any more. So, just so you’re aware here are a list of mental and physical illness/body changes that make someone struggle with weight, just to make it clearer for you all:

  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Prolactinoma
  • Persistent depressive disorder
  • Menopause
  • Pregancany
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Cushing’s syndrome

A hyperglycemic’s best friend – WATER!

Over the past 8 months I have been trying to fix the damage that has been causing havoc all over my body for the last 6 years that I have been suffering from PCOS and the last 2 years that I have been battling the Insulin Resistance symptom – Hyperglycemia.

What is hyperglycemia?

Hyperglycemia is the medical term describing an abnormally high blood glucose (blood sugar) level. Blood sugar is measured in a sample of blood taken from a vein or from a small finger stick sample of blood. It can be measured in a laboratory either alone or with other blood tests, or it can be measured using a handheld glucometer, a small device that allows frequent monitoring of blood glucose levels without the need for a doctor’s office or laboratory.

Hyperglycemia is a hallmark sign of diabetes (both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes) and prediabetes. Normal ranges for blood glucose measurements can vary slightly among different laboratories, but in general a fasting (early a.m. before breakfast) glucose level is considered normal if it is between 70-100 mg/dL. Glucose levels may rise slightly above this range following a meal. Random blood glucose measurements are usually lower than 125 mg/dL.

– https://www.medicinenet.com/hyperglycemia/article.htm#hyperglycemia_facts

When you have Hyperglycemia as part of PCOS it is in the pre-diabetes stage but can lead to Type 2 diabetes in the future. Hyperglycemia can be dangerous from the outset as consistently high blood glucose can cause damage to the capillaries in the brain, eyes, kidneys and legs.

What’s my experience with Hyperglycemia?

I have been diagnosed with this since September 2017 after a difficulty losing weight with PCOS, sugar crashing daily and persistent UTI infections. The main thing I was recommended to help tackle it was changing to a Low GI diet and exercising more to help stop me sugar crashing daily.

My worst experiences with it had been:

  • Passing out for 6 and a half hours after drinking a milkshake
  • Having an energy drink which lead to a seizure
  • Unexplained blood in my urine
  • Inability to lose weight
  • Being unable to have blood taken due to dehydration

Those all calmed down from the change in diet. It was suspected that my common water infections and the blood in my urine was caused by the damage that insulin resistance had caused to my kidneys.

Recently I ended off in hospital with the same pains in my kidneys as I would usually get when I had a UTI without the usual burning sensation that you would usually get from a UTI. My white blood cell count was high. My blood sugar was dropping steeply (uncommon for someone with hyperglycemia). What was going on?

Turns out that I was dangerously dehydrating myself when working out and I had angered the damage that was there from the last two years. I was in so much pain and unable to lie down or sit up without assistance that I thought my kidneys were going to fail.

The doctors initially thought that I had kidney stones due to signs of inflammation on the tube from my right kidney to my bladder found in an ultrasound scan but thankfully a CT scan showed that everything was normal after a few days of staying in hospital on drips and keeping hydrated.

The doctors never mention how important water is when your Hyperglycemic. I can’t expect the damage to be gone in 8 months of changing my lifestyle after two years worth of damage. When suffering from this you have to drink more than the average person. STAY HYDRATED!

 

Belittling another Cyster’s fight won’t help you win yours…

Ever since I was diagnosed with PCOS, I have noticed a divide in the cysterhood that is very hard to ignore. There are those that are winning their fight and those who still haven’t found the right path yet. Due to the lack of education on the subject of PCOS, many of the women who suffer have a lack of understanding as to how the illness works. 

 If they read up on the illness enough when they got diagnosed they would know that every woman’s fight is different and we all have a different cocktail of symptoms. Some women have it more aggressive than others. Support each other ladies! Do what works for you!

I hate it when my Cyster’s used to tell me my fight is wrong before I found what worked for me. I would feel bad about myself. I would feel as though I was inferior in comparison to others. 

So, I was scrolling through Tumblr and I came across his post from a blog called alittlebitofpcos and I thought I would share it with you all. This is so important.

Know Your Pl

By that I’m saying, you are not in the place to police and harass someone for their lifestyle choices, especially when it comes to their PCOS. I see this a lot in the community, a person will find what works for them and push it onto other people, or be cruel when it comes to other people choosing to manage their PCOS differently. Even worse, people who don’t have PCOS or have any knowledge on the condition go trolling with their Dr. Google pedestal.

That is not your place.

How someone chooses to manage their PCOS is on them and their doctor. Unless they are asking for personal experience and advice, keep your opinions to yourself. Some prefer natural supplements to medications, some find changing their eating is what works for them, and some only take birth control.

PCOS symptoms vary for everyone, as does management options. Just because you found eating vegan or organic or not taking the medications commonly prescribed worked for you, does not mean someone else will find success with that, or have the means to do so. Some people simply cannot afford basic treatment and medication, let alone the funds for a complete lifestyle change.

Don’t shame someone for eating differently, choosing an alternative approach, or doing the best they can with what is within their means just because it isn’t what you are doing and found to help you.

Do you think people who are newly diagnosed and don’t even understand the condition need someone shaming them? Do you think someone who doesn’t have the financial resources to eat healthier doesn’t know how it could benefit their health? That they just can’t afford it? Everyone knows the concerns and fears that are experienced right after being diagnosed and all the little challenges that come up along the way. No one needs shame and ridicule when life is already a hell of a challenge on its own, let alone adding PCOS to it.

THAT IS NOT YOUR PLACE.

I felt immense shame after my diagnosis, for three years in fact. Not because people were shaming me, but because I didn’t understand it or have support, and in my case (not everyone’s, keep in mind) I felt like I was failing as a female because my body wasn’t working as it intended to. Can you imagine being shamed by someone for my lifestyle choices, on top of what I was already feeling between the ages of 15-18? I’ll be damned if someone else in this community is made to feel that way. We are supposed to be there for advice and support and encouragement. Not to make someone feel less than what they already do for a condition they had no control over getting diagnosed with in the first place.

PCOS is difficult on its own to live with. It takes a physical and emotional toll on people in vastly different ways. While one person may have minimal symptoms, there are so people out there struggling with so much more than what the condition entails.

PCOS can’t be cured, no matter what food choices, medications, essential oils, or lifestyle changes you make. Don’t push that onto anyone because it’s a load of crap–what I mean is, don’t be an asshole with, “Well THIS is what cures PCOS and since you aren’t doing it, you’re ___.” It’s a known fact with reliable PCOS sources and medical professionals that there is no cure, it can be managed and symptoms improve, but the moment you change what you’re doing, they will come back. They do not even know the true cause yet, let alone how to find a cure.

Before you found what worked for you, YOU were struggling, and most likely had to try different approaches before finding what helped improve your symptoms. Think the next time you leave a nasty comment on someone’s post or page, because you were once in their position.

Spread awareness, positivity, support–but do not shame others for being at a different place in their journey.

@alittlebitofpcos (Tumblr)

Depression and Body Image

Since I started to lose weight with PCOS, I have recieved several messages from all kinds of women, with or without the condition, telling me that I have been an inspiration to them and that makes me so happy. The thing is there has been a few that have opened up to me about their motivation problems and how their body issues depress them but they still can’t find the motivation to do anything about it. Well, I’m here to tell you… same here!

I havent always been such a collected person. I haven’t always had this motivation. Sure, I used to try to lose weight and fail but there was a long time where I had given up on getting back to health and just accepted that ‘fate had other plans for me.’ My body got me down. I used to stare in the mirror and cry sometimes because of the sight of me.

I was so depressed by my size. I’d often find myself thinking about being able to just cut it all off or even starve myself to get there. It wasn’t until I learned to love my body before I was able to take care of it. Just like I said in my previous post, you can’t fix your body to fix your mind.

You have to retrain your thought processes to be able to look at your body and like it. Depression makes you less likely to look after yourself. Key signs ofm it are a lack of personal hygeine and over or under eating. Afterall, why would you want to treat your body like a templem if you hate it?

I started retraining my thoughts with three simple things:

1) Notice the little things you like about yourself –  There will always be tiny things about yourself that you do like. The voices are just in the way. Focus on them! I learned to love my eyes, lips, hips and breasts first.

2) Look at other women who are of your size or bigger who are famous online – The movement of plus size models on social media played a big part in helping me love my body. I was a large girl and looking at people like Tess Holiday and Ashley Graham on instagram helped me love the way my hips curve and appreciate that I had curves.

3) Listen to what other people like about you – Whether it’s your friends or a partner, when they tell you something that they like about you, listen. Don’t put yourself down or let yourself think that they don’t mean it. THEY DO MEAN IT!

Once you have learned to love yourself, it will be easier to have the energy and motivation to take care of your mental and physical health and a lot of the time the two are closely linked.

My PCOS Story

I began to suffer from many of the physical symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome when I was 14. The age when I had my first period. The first one was normal and during that time I thought the worst thing about it was that I’d started when I was away on holiday. I thought that after it had finished I would be done for another few weeks as any normal girl would but no… I began to have periods very heavily every two weeks. It lead to fainting, blood blisters and sleepless nights from hot flushes, painful acne, facial and chest hair growth, vomitting when I ate on a morning and extremely violent mood swings.

I begged my mother to take me to the doctors to get me checked out and she kept telling me that what was going on with my body was normal and I’d grow out of it. What she failed to tell me was that she had PCOS too and that it was genetic. I wasn’t getting any better.

After a screaming fit and anxiety attack over one tiny thing… She realised it was ridiculous to allow me to go on like this and did take me to the doctor to be checked out. The GP also told me I was going to grow out of it but wanted to put me on the combined pill to regulate my periods so I wasn’t so all over the place. Everything went normal after that. I was regular. My BMI dropped from 30 to 25 and I was much more emotionally stable. Although, kids in school did still bully me for my weight and facial hair. Nothing can stop that. Kids can be really mean.

3 years later, I was still in the dillusion that I was going to grow out of it and had convinced myself that if I came off the pill, I would still be okay… WRONG.

I gained 5.5 stone in the short space of three months and my periods only arrived once ever three months… If at all. I started to have migraines and vomitting, the mood swings came back, the hair got thicker, the acne got worse and I had severe stomach pain and constipation problems. I also became very prone to UTIs.

I kept seeing my GP begging for help. They gave me antidepressants and anxiety medications for my moods. They tried me on medications for IBS… All of which failed. They checked if I was pregnant everytime I went in and with each negative I got more and more lost, I had no idea what was wrong with me.

It took me two years to have the Ultrasound scan that changed my life. It was around this time when I had started getting really fatigued and needed to nap daily to function. They scanned me and found no evidence of the “gallstones” they thought I had and instead found the cysts on my ovaries. The doctor said I had around 12 on each ovary but they shouldn’t be hurting me because “ovarian cysts don’t hurt.” Still to this day the biggest load of crap anyone’s ever said to me.

They transferred me to a gynaecologist who diagnosed me with PCOS and informed me that it was hereditary. She told me I would need to get back to a healthy weight I ever wanted children and believe me I tried so hard. I started the gym and tried dieting but didn’t shift more than 2lbs. The weight just wasn’t budging. I started to feel guilty and like I was never meant to be a mother.

The gynaecologist put me on the minipill to try and regulate my hormones but I ended off being on my period every two weeks again so she had to switch me to the combined despite my weight. She did tell me to keep trying to loose weight.

I did keep trying but everyday it was getting harder. I falling asleep for longer every day to the point of being out for 6 hours one afternoon. I had a fit on a night out from high blood sugar but when checked for diabetes I was told I was fine.

2 years after my PCOS diagnosis, I was referred to a PCOS specialist dietician who came to the conclusion that I was hyperglycemic (a form of insulin resistance caused by PCOS that keeps blood sugar levels consistently high causing damage to the kidneys, legs, brain and eyes). It explained my weight gain, my sudden need for specs, my seizure, my headaches and why my legs kept going numb.

She suggested a low GI diet so as of the 4th September 2017, I changed my lifestyle. I was half expecting it not to work because nothing had ever worked before and yet it did. In the last six months I have lost 2.5 stone and those naps that I needed daily because of sugar crashing have gone too! My acne has cleared. My excess hair growth has slowed down and I even have less anxiety attacks and mood swings.

Losing weight with an illness that makes you gain weight is hard but not impossible. I just wish someone like my mother had admitted to me what I had sooner so I would have known that I was ill. PCOS isn’t something that girls will “just grow out of” so stop telling them that it is. Help them. Support them. Let them know that they aren’t alone in their fight.

1 in 10 women have PCOS. Most of them feel ashamed of it. Don’t be. Your body just needs a little extra care.

I know that as soon as my future daughter gets her first period, if she shows symptoms I recognise I will have a talk with her and I will help her. Mother’s should let their children be alone in this. It’s hard but we can all get there.

I love and support all my cysters! Our high male hormones doesn’t make us less of a woman, it just makes us a stronger one! ❤

Why I started dancing with BCU Burlesque….

I’m quite a shy girl and for anyone as introverted as me…. Burlesque dancing probably seems like the last thing you’d ever consider doing.  Well… I did it and despite recent criticism for doing so, I don’t plan on quitting.

I used to enjoy dancing a long time ago… almost 7 years ago to be exact. Contemporary dance was my favourite topic in PE in school but I never had the guts to join any classes or do any shows out of fear of being the “fat one.”

I lost confidence in a lot of things once I reached GCSEs… dancing, drama, swimming etc. and all that is probably partially to blame for my dramatic five stone weight gain in the space of three months at the beginning of college.

This year, as I have mentioned several times in recent posts I began my PCOS/Hyperglycemic weightloss battle and as well as changing my eating habits, I wanted to exercise more so I decided dance would be a fun way to do that. I had heard a lot about the BCU Burlesque society in my first year and even saw some of them dance at a media event in the summer. I wanted so much to be a part of that but being a very self-conscious person… dancing in my underwear seemed a bit daunting  (and I think my old fashioned parents would have a heart attack at the thought of it).

Initially, I messaged a girl called Ella Stone to ask her about the society. I wanted to be sure that I wasn’t going to get looked down on for being on the curvy side and she was very reassuring that the group would welcome me so I went along to the first session in September and absolutely adored it.

The guys and girls were very supportive and were all about dragging that sexy alter-ego we all have somewhere inside of us to the surface. Not only has this group helped me so much in bringing my weight down, they’ve brought out a confidence in me that I didn’t even know I had (I still need to work on not looking at the floor too much as pointed out by Lene in last weeks session).

A few weeks ago I performed for the first time in front of people in the Sweet and Sinful show and despite almost slipping over on my high heels multiple times during rehearsal, I made it through the show without landing on my backside!

I even had the confidence to get photos taken on the night (which I got a great response to on Instagram and Facebook, ayyy!)

Here are some of the shots from the night with credit and a massive thank you to the very talented @csbbphotos. Search for her on Facebook and Instagram.

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