Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Guest Post - This is how Andrea has lost weight while battleing PCOS.

 It seems like every where I go, I run into incredible girls. As we get talking, I find out that they have PCOS just like me. As Andrea is telling me her story I immediately ask her if she will be my next guest post. Her story is incredible and inspiring. I am so glad that she agreed! You are going to love this story, and her!

I’ve never been the tiny girl. I’m tall and big-boned and have always had thick thighs. When I was a child, my mother said that I had “froggy legs.” She wasn’t wrong, and still isn’t. As a teen, I always had a little extra chub (well, little for my frame, anyway). I wore a size 14 and weighed 180ish pounds, and unlike many, I was and still am mostly fine with that. I have biggish breasts and curvy hips, and I look pretty good at that size. But like many teenagers, I battled stress and self-loathing, and so at 15 I developed unhealthy and sporadic eating habits.
At 18 years, size 14.
In my junior year of high school, I got insanely sick – horrific cramps, clammy sweats, and vomiting. Even though we didn’t have health insurance, my father took me to the emergency room. Ugh. It was a horrible experience! I will just say this: the ER is an awful place to experience your first pelvic exam. I had an ultrasound and I was told that my little ovaries were drowning in cysts and that one of them was rupturing. Then I was released and that was that. No other information about treatment or forthcoming related health issues.
In college, my weight started going crazy. In my freshman year, mostly due to not eating, I lost 15 lb. and went to a size 12, but each consecutive year had me gaining a pant size. I continued my unpleasant weight gain until I was 25, which found me at a size 24/26 and close to 300 lb. While visiting my Primary Care Physician on an unrelated issue, she said that she wanted to talk about my weight and blood test results, including my high cholesterol. I did NOT. I’ve never been a big eater, but I was also never particularly active, and my weight was a matter of extreme shame. The doctor knew my disordered eating history, and so declared that I was binge eating without purging. Since I tended more towards NOT eating than overeating, I freaked out. For the next two weeks I was convinced that every single thing I put in my mouth was a binge, and so barely ate a thing.
pre-diagnosis, size 24ish
Then I shook myself out of it. I’m not stupid. I knew that I wasn’t binging, and that doctor had never even asked me to keep a food journal. I definitely knew more about my eating habits than that dumb, insensitive doctor. Luckily, at this point I had nice insurance, and so I went to see an Endocrinologist. She was a miracle. She looked at the exact same blood tests and said, “You have Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome.” We sat and talked about it. I had actually forgotten about my ER visit and the ultrasound entirely, as I had never been informed that there could be so many complications. This lady was great, and patient. She explained to me that I am Insulin Resistant – that my insulin is poor quality stuff and won’t connect properly with food particles, and so I gain and gain and gain, and that somehow this is connected to my unbalanced hormone levels.
pre-diagnosis, size 24ish
I never got facial hair or lost head hair, but I sure did get big. Anyway, Endocrinologist put me on 2000mg of Metformin (500mg the first month, adding another 500 each following month until I reached the goal dosage) and birth control. It wasn’t a miraculous fat-melting pill for me like it is for others. In the first 3 months, I only lost 16 lb., but it’s been slow and steady. I’m still big, but I’m also still fighting. It’s been 5 years since my diagnosis. I don’t have periods anymore, which honestly makes me feel like one of the Unwomen from Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale. And I’m not back to where I was when I started. I’m a 16/18 and 245lb. I’m much more active now – 18 months ago I completed the Couch-2-5k running plan and have been jogging my 12 minute mile since. I’ve run a couple of 5ks and started taking swimming lessons, which I love. 

I think one of my biggest hurdles is that, when I look at myself, I don’t see the weight loss. Being large, even though it wasn’t my fault, was emotionally traumatic for me, and when I look in the mirror, I am disgusted with myself, still. I don’t know if I’ll ever look at myself kindly, but I hope one day I can. There has been wonderfully tangible evidence of my weight loss – little victories that so many others in the world would never consider, but for me were so meaningful as to move me to tears. I remember when I bought a dress at a normal store. I remember when I fit into an airline seat without the armrest biting into my hip. I remember when I didn’t need the seat belt extender. I remember getting below 270, 260, 250.

Current - at my thesis defense - size 18 pants, 14 jacket
And I’ve had to learn. I’ve had to learn how to eat and how not to eat. I’ve done well with the Paleo/clean eating movements. I don’t do it perfectly – every day feels like a battle against my stupid body, and many days I hate it. I’ve tried to learn not to examine everyone else’s waists and hips and thighs, because it only ever leads to negative self-thoughts, which are NOT productive. I’m trying to learn how to overcome the 16/18 plateau, which I’ve been on for a few years now. One doctor told me that I should work out for 2 hours every day, but honestly, it wasn’t all that effective.
Anyway, there’s my story. My name is Andrea, and I have PCOS. I weigh a lot and battle self-loathing, but I’m not alone, and neither are you. It’s hard, but it’s harder alone than it is with supportive friends. I will not give up the fight for my health. I will never be skinny, and I may never have children, but I will be happy, fit, and healthy, even if it kills me. ;)

If you want to see what Andrea is up to, you can stalk her umm.. follow her blog here. 
Isn't she hott!!! 

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1 comment:

  1. love it Andee!!!!!! your fav sister!