I am always Blogging about my "current plan" in an attempt to find something that works for me. So, I guess that's what I'm doing here also...
I joined Sparkpeople oh.... almost five years ago now, I think. Wow! Time flies! Anyhow, I joined Spark and lost about 50 pounds. Yay!
However, this past year I have gained back around 35 pounds. I honestly haven't been sure why. (Well, maybe I have some ideas...) I still workout. I still track my food. Even after all this time.
I will go into some detail.
It was about a year ago I started gaining back weight. No matter how hard I worked out and how much I dieted, I was GAINING! Not a plateau. GAINING! And quickly gaining! I gained back most of the weight in the last 4 months.
I've seen to two doctors and one naturopath. Hypothyroidism and adrenal issues have been ruled out. I've been checked out quite thoroughly. Tested and re-tested.
The two MD's say I'm just fine. The naturopath has all kinds of suggestions. Mostly costly ones, including HCG dieting.
So, after doing EXTENSIVE research on my "condition", my MD and I have come to a conclusion that it is very likely that I am insulin resistant. We did do a fasting glucose test (again). It always comes back "spot on". However, a glucose fasting test will only really tell you if you are already a diabetic. It does not tell you if you may be insulin resistant.
OK. So, with that being said. I also have just about every symptom associated with PCOS. Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome. This is not a disease, but a series of symptoms caused by insulin resistance.
So, my Doc says that YES. It is quite likely that I have insulin resistance. She's not so sure about the PCOS since all my lab tests cam back just fine. However, she said that maybe we should try a diet for reversing insulin resistance. I have to add that she is against using medication for this condition unless absolutely necessary. We both agree then, that diet and exercise would be the better course of action.
Treating PCOS? You have to treat the insulin resistance. The rest is just treating the symptoms.
So, do I have insulin resistance? Most likely. There really is no other explanations left. Do I have PCOS? Maybe.... Does it matter? No. Not really. I will use diet and exercise to help reverse insulin resistance and I will take some health food store supplements to help with the symptoms of PCOS. Since I am just treating the symptoms, I can only benefit from the supplements whether or not I actually havePCOS.
OK. So, with that being said. How did this happen? Well, not sure. I tend to do things 120%. So, was it the high carb, low fat diet that did this? Was it switching over to a Primal/Paleo lifestyle? Was it over training? Was it going gluten free? Was it the fact that my grandfather was diabetic (controlled by diet. He was not dependant on insulin injections)? Was it that I've felt so depressed by all of this weight gain, that I've most likely made it worse by throwing my hands in the air and saying, "SCREW IT! I'll eat my pizza, my brownies, and whatever else. Nothing I do is working anyhow!!!"
When I look back over the years, I actually suspect that I may have been exhibiting signs of PCOS and insulin resistance since my mid to late 20's. And even though I grew up in a household of natural, clean and wholesome foods I moved out at the age of 16. From there on until I was about 30 I indulged in homemade white bread, cinnamon rolls, baked goods, way too much coffee and a pack of cigarettes per day.
It was during this time that I started having weight issues. Not major issues. I would gain 20 pounds, then quickly lose it with some walking... nothing major. But, I also started having panic attacks, my hair started thinning, ....
So, this last year the symptoms of PCOS have been hugely exaggerated. Including skin pigmentation, sleep apnea, acne, very thin hair, belly fat.... Short of having my periods messed up (I could set my watch to them), and being excessively hairy. I have every other symptom. I have to mention though, that PCOS can be genetic. And my sister, although she is lean, definitely has a problem with excessive body and facial hair. She has had her face (not just upper lip) lasered and she waxes her arms. Yes! her arms!!! And my poor daughter has quite a lot of hair on her back and legs. She will be 9 this year. I can also see that her tummy is starting to get a very round appearance.
Also, my mother has always had weight issues. She did however manage to lose 50 pounds when Dad put her on a low GI diet.
So, what to do now?
First and foremost, dealing with the diet.
If you look at my daughter you wouldn't think that she has any health issues, but my husband and I have really noticed the rounding out of her tummy these last few months. Sort of the same time frame as me! Coincidence? Perhaps not. Most likely my fault. So my daughter and I are completely off of sugar. I don't really eat much sugar but sometimes.... so, no more. None at all. Zero. And my daughter? She has agreed that she will not eat sugar either. Me and her together. I am doing what I can to make sure that she doesn't feel deprived. I make what I can at home and use stevia as a sweetener. She now has air-popped popcorn for a movie snack rather than fruit leather. (one after another). She is also committed to her gymnastic lessons during the week and she says she wants to use the Wii fit and go for walks to get some extra movement. Good for her!
Anyhow. For my daughter this is more preventative than anything else. Nip it in the bud I say.
For me though? My regime is going to be a lot tougher. Not just eliminating sugar but also a lot of carbs.
My regime will look more like this:
I will be doing some intermittent fasting on a daily basis, as outlined by The Warrior Diet by Ori Hofmekler, Mark Sisson of Primal Blueprint and Doc Mercola et al. My version will be fasting for 16 hours of the day. Another 7 hours of 3 very light snacks and one hour for a large, satisfying meal. This is MY plan. No one else's. It is only based on the IF principle. I've also based this on my tracking of every calorie, every workout and every pound lost and gained for the last 4 1/2 years. I am able to look back and see exactly what worked and what didn't work for me since I've been "Sparking"
Any carbs that are eaten will be of a whole food, low GI. Preferably organic, home grown or homemade.
I will not eat any low fat or fat-free foods. They have a much higher GI. Fat eaten with my carbs makes the GL of my meal lower. By slowing digestion. This is good for insulin resistance.
I will not over train. I will not do 3 grueling one hour heavy weight lifting sessions per week along WITH, SIX 1 - 1 1/2 hour INTENSE cardio sessions. Yes! This is overtraining if you are only eating 50-90 grams of carbs per day.
I will do my cardio on an empty stomach, except for my two days a week that I will do a circuit training workout. I will have a small bowl of berries before those workouts.
Lower carb days will be between 50 - 100 grams of carb.
Higher carb days will be 100 - 150 grams of carb.
Steady state cardio will be walking (or equivalent) for approx 1 hour
Hiit workouts will last no more that 25 minutes.
Circuit training will be the most intense workouts and will last from 30-40 minutes and will include intense cardio intervals as well as weight and body weight exercises that give the muscles a total body workout. These are limited to two days per week.
So, my schedule will look something like this.
Monday: Steady state cardio (brisk walk) on empty stomach, low carb day
Tuesday: HiiT cardio on empty stomach, low carb day
Wednesday: Circuit training with small amount of carb for breakfast, higher carb day
Thursday: Steady state cardio (brisk walk) on empty stomach, low carb day
Friday: HiiT cardio on empty stomach, low carb day
Saturday: Circuit training with small amount of carb for breakfast, higher carb day
Sunday: Active recovery. A fun, active lifestyle activity such as a game of golf, iceskating, swimming or a hike with the family. Yoga or just a good stretch. This will also be a low carb day.
Will this work? Not a clue. However, moderation isn't currently working although it USED to work and either has extreme exercising. Low fat dieting no longer works either. I know that insulin resistance isn't reversed overnight so this may take weeks before I even see any results. If I see any results at all.
So, here goes...