Tuesday, October 20, 2015

An Enemy More Common Than You Think

Since being diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) in 2013 (and developed in 2012) I have been a journey to fix most if not all of the problems it causes.
I always wondered what caused it, I had very normal physical health up until I started birth control in 2011. After a year of battling the emotional issues caused by the birth control, I decided to get off of it. However, 4 months after being off of the BC I was still having a ton of issues! Issues that I had never experienced before. I went to the doctor in the spring of 2013 and received my diagnosis. I naturally assumed the birth control caused the PCOS, however recently this year I discovered that my great-aunt on my mother's side had it as well. Giving truth to the fact that PCOS is mostly hereditary.
I already had a relatively healthy lifestyle. Not big into processed foods, junk, sodas, sugary things in general. I ate lots of vegetables and was relatively active. But I knew I needed to do more. I tried all kinds of diets with no success to speak of. Finally November of 2013 after being at a point of complete disgust with myself I switched to gluten free. I won't say that it is what has caused the big part of my weight loss but it definitely detoxed my body preparing it for weight loss. I stuck to the gluten free all through the holidays, missing out on most of my favorite treats. It paid off. As soon as January arrived I went hardcore gluten free with balanced portions and calorie control.  The weight began to drop. I lost 10 lbs and then it stalled. I decided it was time to become even more drastic, I started working out hardcore at my gym. I added a weight regime to my cardio. I also switched to keto/low carb.
By June of 2014 I had lost 30 lbs. I went from 203 to 173. Not only was there weight loss, there was overall health improvement. The brown spots, acne, hair loss, excess testosterone, mood swings, depression, all eliminated.
I have maintained my weight since then and I haven't suffered from depression in 2 years. Eating a combination of low carb/paleo/gluten free has saved my life. I am happier for it. I still occasionally enjoy some things that aren't on the recommended diet .... such as pizza ( a personal weakness for me) but mostly I remain strong and faithful to my health regime.
Having moved around a lot in the last 2 years, my exercise routine has changed quite a bit. However, I still manage to get in no less than 30 minutes a day of exercise and definitely shoot for 1 1/2 hours five days a week. I had a gym membership when in lived in Kerrville, Texas and when I moved back to East Texas my husband and I started a joint membership so we could encourage each other. We have since moved again, however this time it is further out in the country making a gym membership not quite worth the extra drive, plus harder for us to exercise together. So 2 months ago we started jogging every evening and every other day we add a weight routine to that. I have also in the last two weeks added an ab workout (which is working wonders btw). We have also increased our jogging to 1 1/2 miles a day. That is really an accomplishment for someone who loathes jogging with passion.
If I could give any advice to my fellow PCOS sufferers, it would be this: Even if it is only 30 minutes a day of exercise, it will help you. If it doesn't help with weight loss it will help with self esteem, energy levels, hormone levels, it will reduce stress and minimize if not eliminate depression. Don't give up on yourself. I didn't give up on myself!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Taking Your Health Into Your Own Hands but Are We Taking It Too Far?

I am sitting on this beautiful (still warm) Fall day still drinking coffee and I have been researching ways to use essential oils for weight loss that don't include ingesting them. I know the obvious one is rubbing them on yourself. However I get annoyed with is the feeling of oil on your skin, trying to get it dry so that it doesn't get on your clothes. Remembering to use it. Having it with you at all times. It just tends to be a hassle.
I LOVE it for hygienic and house cleaning purposes which in its own way is for your physical health.  I feel like these are the methods that I get the most use out of essential oils. I make my own body wash, shaving cream, aftershave for my husband, kitchen cleaner, dishwasher detergent, laundry detergent and fabric softener. I haven't purchased chemically made products for cleaning in a little over a year.
I am enjoying the diffusing method at the moment.....literally. I am currently sitting here while my diffuser omits the refreshing scent of grapefruit. But what is it really doing, aside from smelling nice? My intention is to help jumpstart my body's weight loss. Is it really going to do that though?
I am not saying that the oils don't do this. However, I am completely convinced that at a certain point it becomes more about what you believe it can do.
Chiropractors, for example provide a very successful service, physical adjustments. I believe they are helpful, I believe they can fix certain issues that are causing other pains and discomforts and therefore "curing" your issues. I draw the line there. I am not going to walk into a "wellness center" and pay a guy that has a college degree to hold his hands above (without touching) certain parts of my body and knowing that that area is not the problem area. Sorry. Not buying it. There are some people however that truly believe in this stuff and do start "getting well". Again, I cannot stress enough that a lot of these issues can be self inflicted through paranoia and too much mental stress. Therefore the idea that you are getting help and that your taking strides towards getting well actually tricks your mind into feeling well again. Not because it has literally done anything but because it allowed your mind to believe that you are trying to help your body therefore your mind allows it. Essential oils are no different.
Yes, they are healthy, yes they are good for you (to a point), yes they are a much better option for cleaning and personal hygiene. There are unspeakably bad things in the everyday products that we use, therefore I believe it is in our best interest to replace these things with essential oils.
I know for a fact that Lavender relaxes and soothes you and can lull you to sleep. I know that Tea Tree has wonderful healing properties. I am highly allergic to poison ivy and I got it one time this year, and everyday for a week I placed Tea Tree on my spots and within that week it was drying up and going away. I believe thieves is a wonderful disinfecting cleaning agent. But let's not get too kooky with all of this.
I have friends that have done 100% natural everything throughout a pregnancy and all the way through the birth and their children still have allergies to things and they still get sick. These same friends live on organic food, healthy diets and ...... essential oils. Yet, they still get the flu, stomach bugs, colds, viruses. You name it. So, the answer is NO. The essential oils are not going to make you invincible. You may not get it as bad as others did, you may get well sooner but you can still get it. Don't let yourself rely on something so much that you are left unprepared when you actually do get sick.
I read an awesome blog post the other day ( I wish I had written it down) that was about a family (again, all organic, holistic and essential oil crazy) and they used a licensed aromatherapist for guidance in using the oils (something that I was highly impressed by, you don't want to be cocky and stupid with the use of the oils) and the family had come down a very bad cold and it wasn't going away, in fact it was getting worse. She was diffusing, ingesting, rubbing it on, doing every single thing she knew to do. So she final asked for advice from the aromatherapist who recommended that they ceased all use of the essential oils for a day or two and give there body a break. They did this and within those days were immediately improving. My point is that you CAN go overboard with the use of them. You don't need to place a diffuser in every room. You don't need to rub oils on your children's feet every night to help them sleep. You don't need to ingest lemon oil in your water to help you lose weight.
For the same reasons that you can needlessly take a vitamin, or take too many vitamins, or drink too much herbal tea, you can also use TOO MANY OILS. Yes, I said it. Anything in the wrong amount or in excess can be bad for you.
Ok I am officially out of thoughts on the topic. Just be careful with what you're using and how you're using it. Happy Oiling!