Saturday, September 26, 2015

Steak and Eggs or a Fat Fast?

I was a little over 2 kilos (4.4 lb) down at the start of the week but then of course my cycle came around again. I'm tired of reporting on period gain every few weeks, this is ridiculous! I had planned three full fasting days this week but only ended up fasting until dinner time. That was still pretty effective, until the water weight came. I've been doing heaps of reading that make me curious about whether I should try increasing my fat intake.

First, there's  the Steak and Eggs diet. This is basically a ketogenic diet and a great way to get weight off fast. While it's healthier than you might think and some stay on it long term, I don't know that I could -- I'd probably get too bored of the same meals. But as a kick-start it sure sounds promising. Basically you eat two meals a day of just steak and eggs for 4-5 days, then have a cheat day where you eat whatever you like. So zero carbohydrates until the cheat day. There are plenty of articles online if you want to know more about it, and I don't think it's dangerous in any way -- I actually think ketogenic diets are a great choice for someone with insulin issues and/or PCOS like I have. The steak and eggs diet may raise testosterone levels, and with PCOS I sure don't need that. But if I try it for just a week or two to get the weight moving again I don't think I'd need to worry.

The other thing I've been considering is doing a Fat Fast. The article I've linked to is specifically about Fat Fast and Menopause, and how women as they approach menopause are finding that what worked before (reducing carbs) isn't necessarily working for them anymore but this often helps. There are comments from women in my age group on that article and many found this helped keep their weight down. I sure wish I'd started this weight loss journey a couple of years earlier -- I would have liked to reach goal well before menopause was even on my radar.

Hubby and I bought folding bikes since we enjoyed riding so much while in the States. We had hoped to start riding this week but it's been cold, raining and windy all week. I thought I'd missed out on the end of winter, this is supposed to be spring now! Yes, spring brings rain but it's been so cold it sure feels like winter still! Brrr!

Oh -- there is some good news to report. With the weight I have lost, I keep hoping to see some relief in my PCOS symptoms. Today my hair dresser said she definitely sees new hair growth at the crown, and overall my hair seems a bit thicker to her. Not a lot, mind you, but when you're dealing with hair loss, especially as a woman, any regrowth is a good thing. My hair had been thinning over the last decade due to PCOS, and increased over the last two years possibly due to weight loss. I know some women find they lost hair due to weight loss. Maybe that's stabilising now. I don't know, but I'll take any good news at this point. Well, I'm off to bundle up and ward off the cold for another night. Have a great weekend everyone.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

My question was on the LCHF Podcast!

How cool is that?!  When I was down 125 pounds I submitted a question to the podcast asking whether losing weight should be helping alleviate the symptoms of PCOS, because I've read stories from some people for whom it did, but so far that hasn't been the case for me.  I have been overseas so I just realised they recently featured my question!

Dr Ann Childers responded and I was so excited to hear her response.  Firstly she congratulated me on my weight loss, which was cool. Then she indicated LCHF was an ideal approach for those with PCOS, and then gave cautions for diabetics. Unfortunately, she didn't address my specific question about whether LCHF could help reduce the actual symptoms of PCOS at all.  So I went from excited to disappointed.  I feel like I should resubmit the question but there's probably no point. :(

--- UPDATE ---

I did contact Dr Childers via Twitter for more information and she provided a link to someone who specialises in fertility issues for women with PCOS. That's hardly my concern at 52 years old, but who knows, they might have further information. We'll see.  Thanks for the suggestion, Karen!

Monday, September 7, 2015

I'm back! Damage report to follow.

Hi everyone, I'm back in Australia! Wow that vacation went by fast. I have only a week left before my return to work, and I'll be using that week to get back into my normal eating routine.

In Wisconsin walking through the park.

The trip was wonderful, we went biking and walking a lot, so we did stay active. We had so much fun we've decided to buy some bikes so we can continue to ride at home. While the mountain bikes were really nice, we're leaning toward the fold-up camping bikes we rode in Wisconsin as we can just stick them in the car and drive to anywhere we want to ride. There are some really lovely trails around here, many of which we've already walked and we can't wait to ride them and explore further.

Biking in Oregon.

The decision now is whether to get the comfortable gel seat (or granny seat as my brother calls it) or stick with a standard seat. He claims granny seats only seem more comfortable at first but are not in the long run.  I don't know but my butt wanted more cushion!

Walking through a lovely park in Oregon.

Another bike ride in Oregon.

As good as it was to see everyone again after nine long years, and as much as I enjoyed seeing how my home town has changed since I've been gone, it sure is good to be back home. As I said, we remained active while we were in the States, and the first couple of weeks we did pretty good at eating healthy as well. As my period tends to come every three weeks and brings major cravings, I was indulging more in my last week in Wisconsin. When we got back to Oregon we were eating out at nearly every meal. There were times we excused ourselves and walked into town to grab a salad instead but as our time was winding down I wanted to spend as much time as possible with my loved ones so we often went with them.

When I didn't have access to a scale, I tried on the new size 12 jeans every morning to be sure they still fit.  They did, but unfortunately the fact I could still get them on didn't mean I hadn't gained weight.  So what's the damage report? My lowest weight before my trip was 71.8 kg (158.29 lb) on 26th July. Due to monthly weight gain and changing eating habits even before the trip (we were trying to get rid of all perishable food before we left so ate away from home more rather than buy groceries) my weight on 4th August was actually 74.9 kg (165.13 lb). That first week in Oregon my weight varied between 163 and 165 pounds so not too bad.  In Wisconsin and Illinois I had no scale. On returning to Oregon post-period I was 172 pounds. My first weigh-in since returning to Australia I'm now 78.3 kg (172.62 lb). During my month overseas I gained 3.4 kg (7.49 lbs) ... but since my lowest weight 26th July I've gained 6.5 kg (14.33 lb). Now begins damage control!

I didn't do any fasting while away from home, and after having indulged in more carb-heavy foods I don't think an immediate return to fasting would work. So the plan this week is to return to eating Phase 1 foods. When I start back to work next week, I'll start incorporating fasting again. This was a well-deserved trip home to spend time with people I've missed for nine years, so I am not about to beat myself up over this regain. But I've come too far to let it keep me from reaching my goal ... I am still very determined to reach my goal yet this year. So that's the plan ... I'll check in again soon.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wisconsin and Illinois

I can't believe we're back in Reno already ... the time is flying by! We have had very sporadic Internet connection while in Wisconsin and Illinois so I haven't been able to upload photos to the blog yet. Our connection is enough that I can post but uploading pics is virtually impossible right now, so unfortunately those will have to wait.

I spent about a week and a half in Wisconsin visiting friends and family ... so many to see and I didn't get to everyone but we had a great time. Our friends had extra bikes and took us on a couple of great bike trails, so we got some exercise in and I sure can feel it in my legs and rear end ... I haven't ridden a bike in years! We also walked through the park, the zoo, and a local historic district with some gorgeous old 1800s homes. My husband and I have such different reactions when we look at these houses ... I think they're so beautiful but he sees them as a maintenance nightmare ... maybe but they are so cool!

It was so good to see everyone and so hard to leave them all again. Especially my brothers and my dear uncle, the only one left from my parents' generation. He's 78 and we had to drive for 8 hours over 2 days to get to him as he's so far south in Illinois he's nearly in Kentucky! We spent a day there and it was hard to say goodbye knowing it's been nine years since I last saw him and Lord knows how long it might be until we meet again ... he's had health issues, too, so I worry about him. But I promised to stay in touch and send more pictures.

So after driving 5 hours back to Chicago we're now in Reno overnight again, then a 4.5 hour drive back to Oregon to spend more time with my brother and his lovely wife. That's it for now ... hopefully I will be able to upload pics again soon.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Reno - Casinos and Cars

We are flying out today but while in Reno we lost some money in the casinos (not too much), visited the National Auto Museum (Harrah's collection) and walked around town a bit. As the 10th was also my birthday I did indulge a bit at dinner. I have been eating twice a day, mostly meat and veg but low carb as much as possible ... the place we went Sunday offered sugar-free desserts but not this time. Nothing sugar-free in sight. I had meat and veg but also a little pizza and then cheesecake and a small chocolate square for dessert. I did feel a sugar rush after that! I felt fine but overstuffed. I am sure I will pay for that carb load.  Anyway there will be much more home cooking and fewer indulgences in the next two weeks. We found out our next flight is once again delayed so to kill time at the airport I may as well take advantage of free WiFi.

I'll leave you with a few pics from Reno. I took so many pics at the museum that I will only show a few highlights ... there was only one car you're allowed to touch and they supply props so you can dress for the period and get a picture of yourself in the car. That was fun! Hope you enjoy ...

Monday, August 10, 2015

Scenic Oregon

So the last couple of days we explored scenic Oregon. I wanted to share a few pics while I have an Internet connection.  The US SIM we got before we left isn't working so whenever I can hook up to WiFi I will try to update.

These first pics are hiking through Moore Park where there were some lovely nature trails. We spent an hour and a half here.

Then yesterday we went to beautiful Crater Lake. This was a mountain/volcano that apparently blew leaving this crater on top with a beautiful pristine blue lake. Stunning views here.

Then when we got back to my brother's house there were three deer in the front yard. Just before we could get our camera ready a truck spooked them and they scattered resulting in this somewhat blurred picture.
Today after a long drive we have just arrived in Reno. I'll get more pics when I can. And please forgive me if the formatting is all over the place ... posting from blogger apps on mobile devices is beyond frustrating.  I can't fix anything.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Pics from Oregon

Wednesday night we went to dinner where I had the first of my planned indulgences ... onion rings!

The only onion rings in Australia are at Hungry Jack's (Burger King) and those are not the real thing. I didn't know it would be such a huge basket and as good as they were I managed about five before asking everyone else to finish them off. With it I had a bunless burger with bacon, egg and cheese. The onion rings were very tasty but I really didn't want any more after that.

There are fires in California but in southern Oregon we can see and smell the smoke. This was the view from my brother's back porch last night.

Yesterday we went shopping. Somehow I had forgotten to pack shorts so I hoped to find a pair, but it's the last month of summer here so shorts were pretty picked over. What I did find we're mostly too large or too small, too long or too short. I did finally find one pair that fit and looked ok though they were a lighter denim than I would have liked. But for $9 at Walmart you can't be too choosy. I was still a size 12 here so those sites claiming I would be a smaller size in America were wrong. Oh, and these jeans are my snug size 12s from home so I will be putting them on frequently as that will be a good indication if I gain weight ... I can still get them on just fine right now.

The selection of ice cream and other sweet treats was amazing ... new flavours since I was last home for sure. But I took this picture for the family in Australia to see that Ben & Jerry's is just under $4 here ... the same size tub in Australia is $12! Granted, it's an import there. And no, we didn't buy any.

In the beer department we found Fosters which everyone mentions here as an Aussie beer. Hubby always delights in telling them Aussies don't drink Fosters, we just sent it to America. In fact it's a product of the USA now so made right here. LOL.

I don't know if everyone else would appreciate me sharing their pictures on my blog, so here's a cropped shot of just my brother and I. Today hubby and I went on a 1.5 hr hike through a lovely park with nature trails so I should have more pics to share soon.