Category

PCOS Living

My PCOS DIVA Jumpstart Program Journey

Recently I wrote about my personal journey with participating in the PCOS Diva Jumpstart program on my PCOS Programs page.  It was a great experience!  The PCOS Diva Jumpstart program helped me to get my body back on track.  I often receive emails and comments from my fellow PCOS Cysters asking me about what I do to stay on track with my diet.  It’s not always easy and like everyone else I have my moments of weakness.

Speaking of moments of weakness, I recently celebrated my birthday with my husband by taking a week long cruise visiting Catalina Island and Ensenada, Mexico.  We did great at fitting in daily site seeing, walking, and experiencing fun excursions like kayaking and horseback riding.  Unfortunately, eating well was not part of the plan for this vacation.  Sadly, I gained a few pounds back and felt exhausted again.

Horse back riding pcos diva jumpstart program

So here I am getting back on track with Amy’s PCOS Diva Jumpstart program.  It’s more than a 7 day jump-start program, for me it has become my go to healthy eating plan so that I feel my best. Some of my favorite dishes include:

 

White Chicken Chili pcos diva jumpstart program
White Chicken Chili (I varied mine with red kidney beans & ground chicken)
Grilled Chicken Salad pcos diva jumpstart program
Grilled Chicken Salad, GF Crackers, & Sweet Mini Peppers
hummus veggie wrap pcos diva jumpstart program
Hummus Veggie Wrap (gluten free wrap, hummus & lots of veggies)

 

Now that I have experienced the benefits of the PCOS Diva Jumpstart program first hand for myself I will recommend this program for anyone suffering from PCOS looking for an easy to follow healthy lifestyle program.  Be a PCOS BOSS or Diva ;), and take back your health, loose weight, and improve your overall well-being.  Make YOU a priority for once and change your life, sign up for the next PCOS Diva Jumpstart  that starts on November 7th just in time to help you navigate the holiday season.

 

pcosboss-pcosdiva-jumpstart-program

My PCOS Journey Continues

pcos boss journey

My PCOS Journey Continues….procrastination has been and continues to be a hurdle for me when it comes to consistently practicing extreme self-care for my PCOS and hypothyroid conditions.

This time last year I was moving out of the state of Arizona and to California.  There were so many things that needed to be done and not enough time in the day to do them.  We had less than twenty days to pack and relocate.   I managed to schedule an appointment with my endocrinologists’ office before moving to ensure I had my prescriptions up to date so that I could avoid having to deal with that during the moving process.

Once my family and I were finally settled I needed to connect with a new team of physicians that would support me in navigating both PCOS and hypothyroidism.   This included finding a new gynecologist, endocrinologist, and primary care physician.   I signed my family up for health insurance which due to the recent health care reform changes took almost a month to set up and my only option was HMO when previously I was under a PPO plan.  I had every intention of establishing my continued health care plan but unpacking, finding a job, and exploring our new home city slowly but surely pushed my finding a doctor priority back until I found myself out of my medication for three months.

I was not myself, I could feel the fog creeping over me and everything in my life was negatively affected.  I was disappointed in myself for putting what I needed on the back burner of life.  I finally made the call to set up an appointment with my primary doctor at the end of January.  She sent me off to get my blood work up completed and provided me referrals to a Gynecologist and Endocrinologist.   This meant having to schedule additional appointments and more time.  It took 3 months until my endocrinologist was available for a new patient consult.   My only option was to schedule the appointment and put myself on cancellation stand by notice if something came up sooner which did not.

This brings us to last week when I had my first appointment with my new endocrinologist doctor.  He completed my evaluation, wrote up my prescriptions, and gave me an order for new blood work.  Our focus will be on the endocrine and metabolic aspects of PCOS and Hypothyroidism.  I am glad that I am getting back on track again but hate that I allowed procrastination to set me back.  This experience has reminded me that I am a PCOS Boss and I will move forward with a renewed focus on practicing extreme self-care, eating healthy, exercising regularly, and making my well-being a priority.

 

PCOS BOSS Top Three Favorite Dinner Recipes

Like everyone I have my favorite go to recipes for dinner. In my book anything that basically cooks itself, saves me time and money, and tastes great is a winner. This is why my crock pot is my best friend. I set it in the morning before I run out the door for work and come home to an amazing home cooked meal. Here are my top three PCOS BOSS quick and easy go to recipes for dinner.

Paleo Chicken Tortilla-less Soup

New Favorite Recipe Paleo Chicken Tortilla-less Soup

I discovered the Paleo Chicken Tortilla-less Soup recipe through Pinterest. I still absolutely love this recipe. It tastes great, is easy to make, and you can change it up by adding other ingredients like green chili. Trust me this is one dinner your family will request time and time again.

 

 

Zucchini Noodle Veggie Stir Fry

Zucchini Noodle Veggie Stir Fry

Next on the list is my Zucchini Noodle Veggie Stir Fry recipe. Like the Paleo Chicken Tortilla-less Soup, this dish offers a simple, light and tasty dinner. The best part is you can prepare it in less than 20 minutes and the end result is an amazing meal your entire family will enjoy.

 

 

 

 

crockpot-chicken

Amazing Whole Chicken in a Crock-pot

Speaking of Amazing…. I absolutely love crock-pot dinners!  One of my favorite dinners is the Amazing Whole Chicken in a Crock-pot with carrots and potatoes. This is one recipe you can’t go wrong with. It’s convenient, easy, and when it’s all said and done there is very little clean up.   If you’re looking to cut out unhealthy food this is the best way to go! This dish is flavorful, juicy and one I’m sure the whole family will relish.

Do What You Can – PCOS Exercise Goals

Do what you can | pcosboss.com

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” – Theodore Roosevelt, this is a quote I live by. Sometimes I find myself thinking if I only had that fancy gym membership, Zumba class, or a personal trainer I would be in better shape. This way of thinking has prevented me from achieving my PCOS exercise goals in the past and it was time for a change.

By focusing on the items I had available to me at home I was able to stay on track with a fitness regimen. I jog on my treadmill (found on Craigslist at a bargain several years ago) every day after work while watching my new favorite television addition “Covert Affairs”. I find that watching TV distracts me long enough that I don’t want to jump off right away. Using this strategy and being consistent has been the key to my success. I also use YouTube to find Yoga videos that help me with stretching and stress management.

So the next time you find yourself making excuses or putting your exercise goals off until you have something else remember “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

The Five Basics for Life Balance:

I can live my today’s because of how I lived my yesterdays. However there was a time in my life where raising a family, work, attending school, and managing my health were difficult. Here are the five basics for life balance I used to help me obtain a balanced life enabling me to take back my health, happiness, and well-being.

  1. Personal time with yourself

Alone time is important it gives you the time you need to discover who you are, find your voice, and just be yourself. This can be difficult in a demanding world but scheduling time for you is just as important as spending time with family, friends, or that meeting with the boss.

  1. Stop Self Defeating behavior

We are all guilty of self-defeating behavior where we judge ourselves and set unrealistic expectations of how we should look or who we should be. Change your attitude and start seeing yourself in a more positive light. You would never criticize someone you love so why not put yourself in that category. Love yourself for who you are instead of what you think everyone else wants you to be. Remember, you are beautiful, you are perfectly created, and you only have one life to live.

  1. Reduce anxiety by living in the here and now

The stress caused by anxiety affects people emotionally and physically. Stop worrying about what happened in the past and start living in the here and now. One of my favorite quotes is by Mark Twain, “Good judgment is the result of experience and experience the result of bad judgment”. We are bound to make mistakes in our lives learn from them and move on, appreciate what today has to offer.

  1. Prioritize what’s important in your life

Prioritize and focus on the things that matter most to you and don’t sweat the small stuff. At the end of my days I will not care so much about things but more about the people I loved and who loved me in return.

  1. Diet, exercise, and sleep

Eating right, exercising, and getting your beauty sleep is one of the best ways to help balance your life. I know I personally feel horrible when I don’t eat healthy, exercise, or get enough sleep and that horribleness spreads to everything else in my life. Do yourself a favor and add these positive life habits into your day and you will never look back.

Finding balance is essential for your personal happiness and over all well-being. I encourage you to incorporate these five basics for life balance into your own life and share with me how you took back your health, happiness, and well-being.

Hirsutism…The Hairy Truth

Today’s blog is brought to you by a cyster following PCOS Boss who inquired about hirsutism. Hirsutism is a result of increased levels of androgen’s (male hormones), which cause unsightly hair growth and may include deepening of voice, and cystic acne.

Let’s get down to the hairy truth; dealing with unsightly hair growth is part of the many side effects of having PCOS. I have tried everything from hair removing creams that irritate my skin, to tweezing one hair at a time that would take forever and of course my trusty friend the razor. I have been considering doing laser hair removal treatments as well but have yet to cross that bridge.

I brought up my concerns about my unsightly facial hair to my Endocrinologist and he prescribed an anti-androgen medication called Spironolactone. It has helped to decrease my facial hair and has stopped new hair growth. If you think that this may be the route for you be sure to speak with your doctor about it so he can explain the side effects and what to expect.

New Year’s Resolution Progress

This week my thoughts centered on the goals I set out for myself this year.   I managed to continue my daily fitness goal and maintained a sensible diet all week and into the weekend. I jogged on my treadmill every day for thirty minutes and I pass the time watching General Hospital on my iPad while I jog.  It may not be the most educational program out there but I find it entertaining.

I also decluttered my bathroom over the weekend and included before and after photo’s below. I threw out items that were expired, make up that had seen better days, and all in all it worked out quite nicely.

Before:

Bathroom clutter organization

I recycled old boxes for the drawers to hold things like my hair accessories and other small items. I also labeled storage containers under the sink to take the guess work out of what I stored away.   If you decide to take on doing something similar in your bathroom and don’t have the boxes to work with, you can always visit your local dollar store for small baskets and containers that would work as well.

After:

 

Processed with Moldiv
Processed with Moldiv

Next week I plan on taking on my master bedroom closet which should prove to be interesting. Wish me luck!

Here’s to a Prosperous and Happy New Year 2015!

PCOS BOSS 2015 NEW YEAR GOALS

The New Year has come and gone and I find myself reflecting on 2014. It was a tumultuous year, probably one of the most difficult years in my life and as a result things like PCOS BOSS fell to the way side. No time like the present to get back on track with this blog.

I have decided that 2015 will be filled with happiness and less negativity. Here are my top four resolutions for 2015.

  1. Avoid negative and toxic energy and align myself with positive goal oriented people.
  2. Continue daily exercise & try something new to add to my fitness regimen.
  3. Declutter my home and life for stress relief.
  4. Find my passion

For me I have already started my first goal by eliminating toxic people from my life.  To accomplish my second goal I plan on going to my cities local recreation center to check out their yoga classes. This leads to my goal of decluttering my home and life, each weekend I plan on setting a goal for myself like cleaning out my closet and donating the items I no longer need. As for the goal of  finding my passion this one will take time and I will have to be open to trying new things.  I will blog about that more throughout the year. What goals will you make for yourself this year and how will you go about accomplishing them?

Here’s to a prosperous and happy New Year to you and your family. I am looking forward to writing more in 2015 and sharing the resources I use to help me live the life I love.

Save Your Tah Tahs! My Boobie Smashing Mammogram

I recently had my first mammogram and decided that I would blog about it.   Everyone and their mother had always described mammograms has this horrific experience so I conjured up the worst things imaginable, when in all reality a little boob smashing is nothing compared to the dreaded annual pap smear, but hey that’s just my opinion.

Anyway let’s get down to specifics, two years ago my Gynecologist recommended that I have a mammogram done to get a baseline reading for future breast exams.  I decided to hold off doing so because it was my understanding that women didn’t have to start getting mammograms until they reach there 40’s.  The following year I returned for my annual and this time she wasn’t recommending she demanded I get the mammogram done and wrote out the order to do so.  Still I procrastinated till six months after that appointment.  I finally got off my lazy butt and got around to doing it to avoid being  chastised during next year’s annual visit.

I scheduled my appointment with dreaded anticipation at the Scottsdale Medical Imaging facility located in Gilbert.    You can imagine my surprise when I walked into the facility.  It was bright and the staff cheery and very helpful.  I completed the necessary paper work and was called back for the procedure.  I was directed to a changing room nicely decorated in calming hues of purple and lilac, with lockers for my personal belongings, bottled water, and a comfy waiting area.  The mammography technician was courteous and informative during the procedure and explained everything to me in detail.  She used a mammogram machine to conduct the procedure.

The machine uses compression plates also known as boobie smashers, to compress the breast and take images.  The boobie smashing wasn’t that bad like I said before a pap smear is worse.  The technician asked if I would like to wait fifteen minutes or so for the results and I thought what the heck why not.  A few minutes later the technician informs me they will need to take additional images of my left breast because they needed to get a better reading.  So we made our way back to the boobie smashing machine once again.

I was returned to the waiting lounge somewhat concerned and of course my mind began to conjure up the worst case scenario.   The technician returned yet again to inform me that they needed to do an ultra sound because they could not get a sufficient enough reading.  I was taken back to the ultra sound lab and delivered to a new technician who I am sure could see the fear start to build up in my eyes.  She conducted the ultra-sound.  My mind started to wander, I thought the last time I had an ultrasound I was pregnant which was much more pleasant then the reason for the one today.  I was brought back to reality when  the technician finished up and said not to worry she didn’t see anything scary, but just to be sure she would have the doctor take a peak.  She was back in less than five minutes to let me know all was well and everything looked normal.  My first thought was THANK GOD, and then I wondered what the heck was going on with my breasts that it took so much work to get a good reading.

I found out that breast exam reports include a standard category reading and an assessment of breast density.  Like me you’re probably asking yourself what the heck is breast density, don’t worry you will soon find out.   The American College of Radiology (ACR) developed a standard way of describing mammogram findings.  The results are sorted into categories numbered 0 through 6. This system is called the Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS).  Having a standard way of reporting mammogram results lets doctors use the same words and terms and ensures better follow up of suspicious findings. Here’s a brief review of what the categories mean:

X-ray assessment is incomplete

Category 0: Additional imaging evaluation and/or comparison to prior mammograms is needed.

This means a possible abnormality may not be clearly seen or defined and more tests are needed, such as the use of spot compression (applying compression to a smaller area when doing the mammogram), magnified views, special mammogram views, or ultrasound.

This also suggests that the mammogram should be compared with older ones to see if there have been changes in the area over time.

X-ray assessment is complete

Category 1: Negative

There’s no significant abnormality to report. The breasts look the same (they are symmetrical) with no masses (lumps), distorted structures, or suspicious calcifications. In this case, negative means nothing bad was found.

Category 2: Benign (non-cancerous) finding

This is also a negative mammogram result (there’s no sign of cancer), but the reporting doctor chooses to describe a finding known to be benign, such as benign calcifications, lymph nodes in the breast, or calcified fibroadenomas. This ensures that others who look at the mammogram will not misinterpret the benign finding as suspicious. This finding is recorded in the mammogram report to help when comparing to future mammograms.

Category 3: Probably benign finding – Follow-up in a short time frame is suggested

The findings in this category have a very good chance (greater than 98%) of being benign (not cancer). The findings are not expected to change over time. But since it’s not proven benign, it’s helpful to see if an area of concern does change over time.

Follow-up with repeat imaging is usually done in 6 months and regularly thereafter until the finding is known to be stable (usually at least 2 years). This approach helps avoid unnecessary biopsies, but if the area does change over time, it allows for early diagnosis.

Category 4: Suspicious abnormality – Biopsy should be considered

Findings do not definitely look like cancer but could be cancer. The radiologist is concerned enough to recommend a biopsy. The findings in this category can have a wide range of suspicion levels. For this reason, some doctors may divide this category further:

  • finding with a low suspicion of being cancer
  • finding with an intermediate suspicion of being cancer
  • finding of moderate concern of being cancer, but not as high as Category 5

Not all doctors use these subcategories.

Category 5: Highly suggestive of malignancy – Appropriate action should be taken

The findings look like cancer and have a high chance (at least 95%) of being cancer. Biopsy is very strongly recommended.

Category 6: Known biopsy-proven malignancy – Appropriate action should be taken

This category is only used for findings on a mammogram that have already been shown to be cancer by a previous biopsy. Mammograms may be used in this way to see how well the cancer is responding to treatment.

Now on to that thing I talked about earlier, Breast Density.  Basically, there is a classification of four groups that describe the level of how dense your breast tissue is.  The denser your breast is the harder it is for the doctor to see if there is anything going on that shouldn’t be. The four groups are as follows:

BI-RADS 1: The breast is almost entirely fat

This means that fibrous and glandular tissue makes up less than 25% of the breast

BI-RADS 2: There are scattered fibroglandular densities

Fibrous and glandular tissue makes up from 25 to 50% of the breast.

BI-RADS 3: The breast tissue is heterogeneously dense

The breast has more areas of fibrous and glandular tissue (from 51 to 75%) that are found throughout the breast. This can make it hard to see small masses (cysts or tumors).

BI-RADS 4: The breast tissue is extremely dense

The breast is made up of more than 75% fibrous and glandular tissue. This can lead to missing some cancers.

I have BI-RADS level 3 heterogeneously dense which is why they had to do multiple imaging and screening.  Based on a recent publication by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Women with breasts that appear dense on mammograms are at a higher risk of breast cancer and their tumors are more likely to have certain aggressive characteristics than women with less dense breasts.  Once I found out this tid bit of information I thought OH JOY!  First PCOS & Hypothyroidism and now I have heterogeneously dense breast to top it all off.  The normal reading did put my mind at ease and I now know why it’s so important to have a mammogram done regardless of age.  So ladies if you are reading this be sure to get your mammogram done and save your Tah Tahs!

 

References:

((n.d.)). Retrieved from http://www.cancer.org/treatment/understandingyourdiagnosis/examsandtestdescriptions/mammogramsandotherbreastimagingprocedures/mammograms-and-other-breast-imaging-procedures-mammo-report

New Favorite Recipe Paleo Chicken Tortilla-less Soup

Thank you Pinterest for helping me find the recipe for Paleo Chicken Tortilla-less soup. I absolutely love this recipe, it’s easy to make and tastes amazing!  You can make it your own by adding other ingredients like hominy.

Paleo Chicken Tortilla-less Soup

Ingredients

3 pounds chicken breasts (you can use bone-in, skin-on if you’d like, or boneless skinless. The goal is to have somewhere close to 2 or more pounds of cooked chicken at the end)
3 tablespoons of oil of your choice, divided (we used coconut oil)
2-3 teaspoons of fajita or taco seasoning (use a mix of ground cumin, chili powder, garlic powder and cayenne if you don’t have)
1 large or 2 medium onions, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeno peppers, diced
1-2 poblano peppers, diced
2 quarts (8 cups) chicken stock
1 28 ounce can of fire roasted tomatoes (if you can’t find fire-roasted, you can either fire-roast your own, or just use regular canned tomoatoes)
Juice of 2 limes
1 cup cilantro, chopped
avocado and fresh cilantro for garnish

Directions

1. Preheat your oven 375 degrees Fahrenheit (350 for convection). Place your chicken breasts in a large baking pan, and pour one tablespoon of oil over all, coating well. Sprinkle your fajita seasoning over the chicken, coating well, and place in the oven. Cook for about 30-45 minutes (depending on the size of the chicken pieces) until cooked through and liquid from chicken runs clear. Using two forks, shred the chicken (while this is not so easy to do while the chicken is hot, I find I get a better “shred” if I do so while the chicken is still hot). Alternately, you can just chop the chicken into small pieces.

2. Meanwhile, in a large dutch oven over medium heat, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, and when hot, add in the onions. Cook until onions are translucent, about 4-6 minutes.

3. Add in the garlic and peppers and saute for about 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.

4. Pour in the chicken stock and fire roasted tomatoes and bring to a medium boil.

5. [THIS STEP IS OPTIONAL] If you want a slightly thickened soup, strain out some of the tomatoes, onions and peppers to a blender or Magic Bullet and puree. Pour back into the broth mixture. I did this with about 1/2 of the solids in the soup.

6. Add the chicken, cilantro and lime juice to your bubbling cauldron of goodness. Taste to see what you’re in need of (salt? pepper? more of a kick?) and adjust as need be.

7. Serve nice and hot with some fresh cilantro and chopped up avocado to go on top. Maybe a wedge of lime if you’re feeling pretty tart, or some extra diced up jalapenos or poblanos if you need more heat. Heck, get out the hot sauce if you really want some zing!

References:     Julie, F. N.p.. Web. 18 Sep 2013. <www.keyingredient.com>.