swim, bike, run, repeat.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

4 years ago....

So, four years ago I was fat. Not hugely obese, but more than chubby. I'm 5'3"ish, and weighed at least 175 lbs, probably more. I lied to myself and told myself that my eating habits weren't that bad and that I was active. I was a vegetarian at the time (mainly because I was afraid of killing Ben and myself by not cooking meat properly), but I was by no means a healthy vegetarian. Cheese pizza and ice cream don't have meat in them, but they aren't nutritionally sound, either. I'd go to the gym sporadically, and had even run my first half marathon the spring before (and then didn't run again until October).

In late summer 2003, I noticed a lump in my groin. I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with Cat Scratch Disease. A month of antibiotics, no biggie. But my doc also noticed that my blood pressure was a little high. Not cool for a 25 year old. After repeated follow up visits, my blood pressure didn't get any lower (if anything, it got higher), and I kept trying to lower it - cut out salt, went off the pill, started exercising for real (swimming 4 or 5 times a week for an hour, plus other random stuff), but nothing worked. My thyroid was tested, but it came back normal. Finally, at one visit, I had my head lowered in resignation that I'd have to go on blood pressure meds when my doc looked at me and asked when I had started losing my hair.

Now, I realized my hair was falling out. As a child, I had so much curly hair that I would hide under that bed when my mom would try to brush it. But now, my hair was thin - so thin you could see my scalp in the front and at the crown. I had just blamed it on being vegetarian, but the doc said I shouldn't have lost that much hair. He ordered more blood work, and I had to collect my own pee for 24 hours (let me tell you, that's a fun one to do at work). A few days later, we had an answer.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. That afternoon, I went to Kroger and picked up prescriptions for Metformin and Spironolactone.

Normally, I consider the internet a wondrous thing. However, once I had a name for what was wrong with me, the internet was full of scary, scary information. I learned that I had high levels of testosterone (the Spiro would help suppress it), and that my fertility hormone levels were really screwed up, which could sorta explain the BP issues. That's why my hair was falling out, and I had some other body hair issues. My insulin levels were also whacked, hence the Metformin ( a diabetic drug - it sensitizes your body to insulin). Basically, my endocrine system had shat itself.

On the plus side, that day was a turning point. PCOS can be managed with meds, exercise, and diet. I had to get off my ass and move, and cut out sugar pretty much completely. I started eating meat again (I know I could have stayed veg, but there was no way I was going to make the effort to be a healthy veg), learned more about fiber, the glycemic index, and nutrition in general that I ever wanted to know, and started running.

So far, I've managed drop over 30 lbs, depending on what my start weight was, and my hair has stopped falling out. My blood pressure is still a little touchy, so I get to visit my friendly doctor's office every few months or so. I have blood work done routinely. I know how much I weigh on any given day. If I go more than 36 hours without exercising, I start to freak out a little. My pee usually smells a little weird and has a greenish cast due to all the protein I take in (ok, so maybe that was a little much to share).

But, that all said, I'm probably the healthiest I've ever been.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

finally, a use for my running journal

So the Marine Corps is done and over with (20 minutes slower than my Chicago time last year, but oh well) and I've started on on my own version of boot camp. Weights three times a week and an absolute crapload of cardio - running (faster, since it's shorter distances), biking, elliptical, whatever. Burn, fat on my ass, burn!!!!

I've also started keeping (in meticulous detail) track of everything I eat and all my activity. I've found that if I'm going to write it down, it deters me from eating it. So far, egg white omelets, apples, and cottage cheese are popping up quite frequently. The test is next week, when I get to tour Western Kentucky for work.

If I can't get the scale to budge, I'm taking my little book with me to my doctor's appointment next month, showing it to him, and asking what the hell I'm doing wrong.