Health, weight, bleugh, help, food.

(I AM A NOTE: If there are any lovely food blogs you might like to share, please post away. I’m totally open to anything. The more things I try, the more likely it is that I’ll find something that works for me. Same goes for PCOS/Under-active thyroid blogs or friends. Send them my way. We can bond.)

Sunday morning, ahem, afternoon is habitually tainted by morning-after regret, which can only be remedied by gorging on a salty, mountainous breakfast, lots of tea and crappy repeats on telly. Lets face it, waking to the smell of a homely nostrum is an event in itself. Personally, I would drink anything if I could use it as an excuse to eat fruit bowls brimming with sugary cereal all day. Heaven.

Before I go on, I should alert you all: This post will be long and potentially a little gross. Consider yourself warned.

This mornings pain was not caused by a night of liquid delight; blame lies with a BBQ chicken Dominos pizza and me for being foolish enough to eat it. Hmph. The Dominos -vs- tummy saga has entered its third year and my tummy is losing. I could spend hours giving out about how unfair it is seeing friends devour pizza, consequence free, but I won’t. Dominos is my only guaranteed trigger food. Yes, Dominos. Not pizza, just Dominos. Even when I find the strength to say no, it’s drug-like aroma draws me in. Will power, are you out there? Inhaling it knowing it’s soon to be tummy goo is my own fault and I hate admitting this. I feel awful today and expect no sympathy; I did it to myself, after all.

While Dominos is the one food to guarantee me a date with the toilet, it doesn’t stop my bowels controlling me daily, even when I’ve gone for the healthier option. For the record, I don’t suffer from any intolerance, namely gluten or dairy, and I don’t have IBS, although my GP briefly thought I did due to my, um, toilet-bound symptoms. Having been tested for everything under the sun, gone months without eating specific food groups and relying on immodium and motillium to go outside, I hope you can feel, or at least understand my frustration. My medical complaints (PCOS/Under-active Thyroid) affect my weight but it doesn’t seem to matter if I eat junk or spend time cooking healthy at home, it all results the exact same thing: Mega tummy owwwwies.

A few weeks back, the PCOS clinic in Tallaght Hospital sent me for a glucose tolerance test, which was to see if I am in a pre-diabetic stage because of my weight. Drinking Lucozade at 9am is disgusting, as are blood tests. Bleugh. Thankfully, I am not a pre-diabetic, although it didn’t stop my GP voicing his concern about my weight and BMI. You can’t hear it over the internet, but I just said BMI like I had a mouthful of food. I hate BMI. I know I’m overweight, but my BMI and my GP’s obsession with it frustrates me because even at my smallest (11stone-ish) I was smack bang in the middle of my range. This would be a positive point had I of naturally been that size, but I swam competitively at the time, notching up 25+ hours of vigourous exercise a week. The minute I would stop training in August (everyone had August off) I would immediately pack on a stone, minimum, and bam…over my healthy BMI range. Most years, I spent August running on my Dad’s treadmill hoping to soften the blow, but my good intentions always fell short. When I eventually stopped swimming completely, within 2 years I had put on 7 stone. That is a lot. It is a person, albeit a small person.

While I will hold my hand up, shame free, and admit I took to my new found freedom after giving up swimming by eating all the sweets, it came to a halt when I realised none of my clothes fit me. Since then, I’ve been careful about what I eat, up to a point. Being aware of what you put in your mouth is half the battle. The weight gain continued even without the copious amounts of sweets for breakfast, which was hard to take especially because I knew I wasn’t entirely to blame. It was impossible to convince my family of this when I’d been known for my veracious appetite for years. Once I stopped swimming my appetite slowly died down and it’s quite rare that I genuinely feel hungry nowadays. Having said that, I often say I’m starving when I know I’m not. Eventually, my parents saw the difference between mine and my brother’s portion sizes and slowly came around to the idea that I wasn’t secretly eating, something I did when I swam because my portions were strictly controlled by my Mam. This is something I have serious issues with now. With hindsight, I can see she was only trying to help me, but it lead to me having serious body issues and a dangerously unhealthy relationship with food. I can see how far I’ve come, though. The simplest example I can give involves a bar of chocolate; had someone of been silly enough to leave one unguarded in my house a few years ago, the anxiety would have been too much for me and I’d have inhaled it. Now, it doesn’t bother me when there are sweets in the house. I know I can get them if I want and often forget about jellies that have been left in my car.

My palette wouldn’t know the old me if they were in the same mouth. The things I will eat now put my former palette to shame. I’d never had mexican, olives, peppers, most fish and red meat and up until I was 18, curry. I know, how did I survive? Still, I felt the need to put it all out there because these are problems that once controlled my life. Okay, my weird, non-irritable bowel syndrome is annoying, but it could be worse, right? Also, a few weeks ago after being honest about why I opt to stay home a lot, ahem, tummy issues, a good friend of mine introduced me to a lovely girl with the same complaint as me. I have no words to tell you how relieved I felt. Hopefully, at some point, someone else will stumble across this post and say hey, I have PCOS or I have an under-active thyroid and eating this really works for me. Until then, I’ll be trudging away with my food and sharing on here and Twitter.

My GP says I need to lose weight. Fine. I know it’s the right thing to do, but I’m also battling with this urge to accept my body the way it is because when I was smaller I never saw what I actually looked like. I don’t want to miss out on a dose of reality again. But then, the health issue immediately kicks back in and I think it’s more important to be healthy than accepting the way you look. Am I setting a bad example for other heavier women by promoting plus sized fashion when I’m about to try and lose some of the weight that makes me plus size? How can I connect with girls who have the same problems as me, if I no longer suffer with the same problems? (Chub rub/fatigue/finding clothes to fit.) Shut up, brain.

My next hospital appointment is at the beginning of September, so let’s just see what happens. Going gluten free, where possible, is my next plan. Apparently, it’s easier on your digestion. Fingers crossed.

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23 thoughts on “Health, weight, bleugh, help, food.

  1. Sara,
    My friend suffers from PCOS and everytime she eats Dominos she spends the evening on the loo, this doesnt however stop her from eating it every now and again, she cant resist the smell!!
    Just thought I’d let you know!!!
    X x x
    Ps keep up the good work on the blog 🙂

  2. Aw miss you poor thing! I have felt your digestive pain many many many times. I know it’s different for everyone but giving up dairy was the best thing EVER.
    I’m like a broken record going on about this but it disagrees with so many people and can be so hard to digest.
    For some people, yogurt or butter is OK but cream and cheese are really bad, for example. I just have to not go near it myself – it’s pretty addictive too and I used to eat bar after bar of dairy milk….
    There are loads of great food blogs out there that emphasise wholefoods, clean eating, etc and I can’t emphasise enough how that sort of approach is great for those with sensitive tummies.
    You don’t have to go veg or vegan like me, but I did find that works perfectly for me.
    But loads of proper real food and heaps upon heaps of veggies is so good for you. I know when you feel sick and crap it’s easy to think your body controls you but you can take control of it too, it takes time but it is worth it. xx

    • Awh thanks, Aoife. I know you’re right and it’s been niggling at me for so long. I know I need to go down the real food road, I just feel stuck. I love cooking, so that side of it isn’t an issue, it’s the planning side that’s really stressing me out. I’m terrible. Even when I make a list or plan my meals I always end up throwing loads out. Do you plan your meals so you know what to buy/how much to buy?

      • Hey love! I sure ain’t perfect and I can be a real lazy arse so I don’t have a 3-course meal on the table every night hee 😉 But there are a few tips I think that might help.

        *Start small. Don’t stress and try to do everything all at once. Small steps!

        *Read food blogs related to the foods you’d like to eat eg gluten free, wheat free, vegan etc. Pick some recipes you’d love to try – that way you’ll be really excited about the food so it won’t feel like a chore.

        *Planning is great. It takes a while to get used to it. But if you know what you want to eat, buy for that meal. Maybe plan to eat it for two nights in a row. We get a veg delivery so I literally have to look at it and go ‘what can I do with this?’. Some weeks I’m better than others. I spend a lot of time reading cookbooks or googling things!

        *If you want to eat more veg, roast ’em. It’s a great way of getting loads of veg into you in one go and is filling and SO tasty.

        *Don’t think ‘I’m on a diet’, cos that mentality makes us all feel crap. Just think ‘I am eating well and it will help me feel great because I’m worth it!’ Cheesy but true.

        *If you’re out and about and hungry, just go for the most real food you can find – hummus and carrots; fruit; nuts; seeds etc. Popcorn, that sorta thing. Or packaged salads. I love Marks & Spencers for that sorta thing. It makes it easy to eat good food.

        *Dark chocolate is a must. Without it life is empty and meaningless!!!

        *Don’t beat yourself up mentally if plans fail apart or you end up in the chipper or you try to make something nice and it fails. It happens to me all the time. Just enjoy the chips and move on 🙂

  3. Good one as always 🙂

    I think socially there should be more acceptance of plus-sized people, but this shouldnt be used as an excuse to live an unhealthy lifestyle

    Hope the docs help you out. Have you stayed with the one GP, or gone for a 2nd opinion?

    • That’s my big dilemma. Accepting yourself is a really important part of life, but I don’t want to accidentally promote obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle. Eeek.

      Still with the same GP, but have been shuffled around too many docs in Tallaght Hospital. GP just gets all my results from the hospital first so I ring and to get them and he reminds me how much healthier I would be if I could lose some weight.

      Imagine how bad it would be if I drank all the time!

  4. Nah she doesnt really follow any diet, I think she’s ok with most things but the doc says she has to be really careful coz weight gain is a side effect apparently. She’d be doing ok if she stayed away from dominos!! anyway just wanted to let you know, il ask her about it next time Im talking to her.
    Must meet up soon
    xxxxxx

  5. I’m really proud of you for writing this post and your constant open nature about your issues. The most important thing is your health! Try the gluten/dairy free option for a while and see how that fairs on your tummy. Bread and dairy are rough on the digestive system so it could be something as simple as that. Swap the jellies for fruit and just drink heaps of water to ease yourself into an eating pattern then introducing other foods will become easier over time and you won’t have to plan! You have all our support xxx

  6. I feel the same way about so many things in this post!

    Firstly I used to row (a lot) and I needed to eat loads, but when I stopped I didn’t really fix my diet so I gained weight. It took me a year or so to notice (I put on about 2 and a half stone or more).

    In the past year and a half I tried to watch what I ate, take diety drink stuff, had a bad bout of tonsillitis and tried to exercise… And I have lost over a stone! Yay! According to my BMI I am still overweight but no longer obese…

    When I was a young teenager (before I rowed) I thought I was massive, but I came across a photo of myself when I was 13 and I really wasn’t, I was much smaller than I am today and I think I look quite well today.

    But then I reach the dilemma at the end that you have… I want to lose more weight, lose my belly (it is the one part of my body I would change if I could I have always had a sticky out belly) and get a bit healthier but I feel guilty. I am proud that I am a curvy girl who has style and knows how to dress and that is one of the reasons I set up my blog. So if I lose weight or discuss wanting to lose weight will I be seen as a liar? Will people think I’m not proud of my curves?

    • Amazing, Rhona. I can’t believe you used to row! Seems we’ve had a very similar sport/weight experience, which is very comforting. It’s really hard readjusting when you stop training. I thought I had but the weight just kept on coming.
      I think you look amazing now. Honestly, I was so happy when I stumbled across your blog. I love curves, but the weight/health dilemma is definitely getting to me. I’ve the same worry about people thinking I didn’t really like my curves. I still want them, I just don’t want to end up with thyroid induced diabetes, but it’s not as if I can walk around with a sign over my head telling people that, is there?!

  7. I think you can be both healthy and accept your own body; I mean I’m pretty sure that the plus size models also eat healthy and lead a healthy lifestyle. And remember that it’s the things you do in your everyday life that matters, the weekends are to enjoy! So don’t worry about sending out mixed signals; some uf us just have curves and are a bit oveverweight from natures side 🙂

    • Awh, Annika. I feel so relaxed after reading this. Thanks, and you’re right. I shouldn’t worry about it. Fingers crossed it’ll sort itself out soon.
      You, me and Sorchy will be the Griffith healthy eaters when you get back! x

  8. Haha, whoop whoop! The guy I’m moving in with is a gym/sports freak, so he’s going to whip me into shape; you are more than welcome to run 10 miles behind him and keep me company =P

  9. Hi!!

    I too have PCOS and suffer with tummy problems 😦 i’m afraid I have no help with this one I suffer like you whether I eat healthy or unhealthy

    I’m overweight too but my doc has put me on Metformin which is actually a tablet for diabetes used for people with insulin resistance which alot of women with PCOS have. One of the side effects is weight loss woooo haha!!

    I don’t know if your doc has talked about these tablets with you but it might be worth mentioning 🙂

    Caoimhe xxxx

    • That’s amazing Caoimhe. I didn’t realise there was something you could take for PCOS, apart from the pill. I was on some tablets for my thyroid a while ago to help with weight loss, but they really upset my tummy and gave me serious migranes. No thanks! Definitely going to ask about it the next time I’m in the docs!

      Hurray! Thanks for commenting. That’s amazing. I might ring and ask now actually. Lol! x

      • yeh you should!! Plus a low Gi diet is meant to help with symptoms of PCOS I’ve been on it for a while, I haven’t been sticking to it rigidly but I do feel better 🙂 xx

  10. Hi Sara,

    I also have PCOS and like you have struggled with the idea of being recommended to lose weight by the doctor and my size acceptance/HAES (health at every size) ethos. On one hand, I think its important for people, whatever their size, to look after themselves, but at the same time I think its up to an individual what they do – after all, its a free country (or countries?). I find it hard to stay away from carbs, so I don’t beat myself up because I like pasta and rice. I just try and listen to my body to figure out what it wants – some days I will want to eat healthily but other days I feel like chocolate.

    I also take metformin but have also been trying out different supplements – Dong Quai and Agnus Castus to help regulate my periods (they seem to be working) and Saw Palmetto for hormonal imbalances (ie. testosterone). I also take a multivitamin because when you take metformin you need to take a B12 supplement as it reduces the B12 in your body. I’m still learning what works and what doesn’t work, I don’t know whether you have insulin resistance (which is why metformin is prescribed) or excess testosterone (which causes hair and acne to crop up). The problem with PCOS is the variety of symptoms everyone seems to get – everything from a lack of energy to insomnia.

    I’ve also started going swimming, because its something I love to do. If theres an exercise you love doing, then it will help to control the symptoms of PCOS. I don’t know what the answer is, but all we can do is try our best to look after ourselves. I try not to think about it as a diet or that I ‘have’ to exercise – just that its all about looking after myself and how I feel. Losing weight isn’t necessarily my ‘goal’ – but I would like to be fitter and feel stronger because of it.
    The specialist has said to me that my metabolism is incredibly slow which is why exercise is such a good thing – more muscle means a faster metabolism.

    Maybe talking to your doctor will help, there are lots of resources on the net about PCOS – I stumbled across some sites about health supplements and also about the GI diet (eating food based on their Glycaemic Index, therefore reducing sugar and carbs in a diet – it might help, altho you don’t have to be rigid!).

    I know how important it is to have support when you have PCOS – its such an awkward thing to have and I’ve heard all sorts of conflicting information about it. I guess its all about trying to find out what works best for you 🙂

    • This is possibly the most amazing comment I’ve ever gotten. Thank you so much! So much useful information here.
      I used to be a swimmer, back in my old life as I like to say, and I’ve been thinking about going back for a while. Even just once or twice a week. I know I need to be doing something, but I’ve been so anxious/house-bound with my stomach issues the thought of doing anything drives me insane.
      I wish I could think of something more profound to say, but thank you. This really means a lot! xx

  11. Aha – also I’ve heard that exercise that works your muscles, rather than cardio, is better to help your metabolism speed up in the case of PCOS xx

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