My Heavy Battle

From a young age, my mother has always been obsessed with weight and appearance. She will do anything to ensure she stays young and thin – the same rules applied to her daughters. Anytime there was an inkling of weight gain, she would go on a super health kick and ramp up activities. For us, this would normally be nightly walks. We were never allowed to have fast food, never drank soft drink until we were almost in our teens (our neighbours snuck it to us whenever we were there without her knowing). Looking back, I guess I had an eating disorder at a young age without realising it, I was very skinny between the ages of six to nine.

Since being diagnosed with PCOS, my weight has skyrocketed, and it is rather depressing. What’s worse, is when you have family members who always pick on your weight and make you feel a million times worse.

Towards the end of high school, I weighed only 43kg, I was tiny, I ate like a horse, but never put on any weight. It was bizarre, but I wasn’t complaining! Then in year 12, I decided to eat healthier and then the weight started to pile on.

Within three years, I had put on 10kgs. I then went on the pill to make my period regular, that was the main reason, but also, I had been with my high school boyfriend now for a few years so wanted to ensure at the time I didn’t fall pregnant. Once I went on the pill, my weight went insane, and before I knew it, I was up to 95kg. Yes, from 43kg to 95kg in a few short years. I wasn’t eating unhealthy, I had the occasional take out, but I was still fairly active, but the weight kept gaining.

What possibly made it worse was the fact that my parents kept putting me down about it, they aren’t overly tactful and say it in a hurtful way. For example, just recently I had a family member tell me that my husband will end up having an affair and leave me because of my weight. Gee, thanks for that one!

I have tried, and failed, over the years to lose weight, but throw in the chronic fatigue and it is an absolute bitch. By the time you get home from work, all you want to do is go to bed and sleep. I am exhausted. Mentally exhausted. Probably doesn’t help that I hate my job with a burning passion and want to walk out and quit every single day either…

My most successful bout of weight loss was prior to our wedding. I was getting personal training sessions each fortnight while the hubby was at the golf course, and going to the gym about 3 nights a week. Also, I cut out gluten and sugar. Completely stopped sugar, and minimised gluten as much as humanly possible.  I dropped two dress sizes within a month, I felt great. Then, the month before the wedding, it began to get crazy again (as I was working full time as well as studying full time) and I put some of that weight back on L That was two years ago now and since then I have had multiple burst ovarian cysts which have set me back (and I have ended up in hospital) and caught a nasty parasite on my honeymoon in Bali which I am only just now starting to really get over.

I have tried and failed with exercise and diet programs over the past two years, attempted boot camp but halfway through the first session ruptured a cyst – guess it was too many star jumps and crunches – and end up screwing my clean eating on around day 4 or 5.

My most recent success was at the start of this year, re-attempting the Ashy Bines Booty Challenge (every attempt before this ended by the first week). I had some time off of work so was able to get up, go for a Fat Burning Walk for about 30-45 minutes each day, followed by some exercises and a healthy breakfast. I was feeling amazing. I drank nothing but water, was eating super clean and within 4 days I had dropped 5kgs. I was, for the first time in two years, below 90kgs!

Then, I had to go and break my toe!

This has been a MAJOR step back for me, as I have been unable to do anything, up until this week, as the pain in my little toe was so bad. And it was over the stupidest thing – I turned on the shower, realised I didn’t have a towel, ran out to go grab one and ran full pelt in to the door frame. Yes, absolutely dumb! I never had a broken bone until then, only a dead bone in one of my toes which has also caused me grief over the years. I have now started to walk as much as possible, weaning myself back in to it, but not overly pushing it as I don’t want it to be aggravated and set me right back. It’ll be slow, but I will get there. My goal is to get back down to around the 60-65kg mark and see how I go once I am there. My ideal would be around the 55kg mark (as I am pretty damn short) and hopefully wear shorts one day soon.

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Recent years: My weight progression from 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2015

Tales of a Fellow Cyster

My journey into PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome for those new to the lingo) was hard and sudden. Growing up, I was always tiny, and up until I was 17, I weighed only 43kgs. I didn’t have an eating disorder – heck, I ate terribly, Maccas every day! – I guess I was just lucky in that respect.
I was always an active kid growing up, from a young age participating in a multitude of activities: tennis three nights a week, gymnastics, dancing, Scouts, Little Athletics, swimming almost every day… I did it all!

Once I got to year 12, I decided to change my horrible eating habits and switch to a healthier lifestyle and that’s when I noticed a lot of changes very quickly. Throughout my high school life, I always had a hairy upper lip, but that was easy enough to conceal by bleaching it each week. Also, my period was all over the place – it would go from once every 3 months to 18 months without getting it! And when I did get it, boy was it pure hell for the first 2-3 days. Then, the weight began to pile on quick and fast. Within a two year period, I had put on 20kgs! I had no idea what was going on! After visiting the doctors, they recommended I go on Levlen ED (the pill) to try and regulate my period and hopefully control this rapid weight gain.

Sure, the pill helped with minimising the awful period pain, but the weight kept piling on and by the time I was 24, I had doubled my weight from when I was 18 years old. I had stretch marks galore all over my hips and thighs, confidence was gone, I became extremely depressed and also described as having Chronic Fatigue. Facial hair was getting worse, and the pill was doing nothing with the pain, with me having to call in sick once a month for the first day of the cycle due to the pain.

After going to a different doctor to find out what was going on, he asked me to get an ultrasound done as well as my first ever blood test (I am a wuss with needles). Here it was confirmed that I had Polycystic Ovaries and they lit up like a Christmas tree – there were so many cysts!

During this time, I had to be rushed to hospital on three separate occasions due to ruptured cysts in my ovaries and let me tell you, the pain is excruciating when it happens. Pain ripples up from your abdomen, through to your chest and back down again. You can barely walk. Laying down does nothing. Painkillers barely dull the pain. It is a horrible feeling and one I do not wish on my worst enemy (well, maybe that one person back in high school….)

In 2015, I married the love of my life, my high school sweetheart, and before the wedding I amped up gym sessions, had a personal training session once a fortnight, and cut out all sugar and gluten from my diet – I managed to drop two dress sizes and felt amazing. I was still overweight but not as much. It was only recently I have come to realise that those could have been a godsend if I continued them but with life, there is no rest for the wicked and I overlooked this piece of information and went back to putting on weight and adding a few more stretch marks to the collection – hellooooooooo to my tummy, I have stretch marks only on my right hand side due to a chicken pox scar!

In March 2016, I invested a lot of money in seeing a fertility specialist to try and get the baby wagon rolling. Sure I was still on the pill but wanted an out from all the pain I was experiencing with these bursting cysts and hopefully get somewhere with finding out how best to achieve any weight loss to (hopefully) fall pregnant. This was also coming off of a sex session with my hubby where I was on top and all of a sudden had a sharp burst of pain and passed out – I had to be slapped awake!
My first session with the specialist cost around the $400 mark and I was with the specialist for about five minutes discussing my history and what I wanted, what medications I was taking before being sent off there and then to get a blood test done and book in the following day for an external and internal ultrasound – those are horrible.
Upon my return visit (another $300 or so dropped) I was literally with her for about four minutes where she informed me that the blood tests were inconclusive due to the hormones from the pill, and looking at my ultrasound I have Polycystic Ovaries – duh! Tell me something I didn’t already know! – she then proceeded to tell me that my symptoms sounded like I possibly had Endometriosis as well but there is no way to confirm that and I will never have kids! Wait, what?!

I was in shock from her last comment that I couldn’t even muster what to say next, such as ask how she came to that conclusion of me not being able to have kids! The only thing she said was if I wanted to have some surgery done to try and remove cysts it would be a minimum 2 year wait and wasn’t worth the wait and I had to lose weight. I left the clinic in a daze and broke down in tears as soon as I got in to my car. I didn’t move for almost an hour as I was too much of a mess to contemplate driving. Who in their right mind tells them they will never have kids, doesn’t offer an explanation and thinks it’s okay?! I went in to a really dark place then and to be honest, still am.

Since that awful day, I went back to the doctors to be asked to be taken off of Yasmin and to be put back on Levlen ED 1) price factor 2) no difference in weight. As she was a new doctor, she asked my family history and when she found out that my mothers side had a history of breast and cervical cancers and my biological fathers side a history of blood clots, she told me to stop the pill there and then as I was already a high risk without the pill and had no idea why no other doctor had asked these questions for the past five or six years of me taking the pill.

It has now been approx. six months since I stopped taking the pill, no major weight loss as of yet but did manage my first ever period two weeks ago! It was horrible, lasted 12 days, but so glad it happened! I began to work out also in January whilst on annual leave and in the space of 4 days dropped 5kgs – it was amazing! I was getting up, going for a Fat Burning Walk for 30-45 minutes each morning, doing some exercising such as lunges, push ups etc. and overall was eating healthier – no sugars, no gluten, I was doing so well! Thennnnn….. I went and broke my toe! I am now beginning to walk again once every few days so hopefully by this weekend I can kick start my plan of losing 35-40kgs and hopefully prove that lady wrong and can get pregnant!

I will document the best I can my journey to weight loss, fertility treatments – yes I am looking in to those – and general life of a fellow Cyster! As with the hormone imbalances, this will be a bumpy ride.