Keto Journey with PCOS: One Month Update

Hello friends! As promised, I am coming to you with an update regarding my first month on the ketogenic diet as a woman with PCOS. I’ve attempted a little outline so as not to ramble but I apologize if this gets lengthy because the last month as been eventful and kind of rough. I’ve put headers for each of the topics I will discuss so you can skip around to what matters to you if you’d like.

Let me just start off by saying I practice “lazy keto” so don’t go shaming me in the comments because I eat something you personally wouldn’t eat (ie: sucralose, dairy, or processed foods). I heard a doctor youtube say that if the way you can keto is by eating a hotdog and mustard its still better than the snickers you were eating before. FYI, I hate hotdogs, so that doesn’t apply to me, but you get the gist and I think thats something important to keep in mind for dieters who get too bogged down by trying to be perfect I first. I definitely want to make even better choices as I continue on my journey but right now, everything is an improvement.  I keep my carbs between 20 and 30 per day and aim for calories at 1200 to 1500. I was tracking everything the first week or so and then stopped which I will get into why later.

Mental Health
The first thing I want to talk about is mental health. As a little bit of background I have a history of OCD and currently am diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and major depression and its been a battle for years. Before keto for the last six months, I had got into a depression phase where I had a terrible sleep schedule and was experience something similar to selective eating disorder. I didn’t have the energy to make anything or care because of depression and the list of foods I was willing to eat was extremely short. This resulted in me eating one, usually lower calorie, minimally nutritious meal per day. I was taking a medication that had drastically improved things for me and at the same time started keto so that when I did start to eat meals again, they would be healthier and I would actually lose weight. (The eating habits before did not result in weight loss due to PCOS and the food choices). Fast forward to two weeks into keto and my mental state had plummeted as evidence by the lack of posts between week one and now. I was angry all the time, weepy, an anxiously fixating on things that didn’t matter at that point, and just overall no motivation to do anything. Eating got hard again because nothing sounded good, I was disgusted by everything, and I just didn’t care. Now, I attribute this change to one of three (maybe a combination) factors: PMS, estrogen released from fat cells, and/or electrolytes.

Electrolytes
Focusing on the electrolyte issue for a moment – if you’ve been doing keto for very long, you’ll know that electrolytes are so so important when avoiding keto flu during your first week on the diet. In my one week keto post, I attributed my lack of keto flu to the electrolytes I was getting from powerade zero. This was false. After doing more research later, I realized Powerade Zero has basically nothing compared to the amount of sodium, potassium and magnesium you need daily (2-4g, 2-3g and 500mg respectively). While I was probably coming pretty close to sodium from regular food, magnesium and potassium have been no where near where the should have been for the last month. This had to be a contributing factor to my mental state decline. I have since been tracking those levels and supplementing so hopefully, things will go back to normal. I definitely want to do a post about supplements for electrolytes in the future once I’ve got everything tweaked because clearly its a super important topic.

Shark Week
Next I want to talk about periods. So if you don’t want to read TMI stuff, then skip ahead haha. In my one week post you’ll notice I mentioned my period had started on day 9. This was also false. I spotted for one single day and went back to being dry as a desert, much to my dismay, but! around the end of week two well into week three I noticed I was having light cramps. Like so light their were barely there. I saw someone on a reddit post refer to them as phantom cramps which felt spot on. Over the week and a half of experiencing them they progressively got worse until I had actually convinced myself that I probably just had a UTI. About 6 days ago I was out of this world emotional and ragey and the next day experience the worst cramps I can remember since I had my period over a year ago. I also noticed sore breasts which had never really been a PMS symptom of mine. My period started that day – not spotting, barely there, false alarm-ness but a real, open the flood gates kind of period. I had a few days of heavier than normal but it does seem to be tapering off now to my relief and the cramps are gone. So between normal hormonal fluctuations, electrolytes and this period stuff, no wonder I was depressed. Things can only get better from here.

Weight Loss, Gains, and Stalls
Now, I’ll talk about weight, the big one that everyone wants to know about.  I can confidently say I lost about 9 pounds during the first two weeks and I was glorious. Week three rolls around and I stalled, even gained a few pounds which, of course, triggered a huge emotional break down. I’ve heard ladies talk about how fluctuation is perfectly normal, especially around the time of your period but at that time, I wasn’t aware it could be a PMS thing so I took it pretty hard.  I also cheated some during this week which probably didn’t help. As of yesterday, my total I went back to my pre-period weight minus another pound. My total weight loss for month one is 11 pounds and to my surprise, I also experienced a loss in inches.

Cheat Meals
Cheating is like a huge no-no in any diet, especially keto just because of how ketosis and becoming fat adapted works, BUT, we are all human and sometimes its hard to get over cravings. From day one, my husband and I had decided we would have a cheat day after one month of keto. It was completely planned out down the meal and drinks and it kept us motivated during that first month. Admittedly, I had some cheat meals in the middle which I attribute to depression and PMS and just general lack of willpower during that time. Obviously, I don’t recommend cheating but it happened, I still lost some and I didn’t die. Would I have lost more if I hadn’t cheated this month? Sure, maybe. But I’m always looking to improve and now I know that cheat meals really just aren’t worth it in the future. What happened after my cheat meals/day you might be wondering? Nothing. I didn’t gain ten pounds of water weight, I didn’t feel crappy or spend all day on the toilet. I may have gotten a little tired at one point but thats definitely it. So while you should try really hard to stick with your carb goal, its not the end of the world if you make a mistake and you definitely shouldn’t give up and binge because you feel like a failure. You’re not a failure and it will be okay. Just pick up where you left off and keto on. If you’re going to have a cheat meal or cheat day, I definitely recommend planning it out in advance and sticking to your plan because I think this really helps prevent binging and negative feelings about yourself afterwards.

Conclusion
One month of keto is down, several more to go. While I haven’t seen the massive initial losses others have seen, I am at my lowest weight since probably the end of 2017 (I gained *all* my weight in the last two years thank to PCOS). Any progress is good progress and I’m definitely going to keep moving forward. Maybe next month their will be enough of a difference to post before and after pictures. Here are my official updated measurements.

Bust: 42.5 in –> no change
Waist: 37.5 in –> 36.5 in
Hips: 44 in –> no change
Arms: 14 in –> 13 in
Thigh: 28 in –> 26.5 in
Calf: 16 in –> 15.5

Weight: 205 lbs to 194 lbs

I waited an entire month to measure and was pretty darn sure I wasn’t going to show any changes so I’m awestruck at these numbers. There’s a NSV (non scale victory) for you.

Are you starting your own keto journey? Let me know in the comments below! Lets keep each other accountable!

How I worked through my anxiety and planned my wedding

As some of you may know, I got engaged at the end of April of 2015.  My boyfriend and I had always had open communication on the subject and knew we wanted a summer wedding. We weren’t concerned about a long engagement considering we had been long distance for so long.  Unfortunately, a summer wedding didn’t work out so my next choice was October.

I wasn’t one of those overly excited bridezillas.  In fact, I dreaded the idea of planning the wedding and avoided it at all costs.  At first I thought it was because I was second guessing my fiance somehow.  After a lot of soul searching, I realized it was because I was overwhelmed by idea of planning and figuring out details.  I was never one to fantasize about my dream wedding so I had no idea what I wanted.  I ultimately decided a simple beach wedding was the way I wanted to go. So I looked at a packages in the Carolinas, Georgia and Flordia despite my family and friend’s pleas to have the wedding in Missouri or Illinois.  My fiance and I decided on an October date in Charleston and had everything all lined up.  Then the anxiety settled in once again.  Here’s an example of 10 seconds worth of thoughts that went through my head every time I tried to finish plans:

“How many people should we invite? I don’t really want anyone to come.  He does.  If we don’t invite his family they will be offended.  But why can’t we just elope? But I don’t want to deal with everyone being mad at me.  Okay so just parents and siblings, But then thats five people just from his side. And then you have to invite grandparents.  And can you invite grandparents without inviting aunts and uncles? What about cousins? Okay now the guest list is really big and I don’t want all those people to come.  I won’t be comfortable and will just be stressed the whole time.  What about a reception? If its a small number then we can just…not…right? How small is small? But if we are making people travel then we have to provide them with cake or something…Oh. Now Granny says she wants to make the cake for us. Okay, I guess Granny is invited now…” etc, etc.
Anxious overwhelming thoughts went on like that for months.  We never finalized the October date and lots of tears were shed and my fiance and I fought about when we would have our wedding.  I knew he was taking it personally.  I wasn’t trying to put it off. I wanted to marry him, but I couldn’t control my anxiety enough to take things one step in at a time.  So he decided we could put it off until I felt better.  School started up in the middle of August, we moved apartments and I was able to get a doctor to prescribe me a different brand of anti anxiety medication.  Things were starting to improve a little bit.  My fiance had finally agreed to live with me before marriage, something he had always been opposed to and I think that ultimately helped me relax a little bit.  I was trying to conquer too many obstacles at once and my mind was getting overloaded.
At the beginning of October, we picked a date in November on a whim.  We told close family members six weeks an advance and purchased a wedding package near St. Augustine, Flordia.  My mom was mildly irritating at us spending $3000 on a packaged wedding.  She didn’t understand why I just couldn’t have planned the same thing myself for a cheaper price.  I’m sure I could have, but I explained to her that I couldn’t handle all the planning and the stress of figuring out details was making me dread my own wedding.  
Not to say that a packaged wedding didn’t come with its own stress.  We had a slightly unpleasant wedding planner after ours randomly disappeared on maternity leave without notice. There was an issue with billing due dates and we were stressed and having to put up half the cost of the wedding on short notice.  We procrastinated vow writing, music picking, and wedding band buying – not because we didn’t want to be with each other but I think because I was putting so much stress on everything being perfect.  I didn’t want to plan details but I had this notion that this was my wedding day.  It was only going to happen once and everything needed to be how I wanted it because I wouldn’t be able to ever experience again or go back and fix things if it didn’t work out.  That’s one of my major anxiety triggers to date.  The idea that its my “only chance” to do something so I have to see everything there is to see and pick everything there is to pick so I don’t feel disappointed or regretful.  The fact that this was such a big life occurrence made it all the more worrisome.
Ultimately, this story ends on a good note.  Alex and I got married on November 13th, 2013 at 4pm at the River to Sea preserve in Marineland, FL.  It was mild with a breeze, the sky was clear and the sunset was a gorgeous mix of orange and purple.  We had 12 guests in attendance. My parents, my mom’s husband, and my brother along with my husbands parents, sisters, and grandparents.  Yes, we had to deal with some of his family members expressing distaste over the guest list and location and there was also an issue of a certain someone recording the ceremony even though we requested this not occur, but these issues were dealt with in a respectful manner (or brushed off) and everyone moved on.
My bouquet was perfect, my dress fit, my hair that I had done myself looked lovely and it was a beautiful ceremony.  All the things I had thought were going to be big issues like not knowing where to stand or what to do if I was wearing a veil and it was windy – were all simple things that came with ease on the actual day of the wedding.  I pride myself on the fact that I was uncharacteristically low maintenance on my wedding day for a typical bride.  My hair was kind of done on a whim because it didn’t turn out like I wanted and I was able to move on without stressing over it.  I put on my fake nails the 2 minutes I had before getting in to the car to head to the beach.  My dress hem was a bit too long but I didn’t trip nor did I have to walk down the aisle with my dress hiked up in one hand.  My father even made it on time to walk me down the aisle.  During the ceremony my veil was flying all over my husband-to-be’s face so I immediately just took it off and handed it to his mother, no big deal.  I wasn’t nervous, I was comfortable and happy.  My husband cried when he saw me walk down the aisle and I cried when he sang me his vows.  It was beautifully perfect.
The moral of the story is that it sucks to have anxiety and depression when you have such important things going on in your life.  It affects your motivation and your ability to be proactive and productive.   Don’t automatically assume you’re having cold feet if you’re putting on planning. Its okay to take time and reflect on what you really want and don’t want to stick to it.  Its okay to have to make adjustments to traditions because your social anxiety permits you from having a 200 person guest list.  Its okay not to have a bridal party or send save the dates or have a fancy reception.  The people who matter to you will show up, your husband or wife to be will love you and thats all that matters.  Saying “Don’t sweat the small stuff” is easier said than done but I promise the day isn’t in the details. <3