First steps to start reversing PCOS symptoms

Baby Steps to reverse PCOS

If you are like me and freaked out finding out you have PCOS, please know that it will be ok. And the fact that you found this article means that you are being proactive about it. For that, I seriously commend you. There is a lot of information out there so get informed. Google away.

I personally chose the natural method of reversing my PCOS symptoms and did a ton of research. I continue to do research. Over a years time I lost 40 lbs and completely reversed my symptoms. I didn’t have help from anyone in the beginning so I know what a struggle it is. I will take some of the guess work out and give you a short list of things you can start doing right now to get you on track toward reversing your PCOS symptoms. Here are my suggested first steps:

1 – Switch from the white versions of carbs like bread and pasta to the whole grain variety.

2 – If you don’t eat fruit, start with 2 servings per day. But make sure to eat all fruit before 2pm. Here is more info on fruit.

3- If you don’t eat veggies, start. And add a lot of them. Shoot for 6 servings of veggies per day.

4 – Cut out milk. It is best to cut out all dairy but these are first steps and milk has the highest amount of sugar so it has to go first.

5 – Cut out Sugar not from natural sources. This means candy, pastries, soda, etc. More info on Sugar

6 – If you drink, cut back to one day per week. More info on alcohol and weight loss.

6 – Add 20 minutes of any kind of exercise to your routine. This can be walking, bicycling, dancing, workout video, etc. Just move for 20 minutes every day.

As time progresses, you will want to further modify your diet and incorporate more difficult workouts but you have to have a starting point. A less intense starting point will prevent you from getting overwhelmed right out the gate. Accept the failures you WILL have along the way and always get back on that horse. Lord knows I failed tons of times along my own journey but I NEVER gave up. Focus on small changes. The change you seek begins with you and your daily choices. Hang in there. If you would like some additional support, reach out to me on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/jenngraham57

Here is another article with some more Do’s and Dont’s  with PCOS diet.

What is The 21 Day Fix? Does it really work?

The 21 Day fix is a workout routine combined with a portion control system that have been optimized and made super simple for anyone to follow.

For starters, the workouts are 7 days per week for 3 weeks and only 30 minutes long. The daily workouts include: upper/lower body, cardio, yoga and Pilates. Workouts are broken down into 60 second intervals. You can do ANYTHING for 60 seconds. And of course there is a modifier. If you find you are having a hard time, just modify. It gets easier, promise.

And now for the good stuff, the portion control system. Autumn Calabrese designed a color coded container system. Each container is a different color and size. The color is specific to the type of food like veggies for green or proteins for red. And the size is perfect for exactly one portion of that food. If you are allowed one protein, you fill the red container and that is your portion, easy peasy. Below is a list of approved foods for each colored container and there is even an ap available for your phone called “The  21 Day Fix Tracker” that I absolutely suggest yo download for 99 cents. It spells out what can go in each container as well.

When on the Fix, your allotted containers depends on your weight and varies from 1,200 – 2,300 calories. Once you know exactly what your calorie intake will be, you can distribute your containers throughout the day and design a meal plan as you choose. I strongly suggest you shoot for 5-6 meals. And be proactive, don’t just start checking off the containers as you eat them. Sit down and make a meal plan. This may take a little time up front but will actually save you money. I have cut my grocery bill in half, yes in HALF following the fix. I don’t over buy anything and my portions are so much smaller. Here is an example meal plan to give you an idea of what a typical day can look like.

 

The next big thing you have to do is put the food on a plate. DO NOT eat right out of the container. Yes they are cute and convenient but the whole point of the portion control system is to train yourself what a normal portion looks like. So use the containers to measure and then arrange the food on a plate. This really helps train your brain so that when you are in a situation where you do not have your containers or are not on the fix, you have a good idea of how much food you should put on your plate. So follow this rule, MEASURE AND POUR.

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Want to take the fix to the next level, add Shakeology. Shakeology is your daily dose of dense nutrition and the healthiest meal of the day. And best of all it only accounts for one red container. That’s right, just ONE!!!!!! Unlesss you add milk then it adds a yellow. Shakeology comes in 6 flavors and is loaded with everything you are missing. So make the commitment to yourself and give it a shot. With the Empty Bag policy, you have nothing to lose.

Lastly, reap the rewards of all your hard work. These are true 21 day results from The 21 Day Fix. What more can be said, the Fix works. And it works because it masters and simplifies the hardest part of any diet program, THE DIET. The fix is not like other programs that severely restrict calories or have you eating only hot sauce and lemon juice or whatever all those other CRAZY diet fads are. You are eating real food and often. You are not hungry and you get in a killer workout that does not kill you. If you are looking for a starter program, this is it. I personally use it and strongly endorse it because it works.

The truth about Breast Cancer

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The occurrence of breast cancer is growing at an astounding rate. I was aware but never gave it the attention it deserves until just a few weeks ago when my own mother told me she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. And like many others I asked myself WHY???? Why is it that more women and even men are being diagnosed with cancer today compared to 50 years ago? The answer is in the food we consume and in our daily habits.

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Have you ever thought that what you fork into your mouth can actually be making you sick? Well sadly it is very possible and very likely due to the lack of limitations and guidelines being set on the food industry today. Diet is thought to be responsible for 30% – 40% of all cancers. That being said there is no food that can solely prevent cancer. However there are some foods you can enjoy, others you need to avoid, and actions you can take daily to get your body the healthiest it can be, boost your immune system, and keep your risk of cancer as low as possible.

Research has shown that getting a variety of nutrients from foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains will make you feel your best and fuel your body with the nutrition it needs to function properly and fight off diseases. Getting adequate nutrients is more difficult due to over-cropping in the united states so ensure to supplement where necessary.

At the cellular level doctors have discovered that cancer is actually caused by  damaged DNA. And how is DNA damaged? Well pesticides for one will do the trick. So avoid food riddled with pesticides. When it comes to fruits and veggies, if it lasts abnormally long it is probably due to all the toxic garbage they put on it to keep the bugs from eating it. If a bug wont eat it, why should you? Scary thought right? So try and eat as organic as possible and always wash your fruits and vegetables.

Research has also shown that a diet high in fat can lead to being overweight or obese which is a breast cancer risk factor. So avoid high fat foods and incorporate more vegetables and fruits into your diet. To maintain your weight, EXERCISE!!! Yes, we all say we plan to do it but we absolutely NEED to. Today’s jobs are much more sedentary than they were 50 years ago and the lack of movement is increasing the inches around our waistline…and everywhere else for that matter. So get up and move…buy a bike, join a gym, get an at home workout video, DO SOMETHING!!!! And do it regularly. Once a day is not what the doctor ordered. Shoot for a minimum of 30 minutes 5 days per week.

People like lists so here is a good list of things to do to get you on track to help not be another breast cancer statistic. Be proactive and take care of your body.

To Do List:

1) Eat lots of veggies and fruits – More veggies than fruit and at least 5 cups per day. For fruit, try and stick to berries whenever possible. I personally drink Shakeology daily to get my daily dose of dense nutrition but find what works for you. Perhaps start growing a garden.

2) Limit Fat intake – Choose leaner options of meat like chicken breast or  turkey, limit dairy, and avoid fried at all cost.

3) EAT CLEAN – Avoid processed anything whenever possible. This is due to the high levels of salt and sugar in processed food. Processed food aids in weight gain, insulin resistance, and diabetes. ALL BAD!!!! So buy the whole chicken and whole cuts of meat.

4) Eat smaller portions more frequently. This means eating 5-6 small meals per day instead of 2-3 large ones. This will keep your blood sugar regulated and energy level high throughout the day. Energy is always a good thing.

5) Get a workout routine. It does not matter what it is but get your blood pumping. I personally use at home workout videos. If you want to go that route, shoot me a message on Facebook.

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Whether you have never had cancer, survived cancer, or currently have cancer, take care of yourself and others you love. Share this content with them and keep them informed. No one deserves this and there is so much we can do to fight it before a diagnosis. Make the changes necessary. I can do it, my mom can do it, and you can do it. BE THE CHANGE!!!!!

 

I fell off the wagon and gained back 20 lbs, ugh

I think it is time that I be honest with myself and embrace the fact that I have totally made every excuse for not following my diet and skipping my exercises. I worked so hard for a year to lose 40 lbs and reverse my PCOS.  I got down to 135 lbs which may be high for some but with my muscular 5’6 frame was a perfect weight. I never felt better in my whole life. Here is my original transformation results at about 140 lbs:

Then the excuses started….. I sold my house and moved into a rental property until we could find something to buy. Anyone who has every sold a house knows that finding the perfect buyer for your house and the perfect house to buy at the same time and have both escrows close smoothly is very hard. The sun, moon, and stars have to align…..lol. Anyways, life kind of went crazy from that point. We found a great rental but it was not HOME. My husbands health tanked which we later discovered was adrenal fatigue (from abusing pre-workout, don’t do it). And of course there is always work and having too much fun trying out all the restaurants in the new town we moved into. So yes blah blah blah, I had tons of excuses to abuse my body and here I am back to 153 lbs. Actually I got as high as 160 a month ago and that is when I really felt like crap about myself. Check it out:

These photos I took the night I got home from my Hawaiian vacation in September almost exactly a month ago. I saw 162 on the scale!!!!! I almost cried. How did I let this happen? I mean seriously? The weight just slowly but surely crept on and voila, now my pants don’t fit. I can actually pinpoint the exact things that got me back to this point:

1 – Alcohol!!! I got right back to the habit of having too much fun and drinking when quite honestly, there was no need. Check out my article on booze and how is sabotages your weight loss.

2 – Carbs!!! The second I moved down the street to an amazing Mexican Food restaurant, I made a weekly habit of over eating the chips and salsa which are my weakness and this just grew into eating excess carbs daily.

3 – Sugar!!! I started off by rewarding myself for a good job moving and getting through escrow with my favorite Reeses Pieces and before I know it, I was buying all kinds of sweets regularly and after a few weeks, I was right back to having crazy sweet cravings. I am sure my insulin resistance started coming back at this point.

4 – Quit working out!!!!! This hurt me the most because my workouts help with my energy and as I lost muscle, the fat started caking on. I traded those muscular curves for a more dumpling type of curve. Not cool!!!

Enough feeling sorry for myself,

I have been getting back into my routine and started a program called The 21 Day Fix. I chose this program because the workouts are only 30 minutes long and it comes with a portion control system which is key to dropping the weight. I don’t plan to take a year to lose the weight when I know it can be done in a few months. So as of today I am at 153 which is already much better and I plan to be back into my size 4 jeans by Christmas. I will post my full transformation #2 after I complete the program. I just think it is an important step to admit that I am to blame for where I am BUT that I can get back to where I was.

For any of you that are really beating yourself up, STOP!!!! Just decide right now to move the slight edge in the opposite direction and every day you will inch your way closer and closer to your goal. I know when I started my first transformation at 174 lbs I didn’t know what I was capable of but I wanted it bad and just did what needed to be done every day. Before I knew it, I blew past my original goal of 160 lbs and then 150 lbs and even 140 lbs to end up at 135. NEVER in a million years would I have thought I could get to that weight. Well having started my second transformation, I know this time that I absolutely CAN and have. So never give up. I did it and will do it again. You can do it too. In it together, be the change.

Ciao,

Jenn

If you would like to hear my full story and original transformation, here you go.

If you would like to join me in doing The 21 Day Fix, then send me a friend request on facebook and I will get you the details.

Is Alcohol Sabotaging Your Weight loss??

 

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As someone that has suffered from Alcoholism for many years, I have experienced first hand the role alcohol plays with weight loss or lack thereof. The biggest mistake dieters make in regards to alcohol is to either have “just one glass” of wine daily or to only drink on weekends but be soooooo good during the week. Well sorry, that does not help you get results, at least not at a good healthy pace. Let me explain why.

Alcohol is metabolized differently than other foods and beverages. Under normal conditions, your body gets energy from calories in carbohydrates, fats and proteins which are slowly digested and absorbed within the gastrointestinal system. However, this digestive process changes when alcohol is present. When you drink alcohol, it gets immediate attention (because it is viewed by the body as a toxin) and needs no digestion.

When the body is focused on processing alcohol, its not able to properly break down foods containing carbohydrates and fat. Therefore, these calories are converted into body fat and are carried away for permanent storage (FAT). So in short, it is not the calories of the alcohol that make you fat, but all the crap that you eat with it. And we all know how hard it is to resist salty greasy food when you are drinking.

So now you understand why you can’t lose weight while drinking on the weekends but what about the 5 days during the week when you are “Good”? Let me explain what happens there.

Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that it causes water loss and dehydration. Along with this water loss you lose important minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, calcium and zinc. These minerals are vital to the maintenance of fluid balance, chemical reactions, and muscle contraction and relaxation. Your bodies natural defense to this severe dehydration is to retain water. I can guarantee that after a night of drinking, you notice a gain up to 4 pounds the next day. However, on days that you really over do it, you will wake up all dehydrated, feeling skinny with a severe hangover from binge drinking. But later in the day after you start drinking water you will see the excess weight which will stick with you for the 2 days that follow. It takes the body up to 3 days to recover from a binger and during this recovery period, you WILL NOT LOSE FAT! Your body is simply not primed to focus on burning calories from fat when it is working to repair the damage from drinking.

So as you can see, if you are a “WEEKEND DRINKER”, that means that you are not losing weight:

  1. Friday – Saturday while drinking. In fact you store fat during these days.
  2. Sunday – Tuesday while your body is recovering.

This means that you have Wednesday – Thursday to actually get some successful fat calorie burning. Likely most of this calorie burning is simply working off the calories stored during the weekend. It is easy to see how this cycle sabotages any weight loss. This is a perfectly fine lifestyle for someone that is maintaining their weight as long as they are cautious about food calories and continue to workout but for someone trying to actually lose weight, fat chance!!! Sorry but its the truth and I lived it for YEARS. I am an expert of this cycle. In fact I drank many weekdays also in my past. And my weight just continued to rise until I topped off at 174 pounds and finally had enough.

For those of you that are serious about dropping fat and getting healthy, kick the booze, at last for a few months. Don’t fall into the skinny margarita trap. If you want to see my own story and results Here You Go.

 

I have let myself Go – So mad at myself

I have recently accepted that I have been letting myself go again. By no means am I anywhere near the 174 pounds that I started at but I have gained 10-15  pounds since January and it is all due to my terrible diet. I try and be good but am easily distracted by crap in the break-room, and garbage food brought into my house. It all started when my husband got sick around January and was riddled with extreme fatigue and pretty much gave up on his own workouts and was eating whatever he wanted. I just followed right along. It started with just my meals at home and eventually my sugar cravings came back and I started eating cheat meals throughout the day. I have slowly but surely crept up in weight and now all the jeans I have purchased at my glorious new weight are too tight or just simply do not fit. By no means am I huge or “fat”, I am not saying that at all. I do however feel like complete crap. My energy is non existent and I am relying on Coffee to keep myself awake and I am at the point where I still do my workouts but they do not feel as effective and I absolutely dread them. I feel like I did before I ever started my fitness journey.

What makes me most ashamed is that I am a Beachbody coach and I teach my challengers to do exactly what I am doing. I watch them get amazing transformations and all along, I am just going in the opposite direction. So I am including myself in this months challenge group and sharing weekly progress photos with my challengers. They will hold me accountable just like I hold them accountable.

I vow today to STOP the nonsense and get back on track. I was so much happier when I was eating healthy. The odd part is that some people told me I was too skinny at 135 but you know what, I don’t care. Not everybody felt that way and I felt absolutely awesome. At my current weight, 150 (ugh), and state of health, I feel like a beached whale. And this is not what I think I look like, it is how my body feels. I ache to move, cannot move fast, and feel physically heavy. Like lifting my legs to kick is a huge task. So I will disregard the “TOO SKINNY” comments and get my body back to when it was feeling good. Because right now I absolutely do not feel good. I am unhappy in my skin and quite simply feel miserable. I am determined to get the good feeling back and the energy I had only 6 months ago. I have done it once and will do it again. Here goes nothing. And here are my starting pics for accountability. I am doing the workout PiYo and that paired with my Shakeology and clean eating will get me healthy again. Wish me luck. As anyone who has done a clean eating workout routine knows, it is not easy to change your lifestyle but tremendously rewarding.

 

Dairy Free Chicken Parmesan with Spaghetti Squash

This is a great way to change up a family favorite.

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Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hr

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 small boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 medium spaghetti squash (about 3 lb), cut in half
  • 3/4 cups spaghetti sauce (optional homemade)

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DIRECTIONS

1 – Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray large cookie sheet with cooking spray

2 – Filet chicken breasts so breasts are 1/2 inch thick

3 – In shallow dish, combine almond meal, paprika, garlic, cumin, cayenne, pepper, and salt.

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4 – Put 2 cups of apple sauce in a bowl and dredge each piece of chicken in apple sauce then coat with almond spice mixture completely coating all sides of the chicken breast and place flat on cookie sheet. (optional to use eggs instead of applesauce)

5 – Bake chicken for 25 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest portion registers 160°F and breading is crispy brown.

6 – After sticking chicken in oven, place squash, cut sides up, in microwaveable dish. Cover with plastic wrap; microwave on High 25 minutes or until fork-tender. Using a fork, scrape flesh from squash. Keep warm until ready to serve.

7 – Meanwhile, heat remaining spaghetti sauce in medium saucepan over medium heat and add lots of Italian seasoning. Keep warm until both chicken and squash are ready.

8 – When chicken is crispy, put 1 cup of squash on serving dish and place one chicken breast on top of the squash. Spoon about 2 tablespoons spaghetti sauce onto each chicken breast and voila, dairy free chicken Parmesan.

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For those looking for something a little less healthy

This particular recipe is made to be paleo and non-dairy but you can make some of the following changes to the recipe to suite your own taste and dietary needs:

1 – Use eggs instead of applesauce to coat the chicken for the breading

2 – Add parmesan cheese to both the breading and on top of the sauce when serving.

3 – Use whole wheat angel hair pasta instead of spaghetti squash.

4 – Add olive oil or butter to spaghetti squash for added flavor.

 

Cooking is fun so make each recipe your own. Enjoy.

Click here for more fun recipes 🙂