Lets talk Breakfast…

Everything Keto Bagels.JPGAs a child we are always told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  I grew up eating scrambled eggs, toast, french toast, pancakes, waffles and if we were really in a hurry a giant bowl of cereal.  As adults many of us just opt for the largest cup of coffee we can make and forego a traditional breakfast. When I started my keto journey I decided that I would also do a 16:8 intermittent fast each day. I did this because I was used to skipping breakfast so it wouldn’t be any different from a normal day for me. I also noticed that I was relying on my cup of coffee in the morning to keep me full until I had my first meal at 2 pm. So I loaded it with almond milk or heavy cream. For a while that kept me full until my meal. After a while I noticed that my weight was up and down the same 3 lbs or it just stayed the same. So I decided that I would try something different and eat 3 meals a day but continue to stay in my macro count. I also decided to give up coffee. (Insert shocked face here). YES I gave up my morning coffee. I’ll be honest…..that was NOT easy but after I got through the first few days I noticed how much better I felt and it really sunk in how much I was depending on coffee to get me through the day.

Since I didn’t have my morning caffeine jolt, it was tough getting out of bed in the morning to cook a full breakfast. I needed to find something that I could prep before hand and would be an easy grab and go breakfast. I started off with just eating hard-boiled eggs, half an avocado and maybe some bacon or sausage that I could just reheat. That got boring after a while so I took to my best friend Pinterest and came across this amazing everything keto bagel recipe! So I jumped in my car, drove to the store and got everything I needed to make these amazing round pieces of heaven. After I tried these bagels for the first time, I was immediately hooked and I now make these every Sunday for the week.

The recipe came from an amazing blogger and cookbook author Kyndra D. Holley or Peace, Love and Low Carb (https://peaceloveandlowcarb.com/). If you do not know her….you NEED to jump on your computer or phone right now and check it out! I purchased her Craveable Keto cookbook last week and I plan on trying every recipe in this book! So….here it is….the infamous Everything Keto Bagel Recipe!

Ingredients:

2 Cups blanched almond flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon italian seasoning (I omit this but that is just my preference)

3 large eggs

3 cups of shredded low moisture mozzarella cheese

5 tablespoons cream cheese

3 tablespoons Everything Bagel Seasoning (I get mine from Trader Joe’s)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Slipmat.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the almond flour, baking powder, garlic powder, onion powder and the italian seasoning (if you chose to use it). Mix until well combined.
  3. Crack one of the eggs into a small bowl and fork whisk. This will be the egg wash for the top of the bagels.
  4. In a large microwave safe mixing bowl, combine the mozzarella cheese and cream cheese. Microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds. Remove from the microwave and stir to combine. Return to the microwave for an additional minute. Mix until well combined.
  5. To the mixing bowl, add the remaining 2 eggs and the almond flour mixture. Mix until all ingredients are well incorporated. (I found that it is easier to mix with my hands once the cheese cools down a little). If the dough gets to stringy and unworkable, put it back into the microwave for 30 seconds to soften and continue mixing.
  6. Divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball.
  7. Gently press your finger into the center of each dough ball to form a ring. Stretch the ring to make a small hole in the center and form it into a bagel shape.
  8. Brush the top of each bagel with the egg wash and top with the everthing bagel seasoning.
  9. Bake on the middle rack for 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown.

Here is the link to the recipe as well: https://peaceloveandlowcarb.com/low-carb-keto-everything-bagels/

I’m telling you that you will not be sorry if you try these!! If you try these…..please let me know how you like them!!!

xoxo,

Jen

Life and Fertility Update

I Will Beat Infertility.jpgWell…..its been a while since you’ve heard anything from me and for that I am really sorry. I’ve had some major events, both personal and professional, happen lately that really required some focus. I do owe you guys a major updated so here we go…

As you already know I decided to try Keto a few months ago and I fell in love with the lifestyle. After following this way of eating strictly, I’ve continued to see the weight just melt right off. Now so many people have told me….”Jen that isn’t healthy” or “Jen Keto is going to give you a heart attack from all the fat”. Let me tell you guys that I have never felt better. My migraines are pretty much non-existent, I’m less bloated, I have way more energy then I use to and overall I feel GREAT! I’ve had my fair share of cheat meals which are full of carbs and after each of those meals….I feel bloated, sluggish and just plain gross. So why would I continue to eat those things that make me feel so bad? End of rant! So with sticking to Keto and working out religiously I kept seeing the number on the scale go down until one day when I hit the dreaded plateau. I did everything I could think of to break it and nothing for about a month…..I didn’t lose a single once. So after plenty of research and reaching out to a few friends for help I figured out my problem. I wasn’t consuming enough water and I was working out TOO hard. Yes that is a thing! I found out that killing myself in the gym for 2 hours 5 times a week was keeping me from losing the weight I wanted to because of cortisol. I found out that my body was creating all of this cortisol that refused to let my body lose any weight. So by increasing my water intake from approximately 80 ounces to 120 ounces every day and by doing minor cardio and weight training, I broke that pesky plateau. I lost 8 lbs that week and as of today I’ve lost a total of 85 lbs. Yes you read that right 85 LBS!!! That my friends is an amazing accomplishment that I am extremely proud of. I weight less today than I did on my wedding day! Not only has this really made me feel great about myself but to see how everyone reacts to me now and sees the progress I have made…..its inspirational. I’ve actually inspired a few of my family and friends to start eating healthier. I have no plans of stopping now even though I’ve exceeded my goal weight per the fertility doctors orders. I see another goal that needs to be exceeded!

So this brings me to the fertility update. So since I hit my goal weight, I went back to the doctor and we started the process of our first IUI which consisted of getting authorized with the insurance company and redoing some of our routine blood work which is pretty standard. So in late August, we started taking Letrozole which is like Clomid in that it induces ovulation which many women with PCOS do not do on their own. So I took 2.5mg of Letrozole for 5 days and went back on day 12 of my cycle for bloodwork and ultrasound. The ultrasound tech measured 7 follicles at this appointment. One at 15 mm, One at 12 mm and five at 9 mm. All was good news as I apparently was responding well to the letrozole. So I had to go back in 2 days later for more bloodwork and ultrasound. On this appointment, the 15mm follicle had disappeared. WHAT….HOW…..WHY??? According to the doctor it appeared to have been a cyst which means there was no egg inside but I still had 6 follicles that were all measuring well. One at 13 mm, and 5 at 11mm. They did explain to me that having to many would mean that we may have to cancel and restart but they wanted to first continue monitoring to see if the 13 grew and the others stayed the same or got smaller. One my third visit, which was 2 days later, all of my follicles were smaller. I was really devastated. I wasn’t sure why my body wasn’t cooperating and I thought I was doing something wrong. My doctor then decided to prescribe me Follistim or what is common called a FSH (Folicle-Stimulating Hormone) to help my follicles grow. So my wonderful and supportive hubby said that he would administer the injections because I’m so fearful of needles that I just wouldn’t be able to do it myself. So after 2 days of injections, I went back in for more bloodwork and another ultrasound. Ultrasound revealed a little growth with one follicle at 15 mm, one at 12 mm and 4 at 11mm. My estrogen levels had spiked up in the 800 range after adding the follistim. So I continued with the Follistim for two more days at a reduced dosage. Went back in for more blood work and another ultrasound. No more 15mm follicle and no additional growth on the others. My doctor called me personally instead of the nurse to break the news to me that my estrogen levels spiked again to around 1200 and with no follicle growth and too many follicles, it was no longer safe to continue with this attempt of an IUI. I just knew this was coming so I had braced myself for this impact but it still hurt. You can prepare yourself for just about anything but when you actually hear the bad news it still hits you like a ton of bricks. I had my hopes set to high that I just set myself up for disappointment. In all reality was I really going to get pregnant on the first IUI attempt…..probably not but it would have been pretty awesome if I did. So my doctor proscribed me provera to help me induce a menstrual cycle so that we could try this again. I told myself that this first attempt was my test run. Now my doctor knows how my body is reacting to the medications he has prescribed and can make the adjustments needed for the first “real” attempt.

So that brings us to the last two weeks of my life. Day three of my cycle, I went in for my baseline blood work and ultrasound for the “real” attempt. Everything came back great estrogen levels went back down to a normal range and I got the go head to start the Letrozole again. Doctor increased my dosage to 5 mg for 5 days and I got in on Thursday October 11th for another round of bloodwork and ultrasound. I’m praying that my doctor has figured out the correct cocktail to get my ovaries to produce the best damn follicles they can and that one or two of them mature to the 18mm mark they need to so that we can really give this a try. I hate to ask this of my readers but I could really use some positive vibes and some prayers over the next few days. I have waited so long to become a mom and I feel in my bones that my time is coming very soon. So here is to being positive and hopeful that this is my time.

I will also try to post more updates as they happen to avoid novel length posts like this in the future. Until next time….

xoxo,

Jen

Keto Diet and Me

PCOS and KETOSo I’m sure that by now you’ve heard of the Keto diet. It’s all the rage these days. This diet is very similar to Atkins which I had some really good results on…so naturally I wanted to give it shot but why? Well….I had been working out consistently, eating all the right foods and drinking my water like I’m supposed to but it creeped up on me out of no where….the dreaded “plateau”. I hadn’t lost a single ounce for 3 weeks despite everything that I did….I increased my weights, reduced my cardio, increased my cardio, cut back my calories, ate more calories….but still no budge on that scale. So I sought help on the internet. I joined some fitness groups, read some blogs and some articles. The best thing I read in all my research was this diet is the optimal diet for women with PCOS. PCOS is an insulin resistant syndrome which basically means our bodies do not recognize insulin. The insulin that the pancreas keeps making just floats around in our bodies with nowhere to go. With this surplus of insulin in our systems it leads to elevated testosterone levels which then causes the fertility issues like missed periods, failure to ovulate, facial hair and all of those other horrible symptoms.

So I’m sure by now your asking…..so what’s so special about Keto? So the Keto diet is a high fat, moderate protein, low carb and sugar diet. Yes you read that right “HIGH FAT?!?!?! WTF???”. I know that it’s so hard to think that eating more fat will in turn cause you to lose weight and that’s because over the years all the health professionals brainwashed us all to think fats are bad and healthy carbs are optimal to fuel our bodies. Well now carbs are bad and fats are good! With the Keto diet your diet should consist of 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbs which for my calorie allotment is roughly 125 grams of fat, 106 grams of protein and 25 grams of carbs. So when on this diet you are basically teaching your body to use fat as fuel instead of carbs which in turn lowers your blood sugar levels and improving your insulin resistance. So to sum this up lower carbs, lower sugar…..improved/relief of PCOS symptoms.

My Results so far…

So I started the keto diet on Monday April 16th and today when I stepped on that scale….I did not believe what I was seeing. I lost a total of 7.8 lbs!!! That’s right….I lost almost 8 lbs in 7 days! I immediately jumped off the scale and back on again…and again…and again….and again. Each time my weight came back the same. This now brings me to 6.8 lbs away from my goal weight to finally start fertility treatments. My dream of becoming a mommy is within my grasp and I am both nervous and excited at the same time. It’s like that first day of school when you are so excited to see all of your friends but your so nervous for the actual school work to start. I’ve been waiting so long for this to become a reality and I’m so happy that all of my hard work and dedication has finally paid off. You all know that I’ve given up and started over numerous times. My mental state had taken a turn for the worse and I was losing hope fast….the thought of just giving up completely had crossed my mind a time or two but one morning I woke up and said “NO”…..I’m going to do this and I’m going to reach my goals. As of today, I’ve lost a total of 70 lb….yes getting to this point may have been slow but I did it on my own terms. No surgery, no pills, no miracle cure…just hard work, dedication and discipline. I’ve never felt better than I do today. My spirit, my mind and my body have overcome so much over the course of my journey. I learned a lot about myself throughout this journey and I’m loving the person I’m growing into.

So here’s to kicking those last 6.8 lbs to the curb! Stay tuned…..

xoxo,

Jen

Polar vs. FitBit

polarWho doesn’t love a good fitness gadget! I’ve owned my Polar Ft7 for a while now and I fell in love the moment I first used it. I am a very competitive person by nature so I was in constant competition with myself. Watching my calories burnt increase was the best feeling in the world. It really helped me push myself harder every time I strapped it on but it really left me wanting more. I only put it on when I worked out and it didn’t count my steps and I really had to track my progress manually. The heart rate monitor strap was a little uncomfortable as well. Don’t get me wrong….I still think the Polar fitness trackers are an amazing product and work really well but there had to be a better option that fit my every day needs.

Recently my company started a FitBit challenge on September 1st. Each participant was supplied with the FitBit zip which we all received in August so I got to use it for a little before the challenge started. All the ladies in my office are participating so I have the best support group anyone could have. After using the FtiBit Zip I was instantly hooked so I decided to splurge and get the FitBit Blaze watch. BEST DECISION I EVER MADE! The FitBit app is multifunctional and really helps me track everything in my daily life from my water intake to my sleep patterns and it even monitors my heart rate like my Polar does.

fitbit-blaze

Working in an office I knew my activity level was pretty sedentary but I never fully understood how sedentary I really was until I got the FitBit Watching my co-workers hit 4,000 to 6,000 steps before lunch and I was at 1,000…..I knew I had to step up my game (pun intended). I work in a mall that is just shy of 2 miles long if you walk an entire loop. I have the best work place for those trying to get some major steps in…..so why wasn’t I taking advantage of it? I set a schedule for myself because lets face it…working in an office its hard to walk away from your office if you don’t have it on your calendar! So I walk at least 3 times a day….once in the morning, once after lunch and once right before I leave for the day. So for all my non-fitbit users out there your daily goal is 10,000 steps which approximately 5 miles and if I walk my mall 3 times a day like I have scheduled I hit that 10k mark every single time. Now you may ask….should I really be walking 10,000 steps every day? Here is the link to the FitBit Blog that explains why you should:

Should You Really Take 10,000 Steps a Day?

Another great function of the FitBit app are the challenges you can do with your friends. All the ladies of my office love doing the Work Week Hustle. Like myself, my coworkers are also competitive so it’s a constant battle in my office to beat each other….who doesn’t love to have bragging rights in the office! The first two challenges I came in dead last because I underestimated the ladies I work with…so here I am pushing myself even harder to keep up with these amazing ladies. We just ended this weeks challenge and I finished 2nd with a total of 59,351 steps for the week! Whoop Whoop! I can’t wait for next week!

So if you are on the fence about purchasing the FitBit…..do it! It has changed my life and really pushed me to keep moving throughout the day. So much so that I have lost 17 pound in the last 2 months! Yes…..17 pounds!!!!!! Thanks for reading!

xoxo,

Jen

 

I’m back!!!!

I'm BACKI’m back!!!! Did you miss me?? LOL! My doctor FINALLY released me to start working out again!!! Thank the good lord above for giving me patients to get through the last few weeks! Since my injury I have tried extremely hard to keep things as healthy as I could but I’m going to be honest with you…..I found myself slipping into my old habits. I chose the convenient foods instead of the healthy foods. Over the past 6 weeks, I’ve gained a few pounds which I’m not proud of but today is a new day. The past is the past…..the damage is done. I have a choice to make, I can either choose to continue down the same path or I can choose to get back on that horse. So I’m saddling up and getting back on that horse!

When I started this journey last year, I knew that it was going to be hard….but nothing prepared me for exactly how hard it was really going to be both physical and emotional. Dealing with PCOS is never easy…..sometimes you feel like your trapped inside your own body, which is how I feel about 95% of the time. fatigue is another major factor for me….no matter what I do, I’m always tired. I’ve been taking vitamins to help and still tired ALL THE TIME!! I’m hoping that once I start working out more that my energy levels will increase. But to keep myself motivated I’ve joined a few free 5 day clean eating challenges which I am super excited about! I am only allowed to workout 3 days a week for the next 3 weeks and then I can go back to my 5 days a week as long as I feel good. I am super excited to get back at this and onto a healthier me.

xoxo,

Jen

 

Debris in my what?? 

Ugh….so most of you saw my last post where I got the call from Shady Grove about the debris in my lady parts. Well today was the day I found out what the hell they meant by “debris”. My appointment was for 11:15 but I got there at 11 because I was scared out of my mind because I (like most people…I hope) google the terms that the doctor or nurses use when speaking to you over the phone. So I searched “debris in cervix/uterus” and I found all types of things it could be…polyps….fibroids….cancer….thick lining. Ugh I just wanted to hear the words…”Everything looks normal”. I walked in and they gave me this form to read and sign. Of course I read the form word for word which made me more nervous because everything has risks and side effects!! I had to give a urine sample to make sure I wasn’t pregnant which is always fun! Then I was taken back to the procedure room. The waiting was pure torture at the point. Then the nurse practitioner and ultrasound tech walked in. I felt this huge wave of emotions rush over me and my mind started to race….all the “what ifs” flooded my mind and I began to cry. The nurse practitioner and tech were amazing and talked me through the entire procedure. They call this ultrasound a mock transfer because when going through IVF this helps to learn the anatomy prior to sending in the embryos. Well in my case this was a discovery mission….gotta find out what’s in there. As soon as the sterile water was inserted into my cervix I closed my eyes and found myself praying to God….”please be normal”. Then the nurse prectitioner said….”Well”. Uummmm are you going to tell me or are you just going to say well??!! Then she said “everything looks normal except you do have a thicker lining”. She went on to say how that’s normal in my case since I don’t have a normal menstrual cycle. At that moment I could feel my body exhale and relax. It’s normal! I’m fine….everything is fine! I did however learn that my cervix has a little bend in it or what they call curved. Excuse me?? I of course had to ask a million questions but learned that it’s a common thing. Phew! So let the cramping commence and moving forward! 

Xoxo,

Jen

Did you know its PCOS Awareness month?

Fight Like A Girl_PCOSFor those of you who haven’t read my About Me page, I was diagnosed with PCOS in 2010 when my husband and I first decided we wanted to have a baby. Of course this news was devastating. I didn’t know where to turn or who I could talk to because this syndrome was so new to me. I had never heard of it and I didn’t know anyone who had it.

1 in 10 women have it….that’s approximately 5% of women. How could I not know what this syndrome was? I wanted to write this blog post so that I could educate people on what this syndrome is and what I deal with on a regular basis.

So what is PCOS? Well, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or better known as PCOS is basically the hormones in a woman’s body is out of balance. This hormone imbalance can result in irregular menstrual cycles and we all know if you aren’t regular….you’ll have problems getting pregnant. PCOS can also cause changes to your body that are unwanted like acne, extra hair growth all over your body and weight gain. Some of the more serious health related problems include diabetes and heart disease.

What does PCOS look like? In most women with PCOS, they grow many small cysts on their ovaries. That is how the syndrome got its name. Most commonly this is how PCOS is diagnosed along with blood work. When the doctor looks at the ultrasound of your ovaries, you will see these little dark circles all over your ovaries. Below is an example of an ovary with PCOS:
PCOS_ultrasound

How is PCOS diagnosed? There is no one test and your done when it comes to diagnosing PCOS. When your doctor suspects that you have PCOS, first thing you have a physical exam of your thyroid, skin, hair, breasts and belly. You would then be given a pelvic exam and pelvic ultrasound. Labs will be taken to check your hCG, Testosterone (andgrogen), Prolactin, Cholesterol and triglycerides, TSH, Adrenal gland hormones and your glucose. My PCOS was easy to diagnose as my left ovary had 13 cysts. I’m one of the lucky ones who only have one cystic ovary and the other one is well just there.

How do you get PCOS? This syndrome is baffling to pretty much everyone even doctors. The cause of PCOS is not fully understood but it seems to be a common thing in families. In my case, no one on my mother’s side has PCOS and I’ve never had the chance to meet my dad’s mother or her side of the family.

What are the symptoms of PCOS? This differs for every women with it but the most common are:

  1. Acne
  2. Weight Gain
  3. Extra Hair Growth
  4. Thinning hair at the scalp
  5. Irregular Menstrual Cycles
  6. Pelvic Pain
  7. Infertility
  8. Depression and/or mood swings

In my case, I have 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7. I constantly battle with acne on my chin which is normally where hormonal breakouts occur. I hate waking up to a huge red bump in the middle of my chin….which is why I have taken an interest in makeup and I’m actually rather good at it. Weight gain….ugh we all know I’m in the middle of a weight-loss journey which is going ok right now. I’ve been having a lot more “funk” days lately which has resulted in me falling off track. Missing periods are normal for me…..I have never been normal. They always came and went when they wanted and my doctors at the time didn’t really think anything of it because I was having 6 cycles a year. Pelvic pain sucks….lets put this into perspective for you…imagine your cramps during your “time of the month” magnify that by say 10……and experience this pain for at least two or three weeks. Talk about unbearable…sometimes I can’t move and the fetal position is the only way I get relief. I really don’t classify myself as having depression but I will admit there are days where I am in a “funk” and feel like my whole world is over. This feeling typically only lasts a day or two but those feelings of self-doubt and disappointment are really hard to shake off. Being unhappy in your own body is the worst feeling.

What are the treatments for PCOS? This typically is a case by case scenario and is based on your symptoms.  In my case, since I am overweight and trying to conceive, it is extremely important to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly. Not smoking is another huge thing….not a problem for me as I am a non-smoker. There is also hormone therapy like, metformin (which I am currently taking) or clomiphene, birth control and a few others if you are trying to conceive. Ovarian Drilling is also a treatment option if you are trying to get pregnant and you are not responding to the hormone medications. It is extremely important to have regular check ups which I am really horrible about doing because I have a huge fear of doctors.

Is PCOS preventable? NOPE…sorry but this is not preventable. Early diagnosis and treatment helps prevent long-term complications so please keep that in mind.

I really hope this information has helped you understand what PCOS is and how it affects the body, mind and soul. From the physical pain to the emotional pain…..it all SUCKS!! I appreciate you taking the time to read this and I will answer any questions anyone may have or be the support system you always needed. No one should ever feel alone when going through any medical issue.

Please note that I am not a doctor in any way and I can only speak from my own experience. 

XOXO,

Jen