Judgements.

I’ve been wanting to write a blog post pertaining to this issue for a while now, but I don’t want people to see this as a “pity me” piece or even a “woe is me” post. It is what it is, everyone needs to STOP JUDGING OVERWEIGHT PEOPLE. And I don’t just mean the judgements you pass between friends or behind our backs. Those are awful, just the same. But what I’ve been experiencing A LOT lately, even with close friends and family, are the snide, ignorant comments that go along with pre-conceived assumptions or sterotypes. You might think you’re saying something in jest or say that we need to be less sensitive and get over it. Why should you have to think before you speak? BECAUSE YOU DO. Everyone does. Saying “if you can catch me” to someone like me isn’t the same funny joke as it is to an average-sized person. Don’t be an ass and say something like that shouldn’t hurt my feelings because you’re NOT me, and you do not get to make that judgement. Who are you to say what should or should not offend me? If you look at me like I’m lying through my teeth when I say I’m a picky eater because obviously I must eat everything because I’m not a size two, yeah I’m going to be offended!

Assuming things about ANYONE just makes an ASS out of you. PCOS, Diabeties, Thyroid issues, metabolic disorders, etc. …they ALL affect a person’s ability or non-ability to lose weight, so before you make an ass out of yourself, THINK before you speak. Even if people are overweight due to overeating and inactivity, that does not mean they deserve ridicule and judgement. You probably have SO many things people could judge you for, so just be nice because karma’s a bitch and it will bite you in the ass. The biggest judgement comes in the end, and which side would you want to be on? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Be nice.

My 3-Month Transformation

This picture was taken October 31st, 2011

This picture was taken April 2012, approx. 3 months after lifestyle change!

Hello again!! I know it’s been awhile since I’ve written, but that does not mean that I’ve been slacking on the PCOS research or implementation of my new lifestyle. It’s been approximately 3 months since I began the PCOS-related diet restrictions, medication regularity and workout routine, and I am SO proud to say that I’ve shed just about 30 pounds! It hasn’t been easy. If it is, then it’s not safe, so if you feel like it’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do in your life, then you’re doing it right!So far, other than the mere satisfaction of seeing results and knowing this is the outcome of severely hard work, I’ve had some amazing things come out of all of this and only THREE months in! Here’s a checklist of why I’m so happy I made this decision and why I will continue to push forward.

1. Confidence. After being bullied your whole life, your confidence level severely diminishes. Now that I have more energy and know that I am doing everything I can to make me healthy, I have so much more confidence in everything I do on a daily basis. Whether it’s walking into the grocery store in my spandex workout pants (hehe) or talking to someone who I thought would never give me the time of day, confidence is important to have regardless of how you find your way there. 🙂

2. My gym is my 2nd family. I will preach until the day I die that I am a city girl at heart and belong in Los Angeles or New York, but I can talk until I’m blue in the face about the benefits of a small town. The first day I entered 159 Fitness I was hooked on the hospitality and comfortability I immediately felt. A small-town gym offers more personal recognition, one-on-one time with trainers and in-depth solutions to any personal health issues I’m struggling with. Although they kick my ass and make me wish I could just have an ice cream, they make showing up every day more of a blessing than a chore. AND, some of the best people I’ve ever been privileged to know and call friends, I met at this small-town gym. 🙂

3. THEY FIT! This might be one of those no-brainers of getting fit and losing weight, but for someone who’s tried her whole life to lose weight without results, it’s a bigger deal. My mom bought me a pair of jeans TWO years ago that got pushed to the back of my closet because I swore I would never get in them. Turns out, I was wrong. I finally got into them! My mom was just psychic, as always, and knew I’d kick my own ass one day.

4. Perspective. It bothers me that there will be people who say, “30 pounds, no big deal,” or “she doesn’t look that different in those two pictures.” Well, perspective is important. While helping the instructor pick up after class today, I was holding about 26 pounds-worth of free weights in my arms. I turned to her and said, “This is less than what I’ve lost, and it’s really heavy…” We both just smiled really big. You really don’t know how much you’re carrying around until it’s gone. And perspective for onlookers is so important. You might think that “yeah, she has a lot more to lose” but if you see through my perspective, this is a big deal and instead of being ignorant or arrogant, instead, be supportive so that long way I still have won’t be lonely.

5. Inspiration. My mom thinks it’s weird that I can get inspiration or motivation from watching TV shows like “America’s Next Top Model”, haha, but I’m weird like that. However, if you’ve ever gone to the gym, you know the feeling of being inspired by other people at the gym. I participate in classes with 70+ year-old men and women who work just as hard as I do, I sweat just as hard as the girl next to me whose half my size and even though you all might have different health issues, ages, injuries or reasons for joining the gym, there’s a commonality among all of you, and it’s important to respect that and gain inspiration from those who are showing up to sweat with you. 🙂 I never want to let them down, not show up for a class, because what if I’m an inspiration to them, too?

Ok, I could go on and on, like how much my family is awesome for supporting me and how much I love actually becoming an employee of the gym, etc. etc., but I’m sure most of you stopped reading at check point #2 because I talk too much. But anyway, the update is that I’m having fun working hard, and I plan on losing at least 30 pounds more in the next 3 months. 😀

Cheers!

PCOS Diva: Awaken Your Good Health Goddess

Good evening bloggers,

I’ve been perusing social media lately trying to find women going through similar obstacles in their life and blogging about it, and I found PCOS Diva on Twitter (@PCOSdiva and PCOSdiva.com). She tweets/blogs everything from amazing PCOS-friendly recipes to tips on exercising, fertility and hairloss. It’s a very well designed and user-friendly site. I definitely recommend every follow her Twitter and Blog. If you subscrive to her newsletter, you get a free “Kitchen De-Junking Guide”, too. To give you a little preview of the kitchen guide, I’ll list the first thing she says to take out of your kitchen:

1. Trans Fat – Partially Hydrogenated Oils:

Trans fat is found in margarine, vegetable shortening, commercially baked goods, deep-fried foods, fast foods and many restaurant foods. Trans fat is made by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil through a process called hydrogenation, which makes the oil less likely to spoil. Using trans fats in the manufacturing of foods helps foods stay fresh longer, have a longer shelf life and have a less greasy feel. If a label has any listing of “partially hydrogenated” in the ingredients – toss it.  The US FDA allows .49% of trans fat per serving and still allows companies to label 0% grams trans fat.

It’s really important to not treat PCOS like it’s something that will go away. Because truth it, it’s something we will have to live with for the rest of our lives. If you shrug it off and eat whatever you want, chances are you will continue to gain weight, which only opens up more doors for even worse health issues.

It’s also really important to seek out a support system through online forums, blogs, Twitter pages, etc. It’s always nice to know you’re not alone with what you’re going through and battling through this sucks without support, so use the people who are willing to go through it publicly through social media. If you have found a really cool website, blog, Twitter page, Facebook page, etc. with PCOS-related advice or tips, let me know so I can review it and find the best tips to spread. 🙂 Thanks for reading.

Vitamins, Vitamins, Vitamins

Disclaimer: I am not a healthcare professional. Any advice I give is strictly based on opinion or personal experience.

This post will be about more than just vitamins, promise. 🙂 The weather in the Midwest decided to suck today, so writing is always a good indoor option. I’m starting “The Hunger Games” after this post. Back to vitamins.

I’ve read some articles online about the importance of adding various vitamins on a daily basis for women with PCOS. Yesterday I started taking B12, coQ10 and Folic Acid. I also had two Vitamin waters. Something I was always scared of was vitamin overdoses, mostly because I’m paranoid about what goes into my system, but also because the symptoms of vitamin overdose are not fun (look it up). The good thing about B vitamins are that they’re water-soluble, so no worries there. If you do decide to add various vitamins or a multivitamin, just make sure and do your research on the effects of each and what they do for the body. We’ve all been taking vitamins since our Flintstone vitamin age, but now that I’m working on actually balancing everything so that I can lose weight, more research and monitoring is necessary. It sucks that so much work has to be put in just to lose half of what someone without PCOS can lose, but giving up isn’t really an option. So, if you’ve added vitamins and had success or have any advice on which vitamins or multivitamin to use, please share!

Today is also day 3 of my high protein, low starch lifestyle change. (I hate the word ‘diet’). It actually works out pretty well. I have a lot of will power when it comes to food, so really it all comes down to having the proper food in the house and not allowing for temptations. My family and I need to go grocery shopping really bad, haha, but for now, I’ve made it work. The ONLY fast food restaurant in my town is Subway, which is such a blessing. I highly recommend the Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki SALAD with the parfait. And not having burger joints in town is great, not that I ever eat burgers (my least favorite food), but french fries are always tempting, unfortunately. I do indulge in Taco Bell occasionally because it’s my weakness, but at least it’s not french fries…right?

As for my workout routine? I started a heavy workout regimen during the last week of January. I’ve only missed 3 days since then of working out and that was my Birthday weekend. 🙂 I’m loving it and the people at our little gym in town, so that’s a great motivator.

Alas, I said this wouldn’t be a “this is what I ate” and “this is how many calories I lost” blog, so I’ll stop there. Let me know if you have any questions, advice or words of encouragement! All much appreciated. 🙂 Thanks for reading.

Why Bullying Prevention?

With millions of charities to choose from and causes to support, I’ve often been asked why I spend so much time working toward Bullying Prevention. My friends have varying opinions and not all think bullying is as big of an issue as people make it out to be. But you know, chances are the people who don’t think it’s an issue, aren’t the ones who spent their life being bullied. And for those of you who do wonder why I chose bullying over endangered species, starving children or saving the whales, here’s why.

It all comes down to PCOS, as always. Because doctors didn’t diagnose me until I was in my 20s, I spent my childhood/teenage/young adult years overweight and continued to gain weight every year no matter how much I exercised or didn’t eat. You know, bullies don’t ask questions about why you are the way you are because, quite frankly, they just don’t care. They’re too busy being insecure about their lives to care about how they’re affecting people with their actions and words. So, no, my bullies never asked if I had a genetic condition making me overweight, they just continued to severely torment me every day. And I know people get bullied for A LOT more reasons than just being overweight, so don’t think I’m demeaning anyone’s bullying experience at all. This is just my story. I’ve chosen to become an activist for bullying prevention because people should not have to grow up like did. Every day I wished to be thin, I prayed, I went as far as trying to believe in magic so that one day I could wake up and be thin. Constantly thinking about your faults because bullies remind you of them every day is no way to go through life. I’ve heard the opinion of “bullying is a part of the growing up process” so many times, and every time I want to punch that person in the face. Did you know that bullying is the leading cause of teenage suicide? Saying bullying is a part of growing up is saying suicide is a part of growing up. Having that opinion just shows ignorance. I’ve had way too many families around me experience suicide, one family experiencing it is too many. Bullying (& suicide) prevention is just as worthy of a cause to support as any, and if you disagree, show me one positive outcome to bullying that absolutely cannot be disputed. It’s a cause worth getting behind, so if you’re interested in jumping on the bandwagon, let me know. I will be posting events you can get involved with and organizations who need some support.

And I’m not alone. Here’s an examples of a girl dealing with Bullying related to her PCOS symptoms: Click Here

Also, here’s a discussion board of people asking for advice on handling PCOS-related bullying: Click Here

Again, thanks for reading!

Recognizing Signs of PCOS & Quick Tips

For those of you who aren’t aware of what PCOS is, let me enlighten you in this post. I had no idea what it was either until my sophomore year of college when a doctor finally decided to believe that I’m NOT an “over-eating, lazy, overweight girl” who just needs to exercise and eat right. I managed to consistently gain weight every year from a very early age. This could have been caught so much earlier, but instead I was sent to nutritionists, put on numerous weight-loss pills and remedies and told to walk 5 miles every day. I’ve been tested for diabetes too many times to remember, but not once did doctors, specialists, etc., think to check for PCOS. Honestly, it pisses me off. If caught when I was 10, there is a very good chance I would have lived a much different life thus far. Alas, doctors found PCOS when I was 20, so that’s 10 years when I could have been trying to get back on track to a healthier lifestyle. I’m starting to hear a tiny violin play, so I digress…

Ok, here’s the details of PCOS in short form. Polycystic ovarian syndrome, abbreviated as PCOS, is an endocrine disorder affecting women. About 5 to 10% of the women world wide are affected with this condition in their reproductive age. It is also one of the main causes of female infertility(but a lot of women do conceive). Obesity, and irregular menstrual cycle are the most common symptoms of PCOS. In most cases, excessive weight gain for no apparent reason is also seen.   So, instead of blaming my “excessive weight gain” on me supposedly overeating or needing to be more active, doctors should have been testing me for PCOS. This syndrome also shares characteristics with diabetes in forms of insulin resistance(this is why the main drug to manage PCOS is diabetes drug, Metformin). The research now shows that insulin has a role to play in PCOS. Women with PCOS are resistant to insulin. More and more insulin is released into the blood stream. The system plays up, causes metabolism problems and in turn leads to the ovarian syndrome. I will talk more about this in future posts about diets and exercising with PCOS.

So, if you or your daughter is experiencing excessive weight gain even though you are eating healthy and being active, if the mentrual cycle is irregular,or if other hormonal issues such as facial hair growth or acne are occuring, it would be wise to ask your doctor (GYNO) to test for PCOS. The test usually consists of blood work and ultra sounds, and results can be pretty quick. The bad thing about PCOS is that it cannot be “cured” and other issues like infertility and diffuculty losing weight can occur. The postive is that, when managed properly, it is possible to take control of your PCOS and be a ‘healthier’ you. Some quick tips for changing your diet that I learned from this article are as follows:

  • If taking Metformin, try to also take these supplements: coQ10, B12 and Folic Acid
  • Eat a high protein breakfast and low-starch diet.
  • Avoid cereals, breads & pastas. Instead, try whole grains, brown rice and beans.
  • Fruits & veggies are always safe and are a good source of fiber.
  • High protein diet: eggs, lean meats, fish… try to avoid red meats if possible
  • Add 1/4-1/2 TSP of cinnamon to every meal.

Something else I picked up on in my research is avoiding processed foods and sugary drinks (soda, artifically-sweetened juices, etc). I’m actually just starting out on really trying to stick to this diet, so I’ll keep you updated on the effects. I’ve worked out every day for more than a month now with little results, so I’m hoping a drastic change in diet will help. If not, a lot of articles suggest having a doctor test hormone levels. Let me hear your success stories, advice and especially encouraging words and motivation techniques. It’s a long road for me, and staying motivated will definitely be an issue. Thanks for reading!

This will not be one of “those” blogs.

Hey! Thanks for taking a look around the new & improved blog of me, Alex Boles! For all of you who do not know me, I am, in fact, a female. My mom named me Alex because she already had 3 girls and desperately wanted a boy…thanks, mom. 😉

This is not going to be one of those “this is how many calories I ate and how many pounds I’ve lost” blogs. This also won’t be one of those “these are my problems, feel sorry for me” blogs, either. I plan on making this blog more of a discussion for and with people living with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, trying to combat the growing issue of traditional and cyber-bullying, and to share my current and future endeavours within the entertainment industry.

I’m not going to tell you what I ate, how many miles I walked every day or who I would have dinner with if given the chance. I want to be able to share informative articles and interesting non-profit organizations or events and express myself when necessary. If you have PCOS, are trying to combat bullying where you are, or are, like me, trying to figure out your place in the entertainment industry and would like to provide some advice or ask any questions, leave me a comment here or on Twitter.

I will soon post my personal journey to the [BIO] page above, so you can understand me a little more, but until then, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to speak up. Thanks for reading! Stay tuned.