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.

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One Last Explanation. Acting? Really?

I’ve explained PCOS, the reasons why I’m an activist for bullying prevention, so the only thing left to explain is why I’m crazily passionate about the hardest industry to break into, film. Not only is this a hard industry for the average women to get into, but having difficulties with weightloss and confidence has made this whole journey even harder. But somehow I still yearn to be involved in this industry. I lived in L.A. for a few months in 2010, ran out of money and came home to save for try #2, which will hopefully happen in August 2012. I was told to have a backup, so I went to college, got a degree and work to make money where I can, but for any of you who have a passion, you know that it’s really all you can think about when given a free moment. Performing is the only thing that makes me feel like I’m doing the right thing, if that makes sense. Yeah, I am good at other jobs, I really like working in

I played Mrs. VanHuysen's cook in "The Matchmaker" 2010

Communications, but it’s not what makes me happy. A lot of people knock down passion and say, “do what you can make money doing,” but I want life to be about so much more than that. I don’t think it’s too selfish to ask to be happy. One of my very first friends in high school, Maggie, always told me that “if you can think of one, just one, other thing you’d be more happy doing, then you’re not suppose to be doing it.” So, don’t try to convince me to give up my “dreams” because as long I can still dream, I will always work on getting there. I always tell people that performing/entertainment is in my bones, so I live with my dreams everyday, and eventually I’ll find a way to live inside them instead of chasing them.

Producer of "Restaurant: Impossible" Mark Summers and I, 2010

Since getting back from L.A., I’ve done a few projects in St. Louis, even working on a show for the Food Network called “Restaurant Impossible.” That was a pretty amazing couple of days. Now that I’ve moved into the country, it’s harder to incorporate this into my life. My mom came up with a brilliant idea a few weeks ago though. We live in a really small town where even the high school can’t afford a theater department, so the theater/performing culture and opportunities are pretty much nonexistent. Therefor, we’re going to combine our experiences to create a theater production company here in town that incorportes all ages, so the schools and community members can be involved. I had a theater scholarship in college for acting and directing, I was a member of the improv team, and I did a few productions with the community theater company as well, so this should be pretty fun. And I don’t need Hollywood/New York to be happy in performing. Who knows, maybe having a small community theater company will make me happy. I have a feeling I will yearn for something larger, though, so chances are I’ll be headed to a bigger city within a year. I’ll keep you all updated, of course.

Anyway, even though my “size” isn’t widely accepted in the entertainment industry, that doesn’t mean I should ever give up. I’m working on living with PCOS, I work out every day, and maybe one day I will be “average.” Until then, hopefully everyone can just accept ME. 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.