Most of you now know that Mr kaboodle and I have been trying for a baby since January last year (2014). It’s no secret that I now find myself in a differnt frame of mind to what I was back then. Back then I was thinking about having a baby. A baby would make me happy. A baby would stop me from feeling broody. A baby would add more to our family. A baby. A baby. A baby.
When you’re up against infertility it’s easy to forget that you have hurdles in your way and you begin to focus on the finish line, instead of focusing on each step in front of you. I know that it’s true with every fibre of my being. When my journey to motherhood first began, I was a tiny little 17 year old with wide eyes and a naive perspective on life. It didn’t matter that I was 17. I had my own house, a stable relationship and I would fight hell to leather over my right to become a mother when I chose to become a mother. Fate threw me a bad hand and I found I was a sufferer of PCOS. I started obsessing about having a baby.
That obsession stayed with me for a long time, long after the failure of my first relationship and into the beginning of my relationship with Meirion. I told him about it, I confessed that having a baby has always been top priority but I was infertile and I couldn’t have a baby by myself, he accepted that and we started to grow as a couple. We fell in love and I momentarily forgot that a baby was my objective, instead, I was living in the moment. I was on track to college and a baby was at the bottom of my list.
It didn’t make being an infertile any easier, it just meant that I didn’t have to worry about it happening.
Willow came as a big surprise and much to my delight, she is everything I have ever wanted.
Back in 2013. I found out I was pregnant again. Kaboodle dad and I were both scared, willow was only 3 months old and having another baby with such a short amount of time between each was daunting. Within a week of finding out, we had both warmed to the idea, after all, we were together and in it for the long haul. A baby would just expand our family. We started joking that we just make babies together and we had well and truly learnt our lesson on the subject. Sadly, two weeks later, just three weeks after finding out, I misscarried.
The saying “everything happens for a reason” really stuck with me at that time. We knew another baby wasn’t a very good idea but we accepted it, when we lost our second child, we shared some tears and promised we would be more carful. As much as a second baby would be fun, neither of us were truly ready for it and we realised that. Our miscarriage gave us the knowledge that we really needed to be more careful and we started using contraception.
Back in January last year we both realised we were ready for another baby and that’s where the journey began. The running joke of we just make babies was the one thing that excited me more than anything. I didn’t need to worry about trying for a Baby, Meirion and I just got pregnant, I looked forward to taking a test in four weeks and seeing my Big Fat Positive.
Disappointingly, things didn’t work out that way and my PCOS came back to haunt me. It toyed with me, making me go without a period for so long, it laughed in my face every time I peed on another stick and it came back with a big fat negative. I started getting down again, my mind playing the old trick on me, telling me I was worthless, a bad woman and incompetent. I started obsessing again. Baby, baby, baby. All I want is a baby, body. Give it to me!
Three months of constant obsessing, thoughts of pregnancy and babies at every waking minute of every waking day, I realised I had to stop. I was only jeopardising my own mental health. I started really looking into pcos and learning more about my condition, I realised that I ignored it for years and let it do what it wanted. I stopped obsessing over my infertility and started focusing on improving the cause of my infertility.
Pcos can be a cruel master. It can give you all the pregnancy symptoms under the sun while you sit in limbo, month after month waiting for your next period. I realised that my best chances of regaining control of my body was to address my weight. I was very heavy for my frame, carrying a lot of extra weight, I had ballooned after having willow and only ever saw the scale increase. It’s no secret that PCOS causes weight gain and makes weight loss nigh on impossible. Under the assumption that my weight was a contributor to the state my PCOS was in. I vowed to make a change, i started addressing my eating habits. I weighed myself and I clocked up 11 stone 7 pound on the scales at my heaviest (73kg/160lb). I stand at 5 foot tall. My weight was not excessive, I was not obese in my opinion but, when my BMI came up with 31 I realised I was NOT helping my chances at all. A BMI of 31 IS excessive, even if I didn’t look it, I was classed as obese. I started taking small steps and I managed to loose a few pounds before I realised I wasn’t doing very good at weight loss.
I went to a dietician and got the proper information and help I needed and that’s when I started my true weight loss journey.
This is a photo I took on the first day of my weight loss journey. August 2015. I weighed 11stone 2pound (70kg/155lb)
I didn’t go at it all guns blazing, I made small changes over time. I slowly reduced my intake and kept to a calorie allowance of 1200 per day. Admittedly, there were days I would falter and go back into the 2000kcal range. Dieting is hard, even harder when you’re the only person in the household dieting. Eventually though, I found a way to cope, I drank more, walked more, kept myself busy and ate less. It was working and I slowly lost a whole stone (6kg/14lb) by myself.
Then I became ill with my reflux problem and I lost another stone, then it went for a while and I put half a stone back on. Then my illness came back and it stuck around, I lost 10lb that time because I was also being treated meaning I could still eat. Once my illness subsided again, I continued to eat the smaller portions and drink as much as I could.
I’ve continued to loose since getting better by making sure I don’t fall back into bad habits. These days I can enjoy more unhealthy foods like a take out here and there and a chocolate bar every now and then because my relationship with food has changed. I am no longer dependant on snacks to get me through the day. I can eat my meals and be satisfied, occasionally allowing myself a treat.
Yesterday, I decided I should weight myself. It’s been a long time since I weighed myself and I needed to find out if I had any more weight to loose to make it to my goal of 9stone (58kg/128lb) before my operation on Monday. 9 stone is just below the upper limit for a healthy weight for my height. I just wanted to be certain that I was as close to that healthy weight range as possible to stop me from being fearful about my weight on top of all the other things I fear.
I stepped onto the scale expecting to see a few pound over 9 stone meaning I would have one or two pound to loose. I was wrong, I weighed in at 8 stone 13 pound (56kg/123lb). That’s 1lb below my goal weight. In total I have lost 2 stone 3 pound (14kg/31lb) that’s 20% of my start weight.
These photos were taken this morning. April 2015. I am wearing the same top and bottoms as I am in my start photos.
I know that my illness contributed to a part of my overall loss. I have to take that into account but, on the whole, I have stuck to my guns. I have maintained a lower calorie intake and kept my water intake high. They say that loosing between 5 and 10% of (start) weight, for women with PCOS, will reduce the effects of PCOS and should help to regulate the menstrual cycle. In this experience, I feel that loosing the weight has made a small difference, this time last year I was suffering with severe amenorrhea (lack of periods) where as my last two cycles have been relatively short, for me that is. Ultimately, a baby is still the final hurdle, the destination but, I am not focused on getting pregnant, what I hope to see after my operation is my body working close to that of a woman who isn’t infertile. I hope to achive regular cycles. A baby will come after my body has had the chance to function properly.
Before I finish, I just want to add what I found helped me loose my weight, for any cysters out there who’re trying to help their cycles with weight loss.
Water is your best friend. Drink water before during and after meals. Drink it if and when you can, 2litres a day should do it. Don’t be afraid of water weight from drinking, be afraid of water weight from NOT drinking.
Portion control. It’s horrible. It sucks. You will hate it but I promise, after a few weeks you won’t even notice and a larger portion WILL fill you up enough to bloat you.
Don’t ban your favourite foods. If you enjoy having chocolate then have chocolate but have it in moderation. Maybe one night a week allow yourself a small portion of your favourite food, but don’t use it as a reward!
Set goals for yourself and have a reward planned for when you reach your goal. Stay away from food goals, they will hinder your diet. Give yourself a treat as a reward, new clothes, get your hair done, get your nails done, something that isn’t central to food.
A calorie allowance is vital. It might seem like it doesn’t matter but it does. Eating too little will make you gain, eating to much will make you gain. Having a calorie limit allows you to loose in a healthy way. If you’re looking for a way to set yourself a daily calorie target, use My Fitness Pal, it’s online as well as an app for Apple and android products. It will become your wing man and without it, I would not be where I am.
Step away from branded diets. They are the most uneccessary thing on the planet! They will only temporarily help you. Research ‘The Eatwell Plate’ and learn the correct portion sizes. Food companies are not obligated to give you the correct portion size, they determine portion sizes, for example, a pasta packet will tell you to allow 75g of pasta per person, 25g of pasta is one portion of startchy carbs, you should only have appx 3-9 portions per day and cereal, bread, crackers they all fall in this category!
Move. Whether it’s a lengthy walk or housework, move. Put the radio and wiggle, it doesn’t matter what it is just get your body moving. Take the stairs, walk to the shop, walk the kids to school, you don’t have to exercise like a plough horse to make a difference, little and often will do just as good as one big workout a day.
That’s my advice. Don’t let PCOS determine whether you can or cannot loose weight. You can loose weight, it isn’t easy, but it can be done.
Here’s a double up of my before and after just so you can see properly.
As always, thanks for reading and I hope this helps you if you’re also on a weight loss journey.