Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Dr Appointment that wasn't ...

I was so looking forward to today. Finally getting in to see the doctor and have the thyroid tests to find out whether there are issues that might be affecting my weight loss efforts. The appointment was supposed to be the 29th January, but they called and pushed it back to 3rd February. They did warn me ahead of time I would have to pay $250 up front, but I could get $100 back from Medicare. In fact in both calls, they reminded me of this.

I got there and it wasn't particularly easy to find a park, so I had to walk a ways. Waited in line for a while, and when I got to the front told them who I was there to see. They took all my personal details, scanned my Medicare card, and said they needed the $250 now. Up front? OK fine, and there won't be any additional costs for the tests? 'Oh no this is just the first time consultation fee for the doctor, everything else will be bulk billed.' OK, wow. American Express or Visa?  'Um ... cash.'  Cash? You don't take credit cards? 'We don't have a facility for that.' Gee, you might have told me that on the phone, I could have been prepared! 'Well there are ATMs across the road.' I said look, I don't have that much in my account right now to make a withdrawal, and I'm certainly not taking a cash advance on my credit card as that will incur fees. 'Well I'll see what I can do,' she says, and then I can hear her and another woman talking in a small room to the side.

'No, we can't give a receipt from that account, so she wouldn't be able to claim any back from Medicare. Well no it's a different account, the cash goes straight to the doctor, if the clinic accepted some other form of payment I wouldn't be able to give her a receipt that Medicare would accept.' This went on for a minute or two and I walked past and said you know what, thanks but I'll find another doctor. You really might want to let people know up-front that they're expected to pay in cash! I left really pissed off, as I'd taken time off from work and turned up, given them all my details and let them swipe my Medicare card, then had to leave. I wonder if they'll still bulk bill Medicare for this as if there had been an appointment? Since they did swipe my card, hubby thinks I should call Medicare and let them know there was no appointment.

I guess I can go back to my regular doctor and see if she'll do the tests, but I'm just really frustrated by this! What a waste of my time. Wish I had something to report, but I'm just not a happy camper right now.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Hubby wants to eat what I eat!

How cool is that? We watched That Sugar Film last night and while we've watched lots of similar documentaries lately, I think the message finally reached him. He has gained a little weight over the last few years, mostly in the abdominal region, and he'd really like to lose it. Watching how sugar affected an average Aussie bloke who started consuming it in amounts that the average person consumes (amazingly that's 40 tsp per day) after not having eaten it for years -- well it was enough to make him think. This guy didn't eat sugary junk food, either -- just normal, supposedly healthy foods from the grocery store that we often don't even realise have sugar in them. He even traveled to the US at one point and found it was much easier to hit the 40 tsp per day there. If you're an Aussie and you have Presto, you can watch the film there, and I think the website offers other ways to view it, too.

So after the film my hubby asked me if he could eat what I eat next week. What? Sure! I would love that! Not having to work around each other in the kitchen making different meals would be great, and I'd love to see him eating healthier anyway. He's a big bread eater, so I warned that is likely what he'll miss most, but he's going to give it a go. Hopefully he likes it as it sure will make meal planning easier week to week. For the first week I'll be sure to plan things I'm fairly confident he'll like. Some things he has already had with me, he's just added bread or potatoes to his portion so he won't be doing that this time. I told him he doesn't need to worry about following Dr Poon guidelines to the letter, just eliminating grains and sugar will be enough to see a difference I reckon. It's generally easier for men to lose weight, so we'll see how he goes.

After my huge drop, the next week I went up a bit, and then last week my cycle came around again -- I counted the days and was surprised to find it had been exactly a 28 day cycle, starting again on day 29. That is incredible. Could the cream be regulating me that perfectly? I don't know but again I'll discuss with the doctor soon. I was supposed to see him for the thyroid tests on the 29th but they called me a few days before that saying they had to reschedule, so now I go on the 3rd February. I am very much looking forward to this visit, and I hope I like him as he's accepting new patients. I've not been very happy with the doctor I have now, and this guy is easier to get to with better parking as well.  Anyway, I'll let you know how it goes -- wish me luck!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

8 lb drop in 1 week? It's Week #1 again!

I'm back and doing well -- I'll talk about my 8 pound drop this week in just a minute, for those of you still interested. First, let me apologise for not writing more, but the fact is I didn't know what to say. Hi, I'm still struggling and had a holiday regain? Who wants to read that?! Well I have lost a few subscribers anyway. People follow and unfollow for any number of reasons, but I can certainly understand only wanting to follow bloggers that inspire you. Struggling for a long time to break a stall may not be very inspiring reading, but it certainly is real. Most people who lose a large amount of weight don't sail effortlessly to goal. I wish it were true, but it's not. It reminds me of that drawing about what people think success looks like vs. what it actually looks like.



Struggling to break through stalls and reach goals is very common and very real. I did promise to share the good and the bad on this journey, so I'll try to remember that even when the going gets tough. Stalls suck, but I'm proud to say I have not given up, so maybe that's inspiring in and of itself.

In any case, when I last posted it was just before Christmas and I had every intention of staying the course through the holiday break. I was not successful. We had family up and every time I turned around it was an eating fest, whether at someone's home or out at a restaurant. I gave in on more than one occasion and quickly found myself regaining. I haven't posted weights lately, so here goes. On 19th December I was 80.7 kg (177.9 lb). by 2nd January I was 85.9 kg (189.38 lb). The family all went back home shortly after that and I was determined to start over. This time I thought I would try strict LCHF. I've dabbled with it and tried a few recipes, but never followed it strictly before, so I did for a whole week, using delicious recipes from DietDoctor.com. It was not easy eating that much fat and it was very high calorie, but I stuck it out for a week. On 9th January I was 87.7 kg (193.35 lb). What the hell ... I gained?!

Some people may do well on LCHF, but I didn't like it and was not about to continue! What to do? Going back to Dr Poon Phase 1 hadn't worked the last few times I tried it. But I had to do something, so I started again last Sunday (10th Jan). The next day I was down 1.5 kg (3.3 lb). Then another kilo (2.2 lb) the next day. I stayed steady the next day, then went up 100g (.22 lb), then saw another drop. Yesterday I was 84 kg exactly (185.19 lb), that's a loss of 3.7 kg (8.16 lb) in just 5 days. I haven't seen a drop that big since my very first week of Pooning!  In fact, that's exactly what I lost in my very first week! Today I'm up 100g (.22 lb) but that doesn't worry me, I'm still down 8 pounds! Now lest you think it was all water weight, my scale says it was over half fat.

So why did it work this week? What's changed? The only thing I can think of is I've started my 2nd month of progesterone cream. If the hormonal change of nearing menopause was causing my weight struggles (as it does for so many women my age) then maybe progesterone cream is making a difference. My cycle sure is behaving the way it used to a couple of years ago. No more of this every three week crap, it's more like 37 days now. I don't know whether it's the progesterone cream or not, but I plan to keep using it. And I'll ask the doctor about it.

Yes, I did schedule an appointment to have my thyroid checked. I scheduled it before I saw this week's drop, and part of me wonders if I should cancel (it's rather expensive!) but I don't want to assume one very good week means I'm back on track. And the thyroid could still be a factor. I have quite a few of the symptoms listed in the article Jan kindly shared with me, and while some of them could apply to PCOS as well, I'd like to be sure. The nurse told me the doctor would charge me $250 (I'd get $150 reimbursed from Medicare) but I didn't think to ask whether there would be any other charges (e.g. for pathology). I think it's important get tested though, so I think I should keep the appointment.

Anyway, thank you to those of you who are still with me, I appreciate it very much. I will be in touch more frequently, I promise. I'll leave you with another great success graphic, and I hope it helps you as much as it does me.



I'll be sure to let you know how the thyroid tests go. Hope your new year is off to a great start! :)

Monday, December 21, 2015

Things are going well ... is it due to progesterone cream?

I haven't blogged in a while, mostly because things are going well and I didn't want to jinx them. I saw a video review of Organic Excellence Feminine Balance cream with progesterone that is especially helpful for peri-menopausal and menopausal women. The reviewer said it relieved lots of her menopausal symptoms including hot flashes and she just swore by it.  Well I'm 52 but not experiencing any symptoms at all, other than my cycles tending to come every three weeks (where most of my life they were much longer due to PCOS). Not every woman experiences peri-menopausal symptoms - I don't recall my mother ever complaining about it at all. Still I wonder if hormonal changes might be why I can't seem to break free of this weight-loss stall.

I did a bit of research; one article gave a list of questions, and based on your answers advised whether you might have a hormonal imbalance. My answers pointed to estrogen dominance, and indicated progesterone might help. So I thought I'd try some of this cream, I mean it would either help or not, and it's safe for any woman to take. The guy that developed it is Dr John Lee, who is apparently an authority in the use of natural progesterone cream and hormone balance. So I ordered some and started using it as directed from the 12th to 26th day of my cycle. You apply 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon to thin-skinned areas such as your neck, face, breastbone or forearms twice a day.

Since I wasn't experiencing any noticeable symptoms, I wasn't surprised to find I didn't feel any different when using it. In the previous couple of weeks I'd found my weight creeping up a bit which frustrated me to no end. Although I'd tried a few times previously returning to strict Phase 1 of Dr Poon and it hadn't worked, I decided to try again, so all last week I was on Phase 1.

I'd chosen a bad week to start as all the signs of my cycle coming on were there, and yet I lost weight. Then I fully expected my cycle to start by the end of the week, and it didn't - I got the tenderness and cramps and even spotting - but nothing else. Why does that matter? Well that's how things used to be back before I started getting it every three weeks. It means this cycle is going to be about five weeks, assuming it starts this week. It makes me wonder if the changes affecting not only my cycle but my stubborn stall were due to hormonal changes, and whether in fact this cream might make a difference. It's too soon to tell, but certainly very interesting.

Something Jan commented on my previous post also piqued my interest (thank you Jan the article was a very interesting read). One of the things in the article that got my attention was the possible thyroid issues. There were about a dozen symptoms given that might mean thyroid issues, and I have eight of them! So I'm planning to see my doctor after the holidays and see if I can get that checked.

Anyways, it's great to have my weight moving downward again, and I will report on my weigh-in next time, I just wanted to check in and let you know things are going well. I'm feeling great and not worried about the approaching holidays. I have plans to make Phase 1 friendly meals to bring with me to the in-laws and I hope to soon be reporting sailing toward my goal. Wish me luck. :)

Sunday, December 6, 2015

From Egg Fast to IF again.

Well I haven't fallen off the face of the earth, or off the wagon for that matter. Frustrated with my stall and researching LCHF I came across something called the Egg Fast. Have you heard of this? It's for those who have stalled on LCHF and want to break through. For 3-5 days you eat eggs, butter and cheese (with few exceptions, some modify to include other fats like mayo so they can make egg salad). You can add small amounts of seasoning or a bit of mustard.

A quick Google search will tell you more, I think it was developed by low carb guru, author and podcaster Jimmy Moore of Livin La Vida Low Carb. You have at least six eggs per day and must have a tablespoon of butter or other allowed fat for each egg. You can also have an ounce (28 g) of cheese for each egg but they recommend you have less. Anyway the bloggers I found claimed to have dropped like 5-7 pounds in those 3-5 days. You will regain half a pound or more when you go off, depending on how gently you transition back, e.g. don't go nuts your first day off. In fact have 1-2 egg meals and one regular LCHF meal and transition back slowly. Most said they kept most of the weight off. My experience?

I did it from Sunday to Thursday last week, transitioning off on Friday and Saturday. I found a couple of delicious recipes which I saved for later in the week in case I tired of eggs, as most said they did ... but I didn't really. I love eggs. Monday I had dropped over a pound and a half. Then I stayed the same Tuesday. Wednesday I dropped about 3/4 of a pound and stayed there the rest of the time. About half that weight came back after my first transition day and the rest after the second. Very frustrating. I am starting to think I am not only never going to see goal, but I'm going to struggle to maintain the loss I have!

Not giving up, just beyond frustrated. I fasted completely today and will resume alternate day fasting this week along with eating much less on the days I do eat. Still sticking to LCHF. That's all I got.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Reason to celebrate!

So I've been trying to shift my focus these last couple of weeks, dealing again with period gain and frustration at my stall ... and the very kind messages from some of you, both in the comments of my last post and emailed to me privately, certainly helped lift my spirits. Thank you all, I appreciate it more than you know. Then something came along that made shifting my focus a whole lot easier ... at least for now. Some weeks back I applied for Australian citizenship ... which involves a lengthy application, much notarised evidence, and of course a fee. So I recently received an email advising I had an appointment to sit my citizenship test.

I had downloaded the resource kit months ago and took several practice tests, and I was fairly confident. Stilł, in the days leading up to my test I read the material again and took several more practice tests. Out of about 200 questions, they randomly ask you twenty, so I was hoping to get different questions each time I practiced it, but many were the same.

Then the day came and I went in to sit the actual test, and bring original documents of all the notarised copies I had submitted. About a third of the questions I got were not on the practice tests, but still I sailed through it, hesitating at just one. In the end I got one wrong (you're allowed five) and she said I had been the fastest person she'd ever seen complete the test. She couldn't say which one I got wrong but I'm sure it was the one I hesitated on. In any case, I passed and just had to wait for official notification that would advise whether I was approved. Well that came just a couple of days ago! I am approved but they will send me notification of when my citizenship ceremony will be (would be cool if it falls on Australia Day) and then I have to take an oath before I can officially become a citizen,

Both Australia and the U.S. allow dual citizenship, so I am in no way renouncing my US Citizenship, nor would I ever. But my life is here now with my husband. In fact, today is our 12th Wedding Anniversary so we have two things to celebrate. :)

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Will I ever be happy with my weight?

Firstly, the weigh-in. I last reported I was at 76 kg (167.55 lb) but the next day I was back to 77.8 kg (171.52 lb) where I stayed all week! I was that frustrated I returned to Alternate Day Fasting three days this week yet the weight didn't budge. I remained 77.8 kg all week long. Until this morning. Now I'm 75.7 kg (166.89 lb) and coming off a fast day I'm almost afraid to eat today. It's so frustrating when everything that's worked before doesn't seem to work anymore. So many women talk about that same thing happening once they are in their 50s. I'm starting to think my body just wants to stay in the 165 lbs range and I'm never getting back to my low weight of 158 just before my trip home, much less my goal of 150. My husband thinks I should stop obsessing over reaching my goal and just be happy where I am. He's not alone.

At my Halloween Party this year, at least three people said I was skinny now. I often hear I look great or so thin now and shouldn't worry about losing more weight. I am so not thin. I've talked about this before -- part of me thinks people are used to fat being normal, so because I am no longer morbidly obese and look more like most average people, I am fine and can stop now. But still I struggle and am frustrated because I have not reached my goal. My goal is 150 pounds, which is still overweight for me (I'm just under 5'4") but it's the goal I originally set for myself and I feel like if I give up before I get there, I've failed at yet another weight-loss effort. And truth be told, I'm not happy at this weight.

In saying that -- I recall a post from two years ago where I talked about where my struggles with weight first began. Back in high school I weighed about 165 pounds and I was never happy with that, thus starting a life-long battle with weight, and sending me skyrocketing into morbid obesity.

Now in my 50s I find myself frustrated because I've maintained a weight fluctuating between about 160-170 pounds for eight months now. I said two years ago that I was determined to succeed this time and I knew I wouldn't quit. That's why I keep obsessing about reaching my goal. But am I just reverting to that same high school girl who wasn't happy with herself and her weight at 165 pounds? Should I just be happy that I've lost as much as I have, that I'm no longer morbidly obese, and that I seem to be able to maintain at this weight?  I really struggle with wanting to find some balance between being happy with myself and who I am, and being someone who can achieve her goals. And if I'm happy at this weight, will I relax my efforts to continue losing and possibly regain? Is my whole life going to be about what I weight and what I eat from now on? When is enough enough?