Wednesday, 31 December 2008


I've been away from the blog for, oh, nearly a couple of months now. It wasn't deliberate, it was just that things were going so well that I didn't have much to say. Well, they still are. I haven't had a binge since September. I haven't even thought about a binge since September, except when saying things like "I haven't had a binge since September". Oh, I ate too much over Christmas, but it was just because there was too much there, and there was no compulsion. I'm still working on the plate-cleaning-even-though-full issue, but it's getting smaller.

I'm doing really, really well. I've even lost a little weight, for whatever that's worth.

Which is, of course, when the boom falls.

This morning I went to the doctor and was advised that (a) I have very high cholesterol, (b) I have Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, and (c) my fasting blood glucose test was so high that it had to be retested because it was reading diabetic. So I may, in fact, BE diabetic. If the blood I gave this morning comes back all glucose-y, then no doubt I'll have to do whatever other tests they have, but diabetes is a definite possibility.

And I just.

What the hell?

The truth is, all this stuff (well, not the PCOS) runs in my family. My father is diabetic. My sister is a Type I diabetic. I should probably have expected this, sooner or later.

The truth is, the PCOS is probably what prompted my last major weight gain back in 2004, when I gained about sixty pounds, but hardly noticed it because I was used to gaining weight and blaming myself. This is also when my menstrual cycle went horribly wrong – the doctor says my androgen levels are so high that I couldn't even be ovulating at the moment.

The truth is, I'm suddenly terrified, and I'm struggling with the fact that I cannot, I cannot undo all the good work I've done this year, and yet I'm now in a situation in which not modifying my diet is pretty much out of the question, especially if I want to normalise my body enough to conceive next year.

So the big question for 2009 is going to be this: how do I maintain my hard-won sanity and yet improve my physical health in specifically dietary ways?

Happy New Year...


vesta44 said...

I don't know much about the PCOS and dietary changes, but for diabetes, watching the amount/type of carbs you eat can help (the higher the fiber in the carbs, the better). Exercise can also help, as it uses the glucose created by the carbs you eat (DH is type 2, diagnosed in June 1994). Some dietitians push portion control/weight loss, but DH and I have found that he does just fine watching the amount of carbs he eats (and eating protein and fat with them, takes longer for them to digest and longer to get the glucose into his blood, no high spikes that way). Both of his parents were diabetic, and 4 of his 6 brothers are also, so it's definitely a genetic thing that has to be dealt with when it happens. It's not easy to handle, for sure, but it can be done. Good luck.

purplegirl said...

Man, that really sucks! I'm sorry you have to deal with this. I don't know if you really want advice or not; I know it's a personal thing you're dealing with. But I just wanted to toss in there that both diabetes and PCOS can be seen as symptoms of insulin resistance, rather than separate diseases, and I've read a lot of success stories of people essentially reversing their insulin resistance with a lowER carb (not no carb) way of eating.

I know it's a very, very, very thin line between "I'm eating this for health" and "I'm eating this for dieting", and falling into all the old mindsets about it, but I'm sure you can do it!

Ashley said...

Have they tested your fasting insulin? I ask because most times PCOS comes with insulin resistance, which can be treated quite effectively with metformin. Some women have problems with the side effects of the drug, but I was lucky enough not to, and due to it I feel better and am currently 17 weeks pregnant.

There is a TON of info out there on PCOS, though very little of it is fat-friendly. is generally a good resource, but expect lots of diet talk, especially in certain forums.

Diana said...

METFORMIN, METFORMIN, METFORMIN. Your PCOS is probably caused by insulin resistance, and that's why your cycle has been all messed up, you've gained weird amounts of weight, etc. I gained 100 pounds over 5 years by doing nothing different, and turns out that it's all insulin resistance. I hadn't gotten to the point of cycts, but I do have liver damage from having it unchecked for too long (cause the doctors kept telling me to put down the Big Mac and get myself off the couch instead of actually looking to see if there was anything wrong). Get thee to an endocrinologist and make them test you for the insulin-resistant stuff...but you already have PCOS, which feeds into the blood sugar, etc. Once you get that all under control, the cycts will go away, and you will feel so, so much better!

ZaftigWendy said...

In addition to the above GREAT advice, just educate yourself on the glycemic index. There are easy and non-triggering ways to eat lower glycemic foods without restricting yourself, or even really thinking about it.

For example, really DARK chocolate is low Glycemic, and good for blood sugar.

So is sourdough bread!

You will be okay, and you don't have to "diet" to manage your diabetes/PCOS.

Piffle said...

Oh hugs, it's hard to find out you have a chronic illness.

Exercise is a great way to help with blood sugar levels too, I don't know if you already exercise; but if you don't, then starting can make a big difference. Oh, vesta already said that, well I'll second it then!

Maddie said...

Vesta44 - Thanks for the suggestions. It's definitely something I'll take into consideration if I do end up being diagnosed with diabetes. I'm trying to remind myself that all these things are treatable and manageable. Thank you. :)

purplegirl - Yes, the doctor did mention that diabetes and PCOS were kind of parts of a whole, which is interesting. I've had a lot of useful suggestions about low GI eating and stuff. I guess I need to focus on flexibility.

It is a thin line between eating for health and eating for weight - I think I'm going to have to have some quite firm internal conversations with myself and make sure I keep thinking about what I'm eating in the right way so I don't slip back into old habits.

Ashley - they've tested the fasting glucose, and definitely think I have insulin resistance, so they've prescribed metformin. Hopefully that will help! I hear good things about it. I will definitely check out SoulCysters, though of course I have to avoid the diet talk. Thank you. :)

Diana - Yep, the doctor prescribed metformin, and I have it sitting beside me as we speak. I didn't even twig to the weight loss at the same time as the menstrual mess up till recently, but that's because I associated weight gain only with my own supposed failure. People are suggesting a low GI emphasis as well, which may hopefully help.

ZafitgWendy - yes, my sister (who's a type 1 diabetic) and a couple of other people suggested the low GI stuff. I will definitely be checking out a book (and some dark chocolate, heh). Thank you!

Piffle - yeah, it really is, especially when the treatment (or at least doctor/nurse suggestions) consists at least in part of behaviours I've had to work terribly hard to move beyond.

I'm definitely going to increase the exercise - I do already walk everywhere, and I was doing yoga every day (till I got the flu and an inner ear infection), so I'll get back on that and add a couple of other things. Hopefully if I take my metformin, and build on the exercise, and make some food adjustments, it will all be okay. Thank you!

Well-Rounded Mama said...

Make sure they test your fasting insulin as well, so you can see if the metformin is having an effect on that. Track it.

It's also helpful to remember it's not so much a diet as it is a change in food combos and timing. You basically eat very similar stuff, perhaps a little more low-carb, but it's in what COMBOS and how it's timed that really helps. Eating carbs with protein is really helpful for blood sugar, making sure you spread the carbs out fairly evenly in the day, that sort of thing.

Acupuncture is helpful to many women with PCOS. I'm not very into herbs but I've heard that some women with PCOS have real luck with those too. Just make sure you consult an expert. And of course, regular exercise is KEY to minimizing insulin resistance.

Finally, many women with PCOS have borderline hypothyroidism too, and cholesterol may improve if that gets treated. The difficulty is finidng someone who takes borderline hypothyroidism seriously. Ask to be tested, then ask for your exact test results and the scale used for diagnosis. Read up on hypothyroidism online so you see a variety of perspectives about it to consider.

If you are diagnosed with diabetes, there's a good perspective on Fat Acceptance and diabetes in an old article at Radiance Magazine. Google it and you'll find it.

Blessings on you! Hang in there, you can get through this.