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Bye Bye Back Fat

I know, the title of this post conjures up a highly appetizing mental image, no? I thought it only appropriate to follow up a drool-worthy image of cake with a back fat post. Hahaha.

I feel like I need to give a little background. So that you don’t think the weight loss I’ve had in the past two weeks is "extreme". I assure you, it is not. And anyone that knows me, knows how incredibly responsive my weight is to starting/stopping medication in general.

PCOS, Yasmin, and Me
I stopped taking medication for my PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) exactly two weeks ago today. I was taking Yasmin, a birth control pill that is usually recommended for treatment of PCOS due to its anti-androgenic properties. However, I was experiencing increasingly worsening side affects – including 20 lbs weight gain in the first month, burning/stinging eyes the second month (couldn’t wear my contacts), hives on my neck and itching all over the 3rd and 4th months, and then increasing migraines and last but not least, a week of non-stop nosebleeds. It was the nosebleeds that really freaked me out since I’ve never had one in my life, and I stopped taking the medication immediately.

I have since seen a doctor, who supports my decision to not take birth control to treat the PCOS. He says that it’s not necessary to regulate my period, if I don’t want to deal with the side effects. Oh yeah, and he said that migraines and nose bleeds are very serious!! He says I was probably reacting to either the estrogen or progestin, and that I can try taking a lower dose pill if I want. The only reason I tried taking it in the first place, was because I was told I’d be at a high risk of endometrial cancer if I didn’t regulate my periods. He says that so long as I have one every 3-4 months that I won’t be at risk. He’s referring me to an endocrinologist, who will help me figure out if I want to do anything to treat the other symptoms (i.e. spironolactone for the hirsutism – which is excessive hair growth in layman’s terms). He’ll also give me pain meds for the extreme ovarian pain that I experience before periods, since the Yasmin did help control that a little. I can’t even begin to describe to you the pain I’ve had in the past. Just imagine little bombs going off in your ovaries, like someone’s taking a knife and stabbing you violently over and over in your pelvis, and feeling like you’re going to burn up all over and sweating like crazy, and tightening yourself into the tightest fetal ball while kicking and moaning…and then sometimes vomiting as well. Back in the worst times, David used to find me passed out on the bathroom floor after a particularly extreme episode. *shudders to think about it*

The only nice things I can say about Yasmin is that I did feel somewhat like a normal woman, in that I had 6 straight periods in a row for the first time in my life. And I could anticipate them, rather than having one come at any day of the month at any time. And they were light. And, as I mentioned, less pain, although, I still did have a day of sharp pain in my left ovary every couple months or so. My skin cleared up a little, as well, but that may or may not be due to Yasmin.

I think the hardest thing I have to deal with whenever I introduce new hormones into my body is the effect on my moods. In the past, I tried taking birth control twice for the PCOS, but I literally felt like I was going crazy, and I never lasted more than 2-4 weeks. Because of my natural hormonal imbalance, I tend to have rather sharp highs and lows as it is, but when I take hormones of any sort, they are definitely more extreme. And my moods were definitely erratic on the Yasmin. In fact, I couldn’t figure out why, when everything was going right for the first time in many many years (solid job, end of school in sight, good roommate, steady paycheck, benefits, a loving boyfriend…the list could go on and on), I felt so BAD all the time. I feel a lot more like my old self now, whether that’s good or bad, who knows. I have more energy, I’m able to handle stress better, and I don’t spazz out over the little things as much.

Okay, that may be more background than you wanted to know, but there it is. Since I knew full well that I would lose weight going off the pill, I figured I’d couple that with clean eating as well as daily workouts and try to maximize the weight loss. You may remember, I was regularly working out and very toned back in March. I also had a back of steel that I was very proud of. Hehehehe. I tried to keep that up on the Yasmin, but it was very disheartening to be working out 6 days a week and still just keep packing on the weight. It doesn’t matter if you have rock hard abs or quadriceps when you have 2 inches of fat disguising it all. So I gave up. Five sedentary months followed, which is highly unlike me.

It was EXTREMELY difficult to even move the first week off Yasmin, let alone exercise, because going off the pill triggered my body to go into a really bad fibro attack. I couldn’t go up stairs, or bend my legs, and there was one day when I couldn’t even get out of bed. I pretty much needed a wheelchair to get around. So I dragged myself to the gym, to try and walk it out. Actually just walking, and halfheartedly jogging did help loosen up the joints and help manage the pain somewhat. But I don’t think that any exercise I did really helped with the weight loss that week. It was all pretty much due to my metabolism revving back up again. And now I’m eating more in a day than I ever did in the past 6 months, and I still feel hungry all the time.

Enter the new program: WSFL
Anyone who knows me also knows that I need structure and that I get bored easily. Try as I might, I’ve never been able to follow the same fitness routine for longer than 4 weeks. I think I’ve attempted completing the Body for Life program three different times (it’s 12 weeks long). I always get amazing results during that time, but I get bored or sidetracked. So this time, I’m basing my diet and exercise off Alwyn Cosgrove’s "Warp Speed Fat Loss." I’ll be one of those "results not typical"people, though, due to the medication factor.

WSFL is four weeks long, which is perfect. After that, I can change it up and go on to something else. It has pretty much the standard high protein, low carb 6-meals-a-day diet that all weightlifting programs promote. It actually spells out your meals for you, which I’ve found to be a major benefit for my highly stressful schedule — it takes the thinking out of the equation. There’s no hemming or hawing over what you’ll eat today. There’s no looking in your refrigerator and saying "I don’t have anything to make." You have a week’s worth of meals laid out for you, so you can get all your groceries and then make up the following day’s meals ahead of time if you’re busy like me. Structure, structure, structure. It’s beautiful. If there’s anything I’ve taken from this, it will be to make a spreadsheet with all my meals ahead of time to help simplify my life.

I’ve also found a few recipes that I really like and will go in my clean eating repertoire. Of course, there’s some that literally make me want to gag. Anything involving cottage cheese and peanut butter is just gross. It makes me want to throw up no matter what – I’ve tried it blended and with chocolate and nothing makes this combo palatable for me.

Week 2 Results
Okay, now for the results. In two weeks, I’ve lost 6 pounds and 13.375 inches. If I stay on this track (hopefully!), that will be 12 pounds in four weeks. I really only need to lose 2 more pounds a week to reach my goal of 10 pounds. Then I’ll be halfway to where I want to be. I feel great. My jeans are getting looser, my shirt sleeves are looser on my upper arms, and my boobs have completely deflated. I called them my "pregnant boobs," because my body was basically being tricked into thinking it was pregnant — and they got huge and engorged and all veiny. Not fun to carry around, mind you. I did get used to them after 6 months, and it was like saying good-bye to a close friend, haha.

My upper body is always the first to respond to weight loss. My hips/thighs/butt are always the last. When I took my "before" pictures, I was totally appalled that I had back rolls. I was near the highest weight I’ve ever been. But back rolls! After my beautiful back shots earlier this year, seeing those back rolls motivated me to kick it into high gear. After two weeks, the obnoxious back rolls are gone:

My waist is getting more defined, and my upper ribs are starting to show through too. All good signs of progress! I thrive off progress. The measurements show the most progress. I’ve lost 2.75 inches in my abs, 2.25 inches in my bust, and 1.25 inches in my hips.

  Abdomen Bust Hips
Week 0  33.5 36.75 44.75
Week 1 33.25 35.75 44.75
Week 2 30.75 34.5 43.5

I’m also back down in the 20’s in body fat percentage. According to my Omron, I’m down to 27.8%. A healthy weight for me is around 21%.

Whew. Longest post I’ve ever had! I had alot to get out, apparently!             

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