No, I haven't fallen off the face of the Earth. I've actually been pretty upset with myself for going so long without blogging. I'll catch you up to speed with 2011, and then tell you what's going on for 2012!
Most of you know that I took some time off work for a while to focus on my health. Well, that has lasted longer than expected. For the past year, my ring fingers have felt as though they needed a good crack/pop, but it hurt too much to try. A few weeks before I planned on going back to work, I started having major problems with my fingers. They swelled up, and for the past couple of months, I have not been able to make a fist, hold a pen, button shirts, or type for long periods of time. As a software programmer, it's difficult to work if you can't type. The joint pain is also in my wrists, elbows and knees. I had to switch which side of the bed I slept on so I didn't have to deal with the pain from crawling across the bed to my side. You know that pain you feel if you press on a bruise? That's how my knees and wrists feel when trying to crawl across a thick foam mattress. IT SUCKS. After a lot of research and study, I've determined that it is likely Rheumatoid Arthritis. I have tried all the OTC pain pills, as well as some Rx ones, and have been unable to combat the pain or swelling. This is a large part of why I haven't been blogging.
I started seeing a nutritionist about it, since a new patient appointment at the recommended rheumatologist's office isn't available until April. He believes that it is all due to a cortisol imbalance. I've felt for a few years now that I have high cortisol levels, but have never been able to find any information on how to fix it. Cortisol is a hormone your body secretes to cause your liver to produce blood sugar during prolonged periods without food, such as during sleep. It is affected by stress and poor diet. Some signs of high cortisol levels are: waking up feeling tired, lack of energy and tossing and turning in your sleep. The nutritionist gave me a simple solution to lowering my levels naturally - EAT! I know this may sound counter-intuitive for women with PCOS who want to lose weight, but it's not. All you have to eat is a couple of almonds every few hours, as well as right before you go to bed and as soon as you wake up. It only takes two almonds to 'trick' your brain into thinking you are eating, therefore inhibiting the release of more cortisol. It's really that simple! So I've been doing that for almost two weeks now, and I can definitely tell the difference. How do I know? Because on the days that I remember to eat almonds, I wake up feeling better, and want to get out of bed. If I forget the almonds, I'm sluggish and stay in bed for a while before getting up. It's amazing what just a few almonds can do for you. This is supposed to help with the inflammation in my fingers, but it hasn't yet. I'm going to give it some more time, though.
I participated in the last Soul Cysters Weight Loss Challenge and got 2nd place! The voting for People's Choice is still open, so if you want to, head over to the blog and vote for me, Lynne! The latest challenge has already started, and I'm in it too. Registration is still open until Jan 15, so if you have PCOS and want to lose weight, don't hesitate to join! I've been asked by Christina, the challenge host, to write a bi-weekly column on healthy eating tips for the challenge newsletter. I'm excited to be doing it, and I'll be posting my column on my blog for those who are interested but are not participating in the challenge.
I didn't make any resolutions this year - just some goals I hope to attain. I want to be under 200 pounds before the end of the year. I'll have to lose the same amount of weight that I did last year, and I really wasn't trying as hard as I should have been, so I'm hopeful that I'll succeed. I'm in the 220s now, and I'm pretty dang proud of that. I also hope to be able to come up with the money necessary to go back to school. I want to get my Bachelor's in Holistic Health, which will include certifications as a nutritionist and herbalist. I want to attend the Global College of Natural Medicine, and maybe work towards my doctorate in holistic health - although for now I'd be very happy with the Bachelor's.
So that catches you up on the bigger stuff. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and is off to a great new year!