PCOS and Carbs: a match that’s not so heavenly

PCOS and carbs. Frenemies to the end. There is nothing a person with PCOS loves more than a good carb-filled meal. Her body, however, doesn’t. Those carbs slide down her gullet and her body goes into full-out panic mode and starts storing those carbs as fat almost immediately. That’s because of two little things that follow PCOS around like little lost puppies: metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance.Untitled design (1)

Metabolic syndrome is a disorder that causes problems with energy utilization and fat storage. The biggest problem is, while scientists can tell us loads about what problems are related to metabolic syndrome, it is a healthcare chicken and egg story. They don’t know what causes metabolic syndrome because the issues surrounding it are muddled.  For instance, a few things they know for a fact are that people (both men and women) who suffer from it usually have centrally located fat storage (big bellies), high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, sedentary lifestyles, poor diets that are high in fructose consumption, and high fasting glucose levels. The kicker is that there is also a genetic factor at play which throws all those other previously mentioned issues up in the air. You could have a person who isn’t sedentary, doesn’t have high blood pressure, has low fasting glucose levels, and doesn’t overeat who still has metabolic syndrome. That person probably has a family member or two, or an entire side of a family, who suffered from this issue. That person would be the author of this post. To make the issue even more unclear, there is a major debate over whether some sort of metabolic problem as yet to be determined is what CAUSED the obesity and health issues, and thereby the metabolic syndrome, instead of the other way around.

Confused yet? Let’s muddy the waters some more. What else could be causing/affecting metabolic disorder? Mood problems. A family history of schizophrenia. Sleep disturbance. Problems with inflammation. High uric acid levels. Everybody’s favorite–STRESS. It all boils down to one thing–with regards to metabolic disorder, just like PCOS, we need more research. We need to learn more about what causes it. We NEED to get out from behind culturally accepted biases surrounding overweight people and get to the root of the issues. But, that, dear reader, is another set of blog posts entirely. To learn more about metabolic syndrome, click here.

Insulin resistance is just what it sounds like. Your body produces the hormone insulin and your cells resist using it. It causes a vicious cycle to begin that leaves you with high blood sugar levels. Those high blood sugar levels are what cause people with PCOS to crave carbs like a meth addict. No joke. This particular little demon that follows PCOS around causes increased hunger, which causes increased weight gain and increased fat storage. Insulin resistance also causes sleepiness, especially after a meal, because it is basically a giant sugar dump into your system. You literally experience a sugar crash. It contributes to depression and pre-diabetes and causes intestinal inflammation. To learn more about insulin resistance, click here.

These two issues make carbohydrates a PCOS sufferer’s worst nightmare. We simply need to avoid them as much as possible. And you would think that would be easy, right? Just avoid refined sugars, flours, breads, pasta, rice and potatoes. WRONG. Sure. Those are the foods that are high in carbs and, yes, avoid those items as much as humanly possible. Treat them like you would if you were addicted, because, let’s face it. If you have PCOS, you kind of are addicted to them. I know, for me, if my family and I go out to dinner, I ask them to either not bring the bread to the table or I ask the kids to keep it on the other side of the table where I can’t reach it. I want that bread like a plant wants water. I stare at it like it’s calling my name. It’s terrible, but true.

Let’s take a minute to learn a little bit about carbs in our diets. There’s some interesting facts I’ve learned since starting my diet six weeks ago.

Plus Size Mama Says- (3)

When I first went to the endocrinologist he told me to do the obvious. Cut out all pasta, bread, flour, potatoes, rice and sugar. So I did. I even cut out all soda drinks, diet or otherwise. I drink nothing but ice water. I noticed, however, that I wasn’t losing weight. How does someone not lose weight when cutting out an entire food group from their diet?

The answer was simple and I didn’t find the answer until I got the My Fitness Pal app. (No. They don’t pay me. I just think it’s an awesome app.)

This app allows you to set your daily caloric intake (for me, 1200 calories), but it also allows you to set the percentages of carbs, proteins and fats you want in your diet as well. So, I did a little research to see what the average amount of carbs were for the average person’s diet. A moderate level of carbs for one person ranges between 100 and 150 grams per day. I figured if I set mine at 90 I would be fine because my goal was to stay well below that. The app would warn me when I was getting too close. My thought process was that, if I was not consuming any of those carbs I listed above, I was never going to come close to that level of carbs even on my worst day.

Boy, was I wrong.

Why? Fruit. Okay. No brainer. Fruits have natural sugars which should translate into carbs so I became very scrooge-like in my consumption of fruit.

Still wrong.

Why? Veggies.


Yes, veggies. Let me give you an example. Today I had an apple for breakfast. Super high in sugar, but I had a very small apple and that’s it. I always have a small piece of fruit for breakfast. I’m not a breakfast eater and it takes all I have to choke that down. For lunch, I had a chicken breast and some broccoli. For dinner I had some cabbage. That’s all I’ve had today. I still have to choke back 632 more calories somehow, and do you know where my carb level for the day is? 74 grams. What. The. Hell.

Can you imagine what my poor body was going through when I was consuming bread and noodles and rice like a boss? I am being as careful as I can and I’m still getting very close to the moderate carb level. My carb level must have been astronomical before getting this app. It’s been a real eye opener, that’s for sure.

All this, and I’m holding steady at 35 pounds lost. I’m not going to lie. For the last two weeks I’ve lost 0 pounds. And I’m pissed beyond belief. How do I not eat, take a diet pill that guarantees weight loss, exercise and lose NOTHING???? Ugh. Discouraged doesn’t even begin to describe me.

But, you know what?

I know I’m doing the right stuff. I’m doing what I’m supposed to. I’m eating right. I’m following the rules.

I’m trying to view this as a war. Me against carbs and my stubborn ass body.

And I’m going to win. Even if that means I have to drop that carb level to 50 and eat chicken like it’s my damn job.

So, what keeps you going when you hit a weight loss wall? What do you do to change it up and get the scale moving again? Leave your tips in the comments below!

Posted in PCOS | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Happy to be a loser!

I am five weeks in on my 1000-1200 calorie a day diet and my use of Qsymia for weight loss as prescribed by my endocrinologist. Oh, and let’s not leave out the amazing app on my phone, My Fitness Pal. (GET THIS APP! It’s truly a life saver. You have no idea how many carbs you ingest from veggies until you use this thing!) For the first time in my life I am losing weight and feeling like the hard work I’m putting in is paying off. Five weeks, folks, and I’m down…as of weigh-in this morning…33 lbs.  That’s insane and wonderful and mind-blowing all at once.

I have a lot of weight to lose–I’m not going to lie. That 33 pounds is like a drop in a bucket compared to the long haul, but I am OVER THE MOON happy at that number! That’s more than I lost after a year and a half on Weight Watchers and working out 8 to 10 hours a week.  It is crazy-motivating to step on that scale and see that lower number. I find myself desperate to step on the scale, not because I like the number I see, but because it is likely to be smaller than the last time I stood there. I feel like a kid on Christmas morning. I am the only person walking out of the bathroom first thing in the morning making the Cheshire Cat look depressed.

But I want to be clear here. That number on the scale is just that. A number. It doesn’t tell me a damn thing about me except how much pull gravity has on my body. There’s more to pay attention to here. There’s more to take home from this journey than a stupid digital number on a machine.

Plus Size Mama Says- (2)

I made a list of things that matter:

  1. My bra is fitting loosely. The fact that the girls are shrinking means that I am also shrinking. If a smaller me means a smaller bra size, I’ve got only one thing to say:  Bye-bye, Boobies!
  2. I passed on cake. That’s right. You read it. I, Miranda, lifelong lover of that sugary confection called cake, had NONE. I’m awaiting my call from Guinness any day, such is the importance of that little nugget.
  3. My shoes are fitting loosely. I am not a vain woman until we start talking about shoe size. I’ve always had small feet. Until I had kids and gained weight. Then my feet turned into something resembling flippers. Well, I’m here to tell you that my sandals literally fall off my feet if I’m not careful because they are too big now. Hello, smaller shoe size!
  4. Cravings, I have them, but they’ve changed. I used to lay on the couch in the wee hours when I couldn’t sleep and think of nothing but chocolate and cake and doughnuts and all things sugary and heavenly. I could not stop myself from thinking about SALAD the other day. What the hell is that about? I don’t know and I don’t care. Bring on the rabbit food!
  5. I have come to recognize the importance of sleep in my life. I have been, for decades now, an insomniac. I was never really bothered by it. It gave me so many more productive hours in a day. Sure I looked and felt like shit, but, hey I was freaking Wonder Woman when it came to a to-do list. Now, if I don’t sleep, the scale doesn’t move. Not an ounce. Nothing motivates me to take my sleepy time meds like a scale that won’t budge. I feel better. The black circles under my eyes are gone. My mood is improving and my thought process isn’t so muddled. All because I sleep. Sometimes we really are our own worst enemy.

All of those things, alone or added together, mean so much more to me than the number on that scale. They mean I am moving in the right direction, directly toward a healthier version of me. And isn’t that the point of this entire journey?

I urge you to make your own list. What’s on it? What is your focus? What matters more than that scale? Share your triumphs and goals in the comments. Let us know what means more to you than gravity!

Posted in Losing, PCOS | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

A Few Things I’ve Learned About Calories

Since Weight Watchers, as awesome as that program is, failed to do the trick and help me lose weight, and simply cutting carbs failed miserably, my endocrinologist came up with another plan. I am currently taking Qsymia and a 1200 calorie per day diet. I was not at all pleased with the prospect of this new path, because I literally expected to starve. Everything I’d ever read said that anything below this amount was going to kick my body into starvation mode and my metabolism would tank. So far, this is not the case.

However, that comes with a huge BUT. I’m only two weeks in. I’ve lost a great deal of weight. My first week was a loss of ten pounds and my weigh in day is tomorrow. I fully expect to have lost another seven pounds. BUT I haven’t lost one ounce since Tuesday. Before Tuesday, I consistently lost some arbitrary amount each day that I stepped on the scale. So when the scale suddenly stalled I went into panic mode. Here it is. The end of the road. AGAIN. The millionth time I’ve lost the same 15 or so pounds only to stall. 

I’ve been trying to spread my calories out across my three meals a day. It kind of works for me because I’m not much of a breakfast eater. I usually have a piece or two of fruit. My breakfast calories usually run about 150, leaving me 1050, or 525 each, for my last two meals. I tried to mix it up a bit, eating chicken breasts and veggies or salads, always playing by the rules, and still…no budging.

I am not the kind of person who rests on my laurels and is satisfied with “Oh, well.” I began to think about my options. Since the rules of this weight loss game are somewhat limited for me, the parameters being that I have only 1200 calories to play with and PCOS cheating its way through, I had to get creative. I did the one thing my nerdy self is really good at: research.

And here’s what I found. Just like all WW points aren’t created equal, neither are calories. And I’m not just talking about empty calories versus nutritious calories, here. There is a real bang for your buck issue going on under our noses, folks.

So, here’s the new tactic I’m trying. I’ll let you know how it’s working in a week. Looking at the calories I’m consuming, just like with WW points I took two things I love to eat and compared them: corn on the cob and broccoli.

Plus Size Mama Says-



photo via morguefile.com

photo via morguefile.com



photo via morguefile.com

photo via morguefile.com


Did you notice what I noticed? In order to make these two veggies comparable I had to monkey with the serving size of the broccoli. Do you know how much three cups of broccoli is? It covers an entire dinner plate! When comparing sheer volume of food, it’s obvious that these calories are not equal at all. What I also found interesting, especially from a PCOS standpoint, is the amount of protein. Us girls with PCOS need more protein than we need carbs. In fact, the fewer carbs the better. And from this viewpoint, again, broccoli wins hands down simply because it has almost 4 times the amount of protein than corn! This girl is bulking up on the broccoli for sure!

So, taking this information in and applying it is one of two strategies I’m trying. I’ve also downloaded an app to my phone called My Fitness Pal. If you don’t have this, GET THIS. When you have to nitpick every gram of everything you eat, this app does the heavy lifting for you. It allows me to track my weight, customize my caloric intake and set the nutritional guidelines I need on a daily basis. For instance, because of the PCOS I need to cut the carbs in my diet WAY back. I can go in and manually change the percentage of my diet I want to be carbs and the app will alert me when I’ve reached my limit. It also allows me to log my exercise and tells me how many calories I’ve burned for each activity, giving me credit in calories for my hard work. Sometimes I use them and sometimes I don’t. As I said before, I’m a little worried about my metabolism.

In any regard, I’ll let you know how this plan goes and how the endocrinologist feels about these developments at the end of the month. Until then, stay strong and know that eating healthy, regardless of the number on the scale, is good for you. Always.

So, what new things have you learned about food or weight loss lately? Do you have any good, low carb recipes to share, or awesome sites that have recipes for those of us struggling with weight? Leave a comment, recipe or link in the comments below. Let’s build a community to help support those of us struggling with our relationship with gravity!



Posted in Losing, PCOS, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Weighty Issue

I know the title is a bad pun considering I’m talking about my failure to lose weight. It is, however, typical of the mood I find myself in.  I’m stuck between devastated and hopeful, a deep desire to put on my jammies, crawl into bed, and give the world a giant middle finger. But, I can’t do that. I have kids that need a mother, a husband who needs a wife, a bank account that needs the dollars I earn writing. Kind of hard to do all that from bed.

I am usually that person who functions well when the shit hits the fan. I can paste on a smile and pretend that everything is alright in front of others. However, when the door closes for the final time at night, and I am left with only me and the dog, the tears flood the room. The shame overcomes me and the worry becomes the boss of me. I am, and have been for years, the fat friend, the lazy woman, the person defined by the number on the scale. My body’s relationship with gravity has been my cross to bear for years. My weight almost literally consumes me. And the options are running out for me. PCOS (polycystic  ovarian syndrome), the reason I gain weight without trying, is slowly taking over my life.pcos51

I have more health issues than you can shake a stick at, none so bad that I am not walking around, but bad enough that my weight exacerbates most of them.  I am scared to death that I will be the woman I saw on television weighing 600 lbs., housebound, and treating her husband as more of a caregiver than a spouse.  I avoid mirrors and cameras. I hate going to social events because I feel like all eyes are on me. I hate meeting new people because they inadvertently give me the full body scan before meeting my eyes. People remember only one thing when meeting me–I was the fat one.

I literally have a team of doctors trying to figure out why I can’t lose weight. Eating right (via Weight Watchers) and exercising weren’t enough. I lowered my points and increased my activity. No dice.

So, here I stand on a precipice. My options for weight loss as thin as floss. The doc told me today that my options are:

A. I drastically change my diet and exercise, helped with a diet pill. I am staring down the real possibility that I have to be a human being who never really eats. For the next thirty days I can have salad and soup, averaging no more than 1,000 calories a day. It doesn’t matter that I will be hungry. It doesn’t matter that I will be grouchy. It doesn’t matter that I cannot be present at family meals anymore. I have to treat food almost like an alcoholic treats alcohol. I have to NOT eat.

B. Gastric bypass surgery. Be carved up like a holiday meal and force my stomach to do what my body stubbornly would not. Live my life on supplements with a stomach the size of an egg.

C. Do nothing and treat each spoonful of food as if it were a shovelful of dirt scooped out of my grave, because that’s the destination this fast track leads.

I can’t tell you the shame and fear and self-loathing and sadness that I feel. I miss the stupidest things that skinny people take for granted, like my lap, off-the-rack clothes, and no one watching every bite I take. I know that the weight isn’t my fault, but I still blame myself for letting it get this far. I know my body is betraying me via my endocrine system and there isn’t much I can do. All that knowledge does one thing: feeds my anger.

I’m pissed at my own body for keeping me from living the life I want. I’m pissed that a little thing like metabolism, something I can’t even hold in my hand, is what works against me. I’m pissed at whatever gene made me this way. And I’m royally pissed that I cannot control any of it.

For now, I am choosing Option A because I’m not ready to accept that I can’t somehow redeem myself. Am I fooling myself? Possibly. But I have to know, before I go under the knife, that I did all I can do. I did the diet. I did the exercise. I ramped them up. I took the medication.

I have to fight this weight like I would fight any life altering disease.

I have to fight for me.

I have to fight for my family.

I love them and giving up now would be like giving up on them, and there’s too much life that needs living in me. Too much that I would miss out on. And none of it is worth even one bite of cake, one spoonful of pasta, or a nibble of potato chip. Not one morsel.

I also need to show myself and my kids that there is still fight in me, because Option C is giving up. And I am nowhere near giving up yet.

Posted in Gaining, Losing, PCOS, Weight Watchers Points | 3 Comments

If I only had a penis

From my other blog http://www.mirandagargasz.wordpress.com


It’s true.  Anyone who knows me would say that I hate being female.  Granted, I am a tomboy and always have been.  It’s not the clothes I hate or the makeup.  While doing my hair is a pain, again, I don’t mind it so much.

What I hate about being female is my uterus and how many gynecologists blow off the symptoms I give them as being nothing.  In all fairness, many doctors do this, but lately it’s the gynoes that have me up in arms.

I’ve had female problems my entire life, mostly just that I bleed like a stuck pig and my period hangs around for too long, sometimes 12 days at a time.  For years I’ve had docs tell me that if I lost weight I’d be fine.  Which I listen to even when I don’t believe it.  You see, I used to be thin and still had these issues, but no one wants to listen to that.  When they see an obese woman walk in the door, she may as well sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher for all the good opening her mouth does.  Such is my experience.

Around Easter, however I did work gradually up to this, I started having pain on the right side of my pelvis.  I couldn’t sit without rocking.  I couldn’t stand.  I couldn’t lay down.  Nothing relieved the pain.  When I lay in bed at night, on my stomach, it felt like I had a rock in my belly.  Driving hurt.  Driving over bumps really hurt.  Sneezing hurt. Peeing felt like my guts were going to fall out.  Sex hurt and there was bleeding afterward.  I’d almost swear looking at me hurt.

Off to my gyno I went.

In the beginning, he was an awesome doc.  He, after 28 years of complaining to multiple doctors, finally diagnosed me with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), which, while incorrectly named, is an endocrine disorder.  Basically, none of the hormones in my body do the job they are supposed to do.  He gave me metformin and my life has been so much better.

I expected much more understanding than I got this past spring.  He gave me a prescription for Motrin and said take this for three months and see what it does.  I was unimpressed because I was taking Motrin at home before this and it did nothing.  When I brought this up he said, “But this is prescription strength.”  Having no faith that it would work, but realizing that I don’t know my butt from a hole in the ground when it comes to doctoring, I took my medicine like a good little girl.

And it didn’t work.

When I talked to him about the bleeding after sex he said, “Well, I think you and your husband should slow down and take your time.  You are 40, these things take time now.”  Again, I’m no doctor.  I did what I was told and was sent home with orders for an ultrasound if I thought I needed it.

And it didn’t work.

My hubby and I had sex two days after my period stopped and he looked like I sacrificed an animal on him.  Not exactly the romantic after-glow we were going for.  It became clear that the ultrasound was definitely needed.

Last week, I went in to get my results.

“Well, Mrs. Gargasz, you have many problems.”

No, shit.

“From what we can see, you have nabothian cysts on your cervix, one of which is very large.”

At this point my geeky brain was thinking he was talking about some bizarre planet on Star Wars or something.

“But the other problem is a fibroid tumor on your right side.  We also can’t rule out endometriosis.”

After a moment of quiet reflection I said, “So what do we do from here?”

“Well, you need to lose weight and come back and see me in a month.”


Yes, friends, this is where quiet, mild-mannered Miranda turned into hysterical, blubbering mess.

Lose weight?  THAT’S what we do? I thought.  Is he expecting the miracle of all weight loss stories between now and Labor Day?

“Doc, I’ve been on Weight Watchers for over a year.  I exercise at the Y eight to ten hours a week.  The Motrin is killing my stomach and my appetite. The scale is going nowhere fast.”

“Well, we need to do some watchful waiting, have you continue the Motrin and see how things are from there.  Losing weight will help because overweight women produce too much estrogen which feeds the fibroids.”

“Um, you see me.  You KNOW I’ve been struggling to lose weight. I just told you I’m not losing despite my best efforts.  My rings are beginning to spin around my fingers but my pants are getting tighter.  That has nothing to do with the inflammation and growth of the fibroid?”

“Again we have to just watch and wait.”

Then I got even more hysterical.  And pissed.

“Wait a minute.  The Motrin I’m taking is ridiculous.  I may as well take chocolate because at least I like the taste of that!  Watchful waiting?  What have we been doing since April?  It’s August, almost September.  Watchful? Waiting?  Are you kidding me?  I have two young boys to raise.  I cannot be in bed two weeks out of every month, unable to even walk because of the pain I’m in. I don’t mean to be rude, but that is not an acceptable answer.  You know why?  I’m pretty sure if a doctor told you that you have a benign tumor on your penis and large cysts on your testicles, you’d be in here tomorrow removing that shit.  I’m positive if you couldn’t have sex anymore because it hurt and caused you to bleed–not just a little because of the dryness you suspected, but ALL OVER your partner, like serial killer amounts– you’d have found a cure fucking yesterday.”

His eyes grew too big for his head, I was ushered out of his office and given an appointment in a month.  I was also told to bring my husband with me.

So, I’m going to watch and wait.  I’m also going to write a diary of every day this month with what I eat, how I feel, the level of my pain and every damn gas pain I have.

If my next appointment includes the words “watchful” and “waiting” I’m going to lose my damn mind.

And search for a new doctor.

Posted in Life Happens, PCOS | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Devil On Your Shoulder: Depression

**Copied here from my other blog.

“Get help or we’re through. You’re not the woman I married,” my husband, Jim, said to me.

Quite a mouthful of medicine, those words. That’s what it took to get me into therapy, though.

I was 28, the mother of a three-year-old and a six-month-old. I was unemployed. My former employer, who didn’t renew my teaching contract, had screwed up my pay and I was without our mortgage payment for two months. Unemployment had not yet kicked in. Several interviews had gone south, leaving me feeling horrible, especially the one where I overheard the principal saying she’d never hire someone so fat.

I began feeling like the Queen of All Failures. I began living in my pajamas for days, each morning struggling just to get out of bed. My kids were given exactly what they needed and little else. There were days that they ate lunch while I fought to keep my head aloft and not firmly planted on the table. On the chance that I had the energy to shower, I’d sit in the tub, arms wrapped around my legs, rocking and crying, as water poured down on me.

The worst part of all that were the thoughts racing through my head.

You are such a loser.

Everything you touch fails.

You don’t deserve your husband or your kids.

They don’t deserve to have to put up with you.

They’d be better off if you were dead.

The life insurance money would be enough for Jim to take care of the kids.

They’d be fine.

Your dad was right. You’ll never amount to anything.

Your mom was right. None of her kids turned out any good.

Think of all the bills that would just disappear if you no longer existed.

I had known for months that I was spiraling out of control, but I dealt with it the way I always did. I threw myself into my work. When the job dried up, my safe place to run was no more. Suddenly, I was made to face my demons instead of swallow them and deal with them later. Years of suppressed depression bubbled to the surface and threatened to devour me.

I began planning. How could I kill myself? Where could I do it, so my kids and husband wouldn’t be the ones to find me? Was everything in order so they could easily bury me and move on? Would there be a babysitter for the kids that would be close to Jim’s work?

So, when Jim finally sat me down and muttered the hardest sentences he’s ever had to say, I got help.

It was the most difficult step toward wellness. I learned things about myself that were hard to swallow. Things like: I will probably always have to take medication to keep from spiraling into that black hole of self-loathing again; I will struggle to stave off the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder that I’ve had since early childhood; I’ve been depressed my entire life; I’m not a bad daughter and I’m not a bad mother; I’ve been suicidal before and the blackouts were my brain’s way of keeping that pain away from me; painful recovered memories that, even now, I don’t want to deal with. These are all mountainous things to accept.

Accept them I did, though, and I can say now that I am way more informed about the darkness that lingers in my brain. When the self-loathing begins, I don’t ignore it. I tell Jim and get myself to the doctor because my medication needs to be monkeyed with. When I feel that overwhelming weight of hypervigilance wrap itself around me, I find a safe place–even if that means abandoning my grocery cart in the middle of the store and running out of the building–and breathe, talking myself out of the impending panic attack. I constantly weigh my behavior as a mother and a wife and, if I find it lacking, I have a support system of people in place that I can run to for help.

Imagine, if you will, what would have become of me had my husband not drawn that line in the sand.

I doubt I’d be here today, with the strength to carry on.

I count myself lucky that I have people who love me enough to draw that line, people who care enough to pay attention and notice that something is off.

Not everyone has that in place.

Some of us hide it better than others, behind masks made of humor and goodwill that suck the energy out of us so badly that there’s little left for us when the sun goes down and the house quiets for the night.

Some of us are drowning under the stigma that breeds so rapidly where mental illness is concerned, frightened that people will know we’re ill and stop trusting us and begin questioning our every move.

When I hear about people who commit suicide because of illnesses like depression, it breaks my heart. I know exactly how they feel. I know about the devil on their shoulders, whispering vile thoughts into their ears. They aren’t weak, cowardly or selfish. They are sick and in search of mercy. They find it in the worst place possible.

If you or someone you love suffers from mental illness, reach out. Don’t let the devil on your shoulder have the last word.

Posted in Life Happens | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Why The Meetings Matter

Confession time.

I almost quit Weight Watchers.


Last week, I had vertigo. Because I’m crazy or stupid, or some dangerous combination of both, I got myself ready for my meeting. I had an awesome corn and bean salsa I made to share with the folks at my meeting. As long as I didn’t make any sudden moves with my head I was fine. I had just left the bathroom after getting my hair ready and walked out onto the landing. I spied a Lego at the top of the stairs. Every person who has ever stepped on one of those suckers in bare feet knows that they make the bad words spill out like a river. I bent over to pick it up, yelling down to the boys that they need to be more careful and pick up their toys. Then I stood up. The world took a spin. I took a nose-dive down the stairs.

Then today about an hour before I had to leave to go to the meeting I felt the tendrils of a migraine I’ve been fighting for the last few days begin to stir. I had taken all the medicine I could so there weren’t any more options. I laid down on the couch, in the dark and the bad thoughts came back. The inner monologue started. You know the one.

You’ve been absent for the last three weeks.
You’ve eaten like shit for the last week.
You’ve not exercised in a week.
You’re getting fatter.
You should just quit.
You’re not taking it seriously.
You’re slacking.
You’re wasting the money on membership.
You’ll never lose weight.
Why are you even trying?
Why go when you KNOW you’re going to step on that scale and you’ll have gained back all the weight you lost?

But I got up.

I went.


Because my friend Diane messaged me this morning reminding me that I promised to be there.
Because I told her I would as long as I didn’t throw myself down the stairs again.
Because Lynn would wonder where I was and probably message me, too.
Because there is a reason peer pressure works, dammit.

Meetings give you a sense of community and belonging. Those folks in those meetings become a sort of family. Sure, you don’t know everyone’s name. You may not even like every person in that room. But they are there. They will bolster you. They will tell you you’re awesome even when you don’t feel like it.

They’ll do what they did for me today. They’ll hug you and congratulate you on the LOSS you had after three absent weeks, no exercise and feeling like crap healthwise.

They’ll help you give the finger to that inner monologue.

She’s a pretty mouthy bitch, anyway. Why are we even listening to her?


1. I gave up fries. Even those delicious McDonald’s sin sticks.

2. I eat off a segmented baby plate. Laugh now, but it’s hard to go all portion crazy when your plate is smaller than your head.

3. When I order a sandwich from a restaurant, half the meat gets taken off. Either I put it on somebody’s plate or I put it somewhere gross like a used coffee cup so I won’t be tempted to put it back on.

4. I drink only water. Diet pop is a treat for once a week. Even though it has no points it still isn’t good for you.

5. I tell the waitress not to even bother bringing the bread to the table. I don’t want the temptation.


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Posted in Life Happens, Losing, Weight Watchers Points | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments