Why liking your doctor makes a huge difference.

When I think about the past two years in terms of doctors, I have a veritable cast of characters that come to mind. Getting married, becoming unemployed, going on my husband’s insurance meant switching from Kaiser, where all of everything was neatly contained in one HMO system, to the wild west (but totally awesome) land of PPO. I didn’t need referrals to see specialists for all that ailed me; and for once, my histamine-hating body rejoiced at the fact that I could pick my allergist based on reviews, proximity, and office hours of convenience. Granted, there were some trials as I adjusted to the PPO plan, like the fact that I needed several different docs — an allergist, a primary care doc, a dermatologist, a lady doc, and an endocrinologist (apparently I’m high maintenance). I hit gold with my allergist, but didn’t so much love my primary care doc. Instead of a doctor who actually listened to my complaints about my weight, I got the old “You’re not trying hard enough. Exercise more, eat less.” Now. Surely there’s some truth to that. But had this doctor taken the time to *really* investigate my claims, they’d find that blood tests don’t lie, and neither was I. So I dumped him, and moved on to the next. I bumbled around with a few different doctors, and now, a year later, I feel that I finally have my medical dream team assembled.

Curvaceous and Stunning Vaudeville Star Lillian Russel

Yesterday I had a two month follow up with my endocrinologist. I like this guy, because not only does he have a great sense of humor (reminding me that I was born in the wrong era, because my weight back then would have been highly desired — even mentioning the curvy old film star Lillian Russel, see below!), he TAKES TIME TO EXPLAIN THINGS. As in, he actually busts out his doctor pen, and starts to draw diagrams on the paper sheet on the exam table. Yesterday, he drew a diagram of the kidney’s role in weight loss, and why a long-term low carb diet can be challenging on the kidneys. (We’re trying a 1,300 calorie  day diet now, with moderate “good” carbs.) I had some very pointed questions about some of the hormone issues I’ve been having, and he gave me very direct, yet polite, responses. There’s a bedside manner that’s needed anytime you’re working with the public, especially when it’s sensitive stuff. I don’t need to be coddled, but if I ask a direct question, I want a direct answer, but delivered softly. This guy has it mastered — even making jokes about Dexter while taking blood. Schwing! I have what’s called “white coat hypertension”. I’m usually nervous at doctor’s appointments, so yesterday, my first blood pressure reading was sky high (156/92. YIKES!). I now know to ask the doctors to re-check mid-way through the appointment. I’ve known this for years, yet Kaiser wouldn’t retest me, and I ended up having to visit a hypertension clinic where, no surprise, my repeat blood pressure readings were great. The doc yesterday got me laughing, took my blood pressure a second time while cracking jokes about my Metformin induced nausea, and lo and behold, my blood pressure was a relatively healthy 126/79. That? Is a good doctor. One who listens, takes note, suggests helpful modifications, and cares.

So who cares if I like my doctor, right? I care. You have to decide to take action after leaving your doctor’s office, to try and manage the things YOU can control. Some things you can’t control, but some you can. I left my appointment feeling encouraged, positive, and motivated to keep working on my weight loss. And that’s why I realize it’s important to like the person who’s helping to take care of and treat YOU. Because YOU matter at the end of the day, and to keep yourself in tip-top shape, “liking” the person who’s giving you the orders is super important. Have you found a doctor you like?

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Recap, Double Chin Style

Hello, hello! Sorry for the tumbleweeds blowin’ around here lately…I’ve been on the road living life, and sometimes living life means my little dusty corner of the internet gets neglected for a few days. Here’s what I’ve been up to!

1) I got really POed last week at my weigh in when I gained a pound. I was mostly POed because I *mostly* refrained from eating carbs (except for some delicious Scotchmallows on Easter), walked over 10 miles total, and did a horrifying Jillian Michaels Shred class at the gym. In my mind, all of those efforts should have meant I got skinny right away, because you know, of course eating mostly right and exercising for seven days should automatically result in a 70 pound instantaneous weight loss… I had to talk myself down from my unreasonable yet totally realistic-in-the-moment musings of “I should just accept I’m always going to be heavy and move on with my life”. I actually made a pretty funny comparison now that I think back on it, and I’ll share that one in a few days when I have time to summarize, but it involves everyone’s favorite new movie, Frozen, as shown below.

Coming soon on the DCD: Why Alyssa's weight loss struggles parallels Elsa, a queen with a frightening magical power.

Coming soon on the DCD: Why Alyssa’s weight loss struggles parallels Elsa, a queen with a frightening magical power.

2) I’m meeting with my endocrinologist next week for a follow up, and I can’t wait to switch medication versions from a normal Metformin to Metformin XR, which is extended release and will hopefully make me less nauseous after taking it. After two weeks of feeling constantly urp-ish, I summoned Dr. Google and discovered this PCOS medication can “hit you” five-six weeks after a dosage change, when levels increase in the body. I’m not a doctor of course, so don’t quote me on the accuracy of that, but it made sense to me. You’d think that constant nausea would translate to weight loss, but nope, not this week. Next week, hopefully. Ironically, whenever I eat too many carbs, the gastric distress is enhanced, making me wonder if I do have some sort of gluten intolerance. Maybe I should look into that. Oh carbs. Why do you have to be so delicious?

In honor of Mean Girls 10th anniversary.

3) Fundraising! Thank you SO much to everybody who has donated to my journey towards 60 miles. I’m currently at $669 raised out of $2,300, and my teammate Aubrey has challenged me to raise $200 by Sunday evening. Can you help me get there with a donation of $50?     I have been enjoying training, and today did my longest walk in awhile, clocking in 4.80 miles with my friend Amy. I’m a little bit sore now and am kind of like “Oh, crap. I’m going to be walking four times that in a couple months?! THREE DAYS IN A ROW?!” Scary, but awesome. I can do it. You can do it too. Wanna walk 60 miles with the Double Chin Divas? You can join us on our quest to end breast cancer by fundraising $2,300, walking 60 miles, and then enjoying a fun-filled weekend of walking and glamping. Let me know if you’re interested; I have a special coupon code I can share. Cancer sucks, and this is something we can do to help kick its butt.

Let's leave breast cancer out in the cold. Besides, who doesn't love penguins? Please support me on my journey towards walking 60 miles with a donation.

Let’s leave breast cancer out in the cold. Besides, who doesn’t love penguins? Please support me on my journey towards walking 60 miles with a donation.

4) My bestie got engaged this week! I flew to Northern California to celebrate her birthday and engagement. She and her soon to be hubby are a lovely couple, and I had so much fun at their BBQ and catching up. I also got to squeeze in a nice dinner with all my parents which was lovely. I’m so grateful for an awesome job that allows me to work remotely, as it gives you such a nice flexibility. I can work anywhere that has wifi and cell phone reception — so rad. Now to actually try and work standing up one of these days. Has anybody done it? Any tips?

 

Checking out the ring!

Checking out the ring!

5) I got a haircut. It’s fun to have a change. 🙂

Ok, that’s all I got, because it’s 11:28 p.m. and this chickadee should be asleep in bed by now. Tell me what’s new in your world, and have an amazing Thursday!

Alyssa

 

 

 

Snacks on the trail.

First off, since Alyssa “gently encouraged” me to “stay accountable” in regards to my weigh-ins, I shall be honest.  I haven’t officially weighed in at Weight Watchers for four weeks, this Friday.

I’ve been super sick.

It is birthday season.

School is hard.

I’ve got my reasons, haha!  But the biggest reason I have yet to weigh-in is because I know I haven’t lost anything.  I’ve been up roughly two pounds the whole month, fluctuating up and down depending on how much birthday cake I ate the day before.

But whatever, I have accepted it and am getting real about exercising more since I’m officially registered for the 60 mile breast cancer walk.  I’ll go to a meeting on by the end of the week.  There, now I’m totally accountable.

April is at peace with her gain of two pounds for her month of April.

April is at peace with her gain of two pounds for her month of April.

I’ve been doing a bunch more hiking over the past few weeks with the help of inspiration from my random new nature buddy and his adventurous dog. Over this past weekend we wandered the woods for six miles. I was nervous about whether or not my sickness was going to make me pass out and fall over a steep edge, however I survived just fine as I had the help of something SO important to bring with you on long energy-depleting activities like hiking… SNACKS!

Staying nourished with snacks allows April to balance on fallen trees without falling.

Staying nourished with snacks allows April to balance on fallen trees without falling.

My buddy and I discussed how important we think it is to stay nourished during long hikes.   Besides hiking, this is a big thing for me through any activity as I start to get super dizzy and shaky if I go too many hours without some sort of food.  So snacks are super important for me to have with while hiking.  Typically I make an afternoon out of my nature activities and bring a sandwich for a picnic.  Snacks like bananas, apples, cheese sticks, oranges, granola bars, and popcorn are some of the other happy trail foods I’ve brought with me.  Of course, I’m always willing to carry a backpack with me and my precious Dakine backpack has a cooler built in, so bringing snacks that need chilling is no problem. 

What kind of snacks do you like to bring with you when you go on long adventures?

Love,

AprilSignatur

 

 

 

*There’s an amazon affiliate link to the Dakine backpack. If someone buys it, we make 7c! Woohoo! 🙂

Weekend Wrap-Up in Double Chin Land

Hello everyone! Wow, what an awesome weekend. On Friday night, I got to see tickets to Bill Maher, that I won from my friend Anne’s blog. Bill Maher isn’t for everyone as he’s super liberal, super atheist, and super opinionated, but he’s pretty damn funny. Kicking off my weekend with a bunch of belly laughs was awesome. Then, on Saturday, I went to Weight Watchers where I weighed in and…

Lost 1.5 pounds

israeli cous cous grilled pork chop roasted beets

Yummy simple spring dinner!

I’m on a nice downward trend as I’ve lost at least a pound every week for the past three weeks. WOOHOO!!!! It’s kind of weird that I’m paying for Weight Watchers but not following Weight Watchers, but I knew with my specific health conditions I needed to do sensible eating (like weight watchers) minus most carbs. The weight loss is slower than I’m used to with a low carb plan, considering I’m only eating about 70-100 grams of carbs per day (the average person eats upwards of 200), BUT, it’s weight loss, and I’d like to think that weight that comes off nice and slow is weight that will never come back! I also have noticed it’s much easier for me to stay on plan, and I think a lot of that comes from the regulation of my insulin (a PCOS symptom) with the aid of Metformin, a drug typically used for diabetics. I’m not craving things as much anymore, and it’s simpler for me to stop when I’m full. It feels good to be on the right track. A large part of this success is really limiting “white food” in my life. No sugar, no bread, no rice, no pasta. (Occasionally I’ll take a bite of something Matt is having — because let’s face it, carbs are delicious and sometimes you want a taste.) My carbs mostly come from fruit, like Strawberries or Blueberries, the occasional small red skinned potato or whole grain like Israeli couscous. The picture on the left was tonight’s dinner: a grilled pork chop, 1/4 cup cous cous, and roasted vegetables. Eating a ton of vegetables is a big part of my new plan, and to help with

hen of the woods CSA Farm fresh agriculture box

Farm Fresh to You CSA Box. The funky thing on the left is called a Hen of the Woods mushroom.

that, I signed up for Farm Fresh to You, an all organic CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box that comes to my house once per month. I was previously a CSA member, but ultimately had to give it up when I was doing some budgeting. However, Los Angeles Groupon has a deal going right now that you can get your first box for $15 (normally $31.50), so I decided to give it a try again. My first box didn’t disappoint, with a bunch of beets, carrots, spring onions, mandarin oranges, tangerines, sweet potatoes, strawberries, fennel, Hen of the Woods Mushrooms, a lemon, and an avocado. I roasted the carrots, onions, beets, fennel and mushrooms with some of my garden grown peas, kale and chard at 450 for 30 minutes.Roasting vegetables is such an awesome way to bring out the natural sweetness in so many veggies. Yum, yum!

 

 

IMG_0080

Matt and I at H&D’s wedding

In addition to laughing and cooking and weighing in, I got to see two of my dear friends get married. Congratulations to Hilda and Daniel! Matt and I enjoyed attending our first Armenian wedding, where, I kid you not, there must have been 15 courses of food served all through the night. We had hummus, salmon, lavash, cheeses, olives, kebabs, rice, salad, fresh fruit, and then wedding cake. I got a little over zealous in the beginning on some cheese and olives but learned to pace myself as the rest of the feast trickled out. After we ate, we danced our butts off, which was a nice way to burn some calories.

Then today, I slept in until 11 a.m., cleaned the bathroom, walked to the grocery store, and pulled weeds in my garden. A successful Sunday, if you ask me. In 15 minutes, Mad Men and Silicon Valley will be on, and then I’ll head to bed. It was so nice to have a weekend at home as the last two weekends I’ve been traveling, and next weekend will be on the road again.

Tell me what you were up to this weekend! This week will be busy, but I’m looking forward to it. The weather is gorgeous here, and even though the pollen is out in full force, I’m loving the sun shining as I take lunch break walks and train on my way t0 60 miles. PS: how cool is it that April and Monique are part of team Double Chin Divas with Aubrey and I?! We’d love to have you join us, if you’re interested in fundraising, walking, and glamping in San Diego November 21-23. All are welcome; together we can kick cancer’s butt! Let me know if you’re interested in joining so I can provide you a special discount code and team password.

Have a wonderful start to your week!

The Double Chin Diary Siggy

 

 

What’s up, Wednesday?

I've been nomming on my garden grown Kale ... carb-free!

I’ve been nomming on my garden grown Kale … carb-free!

Hello, hello. I hope your day is off to a nice start, or if you’re reading this in the afternoon/evening, that it’s been AWESOME so far! I have a mish-mash of randomness to chat about today. The first is, results of my weekly Weight Watchers weigh-in. I was having trouble with motivation this week, even though I’ve been cutting carbs like a champ. As outlined in several PCOS/Low Glycemic diet guide books, I’m trying to stick to 100 carb grams or less per day. It’s actually a very doable amount, in that you can still have bites here and there of yummy carbs like red potatoes, it’s just the “empty carbs” that have to go. I just wasn’t feeling the whole “constantly trying to lose weight” thing, especially since I found an old journal from five years ago where I weighed exactly one pound less than I do now. That sent me into this whole “Why do I even bother?” type mindset, making me think things like “Maybe this is just who I am. Maybe I just need to accept that this is my weight, forever.” However, common sense spoke, as it often eventually does, and my friend who’s also dieting reminded me that we’re not getting any younger, and there’s the whole health thing to worry about. I ate the chip off my shoulder, and moved on. I forced myself to weigh in today, and while I dreaded stepping on the scale even though I knew I had done alright, I was rewarded with a 1.5 pound loss, making my total weight loss hover around 22 pounds. That was a good reminder for me that sometimes you just need to SHOW UP to find new inspiration. I have a semi-goal of trying to shed 8 more pounds before my Cabo San Lucas vacation in May. I say semi-goal because as I’ve learned with PCOS, setting up a numerical goal is sometimes a bad idea, because my body bloats like a sponge in water, and jeans/measurements are a much more reliable factor for me. But you get the drift. I’m tryin’ to be good. Enough of that, let’s talk about VIKINGS!

I'll refrain from making a bad Helga/Olga joke, but you know what I'm thinking about singing!

I’ll refrain from making a bad Helga/Olga joke, but you know what I’m thinking about singing!

Remember how I wrote a post about how I’m not fat, I’m just a viking? On Sunday, the husband and my mom and I trekked up to California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks for the Scandinavian Festival! We got to hear stories, lore and historical facts (like the fact that nobody likes Lutefisk), and there were all sorts of cool crafts for kids, like making floral wreaths and butter knifes. I, for one, most enjoyed the dress up, as you can see by the photo above. We enjoyed traditional Swedish fare of roasted corn (Yeah, not really traditional Swedish fare), curly fries, and fresh berries with cream, and spent some time shopping at all the little Norwegian/Swedish vendors. I got a cute blue and yellow horse that says ‘Vilkommen’ to hang on my front door. Here’s me in a traditional Swedish kitchen, feeling right at home amongst the cabbages.

Scandinavian Festival

Sweet Swedes in a traditional Swedish kitchen

Lastly, I have some good stuff to tell you guys about in the next few days! In the “I’m becoming a hippie” vein, I’ve stumbled upon some really cool natural healing/wellness products from a brand called Bio-Ray. Using some of their herbal detox products in conjunction with now weekly acupuncture has helped some of the ongoing health issues I’ve been having. I’ll have more details for you soon. I am also excited to share a low-calorie banana split recipe in the next few days, courtesy of some amazing light, all natural ice-cream from my friends at Halo Top Creamery. I’ll be spending some time in Palm Springs over the next few days, and when I’m not hanging with my desert tortoise friends or logging training miles walking around the living desert, I hope to be catching up on writing some more posts. Ok, I lied, I have one more thing to tell you about…

Woohoo! Let's keep fundraising and walking!

Woohoo! Let’s keep fundraising and walking!

 

Lastly (for real this time) thank you SO MUCH for your support of me and the 3-Day! In my first day of fundraising I raised $469, which is 20% of my total goal of $2,300. I am humbled and overwhelmed by the amazing encouragement you all have given me. Thank you, thank you, thank you! $2,300 will allow me to walk 60 miles in San Diego with my team, the Double Chin Divas. Can anybody out there make a $31 donation and help me reach my first mini goal of $500? Once I’ve met $500, we don’t have to stop there — keep those donations coming! One $60 donation funds a walker for the whole 3 days, and a $35 donation funds transportation costs for a patient undergoing chemotherapy. If you can’t make a donation, consider registering for the 3-Day and walking with the Double Chin Divas! (Don’t worry – if you’re a dude and would prefer not to be a diva, we’ll make a concession and make your shirt say Double Chin Dude 😉 ) Using the code TEAM20 at The3Day.org through April 16 will save you $20 off your registration, making it $50. We’ll have a blast training together, walking together, and kicking cancer’s butt.

That’s all I got for today. Keep on rockin’!

 

What’s Up, Wednesday?

Hi guys! (And girls!)

Sorry for my radio silence lately. Ya know that John Lennon quote, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans”? Yep, that pretty much sums it up. I’ve had a very busy month, filled with lots of awesome house guests and fun excursions. I figured I’d fill you in on a couple things before getting back to a regular (I’ll try) writing schedule.

1) My Weight Watchers attendance has been more sporadic than I’d like, (I’m set to go today), but at the last meeting I was down .6 of a pound. Hey, it’s not a big loss, but it’s a loss, so I’ll take it! I’ve been far more laidback about tracking than I should be, so I need to get back into the “If you bite it, write it” mentality.

2)  I had an appointment with an awesome endocrinologist a few weeks ago. He ran some blood tests and confirmed that my hormone levels definitely signify PCOS. There wasn’t really any doubt about it after the ultrasound scan I had, but the markers in my blood make it more like “Yep, sorry, it’s for sure.” The good news is that my thyroid appears to be functioning normally, so I’m able to discontinue the thyroid meds. He doubled my PCOS medication, Metformin, which should help with the weight loss and some of the other pesky hormonal problems of PCOS, like acne. I’m seeing a dermatologist this week about some of the acne. I’m so glad I have a PPO and can hop, skip, and jump to whatever specialist I need. That’s a definitely luxury, and I feel like I’ve finally assembled my medical dream team. Now that I know what’s up, I know my marching orders!

3) Next Friday, I’m honored to be speaking on a panel about networking for bloggers at the Lifestyle Blogger’s Conference in downtown Los Angeles. My friend Ana Lydia, whom I met at Fitcation, is hosting the whole event, and she and her team have some amazing panels, sessions, and workshops planned. Check out her latest blog post for a special surprise if you’re interested in attending! If you DO attend, make sure you let me know so we can meet up.

LL Blog Badge v2 SPEAKING

4) Also in blog related news, I was so jazzed to participate in a Blog Swap hosted by my friend AJ at Confessions of a Fat Girl! The purpose of the blog swap was to write a post assigned to you by another blogger that would take you out of your comfort zone. Think wife swap for bloggers. My pal Chris at What I Run Into assigned me a post about red lips! I don’t wear a lot of makeup, so having to actually put color on my face was intimidating at first as I browsed the drug store aisles looking for RED. While some of the drug store finds were alright, ultimately, I found my happy ending at MAC. Check out my post on Chris’ blog, and stay tuned for my swapped blogger’s post soon. (Hint: it will involve something yummy!)

5) The other half of the Double Chin Diary was here this weekend! April and I had a ton of fun zooming around Los Angeles, doing things like hitting up a vintage flea market, hunting for fossils, baking cookies, and watching Despicable Me 2. Here’s a snap of us at the flea market. I definitely got in my 5,000 steps that day, AND scored a vintage sterling silver deer pin. I love productive fitness, and I love my sister! Maybe she’ll move down to Los Angeles to finish her degree. Hint, hint, wink, wink.

That’s all I got for today, folks! I hope you’re having an awesome week so far, and I’ll be back soon!

Love,

The Double Chin Diary Siggy