CategoryHealthy Living

One year’s difference

My sister in law took the picture on the right about a week ago when we were up in Michigan. I couldn’t believe the difference when I put the two pictures side by side. They were taken a year apart, and that’s the same shirt. It surprised me how loose the tee is on me now.

What makes me the happiest is I don’t look pregnant all the time any more. After five pregnancies, I don’t expect my body to be the same as it was before kids, but always looking pregnant did bother me.

27 pounds down. I’m not done yet, but seeing progress is so encouraging!

One year

What a difference a year makes.  20 pounds gone.  

June 2017 on the left.  June 2018 on the right. 

I started watching what I ate by reducing calories.  It doesn’t work overly well for me, as I can’t eat more than about 1200 calories a day if I want to lose, and that very slowly.  Thank you PCOS.

I started keto April 3rd.  I lost four pounds the first week, and then discovered fat bombs.  I plateaued for about a month at that point – I didn’t realize my snacks were sabotaging my efforts.  Once I realized that, and cut the snacking back out, I started losing at a good rate again.  I’ve lost 14 pounds since April.

This week I hit two milestones – my first personal goal number, and the 20 pound mark.  What’s fun is I’m only 4 pounds away from the number I wanted to hit by my birthday…..which is still 6 weeks away!  I’m really excited to see what number I’ll be then.

Breastfeeding and low supply issues

Mother's Milk loose tea
Mother’s Milk tea

I seriously doubt I have any male readers, but if you’re a guy who reads my blog, you’re welcome to leave now. I’m not comfortable discussing female issues with you. Thank you.

Are you gone? Good.

Breastfeeding and low supply issues are a topic I’ve come to know quite a bit about. I also know I’m not the only one who struggles with it.

It all started about seven years ago when I learned that it was possible to breastfeed an adopted baby. Once we were matched with Samuel’s birthmother, I started preparation to induce lactation. I pumped multiple times a day and started taking the herbs fenugreek and blessed thistle. I did that for a month, and then he arrived early. They allowed me to nurse him in the NICU, but he was gaining weight too slowly so we stopped so he could be released. Once home, I started again. I was able to nurse him (with the aid of a Lactaid system) until he was six months old.

When I became pregnant with Caleb, I had high hopes for breastfeeding. I incorrectly assumed that we’d get to do it “the easy way.” I knew PCOS often causes low milk supply but hoped it wouldn’t be the case with me. Things were great at first, but I didn’t notice the signs of low supply until it was almost too late.

I did everything. I pumped multiple times a day (including getting up at 4 am to pump when the baby slept all night!). I took herbs. I drank a gallon of Mother’s Milk Tea a day, adding lemon so it would taste like lemonade. The only thing I didn’t try was the Reglan my lactation consultant recommended. At five and a half months, I gave up. I loved nursing, but it had become more a source of stress for me than anything else. I didn’t have the heart to try the Reglan too.

When I found out I was pregnant with Anna, I started praying that things would be different this time. I went in armed with more knowledge, the phone number of an amazing lactation consultant, and sheer determination to make it longer this time around.

Lindsay at Passionate Homemaking posted about increasing milk supply shortly before Anna was born. I ordered the herbs to make the mother’s milk tea so that everything would be in the house if and when I started having supply issues.

Things have been better this time around. It has not been easy the whole time, but overall it has been better. The mother’s milk tea recipe has been a lifesaver. It seems to work far better than the prepackaged tea I used to buy, and is cheaper too, which is great. I do one thing differently than her recipe though. She mentioned she takes fenugreek capsules, but I add whole fenugreek seeds to my tea ball and brew it all together (1 tsp fenugreek seeds and 1 Tbsp tea mix per 8 oz water). The tea doesn’t taste too bad by itself, but with the fenugreek added it is very bitter. The seeds seem to be more effective for me than the capsules were, or I would switch back to the capsules.

It has taken effort at times, and not everybody seems to understand the struggle it can be to maintain sufficient supply. I think that low supply and difficulty breastfeeding is really downplayed, when it’s probably a lot more common than it appears. Many people have asked me why I don’t just use formula (which is another post for another day). Why bother fighting so hard when formula is so easy? But to me, it’s worth the work. I love the quiet time with my little ones. And I just can’t bring myself to buy formula when things are going so well, even if it does take effort.

Weight loss motivation

Recently I found more motivation to get off the rest of the post-baby weight. I stumbled across my diabetes scares me post.

Most of the actual baby weight from Anna is gone now. But since I became pregnant again before all the baby weight from Caleb was gone, there’s a bit more to lose yet. Stephen and I have started using the P90X program for exercise. For the most part, I like it. We’re not that far into it though so we’ll see as we get farther.

My weight is still in the danger zone as far as PCOS and insulin resistance issues are concerned though. That’s definitely motivation to get the rest of the weight off!

Post-pregnancy fun

As of last night, I am 4 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight. That was fun to discover! I was able to switch back to pre-pregnancy clothes earlier this week, but finding out how much weight I’d lost was nice too. That was a lot faster than I anticipated.

One thing that wasn’t so fun to discover yesterday though was that Miss Anna and I have thrush. Ouch. Our pediatrician and my lactation consultant are absolutely wonderful though – they called in medicine for me and worked Anna in right away. I’m just thankful we don’t have to go all weekend without relief!

The pediatrician weighed Anna yesterday, and she is just shy of ten pounds. I can’t believe she’s growing that quickly.

And speaking of Anna, she just woke up, so I guess my time here has come to an end. . .

Box in the mail

09160033

Today my order from Mountain Rose Herbs arrived. It was so fun to look through the box at everything.

My original intent for the order was to get supplies to make Nursing Mother Tea. I had a good bit of supply issues when nursing Caleb, so this time, I’m going in armed and ready. Last time, I bought premade teabags by the case, and drank almost a gallon of the tea a day. It helped my supply – but I went through the tea SO quickly! When I found a recipe to make your own tea using bulk herbs, I was thrilled. It helps that I should be able to get roughly double the amount of tea for about the same amount of money.

Then while I was over at the Mountain Rose Herbs site, I ordered a few other things I’ve been wanting to try, like powdered stevia and soap nuts.

I haven’t mixed up the tea yet, and I really can’t wait to try the stevia and the soap nuts!

Healthy living pays off

After my last visit checkup, I was really concerned with my weight gain. Granted, I hadn’t been overly careful with my eating, but didn’t realize just how much it was truly affecting me. My weight gain had been fine the first part of the pregnancy, but at my last visit I found out I’d gained too much that month.

The only changes I really made this past two weeks were to limit my sweets and cut back on the carbs. The way I’ve been eating isn’t quite as restrictive as when I first started trying to go low carb, but it’s still been a challenge. The hard thing for me is adhering to specific carb counts for each meal. What I do like is the later meals of the day have enough carbs in them to allow more freedom than I expected.

My next checkup was this morning. When the nurse weighed me, I found that I’d lost 4 pounds in the two weeks since the last visit. Don’t get me wrong – I wasn’t trying to lose weight at all. I was actually hoping for no more than a 2-pound gain (one pound a week). Maintaining would have surprised me – so a loss, especially here in the third trimester, was quite the shock. Since the only changes I made were healthy ones, I’m not worried about it. It does make me curious how my next appointment will go though.

I wasn’t trying to eat a lot of junk food, but I certainly wasn’t being as careful as I should’ve been. Hopefully this time my weight gain will be more manageable. What really amazes me is just how much seemingly little changes can make such a difference.

Yogurt

We are absolutely loving yogurt around here lately. Well, we always love it, but it’s been a long time since I’ve made any. With the diet changes we started implementing this week, I decided that having plain yogurt in the house was a good idea again.

The recipe I followed is at A Year of Slow Cooking. I’ve made it before, using a heating pad, but thought I’d try the crockpot method this time. What a difference – it is so sweet it doesn’t need sweetener in it at all if you’re going to eat it plain.

We’ve been making it into breakfast smoothies. We have a mini blender (a Magic Bullet knock-off we found at Aldi), so we just throw a handful of frozen fruit in the cup, pour yogurt over it, add some ice to make it thicker, and blend. Some fruit has needed a tiny bit of sweetener, but not all that we’ve tried.

I’ve made a half gallon at a time. Milk dropped to $2.09 a gallon at Aldi, so a whole gallon of yogurt at that price is wonderful! The sad thing is I already made a second half-gallon of yogurt, and it will probably be gone by Monday or Tuesday if we eat it as fast as we ate the last batch. It sure is good though!

PCOS ramblings

In the future, don’t be surprised if you see more blogging about pcos around here. I’ve been reading more lately about it, and am learning some really interesting things.

The books have been from a variety of sources, but it seems that regardless of where I read, the basic principles are the same. Reduce or eliminate refined, white carbohydrates, and increase vegetables and protein. Exercise.

Some of that is probably obvious, but it’s things that I’m hoping to implement more and more. It’s been almost two months since I lost the baby (I can’t believe it’s next week already) and I still have not cycled again yet. I know that often the first cycle post-miscarriage is strange, but I REALLY do not want to go back to irregular cycles. That’s not just so we can conceive again someday (though that would be great) – it’s more because I feel so much healthier and my pcos is so much more under control when the cycles are regular.

Time will tell, but in the meantime, I’ll be doing what I can to help things along. Right now, I’m right at 9 pounds above my pre-Caleb weight. The first thing I’m going to do is change the diet back. I’ve been dragging my feet because I don’t want to diet; I want to make lifestyle changes. I want the changes to be things I can do for life. But I haven’t done anything because I don’t want to give up the sweets.

Hmm. Maybe that’s the problem right there.

At any rate, I’ll be working hard (again) to get this pcos under control. Just don’t be surprised if you see more blog posts about it in the future.