Posted in Overall health

Confessions of a former carb and sugar-binger

Where do I even begin on this blog post? I was talking to my mom the other day and was talking about my current heath challenges (I’ll update in a separate post but have to see another specialist as I was rear ended in a car accident last week). So much of the “health advice” given when I was young has been proven to be so, so wrong now. And I believe it has a long term effect on my health and the health of others.

One of my first memories of wayyyyy too much sugar and carbs involved eating cereal. Doesn’t sound too bad, right? Well it is when it’s a sugar laden cereal (think the orange animal who claims the food is great or something similar) and I put additional sugar on top of it! And then moistened the cereal with canned sweet milk. OMG!!! There was also the syrup with the side of pancakes. Or my love of pop tarts. I even did Nutrisystem at a young age and had to drink skim milk. 🤦🏽‍♀️

Remember this was the 90s when fats were vilified so I stayed away from “fat” products. But the substitutes were laden with sugar, sugar and more sugar- Snackwell cookies and candies. My go to meal substitute was a bag of skittles while on the run, again no fat.

And the low point was in college. There was a sweet shop in the cafeterias on campus and a “light” ice cream machine and the waffle machine. Carbs and sugars everywhere. When you have PCOS like me, this is the recipe to have crazy and uncontrollable cravings. Like I wanted sugar all. of. the. time! One thing I’ve never admitted and I’m so embarrassed and ashamed even now because I can’t imagine that I did this- my roommates would have pop tarts which were my biggest weakness. I would sneak and have one at times without asking. 😭😭😭 I would eat and within two hours be hungry again because I lived on carbs.

So why mention all of this now? Sometimes you have to remember how far you’ve come, especially in light of various health challenges. I am pretty sure that my overindulgence of carbs and sugar left me so nutrient deficient that my body was like – chick what are you doing?! I am so thankful that I learned how to appreciate real, whole food. And I know that this health journey will take time. Clearly, none of this happened overnight.

Maybe that’s where you are today, thinking will anything ever improve? How long will this take? Let me encourage you that you can be healthier and support a healthy lifestyle. Each day is the opportunity to make great food and lifestyle choices that move you to optimal health. That’s the goal. So if this former carb and sugar-holic can move past the above mentioned habits and food choices, everyone can!

Now versus the carb/sugar-holic (7 years ago)
Posted in food

Surprises with the AIP

Allow me to remind everyone that I am not giving medical advice, but just sharing my journey that has allowed me to move toward better health.

Capturing how I’m feeling!

I have been on AIP (the autoimmune protocol) since January 1 and while there have been challenges, it has not been as dramatic of a change as I thought it might be. I had a win Friday! 🙌🏽

I manage osteoarthritis and get steroid shots in both knees a couple of times per year. In not planning as well as I needed to on Tuesday, I had to grab a protein bar to eat something while prepping for a lunch time meeting. Keep in mind, I had that same protein bar before AIP and thought that it did not affect me. But, later that night, I felt a twinge of pain in both knees and my ankles were much stiffer. I knew it was the bar! 🤦🏽‍♀️

So I readjusted and made a puréed vegetable soup to really focus on nutrients. And when I got up Friday morning, no more ankle stiffness or pain twinges. That was a great learning experience and it shows how far I have come. Before, when eating foods that arthritis doesn’t like, I’d be in a ton of pain in less than 2 hours! Like barely walking with the cane type of pain.

And then today … I did part of a yoga workout on the ball and could bend and lift knees, though not as high as instructor! 🧘🏽‍♀️I have not been able to get the right leg to bend and lift for months doing the exercise!How amazing is that! That’s combined with doing a short 1000 step walk beforehand without my knee sleeve!!! 🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽

This is such an unheard of breakthrough for me. I’ve read so many testimonials from people who have had such amazing health wins once they started AIP but those are generally from people who have autoimmune diseases. And technically, I don’t. Osteoarthritis is not and while PCOS is akin to autoimmune disease with a published paper making the argument that it should be, it’s not either. But I thought hey, what could it hurt to try and focusing on nutrient density is always important.

I will continue to document this journey, including reintroductions to find out what works for me and what doesn’t. If you don’t know a lot about AIP, I would definitely recommend finding out more, even just to dive deeper into better health. And if you know someone who has an autoimmune condition and think they could benefit, share this post with them!

Posted in Updates

Anniversary Sunday!

Three years ago, in the latter half of August 2018, I decided to make a real effort with getting healthier. I was tired of being sick and tired all of the time. Nothing was working and it seemed that something new was wrong all of the time. And I knew that I needed to do something in a different way this time.

See I had been to an expert in PCOS while living in Baltimore. And I was told to just take birth control pills until I died, unless I planned on having kids and we could look at other meds then. WTH! 🤯🤦🏽‍♀️ ummm, no I’ll pass. I had been following different docs for awhile and kept hearing about keto and thought – hey why not? Nothing else had worked.

Left – before an interview, Aug 2021. Right – before work, Aug 2018

So I started on keto and did that for 3 months until I literally had no appetite and couldn’t sleep. While I lost weight, keto was much too harsh for me physically. Some do well on it; I just couldn’t continue. I then migrated over to paleo. The weight released slower but it was a much more sustainable way for me, especially due to a heavy travel schedule for work.

And after doing the work, here I am, 3 years later. It’s not all about the number on the scale. Yes I’ve lost 100 pounds which is AMAZING and I’ve kept it off. But I also can sleep more than 4 hours per night. I don’t feel sluggish and sick all the time. Brain fog is gone. My outlook on everything is more optimistic. PCOS is much improved. Are there still challenges? Absolutely, but as I continue to research, read, learn and grow, I hope to find ways to smash those challenges too.

Left – Aug 2021 brunch bday celebration. Right – Apr 2018 work gala (I had very few full length pics that year 😲)

Change is hard. Growth is hard. I get that. But I had to learn that to get where I wanted to go, I had to change and grow. And you know what? You can too! I’m not so special that being healthier is exclusive to me. Just start, today. And that decision to start in August 2018 has led me to where I am today. Until next time, to your health! 💥

Posted in supplements

Magnesium – Wellness Wednesdays

Welcome to the third week of Wellness Wednesdays! Today’s focus is magnesium. Allow me to remind everyone that I am not giving medical advice, but just sharing my journey that has allowed me to move toward better health.

What is magnesium? According to the Nutrition Source of the Harvard School of Public Health, magnesium is a mineral that “plays an important role in assisting more than 300 enzymes to carry out various chemical reactions in the body such as building proteins and strong bones, and regulating blood sugar, blood pressure, and muscle and nerve functions.” It basically helps with everything.

In PCOS, women tend to need more magnesium than the recommended daily dosage. It can be difficult for my muscles to relax and magnesium is responsible for that. Have you ever taken magnesium citrate? See how quickly your digestive system relaxes from that! And even though I don’t take the citrate form (I use buffered chelate magnesium), if you have too much, it can cause diarrhea. So I now take approximately 600 mg of magnesium daily and it has works wonders.

I can sleep better. My bowel movements are regular and easy, which has not always been the case. I’ve dealt with low motility and that is the worst ever. And of course, magnesium helps with the other 300 processes mentioned above that I didn’t even realize were connected until I started using it. I even use a topical magnesium spray for areas that tend to stay tight, like the cervical area or hips.

I’ve recommended the use of supplemental magnesium to family members. They both mentioned it to their respective doctors and their doctors agreed with my recommendations! One person, my mom, has seen improvements in her sleep as she is better able to relax, bm consistency and help with sciatic nerve pain that she was dealing with. I sent her the magnesium spray as well to help with areas that she needs to address.

I am not saying that supplemental magnesium is for everyone. Checking with your medical care team is a must. But it has definitely come through for me and been a game changer! Have you tried magnesium? If so, please comment below with your thoughts. I’ll see you next week! 🎊

Posted in Overall health

Summer series – Wellness Wednesdays

I am so excited to update everyone on this new venture that I plan to work on this summer. I’m going to publish a blog post every Wednesday, beginning in May through the end of August. Each week, I will feature a topic that has helped me throughout this wellness journey. I do not intend this to be medical advice for anyone. I am not a medical professional. I’m just someone who hopes to shed light on options that have worked for me. I even have friends and family who have asked for assistance with health challenges. And guess what? The solutions work!

I’ll also update you on my health journey throughout as well, including challenges for transparency. If this is your first time reading this blog, thank you. And thank you to those who continue to follow. I reached over 100 followers! Wow! That’s amazing as I never thought anyone might be interested.

For those who don’t know, I was diagnosed with PCOS in my mid-30s after YEARS of trying to find solutions to all of the issues that I was having. There are several types of PCOS and you can have more than one. Some days, I feel like I deal with them all at once! My biggest concern is chronic low grade inflammation; this (only my belief) led to the osteoarthritis that I deal with as well. I started working with a nutritionist in 2018 as I was having so many health issues and through the work, I’ve had major improvements including losing 95 pounds to date! With the arthritis, however, I am looking at possible knee replacement and physical therapy for cervical arthritis. It can be a lot and overwhelming sometimes, so yoga, meditation and prayer are key for me.

Down 95 pounds, starting mid-August 2018

So join me on this summer’s adventure. And feel free to comment with solutions that have worked for you. Let’s build a community. 🥂 to your good health.

Posted in Uncategorized

A Late Post

OMG- I was sitting here thinking “when is the one year anniversary for reaching the goal that I set for myself in the weight category?”. So I looked through some of my old posts and realized that it was in NOVEMBER last year!! Clearly I did nothing to celebrate because I didn’t know that it had been one year.

To recap, my goal was to get down to 175 pounds. And yayyyyy, I met that goal. And I’ve blown right past it as well. My last weigh in was 154 for a total loss of about 91 pounds. The only thing I’ve tried to do is be more consistent, get good quality sleep and incorporate some type of exercise on most days. Cooking at home more has helped a good deal; that’s been easier since I no longer travel up and down the coast.

But why do I mention all of this? To continue to stress that better health is possible. Have I hit all of my health goals? No. There are other indicators that I would like to improve but I believe that I will get there as I continue to work on them.

I’ve included a comparison picture from yesterday that I took before meeting a friend for lunch (one of the few times I’ve eaten out in some time) and from December 2018 after losing about 27 pounds. Share with someone who may need motivation to keep moving forward. If this chick can manage PCOS and osteoarthritis and still lose weight, you can too!

🥂 to your good health!
Posted in Uncategorized


In the latter half of August 2018, I decided to really work on my health and find more natural approaches to do so. This was after an expert in PCOS basically told me that I could just stay on birth control pills to manage it for the rest of my life! 😱

I came across the keto diet and did that for 3 months. However, since I have slow digestion, the program has WAYYYYY too much meat for me and I never felt hungry. But the keto diet was a great kick start to transition to paleo, which is basically what I still follow. Keto helped me stop a lot of junk cravings but I still wanted to feel better.

I started working with a nutritionist who specializes in PCOS in January 2019. And while working with the nutritionist involved revamping everything I had known in terms of food, what would work for me, motivation and habits, it was sooooo worth it.

When I started mid-August 2018 to make a total change and find something that was a permanent solution, I weighed about 245 pounds. Fairly accurate as I went to a gym and used the scale there. I’ve included a couple of before pics from earlier in 2018.

Summer 2018
April 2018 at a gala

Since that time, I’ve lost 81.8 pounds to date. This is the first time that I’ve ever released weight and actually been able to keep it off!! Ever! And no, I’ve had no surgeries or used any gimmicks. I just had to make real, sustainable changes with the guidance of my nutritionist.

I have improved health in so many ways – better sleep, more energy, less brain fog, better walking ability with osteoarthritis, less PMS, clearer skin, less hirtuism, better digestion, very few junk food cravings, and more confidence because I feel much better! I’m still a work in progress and have more goals that I want to reach but I’ve included recent pics from this month.

Summer 2020
August 2020 birthday celebration

I hope this inspires you to reach your goals! You can do this. And if you veer off track, the next day is a new one; the next meal is another chance to do better. Until next time, 🥂 to your good health!

Posted in Uncategorized

Feeling Festive

Today I am celebrating progress! 🥳 so many times, we (and especially me!), focus on how much further we have to go. But I decided that I’m going to start measuring how far I’ve come and making victory laps of baby steps.

Yes, I’m still in physical therapy but I can finally raise my head to a neutral position. Yes, I need to tone up more, but I’m down approximately 104 pounds from my highest weight. Yes, I still rely on a cane when needed, but I don’t need a knee replacement today.

Rejoice in celebrating life!! 🎉🎊🎆

🥂to your good health! Until next time …
Posted in Uncategorized

Mental preparation

I joined several PCOS groups on Facebook and often, the discussions center around weight loss. When you have PCOS, losing weight can be challenging, at best. And many ask for help in these forums, as do many family and friends. They all ask- can someone (or me in particular with family and friends) help me? Can you tell me what diet you’re on? After telling them I follow a paleo type plan (often AIP as well), I let them know what to do first.

Can you guess? It’s not throwing out junk food. Or the number of workouts to complete. Or how to change habits. None of that- well at least initially. No, the first thing that I tell people is that they have to get their minds right. They have to want to make this change more than anything and they need a reason to stick with it.

My reason? Well I had two reasons to make a dramatic change. One- to figure out a way to lessen joint pain. Losing weight is key so that there would be less pressure on my knees. Each pound that I dropped is the equivalent of getting rid of 4 pounds of pressure on my knees! So at 71 pounds, that’s 284 pounds of pressure! THAT’S INSANE!!! My second reason was that I just wanted to feel better. It seemed no matter what I did, I was getting worse and worse. And while I didn’t know exactly what to do at first, I knew that I couldn’t stay where I was.

How did I mentally prepare? I read ALOT. I came across a book entitled 8 steps to reverse your PCOS. I joined the groups on Facebook. I started reading more about alternative therapies and how food is a huge deal for PCOS. I came across Dr. Ken Berry and his YouTube channel about the keto diet. While keto is not the most appropriate plan for me, Dr. Berry’s knowledge and zeal made me do more research. I prayed and cried- the cry part is hard to admit because I’m usually seen as the super strong individual. And I got a new job in which I work remotely which allowed me to rest as needed on my not so well days.

All this prep work led to me finally make the decision to begin working with Robin’s program for PCOS. She is now my nutritionist and I work with her one on one. But what most don’t know is that I followed her email blasts for at least two years before taking the plunge to begin the work. I had to get rid of the old thought pattern that only birth control pills could effectively manage PCOS (as told to me by a PCOS specialist in Baltimore who shall remain nameless). I was floored when the specialist told me that and basically brushed off my questions about diet and alternative therapy.

And I still need my reasons why I continue on this journey, especially when I’m hangry or lacking sleep or feeling emotional or overworked- whatever the situation. I don’t always feel like cooking. I don’t always want to feel and process emotions. I don’t always get enough sleep. And who wants to workout when it’s cold? 🥶 BUT I also don’t want to go backward and be in the state that I was in 1.5 years ago. So I have to follow what I know works most days; I’m not perfect and everyday will not be perfect but I plan around early morning flights or being stuck in an airport with very limited food options. Planning? That’s mental preparation put into action.

I could go on and on but I’ll just say it IS doable. As much as I joke that I don’t do a lot in managing PCOS, most of the work is renewing my mind everyday to do what needs to be done. The journey is worth it. There is a light at the end of the tunnel – better health. And it’s a lifetime journey in which you’ll have to prepare yourself daily. Share with others or leave a note about how you had/have to make mental adjustments. 🥂 to your good health. Until next time…

Source: Instagram
Posted in Uncategorized

Flashback Friday

April 2017 / November 2019

I am so thankful for the transformation that has occurred; I am BEYOND thankful. I never thought that I could be in a healthier place but that didn’t keep me from searching. It took time, work, patience and self-care, but it was possible. And it’s worth it because I AM WORTH IT! That’s the one thing you have to tell yourself every day when you’re facing a challenge – you are worth it. You can do this. Don’t listen to the negative people questioning how or telling you that you can’t. I have those people in my life too (they’re in the family) but I had to learn how to check them appropriately and keep pushing toward my goals. You’ve got this! Share with someone else who needs to realize that they are worth it.