Wednesday, June 13, 2012

working (it) out.

I'm sitting here with the weight of a thousand emails on my shoulders. I've had the feeling lately of being out at sea, my head just barely bobbing over the waves, I'm grasping for anything that will keep me afloat as I try to make my way back to the shore. My body is getting tired and I feel like every day I get pushed a little farther back. 

It could be worse. I'm not talking about being sad or sick or truly lost, just being tired and overwhelmed.

Here's where it starts: I have polycystic ovarian syndrome which is the lamest thing to have. It makes you fat and tired and at high risk for diabetes and cancer and all sorts of other not fun things. It makes you hairy and hormonal and makes it difficult to become pregnant. It messes up your cycle and your life. It explains a lot about the health and weight problems I've had since puberty (I've never been extremely overweight but I've also never really been able to lose weight after a certain point - even at the height of ballet and intense workouts), but it frustrates me to no end because it feels like no matter how hard I work, I will never be thin, fit or healthy. Of course I worry about the other things, too, I'd just rather not think about them as much.

So we've been trying to get me healthy. I've cut out gluten and eat a plant based diet. I've always been vegetarian, and I don't want to cut out grains entirely (corn, brown rice and quinoa are important to me) but I am 100% ruling out gluten. I try not to eat sugar. It's hard but I've cut way down. I never drink sugary drinks and I guzzle water. I try to not eat processed foods (corn tortilla chips are the only thing I haven't been able to quit) and my mom gave me her Vitamix so I can drink my dinner every night. Every single weeknight I blend a leafy green, a little fruit and some cucumber (which I've even started growing in my little garden) with a cup of water and drink it while B eats his dinner. I eat dinner on the weekends, but I don't get a fresh croissant at the farmer's market anymore, so give me a break. I'm only human. B yells at me when I want to sneak a cake ball or espresso and Taso tells me to go to sleep and go to the gym even though I get angry and it starts a fight. He's right, of course, and he should be encouraging me to be healthier. It's just hard and, though part of me wants to hear it, the louder part of me doesn't.

So back to the ocean and non-existant life raft. The truth is, going to the gym and going to sleep at night are ESSENTIAL to my health. To the extra 10lbs that won't quit, my ability to get pregnant one day and my life. For this last year after grad school I was working out hard off and on. I did boot camp and then transitioned into spin class and/or pilates daily. Not only did nothing happen, I ended up swollen and feeling heavier and more bloated than before. It was so frustrating that I had to stop. I had to take a break, read everything I could about dealing with PCOS and reevaluate my approach. Now it's time to get back in the saddle and I just can't seem to find hours in my day to do it.

Evaluating this problem (as I am right now), I have to look honestly at the other problems in my life: I'm working way more hours than I should be and not getting enough done, I'm not sleeping well and my life is off-balance. I never see friends, but worse, I can't remember to return personal phone calls or texts or emails. I can't focus on more than one thing at a time, I'm moody and forgetful. 

The answer always lies in a fresh approach. If what you're doing has stopped working, do something else. Ultimate life hack. Answer to everything, in my opinion. So, I've got the eating thing down (except for the chips and salsa, but I promise I'll work on that) and I'm doing this stupid colon/liver cleanse thing and I'm taking B12 blah blah. Now it's time for me to get off of this computer and sit down with my pen and paper and make a list. That list will start with 8 hours of sleep EVERY night. Then one hour at the gym every morning. Then yoga every evening. Then cutting off work after 8 hours (or my last account wraps up around the 8 hour mark) and going outside with my kid. Then priorities at home and work, then wedding planning, then goals. 

This may seem vague, but even just taking the time to type out this blog post has helped me immensely. When you're in the thick of stress is when it's hardest to see what's wrong and how you can get out of it. Right now the most important thing for me is to find a way to fit everything into each day. Sleep, meditation, exercise, work, family, juicing, yoga, sleep. That's not so hard. For so long I've had this distant dream of dancing again but I know it's not possible right now. But what if it was? What if I got in good enough shape and caught up enough on work and sleep that I could function enough to take a ballet class? See, goals. 

Thanks for listening while I use my public blog like a personal diary. One day, maybe in 10 years, I will have one of those "Look What I Did, You Can Do It Too!" blogs and I will link back to this all like, "aw, look how far I've come," and PCOS will be a non-issue and I'll have two children and be talking about that time I tried out for So You Think You Can Dance and made it to Vegas... or something. For now, I am off to list make and sleep. If you have PCOS too, or just want to be healthier, let's be friends.


  1. I am going to take a barre class in the fall. Wanna join in? I think it'll be during the day on Friday's!

  2. Brittan! I heart you. As a fellow chronic condition sufferer, life is extra hard. And I don't have a child, good gods! I just want to suggest mindfully relaxing each day (even if for just like 5 minutes listening to Enya), and these are raw, gluten free, no sugar, and a-frakkin-mazing:

    And maybe check this out:
    It helps me. Not perfect, but helpful. And a good way to keep track for the list-obsessed of us. Also, I would love to be your ally on it. Keep me posted!