PCOS and Why You Should Worry About It

PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is becoming more and more common these days. I too had it in grade 10 and 12 and I was told a lot of it is due to an unhealthy lifestyle (no exercise, eating a lot of junk). With today’s eating habits that we have which consists of junk predominantly, PCOS is spreading more as girls hit puberty.

 

So what is PCOS ?

It is a condition in which a woman has an imbalance of female hormones, has central adiposity with increase insulin and androgens which may lead to menstrual cycle changes ,either missed or irregular, cysts in the ovaries, trouble getting pregnant, acne, excessive hair growth (hirsutism) on the face, chest, back, and stomach , hair loss from scalp, weight gain ,depression, and skin changes, such as skin tags or dark, velvety skin patches under the arm, on the neck, or in the groin etc. It has numerous implications for general health and well-being. It can affect all females –from adolescence to post menopause. Scary, isn’t it ?

 

So women with PCOS typically have the following :

 

  • High Estrogen, Androgens and LH( Luteinizing ) hormones
  • High Insulin due to Insulin Resistance
  • Low FSH or Follicle stimulating hormone leading to cysts in ovaries.

 

I would also say that having PCOS can usually lead to the following, especially if obesity is a factor as well :

 

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Abnormal uterine bleeding, miscarriage
  • Gestational diabetes and pregnancy induced hypertension.
  • Cholesterol and lipid abnormalities, such as elevated triglycerides or low HDL.
  • Elevated levels of C-reactive protein, a cardiovascular disease marker.
  • Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis or Fatty liver, a severe liver inflammation caused by fat accumulation in the liver
  • Acne, excessive hair growth (hirsutism) on the face, chest, back, and stomach , hair loss from scalp,
  • Sleep apnoea
  • Abnormal uterine bleeding
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Infertility: There are two main reasons for this: Ovulation does not occur, or Ovulation is difficult to predict since fluctuating hormones interfere with the ovulation process.
  • Acanthosis nigricans — dark, velvety patches on skin, particularly on the back of the neck and underarms.

 

So what should you do if you have PCOS? Below is the list of investigations you have to go through :

 

•       Family History:  of Diabetes, PCOS

Medical history:  Insulin Resistance, Diabetes

•       Physical examination: Body mass index (BMI), and waist size. Check for areas of increased hair growth ,Skin acne and pigmentation , Measuring blood pressure.

•       Blood tests –

 

Blood Tests  
Glucose, fasting 70.00-100.00 mg/dl
Insulin, Fasting ( Optional) 2.00-25.00 uU/mL
LH:FSH Ratio >2.0
Total Testosterone <150 ng/dl (if >200 ng/dl, consider ovarian or adrenal tumor)
FSH  
LH  
GTT with 75 gms of Glucose ( If required) 5 Prick method
HbA1C Normal -5.6 %,

Pre-Diabetes: 5.7% -6.4%

Diabetes : 6.5% or higher

 

•       Vaginal Ultrasound (Sonogram) – Doctor may perform a test that uses sound waves to take pictures of the pelvic area. It might be used to examine ovaries for cysts and check the endometrium (lining of the womb). This lining may become thicker if periods are not regular.

 

Now I know it all sounds dreadful, but do not worry ! I got over it by doing something as simple (ok, not that simple) by losing weight ! Of course you and I have different body types and one solution doesn’t fit all, which is why getting professional consultation should be your first step.

 

Another program I have got to know about is about VLCC. VLCC as part of the wellness solutions introduces  Medically supervised “ Get Well Soon “ programs and packages .  These weight loss and Body shaping packages are specially designed for clients suffering from common ailments like Hypothyroidism, PCOS, Diabetes and Hypertension which are directly linked with Obesity. These will help clients to not only improve their condition but may also reverse it in some cases along with desired weight loss and body shaping, thus improving both health and longevity.

 

VLCC

 

Based on Medical, Fitness and health assessments including BCA, Anthropometry and DNA screening they include the following planned, monitored and customized solutions :

 

  1. Ongoing Medical supervision by our in house doctor through the program
  2. Personalized therapeutic diet plan for specific ailment.
  3. Customized Exercise routine with special precautions and contraindications
  4. Supporting therapies and appliance in unique combination to help take care of signs and symptoms of the disease and achieve weight loss and Body shaping goals.
  5. Lifestyle education that focuses on practical training and achieving optimal emotional health.

 

Get yourself treated before its too late, after all as women our hormones are really complicated and it’s essential to maintain the required balance 🙂

Staying healthy at work

There are numerous ‘how to stay healthy during work’ questions I have received earlier for QOTW and I must explain my answers were easily said than done!

So I have been interning since about 3 weeks now, my timings being 8.30am to 5.30am, and I must admit first 3 days were unmanageable. I was already waking up at 7am to leave by 8am, and I kept the evening for my workout. I’d be back home by 6 and I wouldn’t want to get out of bed by like 8pm or 9pm. It was just SO HARD! How do you expect me to exercise after I have had 9 hours of work?! And thats when I understood a lot of peoples plight 😦

Then came weeeeekend! If you follow my Instagram, you’d know how much I focus on Mondays being a completely new beginning where I can change myself.

That Monday onwards till now, below are a few things I do and would continue to do so. I can confidently say even with 9 hours/day of work I am definitely eating healthy and working out, and yes, its working out !

  • I wake up at 5.45am. So by 6 I get out of bed.
  • Drink water and workout. I have discontinued green tea for a while because I’m too lazy to go down and make it and also because Delhi is burning at 45 degree celsius and I don’t like to have any warm drinks.
  • Workout 6.15-7am
  • Bathe by 7.15.
  • 7.15- 7.50 is time for breakfast plus reading. I read while eating and post that because I really wanted to take out some reading time for morning where I can read the books I am currently hooked on to. Its very important not to discontinue things you love just because of work pressure,. So take out little time in the morning to do what you love and are unable to find time for. For me, its reading!
  • 8.30 am – 5.30 pm : work work work work work work
  • Sleep before 11. Not atbefore.

Food hacks

  • My breakfast is fresh fruit or eggs (any form)
  • If breakfast is fresh fruit, I have scrambled eggs or bhel at around 11am in office.
  • I usually have about 2 cups of tea/coffee in office and cold coffee once home.
  • My lunch is sabzi (cooked vegetable) and 2 rotis. I eat slow so I can fill up. This practice keeps me full till the evening. (Click here to know about chewing and losing weight)
  • I carry almonds, figs and channa (chickpeas) with me to munch on.
  • I reach home hungry so if I have a heavy snack at 6.30-7pm I can’t really eat dinner because I feel too full, in this case, I drink milk before sleeping.
  • If evening snack is light, I eat dinner (usually non veg) but no roti.

I am not really specifying ‘what’ I eat because its obviously not the same everyday. But this is what my day is like when I’m at work, and with the workout I am currently doing (Bikini Body Guide or BBG), everything is falling into place. It‘s just about planning!

I know a lot of you work for 10-12 hours a day, but I’d say just take out 45 minutes for yourself. 30-60 minutes is all you really need. Also, even when you munch, munch healthy so you feed your brain and function better 🙂

I hope this works for you!

How to stay motivated?

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90% of my Instagram DMs are related to motivation. Either a person has been exercising for too long and doesn’t see any results, or they just cannot bring themselves to exercise or eat healthy food at the first place. Are you one of them too? In this post, I’ll talk about how I stay motivated.

Let me tell you one thing, no body is perfect. As I type this, I am 70 kgs which has been my highest weight in 2 years. I have the chub back on my face and it does get depressing to see my tummy in the mirror. Moreover, last summer I was in my best body and right now I am the opposite. Yes, I am as normal as anybody else who cribs about my body and does feel sad and demotivated. But then, I also look at myself and feel I have come this far. I may have gained 6-8 kgs, but this is the body which has touched obesity and come down, which has increased its weight during exams and come back in shape every time after that, which has been through its ups of being close to a flat tummy and then lost it and got tyres of fat instead. This, is one hell of a body! I’ve got it, so have you. If I can, so can you!

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Coming back to what keeps me motivated? Well, here’s a little story. I was working out at the gym when I saw hints of my collar bones one fine day. I felt so, so happy and couldn’t believe myself. Further on, my favourite jeans became loose for me and I cried because they were my fav but also because I couldn’t believe it. I know what its like to punch my weight as 80 on a treadmill machine and the joy of punching 75 a few months later, and ultimately 65 ! I believe in myself that I can get back to what I was after I work hard.

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What should keep you motivated? Firstly, you shouldn’t do it for anybody but yourself. No one knows the struggle, commitment and hard-work which goes into being fit- you will go through it and only you would understand it. No one would respect you more than you will begin to respect yourself. Do it because you want to be at your best. Do it because it is the most amazing feeling in the world, and because you want a new you, a healthy you, a fitter you.

Secondly, it is impossible to start it all in one day. Make small improvements everyday. Reduce your sugar intake week by week, work out a little harder month by month, and it is these small steps which lead to progress. It takes time, but it is worth the time right?

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Other than that, lets lose weight together? I am struggling right now too. Stay tuned on my Instagram (@neehareekah) for tips and updates 🙂

Recipe : A pizza which doesn’t make you fat

I was reading a book and tried this by default. Before you read further, please know that I do not know how to cook and I haven’t bothered to learn it because I am too impatient for it. A pizza, though, barely takes any time.

What you need :

  1. A wheat base (preferably thin crust, so less carbs)
  2. Tomato/Pizza sauce
  3. Cheese
  4. Toppings (Whatever you prefer)
  5. Oregano Seasoning (Optional)

How to make it? 

  1. Put sauce on the base.
  2. Add ONLY TWO TABLESPOONS (or lesser) cheese
  3. Add toppings
  4. Sprinkle oregano (optional).

Step number 2 is the only trick.

Why is pizza fattening and rather junk?

  1. High in carbs (thick, maida base)
  2. About 10 table spoons or more of cheese.

The above two add to hundreds of calories and a greater carb and fat content.

Below is the pizza I made, the toppings include salami, olives and finely chopped tomatoes :

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You may be thinking that this will be weird and tasteless, but after I made it a few months ago, I don’t ever remember ordering a pizza outside. Simply because I can actually eat a pizza which has more fillings- all of my choice, and not half as many calories as the one I eat outside! So why not eat what you like and not gain weight 😀 this is something which wouldn’t hamper your weight loss process 🙂

Try it, and let me know how you found it 🙂

Workout Review : PiYo (Pilates+Yoga)

My previous reviews prove how much I love home workouts! So here we have another review 🙂

I have been doing an 8-week PiYo (Pilates+Yoga) program which ends this week. I started PiYo because January onwards my knees got strained on and off and I couldn’t do my usually HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) anymore. I was sick of not exercising and needed to do something which is low impact for the knees. Hence, PiYo.

So what is PiYo? It is a mixture of pilates and yoga. why-what-athletes.png

It is not high intensity but is not by any means ‘easy’. The movements are slow and focus on the muscle deeply which makes it so intense!

Duration : Some workouts are as low as 20 minutes and some are 45 minutes.

The exercises include from a yoga suryanamaskar to lunges and squats and push-ups and so on. The workout focuses not only on strength but also flexibility, which makes the combination of exercises on this workout so good!

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Moreover, I thoroughly enjoyed doing it. Not like I did not enjoy 21 Day Fix or Insanity max 30, but they would be very high intensity that it requires a lot of mental strength to push through and continue.  About 10 minutes of Insanity Max 30 are very, very tiring. During PiYo, on the other hand, working out itself is extremely enjoyable. The slow and focussed moves get you working hard but also I loved how it felt!

Oh, and slow and focussed moves doesn’t mean its easy. It will lead you completely sweating !

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Another difference I saw was that it made me flexible! Being so tall (height : 5.9″) makes you very stiff, so you can feel PiYo open up those muscles and making you flexible. Which is great as being flexible prevents injuries !  Moreover, PiYo works on sculpting all muscles in your body and tones you up.

So, do I recommend it? YES. It’s a fun program which tones you down. You feel your muscles burn and you enjoy it. It’s definitely worth 8 weeks 🙂 Best of luck!

  • For more information about PiYo- Click here
  • To buy PiYo : Click here
  • To take a membership of Beachbody (the company which is an umbrella for amazing workouts like PiYo and have access to all workouts like P90x, PiYo, Insanity, etc) : Click here

I have my Final Exams from Monday, so my next blog post will be post mid-April. Stay healthy, stay fit !

 

Fighting your Weight-loss Plateau

You know those few months when you are working just as hard (and sometimes harder) but you’re still not losing any weight/fat? That’s called a weight-loss plateau. I’ve had it for over 4 months! And its not impossible at all to get rid of it, you just need to follow some basic strategies.

  1. Change your workout– Join a fitness class or do some yoga, just change your workout for a while. I started doing the Insanity Max 30 workout and started losing fat immediately (as less as 2 weeks) and gained lean muscle.
  2. HIIT – Do HIIT (High intensity interval training) exercises a couple of times a week, or add them to your cardio schedule in the gym with rounds of sprinting and jogging.
  3. Sugar– Discontinue any food or drink with sugar , just for a month! Yes, that means tea and coffee as well. Worked wonders for my skin too. After that you can start having it in moderation, but for a while cut away from drinks and dessert.
  4. Alcohol– Alcohol accounts to so so so much empty calories, discontinuing alcohol means cutting down on a lot of calories and saving that belly.
  5. Supplements – I am not a pro with supplements, the only think I take is whey protein. My friends take Apple Cider Vinegar as it helps with burning fat.
  6. Hormones – As women, we have a lot of hormonal changes and imbalances. If nothing works out, get yourself checked so you know whats the cause of this!

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Survey : Relationship between personality traits and athleticism in the UK and India

Hi guys! My friend from the University from Edinburgh needs helps for her dissertation.

Her research topic for the dissertation revolves around relations between personality traits and athleticism in the UK and India, comparing and contrasting them. Research on personality characteristics of athletes is a fairly unexplored sphere in most eastern countries like India, especially when compared to countries such as the UK where there is considerable literature on the subject. This will be a pioneering study in the field, seeking to undertake an overall comparison of personality characteristics of athletes in India and the U.K.

If you decide to participate, you will be asked to complete surveys about athleticism and personality. Students in the University of Edinburgh’s introductory Psychology course will receive course credit for participating; other participants will not receive any compensation. However, your participation will be a valuable addition to her research. Findings could lead to a greater understanding of cross-cultural differences in the personality characteristic of athletes, thus helping to further encouragement not just of overt athleticism but of exercise participation for fun, fitness, and overall health and well-being. You may find answering some of the questions interesting and the study can be completed from the comfort of your home. It will require approximately 20 minutes of your time.

If you are willing to participate, please proceed by clicking on the link below :

https://edinburghppls.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6Gqxyi3hN41ixGl

For more information, contact  : Radhika Butalia – s1329809@sms.ed.ac.uk