PCOS/Insulin Resistance Support - WHAT just happened!?!




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Quadzilla12
03-20-2013, 11:53 PM
Hi everyone. This is my first post on this board. I'm a female bodybuilder who got real lean 3-4 years ago and has PACKED ON pounds since then. I'm comfortable in the off-season around 185 lbs. My competition lean weight is about 165 shredded. With excessive dieting and working out 6 days per week, my weight has STILL crept UP nearly 50 lbs!!

I have done every sane and insane thing I can think of to manipulate my diet & workout routines to try to drop weight and compete for 3 years now. NOTHING worked for 3+ years. I knew I was not doing anything wrong with my workouts or nutrition, so finally I gave in and asked for help. Went to a doc and SUPRISE!! I'm insulin resistant. My insulin is through the roof somehow?!?

Blood glucose normal. A1C test normal. Insulin serum = 83. The lab report says its supposed to be under 17. WTH just happened!?!? How could this happen?? I've been working out and dieting strictly for 10+ years as a bodybuilder. All other lab test items came back great. I have NO symptoms of insulin resistance other than I can't lose weight no matter what I do. No fatigue, amazing energy, huge muscle gains in the gym, no excessive hunger/thirst, etc. The only symptom I have is that I can't lose weight!? I'm so angry right now. I thought dieting and exercising were the first line of defense against high insulin levels and were supposed to regulate it without medication!? I've been doing that 10+ years and my insulin is at 83! HOW. HOW. I cried when my doctor told me.

I've been lurking all over message boards this week and have seen people with 32, 35, 30 as "high" numbers. I presented with an 83 and still can't get into an endocrinologist til May. I guess on the plus side, at least I know why I've been gaining weight so easily even with all my working out and dieting, but I just wanna cry and keep asking why this happened.... I guess I'm going to use this log as a journal and document what happens/ask questions as I take care of this issue soooo hi everyone! And thanks for letting me rant on this first post!


fattymcfatty
03-21-2013, 12:14 AM
Wow. This is out of my area of expertise, but want to welcome you and let you know that there are some knowledgable folks on here who might have some insight. Good luck and hoping you get the answers you need.

Jez
03-21-2013, 12:20 AM
Have you tried controlling your insulin production by cutting your carbohydrates?

ETA: I am not a bodybuilder, but I do lift (heavy) weights for functional strength, and I am able to do so eating very low carb.


mariposssa
03-21-2013, 01:19 AM
I don't have any experience with weightlifting...but I do have PCOS and IR. Sorry to say t. hat I had it in Jr high/HS/college when I was quite thin and active, also. Some people assume that you get it from being inactive or obese....not so much...and not always. It is also a genetic thing. For a long time I was able to minimize the effects by being active. But, if you gain (like I did when pregnant) those pounds are SO stubborn for PCOS/IR peeps. Stubborn? Yes. Impossible to lose? NO. It has taken me a year to lose a little over 40 lbs. But, I am also hypothyroid which is also fairly common among the PCOS cysters. Forty pounds down is way better than gaining. Low carb combined with IF is what has worked for me. Good luck.

Quadzilla12
03-21-2013, 02:19 AM
Hi ladies. Thank you all for the welcome & quick replies! Indeed I have done low-carb, no-carb, ketogenic diets, carb cycling, targeted-keto diets, 1-2 day carb ups... I have manipulated everything I can think of with regard to diet. I lift weights 4x per week and I've done no cardio, daily cardio, fight MMA 6x per week, high-intensity-interval training, 2+ hours cardio per day. I'm talking INSANE amounts of activity on low low calories. Tried it all!

Also during this 3 years, I've rested my body by taking several weeks off training and ramped up my calories slowly to reset my metabolism and make sure I wasn't adrenally exhausted. I maintain my weight at 3000 calories per day. Knowing this, I have decreased to 2500, 2200, 2000, 1800, 1500, 1200, 1000 calories per day with NO losses. Each time I've spent several weeks at each of these calorie levels with no fat loss whatsoever. VERY FRUSTRATING!!

So after 3 years of doing every possible bodybuilding & dieting trick out there with no fat loss, I went to a doc a week ago. Some people with IR or PCOS find it difficult to lose weight... I found it IMPOSSIBLE! I would have settled for slowwww fat loss this entire time if that was occurring--Eating the same 7 foods + greens day in and day out with tons of activity should produce leanness. Not a complete standstill :( In spite of all my frustration, I feel excellent physically (other than I'm carrying too much bodyfat) and I do believe this will get better :) Today I took my first dose of Metformin (which I specifically asked for and my doc prescribed until I can see an endo in May to find out why this is occurring). I'm just completely in shock my insulin is 83 when its supposed to be under 17. Almost 5x what its supposed to be!?!

synger
03-21-2013, 08:48 AM
I was going to suggest that if you're that insulin resistant, you may want to request Metformin. Sounds like you already have.

It will take a few weeks to build up in your system. Please take a deep breath and be patient. Many people, even with very high insulin, find that Met will help them a great deal. It suppresses the liver's production of glucose... insulin resistant people tend to have livers that over-make glucose, which then signals your pancreas to pump out more insulin. Even on a low-carb diet, your liver will make SOME glucose (gluconeogenesis). It sounds like it's making more than you need, and your pancreas is reacting accordingly. The Met may calm your liver's glucose factory, which in turn should cut back on your pancreas making so much insulin.

That is, if you continue to eat fairly low-carb. You already seem to know that if you eat high carb, it also triggers insulin production because of glucose from the food you eat.

So stick with the lower-carb diet, and see how the Met helps after a month or so. By that time, you'll have your endo appt in May and I hope she'll have some good news for you!

Keep us posted. I know how frustrating it can be to try to lose weight with high IR. I'm glad you found us (even though I wish you hadn't HAD to!). Please do keep posting. We may not be able to help directly, but we can encourage you and help support you even through your frustrations.

Quadzilla12
03-21-2013, 09:59 PM
Lol, being patient is SO hard for me. I'm a perfectionist in every sense of the word and patience is something I certainly need to work on :)

Today is day #2 of taking Metformin... 500mg twice per day. No issues so far.... Am I supposed to have tummy/bathroom issues to know its beginning to work? Slight headache yesterday but that could be from my thirstiness from this dry air in my house/using Afrin nasal spray too much...

mariposssa
03-21-2013, 10:06 PM
I think it varies a lot from person to person. I never had tummy issues exactly...but I did have more frequent BMs. I think that happened within a few days for me if I remember correctly.

Kaitie9399
03-21-2013, 10:14 PM
I just wanted to chime in and say that our bodies are complex and that we really don't have any control over some of the things that happen to them. You didn't anything wrong--your body is unique and will behave differently than others. I'm sorry you're frustrated but at least now you know and you can start working towards a solution.

Bluejaybythesea
03-22-2013, 04:08 AM
I have absolutely zero authority to say anything here as-far-as advice, but I will say good luck and I hope things get better for you :).

astrophe
03-22-2013, 09:34 AM
Hang in there. I hope you get some answers from your endoc appt.

Some things to consider -- BCP. (http://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/pcos-articles/233973-birth-control-pills-pcos.html) Some of them promote insulin resistance in PCOS people.

Wheat -- some people with sensitivities to wheat get wiggy numbers.

PCOS patients present in at least 5 ways (http://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/pcos-insulin-resistance-support/223873-poll-what-type-pcos-patient-you.html) -- sounds like you could be PCOS/IR type.

GL!
A.

Quadzilla12
03-22-2013, 01:08 PM
I just wanted to chime in and say that our bodies are complex and that we really don't have any control over some of the things that happen to them. You didn't anything wrong--your body is unique and will behave differently than others. I'm sorry you're frustrated but at least now you know and you can start working towards a solution.

I guess that's part of my frustration here--not only the time I've invested in my bodybuilding career with 3 years and no results, but also I feel like "WHY? What did I do wrong to make this happen?" I've got to remember not to blame myself, but I do somehow feel "what else could I have done to avoid this?" So I am beating myself up a little bit. I did have the previous idea/stigma in my mind that if you are overweight/obese, you are insulin resistant and I've spent 10 years of my life being lean, healthy, constant working out, and very calorie-controlled diets for my sport and yet I still ended up with this. It boggles my mind!

Quadzilla12
03-22-2013, 01:24 PM
Hang in there. I hope you get some answers from your endoc appt.

Some things to consider -- BCP Some of them promote insulin resistance in PCOS people.

Wheat -- some people with sensitivities to wheat get wiggy numbers.

PCOS patients present in at least 5 ways -- sounds like you could be PCOS/IR type.

GL!
A.

Could I be PCOS without having the main time of the month issues? My TOM is normally very regular ever since I was 12. I get the usual back pain, watery abs, and cramps to know its coming. I can usually predict it down to the day. I do have some mild chin hair growth that's annoying, but not a big deal and a red dermatitis rash that shows up before my TOM and leaves in 3-4 days, but this does not always happen every month... nor does it bother me enough to have it looked at since it goes away so quickly. The main thing that bothers me is the weight issue so at this point, so being diagnosed as IR and needing Metformin will hopefully begin to help.

astrophe
03-22-2013, 02:19 PM
PCOS patients present in at least 5 ways. You do not have to be anovulatory. Ifyou are ovulatory it could be one of these presentations.

non-traditional PCOS -- ovulatory, increased androgens, mild insulin resistance

idiopathic hirsutism -- ovulatory, increased androgens, no insulin resistance


Another thought -- intense workouts affecting your cortisol (stress hormone) and that causing even more PCOS hormone wacky?

A

mariposssa
03-22-2013, 04:24 PM
Another thought -- intense workouts affecting your cortisol (stress hormone) and that causing even more PCOS hormone wacky?

A

Good point. This is an issue for me. My body responds well to yoga and walking. I enjoy Zumba...but it can be too much and I can even gain if I try that strenuous more than once a week.

Quadzilla12
03-22-2013, 07:12 PM
PCOS patients present in at least 5 ways. You do not have to be anovulatory. Ifyou are ovulatory it could be one of these presentations.

non-traditional PCOS -- ovulatory, increased androgens, mild insulin resistance

idiopathic hirsutism -- ovulatory, increased androgens, no insulin resistance


Another thought -- intense workouts affecting your cortisol (stress hormone) and that causing even more PCOS hormone wacky?

A

To be honest, I don't know a ton about PCOS, so I don't wanna say that I have it just yet and worry myself unnecessarily. I realize PCOS and IR often goes together though. What I do know for sure is that I am insulin resistant with insulin almost 5x the normal amount surging through my body everyday and this has prevented me from losing weight 3 years in a row now. :dizzy:

I have taken rest periods and breaks to address my adrenals/cortisol production and make sure my body is not stressed out during my course of years working out. I don't really ever worry I'm working out "too hard" because my body LOVES the activity. Physically/mentally, I am just so excited and thrilled to hit the weights and always feel amazing and energized afterward. If I felt tired and exhausted, I would take that as a sign I was overdoing it and my adrenals/cortisol production was out of whack too.

Currently, I feel excellent on my 4-day lifting split (gonna hold off on cardio til I absolutely need it since my diet is in check & I shouldn't need extra activity other than lifting right now to begin to lose)... lets see how this Metformin works when it kicks in. Its day 3 and I notice a little tummy rumbling and very slight headache, but no major complaints so far!

Smurlene
03-23-2013, 11:55 PM
I weigh 293 (again), and I have regular ovulatory cycles. I have IR.

Quadzilla12
03-27-2013, 12:04 AM
I weigh 293 (again), and I have regular ovulatory cycles. I have IR.

So what was your first clue to check for PCOS? I've never even heard of it until I found this message board! I just go about my days with my regular ovulatory cycles and cramps and then its over--never thought anything of it. I don't know if PCOS came along with IR at this point because it doesn't cause me enough issues to worry, nor am I trying to conceive at any point in the foreseeable future so ehhh.

What does bother me is my insulin 5x the normal level in my body. I'm so angry that this happened and I'm hoping like crazy the Metformin begins to correct it. I've read many great stories on here about women having successful weight loss with it so I'm hoping with Met and my bodybuilding workouts & pre-contest diet that I'll be back to my old self soon! Kinda hoping I don't have a thyroid issue too...

Its been about 6 days on the Met so far and I seem to be tolerating it well. No major issues to complain about other than I seem to be having the opposite of the bathroom issues most people have--I can't seem to produce a good/frequent BM for some reason, hmm....

Michelle125
03-27-2013, 09:30 AM
Please keep us posted!!! I, too, cannot lose weight no matter what I do. I used to think anyone who wasn't lean wasn't putting in the effort. Now I want to shout and cry because I've been putting in the effort for years but gain body fat. I stopped Metformin about a year ago because I was hallucinating at night, but now I'm thinking I might need to do it gain?

Quadzilla12
03-30-2013, 02:03 PM
AWESOME. Bodybuilding pre-contest diet & 4-day lifting split & taking Metformin for a week and a half I have GAINED 6 lbs. Are you kidding me?!? What the $%^&* kinda crap is this??? Omg, if I wasn't completely distraught before, this is surely gonna do it. My weight is climbing while I purposely went on medication to get it to do the exact opposite??

I understand that it takes about a month for the Met to build up in your system, but I'd figure with 5x the normal amount of insulin levels in my body, starting medication would have helped regulate that even just a little so far as to not cause a GAIN. 6 pounds??! In 12 days. This is absolutely unacceptable. I was better off 12 days ago NOT taking this stupid Met. What the **** am I counting calories for and eating the same few foods for? I hate being a "negative nancy" by I am never gonna be able to get on stage and compete at this rate. This is absurd. Wow, depressing. My head's all messed up right now. On my end, I can't possibly do anything better! I can't eat better cause I'm already eating 100% clean counting & weighing every food I take in. I can't workout more cause I'm on my hardcore pre-contest lifting routine. Diet + exercise = nothing. Fantastic. :?:

Kaitie9399
03-30-2013, 04:19 PM
Quadzilla12: That sucks. I'm sorry.



Maybe you could see a different doctor?

Quadzilla12
04-21-2013, 03:12 PM
So its been 5.5 weeks on the 1000mg/daily Met and I've GAINED 8 more lbs. WITH working out 5 days per week and eating only 2100 calories per day. I maintain my weight around 2800 cals and now here I am gaining on less. Sweet. Tomorrow I'm calling my doc to figure what else is wrong with me here. I don't know if I should ask for a thyroid panel blood test, increase in Met to 2000mg daily, I don't know what to eat each day, I don't know anything anymore.

After 10 years of bodybuilding & dieting I know how my body SHOULD function and what I need to do to get lean like before, but none of that has actually worked in years due to this stupid IR.

I'm curious what you ladies consider "low carb" ?? At this point I'm willing to cut more carbs to try to lose weight even if it affects my workouts because this is ridiculous still gaining. I've read some people eating less than 60g carbs, less than 30g carbs... As a competitive bodybuilder, I tend to think of low carbs as 100-130g per day. Anything less than that and I'm gonna be wiped out during my lifting sessions. BUT I'll do it if that seems to be the general consensus on how low my carbs need to go to begin to see some fat loss results. I've done years and years or low-no carb ketogenic dieting so maybe I'll switch back to that.

I'm just so confused and upset at the state my body is in despite all my excellent dieting & working out habits for the past 10 years... I don't know what to do first. I wish I could have some success in this like many other ladies online here now that I know I'm indeed IR and trying to treat it properly.

mariposssa
04-21-2013, 08:38 PM
It's different for everyone, but I tend to lose best between 75-100 carbs a day. I learned this by starting with really low carb (20-30) and then adding back 5-10 more carbs for a few days until I reached the point where I was no longer losing and gaining. But, I also do well with carb cycling where I have a low Atkins type day followed by a higher 100 carb day.

When you have IR or PCOS/IR the number of calories to maintain or gain do not mesh up well with average BMR or what works well for others. For example, I can gain weight on 1000 calories if it is mostly carbs. But, I will lose really well if that 1000 calories were mostly protein/fat.

The magic number or carbs and calories will vary by person, though. In my experience, extreme workouts (possibly including heavy lifting) can be too taxing on the body when if/when the person has PCOS/IR. My own body responds better to walking and yoga than intense workouts. This may or may not be the case for you...and it may take some time and experimenting to figure out how much your body can handle before it gets too taxing.

Good luck to you as you "relearn" what works for your IR or PCOS body.

novangel
04-21-2013, 08:52 PM
I have never heard of anything like this I'm so sorry. If this was happening to me I'd stop lifting and only do cardio on a 1,200 cal diet until I could figure out WTH is going on. I would also get a 2nd opinion. :hug:

Happymomof2
04-21-2013, 09:13 PM
Have you had a complete thyroid panel? I gained 35 pounds in 6 months with zero changes in eating or exercise habits before I was finally diagnosed with a thyroid problem. I also have extreme vitamin d deficiency which can effect weight. It took me 3 different doctors to get the right one who could diagnose me correctly. I hope you get answers, if not keep searching until you get the right Dr to help you. Good luck!

NikonGirl30
04-22-2013, 07:38 PM
Quadzilla,
I am not a body builder, But i know how you feel... I found out friday... I presented at a 42...

I am stunned... Because i struggled with weightloss for years, then this time, i'm finally seeing success.. I finally started eating better, and exercising.... and then this...

I have no idea how to make the right food choices, I am scared to eat... and I feel so sick from the metformin...

Hang in here... Your not alone :)

Michelle125
04-23-2013, 07:51 AM
Have you done a food allergy test? According to "The Virgin Diet" book, most people are slightly allergic to the 7 "bad boy" modern foods today: gluten, soy, dairy, eggs, corn, peanuts, sugar and sweeteners. She claims if you eliminate those, your weight loss will start up again.

Also, I went through a body-building type phase, and I must say that whey protein caused me to gain pure FAT. I could not understand it. I started getting a double chin. I'm not sure if you rely on powders/supplements like that? :( I feel for you. I went through the same thing. I was killing myself at Crossfit and gained like 15lbs of fat. It was so embarrassing!!!

Quadzilla12
04-23-2013, 02:47 PM
Thank you so much for all the responses, ladies!! I appreciate it :)

I called my doc today and he said to stop the Met. It didn't cause me any bad issues, but it's obviously not helping either. That was a temporary solution I asked for in the meanwhile before I could see my endocrinologist on May 8th--so I'll just have to wait it out at this point. Doc said he doesn't think the Met caused the weight gain--just that my insulin serum level is at an 83 and its supposed to be under 17, so that's still causing weight gain on its own.

My doc told me I don't have to drop carbs even further at this point and just to hang on til the endo can run a battery of tests to figure out why my insulin is so high. Either way, blood sugar still excellent and A1C still excellent. I talked to a nurse today who had diabetes and she made me feel a lot better about my situation. Though I don't have diabetes, she described to me her situation about what her insulin levels do and how she gains and loses 10-20 lbs in 2 weeks sometimes. She understood my frustration and at least I felt better after speaking to her.

Michelle, I've never had a food allergy test, but I normally eat only eggs regularly out of that list. I've switched to almond "milk" and eat walnuts/almonds, but no peanuts... a greek yogurt cup once in a greaaat while. Love eggs though! And whey protein powder I do like quite a bit, but I tend to focus more on whole foods. If I'm running late for school/work, I'll make a shake with water. Hmm....

Quadzilla12
05-13-2013, 12:57 AM
I went to an endocrinologist a few days ago and she was puzzled. Said she's not sure why my PCP doc told me my insulin was an issue. She was also wondering why my PCP didn't order a thyroid test if I'm having so much trouble losing weight with 5x workouts and strict dieting. The endo told me to wait until 6 days after my TOM to get the blood test done and by the look of what she ordered me to be tested for, I'm thinking she's thinking I have PCOS. She wants tested: TSH, Free T4, Thyroglobulin AB, Thyroperoxidase AB, Estrogen, Free testosterone, progesterone, androstenone, prolactin, DHEA, LH, FSH, etc.... Like 12 things!! Seems like she's thinking its a PCOS issue.

Now that I think about it besides the fact that I can't lose weight no matter what I do, I do have some facial hair growth I pluck regularly and thought I might be losing some hair on my head once in a while in addition to the red dots/dermititis rash I get around my TOM. These things never bothered me though so I never stepped back and looked at it. I only focused and was stressed out about never being able to lose weight. If indeed I have PCOS, why did 1000mg Met NOT help me when I tried it for 6 weeks?! It didn't do a darn thing in my opinion and I continued to gain weight the whole time :/ I get to wait til mid-June now to figure out this next part...

ikesgirl80
05-13-2013, 10:51 AM
Every doctor I see thinks I have PCOS, but all my blood work is fine. The only thing that was ever a problem was my insulin levels (around 80 - 85) and high cholesterol (but I was eating 10,000+ calories of fast food a day, what did I expect?). Metformin did not work for me either, but what did was a diet called "The Carbohydrate Addict's Diet" by Drs. Richard and Rachel Heller. I was on it for almost 2 years, and have been able to switch to a mostly Paleo Diet (except for cheese, chocolate, white potatoes (2x/month), and a random thing here or there). I run 10 - 30 miles a week (depending on how rough a week my students give me), and have just recently started adding strength training (mainly pull ups, sit ups, dips, squats, handstands, etc.).