PCOS/Insulin Resistance Support Support for us with any of the following: Insulin Resistance, Syndrome X, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or other endocrine disorders.

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Old 06-17-2005, 10:00 AM   #1  
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Question Should I consider a special diet?

I was sort of diagnosed with PCOS a year ago (I didn't have the best gyn. The nurse mentioned it in passing and the dr. never mentioned anything. He just prescribed BCP.) Anyway, I haven't been back to see that dr. and have just dealt with the symptoms. (I know, not very smart )

It wasn't until I got on this website that I realized dieting might not be as simple as counting calories. Should I consider something like the South Beach diet? I'm a carb junkie and I know it would be difficult for me, but if it really works I'm willing to give it a try.

On another subject, have any of you tried Splenda? Does it really taste like sugar or is it more like Sweet & Low and Equal?

Christine
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Old 06-17-2005, 10:22 AM   #2  
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I was dx'd with PCOS and more recently insulin resistance. My doctor recommended the south beach diet to me along with taking Fortamet to lose weight. I started the south beach diet a few weeks ago and have lost about 20lbs so far. I was never able to lose weight before the SBD and Fortamet. I had tried strict low carbing, Atkins, and Sugar busters with no results.

I use splenda also. I does have an aftertaste but I don't find it as bad or as strong as other sugar substitutes. You can also use it when baking, which you can't do with other substitutes.
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Old 06-17-2005, 10:35 AM   #3  
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I also wanted to say a little something about eating low carb and the SBD since I read another post from you on the subject.

With PCOS you really need to limit your carb intake. Some people are starting the low carb "diets" because they want to lose weight quickly, not because they need to limit their carb intake. When they stop "low carbing" they gain the weight back, usually plus some.

SBD (or any other plan) will not work for you if you use it as a DIET and not a way of eating. I see the South Beach as being different because it doesn't say you can't have carbs, it says to eat better carbs and lower fat. For example, instead of a baked white potato with your dinner, have a sweet potato. The idea is to eat healthier, not to be on a diet (which suggests short term chenges). There are a lot of recipes on the SBD forum so you may want to check it out before you decide.

I also read that you have a child. I am married and have 2 boys myself so I know it's difficult to find time to exercise but that is also important. I also find that SBD is easier to make dinner for the whole family. My dh and kids still eat white bread, french fries, etc.. and I still cook them. I just make an extra veggie for me to replace the "bad" carb that I made for them. I make pizza at least once a week for the guys and then make me omething SBD friendly that I know they don't like (beef stroganoff, mmmm yummy!).

I didn't mean to ramble on and on so I am posting this LOL
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Old 06-17-2005, 10:51 AM   #4  
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You know, I found this site like 3 days ago and I'm being bombarded with information that I'd never even considered before. I was anti-Atkins when it was at it's peak of popularity. It just didn't seem very healthy. I figured SBD was just another Atkins type diet. Now I know it's not and that it could be the very thing I need. I think I'll look for the book at the library and see what I can learn from it.

I initially registered on this site with the simple plan of dropping weight by exercising and lowering my calorie intake. Now I'm realizing that my PCOS may play a major part in this and that I need to be tested for diabetes. (I'm apparently at high risk and probably have pre-diabetes.) Now I'm considering a diet that I'd always stuck my tongue out at. It's enough to make your head spin!

I'm sure this is more info than needed, but I just had to rant.

Christine
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Old 06-17-2005, 10:59 AM   #5  
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I understnad it ebing a lot of info to take in. I am sure, if you haven't, you will come across information on the GI - Glycemic Index. It gives each food a value by the way it affects your blood sugar, not just the sugar content in the food. This is how a sweet potato can be good for you where a plain baking potato is not.

I would suggest talking to your doctor and having a glucose tolerance test done. It's the same test they do while you are pregnant, just make sure they test your insulin results along with the glucose results. I went through years with one doctor who would fight me when I asked for tests and then when he ordered them, he would only request glucose. Turns out that my glucose levels are normal but my Insulin levels are way above what they should be. I am not sure what the ratio is but a LOT of women with PCOS are insulin resistant.

Also, don't rule out taking something like Glucophage just because of side effects. I take a Name brand extended release formula (fortamet) and only had side effects the first week. You have to wean yourself up to a daily dose but so far it has been well worth the benefits.
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Old 06-17-2005, 12:54 PM   #6  
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Just as a personal view, Atkins can be very unhealthy for certain people, depending on your metabolism and glucose balance, from what I've seen and from personal experience. I've seen much better results for myself from following a low fat diet set to a low glycemic index. It hasn't made me feel sick like ATkins did. I have several friends who have done well on SBD, so that looks like a great one, too, but I don't know about Atkins if you already have problems with your glucose levels.
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Old 06-17-2005, 03:41 PM   #7  
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A dissenting voice ... I have PCOS and insulin resistance (or I DID have the latter) and my doctors (all three of them) never instructed me to limit carbohydrate intake. I was already successfully losing weight on Jenny Craig, which is a fairly high-carb plan in terms of % of calories. I have continued to lose weight and my symptoms have improved because of the weight loss. I DO take glucophage, although the insulin resistance was never formally diagnosed and my blood sugar levels were OK at the time I was tested and diagnosed with PCOS.

If you are not restricting calories and losing weight, then yes, you might want to cut back on simple starches. And, of course if your doctor recommends cutting back because of blood sugar issues of course you should do that. But, having PCOS does not automatically mean you MUST follow a low-carb diet, and recent research has borne that out.
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Old 06-17-2005, 07:19 PM   #8  
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Exclamation A typical day for me

I've never actually counted up the number of calories I eat in a day, and just out of curiosity I did it today. I didn't change my eating habits any. I wanted an acurate picture of how much I eat. (I'm always accusing myself of overeating.) Well, I haven't added in dinner yet and I'm only up to 700. We're having spaghetti w/ meat sauce. I'm not really sure how many calories are in that, but I can't see it being 1000! According to the calorie needs calculator I should be eating 2400 per day! So I'm definitely leaning towards the SBD. I mean, how can I cut calories more if I'm already not eating very many? I'm not going to starve myself.

Just thought I'd share.

Christine
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Old 06-20-2005, 12:51 PM   #9  
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Calories cutting alone won't be enough if you have IR and need to lose weight. If you have PCOS, you probably have IR since they go hand-in-hand most of the time (but not always). If you aren't sure if you have both, you will need to find out before you start dieting. If you don't have PCOS, but you don't have IR you can probably get away with a diet that isn't carb restrictive.

Your body can't metabolize carbs like normal people do if you have IR. Carbs get converted to glucose for your cells to absorb, but the IR means your cells are resistant to insuln (which triggers the signal for your cells to open their gates and let the glucose in). Since your impared cells can't sponge-up the glucose from your blood efficiently, any unused glucose (which is a LOT) gets stored as fat and you gain weight. This is why you will probably GAIN weight on low calorie diets if you have IR/PCOS.

So if you have IR you have no choice but to restrict your cabs if you want to escape this horrible, metabolic downward spiral. If you eat more carbs than your impaired metabolism can handle, the pounds pack on, with serious side effects (hormone and insulin issues galore).

I was lucky, my OBGYN (who discovered my IR) sent me to a VERY good nutritionalist with experience in helping IR/PCOS patients lose weight. I needed to lose weight so I had to reduce my calories AND reduce my carbs at the same time, and she put me on a special diet customized for me. The first month was the worst! my body constantly felt hungry (insulin induced false-hunger) as it rebelled against the new diet. I felt terrible at first, but I was losing weight so I tried to be patient. It is now paying off, my body is used to the diet, no more "false hunger" and I feel much better- and the pounds are melting away even faster now that I am getting my bigg butt to the gym! One thing that helped me stay away from carb-binging, the nutritionalist told me to think of carbs as a poison- which they ARE if you have IR/PCOS.

Last edited by subcriminal; 06-20-2005 at 01:05 PM.
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Old 07-16-2005, 09:24 AM   #10  
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Hi all,
I'm new to this site and have been spending time reading posts, and just generally absorbing all the wonderful information that is here.
I have been diagnosed with severe IR and am on low dose metformin (500 mg daily). Because of my degree of IR, they think that I will become a severe diabetic soon without some sort of intervention.
Per the usual medical way, they say to "begin to exercise and lose weight." Okay, that sounds great but as many of you have already stated, it is so hard to lose with IR.
I've been really interested in this thread because it really seems to hit me. I've tried WW in the past, without success, as well as other plans and the weight will not budge. It is so frustrating!
Subcriminal, could you please share some of the tips that your nutritionalist gave you - meal ideas, etc? Short of having that option of having a plan specially designed for you, is SB the best way to go? What about the IR diet, that I've read some are on?
Thanks to you all for the wonderful info!
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Old 07-23-2005, 07:56 AM   #11  
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Default Gi Diet

Hello all,
I am also pretty new to this site. I was diagnosed over two years now with PCOS and i have had a HORRIBLE time trying to lose weight. I have tried everything and nothing seemed to work. I start on 6/25 with the GI diet (low Glycemic Index) and i have lost 14 1/2 lbs to date. I love it because i don't feel deprived because i can eat carbs but limited and eat the correct ones.
I have been kind of at a plateau for almost a week though. I have been losing and gaining the same pound and it is getting frustrating. I have been walking but i did not do it yesterday so maybe that is why i did not lose anything today. I don't know but I am going out and sweating my butt off today. I REALLY want to get to the 20 lb mark.
I did try the atkins and did it for 5 weeks. I was so sick that i was throwing up and not able to eat. The doctor took me off and told me NOT to go down that road again. I have a new doctor that i am going to see next month for the PCOS and get some ideas from him. I hope he will refer me to a nutritionist because our insurance will not cover it unless it is medically necessary.
Sorry for babbling...I just love to vent on this site.
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Old 07-28-2005, 05:52 PM   #12  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WeatherBug
Hi all,
I'm new to this site and have been spending time reading posts, and just generally absorbing all the wonderful information that is here.
I have been diagnosed with severe IR and am on low dose metformin (500 mg daily). Because of my degree of IR, they think that I will become a severe diabetic soon without some sort of intervention.
Per the usual medical way, they say to "begin to exercise and lose weight." Okay, that sounds great but as many of you have already stated, it is so hard to lose with IR.
I've been really interested in this thread because it really seems to hit me. I've tried WW in the past, without success, as well as other plans and the weight will not budge. It is so frustrating!
Subcriminal, could you please share some of the tips that your nutritionalist gave you - meal ideas, etc? Short of having that option of having a plan specially designed for you, is SB the best way to go? What about the IR diet, that I've read some are on?
Thanks to you all for the wonderful info!
I’d be happy to share some tips. But before I go on and on and on, just wanna remind ya that I’m not a nutritionalist myself, and that the diet I was put on might not work for everybody. We’ve all got different frames, height, muscle-to-fat ratios that may factor into how well you would respond to a diet like mine. Not to mention your nutritional needs may be different from my own, and some may have other medical conditions that complicate dieting even more. If you can budget seeing an experienced nutritionalist to help you with this, please do so. I would GLADLY pay the money I have spent 4 times over if only I could have found my nutritionalist years ago- before trying (and failing) at all the popular diets out there.

I do not know much about SB diet, while some have had success on it, I am very suspicious of any commercialized diet these days. With IR the aggravating factor is carbs, so I would pick a diet that restricts your carbs but doesn’t forbid it entirely, since things like fruits and veggies have fiber and great nutritional value.

First and foremost, there is no such thing as “good carbs” on my diet. Whole grains are more like “the lesser of two evils” than “good carbs”. So be careful and don’t binge on whole wheat or low glycemic grains thinking that they are “good for you”, because if you have IR there is no such thing as carbs that are “good”, only some that are less damaging than others.

Second, this is VERY hard to follow if you’re used to eating a lot of high-carb foods, and if your willpower isn’t the greatest. The first month was absolute torture for me!

Tip: unless your stomach is growling audibly (which means it’s truly empty), you aren’t really hungry. If your tummy aches a little (but it’s not growling) and your brain tells you to “EAT EAT EAT”, this is your insulin screwing with your head! Do not listen to it!! Only trust your hunger if it sounds like there’s a wolverine snarling in your tummy! It took me a few weeks to distinguish between true hunger and “false hunger” triggered by insulin spikes.

My diet is 1400 calories per day with the following guidelines:

The following things are BANNED:
1) Anything made with white flour, this includes white pasta, white bread, pastries, etc.
2) Anything with sugar, honey, corn syrup, fructose
3) Hydrogenated oils, partially hydrogenated oils, margarine, shortening
4) Soda
5) Any sugary sweet thing is a no-no.

I am only allowed 2 servings of starch a day-

one serving of starch =
1 slice of bread (non-white flour), OR ½ a pita (non-white flour), OR 1/3 c. rice (brown), OR ½ c. pasta (non-white flour), OR 1 ear of corn, OR ½ c peas, OR ¼ c. couscous (whole wheat)

I am allowed 2 tablespoons of cheese or dairy a day. Skim milk and sugar free soy milk is allowed VERY sparingly and in severe moderation. I have 1 cup of soymilk once a week, that’s what is meant by moderation here. I am allowed ½ cup of legumes per day. I am allowed roughly 3 normal servings of meat protein per day. I am allowed 2 medium sized fruits a day. Leafy green veggies, green beans, broccoli, etc. are all OK, you can have your fill of these.

Be careful with fats! Use only enough for your purposes! For example, you can use a little butter to coat your pan before making your egg omelets. You can use two tablespoons of mayo for your tuna salad. You can use two tablespoons of salad dressing for your leafy greens! You can use 1-2 tbs canola or olive oil for sautéing your veggies and chicken. Just don’t go overboard, and you’ll be just fine!

Tip:
Make your own salad dressing. Play with simple vinegarette recipes or mustard based dressings to start with and experiment with dry herbs and different vinegars. My fave is a lemon-mustard dressing: fresh lemon juice (1/2 a lemon) with 2 TBS Dijon mustard and olive oil (toss in some dried parsley, salt, pepper, oregano and basil). Whisk and pour over greens.

Tip:
Try to find fast-cook side dish recipes that use more veggies.

tip: never measure pasta, rice, peas, couscous with your eyes. Always use a measuring cup to make absolutely sure you’re not eating more than your allowance. It’s too easy to screw up doing it by eye.

tip:
Most wheat breads sold contain hydrogenated oils and corn syrup. So be sure to read the labels, it might be hard to find a brand of wheat bread that doesn’t put all this crap in it. If you live by a “whole foods” market or an organic food store, look there for buying whole wheat breads, pitas and wraps. Use Swedish wheat/rye “wasa” crackers instead of bread if you can’t find whole wheat bread without the crappy additives. Or if you’re a good baker, try making your own wheat bread.

Tip: Make your home fail-safe. Don’t keep any foods you are not allowed to have in your home at all! If this means the rest of your family has to go on a diet with you, so be it- it won’t kill them especially if they could stand to loose some weight too!

Tip: You can’t be good all the time, so try to treat yourself to some kind of indulgence once a month. Go out to dinner and do Italian and have some pasta, or whatever you like. But be absolutely sure to keep your indulgence down to once a month as a “pat on the back”, or you will ruin your diet and weaken your willpower.

Tip: Whether you like it or not, you will be forced to prepare your meals yourself. Eating out is just NOT possible with this diet, since most restaurants and fast food joints pile up the carbs and fat on everything. Be prepared to brown-bag your lunch and wake up a little early to make an egg omlette instead of getting an egg-mcMuffin on the way to work. The best way to cope with this is to learn new recipies, and new ways of cooking if you don't know any low-carb meals.

Occasional treats I have ONCE every other week is a single sugar-free dark chocolate bar. “pure de lite” is one brand that you can find in most drug stores, but my favorite is “La Nouba” sugar free dark chocolate however harder to find. Be careful though, since sugar free chocolate still has a lot of fat calories and you have to "budget" it. You can also find sugar free fruit juice pops by Bryers sweetened with splenda- if you have an ice-cream craving grab these instead.

If I don’t exercise, I lose 5lbs per month on this diet. If I get my butt to the gym, I will loose roughly 10- but I have lost as much as 12 in a month. I usually have a 2 egg omlette with spinach for breakfast, sometimes I put in 2 tbs of goat cheese in if I don’t have plans for my dairy allowance later on in the day. Lunch is veggie and chicken (or pork, steak) stir fry, or if I feel like using my starch allowance I’ll have a ham sandwich on wheat with a side of salad or crunchy veggies. Dinner is usually a grilled chicken breast, small grilled steak, or fish with a salad and some beans and veggies/salad as a side. Sometimes I make beef stroganoff for dinner and use Soba buckwheat noodles in place of egg noodles- this is only if I have saved both my dairy AND starch allowance for dinner. Indian tomato-meat-curry stews are great, and so are Sabzis since they use black eye peas in them and you can take care of your meat, veggie and beans all in one dish this way.

I'll also post some recipies if you want But that will have to be later since I'm a bit pooped from this long post!

I hope this helps!
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Old 09-28-2005, 08:20 AM   #13  
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how do you eat low carb on a tight budget?

any ideas? its just my husband and i.. but lets face it.. pasta and bread is cheap..
meat, and veggies are expensive..
Any suggestions. how to STETCCCCCCCCCCCCCh my lower carb budget...so i have enough food..
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Old 09-30-2005, 12:54 AM   #14  
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Sadly it's not easy to do on a tight budget, my fiance and I have noticed that our food bills have gone up since I've been doing low carb.

Stir fry is a good way to make cheap frozen veggies taste good. Frozen broccoli and string beans work well for it. You can also take cheaper cuts of meat and cut them into thin strips for stir-fry.

Chilli is actually a decent, cheap dish. Ground beef isn't as spendy as other stuff. Throw in a can of black beans to stretch the meat.

Canned goya beans for 3 bean salad or cuban style black beans is very cheap for a good side-dish.

Chicken legs are usually cheaper than de-boned/de-skinned chicken breast. Bake them up with some salt, peper and paprika rub...

Indian dishes are very economical. Lentils are very cheap, and very tasty if you cook em up with chopped onion, ginger, fresh cilantro and indian masala spices. Their meat stews are easy, the hard part is getting your hands on their spices, I know it's not always easy to get ethnic food ingredients.

Tikka Masala is a good tomato & meat stew that I like to make. It works best with diced chicken thighs or lamb cubes. I don't have a recipie because I kinda throw a little of this and that into it. I marenade the chicken in masala spices, grated ginger and garlic, tomato paste, lemon juice and drained plain yogurt. I cook a chopped onion in a little oil, throw in half a can of coconut milk and then add a small can of crushed tomatos, then the chicken (marenade and all). Then you just cook it down to a stew consistancy.

Chicken Szabzi is another cheap stew with chicken thigh cubes, spinach, corriander, tumeric, cumin, cardamom, onions, and black eyes peas.

I find myself making a lot of steamed broccoli and carrots as quick side dishes. Most other non-frozen veggies are on the pricey side, especially if they're not in season.
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Old 10-02-2005, 03:16 PM   #15  
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I have PCOS and IR and my doctor told me about food linking/pairing. I've read the books "The Insulin Resistance Diet" and "The South Beach Diet" and have done very well. Since June 24 I've lost 36 pounds just by altering the way I eat and by exercising most every day. I eat carbs but when I do I always eat it with a protein and I eat better carbs now than I did in the past. It most definitely has to become a way of life otherwise it's only a quicky temporary fix, imo.
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