Where was I when they were handing out discipline?

Self-respect is the fruit of discipline; the sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.
– Abraham Joshua Heschel

Today was a really rough day emotionally. I have spent most of the day questioning myself, my ability to change, my discipline. Ah discipline, my old foe. I am not what I consider to be disciplined person. I often find myself full of good intentions to change how I eat, to workout more, to take courses, volunteer, and on and on at infinitum. What usually ends up happening is that I start off ok, but things get hard or I get busy and all discipline goes out the window.

It is funny though, I had a conversation about this with a friend last week. She reminded me that I do have discipline. When it comes to work, I am very disciplined. I will work 10 hours at the office, come home, eat and get right back on the computer and work until 1-2 in the morning. Then I will get up at 6 am, and continue working. That takes a lot of discipline.

Yet, when it comes to me, to doing things that are good for me, I seem to lose all sense of that drive, that discipline. I can’t seem to find the will power to do what I know needs to be done. Actually will power is not the right word. The more accurate word would be self-love. Oh how I loathe that word…but really it is the best description for it.

All of this self-doubt led to a serious case of fear setting in. Fear, my other evil foe. All I kept thinking about was “What if I can’t do it?“. All that failure means. Not doing this means the possibility of diabetes, of heart disease, of cervical or uteran cancer. All really scary conditions. I am already showing symptoms of several of these conditions. If I can’t cut the sugar and wheat out, get my hormones under control, manage my insulin levels, and start moving more then my situation can get so much worse. That is scary. It is very overwhelming.

In addition to my health fears, I am developing fears around money. All of these prescriptions, supplements and alternatives remedies don’t come cheap.  While I do have some health coverage at work, it isn’t nearly enough to cover the cost of everything. Am I going to be able to pay my bills? I have a lot of debt, am I going to be able to make those payments? What if I get worse? Will I have to quit my job?

AAAAAAARRRRRRGH!! I need my brain to shut the heck up!!

I have often heard of people talking about fear as a motivator. That is not my experience. Fear paralyzes me. It stops me from doing the things I want to do, the things I need to do. It has been a big reason why I haven’t done many of things in my life that I wanted to. Fear of failure, of success, of looking like a fool, of embarrassing my family, of disappointing others, of disappointing myself. I really could go on and on. It is something that I have been working very hard at overcoming, but I still struggle with it every single day.

I have been told that I need to live in the now. I need to stop worrying about tomorrow because it isn’t here yet. That is easier said then done, let me tell you. The board of directors in my brain is staging a coup. They are taking control and locking me out of the decision making process right now. I even joked to someone last week, that I should outsource my brain to India. That’s the Mecca for yoga and meditation, right? Because I know that meditation is the key right now. And yet, I can’t find the DISCIPLINE to do it!

It’s a vicious circle that I have been stuck in for a long time. Today is just the day that it has all decided to bubble to the surface. I know, that this all boils down to self-love and self-care. I need to find ways to help me believe that I deserve this. I deserve to be healthy. I deserve to be happy. I deserve to live the life I dream of. And yet, somewhere deep in my core I don’t believe these things. My ego tells me that I am unworthy. I am unworthy of love, of health, of happiness. Somewhere in my life this is the message I received. I don’t know why or how, I just know that I did.

I need to change my inner dialogue. I need to be mindful of the messages that I am giving myself that give me permission to give up on myself. The quote that I started this post says exactly what I need to do. I need to find that self-respect. That is what will help the discipline to grow and flourish. I need to have faith. Faith in my doctors, faith in the process. But most of all, faith in myself.


Foodie vs Food Addict

“Freedom from obsession is not about something you do; it’s about knowing who you are. It’s about recognizing what sustains you and what exhausts you. What you love and what you think you love because you believe you can’t have it. (p. 163)” 
― Geneen Roth, Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything

I have been reading a lot lately about food addiction. I wanted to explore my relationship with food, as I have always thought that it was pretty unhealthy (my relationship with it, not food in general.) The more I have been reading, the more I have begun to realize that while I do have  issues with food, I’m not completely delusional, it’s not really as bad as I think.

My first time cooking Quinoa – why didn't I try this sooner?

My first time cooking Quinoa – why didn’t I try this sooner?

I am what I would consider to be a Foodie. I know big surprise the fat girl likes food. But being a Foodie is about more then just liking food. It is about appreciating quality food, quality ingredients, being aware of how things are prepared, trying out new and different restaurants/food experiences. This is what makes me a foodie, not just the fact that I can eat a lot. I will point out that not all Foodies are overweight (in fact most aren’t), and not all overweight people are foodies.

According to the questions on the Food Addicts Anonymous website, I am definitely a food addict. I have poor impulse control when it comes to certain foods, especially sugar; I eat in secret; I am ashamed of my weight; I am embarrassed to eat in public…the list goes on. I have always known this about myself, but I will admit it is very hard to actually look at the questions and realize that you can answer yes to almost all of them.

I often wonder where this comes from, this addiction to food. Is it the same dis-ease (yes I purposely hyphenated the word) that causes me to drink too much, to smoke too much? Is it hereditary? My sister seems to have a relatively sane relationship with food, although like all of us Crozier’s she has a sweet tooth. Though hers seems to be less pronounced then some of ours, or maybe she just has more will power. My father, although he doesn’t always make the healthiest choices and eats a lot of sugar, doesn’t eat all that much. When we go out for Indian food as a family he and my sister often share a dish, while I will have my own. So it’s not nurture-based, I didn’t grow up in a family of overeaters.

I have also been reading a lot about insulin and resistance and some common complaints by women who are diagnosed with it. Many of them mimic food addiction:

  • Frequent hunger and after eating don’t feel full for long
  • Constant craving for sweets or other (refined) carbs – often feel can’t be trusted around them
  • Irritability if go too long without eating
  • Severe intolerance to low-calorie/low-carb diets

While nobody knows whether these symptoms are the cause or result of insulin resistance, the connection is interesting to me. It makes me wonder if some of my food addiction behaviours will lessen just as a result of getting my insulin levels under control.

Although I do overeat, and definitely eat way too much sugar, I really do have a healthy respect for food. I appreciate it’s power to fuel our bodies, to heal us, to nurture our spirits. And this is where the Foodie part of me conflicts with the food addict.

I love to cook. It is really one of my favourite things to do. I often think I probably should have been a chef. I will often look up recipes, just to get the basic idea of ingredients and seasoning, and then I will experiment and play with it. Sometimes, I will just cook without any recipe at all, just start adding ingredients and tasting as I go until I discover a flavour that I think works (this is how I created my turkey/veggie chili).

In fact that has been one of my favourite parts of this whole journey, discovering new ingredients, new flavours, new tastes. The world of food and cooking is amazing adventure, all you need is time, patience and the love of experimenting. I enjoy trying new restaurants, or new food events around the city. I love going to farmer’s markets and exploring. Seeing what is fresh, what is in season and what great deal’s I can get. I am, right now, counting down rather impatiently for the opening of my local Farmer’s market in May.

So, the challenge now becomes, how do I incorporate my love and appreciate for food (my Foodie nature) with my new lifestyle changes with regards to what and how much I eat (food addict/PCOS nature)? I really don’t want to lose that side of me in this process of changing my eating habits, because it really does define a part of me. Cooking and experimenting with food helps to feed my spirit. And the more I read, the more I realize that it will also help to heal my body. Not just in the obvious way of eating less sugar will help to restore my insulin resistance to normal levels, but also there are certain food that can help with hormone imbalance, moods, muscle tension, etc…

Which is why I have decided to expand the parameters of this blog, kind of. Not only am I going to look at and discuss the emotional side of this journey, but I am going to explore and discuss how and what foods are helping to relieve my physical symptoms. My hope is that by exploring both I can relieve myself of the unhealthy parts of my relationship with food by helping the healthy parts to grow and flourish.

The beginning of the plan…

Wow, what an emotional couple of days, but also a productive couple of days.

9781587610233I have been reading this great book that my specialist suggested to me, called The PCOS Diet Plan: A Natural Approach to Health for women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I have to admit, I spent much of the first chapter in tears. The relief that was flowing through me was almost too much to bear. The stories of the other women, the symptoms that I have had for years (some of which I haven’t shared because I never realized they were relevant), it was so amazing to know that I am not alone. To know that other women have suffered from what I have suffered and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. That there is a solution.

I have also been busy getting organized, starting to lay the groundwork for my plan. and cleaning and organizing my personal space. You know that saying a chaotic space is the sign of a chaotic mind? Well, I have a chaotic space…and I guess that means a chaotic mind lol. So I have been spending some time lately getting organized and purging some things. I set up a dedicated “office” for the first time ever. I was in design school for 4 years and have been working/freelancing for 5 years and have never had a dedicated space to work in. I always just worked on my laptop wherever. It’s still a work in progress, but at least the desk and computer are set up. And I finally set up an area in my basement where I can work out at home. Again, I always just had all my equipment scattered all over the house. I also finally threw out some garbage that has been sitting piled up around my house, the woman who cleans my house won’t know what hit her next time she comes lol.

The beginning of an office

The beginning of an office

Throwing out some garbage, that sounds like a metaphor for my life actually. I am physically purging my space, and hopefully as a result I am purging some of my emotional “garbage” as well. Actually, not hopefully, I know I am.

I have also started my health plan. Some of it is stuff I have already trying to incorporate, and some of it is more specific. This is what I have so far:


  • Continue to eliminate wheat and sugar from my diet. The book I have been reading suggests applying an 80/20 rule. Eating “clean” 80% of the time and allowing yourself treats the other 20% of the time. I like this idea, because it gives me room to occaisionally eat pasta, or a pint from Ed’s Ice Cream (the BEST ice cream) and not have to play that mental game where I beat myself up for days. You know the one. Where you are really good at sticking to your diet for days/weeks and then eat something that is not considered on “plan”. This then leads to an emotional boxing match, where you call yourself weak, a loser and say things like “you can’t do this, why not just give up” and then you often do just that. Well, if this is going to be a lifestyle change, and not just a diet, I need to leave room for the idea that I will occasionally want to eat ice cream and just allow myself that ahead of time.
  • Eating regular meals at roughly same time every day. I am learning that when I eat is just as important as what I eat. One of the main issues with PCOS is Insulin Resistance. Therefore, it is important that I try to keep my blood sugar levels as even as possible. This not only means not eating foods that will spike my blood sugar, but also making sure to eat regularly throughout the day so that they don’t plummet either. It’s similar to how a diabetic has to manage their insulin and blood sugar levels, which is why Diabetes is often a secondary condition of PCOS.


  • Dedicate myself to practising yoga 2-3 times a week. This is the first stop on my exercise regime because yoga has so many more benefits then just getting me physically active. It also helps with my neck and muscle issues, as well as helping me get and stay emotionally grounded. I can’t afford to go back to class right now, but I have enough knowledge and the equipment that I can do it at home.
  • Start working out with a personal trainer. My sister is a certified personal trainer, though it’s not her full-time job anymore. She has agreed to work with me once a week to start developing a workout plan I can do at home using my new home gym.

    My new home "gym"

    My new home “gym”

  • Walking 20-30 minutes a day. Every morning on my way to work, I get off the streetcar several stops early to pick up my coffee at the closest Starbucks. It is about a 20 minute walk from my office, though I usually just hop back on the streetcar. Now that the weather is nice, I will start leaving home a little earlier so that I can walk the rest of the way to the office. If, for some reason, that is not possible, on those days I will get off the streetcar early on my way home and walk the rest of the way.


  • Begin taking hormone therapy. My doctor prescribed me progesterone to help to begin regulating my hormone levels. It is not bio-identical, which I am not happy about, but I will begin taking the hormones while I continue to look for ways to get myself on a more natural regimen.
  • Continue to explore/research alternative remedies. I am continuing to read the book I mentioned above. I am also going to speak to my Naturopath at our next appointment about supplements or other homeopathic options that I might be able to add. I am already taking Vitamin D, Vitamin B Complex and EstroSmart. But will see if there is anything else I can do.
  • Be kind and loving to myself. This is the most important one I think. Without it, none of the others are going to be possible. If I can’t treat myself with love and respect, then I won’t be able to keep this up long-term, and it has to be that long. I just need to keep reminding myself to be patient. Be patient with my body, and be patient with me. It’s taken years to get my in this condition, and it’s not going to go away over night.

So that is the plan, so far. I am looking at this plan as a living organism, in that it will continue to grow and flourish and that it is something I need to tend and nurture. I thought about setting a start date for all this, but I realized that I just need to start it now. It doesn’t have to be perfection at first, it just needs to be incorporated into my life. The only goal I am setting is that within the next month, I need to be doing something that works on each of these items. This is going to be a marathon, not a sprint, and I need to pace myself so that I don’t burn out doing everything all at once and then give up entirely. Because giving up just can’t be an option.

Survey says…

So, you know that old saying “Be careful what you wish for” well…it’s true. I had my specialist appointment on Wednesday evening. As I mentioned the other morning, I didn’t expect to get an answer at that first appointment, but was just happy to finally be on a path to finding answers. Well, turns out that I did get an answer and it is definitely PCOS. The specialist was really great, she spent 45 minutes with me going over why it happens, what my options are and the plan going forward. A plan! How I love a plan!

When I left the office, I had a mix of emotions. Part of me was happy to finally have an answer, to know what is wrong and what we can do to try to bring my body back in to balance. But I was also feeling angry and overwhelmed.

Angry because for 4 years non-western medical professionals have been suggesting PCOS to me as a possibility, and for 4 years western doctors have been telling me that it’s not PCOS because of various reasons. Even my current family doctor who sent me to the specialist was convinced it wasn’t PCOS, but she was out of any other ideas. Yet, within 10 minutes of talking to this doctor, and having her review all my endless test results, she was certain it was. Even some of the test results that my doctor said were normal, she said were positive indicators for PCOS. Grrrrrr.

Oh well, it’s not worth staying pissed off. I have to let it go and move forward. But it is a good reminder, that you need to be your own advocate. If you know something is off with your body, yet your doctor’s keep saying everything is normal, keep pushing. Fight for your health, fight for you. Research, ask for tests to be done, ask for referrals to specialists. Your family doctor has a general  knowledge, we need to remember that.

As I mentioned, I have also been feeling overwhelmed since I left the office. Why? Well, as amazing as it is to finally have some answers, it does mean that I have going to have to start really taking the changes seriously. That this isn’t just gonna be some year-long diet that I do until I drop some weight. This really NEEDS to be a lifestyle change, otherwise my symptoms will never improve or will reappear. I need to learn patience. The weight is not going to come off quickly. There are going to be set backs. There will be some trial and error involving medication. I need to remember these are not failures, and give up completely, but merely bumps in the road that just need to be navigated.

The doctor reminded me that I am lucky. Many of the women she sees are suffering from serious secondary conditions that develop as a result of PCOS. They have developed diabetes, or are on blood pressure medication, or both. So far, I have not reached that point, but it would only be a matter of time. Especially given that both my Mother and my Grandmother developed diabetes in their 40s/50s. I wonder if maybe both of them were suffering from undiagnosed PCOS?

So, with a mix of emotions running amuck in my brain, I am doing what I do best – researching and making a plan. I am reading everything I can get my hands on about natural ways to control PCOS through diet, exercise and supplements. And, I am developing my personal plan. The doctor has hers, and I will have mine. I don’t have it all figured out, but will share it when I do. But the one thing it will be, needs to be really, is a loving way to nurture my body and my spirit. Details to come…

NOTE: I am adding this because I just thought of it. I would like to give special recognition to my dear friend Kelly Greer of Nutrigal. She was the first person who suggested PCOS to me over 3 years ago. If it wasn’t for her, I would never even known about it to suggest to doctors. She was right, my doctors were wrong. Thanks Kelly, I should have listened to you back then LOL.