As many of you know, I was diagnosed with PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome back in 2010. PCOS is one of the leading causes of infertility today and that is what most people focus on, myself included. However, PCOS is a lot more than a fertility issues. PCOS wrecks havoc on your entire body causing irregular and painful periods, infertility, and weight gain. PCOS also dramatically increases you chances of developing: female baldness, unusual hair growth in women, diabetes, heart diseases and various cancers.
This past summer we went through a very scary time as a family. My periods were very irregular and frequent and when I went to my gynecologist she was very concerned and said she wanted to run some tests to see if my PCOS ravaged hormones were out of whack or to check and see if I had endometrial cancer. My world stopped at mention of that “C” word. I knew my PCOS increased my chances of developing cancer so I was very worried that we would be dealing with cancer. I called my Mom shortly after the appointment to tell her what was going on and for her to talk me down off the ceiling. If I let myself think about it too much I started crying- I have five young children who need their mom and they need her to be healthy enough to care for them. My mom and I discussed the idea of just having a complete hysterectomy regardless of the results, better safe than sorry thinking. In retrospect, that would have been a knee jerk, fear based reaction. In the end I did not have cancer, I just needed to adjust my medication. This was a wake up call for me though. I have basically been pouting since I was diagnosed in 2010. I knew what I should be doing to help my body but I was annoyed with my body and pulled a complete ostrich move and stuck my head in the sand ignoring all but the infertility.
The easiest way for doctors to manage PCOS symptoms in their paitents is to put them on birth control. That often controls the visible symptoms of PCOS however, PCOS is still able to run around the body and stir up trouble. I am unwilling to go on birth control for a variety of reasons, to include that we haven’t given up hope that we will one day have a child biologically. That leaves natural ways to manage this monsters.
The diet one should ideally follow while on PCOS can get very regimented, if you let it, and that has often turned me off. It seems like too much effort and time on just me to spend. I realize that thinking is illogical but there it is. I have attempted to follow the PCOS diet MANY times in the past but I always get discouraged and quit.
I have always been an all or nothing type of person, stems from being a perfectionist. So my downfall with taking care of myself better has been I want to follow any diet exactly or not at all, I want to work out and have my body do exactly what my brain says I should do and do it perfectly or I won’t do it at all. I should remember to take all my medicines and supplements or I shouldn’t take any. You can see how quickly this can get out of hand. For instance when we grew from a family of no kids to five kids and I couldn’t keep the house the way I thought it should look I just stopped trying for awhile. It’s a pride issue and I’m working on. Being a perfectionist is exhausting, especially when I would never hold another to the same expectations I place on myself.
So now I know what I need to be doing, I got a push from the cancer scare to actually do it and I know why I have failed in the past. Now all I need is a plan to succeed. They say making detailed plans is the best way to reach any goal.
PCOS is a whole body, mind, heart attack so that is what I need to incorporate in any plans to beat it and I should make small changes at a time instead of trying to change everything at once.
My goal is by July to be fully following the PCOS diet, taking all of my medications and supplements regularly and to do some form of exercise 5-6 days a week to include becoming a regular runner. How will I get there? By adding new aspects of the diet and working out every month so that it builds.
The rest of this month will be about general prep
March- I will start PiYO from Beachbody and walk at least a half an hour five days a week. I will also start eating something every 3-4 hours, eliminate salt (not hard since I rarely use it now), and dramatically increase how much water I drink.
April- I will continue the work out plan and I will continue the diet changes from before while also beginning to eat mainly whole foods and having a good/lean protein at every meal.
May- I will be adding Turbo Fire also from Beachbody to my routine and will step up the walking to begin a walk/run combination. I will continue all dietary changes while I also begin to eliminate sugar and follow a low GI diet.
June- I will continue the work out plans from May and increase the run to walk ratio. I will continue dietary changes while increasing my omega 3 intake, antioxidants and photoestrogens.
A few small changes a month and I will be able to more easily and lastingly make these changes.