February 4, 2015
Since learning that I have PCOS, I am constantly reminded of the power of nutritious, healthy foods and an active lifestyle to heal your mind, body and soul.
For the past few months, I have been living and breathing and honestly slightly obsessed with learning about all things PCOS related.
It’s easy with PCOS to sometimes feel like you’re alone and I found myself getting into this place of depression and feeling like I’m in this by myself. There’s a huge lack of awareness on PCOS and it’s not something that I can easily talk to people about because a lot of people just don’t know what it is. PCOS is also something that the medical community is still learning how to treat.
Hence, it’s important for me personally to understand the effects of PCOS to my body and to know what I can do to help ease some of the symptoms, without having to rely on meds.
One of the biggest symptoms and issues of PCOS is insulin resistance. Insulin resistance, as defined by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is:
- A condition in which the body’s cells do not respond to the effects of insulin. When the body does not respond to insulin, the level of glucose in the blood increases. Higher than normal blood glucose levels may eventually lead to diabetes mellitus. Insulin resistance also may cause more insulin to be produced as the body tries to move glucose into cells. High insulin levels may cause the appetite to increase and lead to imbalances in other hormones. Insulin resistance also is associated with acanthosis nigricans.
As soon as I was diagnosed with PCOS, I also tested positive for insulin resistance. Once I knew that I was insulin resistant and how high my risk factors were for diabetes and heart disease and the fact that I want to have another baby, I knew I had to make some major lifestyle changes.
Currently, my PCOS treatment plan includes medication called Metformin combined with a healthy diet. One of the biggest cures for PCOS (and I personally believe many other medical issues) is eating healthy, exercise and ultimately weight loss. PCOS makes losing weight really hard, but it’s a key part of treating it.
Thanks to some amazing PCOS resources including PCOSdiva and a phenomenal book that I read called the “The PCOS Diet Plan” I have learned so much about what I should and shouldn’t be eating and how to make the transition to a PCOS lifestyle and eventually a medicine free PCOS treatment plan. The medicine that I take now has a lot of side effects so I really want to get to a place where I don’t have to take it as much.
PCOS requires a diet that’s free of bad carbs, hormone-laden meats/food, high fat and sugar and I have to adjust how I eat in a major way to help manage my PCOS. Basically, anything that can cause my glucose level to spike, I have to avoid.
I wanted to share some of the changes that I have implemented in my diet in the hopes that it can help someone with PCOS.
- Carb Less: I have significantly reduced my carb intake. Now, when I do have carbs it’s only good carbs like (oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa). I also reduce my servings. Instead of 1c of rice, I have 1/2c.
- Variety is Key: Experiment with food. I try so many new recipes now (I recently made meatballs and spaghetti squash and it was delish!!)
- Snack Right: Keep snacks in your bag. I keep a few healthy treats in my bag and at work. Cravings are a big issue with insulin resistance, hence it’s important for me when I snack to snack right.
- Non-Dairy: Dairy I’ve learned isn’t good for PCOS. I have made the switch to Almond milk only. Most Almond milk brands have 1g of sugar and practically 0 carbs depending on the brand and flavor you buy.
- Sugar Fix: I have a sweet tooth so I had to get really creative with how I incorporate sweets. I went to Whole Foods and did research to find a hot cocoa that’s organic, low in sugar and carbs. I also eat fruits to help satisfy my sweet tooth. I find that oranges or ½ a banana and 1 tbsp PB is the perfect sugar fix.
- Get Veggie with It: All my meals are filled with more veggies/proteins then carbs.
- Get Up and Move: I’m moving more. Exercise is essential to helping my PCOS and I make it significant part of my schedule.
- Taking are of me: I am finally learning to take a break and relax a bit. Whether it’s taking a nap, getting a massage, taking care of me is becoming a priority.
Since implementing these changes, I have lost 15LBS. I still have a long way to go, but I’m happy to see that it works. At the end of the day, I take comfort in knowing that going back to the basics of healthy eating and exercise always WINS. I’m determined to not let PCOS win.
Do you know anyone who has PCOS? Or do you have PCOS? Anything else you would add to this list?