Weight is my least favorite topic to discuss but according to doctors, the most important factor of fertility and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Every one has their own method of addressing this and that’s okay. Each of us is different so there’s no such thing as one diet for everyone. After I have tried and failed with many diets, Weight Watchers is what I found to help me best. Since December 28th, I have lost 23 pounds and I feel great, even though I have 85 more pounds to go. I can eat whatever I want, though I try to limit simple carbs and gluten, and most of the time do not even feel like I’m on a diet. I exercise six days a week and have never felt stronger.
That picture on the left? Yep, that’s me! I clearly have a long way to go on my weight loss journey, but I felt great about myself and couldn’t wait to send a pic to my husband at work to show him how skinny I looked! My goal with weight loss is not to look aesthetically pleasing (though that’s a big bonus) but to be healthy and ultimately have a baby (or several).
If you google and research dietary needs for women with PCOS, you will find loads of advice (sometimes conflicting). They say to cut out all gluten and dairy and processed foods and be sure to add 50 vitamins to your diet….so on and so forth. I fully believe they are all correct and that following this advice will probably help with your PCOS symptoms and weight loss. In fact, I’ve tried many of these things myself. My problem (and I feel like I’m not alone in this) is that changing the entire way I live my life and giving up food I’ve eaten my whole life is just not sustainable. I’ve tried sooooo many different things, but they only last for a month or two. The key to sticking to any weight loss program is making sure it is something you can live with. If you are terrified at the very thought of following any one diet for the rest of your life, then it probably isn’t something you should be doing. I would love to be able to completely cut out all gluten, simple carbohydrates and dairy from my diet and perhaps some day I will be able to, but if I want to have long term success (again…everyone is different), then I need to take baby steps.If I feel too overwhelmed, I will just give up on everything. I wish I could say that my desire to get pregnant will always win over my desire to have a sandwich or a slice of pizza, but I cannot. Does that make me feel like a failure? Absolutely! After all, having a baby is clearly the bigger priority, so shouldn’t it be an easy decision? I know I have an unhealthy relationship with food and I suspect that I’m not alone. I’ve recently read that women with PCOS have a higher chance of developing eating disorders. Keeping in mind that anorexia and bulimia are not the only eating disorders, I wonder if I don’t see some evidence of that in myself. However, that is a different topic for a different day.
Women with PCOS clearly have unique needs when it comes to diet and exercise to manage symptoms. After all of the time I’ve spent testing new things, below are the two things that work for me. Maybe some variation of the following ideas will be able to help you too! Just a 10% decrease in your overall weight can kick-start ovulation!
- Decrease consumption of simple carbohydrates – I limit (not completely cut out) items such as white bread, russet potatoes, refined sugar and other items that cause my blood sugar to spike. Instead I try to replace them with items like whole wheat bread, sweet potatoes, honey or remove them from a meal altogether. I am the type of person who will immediately crave food I’m told not to eat, so I find limiting items to be easier to stick to in the long run. After all, the most important thing is finding a combination that you can stick to and still enjoy life.
- Increase exercise – Yes, I know how daunting and overwhelming this can be. I completely understand how little time we have to accomplish so much during the day and how hard it can be to make time to do something we dislike so much! Exercise does not have to be spending hours in a gym each day. I enjoy it the most when I combine it with things I love to do. I must admit, this is one area that a Fitbit really keeps me motivated. For instance, I love spring time and looking at flowers at the garden shop. I can get in so many steps from walking and just looking at flowers. That certainly doesn’t feel like exercise. Any form of movement helps! However, I do work out 6 days per week on my elliptical trainer. I wake up and immediately work out before I can think up any excuses. I began working out for 20 minutes at a time for a few weeks. I have increased my work by one minute each week to work my way up to an hour at a time (eventually). I know that it doesn’t sound all that appealing, but I’ve found a way to truly enjoy this time. I am an avid reader, but can never seem to find the time to read a book. I’ve downloaded the audibles app on my phone and listen to books while I work out. Not only does this make my work out seem to fly by but I feel like I am actually taking time to do something I enjoy. It feels amazing to carve out a little bit of time each day for just me. I spend so much time worrying about everyone else, that I forget to take care of me. I’m now up to 27 minutes a day and I really look forward to my time each morning.
So, that’s it! After everything I’ve tried, those two are the biggest changes that work for me (in addition to sticking to my daily and weekly points with Weight Watchers of course). Even a little change can have a huge impact on your health and weight loss! I don’t often see changes in the mirror, but I can feel them in my every day activities. I no longer have to stop and catch my breath from doing simple activities and I can see and feel some amazing definition in my legs. As I’ve said, I still have a long journey ahead of me, but the idea of continuing my current way of life forever, doesn’t scare me. I don’t remember ever feeling healthier and happier. Now, if only I could get pregnant…..