I don't know about you, but when I was first diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome [PCOS] it felt like a punch to the gut. But at the same time it was also relieving to have an explanation as to why my body felt out of balance. My menstrual cycles were irregular, my face would break out, my digestion was inconsistent, and I sweat...a lot. Unfortunately my doctor did not provide much guidance and simply put me on birth control to “solve” the problem.
If you have a similar story, you've come to the right place. I've significantly improved my own PCOS symptoms and am going to share the 8 key steps that set me up for success. Let's dive in!
1.) Find an OBGYN
As you learn about your diagnosis it is important to connect with an OBGYN if you haven't already. Even more so, it is important that you have an OBGYN that you like. They will be your advocate as you navigate the health care system, so it is important you feel comfortable with them and they listen to your concerns. If you have an OBGYN you don't care for, it is okay to change to a new practitioner.
2.) Learn About PCOS
As you've probably figured out by now, PCOS can be complex and confusing. Not to mention it can look different from woman to woman. It is important to understand the root symptoms of PCOS and how they play out in your life. Some women experience infertility, others experience facial hair, while others still experience both AND anxiety. This is not a "one size fits all" type diagnosis. I found THIS article to be helpful in understanding PCOS.
3.) Get Support
PCOS can be isolating, but it doesn't need to be that way. I run Mending Together, a free online support group, and we'd love to have you! Connect with real women who are experiencing similar roadblocks as you. We hang out on Facebook Live every Friday at noon. Grab a cup of coffee and join the conversation!
4.) Track Your Cycles
For many women, PCOS causes irregular cycles. Download an app to track when you are spotting, on your period, or have anything out of the ordinary. This data will become incredibly helpful as you connect with your OBGYN. There are tons of apps out there, but I personally use Clue. It not only tracks mensuration, but digestion, breast tenderness, cold symptoms, and loads of other things that can help piece together your PCOS journey. Knowledge is power!
5.) Cut Down on Processed Food
Nutrient rich whole foods are the cornerstone of a balanced PCOS friendly diet. Many packaged foods, such as crackers, frozen pizzas, and granola bars, lack quality nutrition and have additives that help maintain their freshness. Unfortunately these additives can be harmful to our health and difficult for our bodies to digest.
Curious what foods are ideal for PCOS? I put together a list of my everyday, go-to, PCOS friendly pantry staples. Grab your free copy at www.MendingPCOS.com.
6.) Decrease Your Sugar Intake
After I began my PCOS journey to health I was relieved to learn it wasn't fat in my diet that was causing weight gain, it was SUGAR! Once I cut down my sugar consumption and incorporated healthy fats into my diet not only did the bloating go away, but I lost weight and significantly reduced my PCOS symptoms.
Feel intimidated by decreasing your sugar intake? Check out the post How to Kick Your Sugar Habit: The Key to Improving Your PCOS And Losing Stubborn Weight.
7.) Stay Hydrated
Many women ask me what they can take to help clear their skin, remove toxins from their body, aid with digestion, and help with weight loss. Well, there is something out there and it is great for women with PCOS! Plus it's all natural AND it's free! Ladies, we're talking about WATER!
I know I know, that was a bit cheesy, but how easy is it to forget about water?! I'm guessing we all learned about the benefits of water in elementary school so I'm not going to dive into the science of it all. But it is important to remember that drinking water helps moisturize skin, promote weight loss, flush out toxins, boosts the immune system, and increases energy. It is essential in managing PCOS symptoms and overall health.
8.) Sign Up for a Free Discovery Call
If you're ready to take another step in your PCOS journey I've got something exciting to share with you. As a certified Health & Wellness coach I help women with PCOS lose weight and increase their fertility with simple diet and lifestyle changes. I’ve been in your shoes and am happy tell you that positive change is absolutely within your reach. Sign up for a free discovery call to learn more about PCOS and how we can tackle your stuck points together.
Working with a health coach was an absolutely pivotal experience for me when I began my own PCOS journey. In working with a coach I began to understand myself better and learned how to make the best food choices that fit my lifestyle. Not only did I lose weight, but I became comfortable in my own skin. It was absolutely priceless!!
I was so energized by my own transformation I began to lead other women along the way. Are you ready to shed that stubborn muffin top? Prepare to have a baby? I would love to get to know you and be your guide as you set your goals and reach them. Click HERE to begin.
Emily Hawkes is a certified Health & Wellness coach specializing in women with PCOS. She lives in Southern California with her husband and son. When she's not working with clients one on one or blogging you can find her out for a walk or watching BBC nature documentaries.