I was a little torn with whether to write this PCOS post today, but as you can see I have decided to persevere. The reason I was torn was because my own PCOS diagnosis over the last few weeks has been sketchy to say the least.
I was diagnosed with PCOS several years ago now (you can read previous post here) and I have struggled on with the many symptoms attached to the condition. Some of my symptoms have ‘altered’ I guess in more recent times, however the majority of them are still riding strong. Nevertheless, my GP is now questioning whether the diagnosis was right after all.
I have been back and forth down this path with doctors’ for the majority of my conditions, so why would my PCOS be any different? It is just frustrating more than anything, I know my symptoms are PCOS, so what does this mean? Is it something different? Is there something additional? Or will it be chalked up as nothing at all, taking me back to square one.
Regardless of the outcome, I wanted to share with you the top tips I have discovered over the years regarding the world of PCOS. These are centred around the chronic illness favourites – Food, Exercise and Stress.
Disclaimer- As always please note I am not a doctor, so you should always check with a health professional before trying any new tips.
Diet is important with regards to PCOS for a number of reasons including regulating insulin levels and PCOS related weight gain. Due to other symptoms linked to other conditions I have always struggled getting a good balance with my diet. Several years ago I was three stone heavier than I am now, and weight loss was a very slow process for me. However, I believe it was this slow process that has enabled me to keep the weight off and more importantly not be a fluke. That is why I work on the opinion moderation is key and that making small changes will inevitably lead to bigger ones in the long-term. Small changes to make could include:
- Eat enough protein
- Eat little and often
- Up fruit and veg portions
- Choose whole foods as much as possible e.g. brown rice, wholemeal bread
- Reduce caffeine
- Find things to distract your cravings
- Drinking water when you are hungry to see if you are indeed hungry or actually thirsty
This section I have to confess is very much based on things I have read rather than done myself. Not because I am lazy or am dismissive of exercise, but because living with ME vigorous exercise is something I am not able to do at this moment in time. My exercise consists of an extremely short walk every few days nevertheless, if you are able to exercise here are some small tips:
- Try aerobic exercise e.g. jogging, cycling, dancing, swimming, exercise class, walking (I wonder if walking at the speed of a tortoise counts – just saying!)
- Try to exercise 30 mins a day
- Find an exercise you enjoy that way you are less likely to give up
- Make sure you are properly hydrated
- Be realistic with what you can do and the goals that you set
- Take breaks and have rest days – remember it is a marathon not a sprint!
Let’s face it stress is something that is around us most of the time – especially in this modern day climate. It is also something we should be mindful of regardless of what condition we are battling. However, the often unwanted symptoms of PCOS can raise those stress levels significantly causing us additional problems of anxiety and in some cases depression. Tips in combating stress include:
- Practising meditation, muscle relaxation, mindfulness techniques
- Getting a good nights sleep
- Mindful eating
- Alternative therapies such as massage, reflexology, aromatherapy
- Positive thinking (easier said than done I know, but reading up on such theories may be helpful)
- Finding a support group
I hope these tips are somewhat helpful to anyone dealing with the symptoms of PCOS. I know a lot of them are quite generic and trust me I know how annoying this can be, but unfortunately there is no fix me button anywhere. If there was I would have been first in the queue to press it.
I would love to hear if anyone else has any tips they would like to add, or maybe any part of their PCOS journey they would like to share.