This is a follow-up to last week’s post on how I believe I developed PCOS. The following changes I made to heal my endocrine disorder, called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), is a result of trial and error, multiple physician opinions (both traditional and integrative) and lots and lots of my own study and diligent research — the most valuable and effective strategy of all.
I first want to explain the importance of sharing all this. While my imbalance presented as PCOS which has a specific set of criteria — that’s not the point of this story. The point is many people are suffering from the same root cause, but their imbalance presents differently. In the short amount of time I’ve been busy with my health coaching practice, I’ve helped young women with everything from: sleep issues, acne, no periods, crazy periods, headaches, night sweats, stress and adrenal fatigue, digestive issues, candida, low libido, infertility, weight problems, anxiety and depression. The men I’ve worked with have digestive, stress, sleeping, mood and weight loss issues. PHEW, it’s exhausting! And these are YOUNG people. The symptoms certainly vary but the root cause is the same: these bodies have a deficit. There is something each of these bodies need in order to work correctly. All that has to happen is solve the mystery, heal the damage and relieve the symptom. (And it’s not a pill by the way. Headaches aren’t an Advil deficiency, okay people?)
I’ll walk you through the key points that are turning my PCOS around, and making me a better and healthier person because of it. PCOS was my health opportunity and I’m grateful for having it brought to me at a time in my life where I was inspired, patient and brave enough to figure it out.
Nutrition. Food and it’s emotional component surely set the scene for my imbalance. The first book I ever read on health was Food Mood Solution by Jack Challem after I was sick of the anti-anxiety meds that made me feel like a zombie. I read the book and realized, “My brain needs this, this and this to work right. So why don’t I just do that instead of take these pills that cause more problems?” Well, it worked. Then I removed what was causing the damage. The sugar, dairy, caffeine and alcohol came out and I was a whole new person. Balancing that for the long term took practice and years of slow behavioral change. My coping mechanisms had to change, my reward patterns had to change. I had to learn to process saddness and happiness differently. Every event in life is not an excuse to eat poorly, by the way. Now I know every meal is an opportunity to heal and improve the ability of my body to do whatever I can dream up next.
Stress. Becoming a health coach and reading endless books on how the body works taught me a priceless lesson on building a foundation for health. Most importantly, I learned that daily stress undermines almost everything I did to make improvements. I was so accustomed to being stressed out and running on life that way, that I didn’t realize it was problem. Most people, women especially, give all day. Give to their bosses, their spouses, their kids, strangers, coworkers, etc. All your energy gets thrown out the window and none is reserved for yourself. This looks something like this, no time to: make nutritious food, decompress from the day, breathe, conduct self-care, etc. This results in collapse at some point, emotional or physical or both. My personal Type-A stress reduction includes organization, crossing things off lists, awesome bed time routines (because sleeping is my favorite), meeting friends, one-on-one time with my spouse, pedicures and light and easy exercise. Oh, and Pinterest.
Breathing. Maintaining good, deep and long breaths tells your body that everything is okay. Holding your breath from stress or short breathing makes your cortisol go crazy and in turn, your mood. I think I learned to breathe this year — really breathe. From the belly, the good stuff. I go to the absolute easiest yoga classes to make sure my breathing stays regular week in and week out. This is probably the most underrated fat loss tip, FYI.
Supplements. I research and invest in the supplements to repair damage and maintain my good health. Everyone’s cocktail of supplements will look differently depending on your health goal. Turning my PCOS around has relied on dedication to taking what my body needs every single day.
Movement. I’m not training for anything or holding myself to any set schedule. I don’t cross workouts off the calendar — way too much pressure. I just do something everyday to get my heart rate up and sweat a little. Hormonal conditions require low intensity effort, so I jog, do weights here and there and go to yoga. Nothing crazy. Working out for health and working out for vanity look totally different. The former is way more fun, by the way. Don’t ever implement change that you dread doing or isn’t sustainable — it’s wasting your time.
Relationship to my physical self. I’m way more selfish with my time these days. I make sure I have time to do everything I need to do and worry less about pleasing everyone. Things that are non-negiotiable include: 8-9 hours of sleep; time to workout; obtaining and preparing organic food; alone time; spouse time; and friend time. I don’t push my body to the limit anymore, that leads to coping.
Toxic environment. I have very high standards for cleaning supplies, beauty products and food. The more organic, natural and chemical-free the better. The more chemicals, the more work I have to do to get them out of my body asap. Just easier to avoid them. The busier I am, the more I turn to convenience items full of crazy chemicals to save me time and frustration. Since my health was put on the line, I don’t think like this anymore. My clothes aren’t SUPER INSANELY white anymore, but somehow I think I’ll survive.
[box type=”info”] How To Heal an Endocrine Disorder
Breathe. Eat often. Buy organic. Drop the coffee. Breathe more. Lace up those running shoes. Supplement accordingly. Yoga. Be selfish. Sleep. Detox and destress. Cook and eat all the time. Be nicer. Buy clean products. Seek the right help. [/box]
The Result of My Changes
Stabilized moods. Energy every single day. Clear skin. Corrected cycles. Perfectly on point digestion. Motionless sleep. Amazing food. Being a way nicer person. Being a savvy shopper. Not being skinny, being strong.
I have more work to do, but my hormones are back in the normal range — anyone dealing with PCOS knows this is HUGE. Despite the condescending doctor that told me I couldn’t do it without birth control, Metformin or Clomid — I refuse to take them all because they are bandaids, not cures. Which leads me to another major point. You, and only you, are your health advocate. If you’re doctor is pill pushing or doesn’t listen to you, GET A NEW DOCTOR. They work for you. Americans spend more time shopping for a car or a washing machine than we do our personal physicians. I recommend hunting down the closest integrative doctor in your area for an opinion.
If my story resonates with you, and you want to start reversing your imbalance, let’s talk about it.
I promise I’ll start blogging more food soon too. 🙂