The fight is on.

Diet and Exercise: We’ve all had it preached at us. We’ve all thought at some point that we weren’t taking very good care of our bodies. But what I didn’t realize is how much of an impact it can have on the reproductive system. My sister in law shared an interesting article with me today (“How I Beat PCOS & Fell Pregnant” ) and there were a lot of takeaways from just one article that I thought I would share (it also prompted me to do a bit more research).

After reading the article, I gained some insight, reinforced some things my doctors had already told me, and learned that that same web page has a 30 day health challenge that you can participate in for free. I’ve already decided I’m going to give that a try, but I thought there were a few interesting points that she made – so I’m going to look into those a bit more as well.

The more I learn about PCOS the more I realize that it truly does affect every area of your life. I learned that increased insulin produces more testosterone, making it difficult for the ovaries to release eggs. When your body is unable to release an egg a cyst is formed. From my understanding, these store more insulin and testosterone and the cycle continues. The agitation you feel with daily stresses triggers a release of chemicals that affect your mood, your energy, and increase your craving for sugary and fatty foods. At the same time your body will also release cortisol which suppresses your ability to keep depression and anxiety under control. All of these biological factors make healthy eating and weight loss that much harder. I don’t want to make excuses for the choices I’ve made, but I can’t help but wonder if the depression, anxiety, mood swings, and stomach “bleghsfor most of my adult life have been because of an underlying health condition. I just want to help myself and others better understand some of the things that PCOS can change/affect in the body.

The ideas presented in the article by Kym Campbell is that by eating healthy, and changing up your exercise routine you can lose weight, decrease acne, create a more regular cycle, and improve emotional well-being. I have a hard time believing that it can be that easy, but I’m willing to give anything a shot at least once.

Kym’s list of things to avoid seems pretty lengthy: gluten, dairy, processed foods, and soy. These foods can all cause inflammation and can have a negative effect on both your gut health and your mental health. I suppose this means my love for bread (in any form) and cheese is going to be missed – although I had already done a lot of work with my diet to try to cut out most of the “bad” carbohydrates. Kym also suggests getting rid of sugar. THAT may be the most difficult part of this 30 day diet and exercise routine I’m about to try. I LOVE my sugar.

I have already cut out most of my gluten. I love it – but my body clearly does not. My dad was diagnosed with celiac several years ago, so I already had a pretty good idea that if nothing else I was intolerant, but once I cut it basically out of my diet and noticed the drastic change in mood and less frequent trips to the bathroom, I was sold. I could live without gluten. Don’t get me wrong – I love a good bread or pasta dish, but I definitely have to weigh the risks before eating any of it. A few other articles on gluten and it’s effect on your body have convinced me, it isn’t necessary. Gluten leads to inflammation (something those of us with PCOS already experience) and poor nutrient absorption. Which would explain why I’m ALWAYS tired and generally am anemic – at least that’s what the blood bank tells me.

I have also increased my activity level – although now I’m realizing why boot camp back in Wisconsin was so much better for me than I even realized. The activity stressed in most articles I have read is interval training. High intensity work outs with short breaks in between to create the best effect. Seriously, if there is one thing I miss it is the support I got at Aspire – AND being in the best shape of my life, mentally and physically. I haven’t found a gym like that around here, but I’m going to start implementing a lot of the same routines/work outs. They work!! Walking and even jogging is great, but it seems to be hurting more than helping. I haven’t been losing weight, just getting slimmer more muscular thighs 😉

My hope is that over the next 30 days I will be better able to control my diet and change my exercise and see an increase in my energy and mood. I’m tired of being exhausted and moody. I’m tired of feeling lazy and unmotivated. Mostly I’m tired of trying different medications only to discover that those don’t work either. It is time for me to take control of my health and do so naturally, and get my husband on board, so we can both live a more active, healthy lifestyle. Wish me luck!

Psalm 139:14 – I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

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