#pcos, Guest Blog

PCOS Interview with Jess from The Good In Everyday

Okay guys, I’m going to attempt to keep this introduction short and to the point but we all know how that normally goes. Does taking the time to say it, or write it in this case, work against this goal? I feel like it does? Here I am, unironically delaying the introduction, definitely not keeping it short and I have yet to get to the point. Oops.

I often mention when the subject comes up that PCOS is so widely complex. My PCOS symptoms and experience might look entirely different with a fellow cyster. You get insulin resistant PCOS, you get lean PCOS, you get constant cyst PCOS and the list goes on and on. PCOS truly is a gift that keeps on giving. The other day I found an actual black as night, a bit too long for my comfort, chest hair. Smack bang between my titties. It stood out like a sore thumb. I called my husband to show him, and he called it cute. I plucked it and studied the little hair with a chuckle. Thank you so much PCOS, I really didn’t need something else to feel self-conscious about. The acne and weight gain are more than enough, thank you very much.

PCOS is so incredibly confusing and trying to figure it out is a mind fuck. Where do you even start? Some of the ladies has seen great success on the Keto diet while others noted no change, heck some saw a negative change. What I’m trying to say is what works or helps me isn’t going to work and help another lady with PCOS. What I find so absolutely wonderful about the internet though is that we’re able to connect with others on the same metaphorical boat, read their story and learn a thing or two. We can then walk away feeling less alone and hopefully a tiny bit hopeful that one day we will find a way to combat those terrible symptoms.

I stumbled onto Jess when I was searching for a possible cyster to collab with. I get quite a few newly diagnosed and completely lost PCOS ladies on my website and I wanted you to have another lady to connect with. I know it’s so hard to find someone real. I don’t know about you but I appreciate real, here is the good, the bad and the really ugly type of content. I don’t want to read blogs where you have everything figured out. I want to read blogs where you share the in between part. You know nothing, but you’re on the journey to hopefully find some answers. I want to read your bad days. I want to feel less like an alien and a part of a community that just gets it. A community that understands that you’re not unhinged because you started to sob like the day you were born after the TV remote fell off the couch. Jess talks about her experience with PCOS on her blog The Good In Everyday. It doesn’t end there though. She has opened up her platform by having conversations with multiple women who struggle with a wide range of struggles. The conversation topics range from ADHD, Disability, Mental Health, Suicide, IBS, Transitioning, Body Positivity and so much more. It’s empowering to read these blogs. I hundred percent recommend you give it a glance.

It’s safe to say I fell in love with Jess’s blog and I jumped at the idea to possibly have her on my website. She responded and well, you can guess what happened. So…enough about me. I’m going to hand over the reins to Jess.

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I’m Jess, a twenty-five-year-old writer currently exploring my new home of Sydney with my fiancé, Jack. Originally from England, I left the UK in December 2018 to travel America and Australia. Back home, I used to be a primary school teacher and LOVED it, but to be a writer has always been my biggest ambition so I used my time travelling to pursue my dreams.

My PCOS diagnosis story:

I was officially diagnosed with PCOS in July 2018, but really, I could have been diagnosed a lot sooner. I had always had irregular periods and my body hair has always been dark, thick and excessive. I used to be incredibly self conscious of how hairy I was, going as far as using hair removal cream on my arms to hide it. When I was 16, I had two instances of ovarian cysts, both of which I went to the hospital for. At that point, I feel like more investigation could have been done, but instead I was just told to go on the contraceptive pill. I was on the pill happily until summer 2017. I had never had any side effects from the pill – my skin was clear and I stayed the exact same slim weight. All of a sudden, I began to get horrific headaches. When I went back to the doctor, I was taken off the pill immediately and decided to have a bit of time away from using a contraceptive. When I was off the pill, I noticed how I could ‘feel’ properly. I hadn’t realised at the time because I had been on it for so long, but I was suppressed by the pill, almost as if I was living within a very small emotional range. Realising how much the pill dimmed my emotions and flattened me out as a person made me not want to go back on it at all. However, after having two periods, I then had a stretch of over six months without a period. This worried me enough for me to go back to the doctors, who took my bloods and sent me for an ultrasound. I remember being terrified of the ultrasound because it was an internal one, but I it wasn’t as bad as I had told myself it would be. The woman performing the ultrasound told me there and then that it was a pretty clear diagnosis of PCOS and my bloods later confirmed it.

I was pretty numb at my diagnosis. I always suspected from my problems in my teens that there might be an issue, but I didn’t know much about PCOS other than you can’t have children if you have it (a myth, but one at the time I thought was true). I remember crying and thinking that my future wouldn’t be as I had hoped. I had only been with my now fiancé for a few months at that point in time, so telling him when we left the hospital together scared me. I worried he would want to break up, but he was the opposite and was so incredibly supportive. In a way, finding out such big news so early on cemented that we wanted to be together and made us stronger as a couple.

To be honest, when I was first diagnosed, I didn’t really do much. I spoke to a few people who had PCOS, all of whom had managed to have children, and that was enough to appease me. I was told that the only way to control PCOS was to use the contraceptive pill and so I tried three different ones – one gave me horrific headaches, one made me gain a over stone in a month and the other was the one I was previously on and once again caused headaches. In the end, I said I didn’t want to be on any medication and my doctor agreed, telling me to come back if I ever wanted children.

I left the UK in December 2018 to travel and continued to live as I always had – eating whatever I wanted, doing whatever I wanted. I’d never been told much about PCOS and I found that there wasn’t a huge amount of information out there, although I admit initially I did very little of research. My diagnosis was so ‘you have this and unless you’re on the pill there isn’t much you can do’ that I didn’t understand all of the alternatives and implications of just carrying on as I always had. Whilst in Australia, my periods stopped again so I went back to the doctor. It was at this point thanks to the advice of my GP here and the gynaecologist that I saw that I realised I could help myself and that everything I had been doing was not good for me. I had gained weight, something I put down to stopping my active job as a teacher to pursue a writing career, but the weight wouldn’t go even when I tried to limit my diet or exercise. Having always had clear skin, I now had spots around my chin and mouth, I always felt just a little bit tired and my periods were painful.

How I manage my PCOS now:

I manage my PCOS through the diet and exercise changes I have made. Whilst I still feel like I can improve on this, I know that continuing to make these steps forward is something I want to do. I’m only at the beginning of my ‘managing PCOS journey’, but if I am already seeing and feeling improvements then I know that it is one to continue.

My PCOS diet:

Changing my diet is something I have only started since September, but I have already noticed a HUGE difference in how I look and feel. I have limited gluten because I didn’t want to cut it out completely in case, I developed an intolerance, and I have limited my dairy intake to the point that I have pretty much cut it out. As a vegetarian, my diet was never particularly bad, but I did eat a lot of pizza, pastas and cheese… I also had a sweet tooth! Swapping to things like gluten free pasta and dairy free cheese as well as upping my fruit intake has made a big difference.  My skin is clearer, I feel less bloated and I am not as tired. Part of me wishes I had made these changes sooner because the difference has been so stark.

PCOS changed the way I look at and plan my future:

It has made me worry about having children more. Before, I think I was a little naive to the idea of fertility struggles. Pregnancy seemed to be one of those things that happened if and when people wanted it to. Of course, I knew about miscarriages, IVF and had heard of PCOS, but really, I was just naive to it all. I was 24 when I was diagnosed, so having children wasn’t even on my radar at that point, but PCOS has made me think of them more seriously.

I know that if and when I am ready to ‘try’ for a baby, I would go to a doctor sooner if nothing happened after a few months than if I did not know I had PCOS. Other than children, it’s just made me appreciate what I have – a brilliant, supportive fiancé, wonderful family and friends and a life I am proud of. You never know what is going to happen and nothing in life is definite, so I try to take a step back, worry less and just enjoy it.

How I’m ‘treating’ my PCOS (Supplements/Medication):

I don’t take any supplements or medication but, from following natural remedy PCOS accounts on Instagram, I am looking into taking zinc and other supplements.

One of the things PCOS has really disturbed for me is my sleep. Whereas before I could sleep in, sleep through the night and loved a duvet day, I now wake up throughout the night. This has been really hard for me as I wake up feeling shocking which only adds to the feeling of fatigue. I’ve used some natural remedies that I have found really help – Lush’s Sleepy cream which I rub on my chest and wrists before I sleep, and Wilde Blends Sleepy aromatherapy oil which I put on the sole of my foot and down my spine. I can honestly say that using these has made such a difference to my sleeping pattern and I cannot recommend the products highly enough.

I think whatever works for the person is how they should treat their PCOS. Birth control worked for me whilst I was on it, but I feel that really it just masked my symptoms. I prefer being off medication and working with my body to figure out what it needs and what I should do, but that might not be what works best for someone else.

My PCOS insecurities:

Having always been the same, thin size, the weight gain and struggle to lose it has been hard. I write about body confidence and I have got a lot better with mine over time, but initially seeing someone I didn’t recognise and having clothes that don’t fit was hard. Some people say to me ‘but you’re still thin’, but for me gaining 2 dress sizes in such a short space of time after pretty much 10 years of my life being one way was hard. I still struggle now, but it’s not as bad as it was.

Why it’s important to me to write about PCOS on my blog:

As with everything I write and share online, I try to be honest and reflect my reality. This is just a part of who I am, so on a very basic level it is just my online life mirroring my personal life.

On a deeper level, though, I like to think that by being open about my PCOS experience I might help someone else. When I was first diagnosed, I did little to research and genuinely believed I only needed to think of PCOS when it came to wanting/having children because that was the impression doctors had given me. It was only when I stumbled across pages online that I realised how much PCOS impacts and also how much I could do to help myself. I’d like to think that someone else who has just been diagnosed and who doesn’t fully understand what it means might stumble across my page and that my words might help them. Just reading other people’s experiences and thinking ‘oh yeah, me too’ has made the world of difference to me, so if I can do that for someone else then great!

My advice to my fellow cysters, especially those newly diagnosed:

My main bit of advice would be to read other people’s stories. Whilst no two PCOS journeys are identical, for me it helped me to realise that other people had headaches and I didn’t need to worry about them as much as I was or see that yes, other people had children even with PCOS. I am someone who Googles things and tends to lean to the worst health outcome, so I found that Instagram accounts from PCOS nutritionalists and people with the condition have helped me more than random Google searches that only convince me of the worst.

Two of the accounts I follow on Instagram who have really helped me are @pcos_to_wellness and @pcos.weightloss. Even if you don’t want to lose weight, @pcos.weightloss has great tips about feeling good and working with your body and @pcos_to_wellness is so open and honest about struggles with acne and different conditions that for some people are relate to their PCOS like bruxism and dermatitis.

Some of the PCOS myths I’ve heard:

One of the most damaging things I have heard is that you can’t have children if you have PCOS. Being told this at 24 was awful and I can’t express how much I cried over it, how much guilt I felt at my partner’s future perhaps not being what he imagined. Over time, I have realised how wrong this is. Yes, having children might be difficult. Yes, you might need IVF and yes, it might not happen for you at all – but PCOS does not mean you cannot have children. I follow so many people who are either undergoing IVF or who have made changes to their diet and health routine and have become pregnant naturally. PCOS might make it harder, but it’s not impossible. I find knowing that a comfort and I wish more people knew it too.

I also wish I had been told about insulin resistance. When I was diagnosed, PCOS seemed like a blanket term – you have it and everyone with it is the same – this is not true. PCOS differs from person to person, some people’s bodies are insulin resistant whereas others aren’t. Knowing which type you have will help you manage your diet and exercise. For example, I know that my exercise needs to be regular, low impact exercise like yoga, Pilates and walks. Even though I don’t have insulin resistant PCOS, I don’t do high intensity exercise like running or HIT sessions because I know that’s not what will work for my body and could cause me damage.

My two cents on the argument that PCOS patients are having to basically treat themselves because there is a lack of understanding and research in the medical community about PCOS and other conditions like endometriosis:

I have to say that my experiences have made me agree. My doctors were great at diagnosing me, but then that was it – I was offered a contraceptive pill or nothing. I didn’t know about insulin resistance, I was never given an information leaflet or even a website recommendation, so I walked away clueless but knowing that I didn’t want to be on a contraceptive pill.

Knowing what I know now about PCOS, I realise how wrong this was. There were things I could have done to help and there is damage I could have done to my body by not doing them. I wish I had been told the advice I have been given in the last few months straight away so that I was better informed, from knowing what foods to try, what to cut down on, what exercises to do. Women are teaching each other how to manage things and offering support which is great, but I sometimes worry about the validity of the advice when I am recommended things like supplements as I feel wary about putting things into my body without knowing if I need them.

Being a part of a community that freely shares their health journey, and talk about important topics is empowering:

I really enjoy participating in the discussions and reading advice and tips from other people. I worry – a lot – so reading other people talk about headaches or aches and pains or tiredness really puts me at ease. PCOS has so many symptoms and effects other than the basic things like excessive hair growth and irregular periods which I was never made aware of before, so having that reassurance and being able to reassure others is great.

I also think that it is important for women to talk about these conditions so that the medical profession listens and advances in treatment, understanding and diagnosis can be made. For too long, women have minimised their pain, suffered in silence or put up with partial diagnosis’s, but to see that changing feels really empowering. My hope is that in the future, no one has to have a half-hearted diagnosis or walks away feeling confused and unsure of what they can do to help them self. If I can be a part of helping that day come sooner, then great.

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I hope that my PCOS story helps someone out there feel like their diagnosis is not the end of the world, because it’s not. You might have to change how you look at things or how you do things in life, but it will be okay. PCOS is a part of you, but it’s not all of you.

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Okay, I’m back. Did you miss me? I hope you enjoyed this blog. I truly loved working with Jess. She is super awesome, but you already know that by now. I’m going to round this one off but before I go – You can find Jess on Instagram @thegoodineverydayblog and of course subscribe/follow her blog here on WordPress.

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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#pcos, Body Love, Mental Health, Self Love

So, I’m Bigger Now. Does It Matter? | Weight Gain & PCOS

I’ve talked about my weight gain and my reaction to my now bigger body before, but just a few short minutes ago while I was talking to my husband, I had that oh so famously Ah-Ha moment, and I want to share this with you.

The conversation came up when I was telling my husband how I’m scared to see people from my life that was there to witness my “skinnier” and “fitter” days. I’m scared to hear what they’re going to say. I’m scared that one of the first words out of their mouths is going to be: “Boy, you really let yourself go.” or “You are so much bigger since the last time I saw you.”. All my life, I’ve never been skinny enough. I couldn’t wear this or that because I had a slight pooch. What are they going to say now when my slight pooch has turned into a lot of love in the trunk. I caught myself trying to explain that I have little control over my weight gain. It’s a health thing. It’s hormonal. I’m doing everything in my power to be healthy and 80% of the time I am, but my body is working against me. It doesn’t matter that I’m beyond active, that I don’t drink or smoke and barely consume junk food. Heck, I barely eat candy anymore. That doesn’t matter, because I’m a big girl now. I’m fat. As I was trying to explain or make excuses for my new body, anger started to boil deep inside my gut. Why the fuck am I connecting my worth as a person to my weight? Why the fuck does it matter? I’m sick of tired of feeling like I can’t wear skin-tight clothes or anything that shows my ‘fat’ because it doesn’t suit my body type anymore. I’m sick and tired of feeling that I need to hide my body. I’m sick and tired of beating myself up or hating what I see in the mirror. I have said all of this before. I’ve tried countless thing to accept my body and love my extra love in the trunk, but you know what, it was a lot easier to sing that tune when I was skinnier. Now, when I’m noticeably bigger (30kg heavier), it’s really fucking difficult, and it shouldn’t have to be. It’s really fucking sad because even when I had those abs when I flexed, I still didn’t like what I saw. I still didn’t wear those skin-tight clothes or showed off my body with confidence. I still felt ugly. It just doesn’t matter. I’m not going to be remembered for my body when I die. It’s not going to matter if I was short, tall, skinny or fat, heck let’s throw in yellow- or purple-skinned. My outer appearance is going to mean jack shit when I’m dead. It’s what is on the inside that matters. That’s what you should care about. And more importantly, that’s what I should care about.

It’s funny. I’ve never (Well, if we want to get technical I have for a few seconds but that was more a reflection of my own demons than about that girls’s actual body.) looked at anyone and judged them for their outer appearance, but why am I doing it to the person I’m supposed to love most in this world, me? I still have a long way to go, and I’m going to start challenging myself when it comes to accepting my body as is. I wasn’t put on this green and blue earth to constantly deprive myself of pleasantries, starve myself, and wish my body was different. I was put on this earth to be me. So, when anyone brings up my bigger body or my weight gain, I’m not going to go in attack mode or try to explain myself. Instead, I will ask: “Does it matter?” and if they say “yes” then that tells you more about them than anything else. You’re so much more than your outer shell.

Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

Love, Cassy xxx

#pcos, Body Love, Mental Health, Self Love

I’m A Worthless Human Being Because I Gained Weight

20 February 2019

I’m writing this blog after a really difficult day. I realize that these are my toxic thoughts now but I need to write about this. Writing is my therapy and maybe by writing out all my thoughts, I might gain a new perspective on things. I don’t know but I need to get these feelings out.

Today I found out I weigh 90kg. I feel sick to my stomach. I feel disgusting. I feel like I should go crawl into some hole and hide. No one can see me like this. No one can know I weigh so much. When I saw that number on the scale I wanted to cry. I bit back my tears and told myself, cry about this tonight. I’ve gained so much weight in this last year that it’s been an incredibly hard pill to swallow. After the big weight gain where the scale climbed 2-3kg a WEEK for two months, I thought that was it. I’m 20kg heavier but I will lose it. I was diagnosed with PCOS soon after that and it’s been one ugly mix of emotions since. I felt horrified that I gained so much weight. I immediately changed the way I dressed or constantly tugged at my clothes because I didn’t want people to see the obvious weight gain. Hello, oversized everything. And now, when I’m already so fragile, I find out I’m 10kg’s higher than that. I can’t hit that 100kg mark. I can’t.

And I’m scared. I want to lose weight because I want to be able to feel comfortable in my own skin but I’m terrified I will become obsessed with fitness again. It was truly horrifying that the pressure of maintaining the weight loss or fitness journey did to my mental health. I get so overwhelmed these days. So much extreme thing has been happening to me this last year that I’m barely keeping my head above water. I can’t add that weight loss pressure onto my shoulders again. I will break. I’ve found a system that is taking steps towards the right direction but it slow and forgiving. It’s all that I can handle at the moment but it’s not enough. I’m not doing enough. I’m still gaining weight and I’m disgusting. I need to starve myself. I need to drink just smoothies for months straight. I need to eat, drink and sleep fitness again. I need to eat nothing and just drink water. I need to make myself throw up when I eat candy. I need to. I need to. I need to. These thoughts are disgusting. I look at my body and I hate it. I hate how that is just another thing in my life that I can’t control and I hate how it doesn’t feel like my body anymore. I hate how I’m scared someone will point out my weight gain out and I hate how I no longer feel beautiful. I hate that this weight gain makes me feel worthless. Like my life has no meaning because I have back rolls. I hate that I feel this way and I want to change but I don’t know if I can handle it now. It’s a constant toss up of 1) go big or go home or 2) one day at a time. I’m struggling to find a middle ground. I’m struggling to get out of this ugly and toxic loophole. I don’t want to feel like this anymore. I don’t want to be this big anymore. I tell myself I will be happy when I’m back to my fit body but the truth is, I wasn’t fucking happy back then. I still thought I was fat and worthless. I still bit back tears when someone pointed out my stomach. But now…it’s worse. Back then I felt confident and proud at least 70% of the time. Now, I feel like a worthless human being. I don’t really know what else to say. I think I’m just going to go to bed now. Maybe I will feel different tomorrow? I’m just so tired of feeling like this. It’s too much. Life has been so much. When am I going to catch a break?

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It’s the next day and I don’t have clarity. I don’t really feel much better. I realize that I’m inching into a depressive state and what I thought yesterday wasn’t entirely true to what a really think deep down…but yeah. I still feel the pressure that I need to do something. What I’m doing isn’t enough and I’m scared that it will all get too much. I woke up, hungry. Already, my thoughts are like sit the fuck down you fat fuck. You’re not worthy to eat. It’s ugly and toxic. These feelings will pass and I refuse to surrender and do anything I will regret. I will fight these thoughts and feelings. I will fight this negative voice and when I come out of it the other side, with a clear and positive mind I will make adjustments to my way of life that isn’t anything too crazy. And eventually, over time, I will lose some weight but who knows? Maybe I will never weigh 60kg again and that’s okay…I guess. It’s baby steps.

Sorry that this blog is all over the place. I just feel like it’s something I should share. Maybe someone who struggles with the same thing or has struggled with the same thing will have some advice. Who knows?

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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PS, I’m adding this as an afterthought because I don’t want to make anyone feel bad about their bodies. I’m not saying if you weigh 90kg you’re ‘fat’ and ‘worthless’. Nor if you weigh more than that. THIS is how I feel about MY body because of my weightgain.

#pcos, Bicycle Tour

The Real Reason Why The Bicycle Tour Didn’t Happen This Year | PCOS

This blog was supposed to go up way back, before we even started with the renovation but I was always just too lazy to get the book out to get the reference part so well here we are, months late.

So honestly last year I had so many bicycle tour blogs it was basically the only thing I wrote about. When I originally decided on the bicycle tour I had no idea what I was walking myself into. It took us some trial and error before we found a tour which was realistic and a training program that we could stick to. And the training was going really well. Till my body was telling me something else entirely. My periods got out of whack and I was gaining weight from just blinking. It was a crazy time where nothing made sense and I felt unsure about everything. I thought hey maybe I’m over training myself so let’s slow it down and then build strength and stamina and go from there. I decided on my 150km three times per month and then 50km the last week of the month. It sounded like a perfect solution but my body wasn’t responding to the training. After being diagnosed with PCOS and doing my research I learned why. This next part is out of my favourite PCOS book, Natural Solutions to PCOS by Marilyn Glenville. (Here is the link — https://www.marilynglenville.com/books/natural-solutions-to-pcos-book/ —)

*Some forms of exercise work better than others. I see many women in the clinic who spend an hour in the gym three times a week and feel they are doing a vigorous workout,  but still can’t shift the excess weight – particularly that around the middle of the body.*

So I don’t want to quote pages of pages on this topic but it comes down to: there is a certain type of exercise that works with women with PCOS. If we want to lose weight we have to build muscle (so strengthening workouts) and our cardio sessions should never succeed over the 30 minutes time mark. Access cardio (so hours and hours of cardio) will do more harm than good. It will be the opposite effect. Instead of losing weight, we will end up gaining weight. It’s just a lot of stress on the body. The last thing I want is to add more stress to my body as stress flares up the really bad PCOS symptoms. I am however not a quitter. It feels wrong to just completely drop on this big goal. It is still something I want to complete but my health is important to me. So after weeks of pondering on a solution I finally thought of something. What if we still do the tour but really break it up. And by break it up I mean three towns a weekend so 30km a day every few months. This way I can still keep my promise and dream to explore the Netherlands with a bicycle without harming my body. And we take the train/car to whatever town we stopped at and slowly but surely complete the tour. Yes it will take us a long time but in the end of the day the job gets done. Sometimes life throws curveballs your way and things doesn’t work out like you thought. But hey you got to make lemonade with lemons and not try to make orange juice. I have no idea if that even makes sense. I just didn’t want to quit just because it won’t work out like we thought it would.

It does solve quite a bit of our problems though. We don’t have to follow an intense training program (so no more stress on my body) and time wise it’s doable. Onno doesn’t need to take any special time off from work. We don’t have to get special bicycles or any supplies. We can make it a fun weekend away. And we don’t have to worry about figuring what to do with Speculoos and Dankie for a month or so. It works out. Instead of quitting, I worked with the problem and found the middle ground.

We will probably only start the extra mini tour next year as we’re really still recovering from the renovations, heck we still have some work that we do every second weekend and we’re not quite done yet for the year. We also have a puppy in the house now and he needs to be a bit older before we can hand him over to day care and go away for a weekend. We really just need some time to recover. We also really need to build our strength, endurance and stamina again and that’s what we’re doing with our workouts at the moment. I can’t tell you when we will start next year or if anything will happen that will cause us to delay the first weekend away but I can tell you that we will do this in the end. Heck maybe we only finish ten years from now but we will do it. I’m not in a rush. It’s kind of nice to have this exciting thing to do every few months to keep us nice and active.

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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#pcos

The Supplements I Take For My PCOS | Natural Solutions To PCOS

When I started my fitness journey I had this idea in my head that drinking supplements is wrong. It means that you can improve your diet even more. It means that you’re not healthy enough. What a load of crap. I could slap my past self. How ridiculous is that notion?

*In theory, you should be able to get all the nutrients you need from your diet, but sadly, food today doesn’t always contain good amounts of the key nutrients you need. Over-farming and the use of pesticides mean that much of the soil our food is grown in has become depleted in vital nutrients. Many fruits and vegetables at the supermarket have travelled great distances over many days to get to the shelves, with already meagre nutrients dwindling further still. Our fruit and vegetables today contain an average of 20 per cent fewer minerals. Many people are significantly deficient in certain vitamins and minerals, such as Omega 3 fats. This happens if you eat more food than you need (causing weight gain). If the bulk of your diet is highly processed and refined, you may not be getting enough nutrients and you may end up overweight, and deficient in many key vitamins and minerals.  

This part is straight from the book by Marilyn Glenville called Natural Solutions to PCOS (Here is the link — https://www.marilynglenville.com/books/natural-solutions-to-pcos-book/ —). After I was diagnosed with PCOS, I went home and started searching for more information on the syndrome on Google. If stumbled onto the YouTube video of Marilyn Glenville giving a lecture on PCOS (Here is the link — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpF0UOI1Lf0&t=1917s —) and I just really love her approach to PCOS. I immediately bought her book and it was the first book on PCOS that I’ve ever read. Before that moment I was still in the mindset that drinking supplements means that you’re diet isn’t that great and you can get everything you need from a proper diet. That little snippet from before really opened my eyes, well her entire book did but anyway I became open to the suggestion of drinking supplements. The more I read and learned on how these supplements might improve my health and control my PCOS symptoms, the more I started to cheer for the supplement team. By the end of the book I ordered the supplements and currently I’ve been drinking them for six months. They truly do work and I’ve seen results. More on that in a minute.

It was overwhelming in the beginning. It’s a lot of pills and it was really difficult to 1) remember to drink them and 2) actually get them down. Now it’s all smooth sailing. Before I get into the list of supplements, let me quickly share my results.

My hormonal mood swings are less. Before I was on such a fine line of emotional outbursts. I would cry because someone spoke to me in a heavy voice or I would start to cry because I can’t find the TV remote. I also started to cry once because I had to repeat my sentence twice. It was incredibly frustrating and I just didn’t feel like myself.

My acne has improved tenfold. Although I do think that the no coffee in my diet has played a role in this, the supplements definitely has an effect as well. My skin cleared up. I still break out here and there but otherwise my skin is looking great. My back acne is completely gone which is amazing. I can’t tell you how good that one feels.

My uncontrollable and unstoppable (sure as hell felt like it) weight gain stopped. Even though I’ve made some changes in my diet, there hasn’t been a big enough change that I can contribute this to different eating habits. I mentioned before but I gained weight overnight even though I was working out almost every single day. Nearly 15kg in three months and a total of 20kg in five months. Ever since I started taking the supplements, I’m no longer gaining weight. I’m not losing any (well not yet. I just restarted my workout program) but that’s more than enough for me. I felt like I was gaining weight for just blinking so the fact that the number on the scale isn’t climbing anymore feels amazing. There was a stage I was gaining 2-3kg a week even though I practically lived on greens and my stationary bicycle.

My hair is also healthier and overall my cycles has improved. I went for an ovarian scan the other day and the doctor could see the results and well the fruit of my pill swallowing labour. I will surely continue to drink them in the future. I do want to add that in the time I’m writing this blog, I’ve been making more healthier food choices and we’ve picked up really good eating habits over these last few months. I’m even eating zucchini twice a week now. Those who might know me will probably fall of their chair with this news. It’s amazing that just three years ago I ate my first ‘greens’.

This one is quite embarrassing but my hair growth is a lot better. When my body spiralled out of control just before I was diagnosed with PCOS, I was growing dark hair and damn quickly too in all of the unsightly places. My chin and moustache was a nightmare. This has improved greatly since I started the supplements. The growth at my arms pits, lady bits and legs has also slowed. They’re growing at a normal speed again. For the awhile there…it just wasn’t pretty. Heck even the hairs on my toes are different.

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Here is the list of supplements I drink and why I take them. Before I get into it, I really want to stress that I’m not a doctor. What I know about these supplements is purely from reading her book. I ran the tests and decided to give her approach to PCOS a fair chance. Overall for all of those ladies out there struggling with PCOS and the ugly things that comes with it, I really recommend you read her book. The natural route can be the answer you’ve been searching for. For those ladies trying to conceive, she also talks of ways you can boost your fertility naturally.

 Chromium

*I believe chromium is the key nutrient for PCOS as it helps to balance your blood sugar, improves insulin resistance, counteracts food cravings and is also useful for losing weight. Chromium assists in the body’s efficient use of insulin, which then controls your blood sugar.

In the book she proceed to talk about the benefit of chromium when you are more sensitive to insulin and etc. She also advises the amount you should take but she does this with all of her recommendations.

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Link to the pills pictured above — https://www.hollandandbarrett.nl/shop/product/holland-barrett-chroom-picolinaat-200mcg-60006393

B vitamins

*The B vitamins in general are important in the reversal of PCOS symptoms. Vitamin B2 helps to turn fat, sugar and protein into energy, which makes it useful for both blood-sugar balance and weight control.

She continues to explain what the each of the B vitamins would do for your PCOS symptoms. It’s really informative. Like mentioned above, my weight has been under control since I started the supplements. I have yet to lose weight but that’s really only because I haven’t worked out while taking the supplements.

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Link to the pills pictured above — https://www.hollandandbarrett.nl/shop/product/holland-barrett-vitamine-b-complex-60001250

Vitamin D

*Vitamin D, the ‘sunshine’ vitamin, is now recognized as being very active in controlling blood sugar and improving insulin sensitivity, and research suggests that having good levels of Vitamin D can help prevent Type 2 diabetes.

She goes into the detail of the critical role that Vitamin D plays in our bodies. For the ladies trying to conceive, vitamin D is essential to your mix of supplements. The doctor could actually see a difference in my ovaries and I’m thanking the little sunshine tablet for that one.

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Link to the pills pictured above — https://www.hollandandbarrett.nl/shop/product/holland-barrett-vitamine-d3-25mcg-60099316?skuid=015605

Magnesium

*Magnesium is an important mineral for dealing with PCOS because it is involved in glucose metabolism.

She goes again into the detail about the role magnesium plays in your body and the benefit you will reap from adding it into your diet.

Zinc

*Zinc helps enormously with PCOS as it is instrumental in the production of  your reproductive hormones; it also regulates your blood sugar by assisting insulin in its job and moving glucose (blood sugar) from your blood to your sells.

She continued by sharing how the mineral is important for appetite control and why. Zinc also plays a role with coping with stress. It’s a supplement you should definitely have in your collection. I’ve seen a massive difference in my appetite control. I do want to mention that my depression could’ve played a role but who knows. I used to have binge eating episodes all the time. I would just be hungry and just eat none stop. I haven’t really had that in a really long time. Not since I started taking the supplements but again around this time my depression spiked and I tend to have a bad appetite when it does.

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Link to the pills pictured above — https://www.hollandandbarrett.nl/shop/product/holland-barrett-calcium-magnesium-zink-60004290?skuid=004290

Manganese

*Manganese helps to balance your blood sugar and with healthy thyroid function and improves your body’s ability to burn your food as energy.

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Link to the pills pictured above — https://store.vitamins.nl/products/708863

Co-enzyme Q10

*Co-enzyme Q10 is a substance that your body produces in nearly every cell. It breaks down carbohydrates and turns them into energy instead of being stored as fat.

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Link to the pills pictured above — https://www.hollandandbarrett.nl/shop/product/holland-barrett-co-enzym-q10-30mg-60007270

Alpha-Lipoic Acid

*This powerful antioxidant contributes to regulating your blood-sugar levels because it releases energy by burning glucose, and it also helps to make you more insulin sensitive.

She continues listing the benefits of the supplement towards weight loss and liver function.

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Link to the pills pictured above — https://store.vitamins.nl/products/840516

Omega 3 fats

*These important fatty acids are absolutely crucial in the treatment of PCOS. They will help your body become more sensitive to insulin and play a strong role in controlling the destructive inflammatory process.

She continues by sharing the benefits of Omega 3 with the reduction of testosterone levels in women with PCOS. I’ve definitely seen a difference here. Like mentioned before, I’ve seen a massive difference in my ‘manly’ facial hair.

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Link to the pills pictured above — https://www.hollandandbarrett.nl/shop/product/holland-barrett-omega-3-visolie-1000mg-60019103

Vitamin C

*Women with PCOS have lower levels of Vitamin C than women without PCOS so this is particularly important supplement for you.

She continues to share the other benefits of the vitamin as in how it can help you burn more fat when you exercise, enabling you to lose weight faster. I’ve always taken Vitamin C to help fight the cold season mostly because my body is still adapting to the different weather here in the Netherlands I’m almost constantly sick with a cold/flu in the winter.

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Link to the pills pictured above — https://www.hollandandbarrett.nl/shop/product/holland-barrett-vitamine-c-timed-release-1000mg-60004070?skuid=004072

Amino Acids

*Certain amino acid can be very beneficial for PCOS as they can improve your insulin sensitivity and can also have an effect on weight loss.

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Link to the pills pictured above — https://store.vitamins.nl/products/100998

N-acetyl cysteine

*N-acetyl cysteine is a form of amino acid cysteine which helps with the metabolism of the Omega 3 fats found in oily fish and linseed (flaxseed.)

She continues to go into detail about the other benefits and for the ladies trying to conceive, she has a lot to say about this supplement.

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Link to the pills pictured above — https://store.vitamins.nl/products/834561

Arginine

*Arginine can be useful in reversing insulin resistance.

She proceeds to go into more detail and describes of a study that showed the results that would benefit the trying to conceive ladies.

Carnitine

*Carnitine assists the body’s breakdown of fat to release energy and can improve insulin sensitivity.

Tyrosine

*Tyrosine is helpful for women with PCOS who are overweight as it is active in suppressing the appetite and burning off fat.

Glutamine

*This amino acid is useful for helping with sugar cravings as it can be converted to sugar for energy and so takes away the need to eat something sweet.

I personally haven’t noticed anything about less sugar cravings but I’m probably the wrong person to ask that. I’m all about my sugar treats. I do try my utmost best to not stuff my face with candy all day every day. I’m still struggling with the regards of candy control.

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I take two other supplements not listed by the dear doctor. Cranberry pills to help with my frequent bladder infections. I started taking them when I would basically get a bladder infection every two months and ever since then, I’ve had one bladder infection. So I’ve definitely seen the benefit of that one. I also take  a multivitamin to get the last bits of pieces of vitamins I need in. Oh and although I don’t take this daily, I take iron pills when I’m on my period. When I was younger I had anemia with a very low iron count. If I’m not careful or healthy, my iron levels drop below the normal count.

I hope you’ve found this blog to be informative and helpful. I wanted to wait a few months so I could share my response to the supplements. Good luck to all of my cysters out there and I hope you find the answers and support you’re looking for. There is so many of us out there and we understand the struggle.

Thank you so much for reading and I will see you in a click!

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Disclaimer

All words in italic is snippets/quotes from the book by Marilyn Glenville called Natural Solutions to PCOS (Here is the link — https://www.marilynglenville.com/books/natural-solutions-to-pcos-book/ —).

You would’ve noticed that I don’t have a picture under every supplement she recommends. It’s merely because the quantity needed per day  is found in some of the other products.

The links to the products are not affiliated. I’m not getting anything out of it. I’m merely sharing the links for those ladies here in the Netherlands who wishes to follow the advice of the book mentioned above and purchase the supplements. Although saying that, it would be pretty great if the two companies would help a girl out. I’m going to be a lifetime client.

A quick tip: Holland & Barrett often has a two for one sale on their supplements so definitely keep an eye on that.