How I Made Fundamental Changes in My Lifestyle to Face PCOS
The thing with hormonal diseases is that they affect each individual in a different way. This also holds true for polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). I realized this when five of my family members, including myself, tackled it at different stages of our lives. While my mother and my aunt experienced excessive weight gain, my cousins experienced excessive hair growth. I, the youngest of the lot, had severe mood swings and insomnia for many days in a row.
Because all these signs and symptoms can point out to various other hormonal diseases as well, it did me well to get it diagnosed early on by using a home-based hormone testing kit (which are easily available) and getting the report reviewed by a physician.
Post detection, it was time for me to make serious lifestyle changes apart from taking the supplements and medications prescribed by the physician. Here’s a glimpse of the fundamental changes that I made in my lifestyle (with a little help from my family of course) to battle it:
1. Making Dietary Changes
If you search for PCOS diet, you’ll get several recommendations that will lead to more confusion. The overall idea is to eat light, fresh and healthy to stop it from intensifying. In my case, I totally stayed away from junk food, fast food and began eating food prepared at home.
My diet mainly consisted of fibrous, locally produced and seasonal vegetables and fruits. Not a fan of red meat or any other forms of meat, it was easy for me to become a pescetarian. Let me tell you that this is extremely beneficial for people with PCOS as various types of fish and seafood have abundance of omega-3 fatty acids that lowers inflammation. It’s also amazing for overall health and wellbeing. Trust me, I could feel the difference within weeks!
For the carbs part, it was not possible for me to keep away completely from refined flour. Therefore, I limited my intake and had more of the good carbs, which include but are not limited to brown rice, quinoa and oats.
2. Exercising a Little More
When it comes to PCOS, maintaining a healthy weight gains more prominence than ever. A balanced diet is one of the ways to go about it, but you can’t deny the role of exercise as well. Not a fan of physical activities, I tried to incorporate exercising in my schedule in as many ways as possible.
To begin with, I started slow, by jogging in a nearby park for about half an hour in the morning every day. We also have a lovely garden, and although I am not the one with a green thumb, doing a bit of gardening alongside my brother gave me a sense of accomplishment and helped me get moving.
At work, I ditched the elevator for stairs and made it a point to stretch every couple of hours instead of being confined to the desk at a stretch. After I got more comfortable with this schedule, I moved on to jumping ropes, cycling around the block, doing as many chores as I can by walking and doing yoga. This also helped me sleep better, which takes me to the next point.
3. Sleeping Like A Baby
Next up on my agenda was getting sound sleep. After doing my research, I came up with a routine to help me rest well on a daily basis. Here are the steps that I took:
- Fixed a sleeping and waking up time and tried to adhere to the schedule.
- Indulged some relaxing exercises or took a quick shower before hitting the sack.
- Changed my mattress, pillow and bedsheets to make the bed immensely comfortable and cozy.
- Avoided blue screens at any cost at least a couple of hours before sleeping and instead, reading a few pages of a book or magazine.
- Listened to white noise and used aromatherapy to keep away stress and soothe my senses during bedtime.
I have to admit that this was difficult in the beginning. However, I slowly started adjusting to this pattern until it became a habit. Reading was surprisingly one of the best ways to fall asleep easily because it kept me for thinking for a long time and helped me control my urge to binge watch series till the wee hours!
PCOS can happen to anyone and at any time. But then, timely detection, diagnosis, treatment and lifestyle changes can stop it from controlling your life. While this was my unique approach of living with the disorder without giving up, you need take your physician’s opinion and chalk out a plan that suits you best. If you too can relate to my story, do leave a comment about your experience.
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Gettyimage by: Simon Potter