January 14, 2022
Living with PCOS is no joke. I’ve realized you can’t stop living just because of a diagnosis, so you have to learn how to live your best life regardless. This is kind of a hard post for me, but I want to share with you to be vulnerable and open. In 2021, I reached my highest weight ever and it was pretty devastating. I was primarily nervous that I was unhealthy because of the weight gain. Despite my constant efforts trying to work out and eat “right”, I felt that no matter what diet I was trying, I kept failing. And my biggest “problem area” was my stomach… I’ll talk about this more later.
One thing I had to realize when I did the 10-year challenge this year was this… I had to let go of this idea of trying to get back to any previous version of my body. I had to learn to accept this new version of myself. All I could do is love this version of myself and become the best version of me now. All while giving myself grace.
I had been diagnosed with PCOS in college but never really saw it as much of a problem. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome was introduced to me as “the number one reason women can’t have kids in the U.S.” by my doctor on campus. Other than the fact that it completely freaked me out, that conversation was void of the details of how PCOS could impact me. I had no idea that PCOS would cause me to gain weight and struggle to lose it.
Between 2020 – 2021, I gained nearly 40 pounds. I’d been working out and eating healthier. I figured I must have been doing something wrong, so I decided to take a food sensitivity test. I tried out EverlyWell’s food sensitivity test and though I already knew I was likely lactose-intolerant, it confirmed that I had sensitivity to both dairy and gluten among many other things.
That’s when the lightbulb finally went off for me… I realized that I’d heard many people online say that gluten and dairy were not good in a diet for women with PCOS. Soon I adopted a meal plan and implemented recipes that helped me stay on track. I tried dairy-free, gluten-free and it seemed to work well for me living with PCOS. I specifically used Green Chef for meal delivery.
Between 2019 and 2021 I had gained nearly 60 pounds. As a woman who’s 4 feet 11.5 inches… that’s a lot of extra weight on my body. While you can see that my body carries my weight in my butt, thighs, and stomach primarily… gaining extra weight rapidly can be overwhelming and stressful.
When I realized I had surpassed 200 pounds in 2021, I sat in the shower and cried. I felt so hopeless and helpless. I’d been trying to eat right and work out, but it felt like any time I ate one meal that was not within my diet plan, my body held onto the weight for dear life.
Here’s what my life was looking like in March 2021. I’d just hit 206 pounds and I didn’t know how to respond. I was angry and felt like this was no way to start off my first year of my 30s.
My highest weight was 220 pounds… I could barely zip my pants. Nothing fit. I was so stressed and annoyed. Not only because it was uncomfortable getting used to my new body, but I couldn’t find clothes that fit properly.
Living with PCOS meant that I had to figure out how to exist with it and maintain my health. I don’t know if it was the PCOS mood swings that made me cry while in the bathroom shower… or if I was really sick and tired of the PCOS struggle.
I’m sure it was a mix of both, but I had to fight for my confidence. I picked up and moved to Mexico in 2021 and I ended up losing 20 pounds while there! Their tacos are gluten-free corn tacos, so I think that contributed to it a ton lol. While in Mexico, I got some pretty amazing photos that helped me feel even more confident about my body…
Once I got back from Mexico in August, I spent a lot of time at Orange Theory Fitness. While working out there, my body changed a lot. My stomach fat went down, and my body toned up. However, I continued gaining weight because of the HIIT-style workouts. Those types of high-intensity workouts can actually cause women with PCOS to gain weight. However, my body shape was improving. See what I mean in my purple outfit below.
I’ve found that workouts that increase my heart rate heavily or that put a ton of stress on my body are not helpful for living with PCOS. Strength training works really well for me, instead. I try to avoid cardio though I love running and high-intensity workouts.
Living with PCOS means that I’m doing what’s best for my body. Now, I focus on slow, weighted workouts from the comfort of my home gym. I’m sharing my story before I have my “final” weight loss journey post… just because I know it’s helpful to see the process.
To be honest, I’ve struggled with weight fluctuations my entire life, and it’s likely because of PCOS. I’m not going to wait until I have the “perfect” number on the scale for me to celebrate my body in all its beauty.
No matter where you’re at on your journey, I encourage you to keep going and stay encouraged. You’ll definitely have to do some inner work to remind yourself that you’re amazing and beautiful no matter what living with PCOS looks like for you.