What is Pcos?
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a condition in which there is an imbalance of a woman's female sex hormones. This hormone imbalance may cause changes in the menstrual cycle, skin changes, small cysts in the ovaries, trouble getting pregnant.
CCRG- Pcos Symptoms:
• decreased breast size
• flares of acne
• insulin resistance
• thinning of the hair
• occasional flares of body hair
• Majority of my life I had absent or irregular periods
• now I have shortened periods of just 3 days
• I breastfed twins for 6months and my first for 13months- I dealt with low milk supply due to pcos- I am a Fighter for my Beautiful Babies and I gave them the best and I'm really proud of that!
• Insomnia & fatigue
•belly & back pain
• large abdominal circumference
• Happened just after getting pregnant with my first daughter- while trying to get pregnant again, I was diagnosed with PCOS via ultrasound and found all the cysts. In totality every part of PCOS fit me and my inability to get pregnant- my struggles with my weight etc.
CCRG- Attempts to Treat pcos
• lose weight
• used metformin for 5months
• used birth control pills for a few months to control cysts
PCOS is a really a terrible thing for most woman to be diagnosed with. It's a viscous up hill battle to lose weight and get pregnant. You work your butt off to cut calories and work out, yet the hormones in our body is such a strong dominate factor as to how our body treats the calories we eat.
I will admit that I forget that I have pcos. It's not the forefront of my daily thoughts. It's more of a reality slap in the face when I stall in progress with my running or my ability to lose. I can sometimes gain weight ridiculously quickly *like 3-7lbs* in ONE day. I was this way my entire 150lb weight loss journey.
What I remember experiencing:
Weeks where my testosterone was high- my energy through the roof. I had little appetite. I would work really hard and cut calories and my cardio was strong. I would notice a change in my hair growth- the hair on my head would grow faster- I would be shaving my legs more often, plucking stray hairs more often - I'd lose 3-4lbs in one week that could happen for 2-3 weeks.
THEN......I'd do all the same things in regards to my fitness and healthy eating but I'd be more tired. I would feel weak. I'd have sluggish runs. My Ovaries would Ache- I would experience back pain. I would experience tenderness when touching my lower abdomen. I would crave carbs really badly. I would stall or lose very minimally with all the same efforts. I would be incredibly emotional and hormonal. Very Needy and sometimes 'sad'. I would often have a couple days or a week of frustration.
My Detailed Pcos History:
I got my first period 3 days after my 13th Birthday
I was regular till I was about 15 yrs old
Then I started to get irregular periods.
My Irregular periods were from 15-29 yrs old. Having my period just 3-4x per year
At age 27- I attempted for the very first time to lose weight. All wrong- I smoked cigarettes, I only ate once a day and my attempts to run were simply to burn fat- and then I'd smoke afterwards. OMG! Well I lost weight- I went from 275 down to 215lbs. I started to get my periods back to normal September 2004- January of 2005 I had a period each month! Well in January of 2005 Is when the Magic Happened! 9 months later I had my Daughter- Whitney ♥
Then I blew back up around 295lbs during pregnancy. I settled around 265-275lbs after having her and trying to lose again while breastfeeding and working with an endo a couple of years later after tracking temps and irregular cycles I went on Clomid- failed- went onto my first IVF cycle and it was a success with Follistim and got pregnant with my Twins!
Maintaining with PCOS-
So with all that said- Now that I have been maintaining for almost a year, it's still a battle against insulin resistance. There is a fine line between warding off carbs so that I don't hold onto them and needing them to fuel my running. It's nutritionally vital that I have carbs in my life for my Fitness.
I try to keep my carbs under half of each meal intake or the mindset that my plate is half full of veggie, then 1/4 full of lean meat and then if I need it, I will add a quinoa or cous cous for a complex carb. When I track I break down the percentages through a tracker like sparkspeople. the closer to 40% for a daily carb intake the better. When You are cutting calories down to 1200 it does not take much carbs to hit your limit.
So here are some Tips that I'm going to Share about PCOS:
• Track your Carb Intake (there is NO real way to diagnose the insulin resistance with pcos- it's almost an automatic given per most doctors opinions)
• Always Go Complex Carbs- avoid the simple sugar- the body will quickly store the simple sugars more readily because of the insulin resistance
• Cut Carbs by doing one slice of whole wheat bread instead of two when making sandwiches. cut the crust off your bread. add a half a banan to your smoothie instead of a full.
•Use low glycemic natural sweeteners that won't impact your blood sugar so rapidly. this inludes honey, agave and stevia.
•Learn Glycemic Index - http://www.glycemicindex.com/
• don't worry about counting veggie/fruit carbs so much - they are healthy and stocked with vitamins/minerals/water/fiber.
• Don't be afraid to eat the complex carbs but I'm very serious that you should be measuring out your pasta- I always keep my pasta cooked to just one 1 measuring cup. I make sure I add a lean meat and veggie with pasta meals to get more of a fill
• Track your periods- pay attention to cycles - they can indicate why you might not be losing that week and may have nothing to do with calories/fitness- simply a hormone imbalance
• Don't get mad if you actually retain or gain during a week in which you did your food and fitness perfectly- Your body is retaining it- when you balance out- you will toss those lbs really quickly! I could gain 3-7lbs in a week and hold it for 7-10days in in like 2-3 days "Swoosh" It would be gone forever and I never got them back- this happened more than you all would care to know during my 13months of losing the 15o lbs! At least every other month I'd stall but then surge forward!
•Mentally Grow Stronger- Keep Your Eye on the Game and the Prize- that is Health and mental strength to not give up or give in. Don't ever say to yourself what you are doing is not working so why bother and eat more or work-out less. It does NOT work that way. I never did that to myself- I would expect you never do it either. This is Not a Game- this Is Your Life- This is Your Health. Your Cardio fitness is the up most vital importance to us Woman with pcos- we are scientifically at a great risk for cancer and heart disease. I do NOT take this lightly. I hope you don't either!
• When you see yourself cycling with hormones and you feel GREAT - then Really push your cardio that much more- make up for the time lost with the hormonal imbalance. You will grow as a runner, you will grow as an athlete and you will reap the benefits on the scale that week!
• Talk to other cysters- get advice- share your frustrations and maybe even be a guide to them that you are doing it and they can too!
pcos is NOT a RoadBlock- it's more simply a series of little detours that will in the end just make you stronger and more triumphant. I am really serious when I write this. I give myself mad prompts for losing my weight without medications. With sticking to the lifestyle despite the detours that were before me.
Yes I do get jealous *even still* and even during when someone else does the same things and maybe even I may have worked harder and I saw no progression on the scale. it really hurts. It was at times very discouraging and I cried some tears over it. But after a few moments of frustration and tears- I wiped my eyes and continued on. You can too. Some Pcos'ers lose steadily and some are on meds and some don't need meds like Metformin to lose. There is NO Right or Wrong Way for you Take Your Journey- the focus is what is comfortable and feels right for you!
I remember going to my doctor when I was 220lbs. I told him "I'm not losing weight fast enough- I am jealous that other people can just have it melt off of them and yet I have to work my ass off and cut calories down to 1200 to just lose a freakin lb. He said "Connie- this is not a race- you are doing it on your own and it's making you stronger. As a Runner I would discourage you from using the metformin and just keep doing what you are doing"
I am no doctor folks nor will I declare that my doctor discourages Metformin in totality- but he too is a runner and I talked to him about my fears of using metformin while adventuring into long distance running. Metformin is after all suppose to affect your blood sugar- it reduces the sugar production by the liver. It's not something I wanted to fool around with.
Metformin & Long Distance Running
Metformin works by improving the body's response to insulin and reducing the amount of sugar that is produced by the liver. Because metformin can cause several side effects, it is important to weigh these side effects against the benefits of treatment before beginning this medication.
Because- Metformin lowers blood sugar- therefore it can cause low blood sugar. This Fact and adventuring into long distance running- well it really scared me. Signs and symptoms of low blood sugar include drowsiness, sweating, fast heartbeat, headache, hunger, seizure, confusion, fainting and irritability
This is a medication there are very serious medical side effects to taking it. Lactic acidosis is one of these side effects. This condition causes lactic acid to build up in the blood faster than the body can remove it.
What I want you to do if you are taking Metformin and looking to become a long distance runner is to actually make an appt and talk about the risks vs. the beneftis with your doctor.