You may already know my transformation story where I lost 70 pounds and have now kept it off for seven years, but today I’d like to share the story that comes even before that; how I found PCOS symptom relief and healed my body, allowing me to have my two miracle babies.
I have always wanted to be a mom.
When I was a little girl, when I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, the answer I always gave was, “A mom.” There was no other career that even remotely interested me. Later on, about a year after I married my handsome husband, we decided it was time to add to our family. Months went by with no sign of a baby, and I began to get worried. Deep down I knew something was wrong, but doctors won’t talk to you about infertility until you’ve been trying for at least a year. When my year was up I went to see my OB and we began testing. After lots of blood draws and some rather invasive ultrasounds and x-rays, my doctor sat me down and explained that he believed I had PCOS (or polycystic ovarian syndrome).
PCOS symptoms include:
- Weight gain that is stubborn, difficult to lose (yep, definitely had this)
- Acne (ugh, yep, had this one too)
- Infertility (obviously had this one, could I cry now?)
- Menstrual irregularity (definitely had this)
- Cysts covering the ovaries, sometimes painful (yep)
- Hair growth in unwanted places (I had my lip waxing routine down pat by this point)
- A seemingly endless list of other symptoms
I remember feeling trapped in my own body, betrayed by it. I tried so hard to lose weight, but I couldn’t get even a pound to budge. I was so frustrated because doctor after doctor told me to lose weight, but didn’t give me any ideas how to do it.
Is that you, too? Before we move on, you should sign up for my 5-day Eating for PCOS Relief Challenge! Click this picture to sign up:
All of these symptoms were difficult and hard to live with, but the diagnosis of infertility broke my heart.
My dream of being a mother was seriously in jeopardy. I was told that many women with PCOS go on to have normal, healthy pregnancies, but I was still very worried! I was prescribed metformin and Clomid. Metformin is a diabetic medication that has also been found to be helpful with PCOS because PCOS is related to blood sugar issues and insulin resistance. Clomid is a fertility medication that can force ovulation. Women with PCOS don’t ovulate because of all the cysts on the ovaries, so sometimes this can help.
The short version of this story is that four years and many medications later, my arms were still empty, my heartbreaking, my hope nearly gone. We decided that it had been too much at that point, that we were done with doctors and medications, and that we were going to save our money for adoption. It was simply not in the cards for me to be able to experience pregnancy. That hurt, but over time I accepted it and we moved on.
Three years later, I decided that I had never been pregnant, so why should I walk around with the “mom bod”? (I hate this phrase, mom bodies come in all shapes and sizes! But I don’t know another way to describe it.) I didn’t yet have the knowledge for a full transformation as I had later on when we cut processed foods, but I learned enough that we stopped ordering pizza and hitting the drive-through and started cooking more at home. We ate more fruits and vegetables, and very slowly I was able to lose about 30 pounds.
About this time I became very, very tired. I would come home from work and sit on the couch to rest for a few minutes, and then my husband would wake me up for dinner about an hour later. Right after dinner I would go to bed because I was completely out of energy. After about a week of this, my husband suggested a pregnancy test. I laughed very hard because didn’t he remember that I couldn’t get pregnant? But it had been a while since I’d had a period, so it was probably time to test. I had the biggest surprise of my life when that test came back positive, and I wouldn’t believe it was true until a blood test confirmed the result.
I had done what medication could not do, I had cured my PCOS with food.
It was a total accident, and at first I didn’t realize what I had done, but I had a wonderful miracle baby because of it! Two years later we knew we wanted to try for another baby, and this time I knew exactly what to do. I had gained back all the weight during my pregnancy because I returned to my old fast food habits, but I cleaned up my diet and started slowly losing weight. This time it took seven months instead of seven years, but I was able to make my body healthy enough to have miracle baby number two.
I need to clarify, I didn’t actually cure my PCOS, because PCOS can’t be cured. It is a syndrome that I will carry for my entire life. However, you can eat in a way that balances your hormones and puts your symptoms into remission. I now don’t have any of my PCOS symptoms except for a little trouble with acne (can someone please tell my face I’m not 13?), and even that is getting better and better each month as I get better at eating for hormone balance.
Doctors will tell you that losing weight may help with PCOS, but I see it a different way. When you change the way you eat to a diet that balances your hormones and nourishes your body, this puts PCOS symptoms into remission. This way of eating also happens to help you lose weight, even stubborn PCOS weight! It is possible to lose weight in unhealthy ways that don’t help balance your hormones, but eating for PCOS always promotes weight loss.
After my second miracle baby is when I had my “mirror moment” (you can read more about that here), went on to lose 70 pounds for good, and become a Holistic Health Coach. I now have the privilege of helping other women learn to naturally recover from PCOS, using food as medicine to heal their bodies. If you are struggling with PCOS and hormone imbalance, I would love to show you how to nourish your body and find relief.
Do you want PCOS symptom relief? Where do you start?
You sign up for my 5-day Eating for PCOS Relief Challenge! This challenge is going to teach you so, so much! The perfect kickstart on your road to recovery:
Will you please share with me your story? How were you diagnosed with PCOS? What have you found to help relieve your symptoms? What help can I give to you on your road to recovery? Please feel free to contact me at Emily@healthbyemily.com with any questions.
Most of all, I want you to know that recovery is possible, please don’t lose hope!