5 Ways To Manage Body Challenges With PCOS

I was officially diagnosed with PCOS in 1997. My body journey from then to now has not been an easy one. I’ve been through most of the same challenges that many of my fellow PCOS Cysters have experienced: weight fluctuations, hirsutism, mood swings, skin discoloration, and more. I know how it is to feel like you are at war with your body, always trying to manage consistent body challenges. However, I want to tell you that Body Peace is possible. It is quite possible to build a loving relationship with your body at any given moment, even while you may still be learning to manage the symptoms and challenges of PCOS. I know it is possible, because I’ve done it and I’ve supported several other women in finding Body Peace in their lives as well.

PCOS comes with its own ups and downs, consistently. We may have several moments of great times and progress in our wellness. Then, a challenge may come up and totally shift how we feel about our bodies. Along my body journey, I developed a few go-to tools that I use to help me manage the highs and lows of PCOS. Here are 5 of them:

I Own Athenticity

For a long time I used to deny the physical, mental, or emotional discomfort that I felt around PCOS symptoms. I would even detach myself from what was happening with my body, as an attempt to “survive” the challenges of PCOS. When I began to heal my body relationship, I learned that being authentic about how I felt in any given moment was the first step to managing my journey. When we own the challenges that we have, then we can find the answers and solutions. This is not about complaining or whining about our challenges. It is about owning them, so that we can face them and began to make choices that will help us manage them effectively.

I Release Body Judgment And Shame

I spent decades judging my body and feeling shame around having PCOS. I had many days of feeling “less than” because of my symptoms and challenges: less than beautiful, less than healthy, less than strong, and more. Part of healing my body relationship was learning to release the judgment and shame of having PCOS and all the challenges that come with it. I am committed to loving my body in all its imperfections. I found peace with my body being “different” and I have learned how to manage the uniqueness of my body, rather than reject it. I embrace a mindset of gratefulness, even in the difficult moments. I find that doing so releases me from the “prison” of body shame and opens up a whole new world of body confidence for me, one step at a time.

I Practice Self-Care

Self-care is an intentional act of self love and love heals! When moments come that I feel overwhelmed by challenges with PCOS or if I feel disconnected from my body by pain or body hate, I turn to self-care. Self-care is a great way to reconnect with our bodies in a loving way. It doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate. It can be a relaxing bath, a walk in the park, reading a good book, or even a simple moment of silence and deep breathing. Anything that allows us to intentionally give positive energy to ourselves is an act of self-care. Any moment that negative feelings or emotions come up, we can always choose a deliberate act of self-care to bring love back into the equation and to shift our experience.

I Purge

Stress is one of the main things that causes inflammation in women who have PCOS. A great deal of our stress comes from holding things in. I have learned the power of purging. Purging means to release stress, sadness, and negative feelings that sit inside of our minds and emotions. The longer we keep them bottled up, the more they influence us mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically. I purge through talking. I talk to my trusted friends and loved ones. However, there are other ways to purge out negative energy: writing, dancing, art, etc. Whatever helps you to release stress or negative energy will help! The goal is to get it out of your body so you can embrace a healthier emotional balance.

I Take Control

There were plenty of times when PCOS was in control of my life. I allowed myself to be overwhelmed and burdened by it. However, about 5 years ago, I decided to stop being the victim of PCOS and to take the position of a victor. Of course the disorder did not go away, but my mindset around it shifted. I chose to start LIVING and enjoying my life to the best of my ability. I know that PCOS is a part of my body journey, but I refuse to allow it to define my entire life experience. We can choose to define our own life, even with PCOS. The challenges will come, and we can manage them with the tools that we have. We don’t have to let the challenges cause us to miss out on all that life has to offer us. It is our choice to take a hold of this body journey one moment at a time.

How do you manage your body challenges with PCOS? Do any of these methods resonate with you? Have you found a way to redefine your body journey, while managing PCOS? I’d love to hear from you! Please feel free to share in the comments or contact me directly.

ivy cooper

Ivy F. Cooper is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and Body Image Expert with a gift for helping people embrace and re-define self-care at any stage and any size. Her Body Relationship Coaching work is centered on her personal experiences with barriers to body love, and more than a decade of social and professional involvement in the emotional wellness and health education movements. Learn more at www.seebodyloveself.org.

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Comments (7)
  • Hillary Wright

    September 24, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    This is so beautifully written. Thanks for sharing.

  • Ivy Cooper

    September 26, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    Thank you Hillary! I am so glad that is resonates with you. It is beautiful to see that my sharing touches another woman in a positive way.

  • Akilah

    September 28, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    What a powerful story, Ivy! As a longtime lover of your message, I’ve heard your story before, but this one was so much more detailed! You really offered your story up as a means of exploration and self-acceptance that a lot of us are working toward right now. Thank you for risking expression, Sis!

  • Lorna

    April 27, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    I have to say that the part that resonates most with me is the Releasing Body Judgment and Shame. I am nearly 65 years and have been dealing with PCOS since I was 11 years old, though I had no idea what it was. I gained weight quickly and abruptly at puberty and have been “fighting” my body ever since. In those days, PCOS was only a theory by the name of Stein-Leventhal Syndrome.
    I have spent nearly 54 years of my life not knowing why I couldn’t lose weight, or would only get down to a certain point, then gain it back. And this was even though I was still doing the same thing.
    Since finding this website last week, I have been liberated from the shame and guilt that I have felt for over 5 decades. I now know that I just need to take care of myself and love myself for WHO I am, not WHAT I am. Thank you so much! You have been such a blessing!

  • Christine

    July 11, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    Thank you share.
    I have been trying for many years, to forgive my body. Still working on it.

  • Ali Browning

    October 6, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    I loath my body for its hideous apple shaped and excess hair and that’s before I get started n the the fact its made me childless, a cancer survivor and now have Diabetes. I know I will never love it, I am such a feminine person trapped in a masculine, butch and sick body, but I just would like to accept it before I get old.

  • Jenna

    January 18, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    What a beautiful and empowering article. I love it and I will share!

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