THE BEST BIRTHDAY PRESENT

This month is a milestone Birthday for me-I’m turning the Big 4-0! As I begin a new decade in the middle part of my life, I have been reflecting back to previous decades. It was in my early 20’s when I was first diagnosed with PCOS. I was fresh out of graduate school and working full-time as a registered dietitian nutritionist counseling women suffering from eating disorders. I was living alone, cooking my own meals, and working out regularly (remember step aerobics anyone?). As far as I knew, I was perfectly healthy.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, I started gaining weight. A lot of weight. Thirty-five pounds in fact. Each week the scale would be up another 5 pounds or so, and I couldn’t stop it. I knew I wasn’t overeating, and with the amount of intense exercise I was doing, didn’t make sense to me why I was gaining at such an alarming rate. I went to three different doctors trying to figure it out and no luck. My thyroid was normal and I didn’t have diabetes. But why was I having such intense cravings for sweets all the time?

Finally, I saw my 4th doctor, Dr. Katherine Sherif, the superwoman of doctors, who ran a ton of blood work. I didn’t have many of the classic PCOS symptoms like irregular periods or hair loss so to be careful, she checked for everything. My testosterone came back high and it was when I went for an ultrasound I saw for myself the classic string of small follicles on my ovaries. I was diagnosed with PCOS.

Not only did I have PCOS but my blood work showed I was on the verge of having pre-diabetes. My triglycerides were also slightly elevated. At age 23 I went from thinking I was healthy to being on the road to developing diabetes and heart disease.

Because women with PCOS have high levels of insulin, they are at a much higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes. In fact, by age 40, nearly 40% of women with PCOS develop pre-diabetes or diabetes. I’m happy to say I’m not one of them. That’s why for this birthday, the best present I received I gave to myself: The gift of health.

Since being diagnosed with PCOS nearly 2 decades ago, I have made significant changes to my lifestyle to take control over PCOS before it took control over me. I modified the type and amount of carbohydrates I ate, included plenty of anti-inflammatory foods, changed up my workouts to incorporate more strength training, and started to take supplements like Ovasitol, which I feel has significantly helped to reduce my risk for type 2 diabetes and manage my cravings. With my lifestyle changes not only did I prevent diabetes and heart disease, but my labs are completely normal. At age 40, I am healthier now than I was at 23 and I feel great! Not a bad way to start a new decade, huh?

If you would like to take control over your PCOS and need support to do it, contact me about scheduling nutrition coaching sessions at (484) 252-9208 or info@PCOSnutrition.com. Knowledge is power!

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