Living With PCOS

A while back I did a post on my life with PCOS. I was in the middle of trying to conceive our second child and we’d had several set backs. That post was honest and a bit sad but hopeful. A few months later I conceived miraculously and that sweet boy is now 15 months old.

I have my babies but I still have PCOS. And although I’m not facing the challenge of fertility any longer, I daily face the challenges of living with this condition. I shared in that post that I felt like my body was broken – that it didn’t do what it was supposed to do (easily produce babies). We got it to do that but there are so many other things it’s not doing well. And I’m left with the choice to live with a broken body or to fight for wholeness, even if it might take a bit more work than I’d like.

Dr. Rupe has shared some amazing information and tips for those of us living with PCOS in her series this month. As my contribution in honor of PCOS Awareness Month, I wanted to share my point of view as a patient along with some encouragement for how we can get our bodies on track.

Like me, you may feel like you are broken because your body isn’t working properly. Much like those that live with diseases or disabilities, it can be discouraging and frustrating to feel less than whole. But I believe that He works all things together for our good (Romans 8:28) and therefore good can come out of a place of lack. I’ve spent the past year since my second (and last) child was born in denial about what it’s going to take to get my body to a good place. Worn out from life with a baby (and a preschooler), I didn’t want to face it. But the time has come and Dr. Rupe’s posts have been a great encouragement for me to get off my butt and fight for my health. In this post she said, “The metabolism of  PCOS is really just not fair. Your girlfriends can pig out on pizza on the weekend and still fit in their skinny jeans, meanwhile, you walk past a bag of Oreos and gain 5 pounds. Acceptance that this is how your metabolism works is a key first step. You must learn to treat yourself like a diabetic. A higher protein, lower carb diet is going to be your best bet.

She’s right. It isn’t fair. I hate that I have to deal with this but sometimes life isn’t fair. I can think of a million worse, unfair things that people have to deal with. “Injustice” (that seems dramatic but stay with me here) should lead us to fight not cower in defeat. So friends, it’s time. It’s time to redirect all of my fighting energy that I once put into conceiving my children to taking care of myself and beating this thing called PCOS. I hope those of you that struggle with it will join me. If we have enough girls in our community, perhaps we can form an accountability group. I’ll admit, I’m scared to death to put this out there. I’m not the most disciplined person in the world and I often give up before I overcome. But I cannot look only to myself for strength to do this. I am trusting the Lord to provide everything I need because He desires that we are healthy and whole beings, at our best to do what He’s called us to do.

5 Ways to Beat PCOS (or any weight issue)

1. Find Your Motivation – For me, my motivation was once the desire to conceive. Now, it’s the desire to be healthy so I can keep up with my kids and be a good example for them. While I was pregnant with my 1st, I had gestational diabetes. I was put on a strict diet and ended up losing 20 lbs while pregnant. I’d never lost 20 lbs in my life. I was motivated by the desire to keep my baby safe and have a healthy delivery. But once I delivered, my motivation was no longer there and I blew it. Gained it all back. I failed to find the motivation to keep it off. Let’s find our motivation and keep it at the forefront of our life.

2. Find Your Support System - Whether it’s your husband, girlfriends, mom or a personal trainer – find someone (or a few people) to keep you accountable. Don’t neglect to vocalize your goals because you are afraid you might fail. Put it out there. No one is going to fault you for falling short. The important thing is that you try and work hard to meet your goals. Let’s put together a support system of people we trust that will cheer us along the way.

3. Find Your Strategy for Exercise – This week I started the couch to 5K program. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while. Now that I have both kids in mother’s day out, I have the time to spend on “training.” I chose this plan because it is simple, goal oriented and attainable. Perhaps you don’t have time without your child(ren) at all. Talk with your spouse or family members and find a way to fit in some workout time. Dr. Rupe said working out is not an option, it’s a command. We have to do it. I don’t enjoy working out which is why I never worked hard to find a strategy for doing so. But we have to get moving. Even if you just put on some music and dance around with your kids, you are doing more than you were before. Put on a workout DVD and let them play around you while you exercise. It may not be the ideal situation but at least you are starting somewhere. Let’s find a strategy for exercising regularly that is simple and attainable.

4. Find Your Plan for Healthy Eating – Dr. Rupe gave us some good tips in her post last week for eating with PCOS. I am determined to get back to the plan that I followed when I had gestational diabetes because it worked for me. Low and controlled carb intake is key for women with PCOS. Talk with your doctor or a local nutritionist about what plan would be best for you. But don’t over think it. Making small changes can also do a lot for your body. In addition to the low carb plan, some of the small changes I will be making are:

- Drinking more water (I’ve gotten in a bad habit of drinking more coffee than water)

- Eating a more well-rounded breakfast to start my day

- Eating out less (also a bad habit we’ve gotten into with busyness)

- Allowing myself small treats instead of the full size daily ones I have been eating (I adore chocolate)

I will be posting this list on my fridge as a reminder to myself that I must follow these guidelines. As I said in The Pregnancy Companion book, making healthy choices happens one choice at a time. Don’t think about the life change that has to happen overall at first. Let’s try to make the best choice, one choice at a time.

5. Find Ways to Reward Yourself – I have a picture on my fridge of a shirt from my favorite store that I am going to buy myself when I lose 10 lbs. Not only will losing 10 lbs give me the reward of buying a cute shirt, I will look much better in said shirt after I’ve lost 10 lbs. So it’s a win, win! Find small ways to reward your progress. Give yourself something to look forward to for working hard and reaching your goals. Let’s find ways to tell ourselves “you deserve {insert awesome and motivating reward here} because you overcame the obstacle of PCOS!”

Friends, I am excited about this new season. I am fueled with a passion to beat this annoying, challenging and unfair condition. I want to thrive in my life as a woman, a wife, a mom. . .I don’t want to be bogged down by the unhealthy effects of PCOS.

Will you join with me?

{Photo used courtesy of Creative Commons}

About Jessica Wolstenholm

Jessica Wolstenholm is co-founder of Grace for Moms. She is passionate about writing words of grace for moms and moms-to-be. Co-author of The Pregnancy Companion and The Baby Companion books, she also co-leads a community about TTC, infertility, pregnancy and new motherhood on Facebook. Connect with Jessica on Google +


  1. Stephanie Cowart says:

    Great post, Jess! Thanks for putting this all out here. You CAN do this! I will be praying for your journey daily! Love you!

  2. Great Post!! Lets pick a 5 K we can do together!!

  3. Great post! I too have PCOS and have recently started C25K (starting week 3). Any particular lifestyle plan you are following in regards to what you eat?

    • Hi Jill, That is awesome! I hope it goes well for you. Just finished week 1 today so I’ll trailing right behind you. Determined to do a 5K with Dr. Rupe in December! I am following the low carb diet the nutritionist laid out for me when I had gestational diabetes with my first pregnancy. 15 servings of carbs throughout the day with less in the morning (and no fruit before noon) because it’s harder for our bodies to process carbs in the AM. Coupled with lots of protein and veggies. There’s a link to the post I did laying out the plan in this post. But you should discuss any plan with your doctor before starting it. Good luck to you!! We can keep each other accountable!

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