I think that it is important to track my PCOS progress on a monthly basis
I have started doing these monthly reports because I think that it is important to track my progress, not only to ensure that I meet my health and PCOS goals, but to make sure that what I am doing to manage my symptoms is working and that I am still on track. Before I get into the detail of my progress, I just want to let you know that I am an intensely private person by nature. I don’t easily share my feelings or my PCOS struggles with the people around me. The thought of a well-intentioned friend or family member checking out this site to see how I actually spend my time does make me cringe – not because I am embarrassed about this site (in fact, I’m quite proud of it), but because I generally don’t share information about my excess hair growth, monthly cycle and weight. The reason that I am going to be sharing this information, though, is to encourage you that:
- You’re not alone in your experience of PCOS.
- It is possible to see improvement in your symptoms.
- Diet and exercise can be a really powerful means of PCOS management.
So, every month I will be giving you an update of my progress – the good, the bad and the ugly (be gentle with me!)
Here are the things that I will be tracking on a monthly (and sometimes daily) basis.
- Basal body temperature to monitor whether or not I am ovulating, done first thing every morning (Here is why I think it is important).
- Weight – I don’t think I could handle looking at the scale on a daily basis so I weigh myself weekly
- Hirsutism – Using the Ferriman-Galloway scale
- Diet and supplements – How closely I’ve stuck to a PCOS diet and taken my supplements
- Exercise – how much I’ve done and whether it is strength or cardio
So, with all of that in mind, let’s look at what happened in February…
Goings on in February
Well, my diet has not been amazing this month. I have stuck to a good PCOS diet 90% of the time and am still eating well on the whole. We have had a couple of family birthdays and kids parties which has led to some over indulgence of cakes, sweets and crisps. Those cravings have really reared their ugly heads! Apart from the parties, though, on a day-to-day basis, I’ve been pretty good.
I’m still taking Omega 3, Folic Acid, Vitamin D and Calcium and Inositol. I recently ordered Inositol in powder form and I’ve found it much easier to manage than the capsules. I’m taking 2g in the morning and 2g in the evening, along with my folic acid.
Stress and Sleep
I have been working on some really exciting developments for this site and for all of you. I’m planning meal plans, recipes, a membership site, monthly webinars and a whole lot more. (I’ll be sending out more info via the Newsletter in the next couple of days). I have loved doing it but it has been some stress and a lot of hard work. It’s also meant working late and waking up really early to work before my daughter wakes up. So, I haven’t had nearly as much sleep as I should have and I’ve really noticed that my cravings are out of hand when I am tired. When I have a good night’s sleep, I’m far more in control of my cravings and rarely even experience them. When I’m tired though, all I want to do is eat junk food. So, next month, I’m going to try to be better with my sleep and managing my stress levels.
I’m afraid that I’m still not on the exercise wagon yet. I have every intention of exercising and know that I will feel so much better for it but I haven’t quite managed to get there. The good thing is that I feel accountable to all of you and I can’t bear the thought of writing the same thing for my March progress report so that should be motivation enough to get me exercising again.
On to the numbers:
31.01.2013 – 60.9kg (134.2lbs)
28.02.2013 – 60.3kg (132.9lbs)
I’m happy with that. It’s moving in the right direction.
My fertility chart shows that I did ovulate this month and my cycle was 30 days.
I was looking back at my fertility charts from before I fell pregnant with my daughter, when I was diagnosed with PCOS and I am so encouraged to see how my charts have improved and stabilised.
Here is one from March 2010:
And here is last month’s chart:
Last month’s chart is typical of what my charts are currently looking like. It shows that my body finally has some sort of cycle and rhythm and I’m not all over the show like I was previously. It’s another sign that my diet and supplements are working and that my PCOS is relatively under control. So, there’s hope that I’ll be able to make that baby announcement at some point…
I think I’ve seen some very small improvements in my excess hair. It doesn’t seem to be growing back quite as thick. But, my score on the Ferriman-Gallway scale remains at 5.
I said last month that I was also going to start monitoring my mood, in light of the research that I did on mood and PCOS. Well, thankfully I didn’t have any wild mood swings and I’d have to say that my mood seems fairly stable at the moment. I did notice that I was a little blue before my period but I didn’t snap or bite anyone’s head off so that shows some progress 🙂
I also said that I was going to start taking my body measurements and monitoring progress. I’m going to take my hip to waist ratio in particular as this is an indication of the amount of fat around body organs and is often used as an indication of a person’s health. Many of us will carry excess weight around our tummy because of insulin resistance. So, as my waist:hip ratio decreases, so my health will improve.
According to this waist:hip ratio calculator, my ratio is extreme and I hold “dangerous amounts of fat centrally”. That can’t be good! I’m really going to have to work on this and hopefully my next progress report will show some improvements! No wonder someone asked me recently when my baby is due, even though I’m not pregnant! (The image is clearly not me, by the way!)
So, in spite of my little indulgences, sleepless nights and dangerous amounts of central fat, I’d say February was a good month and I’m still making good progress in terms of my PCOS.
How did you do this month?(comment below) I’d love to hear if you’re seeing improvements in your symptoms as a result of your diet changes. I’d also love to hear from you if you haven’t had a good month. Tackling PCOS on your own is tough going and we all need the support of our fellow Cysters!
Photo attribution: Joseasreyes, Udoudo from Stock Free Images
Tarryn is the founder of PCOS Diet Support, the top ranked PCOS diet & lifestyle site with over 160,000 users per month. As a fellow cyster there are no empty promises here, just facts