At the start of a New Year, you may be making resolutions, deciding how you want to move forward in every area of your life. Maybe you have decided to start a new diet, to lose weight, to sign up to a gym, finally get your PCOS under control.
If you’re anything like me, you may be feeling ultra motivated, ready to take on the world. I tend to be an all or nothing kind of person. If I make a decision, I go after it 100%...
Until I start losing steam.
Slowly slowly I let things slip.
And I fall off the bandwagon.
That’s one of the reasons why I don’t like making New Years resolutions.
I’d far rather set some goals and have a realistic and tangible plan to work towards those goals. I also try to think of any potential obstacles and pitfalls that I may come across. That way I can anticipate the things that may derail me and make sure that I can avoid them.
So, with that in mind, I want to share 5 common mistakes women often make when it comes to their PCOS. These mistakes are easily made but you need to be aware of them so you don’t get overwhelmed or side tracked and ultimately lose the motivation you need to reach your goal of getting in control of your PCOS.
1. Treat the Symptoms, Not the PCOS
Very often, when we think of our PCOS, we think only of the symptoms. So, for example, we have hair where we don’t want it. We get some medication like Spironolactone to try to control the hair growth. Or, we want to lose weight so we go on a diet and focus heavily on the scale.
Treating the symptoms is something we all want to do. I have been there too. But the thing is, if we only look at the symptoms of our PCOS, and not the underlying hormone imbalance, we will always be putting a bandaid on the problem, without addressing the problem itself.
I can’t stress how important it is manage your PCOS and manage your hormones first and foremost. Once you’ve done that, the rest of your symptoms will fall into place and you should start to see improvements in them too.
The next logical question is, “How do you balance your hormones and manage your PCOS?” Well, that’s a very big question that takes some time to answer. So, I have put together a free video series explaining all the ways that we can deal with our PCOS. You can find the training here: I promise you’ll walk away with a lot of valuable knowledge.
2. Take too many Supplements
Now I know that this one seems a bit counter intuitive. If you’ve been following PCOS Diet Support for a while, you’ll know that I’m a firm believer in the use of supplements for PCOS.
But, the problem comes in when we take too many supplements at the same time and we don’t give thought to how the supplements might be interacting with each other.
The other thing is that if we take too many supplements at the same time, how do we know which supplements are working or even which ones might be causing some bad side effects?
We could also be spending a small fortune on supplements that we simply don’t need.
So, I always recommend that you start with some baseline supplements and then evaluate your symptoms and how you are doing and go from there.
The baseline supplements that I normally recommend are:
If you would then like to add any supplements to this regime, I would recommend adding one at a time and giving each supplement 4-6 weeks to evaluate your symptoms and results. If you’re having negative side effects you can stop taking it immediately and you’ll have a better idea of which supplement is causing the problem.
3. Substitute with gluten free products
I’ve written about gluten’s impact on our PCOS before (you can read that article here) so I won’t go into all of the details now. But I have recommended a gluten free diet for many years.
Many women, when they hear this, mistakenly head to the shops and stock up on gluten free pasta, gluten free bread, gluten free biscuits, thinking that they are making healthier food choices.
And I can understand the thinking. Gluten causes inflammation which will make us more resistant to insulin and make our PCOS worse. So, let’s eliminate gluten from our diets and just go for gluten free alternatives.
The problem is that so many of these gluten free alternatives are made with highly refined and processed flours. They can have a much higher glycemic load than regular products and will shoot up your insulin and blood sugar levels.
So, I tend to avoid gluten free products. I prefer to eat food that is as unprocessed as possible. So, instead of sandwiches for lunch, I opt for soup, salad or left overs.
4. Too much, too soon
Another common mistake that we can easily make is trying to change too much, too soon. When we find out that we should be exercising more and changing our diet, we often try to do it all at once. We get overwhelmed, exhausted and burnt out.
Make no mistake, any kind of lifestyle change takes time and effort. It’s not an overnight thing. So, decide what area you’re going to tackle first and start there. Take things one step at a time.
When I was first diagnosed with PCOS, I followed a low GI diet that still included wheat and dairy. Once I found out about dairy’s impact on PCOS, I cut it out completely. I then discovered gluten had an impact on my hormones so I cut it out next. It was a process.
The thing is that we have PCOS for life and we’re on a journey with our PCOS and our body. Make changes realistically and a step at a time. It will help you to feel less overwhelmed and out of control. You’ll be less likely to give up or fall off the bandwagon.
5. Thinking you’re alone
When I was first diagnosed with PCOS, I felt so alone. I didn’t know of anyone else who had PCOS and it felt like no one understood what I was going through.
The reality is that the symptoms of PCOS can often be personal and embarrassing. We don’t often talk about our excess hair with our friends. We struggle to admit let alone talk about our struggle with depression (a common and often unrecognised symptom of PCOS). That makes it harder for us to connect with other women with PCOS.
But, the truth is that at least 1 in 10 women have PCOS. In fact, an article I read recently suggested that 6.8 million women have PCOS in the US alone, never mind the rest of the world.
The numbers are staggering. There is an incredibly high chance that at least one of the women you know also has PCOS.
The moral of the story is that no matter how alone and isolated you might feel in dealing with your PCOS, you really aren’t. There are literally millions of other women who fight the same fight and share the same struggles. You are not abnormal or weird or any other label you might give yourself. We’re right there with you!
So, those are 5 common mistakes that many of us make. As you start 2017, I encourage you to dream bug, set big goals and for them with all your heart. Make this your year and don’t let these pitfalls get in your way!
I’d love to hear from you! Let me know if you relate to any of these or if there are any other pitfalls with your PCOS, leave me a comment below!