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My January PCOS Diet Progress Report

Well, it’s the end of the first month of 2013. 11 more to go… I often wonder how much I will accomplish in the year if I accomplish as much as I did in January every month for the next 11 months. It’s a bit of a scary thought, really!

I have a confession to make. I did not make any New Year’s resolutions at the beginning of this year. But, I did have a good think about what I hope to achieve in 2013, particularly with regard to my PCOS and my PCOS Diet. Here are my goals:

  • Exercise at least 4 times per week, doing cardio and resistance
  • Continue my clean and healthy PCOS Diet plan
  • Lose another 4 kilograms 7kilograms (15 lbs)
  • End result of these goals = pregnancy (I’ll keep you posted on that one)

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community pcosI think that it is important to track my progress, not only to ensure that I meet these 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.

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, here is my progress report for January 2013:

Goings on in January

This month started off well in some ways and not so well in others. We got back from an amazing three week holiday in South Africa in early January. I was glad to be home so getting home isn’t the bad part. The bad part is that I managed to put on 3 kg (6.6lbs) in three weeks while on holiday. Goal number 3 just changed to “Lose another 7kg.”

Diet

My hubby is a Type 1 Diabetic and in a lot of ways it makes my diet easier to follow as we both follow a similar plan. Whilst on holiday he learned about a Paleo Diet and was very keen to try it so we both decided to give it a go. The basic pcos paleo premise is that we should eat a grain free, dairy free diet with loads of vegetables, fruit and lean meat. Hubby saw an immediate improvement in his blood sugars and has subsequently been diagnosed with Coeliac Disease. Going grain and gluten free has been really significant for him.

I have to say that I do feel a little better having cut out all grains and I’m focusing on vegetables with some fruit and lean meat. In the long term, I believe that giving up gluten is important for PCOS (more on that in another post) but I may start reintroducing some grains and legumes next month. I’ll keep you posted on that.

We have also been really strict with diet so, apart from a small gluten free birthday muffin, I’ve been pretty good at eating PCOS friendly foods. I have to say that my carb cravings are also just about non-existent, which is a pleasant change.

Supplements

In terms of supplements, I am taking Omega 3, Vitamin D and Calcium, Inositol (started this month), Folic acid and Chromium. I have read wonderful things about Inositol so I’m excited to see if it helps my symptoms.

Exercise

I must confess that I have fallen flat when it comes to exercise. I started Jillian Michaels’ “30 Day Shred” and loved it. I managed the first 10 days but things have been busy and so I’ve let it slip. I’m hoping to get back on it next month.

So, on to the good stuff …

My Progress:

my pcos weight Weight:

01.01.2013 – 63kg (138.8 lbs)

31.01.2013 – 60.9 (134.2 lbs)

I’m always pleased with any weight loss so that’s great and on the right track.

Ovulation:

My fertility chart showed ovulation this month so that’s amazing. I must say that I was a little doubtful but my cycle is pretty regular at the moment so maybe I did ovulate.

Hirsutism:

I’m not really expecting this to change from month to month. I think it will take a much longer time to resolve itself. Using the Ferriman-Gallway Scale, I would say my score is 5.

Summary

So, I would say that January was a good month and that I seem to be on the right track with my PCOS and symptoms. Next month I’m also going to give you some body measurements and mood scores because I think these are also key symptoms of PCOS. I certainly think mood is a huge one that is often overlooked.

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!

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Tarryn Poulton

Tarryn Poulton

Tarryn Poulton is a PN1 Certified Nutrition Coach and PCOS expert who has been a leader in the online PCOS space for over 8 years. Tarryn has the support of leading clinicians from around the world who support her scientific approach to understanding and talking about PCOS this includes all medical journals and ongoing research. You can read more about Tarryn and the team here.

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33 Responses

33 Responses

  1. hi I m diagnosed with PCOS and came to know about 2 yrs back through my doctor…. wht diet should i follow as i dnt get time to do exercise. i think i need to loose weight as my doctor said me to keep my wieght same but aftr some month i gained lots of weight . so plz tel me wht to do as i am getting married next month…..

  2. Hi .. I m diagnosed with pcos.. ur post is really helpfull. Well I would lik to know wat kind of exercise wored for u and how many hrs of exercise we hav to do to loose 20pounds.. my weight is 64kg and I hav to com dwn to atleast 55kg . Please helo me out because I m trying since one year for pregnancy .. I got clomid faliur too .. I m very depressed .
    How is ur progress since jan 2013 till today .. plz email me

    Thanks
    Nuura

  3. I have looked into inositol and inofolic but these can not be prescribed v the doctor, did you buy them online? What milk do you use? I’ve tried them ll and can just about cope with almond milk in tea, but it’s full of sugar!? I’ve heard coconut milk is better? With regards to dairy, is there an alternative for cheese? I wouldn’t say I eat a lot of it but sometimes we make our own pizzas, do ou think using gluten free foods is a good idea? I must admit I’ve been following a low carb plan and find the cravings lessen slightly but this week has been hard as I haven’t be prepared 🙁 it’s very daunting when I’ve to 3 stone to lose!

  4. Hi Tarryn,rs old,66kgs and my height is 165cms. I’m 17y i’m really confused with PCOS n cyst 😕 when i was in 9th grade i diagnosed i’ve polytheistic ovary and told as that’s not a problem,on july 2012 when i diagnosed again as i had a calculus in my uterus then i came to know that i got a small cyst and later on dr’s said that not a problem at all.. as i had painful menstruation cycle for few months and missed it for one month i consulted a dr wid all my blood test reports n scan she just guided me saying all i’ve to is exercise and n diet bt didnt temme much about pcos special GI diet.. i just want to know how long i shud bare this cyst ? wanna get rid of it soon.. my dr didn’t explain me much about this.. i’m so much scared of my future..

    1. i forgot to add saying.. i got a bad insulin level and i had put on 17kgs in a year.. im doing my exercise daily, regular to gym n dieting too but not losing my weight :'( got a very bad hair fall n no hair growth.. i’m body has bcum so sensitive as each n every yr i had face many medical problems n i’m fed up of medicines.. can you suggest me how should i carry out myself and how to get rid of it soon.. im just losing hope.. :'(

      1. Hi Sam,

        Thanks for sharing your story. Sounds like you’re having a rough time and I feel your frustration!

        If you have high insulin levels and are struggling with weight loss, as well as hair loss and you have cysts on your ovaries, it sounds like you have PCOS. The unfortunate thing is that there is no cure for PCOS and it is a lifelong condition but t is manageable! Your cysts can improve if you manage your insulin levels and testosterone. So, you need to eat a healthy whole foods diet, watching the kinds of carbs you eat. Also, if your insulin levels are still high, your doc may recommend some medication that can help.

        PCOS can be scary and overwhelming and frustrating but there are many of us out there and awareness levels are slowly improving. So, you are not alone! I’d recommend doing some reading into PCOS so that you know how to tackle it. This site is a good place to start!

        Tarryn

        1. Thanks for guiding me 🙂 i hope everything goes alright.. i find too hard to diet as specially i’m such a typical family wer ppl r left wid backward thoughts :/ . Is diet and exercise are the only way to control PCOS ? I’m finding too hard as i’m under medication from my age of 8yrs..

          1. Hi Sam,

            There are some medications that your doctor can prescribe but these are often taken alongside a good diet. you may want to consider taking an oral contraceptive as the hormones in the pill can help manage your PCOS.

            Tarryn

  5. Hi,
    I was diagnosed with PCOS 4 months ago. I am 5’7 and 130 pounds. I do not need to lose weight. My glucose is in the normal range however, my testosterone is really elevated. I have really bad acne which is really affecting me and my social life. I eat very clean and follow a paleo diet. I allow myself one sweet potato a day as a complex carb and my other carbs are from fruit and veggies. I was put on clomid just last month and did not ovulate. I also have been doing accupuncture and Chinese herbs. I’m just getting so frustrated. I work out 4 days a week as well and I’m in really good shape. I’m going to see if my gyno can refer me to n endroconologist and see if that help my testosterone. I just don’t know what else to do for my acne and testosterone. I’m ready to get pregnant, and need my skin to heal for my self confidence again.

    1. Hi Kelsey,

      Thanks for sharing your story. You must be so frustrated! Is sounds like you’re doing all of the right things to manage your insulin which should help manage your testosterone levels. An endo referral sounds like a really good idea as they may be able to work out why your testosterone levels are so high in light of all the hard work you’re putting in. Also, make sure you’re taking your supplements like Inositol and Omega 3 (both have been shown to lower testosterone levels in women with PCOS).

      Good luck! I really hope you get the answers you need soon!

      Tarryn

  6. I have no weight issues – 112lb (8st) 5ft 2in, so I don’t want to lose any weight but suffer with bad acne when not on medication for it. I’m currently on Dianette (Diane) will taking metformin & cutting out milk in my diet help with the acne? I also have thinning hair which is tough to deal with- I’m applying minoixil daily for this.
    My doctor says diet change won’t change things much?

    Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Laura,

      There are so many women who have reported good results after cutting out dairy. Dairy causes a big insulin response which will raise your testosterone levels. Its these high testosterone levels that will result in acne and hair loss. I saw a huge improvement in my symptoms when I cut out dairy. You can also check out the comments on this post for other reader’s experiences of cutting out dairy.

      Also, diet and lifestyle changes are widely recognized as the first line of treatment for PCOS. I know you don’t need to lose weight but you still need to manage your insulin levels to manage your testosterone and your PCOS symptoms. There is a lot of research that shows improvement in hormone levels after making dietary changes. Here is one example of such a study http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/2/1/35

      So, I would suggest cutting out dairy, follow a good PCOS diet and see if your symptoms improve before going on Metformin. What have you got to lose? And you could prove your doctor wrong!

      Keep well!

      Tarryn

      1. I am also thin and suffer from severe acne and infertility.  I have tried every medication to improve my acne as well as many cosmetic procedures.  I wish so bad that I would have known that dairy was affecting my hormone levels and therefore causing this horrible acne.  I have been off dairy completely for 3 weeks and have seen huge improvement to my skin already.

    2. It’s a blessing to be at a healthy weight in my opinion! I didn’t have weight problems until I got married. And they got worse when I had my first baby. So, do everything you can to keep your body at a healthy weight. You never know what will happen in the future!

  7. Do you have any more information on Inositol? I am wondering how much and what kind to take. Also did you notice any side effects such as nausea from taking it?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Laura,

      I have found two lots of research on Insotiol, one using 2g per day and the other using 4g. I take the powder form mixed with water as I find it more manageable than swallowing a whole bunch of capsules. If you’re in the States, you can buy Pregnitude from Amazon. It is a combination of Inositol and Folic Acid and has had good results as well.

      Here is some of the research on Inositol:

      http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09513590801893232
      http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09513590701672405

      Just a quick reminder that I’m not a doctor and you may want to consult with one before starting Inositol, particularly if you are taking Metformin or other insulin-sensitizing drugs.

      Hope that helps!

      Tarryn

  8. i am 19. i wast just diagnosed with pcos. i am not trying to get pregnant right now, but my hirsutism is such a huge problem for me! it’s so embarassing! how long was it before you started seeing the hair disappear? and, did you still have to remove the hair and it just didn’t grow back? or did it like fall out?

    1. Hi Deb,

      Thanks for your comments.

      To be honest, hirsutism is a symptom I still struggle with and I have only just tarted taking Inositol. I have been taking Omega 3 for a while and have seen some small improvement. I think hirsutism is one of those things that will take at least 6 months to improve so you need to hang in there. From what I’ve read from other ladies, your hair should begin to get thinner and lighter. You may still need to remove it but over time it should return to a normal vellus hair.

      Tarryn

      1. thank you so much!!! i will get that inositol right away and be patient! i’m glad to at least know a general time frame for how long it takes to work!

  9. I want to thank you for doing this blog. I was diagnosed with PCOS 2 months ago, medication hasn’t been helping so far in getting me to ovulate, so my doctor suggested the PCOS diet just a couple days ago. I am totally overwhelmed by it, but your blog has been so very helpful! Thank you thank you thank you for putting yourself out there and providing all the info you have. I look forward to continuing reading your posts

    1. Hi Anna,

      Thanks so much for your comment. I am so glad that you’re finding the site and info on it helpful! Good luck with your diet. Please let me know if you have any questions or need any help!

      Tarryn

  10. Great work in January! Looking forward to reading your progress and hopefully seeing a baby announcement at the end! 🙂

  11. Thank you for putting yourself out on a limb, and doing this. I hope your path is straight, and I look forward to reading about your success.

  12. Thank you for sharing. I to have been diagnosed with pcos and don’t really know what to do or where to begin, any help would be appreciated.

    1. Hi Nicole,

      I’m sorry you’ve been diagnosed with PCOS! It’s not an easy pill to swallow. Start with reading about the Best PCOS Diet and make sure you get hold of the shopping list. That will give you a good place to start.

      Let me know if you need any more help or have any questions!

      Tarryn

  13. Hi Tarryn!
    I love that you are doing this to track your progress! And I am happy you have found Paleo and that it is working for you:) Good luck for February!

    1. Thanks so much Jennifer! Yeah I am going to be doing this monthly, takes a bit of courage but I’m in this like everyone else! Thanks for your comment 🙂

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