We’ve all been there: we’re desperate to lose some weight and decide that it’s time. We start off really well, being really “good” about what we eat and how regularly we exercise. But slowly our motivation begins to wane and we start to let things go, indulging in a treat here, skipping an exercise class there. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
The thing is, when we fall off the wagon, our PCOS symptoms go haywire: the weight piles on, our skin breaks out and our self esteem plummets. We know that a PCOS diet and lifestyle is crucial to managing PCOS but we struggle to make the lasting changes we so desperately need to make.
Lifestyle Changes Most Effective Way to Manage PCOS
I was astounded and so excited when I came across a recent piece of research. The researchers looked at 343 overweight, infertile women with PCOS and divided them into four groups: One group was treated using Clomid, one with Metformin, one with Clomid and Metformin and the final group with diet and exercise (lifestyle changes). They monitored the women for 6 months and these are the findings:
The clinical pregnancy rate was 12.2% in clomiphene (Clomid) group, 14.4% in metformin group, 14.8% in clomiphene + metformin group, and 20% in lifestyle modification group. Lifestyle modification group achieved a significant reduction in waist circumference, total androgen, and lipid profile. (1)
I can’t tell you how excited I am about this research as it proves what I have believed all along. Diet and lifestyle changes are crucial in managing your PCOS.
But, how do we make those changes and actually stick to them for the long term?
And how do we find the support we need to make the hard decisions and give us the encouragement we need to tackle our PCOS on a daily basis?
We need help and can’t do it on our own.
The Psychological Impact of PCOS
I recently wrote an article on the link between PCOS and Depression. Although the psychological impact of PCOS is well documented, it doesn’t really help us feel any less isolated or alone. Talking about the very personal symptoms of PCOS takes a lot of courage and many us don’t know any other women with PCOS. This makes us feel even more alone. And we may have wonderfully supportive partners (as I do) but lets face it, he’ll never know what it’s like to have PCOS and face the symptoms on a daily basis.
So, where does that leave us?
What the Research Says
There have been studies on the benefits of a PCOS support group in managing PCOS. One study in particular found that a PCOS support group was “a key factor is alleviating the psychological impact of PCOS” It also helped women manage their PCOS. (2)
You see, finding a group of like-minded women who can not only share your journey but also their [blockquote cite=”- by POTSC” align=”right”]I will be brave with my story so others can be brave with theirs.[/blockquote]experiences of what has worked for them, empowers you to take charge of your PCOS. It spurs you on to action and makes you realize that there are things that you can do now to improve your PCOS symptoms. When you are struggling, you have a group of people you can turn to who have been there, know what you’re going through and can take you by the hand and walk with you. We need to share our PCOS journeys with fellow Cysters!
Where Can You Find the Support you Need?
There are a couple of options in terms of support and support groups:
Online forums like Soulcysters or Verity can provide a wealth of information and support from a number of women and they can be a good place to start. For the technophobes among us, they may not be ideal, though. I don’t think I have ever personally posted on any of these forums. I find them impersonal and difficult to connect with.
Many PCOS charities provide local support groups for women with PCOS. I have never been to one myself but I can see how they can hold real value for women with PCOS. Why not contact your local PCOS charity and find out if they run any support groups in your area. If they don’t, why not start one yourself?
PCOS Diet Support Online Community
I can’t resist the opportunity to mention PCOS Foodies that I recently launched. It is a group of women who are determined to take charge of their PCOS and share their journeys with others. It is a smaller, tight-knit community so you are more than a just a username and there is real opportunity to connect with other women with PCOS, as well as with me. So, if you don’t have a local support group and feel like you need some support, why not consider joining the PCOS Foodies?
Summing It Up
So, we know that diet and lifestyle changes are crucial to managing your PCOS and are even more effective than medications like Clomid or Metformin. But, making those significant changes can be really difficult. By finding a support network, you will be empowered to take charge of your PCOS, get the guidance and advice you need and the support to revamp your diet and lifestyle so that you can be the healthiest possible you!
Do you know of any good support networks that we could all benefit from? I’d love to hear about it and hear your experiences of your local or online PCOS community!