Episode #49: The Power of Choice
What you’ll learn in this episode
Creating new habits isn’t easy. Making time to care for and nourish your health may feel frustrating, overwhelming, and restrictive from the way you currently enjoy doing things.
In this episode, you will discover easy mental exercises that will empower you to unlock the power of choice in your PCOS health journey.
While we don’t have a choice in many of life’s circumstances, such as having PCOS. We do have choices in how we respond to every situation.
For me, the magic happened when I realized I had a choice! That my “reasons” are just excuses and that I can redesign how I approach everything in order to achieve and become who I want to be.
In this episode, we will explore how to recognize the reasons that are holding you back and how to explore new ways of approaching these roadblocks.
My friend, I want you to live your best life and I want you to achieve the goals and dreams that you have for your life.
We all have limited time, energy, and money but when we look at our priorities, goals, and dreams, we don’t have to let our reasons stand in our way anymore.
We can create a new reality for ourselves and think outside the box about how we can overcome these hurdles because we all have them.
Go ahead and listen now!
Let’s Continue The Conversation
Do you have questions about this episode or other questions about PCOS? I would love to connect and chat on a more personal level over on Instagram. My DMs are my favorite place to chat more.
So go visit me on IG @nourishedtohealthy.com
Let’s Continue The Conversation
Do you have questions about this episode or other questions about PCOS? I would love to connect and chat on a more personal level over on Instagram. My DMs are my favorite place to chat more.
So go visit me on IG @nourishedtohealthy.com
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Read The Full Episode Transcript Here
One of the most devastating things about PCOS is the way that it can make us feel stuck, trapped, helpless, or unable to have any real impact or choice when it comes to what we want in our life, how we feel in our body, all of the things that we may want, like starting a family, losing some weight, having good energy. We can feel like this thing has happened to us, this diagnosis of PCOS, and we got stuck with a dead body and we don’t have really anything that we can do to change that because you hear that PCOS can’t be cured. In today’s episode, I want to bring us back to the fact that we do have a choice, we have a lot of choices and we can have tremendous impact, so join me today as we take back that ability to think positively and just get past all of these tamps that PCOS puts on us. All right, let’s get started.
You’re listening to the PCOS Repair podcast, where we explore the ins and outs of PCOS and how to repair the imbalances in your hormones naturally with a little medical help sprinkled in. Hi, I’m Ashlene Korcek and with many years of medical and personal experience with polycystic ovarian syndrome, it is my joy to watch women reverse their PCOS as they learn to nourish their body in a whole new way. With the power of our beliefs, our mindset, and our environment, and the understanding of our genetics, we can heal at the root cause.
Welcome back to the PCOS Repair podcast, where today we are going to be exploring the power of choice and to remind ourselves that in everything we have a choice. Let’s start there, what is choice? what do I mean by in everything we have a choice? Well, we cannot choose what happens to us, what’s happening around us, and what others are doing, or what genetics we were given. There’s a lot of things that we can’t choose. But in each one of those situations, we do have a choice. We have a lot of choice and while PCOS, especially when you’ve been early diagnosed with it, can feel extremely overwhelming, there can be a lot of conflicting information coming your way. In today’s episode, I want you to take a deep breath and remember that with each one of those things coming at you that can feel really overwhelming that you do have a choice. So how does that look? For example, when I was trying to get pregnant with my first daughter, I had been trying for several months and I was beginning to feel really stuck as in I would call my GYN office and ask to make an appointment for not being able to get pregnant and she’d say, Well, you only had your IUD removed seven months ago due to your age, we don’t see people for infertility until they are trying for 12 months. That felt like a door slammed in my face. Now, side note, if I knew what I knew now about insurance and everything like that and how to get around those type of situations, what you would want to do is just call back and be like, Hi, I want to make an appointment for not having a period. Then you can work up labs and figure out why and while you’re there, you can mention, It’s really frustrating that I don’t have a period because I’m trying to get pregnant. While they may not start you on infertility treatments until you’ve reached that 12-month point because maybe there’s insurance reasons or they just don’t feel like it’s needed or whatever the case is, at least you would be getting answers on why you were having these symptoms. Beyond that, once you have a diagnosis of PCOS, so if someone’s not seeing you for some reason, call and ask for an appointment for the symptom, because with that symptom, it may lead to a reason why they actually should see you for that problem.
As in, when you have PCOS, I think that my insurance would have said that I could start infertility treatments at six months, and so I was already a month past when they could have started that. Now, I’m glad that I went down the path that I went, I think it was one of those higher power situations where God had a bigger plan and I was able to learn a lot about my health and over the next couple of months was able to get pregnant. But in the midst of us, when we feel like there is a door slamming in our face, that was out of our control. That person on the phone telling me that I couldn’t make an appointment for not being able to get pregnant, that was outside of my control. What I chose to do about it was my choice. We can go down the feeling sorry for ourselves rabbit hole and if we need to do that for a couple of days, by all means do it, that may be something that your mental health actually needs is to feel all of those emotions, to feel the frustration, to feel the discouragement, to feel the anger, to feel the frustration, to feel the, oh, poor me, whatever it is that you need to feel, I’m not saying don’t feel that. I’m saying through all of that, remember that you have a choice of you can sit back and wait until they are willing to see you, wait until they’re ready to start you on a medication, or you can start thinking about, Okay, why is my body not responding normally to its environment? Why is my body struggling? Which is what I started to do. I started to be like, Well, that option isn’t available to me, so let’s go with this option. I’m going to focus on my health. I was very frustrated, besides not being able to get pregnant, that I had gained a lot of weight after going off of birth control. I didn’t feel good in my clothes, I didn’t feel like I wanted to be in pictures, I felt like even exercise had gotten harder because of the extra pounds, I didn’t feel good energy, I just didn’t feel good in my body. I’m like, Well, that seemed the whole fertility thing seems to be on the back burner right now. But what I can do is focus on my health.
That shift in where do I have a choice and what choices align with what I want makes a huge difference in how we perceive our bodies, how we proceed our diagnosis of PCOS, and ultimately the positivity in which we can pursue a certain path. Another example of this would be where we are feeling we’ve decided to choose trying to work on our health and wellness. And we’re feeling stuck with the fact that we don’t seem to be making as much progress as we would like to and we have a vacation or an event, or we just want to go out to dinner and eat foods that we used to eat. But we feel like it’s going to derail the progress that we already feel is very minimal. So what do we do? Well, we have a choice. This vacation, is it something we want to do? Is this event something we want to do? Do we really want to go out to dinner or are we feeling obligated because somebody wants us to go out to dinner? Can we stand up and say, That’s just not the right thing for me right now. That would be one choice.
Another choice would be to go and decide that, You know what? I can go, I can be social, I can have a good time, and I don’t have to let that derail me. I can choose to eat this, this, and this, remembering that, You know what? Right now, I’m in progress mode and I have a few more weeks of progress mode, and then I can lighten up for a little bit, have a maintenance mode, and then jump back into progress mode to make some more progress. Or, you know what? I want to be able to travel. I want to build a little full life and I need to get better at creating a healthy environment around me no matter where I go and I’m going to practice in enjoying a couple of things. I’m going to think about them ahead of time, what I want to have. The rest of the time, I’m going to make a list of what I am going to eat, and that way I can go and enjoy and I’m going to focus on the fact that I’m not here for the food. I’m not here for letting my exercise go.
I’m going to still get some exercise in. In fact, I’m going to find some really fun local landmarks, local things that I can go and get my walk in while I’m enjoying some of the local history or the local scenery. I’m going to enjoy that part of my day as well as the experiment and hunt for healthier food options while I’m traveling. I’m not going to be super hard on myself if they don’t turn out to be perfect, but I’m going to go with a mindset of curiosity to see how good can I do. Those are all choices. Do you see that the subtle change in there gives us power? So what do you think that does to our mindset, to our outlook? Instead of feeling like, I am stuck, this was done to me, I am a victim, and there’s nothing that I can do about it, we don’t have to put a ton of pressure on ourselves, but we do get to feel like, Oh my gosh, there’s so much I can do and that, my friend, is the beauty of PCOS. Aside from the fact that it literally sucks a lot of the time, there’s so many things that we have to learn and do. I always like to remind myself because as I worked in health care, so many people that you would think have just amazing health and are so lucky have things that they’re struggling with. I saw them as patients. Most of us do not get off easy when it comes to the care that our bodies need. We take our bodies for granted. When it comes to PCOS, we just need a little extra care. Usually by the time we hit our late 20s, early 30s, we have some serious habits in place that the reason we’re having these symptoms, those habits aren’t working for us. That environment that we’re creating isn’t working for us, and it’s going to take baby steps of changing it. It’s going to take a little while. We’re going to make progress along the way, but it’s completely doable to feel amazing, have amazing health, live at a weight that you’re happy with, have the energy that you want, and optimize your fertility. It doesn’t happen overnight. It does take some consistency of sticking with it. But ultimately, we’re creating a lifestyle where we get to enjoy life the way we want to.
We also balance that with creating a healthy environment that supports our body so that we can live in a body that feels great and that we actually enjoy living in. The magic happens when you realize that you have that choice. All of a sudden it’s like you’ve been let out of prison, the PCOS prison, you’ve been let out and all of those reasons and excuses because any reason that we have for not doing what we feel like to the best of our current knowledge would get us to where we want to be. If you feel like, because you know your personal life, you know what’s going on in your day to day. If you feel like breakfast is what’s tripping you up, breakfast frequently trips me up. If I don’t have a good, solid, protein, heavy breakfast, I start the sugar highs and lows, and they stay with me all day, and I fight those sugar cravings. I fight the energy slumps all day long. If I can start with a healthy breakfast, it’s so different. In my day, I might be looking at it and going, Well, it’d be really easy to pack a salad for lunch but deep down, I know it’s breakfast that I need to focus on. I need to make sure my breakfast is a perfect start to my day and perfect in quotation marks because we don’t have to be perfect but that’s where I really need to put my emphasis on getting that day started correctly and then go from there. If I’m making excuses like, I don’t have time in the morning, or you can say it’s a reason I have to be at work at 6 AM because I work in the OR at the hospital and I don’t have time to eat breakfast, let alone make a breakfast. That sounds like a really good reason, right? But all of the reasons that we can come up with, I’m going to give you some tough love here, they are excuses. They are us not being willing to stand up and fight for what we really want. If we really want to have good energy throughout the day, then in my case, in this scenario, breakfast is important, I need to get rid of the excuse that reason that I came up with that three days a week, I work in the operating room and I have to be there at 6 AM.
This was me when I was trying to get pregnant, actually. I had very early start. Breakfast didn’t seem like an option. It seemed so much easier to run down to the craft criteria, grab some horrible breakfast of scones and fruit and things that were just high carb, high sugar, and do that mid morning after I had already had a first energy slump from going too long without eating, spike that blood sugar high, feel good for about a half an hour before I hit another low, and grab a candy bar between my next case. That is not an accident, that was a choice that I chose to succumb to my reason that I start too early to make sure I have a healthy breakfast. Where does that leave us? Well, clearly, as you can see in my example, I needed to redesign my approach to recognize that I was coming up with a reason that was blocking me from what I wanted. No one else is doing that to me, there’s outside things that we can’t control, but the reason that I’m coming up with is me blocking myself. When I go and I say, I start too early, can’t do breakfast, but I know that that’s where I’m getting hung up on making progress in my health.
We’ve got to unpack that reason and we’ve got to think outside the box. This is one of the things that over the last several years has become my superpower to where I, and I invite you to make this your superpower because it’s an awesome superpower to have. When I feel blocked, when I feel like there’s a door that closed in my face that was, I can recognize it now, but with me closing a door in my face and saying, I start too early, I can’t do breakfast. It’s just how it is. Recognizing that I created that reason, that’s an excuse, it’s time to think outside the box. What could I pack the night before that would give me a high protein option that I could take with me and eat instead of going down at the criteria? There’s one option. Another one would be sometimes there’s some downtime between getting to the hospital and checking in a first patient. I can take a little break before I actually go into my first case. Not only now am I approaching my day more prepared with more energy and more to give to the workplace or to give to what I’m doing for the day, but I feel better and I’ve set myself up to not have that mid-morning crash.
That seems pretty simple, probably from the outside. But having been there, I can tell you, I hung on to those reasons really hard. I would be tired the night before, I would be trying to clean up the kitchen, I didn’t want to make something new. All the reasons, reasons, reasons, excuses. Breakfast has become a non-negotiable. I have found ways to start my morning with a cup of coffee that has collagen in it and so that in itself gives me 20 grams of protein right there without actually having to eat breakfast. All sorts of things that have been able to create getting that protein in early, not setting myself up for a morning energy crash, not combating the energy crash with high processed carbohydrates that are just going to shoot my blood sugar up and then lead me to a bigger and worse crash. I hope those examples help you see how impactful the power of choice is as well as how we get to have responsibility for those reasons and we can take our time. There’s no hurry on this, but if we’re feeling stuck, if we’re feeling hopeless and frustrated with where our health is, how we’re feeling in our body, what our body isn’t doing correctly in our minds, we have to then also look at where are we allowing these excuses disguised as reasons, hold us back.
How can we, with curiosity, with some experimentation, letting it be an easygoing fun experiment to see how can we break past those barriers that we’ve created for ourselves in order to move forward in the health that we want. Okay, so how do we recognize these excuses disguised as reasons? Have you ever told yourself, I don’t have time for that. Oh, I would love to spend more time doing this, or I would love to do that, but I don’t have time. That’s one of those excuses, that’s one of those reasons. Now, we all only have 24 hours in the day. It really comes down to how do we spend those 24 hours and what things are important to us? Where are our priorities? We can only have a small number of priorities. The rest of it is stuff that we have to do if there’s time. If something matters to you, if you wake up every morning and you’re frustrated when you go to your closet because you don’t feel like anything fits you well, you don’t feel comfortable in your clothes, the scale makes you unhappy, you’re frustrated about your cycle, or you’re frustrated about your fertility, your energy, something.
If it’s bothering you, is it bothering you enough to become a priority to where it’s worth your time to unpack those reasons, to look outside the box and to come up with a new solution, even if you don’t feel like you have time? Another excuse that I know I’ve made from time to time is it costs too much. I’ll be at the grocery store and especially right now when food prices have just seemed to skyrocket, I’m like, Oh, I know that’s healthier or that, but I can’t quite do it because it costs too much or I know that there’s somebody that can help me or a lab that I want to order, or a specialist that I want to see, but they don’t take insurance and it just costs too much. When I was early diagnosed with PCOS, dealing with infertility, struggling with weight and all of that, I had just graduated, I was a new grad, my husband was still in training, we had very little money and a lot of student debt, and it felt extremely frivolous and there wasn’t really such a thing as a PCOS specialist. If I had known of one at the time, I would have wanted to go, but I don’t know, honestly, looking back, if I would have felt comfortable spending money on something like that. And that’s, again, one of those things where we put this on ourselves, it’s too expensive. Now, within reason, we don’t want to be irresponsible with our money at all. But sometimes we need to stop and look at, well, what am I spending went on? How does it affect my budget? Does the price tag just seem like more than I want to spend on it? Same thing with how much have you spent on supplements that you’ve tried that haven’t helped? There’s just things where we have to look at where would be a smart place to spend your money to assist your health. A gym membership, those can seem expensive. Recently, I like Peloton. I have a Peloton membership, but the Peloton tread, I wanted the tread plus and it’s not available and so I went with a Nordic track, but I like the peloton programming better. They offered me a special promotion for several years. If I sign up for three years of Nordic track, I get it at more than 50 % off a month, but I have to pay it all in full, and I’m currently in a debate in that in my own mind.
There isn’t a right or wrong answer. It comes down to it’s my choice. How do I want to make sure that I’m optimizing my workout? However, sometimes that dollar amount seems large to us, and it can cloud our ability to take a step back and say, look, how much am I spending on fitness overall? What else would I do instead? Or is this something where this is a priority of mine and I need to put my money where my priorities are? I need to put my time where my priorities are, I need to put my focus and my energy where my priorities are. Again, there’s not a right or a wrong, but I invite you to really take a step at what are the things that you want, make sure they’re a large priority. I might want something new for my house, or I might want a new outfit, or I might want to go on a vacation, those are all things that would take time and money. But are they something that I want more than waking up and feeling good in the morning as I’m putting on my clothes, as I’m getting dressed, as I’m getting ready to leave, as I go through my day, do I have the energy that I want? Am I living in a body where I get to enjoy my life? Or am I just being… Which one of these is a priority? And again, there’s not a right answer. So I just want to give you some tough love today in this episode, if you can’t tell already, that I see so many women, and I was right there with them when I was going through my early journey of trying to figure out how to manage my health with PCOS. I see so many women hang on to these reasons because if you have a reason, then you don’t have to do the work. You can hang on to that reason as long as you want. But in this Tough Love episode, I want to remind you that you have a choice. I recommend you don’t do it all at once. Don’t change everything at once. But recognizing that you have a choice and that you don’t have to hang on to these reasons, and if you let them go, you’ll finally start making progress on your health journey. We’re going to talk about this more in the upcoming episodes, but I also want to, as I’m giving you this tough love and saying, let go of the reasons that are holding you back and make the choice to choose what is going to get you where you want to go.
I also want to leave you with all of these things grow with you over time. You don’t have to be at the advanced level in any one of the things that you’re letting go of the reason that was holding you back and making the choice to move forward. As an example, if you want to start getting out and doing some power walking with maybe some slow jogging intervals, you don’t have to be a runner that’s trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon just because you chose to remove the reason that you can’t run because you might get sweaty over your lunch break or that you don’t have time when you come home in the evening. So if you remove that reason and you’re like, Okay, I’m going to do this. I’m going to put my shoes on. I’m going to get out there and I’m going to hit the pavement. That doesn’t mean that you have to push yourself to qualify for the Boston Marathon. It just means that you’re committing to 10, 15, 20 minutes several times a week of putting your tennis shoes on and getting some cardio in. And you’re no longer going to let time be a restriction and a reason why you can’t because you work 12 hours shifts.
You’re going to work your 12 hours shifts and you’re going to let other things be a lower priority and you’re going to get out and enjoy some fresh air, get some cardio in, get your blood pumping, feel better in your body, gain all of those chemicals of dopamine and all the endorphins and things that you get that make your mood better, that decrease your anxiety, that just brighten your day because you gave yourself the gift of making the priority aligned with what you want. You got the exercise to promote better health. The point here, as I ramble on and on about this, is that just because you remove the reason doesn’t mean you need to go from zero to 60. You get to take the baby steps. But in our minds, we break free from the handcuffs of PCOS when we say, I do have a choice, I have the choice and even if you choose not to exercise, just knowing that you have the choice and that the path to healthy living is there when you’re ready to take it, even if you’re not ready right now, knowing that you have that choice and that it’s possible, right there lifts the weight of PCOS.
I hope as you listen today, my friend, that you’re able to feel the release of the shoulds, the have to’s, but also to gain the power of when you have that choice in taking your life from where it’s at today and making the choice to move it to where you want it to be tomorrow, where you want it to be a month from now, where you want it to be a year from now, that you feel the uplifting energy in just that ability to have that choice. So if you have found this episode helpful, I hope that one: you subscribe to the podcast so that you get notified each and every week when a new dose of PCOS health becomes available. But I also hope that you continue this conversation with me over on Instagram. You can find me @nourishedtohealthy, and I can’t tell you how much I love to get a DM from someone. I’ll tell you that most of the DMs that I get don’t even have a question, although you’re welcome to ask a question. Oftentimes, it’s just someone who has been listening for a while and finally just wants to say hi.
I’m a person on the other end of my Instagram account, I will say hi back and it doesn’t have to be anything with pressure or a specific question. But if you want to connect, if you want to share your story, if you want to vent about something, I would love to hear from this episode. If you want to tell me a reason that has been holding you back, a reason that you’ve been holding on to that you can’t achieve what you want to achieve in your health that you’re ready to let go of, I would love to hear it. You can send it to me in my DMs. You can post it under the comment of this post. You can put it anywhere. I don’t care, anywhere over on the Instagram. I would love to hear from you. And with that, my friend, bye for now.
Did you know that studies of PCOS epigenetics have shown that our environment can either worsen or completely reverse our PCOS symptoms? I believe that although PCOS makes us sensitive to our environment, it also makes us powerful. When we learn what our body needs and commit to providing those needs, not only do we gain back our health, but we grow in power just by showing up for ourselves. This is why I’ve created a guide for you to get started. My PCOS fertility meal guide can be found in the show notes below. I want to show you how to create an environment that promotes healing while still being able to live a life that you enjoy. This guide is completely free, so go get your copy now so that you can step into the vision that you have for your life and for your health.
Take The PCOS Root Cause Quiz
What Do Your Symptoms Mean?
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Start to reverse PCOS at the root cause.
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Welcome to The PCOS Repair Podcast!
I’m Ashlene Korcek, and each week I’ll be sharing the latest findings on PCOS and how to make practical health changes to your lifestyle to repair your PCOS at the root cause.
If you’re struggling with PCOS, know that you’re not alone. In fact, it’s estimated that one in ten women have PCOS. But the good news is that there is a lot we can do to manage our symptoms and live healthy, happy lives.
So whether you’re looking for tips on nutrition, exercise, supplements, or mental health, you’ll find it all here on The PCOS Repair Podcast. Ready to get started? Hit subscribe now