Episode #76: Bridging PCOS and Body Positivity

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Bridging PCOS and Body Positivity

What you’ll learn in this episode

PCOS has a nasty ability to degrade our body positivity. But it also doesn’t work to hate ourselves healthy. This is why body acceptance and positivity are crucial on the journey to PCOS health. If you’ve been dealing with the challenges of irregular periods, fertility concerns, weight fluctuations, and low energy, it’s normal to become frustrated and negative about your body. That’s why in this episode we’re going to explore how body positivity can be your guiding light on this path to better health.

Embracing Body Positivity on the PCOS Journey

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) often leaves us grappling not only with its physical challenges but also with a negative internal dialogue about our bodies.

PCOS is often accompanied by harmful stereotypes and misconceptions that affect body image. I address these beliefs during this episode, providing insights on how to break free from their influence. We’ll challenge these harmful beliefs and show you how to break free from their influence.

Balancing Health and Self-Love

It is possible to embrace where you are currently with your health and also want to create better health. It’s not about choosing one over the other. We’ll explore how it’s not only possible but important to accept and even love your current body while you strive for better health. This balance is key to your well-being.

By tuning in, you’ll gain valuable insights into the world of body positivity and discover how it can transform your journey with PCOS. We’ll explore how to embrace self-acceptance, reject harmful stereotypes, and find the perfect balance between health and self-love. This episode is your stepping stone toward a happier, healthier you, so don’t miss out on this empowering discussion. Let’s get started!

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

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome has a knack of making us feel less than or stuck in our bodies and can create a real, almost negative internal dialog of how we feel about our bodies and so in today’s episode, we’re going to talk about a movement that has been going on and been very prevalent in the world for a little while now, and that is the body positivity movement and how it relates to our PCOS healing journey. So with that, let’s dive in to a little bit of a different type of conversation than we’ve had lately on the podcast.

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’re going to be talking about something that can sound a little contradictory. We’re going to be talking about how to embrace body positivity and using that body positivity to further spur our ability to create better health and to feel better in our bodies and it actually goes hand in hand as you will see as we discuss them in today’s episode. So first of all, as I often do, let’s start off by defining that body positivity movement. I know we see it everywhere. We see it very commercialized in magazines and ads of being more inclusive, of showing women of different sizes and of different races and also we see it in how people are talking on social media. We see it in a lot of pictures of like there’s the Instagram picture and there’s the reality picture. We see this infiltrated throughout but what was the basis of this movement? and we’ll pick it apart a little bit today, but then mostly talk about how it pertains to us and how we ultimately, my goal for you in this episode is to just have it be a thought-provoking episode because one of the reasons why I haven’t recorded this episode sooner is I felt like there was some things that really spoke to me about the body positivity movement, and it seemed really positive but there was also some things that rubbed me wrong that felt that it was almost creating a disservice for our society and so I’ll bring those different things up and ultimately, I have come to my own philosophy around it that makes me feel more positive about everything that I’m doing in my body and for my body and that will be unique, just like everything else in our health and in our lives, that will be unique to you.

So while I share how I have arrived at these thoughts, I want you to use this episode to prompt your own thinking around this to help you discover your own philosophy around how you will create body positivity and PCOS wellness and how they will work together in your life. All right, so let’s dive in. First of all, the body positivity movement is a social and cultural movement that advocates for the acceptance and celebration of all body types, sizes, shapes, and appearances while challenging harmful social thoughts on beauty standards that often promote unrealistic and unattainable ideals of beauty. Some key things is this movement rejects body shaming, embraces diversity, promotes self-love and self-acceptance, fostering self-esteem. It also gets in there and sheds light on how media should be handled and not misrepresented and talks about and really stresses inclusivity and empowerment. Those all sound really great. Now, right off the bat, I want to just mention a few things that rubbed me wrong, and I just want to get these out of the way right away. Early on when I first started seeing this movement in action, one of the things that rubbed me wrong was a lot of women that were very vocal about it were maybe less interested in their health, and that’s perfectly fine but it came across to me like they were challenging the science that we know about extra body weight and its impact on our health. I really spend a lot of time in the health and wellness space and so for me, I’m like, Well, that’s not really a great message and I worry about how that message will affect our next generation from the standpoint of watching where our current generation is in the health of the foods that we eat and our sedentary lifestyles and so forth and I worry about what that will do to our culture overall but then I had to remember, I had to remind myself that you know what? If we don’t feel good about who we are and if we let our mental health take a nosedive because we feel negative about ourselves, that doesn’t get us where we want to go and so if health is important to us, now, it does not have to be important to everybody, but if it’s important to you, it’s very difficult to achieve anything. To achieve career success, to achieve better friendships and better community involvement, or to do better at your hobbies and all the things that we love, including if health is one of those, health and so by becoming more positive, I had to remind myself this and so I think there’s definitely some backlash towards this movement because people are like, Well, health is a little bit not open to debate. It’s healthy or it’s not healthy and while that’s true, we don’t live in absolutes. We live in a flow and the more time we spend working towards health, the more health we will cultivate and vice versa.

But if we don’t feel positive about the way that we are currently in the direction that we’re heading, we will stifle ourselves and shoot ourselves in the foot before we even get started. I had to remind myself of that, and so I wanted to throw that out there at the beginning. The other thing that I wanted to throw out there at the beginning of my negative take on this movement is that I find people ahead of me that I will never reach, like things that they have done that I will never achieve, I find them inspiring. I think that it’s important to, while we look at this movement, to really look at it more and how it pertains to us individually and not as a comparison. I think that this movement has almost become a little bit of a comparison in some social media accounts, especially, and maybe in some commercialization of things. Sometimes that’s just the way of the consumer world but I would challenge you to tune out some of that when needed, if there’s any part of this that ever feels negative or off to you, to tune that part of it out and really focus on your body positivity and to me, that includes being able to be inspired by people ahead of me and not needing to feel like their success makes where I’m at bad and I guess it’s hard to say that because it’s this subtle difference of it’s an inclusiveness of letting everybody be at their own place with their own goals, their own interests and when it comes to health and fitness and all of those type of things in the wellness space, we do have different goals and we do have different bodies and we do have different interests and we do have different abilities and desires to put different amounts of effort into it, so we’re going to have different results but that doesn’t make one better or worse, and it doesn’t diminish the success that you’ve created for yourself of where you’re currently at and it also, hopefully, doesn’t take away your ability to be inspired by others and so I think that’s something where to me, when I see this on social media account, sometimes I almost feel like it feels almost non-inclusive and so I struggled a little bit with that, and that’s why it’s taking me a little while to record this episode, because I do want to feel really inclusive about everyone, I don’t think that there should be judgment on where anyone is in their path today. I also don’t want to indicate in this episode that where you’re at today is great, and you don’t need to aspire to grow as your life continues. It’s the thing that I like to see this, and then we’ll really get into the meat of today’s episode, but I like to see it as the past, present, and future. Our past is what we’ve learned, hopefully. Our present is where we’re at, and this is where body positivity lives. If we can be positive in where we are right now and learn to accept who we are right now and learn to appreciate the parts of us that are amazing, and even the parts of us that are struggling, and to treat them with compassion and grace and acceptance because of everywhere we have come from in the past and where we are today but then they are also part of this is then knowing where we want to go with it and this isn’t just in our health, but in all things and I think when it comes to body positivity, it can get jumbled up and does that mean that I’m enough the way I am and I never need to strive for more? I feel like as humans, one of the things that keeps us vibrant is having goals and having excitement about things to come and possibilities of our future. And so when I think of the body positivity movement, I think about loving where I’m at today, celebrating where I’m at today, accepting where I’m at today. So some things I have done better than in my past, maybe I’m able to feel better, maybe I’m able to do more with my body. So depending on what your goals are, I remember at one point in my life, I wanted to get pregnant and I was struggling with infertility and so that was something that created a lot of negativity about my body. And so it was difficult to find the positive things and yet I had a vision of where I wanted to go. So the future me wanted to be a mom. But currently, I was struggling with PCOS and so that was where my current negative thoughts were but I had a future goal.

My past showed me that I was capable of taking good care of my health or at least changing my health. There was times where I had done worse and times where I had done better and so I had some framework to draw from and thinking about how maybe there is ways that I could do better, I have seen my symptoms do better and worse, and so I think I can have an impact on my life. So I was able to draw that learning from my past, but in the present, it was rough and so that’s where, as we talk about body positivity and PCOS, it’s a very complex, very multidimensional conversation as we dive into it today. How do we create positivity in where we currently are at? Like I was just saying, we may have a future goal of what we want it to be. I want to just reiterate having that future goal, whatever it is, it’s when you think of where you’re currently at that you’re not happy with. That negative part, right? That negative part where we currently are at is oftentimes the reverse, or if we reversed it, what we want in the future. So if we feel low energy, if we’re struggling with infertility, if we are frustrated with being bogged down by extra body weight, if we are feeling like we are frustrated with things like acne or hair issues or all the things, even mental health, like PCOS content, have a whole number on our mental health.

So whatever the things that we’re struggling with right now, maybe not all of them, but one or two of them are definitely things that maybe in the future you will see yourself doing differently. That doesn’t mean, and this is I think the key thing here, that doesn’t mean that we can’t be positive about our body right now on the journey, it also doesn’t mean that we have to just be accepting of where we’re at and forego the journey. So having that aspiration of where we want to be, such as getting pregnant or having a certain body composition or being able to have more body ability. So one of the things that I’ve had my children now, and I had three children in four years and three months, and I was very busy just being pregnant and nursing and taking care of little tiny ones that my fitness took a little bit of a hit. My youngest is now four and so at the time of this recording, and so I’m able to finally get back into the swing of being able to do things that are more physical and get out there and play with my family and so I’m rediscovering and enjoying learning what my body is capable of and pushing it and getting more and more fit and that isn’t something that I’m doing because I feel shame or discontent with where I’m currently at. It’s more from an excitement of what is my body capable of and I hope you can hear that difference and that it’s not that we have to be happy and stay where we’re at, but it’s learning to be positive in where we’re at and also have goals of where we want to go. Now, where I’m currently at is a lot easier than where I was at when I was dealing with infertility and wanting to be pregnant. There are definitely ones where it is harder and when we feel weighted down and low energy and we’re struggling and nothing seems to be working out, it’s very easy to get down on our body, especially with this diagnosis of PCOS because we feel like it has closed every doors and it has left us stuck.

So where do we start? How do we start creating positivity? Well, the first step may not be positivity and I think that’s something where it’s really important to realize that sometimes it’s just acceptance and the more that we can pick out some of the areas that we don’t like about ourselves or we don’t like about what we’re currently dealing with with our bodies, and then take that and begin to accept it. Well, how do we do that? Part of it, for me, was looking back into my past and realizing that I have grown, I have changed, that I’m not the same person I was 10 years ago. And so I have the ability to, over the next 10 years, you can say two years, you could say one year, it doesn’t matter exactly the time frame. When we’re dealing with infertility, we may not want to deal with 10-year increments. We might want to think like, Over the last year, what have I been able to change? and you know what? You can actually look at it like negative or positive changes because change in either direction is change and when we realize that we are capable of change, we realize that we’re not static, that our environment plays a role in things, then we can realize that, well, you know what? There’s hope for me. I can change things around, I can move in a direction that I want, I don’t have to stay this way, but this is where I’m currently at and when we can accept, this is where I’m currently at and I think this is the most important part, and I’m okay. I have a lot of value and list off the things that you’re still good at, even in the midst right now of a situation that you’re not fully happy with yourself. So when I was trying to get pregnant, I was really good at my job. I wasn’t really good at my health at the time, but I was really good at my job and there were several things in my life I was doing well and I acknowledged those and then there was a lot of things that I’m like, I want to do differently and I acknowledged those and I accepted those the best as I could and sometimes accepting them is just realizing that you know what? It is what it is, it’s where I’m at, it’s like accepting that some days we are in a good mood, some days we’re in a bad mood, and that’s okay. Some days it rains and some days it’s sunny and it is what it is.

With that acceptance, all of a sudden, it just takes the wind out of the sails of the negativity. It’s not positivity yet, but it takes the wind out of the sails of the negativity. Then I would challenge you and invite you to slowly find some things about yourself that you really like. It could be a physical attribute, it could be a personality attribute, something about you, ideally about your body, so I’m talking about body positivity, that you like. Maybe it’s the shape of your toenails, some toenail shapes are just really good, maybe it’s your smile, maybe it’s your eyes, some people just have really cool eyes, maybe it’s your hair color, the body of your hair, your hair is just good hair, maybe it’s just an energy that you can exude because some people have just really attracting energy. They just make you want to go hang out with them. Celebrate those things about yourself, acknowledge them because you know they’re there, but sometimes we’re just like, We want to be humble. We don’t want to brag about ourselves and so we just like, Oh, yeah, I’m okay at that. No, own it. Write them down on your list of things that are positive about you and then at the same time, think about where you want to go. Because part of feeling positive about yourself is your ability to grow. So for me, knowing that this is where I’m at. This is my starting point or this is where I’m at today. Maybe I was even better yesterday, but this is where I’m at today. This is my starting point today. Where am I going to take it today? Where am I going to take it this week? What do I want out of my day? What do I want out of my week? What do I want out of my month? What do I want out of this year? It doesn’t have to be wait until 2024. It could just be like, Well, what do we want for the rest of this year? Feeling like you are alive and growing as a person is a positive thing in and of itself, and it creates a sense of positivity and so sometimes when you just reach that point of acceptance or you’re reaching to feel like you’re accepting yourself, starting to find ways of growing, growing in knowledge, growing in accountability to yourself, growing in your ability to provide your body with some self-care, some self-love.

Even if you don’t feel positive about your body, can you at least show it some caring? Can you at least show it some love? Maybe you’re not like, Oh, yes, I love the way I look, or I love the way I do this, or I love the way I’m that. Maybe you’re just in the accepting mode or the trying to accept mode but as you do that, can you at least show yourself some love? As in, What is something that you need? Maybe you need a little bit more downtime. Can you say no to a few things on your calendar? That is showing yourself some love. When we start to feel ourselves grow and provide ourselves with care, it is so much easier to have the positive thoughts start to come in, to feel better about ourselves, to feel more on top of our world, to feel like we are an active member in our own life and when we feel like we’re invested and we’re an active member in our own life, we feel more vibrant, which leads to feeling more positive.

So all of these things, they’re so hard, and honestly, I feel like giving you steps to feeling more positive about yourself is a little bit of an eye roll because everyone needs to find their own way and that’s why at the beginning of this episode today, I encourage you to listen to how I went about this in different areas and how I continue to go about this in different areas of my life. There was times where I was dealing with infertility. Now I’m dealing with wanting to do other things and it’d be really easy to say, Hey, I want to run faster, I want to do this, I want to do that, and I’m not there yet, and so I’m not good enough. That’s body negativity but when I think about like, Wow, look how far I’ve come and I’m totally going to be capable of doing these things, or I’m really excited to start working towards these things. Do you feel that there’s a shift in positivity? It can be simple. It doesn’t have to feel overwhelming like this whole like, Oh, now I’m supposed to be positive about my body. We don’t need one more should. Instead, creating that positivity of what we’re capable of, what we’re excited to do, where we’re currently at, accepting where we’re currently at, all of that creates a calm, an excitement, and a motivation to start becoming who we want to be, while at the same time being happy with who we are because we’re the one that’s doing this.

We’re the one that’s living vibrantly today. Instead of sitting there wishing that, I don’t want to get there, instead, we’re living vibrantly today with the purpose of what our goals are, living with purpose. I think that in itself, creates a very positive vibe inside ourselves, and it creates a just a happy like, yeah, I’m just going about my business and it doesn’t have to be super heavy or overwhelming and I do want to say we don’t always have to be in goal mode. I think that striving for something can light me up. If it doesn’t light you up, then make your own philosophy around that. It doesn’t have to always be about a new result, a new goal, a new this. To me, that helps keep me skin in the game, keep me interested, keep me engaged but it has very much less to do with, I’m not good enough now, so I need to reach this goal. It has a lot more to do with being engaged and keeping my attention so that I feel like I’m living with purpose and intention, which to me feels more vibrant but for other people, that may feel almost too demanding or too confining and so you have to find your own way of what is it that lights you up? What makes you feel like, I’m showing up to day with my best self? It doesn’t have to be a certain image of our best self. It’s just that you have that feeling inside of you, it’s a weird thing. It’s like these days where you’re like, It has nothing to do with my hair being right or my makeup being right or even being at my goal weight. It really has more to do with I showed up, it almost has more to do with I woke up this morning and the day is just rolling for me, I’m doing the right things by the standards of what I wanted to get done today, and I’m just on a roll, that vibe.

What does that for you? We all have different things, we’re all unique and what I would love to hear from you over on Instagram, because that’s where you can find me and where we can connect so you can find me @Nourishedtohealthy. I would love to hear your story around body positivity. Do you feel like you’re fairly positive? Do you feel like you’re fairly negative? What is it that… Where is the shit? Did you use to be more negative, and now you’re feeling more positive? I would love to hear what is that philosophy for you? It can be short. You don’t have to go into a whole thing, or you can go into a whole thing, whatever you prefer but what is it for you that really wakes you up and makes you feel positive about yourself today and who you are today? Or are you at more of a level of, I’m working on accepting myself and where are you with that? I would love to hear from you. This is such a nebulous concept, I think, in my book that I would love to connect with you over on Instagram, again @nourishedtohealthy, and hear where you’re at on this whole spectrum of creating body positivity for better PCOS health.

So with that, I hope that gave you a lot to think about today. This episode is really less about giving you a specific recipe or to-do list or even it’s not about my philosophy becoming your philosophy. It’s really more about a topic that I think is being thrown out there in the media quite a bit, I think sometimes in a really positive, good way, and I think it’s going to overall have a really positive impact but I’ve also seen it have a little bit of a toxic vibe too, and so I think it’s really important for you to determine for yourself, how does this fit into your life? and how can you create more positivity in your day about yourself? So with that, I’ll look forward to connecting with you on Instagram and until next time, 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

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Results are not guaranteed. Please see Medical Disclaimer for more detail.

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About Show

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