Episode #79: The PCOS Journey: Progress, Not Perfection

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The PCOS Journey: Progress, Not Perfection

What you’ll learn in this episode

Have you ever found yourself enthusiastically starting a new healthy habit, only to see it derailed by the unpredictable twists of life? In this episode, I’ll be diving into the pursuit of perfection and its impact on our journey with PCOS. We’ll explore how the mindset shift of releasing the expectation of perfection can lead to significant progress in our quest for better health.

The Pressure of Perfection in the Age of Social Media

We encounter subliminal messages and the prevalent pressure for perfection daily, especially on social media platforms like Instagram. We often see perfectly curated images of others’ workouts, meal plans, and the daily routines of women that seem to have endless time on their hands. However, the reality is that life is inherently imperfect, and this pursuit of perfection can hinder our path to better health. I’ll share personal anecdotes and examples to illustrate how being less rigid and more flexible in our health endeavors can lead to more sustainable and ultimately successful outcomes.

Setting Realistic Goals for Sustainable Progress

I’ll discuss the importance of setting realistic and achievable goals, emphasizing progress over perfection. I’ll provide insights into my own health routine, highlighting the benefits of a flexible approach. Instead of meticulously planning every detail, I’ll share how having a general list of health goals for the week allows for adaptability and a focus on building sustainable habits. We’ll explore the concepts of 1-2 priorities, and finding a balance that works for your unique journey.

Shifting Mindset: Progress over Perfection

Ultimately, the episode will guide you in shifting your mindset from a pursuit of the perfect plan to a focus on progress and self-compassion. By sharing personal stories and practical examples, I’ll demonstrate how embracing imperfections can lead to long-term success in managing PCOS. So, if you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by the pressure to be perfect on your health journey, tune in and discover a new perspective that can bring joy, sustainability, and positive changes to your life with PCOS.

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

Have you ever started a new healthy habit or been really excited about a new workout routine or you made a meal plan and you were going to stick with it and the week just took on a mind of its own and it just didn’t happen and the whole thing just went by the wayside? That is what we’re going to be talking about today and how the mindset shift of removing the perfection expectation can lead to so much more forward movement in the direction that we want for the health that we want to create by just allowing ourselves to be a little bit more imperfect. All right, let’s dive in.

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 Prepare Podcast where today we’re going to talk about how to be a little less perfect. Everywhere we look on social media, particularly Instagram, we see so many perfectly curated images of how people are cooking or how people are working out or how people are putting together their outfits or decorating their home. I don’t know about you, but my counters have clutter on them because we actually live in our house and my outfits, although we’re supposed to match, oftentimes what I actually grab out wasn’t as perfect as I saw in my head and although I have a meal plan, I’m also winging it all week long. So that level of flexibility can still lead to better results in our health and I’m going to share today how I do that because I think sometimes the perfectness actually becomes a speed bump in our path to better health. Perhaps you can relate to this, there’s been so many times where I’m like, okay, I’m going to get in better shape and I get really excited about a workout plan that either I created or that I find that meets the goals or that has the promise of the goal that I want to have and then I go and add all the workouts to my calendar, I make sure I have the right equipment, I might even set out my workout clothes but three days in, something comes up, life happens, I get a cold, I miss one of my workouts, something happens and now I feel like, okay, well, now I’m off. Do I start over? Do I just skip that workout? But now I missed a strength session, but now it’s cardio again, am I getting too much cardio? I start overthinking it. I get in my head. It starts to become overwhelming. End of the story, at some point, it fizzles out, I fizzle out, it fizzles out, the schedule fizzles out, life gets in the way. I may not have even made a conscious decision not to do it. It’s just something where I started noticing I wasn’t doing it and then it’s like, okay, well, someday I’ll have to worry about getting in shape again but this week is busy, so maybe next week I’ll think about it and before you know it, it’s been a couple more months and then you’re like, oh, it never happened, I guess it’s time to do it now And we start the whole process over again.

Ultimately, that gets really frustrating because what happens? Months go by and we’ve made no forward motion on something that was important to us. If it’s not important to you, that’s a whole different story but I’m talking about something that you wanted, maybe you wanted to train for a race, maybe you wanted to feel like you had more energy. Whatever it is that you wanted to accomplish, you set yourself in motion and then it just fizzles out. Oftentimes, this is because we become overwhelmed and disheartened by the magnitude of the plan that we have set in front of us and the perfection that we have applied to this plan in our minds of how we saw it supposedly unfolding. Ultimately, this impedes our forward progress. What would I recommend instead? Perhaps be less rigid, perhaps something like this, my current workout plan, and this isn’t necessarily for everyone but here’s an example of how it could look different. Instead of saying, I’m going to do this workout on this day and this and this and this and this and this, and I have it all just down to the letter organized.

First of all, that took an awful lot of time to do where I could have actually been in action getting it done. So instead, I have moved more towards having some flexibility where I have a workout list. Each week, I have a list of what I want to accomplish. It’s the same list every week, FYI. It’s not that different, I switch out which routine maybe I do, I maybe grab a different legs and glutes workout, maybe I do a run somewhere else, maybe it’s an inside run on my treadmill, maybe it’s an outside run, maybe it’s sprints on my treadmill, maybe it sprints outside. It varies in that sense, but I have a fairly simple list of this is going to be an endurance run, this is going to be more of a VO2 max interval run, I have a strength day for various areas of the body that I want to accomplish, like core, upper body, lower body. I may have some mobility training or some cross training in there but basically, I have a list of what I want to do, and it’s a very realistic list of what I can actually fit into a week.

Basically, I go down the list and I think of the day ahead of which ones are going to work. If I’m going to be out and about and close to one of my favorite running trails, I will throw my trail shoes in the car along with a sports bra and some running pants so I can just run on my way home but basically, I’m just ticking off a list of, Okay, did that one, did that one, did that one. If I end up doing one of them twice, you know what? The overall goal here is to get it to happen, my focus is less on the perfection, it’s on the habit of getting moving. So maybe I had planned on doing a 45-minute run and I got a 20-minute run in. Check, habit happened, I still made time for it in my day, I make a note of that on my list. At the end of the week, I take a quick look at the list and I’m like, you know what? I really skimmed on strength this week. I need to make strength a higher priority next week. So the next week, I’m putting strength more towards the top of my list when I’m thinking about what I’m going to do the next day, but I’m still trying to get my cardio in as well.

I may notice, oh, you know what? I skimmed on time. I was really chipping the duration of my workouts this week. Okay, I need to make working out. I higher priority next week over other things like laundry. You know what? The laundry could wait a little bit, maybe I do some bigger loads, maybe I just pick and choose which loads are really important, and I make sure I get my workouts in. Because you know what? I can catch up on laundry, I can’t go back and do a workout on a day that I missed. So It just have to get my mind around what things matter, the priorities, and ultimately not being so stuck on one plan that I can be a little more fluid, a little bit more flexible and here’s the big thing, shake it off when it wasn’t perfect.

As you see in that example of what we’re going to be talking about today, that the pressure of being perfect, this image that we have of how it’s supposed to go, can make us feel less than when it didn’t work out quite right. Another way this happens is not being as good as we want to, so when I had my second daughter, I started running a lot. I didn’t do a lot else but run because it was difficult. I had no child care set up, we were in between several different moves, and I had two little ones. One was not quite two and one was brand new. So once I got the all clear for my doctor to start running again, I started to just run a mile. Well, I couldn’t actually run a mile. It was more like I would go a mile and I would run the bits that I could. I slowly worked up to running the mile and then all of a sudden, I was able to run five miles and then I decided to do something really crazy and I signed up for a half marathon in the city that we were moving to, and I continually trained for it once we got there, I ran this half marathon at my best time that I’ve ever run a half marathon. Now, I fast forward to… I have three children. It’s very difficult to run with three children because one of them is on a bike, which means that they’re always falling off their bike because they were only four and then I have two in the stroller. The new baby didn’t like to be in the stroller, and so running became less of an option. I stopped running for a couple of years. Now I’m back into running again because my kids are all in school and so new phase of life. I can start to do some running again and I’m starting to get out and trail run and I’m starting to run on my treadmill and all the things. I can’t run very far, I can’t run very fast, it could be very frustrating that my vision of where I had been as a mom with small children, I did this before, why can’t I do it now? That vision of what I thought was going to happen and what is actually happening can lead to a feeling of discouragement because I don’t feel like I’m doing it right. I don’t feel perfect in my running ability. Now, fast forward a few months after embracing where I currently was at, and I’m actually doing a different better. I’m doing a lot more hill runs, a lot more trail runs. I live in a different climate than I did when I ran my half marathon because we moved again.

These are all things where when we start to have this set vision of what we thought we were going to accomplish and how we were going to accomplish it, we can end up putting this negative energy on ourselves, and then it’s not fun. When we feel like our best efforts aren’t good enough, we start to find ways of avoiding that activity to protect ourselves from feeling inadequate. Those are ways that we can get really frustrated, anxious, burnt out, unmotivated, because we have this perfect picture and when we can’t achieve that perfect picture every time, which very rarely are we going to have that perfect picture happen, even there’s going to be days where it just all comes together and enjoy those but for the most part, it’s not going to quite work out the way we thought, it’s going to rain on us, it’s going to be a little too hot, something’s going to happen.

Okay, so once we get over that need for it to be perfect, how do we set our expectations? What should we focus on to have a measure of this is what my goal is. If you think back to that example that I gave at the beginning, my real goal, although I have a list of workouts, is the habit. So translate that to something else. You’re aiming for eight hours of sleep a night. Okay, well, sometimes that’s going to happen, sometimes it’s not, sometimes you’re going to wake up in the middle of the night with some insomnia, sometimes something might happen where you don’t get to bed until later. I mean, unless you live in this really controlled environment, life happens, right? So what could we aim for where you could feel like, okay, this is really the habit that I’m trying to cultivate and that could just be that you get up at the same time regardless. So you’re setting your circadian rhythm. That could be that you have a bedtime routine and there’s at least a certain aspect of it or a couple of certain aspects of it that you just don’t forget. If you have a fairly elaborate bedtime routine, sometimes you may need to truncate it down and so have different versions of that bedtime routine that allow you to feel like it’s a win, depending on what is happening leading up to that.

We haven’t done this in a little while, full disclosure, because my husband had shoulder surgery, and so we focused on different areas of fitness but one of the things we loved last winter, and probably about time to start doing that again now that it’s in November, the time of this recording, to start having this routine as part of our bedtime but we used to like to do about 10 minutes of yoga and a flow. So it would be this evening flow or a hip flow, especially if we’ve been running or biking a lot, where we just wanted to do some hip opener flow or something but usually somewhere in the 10-15 minutes, doing a yoga flow, letting it calm down our bodies, no more electronics after that, maybe a hot shower or bath, and then going to bed and that routine allowed us to unwind from the day fairly quickly, focus in on ourselves, our breathing, our calmness, maybe taking a hot bath because a hot bath can be that extra amount of relaxation, especially if it’s cold. I don’t like to sleep with cold feet, so it would warm up my feet. I find a hot bath really relaxing. My husband knows in theory that it’s a good idea to take a hot bath or shower. He’s not as into it as I am.

So if it’s not something that really feeds your soul, don’t do it but I like it. So it was part of my bedtime routine and with that, we would get a really good night’s sleep, it was really restful, we woke up really refreshed, you could also have something that helps you wake up and get going in the morning but whatever it is your routine is that’s fairly drawn out. So not every night is that going to happen. What if we’re at a Christmas party in the upcoming holidays? Probably not going to come home at midnight and do 10 minutes of yoga. I could, however, come home at midnight, put my hair up in a messy bun, take a quick hot shower or a quick hot bath, wash my makeup off, put some cozy pajamas on, and go to bed after I’ve already set an alarm if I need to, put my phone face down, no more electronics after that point, take in the shower, put my cozies on, and just allowed my body to slowly unwind from the party, unwind from all the day, and just focus on, okay, now it’s time to relax and let down.

Those are ways where I could take my normal routine and shorten it down. That would take me less than five minutes to take a hot shower. Sometimes I’ll even brush my teeth in the shower. I’m really just wash my makeup, brush off my teeth, sit in the hot tub, sit in the hot shower, put on some pajamas, ready for bed. That routine just tells my body it’s your turn to relax and I can stretch it out or shorten it but what is the habit goal here? The habit goal here is notifying my body that it can unwind, it can let go of the day, everything else can wait till tomorrow. Those are ways where if you think about what is the actual goal here, it allows you to have a lot more flexibility in the win than having to have this one perfect planned out type A vision of how it was going to go because I’m a planner, I’m type A, I like things to go just the way I want, I like to be in control of my day, I like to be in control of my schedule and what I’m doing, I like to be really intentional.

Some people are more go with the flow. Maybe you don’t need to hear this quite so much, but even then, sometimes even if you’re go with the flow, just having that intention of what is the primary goal here? My husband’s a lot more go with the flow and then he gets frustrated because he feels like he’s out of intention. He’s not lining up what he needs to be doing, and he’s not making the progress he wants to make and so when he identifies, What is it that I’m focusing on? I’m focusing on letting my body know I’m unwinding at bedtime so I can get a good night’s sleep so that I’ve rested tomorrow. That one identification of unwind at bedtime, that is the goal. There’s many ways of doing that. There can be many ways that you do that depending on the day and the time that you have, you can stretch it out and enjoy it, you can do it real quick and get on to bed but identifying that primary reason of the habit, what it is you’re focusing on can make such a huge difference in allowing yourself to continually make progress without having to get hung up in the perfection of the situation.

Ultimately, this mindset shift allows us to stay focused, continue having progress, and have some self-compassion and some realization that life happens. So then we are able to keep this sustainable and continually manage our PCOS effectively. So while you can set goals, because maybe your goal is that you want to get in better shape. So having that as your goal, then the habit of focus would be to get in a workout every day or this many days a week or whatever the goal that you set. You could also set the goal of this many minutes for the week and see where you stack up on that but again, the aim would not be perfection, just like if you go back to my workout example. When you look at that and you’re like, Okay, I did this well this week, this is where I struggled this week, this is what I need to incorporate better, or how could I have done that better? It’s like, Okay, I need to vary my workouts a little bit, I can’t just go out there and always do my peloton bike, I need to get running, or I need to do lifting, or whatever it is I need to do.

So when you look at it and you look back at it, the goal that you’re setting, perfection is not the goal, the goal is whatever result you want and you’re able to focus on the specific habit of getting your workout in every day because your goal is getting in shape for this example and then you can adjust, okay, I need to be working out a little bit longer, I’m chipping the time, I need to vary my workouts, I’m not getting enough core workout because it’s not my favorite, so I need to make sure I prioritize that so it actually happens. Ultimately, you’re able to just look back and see what it is that you need to be doing and then a really key element of this is some patience, coping with the setbacks, celebrating those small wins, embracing the imperfections because they are all actually the stepping stones that get you where you want to go and so as we become more and more patient with these things, and instead of being like, Oh, my goodness, I can never get this right, and getting frustrated, we use the setbacks. We use the times that we didn’t quite meet the list of workouts that we wanted to achieve in the week to make it more realistic, to look at where are we not able to complete what we wanted? How could we fit that into our week better? I put my running shoes in the car and I have little pockets of time. I will either get a walk in or go for a run. Sometimes it’s a walk because I don’t want to get sweaty, at least I got my habit of moving and I got some degree of exercise in, and that in itself is a win.

As we embrace those imperfections, as we celebrate those wins, as we allow there to be more flexibility and flow in all of our PCOS health endeavors, we can see ourselves actually plotting along towards creating better health as compared to stop, start, stop, start. It’s like the old fable of the tortoise and the Hair. That slow, steady movement that may not be as grandious and perfect as we visioned it being, actually gets us to our goal so much quicker, easier, and in a happier, healthier way than trying to chase that perfect. I hope that mindset shift of all those examples, all those new ways of thinking about it just excites you about the possibilities about it, not having to feel so forced, so hard, so regimented and gives you a little breathing room, especially as we head into a very busy season where it can feel like you just have to put everything on pause because there’s no way that you can do everything during the holidays and it helps you to feel more hopeful and this is all doable on your journey to peace, to us, health.

So I would love to hear from you. I always love hearing from all of my listeners and so whenever you guys send me a DM, it takes me a while to get back to you sometimes, but it always makes my day. I would love to hear away that you’re going to be less perfect. What is something that you can embrace that is bogging you down? And how can you release that thing that’s bogging you down and do it in a different way that will get you to your goal better and easier by being less rigid and less perfect in your attempts to get there. I would love to hear that in my direct messages. You can find me over on Instagram @Nourisedtohealthy and until next time, just embrace those imperfect and I want you to smile when you see yourself doing that. When you let something go, when you let something be a little bit less than perfect and you still make it happen, smile to yourself, pat yourself on the back because that is actually healing in itself to allow things to be a little bit more in flow, a little more flexible, a little less rigid, and celebrate that is a win in and of itself. So with that, I hope you enjoy this episode, and 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?

  Discover your current PCOS Root Cause

Start to reverse PCOS at the root cause. 

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