Episode #38: Finding Your Path to PCOS Health
PCOS is a unique condition
PCOS is not a black-and-white condition. It arises from certain genes leaving us more sensitive to our environment. Not every woman that has PCOS symptoms has the same gene involvement or the same sensitivities to her environment. This creates a unique situation for each woman.
A Unique Path to PCOS Health
The path for health can’t be a cookie-cutter approach because everyone has a unique situation and they desire various outcomes. Plus we are all at different places of understanding and implementing of what our body’s need.
Then add to all these individual situations that we all have a different environments. Our schedule, our support system, our other health conditions, our tastes, fitness, hobbies, and things that we enjoy are all unique to us.
How to Discover your path to PCOS Healing
It all starts by discovering your root cause. And perhaps even the root of your root cause. Then learning to assess where your body is struggling with its environment and what is working so that you can address your root cause in a manner that will support your body in its current environment.
During this episode, I will go through the different areas of our environment that play a role in PCOS health and give examples of how to incorporate them into your path to PCOS health.
If listening to your body is something you struggle with. Or perhaps you listen but you don’t know what to do about it. That is exactly what I help women do. I help them listen to their symptoms, understand their body and help them discover a path that will work for them in their actual life to get the results they want. If you would like help learning to listen to and interpret what your body needs and then turn that into action that is practical for you Please send me a message on instagram @nourishedtohealthy and say “help me listen to my body”. I look forward to hearing from you.
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
PCOS is a diagnosis of unique situations. While similar symptoms or I should say, a collection of symptoms and the exclusion of other disorders is what leads us to the diagnosis of PCOS. Each individual woman that is given this diagnosis has a very unique situation and she needs an equally unique path to healing. That’s what we are going to be discussing in today’s episode. We’re going to go through how to discover and fine-tune your path to PCOS health, so 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, our environment, and the understanding of our genetics, we can heal at the root cause.
So, what makes PCOS a unique condition? Let’s just give a quick recap of what PCOS is and what’s going on in your environment that creates a very unique situation for each individual. Over the last several years, researchers have discovered that while there isn’t exactly a PCOS gene, there are genetic tendencies that we find repeatedly on certain parts of the genome, our DNA, that leave us vulnerable to sensitivities to our environment. In other words, unlike my gene to have dark hair, these genes that deal with PCOS give us a tendency towards sensitivity. The way that plays out practically is that compared to maybe the person sitting next to us, our body is more sensitive to the foods that we eat in the production of insulin, meaning we are going to be more likely to, at an earlier age, deal with insulin resistance than perhaps someone else who ate the exact same way. Other examples include a tendency towards inflammation or our body’s ability to cope with various stresses, or our body’s ability to naturally adjust to our environment can be affected by our actual genes. Now, the cool thing about this is that because it’s not a black and white like my hair color gene, it allows for a great deal of assistance from you to help your body out when it comes to your PCOS.
How does that make you unique compared to somebody else that has PCOS? Well, there are many genes that can be affected, so not everyone has the same ones or to the same degree that they are leaving us sensitive to our environment. Also, each of our environments from the moment that we were conceived has been different. You can see there are so many factors that are added together to create your unique situation of PCOS health or your unique PCOS struggle. Then add to that, our symptoms are not all the same. Yes, PCOS has a collection of symptoms that paint a picture that ultimately leads us to the diagnosis of PCOS. But each person shows these symptoms in different ways, some people have some of the symptoms, and some people have all of the symptoms. Again, a great deal of variability. Then comes our unique personalities and our unique desires. At different stages of our life, we have different goals for our health, and PCOS affects those goals depending on what it is that we are desiring. Are we looking to lose a little weight? Are we looking to have clearer skin? Are we frustrated with hair loss? Are we dealing with infertility and wanting to get pregnant? Is it affecting our mood, our peace of mind, and anxiety? All of those things could be affecting everybody, but some people don’t care. Some people don’t want to have a baby right now, so they’re less concerned about their fertility. All of those factors are also important when it comes to deciding what is your unique PCOS path to health. In other words, what steps do you need to take to get to your desired healthy outcome? To further the uniqueness and the variability between person to person includes that we are all starting at a different place. Our understanding of nutrition, our understanding of how our body is functioning and our root causes, as well as our physical abilities, our current amount of exercise, and our current habits, all of those things create a difference in our starting point as we begin or continue along our PCOS health journey. Then we all have a different lifestyles. Some of us work night shifts, some of us work three days a week, some of us have very full-time jobs that require travel. Some of us already have young children and are trying to juggle potentially work and kids and our own personal self-care.
Some of us have really supportive, involved partners. Some of us have partners, although supportive aren’t necessarily as interested in going on this journey with us. We all have a very different, unique bubble that we live in that we are trying to create these habits in, and that in itself creates a very unique path to what is going to work for us in our life. Because what works for one person, if you try to put it in somebody else’s life, it’s just not going to fit quite right, they don’t have the same interest, they don’t have the same taste, they don’t have the same schedule, they don’t have the same flexibilities or restrictions and so all of that leads into what is the best way for you to achieve the health that you want. At the end of the day, we all want an amazing life filled with the things that bring us joy and meaning. But how we get there while nurturing our PCOS, especially when some areas seem to contradict each other, is what we’re going to dive into in this episode. Now, as we do that, you’re going to have to take the examples that I give and apply them to you and tweak them and adjust them and take what resonates and leave the rest because it is so unique.
I need your help with that part. As you’re listening, if you need to hit pause if something is not quite fitting for you and reconstruct it in a way that makes sense in your actual life. As we go into all of the areas that you want to consider as you create your path to health, I’m just going to spill the beans right off the bat here. It really is not an exact science, like follow this method and you’ll be set, it really all comes down to being able to and learning how to listen to yourself, what your body is telling you, and believing in yourself and what your body is telling you, and then taking the appropriate action on what your body is asking for. Over time, you’re going to get better and better and better at listening and more and more in tune with what each symptom is telling you quicker and easier, and you’re going to start responding without even consciously knowing you’re doing it. But at the beginning, it’s going to feel a little clunky. Okay, so there you have it, my friend. I really hope you listen to the rest of the episode because we’re going to get into some really great stuff but that in itself is the method of finding your own PCOS path. But now, let’s go over some examples of how this can show up for different people in both small and big ways. As we look at the different components of really truly getting to the root causes and cleaning up and healing our PCOS, creating an environment where our body thrives, is taken care of, and can really flourish and function the way that we want it to. What are some of the areas that we need to be addressing, one of the biggest ones is a mindset, because no matter what all the other ones that I’m going to talk about are, the mindset in which we approach them, whether we approach them with frustration, curiosity, positivity, negativity, whatever we’re approaching them with is going to help or hinder our ability to address and adjust that area of our health, our emotional health, which is where our stress and our anxiety or our excitement and our joy lives. Then, of course, we have nutrition and exercise. How are we managing our stress? That’s a big one. Stress doesn’t just mean what’s on our calendar or what things the world is throwing at us.
It can also include how are we creating, at a very primal level, how are we creating a feeling of safety and care for our body, which can again include nutrition, sleep, and some of the very basic requirements that our body needs. Then we might have some specific areas of symptoms that need a little extra fine-tuning besides just making sure we’re getting adequate nutrients or adequate stress management, we may need to dive deeper if we’re having issues like stomach pain, bloating, period, or ovulation problems. These are things where we may need to look at our nutrition for our PCOS as a whole. We may also need to take that a step further to maybe we have some sensitivities to, well, for example, eggs might be a really great source of nutrition for most people. Some people may have a sensitivity to that. Just following best practices for PCOS health, you may need to individualize that based on how it’s actually making you feel. Same thing with periods and ovulation concerns. Well, some people just changing their diet might be enough. For other people, it really might be more of focusing on managing their stress, making their body feel safe, making their environment one where they can take deep breaths and feel calm in their bodies more frequently, where they’re getting the rest that they need.
These are all areas that we want to look at when we are creating our own unique path to PCOS health. Okay, so I know the big question is, well, how do you know how to do that for you, your body, and your environment? One of the best places to start is by really recognizing your symptoms. Now, I don’t want you to focus on the negative, but in some cases, such as logging your symptoms, it’s a really good place to get a picture of what is really going on. Maybe for one day, you focus on all of the icky ways that you feel or all of the changes in how you feel. So this might be, do you have headaches? Do you wake up feeling awake? Does it take you a while to wake up? Some of these things are not necessarily bad, some of them are just you and it’s okay to be you. My husband and my husband and my daughter, they wake up at full speed and my husband, not so much my daughter, slowly slows down throughout the day, but their peak energy is literally the moment that their eyes pop open. For me, it takes about two hours to hit my peak energy and I’ve always been that way. I’ll probably always be that way. Now, there are things that I’ve learned to do a little differently so that I can get a good workout in the morning, but I will rarely get my best running time or anything like that right when I roll out of bed. It’s just how I am. However, noticing that is really important because it helps to outline how do I respond to food. How do I respond to the energy that my breakfast gives me? Those are all things like, do I get a spike of energy after I eat? And then do I have a crash? So as you log your symptoms, as you look at what’s going on for you in the day, your energy, your cravings, your appetite, your mood, your degree of irritability, getting in touch with all of these things, I don’t know about you, but I start getting a little bit more short with people towards about four o’clock in the afternoon, or like my husband, he starts tuning people out around seven o’clock at night. He just starts shutting down. Not good or bad. It’s just something to notice about yourself because if you’re starting to amp up around 7 PM, that’s interesting.
These are all things we want to start taking note of ourselves. We also want to take note of what are the things that are bothering us the most if you feel like you are really dragging an energy around three o’clock in the afternoon, and that is making it very difficult for you to function the second half of your day, and you feel like you’re just frustrated, anywhere where you feel like you’re getting resistance or frustration in your symptoms, those are really highlighted those ones. If you take the PCOS root cause quiz, you’re going to see the symptoms that we’re looking at. Now, the PCOS root cause quiz is a simplified version of the full assessment that I give women that I work with and when we look at a full assessment, we’re going into all sorts of symptoms, different kinds of headaches, different kinds of moods, different kinds of everything and we’re looking at a huge picture of what do each one of those indicators, and then how do we address them? The PCOS root cause quiz is one tool that you have. I’ll link to it in the show notes below so that you can start to look at what symptoms you may be dealing with.
The next step is to know what it is that you want to be different. Do you just want to feel better in your body? Do you want to feel more energetic? Do you want to boost fertility? What is it that you’re wanting to do with your health? We all have an idea of why we’re on our health journey, whether it’s to just generally improve our health and feel more energetic, or stronger, or we have a specific health goal such as to lose some weight, boost fertility, things like that. It’s really important to keep those in mind because we can start getting distracted by all the information that our body gives us. As we look at all of these symptoms, man, I’m having headaches, I didn’t even think about the headaches that I was having. I was so interested in why my periods were irregular, then here I’m having these weird, really intense hormonal headaches throughout the month, then we go down this rabbit hole of what’s going on with these headaches. Now, not saying don’t check out why you’re having headaches, but when it comes to your unique PCOS path, in this example, headaches are just one of the symptoms that you’re having of maybe why your periods are abnormal.
They might be an indicator of something going on harmonically that’s out of balance with why you’re having these irregular periods. It’s staying focused on what is it that you’re actually trying to address, and why is it that you’re looking at improving your health. Then you need to look at your overall lifestyle. Depending on what your current day-to-day looks like, there is a spectrum of what would or would not fit into your life. If you don’t cook any of your own meals right now, it is rather unrealistic to think that you’re going to all of suddenly start grocery shopping, meal prepping, and preparing every meal that you eat. So for you, it’s going to be really important that you start looking at where you can make some improvements, how you can maybe include some healthy snacks to complement what you’re already eating out, and maybe where you should eat out or what you’re going to order on the menu, rather than spending a lot of time worrying about a meal plan. Now, again, that’s just an example of one person’s lifestyle versus another person’s. Now, someone else may eat 100 % of their meals at home and they may love cooking, while another person may eat 100 % of their meals at home and hate cooking. Each one of these people is going to need to take one baby step in the direction of trying to increase the nutrients that they’re getting into those meals. It really doesn’t matter as much where you are eating or who’s doing the cooking or how much cooking you’re doing. You can fit healthy things into any one of those situations, but you’re going to do it slightly differently. The main takeaway here is when you’re looking at your lifestyle, don’t try to fit a square peg in a round hole. There are many ways of adding movement to our day. There are many ways of nourishing foods in our day. There are many ways of adding room for de-stressing, calming, relaxation, and allowing our mind to let certain things go. There are many ways to do this. There is not a one size fits all of these, but each one of these things is going to be important for each person to find their way of doing it. Then it’s really about breaking it down into the itty bitty baby steps and habits that you want to start incorporating into your life.
One example is my husband and I were both noticing that we were doing some shorter interval training. We were both getting sore and we live a fairly fast-paced life with three kids. He’s got a very busy job, we’ve all got a lot of things going on, we love to get out and play on the weekends, and so we play pretty hard, we work really hard and sometimes we feel like we need to recover really hard. In that, though, we were finding that we were both sore and feeling stiff and probably approaching 40. But the point is that we also were noticing that after three kids, he takes a lot of calls, and so he’s up at night sometimes, and there are some disruptions in our sleep for various reasons. We also were feeling like we really needed to focus on getting good-quality sleep. So we had been researching a lot of ways and thinking about what would fit into our lifestyle in ways to improve our sleep habits. So some general things that we think about when it comes to creating a really good circadian rhythm, include some things at night, some things in the morning, some things in the morning that are really helpful is getting up around the same time every day, getting some morning sunlight, so facing towards the sun, ideally outside without a window or sunglasses between you and just let that morning light help to raise your morning cortisol levels so that you have that morning appropriate circadian rhythm of waking up, becoming more alert, gaining that morning energy, and then towards the night, allowing the stimulation of the day to fade away. So less screen time, less time on our phones, less hyper conversation, less busyness, letting the to-do’s stack up for the next day as compared to trying to finish everything at night, and then also making sure that we had a hard and fast bedtime, that we were getting to bed at a reasonable time so that we really could get up and get going the next day when we wanted to. Okay, basically, what we found was that one of the things that we were looking for was a way of spending time together that wasn’t watching a movie, so we would decrease our screen time on a nightly basis, and find a way to decrease our soreness and our stiffness. We started doing a 10 to 15-minute yoga session together. That is something that worked in our life, it added to our movement. It assisted with sore type muscles, and it allowed us to calm down off of the day, to ground ourselves, to take deep breaths, to relax ourselves before bedtime. Is this the best thing you could ever do? No. There are a million ways that you could handle this scenario. For us, it’s been amazing. But what I’m trying to paint the picture of here is if you can find those things we are looking at, what are some of the things that are going on in my life right now that I would like to address? We addressed soreness, stiffness, needing to unwind better, and needing to not be on our phones, so we need to do something different. We wanted to still spend time together in the evening, but we’re getting too tired to really engage in a whole lot. Plus, we want to wind down, 10, to 15 minutes of yoga has been an amazing way to do all of that. It’s a way of looking at your lifestyle and seeing what fits. That’s not going to fit for a lot of you, but it might fit for some of you, great use it. Take that idea, and enjoy. It’s a beautiful thing to do in the evening. But the point is it has to work with your lifestyle. Then we get to those little habits. Okay, getting dinner cleaned up, getting all of that put away, and reminding myself that I just want to sit on the couch right now and scroll through Instagram and watch funny reels on my phone. Well, that might sound good, but all of a sudden it’s going to be an hour past my bedtime. I’m going to be overly exhausted. I’m going to be frustrated with myself because now I know tomorrow is going to be really painful to get up when I’m supposed to and so I have to remind myself that I want to do this habit that I’m creating. It’s not necessarily a habit at the beginning. Now for me, it’s like I just grabbed my yoga mat, put it on the floor right after dinner, and I don’t really think too much of it. But that wasn’t always the case. And so as we incorporate in these little bitty itty bitty habits, we might need to put reminders on our phones we may need to restructure our day so that they have space.
It’s really easy to have a great idea, but we may actually need to make the space for these great ideas. We might have to do a little calendar organization of our schedule, and break it down into those little baby habits. And then the last step is we evaluate, is that working. Does it actually fit into my schedule? Am I enjoying it? Is it giving me the response that I wanted? Where yes, we continue. Where not, we reevaluate and figure it out a little differently. That is how you create your own path to PCOS Health or really your own path to anything. But since we’re talking about PCOS health, that is how you create your unique path to your PCOS health journey. As you can see, where I spilled the beans earlier, it really all comes down to listening to yourself, turning inward instead of looking at what everybody else is telling you to do. That is something that I feel very strongly about, I think there are so many programs where it’s like, you follow my method, I laugh a little because at the same time, I tell you to follow my method. However, the method that I recommend for finding your PCOS health is to learn to listen to your body, to care for and adjust your lifestyle to fit your body’s needs, and by all means, get help doing that. Hopefully, that’s what the PCOS Repair podcast is helping you do. It’s what I designed, my programs, my resources, and everything to help you ultimately dig into your body’s symptoms, your body’s needs, your wants, and your desires, and then to create the life that you want. I know listening to your body can be something that we struggle with, it’s something that takes practice. Perhaps you’re good at listening to it, but you don’t know what to do about it. That is exactly what I help women do. Take their symptoms, understand their body, and help them to discover a path that will work for them in their actual life to get the health that they desire, to get the outcomes from their body that they desire. If you would like help learning to listen to and interpret what your body needs, and then in turn, put that into actions that are practical for you in your real life, please send me a message. The best place to connect with me is over on Instagram. Just send me a message that says, Help me listen to my body, and we can start having a conversation of what you’ve done so far, where you need help, and what resources I can get you to help you to the next step as you learn to listen to your body, reverse your PCOS and create the health that you want.
There you have it, my friend. There is not one path to PCOS health. The only way that we can keep it sustainable is if we make it work for us, our bodies, our lifestyle, and our health goals. I hope you found this episode helpful. Be sure to hit that subscribe button so that you get notified each and every week when the next episode of PCOS Health becomes available. 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
What Do Your Symptoms Mean?
Discover your current PCOS Root Cause
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