Episode #55: How I Stopped Letting PCOS Run My Life
What you’ll learn in this episode
Let’s take a step back and remind ourselves that PCOS is not an isolated struggle. In this episode, we’ll explore how PCOS is not a life sentence and that with lifestyle adjustments, habit changes, and some trial and error, you can significantly alleviate your symptoms and regain control over your life.
Your PCOS is Unique
To achieve a healthy balance, it’s essential to dive into the unique factors influencing your PCOS journey. We’ll discuss the distinct root causes and lifestyle elements that contribute to your symptoms. By understanding these individual factors, you can tailor your approach to find what works best for your body, empowering you to thrive without PCOS ruling your life.
How To Discover What Your Body Needs
The health and wellness space, particularly on social media, can be overwhelming, with conflicting messages bombarding us daily. In this episode, I invite you to quiet the noise and focus on what your body truly needs. We’ll explore self-assessment techniques to gauge your current health priorities and identify areas where you may need to recommit or make adjustments. Remember, perfection isn’t the goal – it’s about living in a body that feels good, energized, and free from PCOS symptoms.
What Does a PCOS Health Path Look Like Longterm
We’ll also delve into the concept of a healthy balance and how it relates to your PCOS health. When disruptions occur, we may need to go all-in to rebalance our hormones. As our bodies gradually find equilibrium, we can transition to a more sustainable, balanced, and healthy lifestyle in moderation – the key to long-term well-being.
So, join me on this enlightening episode as we navigate the complexities of PCOS and discover the power within us to live vibrant lives. Together, we’ll unravel the mysteries, debunk the myths, and pave the way for a future where PCOS no longer holds us back. Get ready to embrace a renewed commitment to your health, and let’s embark on this transformative journey to thriving with PCOS. Stay tuned for an episode that will leave you feeling empowered, inspired, and equipped with practical tools to live your best life – symptom-free and full of vitality.
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
I’ve been getting so many questions lately about how strict we need to be about our PCOS lifestyle and how to really make their habits and their healthy ideas of what they need to be doing and how to make that actually work for them and balance that, especially as we head into summer, how to balance that with events and travel and vacations and living a full life. And so today in this episode, I want to dive into how I feel like a PCOS healthy lifestyle should end up looking and it’s going to be different for each person, and there is no actual should, but how it’s possible to make this look and so I hope that you find this episode extra inspiring as you get a vision for yourself of what your PCOS journey can look like and how easy, simple, and vibrant it can actually be. 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.
Welcome back to the PCOS Repair podcast, where today we’re going to dive into my philosophy of PCOS health. If you have done any research on your own about PCOS, I’m sure you have gotten a lot of doom and gloom. When I first started researching PCOS, nine years ago now, I had to think about that for a second. About nine years ago, before my first daughter was born, I was diagnosed with PCOS about a year before she was born and almost to the day and that was a big blow because I knew I’d always had some health issues. I knew I’d always had a harder time managing my weight and various things compared to my girlfriends. However, it wasn’t until that moment where I saw a actual disorder and realized something was really wrong with me and that it was going to possibly stand between me and having a baby and so I dove into the research. There wasn’t a lot at the time, there was a few medical journal articles, they talked more about some of the aspects of PCOS, particularly the insulin resistance aspect of PCOS and there wasn’t a lot else to go on.
Now, when I look at what women who when they start to Google PCOS and what to do about it, when they start looking it up on social media, at the time, I felt very frustrated with the lack of resources. But in a lot of ways, I think what you are dealing with today may be worse. This over just crowding of conflicting information and people telling you that you need to be dairy-free or gluten-free or that you can’t eat sugar or that there’s foods that you should cut out or you shouldn’t cut anything out and all of these conflicting things that the health and wellness world is telling us or the PCOS world is telling us, especially on social media where people are just spouting things off and they may or may not be an expert, maybe something worked for them and it can be really confusing to know who to listen to and what to do and how to create something that is sustainable and ultimately works for you. So today I want to start off with talking about that problem of PCOS, and it’s a mindset problem where when we start to hear things like, you can’t have dairy, you can’t have Gluten, you can’t have sugar, our brains immediately go to, at least minded, well, then what am I going to do? And it wasn’t even that I was having excuses. I think sometimes when we think about generalized weight loss, it’s like, well, it’s just hard. I’ll start it on Monday, not today. But for me, when I was wanting to get pregnant with PCOS, it had very little to do with not wanting to. It had a lot more to do with the practicality of how do I go to a restaurant and actually order food and not be this complete weirdo and can’t eat anything on the menu? As well as as you get into it and you do it for a couple of weeks, this doom and gloom can set in, at least it did for me. Maybe you’re more positive than I am. I’m a pretty positive person, but it would get to me that, does this mean I can’t enjoy ice cream in the summer? Does it mean that I can never go and take my kids to ice cream and have some? Does it mean I can’t have my favorite foods and not even from a standpoint of other people telling me that I can never eat something because I never bought into that. However, from my own personal journey, my body is very, very, very carb sensitive and it can really go into a tailspin if I eat too much of certain foods. So I would say that my body is on the very picky side of how healthy and careful that I have to be. I have worked with women who are a lot less… Their bodies are a lot less picky than mine, and they have an easier time getting results and I have also worked with some women that even have a little bit of a harder time than me. But I think that when we are struggling in that moment of we feel like we are doing everything and making minimal progress, it is so easy to get very down on what this actually is going to do and how it’s actually going to impact our lifestyle outside of our PCOS. Even if we are having positive progress with our PCOS hormones, with our weight, with our fertility, with how we feel, with our energy, it is still easy to get bogged down with the fact that, yeah, that’s all great when I sit and eat really healthy food and I make sure I get my exercises in but what about the weeks that I can’t? What about if I wanted to cut loose a little bit and not be so strict? Is that not an option for me? I want to be just really open about that. Those are feelings that a lot of us have and if you haven’t had them, amazing, great, don’t buy into them, don’t join us in these feelings. But I think that probably most of you listening have at times felt that frustration, felt that heaviness, felt that discouragement of, Well, that’s great if I do all the right things and I do everything, quote, perfect, I can limp on and do okay. It’s not fair. It’s not fair that other people don’t have to these thoughts creep in and they eat away at us. I think first of all, in this conversation today, it’s really important to acknowledge that we have those thoughts and that we feel that way. In doing that, I want to just shed some light on what a PCOS health path can look like. I think that when we can see into the future of where we are going with this, it can calm and ease some of those frustrations.
When we think about what PCOS is, it is something where our bodies make up. There’s genes that relate to these issues, there is environmental factors that we were exposed to in utero as early children. Our bodies, for various reasons and in various ways, respond to certain aspects of our environment to create insulin resistance, so insulin problems that create a negative stress response that isn’t just in the moment stress, but our body responds to the chemicals and the hormones of stress and it creates health problems and then there are inflammatory issues where our body doesn’t handle and take care of inflammation. In fact, it takes outside environmental situations and it creates inflammation to deal with them. This is what makes up our root causes of PCOS and then as our hormones become imbalanced, as these other insulin and stress hormones become out of balance, we start to create cravings and appetite problems that actually lead to nutrient deficiencies and furthering insulin responses and furthering inflammation, and then the stress creeps in more and so we have this whirlwind cascade of root cause problems and so I think first of all, it’s really important to realize that our environment plays a huge role, which means we have a huge amount of control over what happens with our PCOS over the next several years and over our life, which is exciting. It can feel daunting, like, Oh, my goodness, this is on me. But at the same time, we have the tools, we can learn, we can take the actions, and we can lift this burden off. That’s what we’re going to talk about a little bit about how those steps would play out today. The other part of that, though, is that when our body isn’t responding well to our environment, there can be many root causes at play. I get this question a lot. Can I have more than one root cause because I feel like I have many of them. The answer is 100 % yes. As we start to look at healing those root causes, caring for, nurturing, nourishing, and addressing those root causes that are ultimately leading to our symptoms of fatigue and just brain fog feeling throughout the day and resistance to weight loss and difficulty with fertility and mood swings and changes and depression and anxieties and acne and hair that we don’t want and losing hair that we do want and all period problems and all the things that go with PCOS. All of those symptoms can actually be coming from a whole different variety.
You can put these root cause reasons that you’re having those symptoms into many different combinations and many different magnitudes of out of balance to create any one of those symptoms. It gets really confusing when we look at the symptoms of PCOS and try to figure out what is my root cause. When we think about healing our PCOS hormones, really diving into the root of the root of the root, the root primary root cause that you’re dealing with is really important because even though it can feel like, Oh, I think it’s this one, we have to look at all the other symptoms our bodies are giving us. Headaches, hunger, lack of appetite, cravings, sleep disturbances, what labs are telling us. There’s so many things that we look at outside of just your typical PCOS hormones, but we’re looking at what are the signs and symptoms of those root causes beyond just the things that typically make up our PCOS symptoms, like period problems, weight, fertility issues, acne, and so forth. Then we take those and we look at which one is the primary offender, which is the one that really needs our attention. Then when it comes to addressing it, we can just laser focus in, start creating a positive cascade of progress so that we start to feel the momentum in our health improving, moving the direction that we want, and then we tweak and make our lifestyle accordingly. That’s what we’re trying to do as we discover our primary root cause, our current primary root cause, because yes, it can change over time, and how we go about addressing it in a simple way so that we don’t have to feel overwhelmed, that we don’t have to feel like we have to manage all health things and create all the healthy habits all at once. But we can take it in bite sized pieces. Still feels overwhelming sometimes, still feels frustrating, still feels like, Why do I have to deal with this? This is where in this episode I want us to take a look at how I recommend and how I have created my PCOS health path and how I’ve helped hundreds of other women create their PCOS health path. First, it starts with recognizing that PCOS is a health disorder. This is something that we actually need to heal. This isn’t something like, Oh, I’d like to drop a few pounds for the weekend. I think sometimes because our doctors push us to lose weight with PCOS, we approach it like that. We say, Oh, I just need to drop a few pounds and my PCOS will get better and so we rely on fad diets, quick fixes, diet foods, and so forth to try and drop the pounds so that our PCOS will improve. The problem is that is a quick fix approach and it’s not addressing healing. It’s addressing a symptom. It’s asking for a bandaid for a symptom. So weight is a symptom of PCOS. Yes, it wors the cascade. Problems with PCOS, it can help to improve the cascade of improving your PCOS and building momentum as you lose weight. But ultimately, we have to think of weight as a symptom of PCOS. It’s not a cause, it’s not one of the root causes. Now, some of the root causes create weight problems, but the weight is the symptom of those root causes, not the cause of those root causes. When we approach our PCOS, the first step is to realize we are probably going to have to hit this harder than we want to live at this level at the beginning. What that means is we may need to, each stricter, be more diligent, be more purposeful about our healing period of our PCOS health journey. Then as we start to see that momentum build as we start to get the results that we want, then we can move into maintenance.
I think that there’s a lot of conflicting information out there about there are no off limits foods, there are no bad foods. I actually 100 % agree with that. However, I feel like that’s also marketing jargon that people use to grab people’s attention on social media. It’s also part of the body positivity movement, which is also a really good movement and not exactly what we’re talking about today. Today, if you’re thinking about really wanting to cultivate health, loving our bodies is extremely important and a part of that on a mindset level but we may need to be a little bit more strict and we may need to remove certain foods from our diet in that process of trying to make progress. Then we can enter a maintenance mode and maintenance mode, first of all, we’re coming from a place of better energy, better habits because we’ve built them, coming from a place of better control over our cravings and so when we feel better in our body, when we feel in control of our health, when we feel confident in our ability to take care of our bodies, the maintenance becomes really easy. Then sometimes life happens, a vacation happens, a holiday happens, a family event happens, things happen in life, and we get really good at enjoying the event and then coming back to the way we want to live.
This is where PCOS does not have to run your life. Now, I think that it can be really important to test out are there certain foods that you just do not do good with? Because even in moderation, if you personally don’t do good with a certain food, that’s a different story. But I think that it’s not necessary for people with PCOS to say all of this type of food is off limits. I think that it’s important to find your sweet spot and so as we think back to how do we find our own PCOS path to health, it always starts with taking the PCOS root cause quiz. When you take the quiz, it’s going to give you some insight because I’m going to go through symptoms that are beyond just the PCOS symptoms and you’ll get some information on what your most likely root cause is. Now, when I work with clients one on one or in group programs, I have them go through a much more extensive assessment that’s similar to the quiz, but it goes through a lot more questions and we dive into it a lot more. Then we start to look at what is your body telling you? Because ultimately we have to create a really unique approach to your health. We discover your root cause, we look at what are you needing, what is your body asking for, learning to listen to your body’s needs. Then we have to look at who are you? What is your personality? What do you do for a job? What do you do for fun? What do you like to do with your friends? How do we weave what your body needs into what you as a person need so that they work well together? Sometimes we’re in healing mode and we’re like, Okay, body wins right now. Body is needing some help. Then sometimes we’re in maintenance mode and we’re like, I’m going to take care of my body because I want my body to work with me and to be on the same team, and I want to have good energy and good health and feel good and be able to have regular cycles and good fertility when I want it. I don’t want to worry about my weight. I just want to be able to pick out clothes that I like and wear them and have fun in them and not constantly be fuzzing about, am I gaining weight?
I need to lose some weight. I don’t want to deal with that anymore because I have learned how to listen to my body. I know what my body needs, I know what to do about it, and I get to now live my life with my personality, with the things that I enjoy while creating that balance of also making sure that I’m caring for my health. My point and my hope with this episode is to try to answer some of those questions and to connect some of those dots between some of that conflicting information. Because on one hand, I know I probably give you conflicting information because when you’re looking at different parts of your PCOS health journey, there are going to be different approaches. I think that it can sound really good in marketing to be like, Oh yeah, you never have to cut out certain foods. Well, that’s not necessarily true. It might be true. It depends on the woman that I’m working with, what those foods are doing to her, and does she need to overcome some of the insulin effect or reduce some of the inflammation prior to being able to enjoy some of these foods? Or is she actually overly sensitive to gluten and she would do better eating different food? There are so many unique situations that any of these blanket statements can really throw us for a loop and they can make us feel like, Oh, I should be able to eat all foods. There’s no bad food. I just need to eat them in moderation but I’m not making any progress. I don’t understand why I’m not making any progress or on the flip side, I’ve cut out everything and I am doing okay with my PCOS, but I can’t live this way. How do I create balance so that I can go on a vacation so I can go out to eat with my husband? Where does the balance come in? I hope this episode gave you a spotlight on to, we start by learning, learning what is going on in our body, where our body is struggling, what that primary root cause is. Then listen to our body, provide it with what it’s asking for, continue to listen to it to see how it’s responding, play with that, experiment with that, find the sweet spot, see the health momentum growing, see the symptoms resolving, grow in health, grow in energy, reducing all those symptoms, starting to really feel good in our body, which is really fun.
It feels so amazing to finally have something working that it sustains us for a while. We can stay in that phase of healing for a while very pleasantly. Then as we start to be like, Okay, this is great. I love feeling good. I love having my health back, but I also want to live my full life. That’s where we start to transition into maintenance. That’s when we start to see where is that sweet spot? Because this is not about being this purest, perfect, always eating the best food, always getting the best workout, only focusing on health in our life. It’s about creating health, maintaining health, making sure that we aren’t neglecting our body’s needs so that our body can be there and support us in going out into the world and living our full life, building our families, creating wonderful memories, getting to go and explore the world and have vacations and adventures and experiences and not feeling tied down by our PCOS. That is my philosophy when it comes to PCOS. I know there’s a lot of health coaches and health practitioners that work in the PCOS space that wouldn’t agree with that, that would want to be a lot more strict.
I do have the women that I work with be strict for certain periods of their healing. But at the same time, to me, health is a gift that we give ourselves, not something that is a life sentence and as we create PCOS health, it all comes back to balance, balancing the hormones, finding balance in our routines and our habits, and so that we don’t feel this heavy rigidness of rules and can’ts and shoulds like PCOS is running our lives. I hope, my friend, that that has helped you to get a glimpse into how I approach PCOS. It helps you feel a little lighter, a little freer, a little bit more free to discover what your body needs and give yourself the space to create that health, knowing that there is room for living beyond just always focusing on your health and that you will at some point be able to enjoy all of this hard work that you are doing and with that, my friend, I would love to hear from you on Instagram. Dm me how this changes how you’re going to approach your PCOS. I would love to hear any questions you have on where you’ve been feeling stuck, where these shoulds and shouldn’ts have held you back, and is this going to help you or do you have further questions on this topic to help you really create the lifestyle from a place of knowledge and understanding and listening to your body. Do you feel like now you have some of the vision of how that will work for you? And is there anything else that you need from me, questions you want me to answer on social media or here on the podcast to help you further as you create that PCOS health journey for yourself?
And with that, my friend, I hope you hit subscribe if you found this episode helpful because that way you will be notified each and every week as a new health topic of PCOS becomes available so that I can continue to share my journey and the experience of other women to support you on your journey of finding your version of PCOS help. 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?
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