Written by: Alisha Sweeten
I want to tell you all a story about my journey and struggle with weight due to PCOS and how our diet changed everything for me.
For those of you who do not know, PCOS stands for polycystic ovarian syndrome and can be caused by a few different things but is essentially a hormone imbalance that causes insulin resistance (1). Because of the effects it has on insulin doctors usually prescribe Metformin (a diabetes medication) and recommend birth control to regulate cycles (2).
So, my journey in all of this began when my husband and I decided we wanted to have a child. I had been on birth control for three years at this point and was not aware of any issues other than some weight gain I had struggled with. Upon deciding to try for kids I stopped my birth control, and all seemed fine. First month down, nothing out of the ordinary but no luck with pregnancy. Two months down, I missed my period, got very excited, and then got my first negative test. Three months down I missed another period and got another negative test. At this point I was concerned, went to the doctor and they told me to lose weight. That sounds easy enough right, so I cut back on the “bad” foods, and we kept trying. Fourth month down, I had the worst period of my life, my weight did not budge, I was gaining weight, and I was doing everything I “should” be doing. This went on for over a year before the doctors did any tests, and every time I went in, I got the “you need to lose weight” lecture but they never believed I was following what they gave me. I was avoiding the “bad” carbs but still eating “good” carbs.
Finally, I saw a different doctor in the office that decided to listen to me, they did some blood work and found I had PCOS. This was a sigh of relief accompanied by a whole lot of worry. I was immediately put on Metformin and Clomid to help me get pregnant. The Metformin made me sick, but I was finally losing some weight! After three months on the medications and still no pregnancy and having only lost 5 lbs. we decided the medication was not worth the sickness it caused. Amazingly after stopping all medications, I was able to get pregnant and have an amazing little boy. All seemed good and well.
Flash forward a few years, and about 20 lbs. I was walking regularly and back to my “healthy” eating yet at the heaviest weight I had even been, even while pregnant. I avoided pictures, could not keep up with my kids and I was constantly tired and not much fun. I knew something had to change. I was doing my research and had read to avoid carbs, eat lean protein, and cut out the sugar (3). I tried so hard to stick to it but as someone who turns to food during times of stress it seemed impossible, every missed period was a roller coaster of emotion and lead to a binge of ice cream and pasta. I was failing on my own and had about decided that this was my life and there was no way out.
That is when I found Trinity Chiropractic. I was hired on as a Chiropractic Assistant about the time they were kicking off their weight loss program (4). Going into it I was skeptical as my body never seemed to respond to programs like everyone else’s did. After a month of deliberation, I decided to go for it! I was all in and, while I had goals to set, I was very cautious because I was worried about getting my hopes up. I am now six months into the program, 70 pounds down and able to keep up with my kids! I still have a little way to go but the most important change for me is that my hormones are normal, I am having cycles on time with no medications, and I have learned how to cope with the stresses of life without food. This program has given me the reassurance that I do not need to be dependent on medications for the rest of my life. It has given me back the possibility of growing my family if we choose. It has given me freedom from the food I did not even know I needed.