Self-Love, Better Health, and Mindfulness When Living with PCOS
Living with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a constant battle requiring strength, resilience, and self-love. Like many chronic conditions, it poses a laundry list of biological and psychological challenges. According to the CDC, as many as 5 million women in the US are affected by PCOS. Though it may manifest differently from person to person, body image and self-esteem are common struggles for those diagnosed with this condition. While there is currently no known cure for PCOS, there are a few lifestyle and mindset modifications you can adopt to enhance your quality of life.
Understanding PCOS and its effects
The first step to overcoming PCOS is recognizing the patterns it can present. The chief markers of PCOS involve having irregular menstrual periods, elevated androgen hormones, and polycystic ovaries. These are evident in symptoms like excessive facial and body hair (hirsutism), acne, hair loss, and weight gain. Additionally, up to 80% of women with PCOS also develop obesity.
Consequently, PCOS sufferers often fall prey to insecurities and self-doubt. Evidence suggests that women living with PCOS are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and eating disorders driven by body image issues.
Steps to conquering PCOS
The key takeaway from the facts we’ve laid out is that you are not alone in your battle against PCOS. Given that the impact of PCOS revolves around social stigma, mental health, as well as physiological factors, a holistic approach is necessary to combat it. Here are some tips that can help you boost your self-confidence, nurture yourself despite your diagnosis, and triumph over self-doubt.
Living with PCOS often feels as though we have no control over our bodies, especially in terms of weight gain. However, with the right nutrition plan, you can take back your power and build self-confidence. Studies show that diet plays a significant role in the clinical picture of PCOS. For example, high-sugar foods have been found to induce PCOS by causing intestinal imbalance and triggering chronic inflammation, insulin resistance, and the production of androgen.
The best diet for PCOS weight loss is one that is nutrient-rich, satisfying, and sustainable. Research highlights that the DASH diet, Mediterranean diet, and low-glycemic diet are all effective for the management of PCOS and PCOS-related weight gain. These diets are somewhat similar in that they focus on the consumption of high-fiber fruits, non-starchy vegetables, healthy fats, and lean proteins. Prioritizing these foods can stabilize insulin levels, promote healthy weight loss, and improve other PCOS symptoms.
While not all women with PCOS are overweight or obese, they do experience higher rates of insulin resistance. One way to combat this is through habitual physical activity, which has been found to greatly increase the body’s insulin sensitivity. In turn, restored insulin sensitivity can improve metabolism, reduce hunger, and aid weight loss.
There is no specific workout that’s beneficial for women with PCOS — what really matters is consistency. You can start by doing a workout you enjoy, whether it’s a brisk 30-minute walk, yoga, or a moderate-intensity aerobic exercise. For best results, consider incorporating at least two resistance training sessions per week. As an added bonus, staying active also boosts your mental well-being!
Self-love and mindfulness
PCOS can wreak havoc on your self-confidence and self-esteem. Thus, caring for yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally is crucial. An effective method to meet these needs is by practicing mindfulness and self-love. Through this practice, you can become more attuned to your needs and better prepared to engage in self-preservation. Based on some studies and clinical trials, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy has even been found to improve body image concerns, feelings of self-worth, and ease stress. Adopt mindfulness strategies by setting aside time each day for meditation or mindful breathing exercises. This can help quiet the mind and elevate feelings of relaxation and well-being.
PCOS shouldn’t define your narrative, so take your diagnosis as an opportunity to showcase self-love and empowerment. Most importantly, treat yourself with kindness and compassion. By applying the tips we’ve outlined above, you can embrace your PCOS journey and maybe even inspire others along the way.
Start your self-love and mindfulness journey with Grado’s Affirmation Card Decks, or stay motivated by journaling your thoughts with our Planet Earth and Healthy Life planner. Find these and more on the Grado website!